And when we were children, staying at the archduke's,
My cousin's, he took me out on a sled,
And I was frightened. He said, Marie,
Marie, hold on tight. And down we went.
In the mountains, there you feel free.
I read, much of the night, and go south in the winter.

~ The Waste Land, "The Burial of The Dead", Eliot

Thursday, November 20, 2008
am lit
justin is always intrigued when i talk about the american literature class i'm taking, because it's the epitome of the liberal arts american studies class that he never got to take. it's a big class, 30-40 people in a lecture hall, it's crosslisted with government studies and american studies. despite the lecture-ness of it, our professor knows all our names. it's always feels like what i would think a town hall meeting would feel like--plenty of conversation despite the size of the class. sometimes it feels like a high school class, chalkboard scribbing, getting in groups of three, writing exercises at the start of class, historical contextualizations of each novel. you also find a plethora of accents--southern accents, a range of new york accents, desi-accents, spanish accents--around the room--in the beginning when someone heard a voice that sounded different, 20 heads in the front would turn around to try to match a face to that voice. eventually that stopped, because if you are a careful listener, everyone sounds different, and it is very tiring having to turn your head around everytime a person speaks (ie, every 1/2 a minute during the more vibrant discussions). also, everyone eventually started getting comfortable with the differences around the room, and differences stopped being cool. it was obnoxious, not maliciously so. our teacher is a berkeleyite, thus the uber-liberal spin--we started on the staples like the jungle, a hazard of new fortunes, toni morrison's song of solomon--it's like going to the soap opera, talking about absent fathers, racism, immigration. today we are reading lynda barry's graphic novel, one! hundred! demons!--filled with tagalog expletives, and dysfunctional characters.

Saturday, November 15, 2008
break my hea-a-a-a-a-ar-t, break my heart
i have been spending the past few days in the library basement2, reading dusty manuscripts and studying production histories, learning about reformation typology and printing presses during the renaissance. it's almost become a kind of psychosis, my constant return to kroch library. i did feel at one point today, breathing in dalton's comus, 1738, like dying, when the dust got into my throat, like crap. i learnt two cool things today (for those already in the know, please be generous with me about dates, etc, cos i am typing these things at the top of my head)
1) drury lane and covent garden were the only licensed playhouses during the post-reformation under a 1730s law, aiming to prevent subversive theater. in the 1760s, licenses were given out to provincial playhouses, this caused a sudden interest amongst sailors, carpenters, farmers in theater, and royalty flocked over to the provincial playhouses. to prevent losing profits, drury lane and covent garden started expanding their audience to the vulgario. the provincial playhouses were only licensed to do burlesque, music, etc. yet the circumvented this law by creating an entire visual language to stage plays like hamlet, and turned the verses into "music" by forcing musical accompaniment. the rise of visuality in theater was linked to the increasing vulgarisation of theater
2) "In 1774, the House of Lords came together to hear arguments in the landmark case of Donaldson v. Becket. Donaldson maintained that once the twenty-eight year maximum term of copyright under the statute had expired a work was freely available. The works of Shakespeare, Bacon, Milton ….all the perennials of the book trade that the booksellers had been accustomed to treat as it they were private landed estates were suddenly declared open commons." mark rose, on copyrights, and a foucaultian analysis of what constitutes authorship.
last night i was on the phone with my parents. they're really excited about me and justin coming home. "what do you wanna do when you come home, you have to let us know what you want to eat! we're counting down the days!" i was really sad when i heard that. i sent an email, saying, "all i want is for us to be normal, because if i feel like a tourist in my own house, having unnecessarily large, special meals cooked for me, that will break my heart."
watched the wizard of oz in the gym, i love it. so old school, so excellent. also cooking with fernando tomorrow a sunday brunch. i called him, delirious from librarying, at 9pm. "have you had dinner? if you have, you are useless to me," i say.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Comus, 1787
I sat in the basement of Kroch reading a 1787 script of Comus by Milton. this manuscript contains all the stage directions and added on epilogues and prologues as well as the cast members for the coventry garden production of Comus, a Maske performed at Ludlow. i kept searching for fingerprints. like dimples, beautiful blemishes. they didn't allow me to bring anything that would contaminate the moisture of the room. they didnt even allow me to use my own note pad! instead they provided me with acid free green paper. then they put me in some room with walls of glass just to make sure i wouldnt tear up the pages. and made me read the text over a spongey desk which wouldnt damage the pages. holding a manuscript worth thousands of dollars makes you realise the value of reading, and makes you treat a text with lots of respect.
which makes me think about times when i have gotten mad when texts i check out are vandalised. not that i mind the scribbling (i do it too), i enjoy the chatter sometimes. reading as solitary and yet a dialogue with some unnamed person. but i take offense to stupid comments, racist comments, anti-psychoanalysis comments. why check out a freud text if you are going to spend the rest of your time scribbling "asshole! pervert! fuck you!"
which makes me realise, what if all the books we had became expensive relics by 3000? did you know that elephants are projected to go extinct by 2020? (according to my flaming greenpeace expert boss anyway) and that kindle prices are going to go down by the next 3 years. (i'm waiting for that). what shall i tell my kids then, about elephants? ("they had trunks, like dicks, like gardening hoses. it was awesome.") will someone be reading my texts, and feeling my handwriting, like beautiful blemishes?

on another note, I have a weird, rushedly written article published in the language pairing / translator-interpreter newsletter.


I got mad with my best friend this week.
“What do you mean you’re not voting?” I asked. I must have sounded as though I was accusing someone of murdering babies. “You’re joking, right?” I added.
He proceeded to count down the number of reasons why he couldn’t, and didn’t, need to vote. Because he had forgotten to file an absentee vote. Because his home state, New Jersey, is “bluer than blue.” Because “everyone’s mother and grandmother and great grandmother is going to vote for Obama anyway.” Because he would have to drive 10 hours up and down between Baltimore and New Jersey just to vote.
“Because your dog ate your absentee ballot.” I said.
“You’re being unreasonable,” he said.
“Your loss, not mine,” I retorted.
That night I sat watching NBC with my roommate. From my window in Eddy Street, we could see tons of fireworks going off in Trumansburg. We could hear the shouts of people going crazy with joy. It was also her birthday. “Happy Birthday, Chandhni,” I said, as Obama gave his acceptance speech. At the same time, I was having a three-way gmail chat with my mom and dad, who live in Singapore, who were typing deliriously in caps and emoticons, as they watched CNN on the other side of the world, where it was still light.
I was telling them that I loved the burst of idealism on facebook. I loved having a boss who campaigned on weekends for Obama in October. I loved those dudes selling “Pallin is Gorges and not much else” t-shirts on Ho Plaza.
But at the back of my mind, I also wondered how much of what I felt was unfounded emotionalism, because I was looking at this from the viewpoint of an non-American accustomed to a political culture of resignation, and thus idealizing the sense of excitement and hope I saw around me. I grew up in Singapore, where people tell me they spoil their ballots, because there is no point voting for a ruling party that is going to win, or a weak opposition, they say. Between the devil and the deep blue sea, they rationalize, the choice not to make a choice, is nevertheless, a choice.
DIY youtube videos like “OBAMA IS BEAUTIFUL WORLD” [sic], or “The Rams for Obama” (involving rather bewildered children, some still in diapers, made to do a choreographed dance in support of Obama) are hysterically funny, but they make me question the value or the amount of thought that drives that emotionalism, and they make me question what drives my blueness, as a non-American.
And I also wondered whether I had a right to tell my best friend to vote.
Collective events are always strange moments, because even as the camera zooms in on a crowd of pure joy, each person is joyful for a very particular reason. This moment, so historical and so collective, is at the same time so deeply and personally felt, that perhaps it is known only to oneself.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008
on the verge of a trembling
got into an argument last night with j about why voting is important. it's been an ongoing upset between us, the fact that he ruined the chance to cast an absentee ballot, out of stupidity, and my realisation that it's not my right to tell him to vote. and it's new jersey, for christssakes, he says, bluer than blue, he says, i'm sorry but i am not driving 5 hours up and down. don't say sorry to me, i say, it's not my loss, it's your loss. to which he gets really angry and starts railing like an old man at me. living in uber-liberal ithaca, with pockets of republicans beside friends who make hussein their middle name, makes me realise ithaca isn't as blue as it is, and that makes me anxious. if ithaca--and ithaca is as hippy and pro-lgbt and intellectually demanding as it gets in a university town in upstate new york--has a quad full of screaming, "pallin is gorges" fanatics, what about anywhere else that is possibly less blue? on one hand, i am torn between the desire to believe that this country is on the brink, trembling, embracing a new. i want to believe that the face of america will be the face of someone who doesn't believe that america is world, but part of a larger world. on another hand, he says, rather cynically, that change is ultimately rhetorical. so i got angry, which inevitably leads to sexual frustration on my part, my desire to match a face and hand, to touch that face and hand, of that boy who makes me disturbed and yet i love so much.

[publishing] Publishers Weekly . Dystel & Goderich . New York Center for Independent Publishing . Association of American University Presses . Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators

[people] clarisse . nurul . aunty zarina (ummi's bakery) . jeremy . pak . cyril . softblow . karen & kenny (booksactually) . eric . joel .

[other loves] digitaljournalist . ballet dictionary . poetshouse . urbanwordnyc

[me] dawn, singapore, new york city, ithaca.

[yesterday] holding on tight -- vol ii
death and new york city
ever get afraid of sounding stupid, boring, uninfo...
sleep activism
things im excited about
thinking about flight
accents and attractions
i got an on-campus job--production assistant at th...

[archives] January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?