“Her eyes are fixed on the floor, but I am sure they do not see it—her sight seems turned in, gone down into her heart: she is looking at what she can remember, I believe; not at what is really present.”—Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre
“I hardly know where I found the hardihood thus to open a conversation with a stranger; the step was contrary to my nature and habits: but I think her occupation touched a chord of sympathy somewhere; for I too liked reading, though of a frivolous and childish kind; I could not digest or comprehend the serious or substantial.”—Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre
Sometimes we want people to be someone they’re not. It happens more often than we’d care to admit. But sometimes when you let those preconceptions go, you find that the person standing in front of you is wonderful just as they are.
How I know your face, all the ways you move, you come in, I can read you you’re my favourite book all the things you say, the way you shift your eyes I never knew there was someone to make me come alive
Amandla: A Revolution in Four Part Harmony. It’s a documentary of the apartheid struggle in South Africa. It’s just so moving and so disturbing. It especially resonates with me at this moment in time as events around the world (and at home) unfold. If you live in the United States (possibly Canada, too? They sometimes allow that), you can see it online for free (and legally) here on Youtube. But of course everyone who lives outside of the US lives in No Man’s Land so we don’t get that privilege.
Anon: Soooo…. this may be old news but how is London since the riots?
I am, unfortunately, not the best person to ask about this. I wasn’t in London during the riots and I wasn’t there in the aftermath. I’ve only been home to London for a few scattered days in the past couple of months.
“Desire changes its character by 180 degrees. Often, when first aroused, it is felt as the desire to have. The desire to touch is, partly, the desire to lay hands on, to take. Later, transformed, the same desire becomes a desire to be taken, to lose oneself within the desired.”—John Berger, And Our Faces, My Heart, Brief As Photos
“Once, long ago, paintings were compared with mirrors. Van Gogh’s might be compared with lasers. They do not wait to receive, they go out to meet, and what they traverse is, not so much empty space, as the act of production, the production of the world. Painting after painting is a way of saying, with awe but little comfort: Dare to come this close and see how it works!”—John Berger, And Our Faces, My Heart, Brief As Photos
Got woken up two hours prior to my alarm due to road works that are taking forever to complete. They’re supposed to be done by next week, but I’m reasonably sure they’re just going to go on forever (it’s been eleven months so far).
First flecks of snow. It’s not cold enough to stick yet, but I’m already dreading the slush it’s going to produce.
I wore my Hunters for the first time. They’re going to be incredibly useful for puddles and such, but they’re not as remarkably comfortable as they’re touted to be because I have thick calves. Oh welly well (see what I did there??)
Realised that despite how much work I’ve got to do at the moment (and this will continue till the end of January, almost without break), life’s still fine. Reading Jude the Obscure has a remarkable effect on your POV on your own life.
I’ve had three cups of tea in succession so far in an effort to keep warm. We’ve had a dramatic drop of temperature over the last few days. I’m already dreading my heating bill, so I’m trying to minimise my usage.
We watched a really moving documentary in one of my lectures today. I walked home crying. I still can’t believe the apathy and cruelty of some people.
I need to fight off sleep and finish off my essay.
Like millions of other people, I’m a huge Queen fan. If I could go back in time to watch one concert of someone who is no longer alive, it would be to see Freddie Mercury. It’s easy to feel loss at his passing if you’re a fan, or if you believe that he was a musical genius. I do. Every time I listen to a Queen song and hear Freddie sing, I feel a twinge. But there are millions of other people who are living with AIDS, and the best way to honour his memory is to donate if you can.
We come from nothing and return to it. It lends us out to time, and when we lie in silent contemplation of the void they say we feel it contemplating us. this is wrong, but who could bear the truth. We are ourselves the void in contemplation. We are its only nerve and hand and eye. There is something vast and distant and enthroned with which you are one and continuous, staring through your mind, staring and staring like a black sun, constant, silent, radiant with neither love nor hate nor apathy as we have no human name for its regard. Your thought is the bright shadows that it makes as it plays across the objects of the earth or such icons of them as your mindh as forged. The book in sunlight or the tree in rain bursts as its touch into a blaze of signs. But when the mind rests and the dark light stills, the tree will rise untethered to its station between earth and heaven, the open book turn runic and unreadable again, and if a word then rises to our lips we speak it on behalf of everything.
“The emotional pain of loss, the pain that has broken a heart. Such pain fills the space of an entire life. It may have begun with a single event but the event has produced a surplus of pain. The sufferer becomes inconsolable. Yet, what is this pain, if it is not the recognition that what was once given as pleasure or happiness has been irrevocably taken away?”—John Berger, And Our Faces, My Heart, Brief As Photos
People can be such shits. I mean, I’m sure we’ve all dealt with this at some point or other in our lives, but today a few random strangers have gotten me so angry I almost stopped them to tell them off. Let’s revisit some of these.
This morning the rubbish was being collected. A couple of people were walking past as the men were hauling the trash bags into the truck, and out loud, said, “I would hate to have to collect rubbish.” Now, this may be true. God knows, I would not want to have to do that job. But it’s a job that needs to be done in order for society the way we know it to function. Ms Random Woman, would you like to have to drive your own rubbish to a compost heap or a far-away collection point? No? Then be twice as considerate for the people who do that job for you. How fucking dare you be rude to this man as he’s doing his job?
I was browsing in Waterstone’s. I know the entire staff through my frequent visits, and as it was near closing time, we were all having a chat at the counter. One of the guys, however, had gone off to find a book someone had asked for. When he returned, it turned out that it’s not the version of that book (different publisher, or something) that this customer had wanted. The staff member apologised, and said that they can put in an order for the specific edition, and it would be in in three days. The customer, apparently really angry, said, “Call yourself a bookshop?!” and stormed out. I was flabbergasted.
After that, I was at the chippy, getting a fish & chips supper. As I was waiting on my fish, a man walks in an orders a large bag of chips. The woman working scooped his chips in, and just as she was about to ask him if he wanted salt or vinegar, he says, “Considering I just ordered a large bag, how about you actually fill up the bag? Eh?” She was wonderfully composed, put a few extra chips in the bag, and wished him a good night. I was not nearly so collected and I was a mere observer! Seriously? If you wanted a few extra chips (and honestly, this wasn’t like she was being stingy), he could’ve asked nicely. But no.
I know everyone’s going through their own shit, but honestly, there’s a difference between not being nice and being downright rude.
“Reality, however one interprets it, lies beyond a screen of clichés. Every culture produces such a screen, partly to facilitate its own practices (to establish habits) and partly to consolidate its own power. Reality is inimical to those with power.”—John Berger, And Our Faces, My Heart, Brief As Photos
I was supposed to be at a Death Cab concert tonight. They probably went on stage a little bit ago. I’m really sad that I can’t be there, especially because the friend I was supposed to go with cancelled on me last minute. So I couldn’t sell the tickets or go. It’s too far to change my mind about going alone (a couple of hours on the train), and we’d booked a hostel were going to stay in an eight-person dorm, and I definitely don’t want to do that alone.
“Words! Mere words! How terrible they were! How clear, and vivid, and cruel! One could not escape from them. And yet what a subtle magic there was in them! They seemed to be able to give a plastic form to formless things, and to have a music of their own as sweet as that of viol or of lute. Mere words! Was there anything so real as words?”—Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray