Saturday, November 16, 2013

Current Obsession: Ms Mr

MS MR (pronounced Miz Mister) are a New York-based American duo consisting of vocalist Lizzy Plapinger and producer Max Hershenow. At least according to Wikipedia. But all that matters to me is their utter perfection.


Think of You:


Dark Doo Wop:

This album is currently the soundtrack of my life. I just can't get enough of it and I am dying to see them live. One day soon I hope!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

I’m not sure which is worse: intense feeling, or the absence of it

I was on a date not that long ago when the conversation drifted into the potentially frightening territory of past lovers. I'm not even sure how we got on the subject, but it was probably my own doing since I seem to have a hard time not talking about other lovers or past dates while I'm actually on a date. It must be terribly annoying to the people around me but it's like I can't help myself. I believe in being open and honest and maybe part of me wants to keep people at a distance and I've found this technique to be pretty dang effective.

Too effective.

Anyways, at some point in the conversation my date mentioned a woman he had fallen head over heels with. He said from the moment he saw her he knew he was a goner. He used dramatic language and the imagery of a person opening up his chest and stomping around on his heart and it made me kinda sad. In part for him. He's not the first person to fall in love with the idea of something and I know firsthand what the sting of reality snapping into place can feel like. But as embarrassing as it sounds, I also felt a bit sad for myself.

I know it's silly and self indulgent, but I want someone to feel that way about me.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Book Review: Into the Forest by Jean Hegland

Title: Into the Forest
Author: Jean Hegland
Genre: YA, Post-Apocalyptic

Publisher: Dial Press Trade Paperback
Publishing Date: September 1st 1998
Hardcover: 241pages

Stand Alone or series: Stand alone

For some reason this review was sitting in my drafts. It looks like I read this book back in 2011 and I can say I don't really remember much about it. The parts that stick out are the parts I didn't like so I guess there's that.

Set in the near-future, Into the Forest is a powerfully imagined novel that focuses on the relationship between two teenage sisters living alone in their Northern California forest home.

Over 30 miles from the nearest town, and several miles away from their nearest neighbor, Nell and Eva struggle to survive as society begins to decay and collapse around them. No single event precedes society's fall. There is talk of a war overseas and upheaval in Congress, but it still comes as a shock when the electricity runs out and gas is nowhere to be found. The sisters consume the resources left in the house, waiting for the power to return. Their arrival into adulthood, however, forces them to reexamine their place in the world and their relationship to the land and each other.

Reminiscent of Margaret Atwood's A Handmaid's Tale, Into the Forest is a mesmerizing and thought-provoking novel of hope and despair set in a frighteningly plausible near-future America.

This is a book about two sisters: Nell and Eva. Living 30 miles from town on the cusp of the forest, the sisters have always been close. Even as gas becomes scarce and electricity is now a thing of the past, the two sisters lives stay surprisingly the same. Clinging to the hope that all they have to do is wait the crisis out, Eva still practices her dancing everyday and Nell reads the encyclopedia in preparation for Harvard. In fact, if is wasn't for an old acquaintance showing up at their doorstep and the occasional food running out, the sisters could almost pretend nothing had changed. But no matter how much they try to ignore it, everything has changed. As the world slowly crumbles and they start to drift apart, the sister will have to face obstacles they never thought they would have to face. And though the forest was once something they usually ignored, now it may be their only hope for survival.

While this story takes place in an America that can no longer care for it's citizens, the real story is about Nell and her relationship with her sister as they come into adulthood. In fact, the entire apocalyptic aspect of the story is vague and unexplained. Nell, and therefore the reader, never find out why the country started falling apart in first place. There's simply no explanation for the cataclysm of the story at all. None of the characters can get any news and this really bothered me throughout the story. Even Nell, who is a bit obsessed with her computer at first, never gets any information about the world outside their woods. While Nell's reaction to the deterioration of her world was really well done, the lack of answers made the story seem implausible. While I think the attempt was to make the reader feel like this could happen for any reason, it just felt like laziness to me.

Beyond that, while the characters did annoy me I could understand their motivations. At least I thought I could until one scene in the book. I don't want to ruin the surprise for anyone, but it basically cheapened the experience for me. The idea of focusing on two sisters, rather then a couple, really appealed to me but the book strayed too far from that premise for shock value. I also refuse to believe that a woman who has never had a child can produce breastmilk or hunt a wild pig on the first try.

I do have to say I like Hegland's writing though. There was a quality about it that I really enjoyed. Overall the story just fell flat for me. I shouldn't be bored when reading about two teenagers surviving the end of the world as they knew it. I don't even know what else to say since I feel so apathetic about the whole thing. I've read some complaints that the book has too strong of a feminist message, but I didn't get that all.

Notable Quotes/ Parts:
It's strange, writing these first words, like leaning down into the musty stillness of a well and seeing my face peer up from the water--so small and from such an unfamiliar angle I'm startled to realize the reflection is my own. After all this time a pen feels stiff and awkward in my hand. And I have to admit that this notebook, with its wilderness of blank pages, seems almost more threat than gift--for what can I write here that it will not hurt to remember?

You could write about now, Eva said, about this time. This morning I was so certain I would use this notebook for studying that I had to work to keep from scoffing at her suggestion. But now I see she may be right. Every subject I think of--from economics to meteorology, from anatomy to geography to history--seems to circle around on itself, to lead me unavoidably back to now, to here, today.

Today is Christmas Day. I can't avoid that. We've crossed the days off the calendar much too conscientiously to be wrong about the date, however much we might wish we were. Today is Christmas Day, and Christmas Day is one more day to live through, one more day to be endured so that someday soon this time will be behind us.

By next Christmas this will all be over, and my sister and I will have regained the lives we are meant to live. The electricity will be back, the phones will work. Planes will fly above our clearing once again. In town there will be food in the stores and gas at the service stations. Long before next Christmas we will have indulged in everything we now lack and crave--soap and shampoo, toilet paper and milk, fresh fruit and meat. My computer will be running, Eva's CD player will be working. We'll be listening to the radio, reading the newspaper, using the Internet. Banks and schools and libraries will have reopened, and Eva and I will have left this house where we now live like shipwrecked orphans. She will be dancing with the corps of the San Francisco Ballet, I'll have finished my first semester at Harvard, and this wet, dark day the calendar has insisted we call Christmas will be long, long over.

My ultimate issue with this book was I didn't care for the characters. While the writing was lovely, it kind of felt like a chore to get through.

Rating: 5. Blah – essentially neutral

Monday, November 11, 2013

All your tomorrows start here

“She seems so cool, so focused, so quiet, yet her eyes remain fixed upon the horizon. You think you know all there is to know about her immediately upon meeting her, but everything you think you know is wrong. Passion flows through her like a river of blood. She only looked away for a moment, and the mask slipped, and you fell. All your tomorrows start here.”
                                                           — Neil Gaiman

Ghosts that broke my heart

"My heart wants roots. My mind wants wings. I cannot bear their bickerings."

It's funny how something that mattered so much to you can end up being nothing more than an interesting memory. The things that broke your heart over and over again start to fade into a whisper of emotion and eventually the situation becomes little more than a story you tell people. Something that once happened. You know, that one thing. I don't know how or why, but I ended up reading all of the posts surrounding my breakup with Ryan. Maybe it's because it's been two years. Maybe it's because I'm working the grave and the stillness of the night always speaks to things long gone. Either way, as I journeyed down the rabbit hole of old emotions I was pleasantly surprised.

I'm genuinely not that person anymore.

That Alana couldn't imagine a world without Ryan. She felt like her whole life was being ripped away from her and was sad, so very sad. The type of sadness that only comes around every once and a while. A deep sorrow that came from feeling lost and alone and utterly unloved.

I can't even imagine feeling that strongly about Ryan today. Not about a man who is so obviously wrong for the person I've become. Even though I can remember being that lost girl, I can no longer feel anything similar to it. It's completely and thoroughly gone. Just another story. That thing that happened.

Ironically it's the posts about the next person I had feelings for that still tug at my heart. Maybe it's because I still recognize that person. Yeah things have changed and my feelings have lessened, but there isn't an overwhelming feeling of closure or moving on like with Ryan. These wounds still ache. I may go weeks and even months without thinking about it, but when I do I still feel something. Anger, bitterness, longing. Those aren't the emotions of a person who has moved on. I can still see myself in those words and I'm not sure how I feel about it.

Build Your Wings On The Way Down:
There are so many other things I allowed myself to forget. I'd forgotten that sometimes people can unassumingly creep into your life and then leave with all the grace of a tornado. I'd forgotten that sometimes your friends can be the only thing that makes life seem bearable, but they can also be the ones who hurt you the most. I'd forgotten how easy it is to fall a little bit in love with the idea of someone. And I'd forgotten how everything can change in the blink of an eye. Strangers become friends and sometimes friends become lovers, but far too often those same people end up being just another part of your past.

...Kurt Vonnegut said, “Be careful what you pretend to be because you are what you pretend to be.” Even though I've always looked inward when I read it, the sentiment works both ways. No matter how much you think someone is just running from the truth, there comes a time when that certainty isn't enough. When you just have to accept the pretense, no matter how much your heart screams for otherwise, because it simply hurts too much not to. I wish it wasn't so, but sometimes letting go is the bravest thing you can do.

I know I'm being terribly vague again, but its hard to admit you could be so wrong about someone. To say you fell for someone who didn't fall back. I don't know why, but when you put your trust in the wrong person you're the one who feels a little ashamed. Like there was something that could have been done differently. Some sign that you just needed to try harder to read. I think the first person you truly care for after a big breakup is the most special. There's something sacred about the affection that's formed out of the shattered pieces of your previous love and hopes. But while it may be the most surprising, and therefore the most touching, it's also the most delicate. All it takes is a little carelessness for it to fall right back apart. So here I am learning how to pick up the pieces once again and just trying to build my wings on the way down.
As much as it hurts my ego to admit it, I can recognize that person because I still am that person. The edges of my disappointment may have softened over time, but it's still there. And all the experiences I've had since then are somehow tied up in the mess of those emotions. Maybe one day I'll find the perfect thread in my heart to snip and I can rid myself of the tangled mess of my emotion, but until then I've just accepted that I'll have to live with certain ghosts.

With Ryan I traded comfort for the promise of something better. And later I traded something wonderful for something real. I wonder what I'll trade next.