Some thoughts on Trump and masculinity.

So. That happened. In the words of Rachel Maddow, “You’re awake, by the way. You’re not having a terrible, terrible dream. Also, you’re not dead and you haven’t gone to hell. This is us. It’s real.” There’s a lot of things to be worried about, what with an autocratic President-elect who besides displaying the behavior of a pathological narcissist during his campaign has repeatedly lied to his electorate, shown neither decency nor moral integrity, flip-flopped on every policy measure he’s ever deigned articulate, and despite having never held public office before, has not shown signs of humility, any interest in learning, or admitted to being wrong when proven wrong. Not to mention he’s moving into the White House with an arsenal made up of a majority in both houses of Congress, a vacancy on the Supreme Court, a Vice President-elect in cahoots with the NRA who's advocated for conversion…

maps for the getaway

“dark blue, dark blue have you ever been alone in a crowded room?” Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness & New Politics Terminal 5, NY Nov. 18, 2015

therapy

WIP, acrylic on the wrong kind of paper. Accidentally inspired by Joni Mitchell’s Blue and Joan Didion’s Blue Nights . Shocker, I know. Right about now I started typing, “So, I’ve been in a creative rut of sorts,” but can you be in a “rut” when you’ve actually done very little creative anything to show for? I think of Lauren Graham’s Random House video chat thingy she did for the launch of her novel back in 2013 in which, when prompted by someone asking if she had encountered writer’s block in the process of writing her book, she said something to the effect of: “I guess I think of writer’s block as something you have when you’re already a published author, and then you go through a tough time when you feel like you can’t write.” So, really, this three-month period of time when I didn’t work on any of my writing projects save for starting yet another play I will likely never finish…

Kaleidoscope of loud heartbeats

I took this picture of Grand Central Station in 2011 on my first trip to New York, where I will be  in two weeks visiting my sister during my break. Last week, I found out that I'll be going back there a third time in the fall as a full-fledged grad student doing research and taking classes at Columbia. I wish I could just end the blog post here, with a big fat "YAYYY!!!!!" but who am I kidding, I need to write out my feelings because I've been having lots of 'em these past few days, as I've been processing and processing the news. At first I had a hard time feeling anything though, the way you get numb after a something major occurs and your brain just goes into autopilot mode as a defense mechanism against change and the inevitable march of time. But then, as I told more and more people and was forced to react to people who reacted to me, it all started flooding in — the panic and the…

I dreamed of being an artist or a writer or something, but I mean, come on. You gotta pay the rent, you know?

In which I secretly wish I were a Film & TV major who got to write essays about her favorite fictional characters. Maybe it's because Parenthood ended recently and the Bravermans collectively stomped on my heart to the sound of "Forever Young" during that stupid, wonderful final sequence on the baseball diamond, or because as I myself am marching towards "adulthood" and nearing that dreaded time of looking back on your younger self's dreams and assessing the mathematical, measurable distance separating the Now-you to the Future-you Younger-you used to dream of becoming... whatever it is, I've been struck by how much Sarah Braverman means to me — especially the now-me. Full disclosure: I wish I could say my love for Lauren Graham influenced my love for Sarah Braverman, and it probably would have in the alternate universe where younger-me (this motif is getting tiresome, so I'll stop…

I'm never going to accomplish anything; that's perfectly clear to me. I'm never going to be famous. My name will never be writ large on the roster of Those Who Do Things. I don't do anything. Not one single thing. I used to bite my nails, but I don't even do that any more.

This past year, as it's loomed clearer and clearer to me, my parents, family members, and nondescript acquaintances that I will in all likelihood pursue a career in the academic world, I've been reminded of how powerful the allure of prestige is. It happened because of a series of developments which aligned the stars, if you will, for me to be perceived slightly less like an unambitious, potential-wasting underachiever, and maybe more like a smart-ish student on her way to academic glory (Teaser: At the end, you get a nice diploma, unless the college registrar decides that, hmm, well, six months is still not early enough to get to your file and send you your stupid diploma after all). (I'm still waiting, btw): 1) No, I still have no apparent career prospect, no "Eureka" moment where I thought, hey, this is what I want to do, one hundred percent. 2) I'm doing pretty good in this program…

Slow down, you're doing fine. You can't be everything you want to be before your time.

This is one of those "if I write it down somewhere it'll happen because I'll be forced to do it" kinds of posts. Something about the subliminal power of making public vows to do something, like New Years' resolutions shared with a close friend, someone who will become a constant reminder not only of the promises you made with yourself, but of the pact, the unbreakable, inescapable, sealed-in-a-spit-handshake pact that one's success is the other's success, and one's failure is the other's responsibility to reverse for the better. And, yes, I may have just compared the Wordpress blogging platform to a potential best friend I would consider exchanging spit-handshakes with on New Years' Eve. That's not the point. (Shut up.) The point is, THINGS ARE HAPPENING. MAYBE. POSSIBLY. FAT CHANCE. Er, I'm working on that self-deprecating, low self-esteem thing. I'm very well aware that it's neither…

Pretend that you owe me nothing / and all the world is green.

The Worst Kind of Narcissism

Wouldn't it be lovely if we were old? We'd have survived all this.

Okay, so, see, I was not supposed to be working all summer long and did not anticipate having my reading time reduced to my commute time, so my TBR list (or the Great Reading Challenge of Coach Taylor '14 ) has not been shrinking half as fast as I'd initially thought it would. In the spirit of these frustrating times, I have divided a plan: add a TBW (to-be-watched? Doesn't sound as catchy, I know, but —) on top of the book piles! Yay! There's another reason why I want to do this, and that is, because the masochist that I am rewatched "The Way We Were" yesterday, and man is this a gem of a movie. Perhaps even a perfect movie? Barbra Streisand is luminous, as is her wont. I don't know how but she just radiates 'natural' whenever she's on screen. I remember being shocked by this as a kid when I saw "Funny Girl" for the first time. I really didn't expect to be able to relate to a singing…

Variations at the bottom of the ocean

Snuck into the Sorbonne and borrowed the grand piano for a couple of hours today. I hate this time of year because of exams and the dumb summer heat settling in way too rapidly for my liking ; the only thing that makes it worthwhile is that it usually gets quieter in the hallways; some are already done with classes, others just stop attending any, which means the classrooms and the lecture halls with the pianos tend to be empty a lot of the time. I still can't help but play super softly with the una corda on and get embarrassingly jumpy and startled and nervous at the slightest noise outside, so half the time the hammer doesn't even hit the strings and my fingers just hit blank notes. I used to stay until late to use the auditorium after lit class was over, around 7-8pm, when no one was around save the few tourists taking pictures out in the courtyard, so I could make as much noise as I…

No one is alone / But alone is alone, not alive

"INTO THE WOODS" at the Théâtre du Châtelet, April 6, 2014. Into the Woods. sigh . Stephen Sondheim. sigh . Theater. sigh . Theater! Theater, man! A couple of days ago, I had a great conversation with someone (bonus points! pat on the back! tooting my own horn! I'm trying to install some kind of self-congratulatory gold-star system everytime this sort of thing happens, since it happens so seldom, because social anxiety and agoraphobia and panic attacks and all that fun, fun stuff. So, yay me.), about theater and musicals and performing arts in general. And... it was probably the first time I ever told someone, out loud, plainly and openly, that my dream was to work in the theater. It felt so strange on the moment, but strange more in the this-is-unusual-and-I-don't-know-how-to-feel-about-it-yet way, than the I-want-to-run-away-from-this-conversation-and-hide-in-a-cave-forever. Of…

One book a day keeps the... depression away?

Or: the Great Summer 2014 Reading Challenge, or the Graduation Year Reading Challenge, or the How to Clear Your Five-Year-Old To-Read List, a.k.a. How To Guilt Yourself Into Finally Reading Ulysses, and Other 800+ Page Classics You Claimed To Have Read and Loved But Never Got Past Page Ten, or What Made Me Think This Was a Good Idea In The First Place? Number of pages noted solely for time-managing purposes—and, let's face it, sanity purposes as well. The "I'm going to need more than one day to read these but let's just pretend" Necessary Errors, Caleb Crain (480 pp.) – The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt (771 pp.) – The Secret History, Donna Tartt (559 pp.) The Flamethrowers, Rachel Kushner (383 pp.) The Luminaries, Eleanor Catton (834 pp.) – Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace (1079 pp.) * The Pale King, David Foster Wallace (538 pp.) The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen (635 pp.) The…

How many miles to Babylon?

3,635 miles. “Where to?” “Anywhere but where I am.” It's an easy conclusion to reach, and a natural human reaction—to wish to have been born elsewhere, to have lived in another country, to explore other continents. Chronic dissatisfaction, effects of globalization, the grass is always greener on the other side, I-was-born-in-the-wrong-era syndrome translated to geographic considerations—the possibility of leaving, airplanes and trains and hitchhiking, limited prospects here and the land of opportunities over there. All valid and common arguments for a yearning for something else, for some place else. Perhaps I am just trying to rationalize the one thing I am sure of, the only thing I've ever been sure of, my wish and need to move to New York when I live in the so-called most Beautiful City In The World. The truth is that while I have a lot of issues regarding Paris and its population and…

To go, or not to go. Silly question.

Half-assed thoughts coming in 3, 2, 1... "The beginning of the end." There probably isn't more ominous a statement to make, yet it seems that the line has become a public speaker's favorite go-to opening line, securing awkward ha-ha's in a crowd filled with hopeful twentysomething graduates, or as we call them these days, soon-to-be unemployed. Granted, it might have descended from the more inspiring "Today is the first day of the rest of your life," and well reflects the pervasive desperation attached to the job market/liberal arts education complex, the mirror opposite of good ol' Ike's prophetic warning against the military-industrial complex (no connection here whatsoever, but I'm supposedly deep into studying American politics for finals and, er, sure). But more than anything, the fact that college graduates are taught to be cynical, and are expected to have a thorough understanding…

a guide to writing an okay thesis title

Rough ideas for research topics. BASICALLY, HOW DO I BECOME A CAT??? SOMEONE GIVE ME NINE LIVES, PRONTO. Also, look at that, proud child of the Academia Industry, who can churn out okay-if-clunky thesis titles ad infinitum. No wonder I have a tendency towards annoyingly abusing Capital Letters In Every Shape Or Form. Mostly, I just have issues. Actually those are some shitty titles. Normally you'd have a nice, literary-sounding prologue to the dissertation title, like "Abandoning the American Jeremiad" or "In Search of A Lost Manifest Destiny," followed by either a colon or a period, depending on whether you're a fancy-fancy person or more of a dry-and-concise kind of gal. Or a quote, perhaps, a humorous, not-so-subtle wink-wink to the reader, like "We start bombing in five minutes" (a dissertation on the ethnological and anthropological meanings of 20th century political gaffes, or the…

this is water.

There is something magical about someone believing in you. Right? There really is. That crazy feeling that creeps up in your stomach and makes your skin flush and your feet and hands restless and your head dizzy because at that moment, the only thing you can think is, but why would they ? In some way I always thought I would, someday, find that person. Or more precisely, because I am a deeply disturbed but mostly delusional person, that they would find me. Perhaps it is not as much a sign of disturbance as I (or the tiny part of my brain that's convinced I'm somehow special, thereby revelling in the idea of a scientific confirmation of my being different comforting my desperate need for being different) would like to think — human beings do believe, for some insane reason, against all logic and rationality, in fate. We believe that things happen for a reason. We believe that some…