31 March 2012

Since the dog caught wind that I perhaps was not overjoyed to be taking her out on a rainy morning she has amped up her walk-related displays. She starts getting excited as soon as I wake up and is soon a frenzy of barking, twirling, hopping up and down furry blondeness. As it happened, the rain cleared at the last possible moment and there was a walk on that day and every day since.

30 March 2012

Today could be catalogued in terms of small pleasures: playing hooky, getting a free latte (and $10 gift card courtesy of a guy who gave me a discursus on how he takes pride in his work), getting my dad a birthday gift, making the bus exactly as it pulled into the station with no prior planning, getting home before the rain started, and epic snuggles with my cat.

28 March 2012

I've never seen my mom's dog so well-behaved. Her bitchy qualities have been silenced and she is giving me little kisses. She obediently walks with me every morning, getting excited to go only after I have had my coffee and gotten dressed. She eats her food for kidney disease without treats that damage the kidneys being added. She doesn't get hysterical with the barking, or pee on the carpet while I am out. I don't know what I do that is different from her regular caregivers, but I like the results. I cared for the dog when she was a baby and I was home most of the day recovering from depression, so maybe she secretly trusts me due to this early imprinting? Dogs are not my favourite but she is doing well for herself!

27 March 2012

I saw my tea fairy today. She said I looked tense and suggested white tea, on her. I think my face may have been twitching from my antipsychotic because I was feeling fine. Wasn't sure what to say. She helped me birthday shop for my sister and I mentioned I might be looking for a job selling tea. It would be good for me to be around girls who are silly all day. They aren't mean, not bitchy at all. It would take me out of myself.

26 March 2012

Seriously contemplating whether I can swing a trip to the UK, Paris and Berlin in September.

25 March 2012

I found a book with articles on Aristotle and metaphor, which is great, but now I am mourning how I have to stop reading when I am just getting my toes enjoyably wet and start writing, as well as at least get some German homework done.

I received my coriander perfume in the mail and it smells like cedar mixed with sandalwood, and a hint of magnolia as it dries down, which I guess could fake for coriander, although I've been sniffing my coriander jar as a comparison and it has a slight natural citrusy nose. I have been wearing it everyday anyhow and suspect I smell a little like a forest?
Today started out much better slept, although I awoke to the nightmare realization that the lovely cutting board in the kitchen had split wide open.

24 March 2012

I think I forgot to take my medication last night. I kept waking up all night and am now feeling slightly depressed. I kept dreaming I was suffocating. I am lonely and have dishes to do.

23 March 2012

I took Nicholas on our first solo trip to the park. He went down the swirly slide, dropped his parachute man, and made everything fun. I laid off him and let him go because I understand what it is like to want everything to be just so. Later that night he wanted me to watch him masturbating. I picked him up off his belly and told him I had to go, which was the truth, and he went crying to his mom. I did not tell. His parents shame him and throw him in a cold shower. I have finally thought of what I should have said to him.
This afternoon I finished Effi Briest. I feel very old and sad. Perhaps appropriately: the novel was written by a seventy four year old man.
So I had tea with my psychologist, in a lovely teahouse down a small alleyway in Gastown. They brought pots of tea, and he ate a cookie, confessing his appreciation for lemongrass and teas that taste like dessert. Other things he likes are the farmer's market, where he buys expensive produce, people who are high on themselves from doing yoga, and, purportedly, new age music. With synthesizers and orcas piped in. He says that he would go to a workshop on life given by the Breton man who makes crepes at the market, and that for a certain segment of Vancouverites, when a marriage breaks up one partner must start running marathons, which is a phenomena that should be put to communal comic effect. In the end he told me about how his street fighter ally cat cat died, growing thin and then becoming prone to falling over, and how two days before he died he finally broke into a box that he and his wife had and tore everything out of it. I shared the second steeping of my tea leaves with him, and then we walked up the street to the university where he does his research.

22 March 2012

I've been having a run of encounters on the bus: an old crone who loudly made a comment about people sitting in the front of the bus when the whole remainder section was free, and then told me to fuck off, and a construction worker who drank three beers sitting beside me on the way to the train station.

20 March 2012

Happy first day of spring!

19 March 2012

How to narrow down 700 hits on Aristotle and metaphor... probably wisest just to ignore. I have three theses on Anne Carson and error, 2 read, one to go.
Had a craving for cake so made zucchini bread.

18 March 2012

My professor got back to me and all she said was: excelsior! We like how Anne Carson's mind works. She gave complements rather than direction.
It was so quiet I even did dishes. I always wait for someone else to do dishes. I also hand washed the three white t-shirts I live in and read my nineteenth century novel. Taking Sunday to the slowest.
This Sunday is too quiet. I would be working on my paper but I have to wait for help as my professor is teaching me a lesson. So I am drinking tea, reading nineteenth century realistic fiction set in Prussia (not my favourite thing, but there is a tragic affair somewhere), and willfully forgetting that I could be preparing for an in-class essay in German tomorrow. I am going to stay home and write my paper!
The dog was bored so I turned on the tv for her.

17 March 2012

Today I gave up my seat on the train to an elderly man who then proceeded to nod off over his cane. My good karma lasted until I caught up with the bus leaving the station and the driver stopped to pick me up. I also returned books to the library, tried on a very nice pair of shoes and decided my jeans needed hemming. Also determined that I could not be edgy if I tried.

16 March 2012

My Omi says she doesn't like milk either.
Negotiated a raise for dog care from the travelers who left today for Aruba. Having a Guinness to celebrate.
I finished reading my book while sick, like my hardcore professoress would do. Then I had a panic attack because a topic remains just out of my grasp. Did I mention that my cat has been lovely whilst I have taken ill? He snuggles up beside me all day. He would be a good cat for an invalid, someone who rarely leaves bed.

15 March 2012

I would have a nose that is trying to kill me were it not for a double dose of Advil Cold & Sinus.
There is in the mind a change or shift of distance, which Aristotle calls an epiphora, bringing two heterogeneous things close to reveal their kinship. The innovation of metaphor occurs in this shift of distance from far to near, and it is effected by imagination. A virtuoso act of imagination brings the two things together, sees their incongruence, then sees also a new congruence, meanwhile continuing to recognize the previous incongruence through the new congruence. Both the ordinary, literal sense and a novel sense are present at once in the words of a metaphor; both the ordinary, descriptive reference and a novel reference are held in tension by the metaphor’s way of looking at the world.
Ann Carson, Eros the Bittersweet: 73.

14 March 2012

There is too much self in my writing. Do you know the term Kukács uses to describe aesthetic structure? Eine fensterlose Monade. I do not want to be a windowless monad - my training and trainers opposed subjectivity strongly, I have struggled since the beginning to drive my thought out into the landscape of science and fact where other people converse logically and exchange judgments - but I go blind out there. So writing involves some dashing back and forth between that darkening landscape where facticity is strewn and a windowless room cleared of everything I do not know. It is the clearing that takes time. It is the clearing that is a mystery.

Once cleared the room writes itself. I copy down the names of everything left in it and note their activity.

How does the clearing occur? Lukács says it begins with my intent to excise everything that is not accesible to the immediate experience (Erlebbarkeit) of the self as self. Were this possible, it would seal the room on its own boundaries like a cosmos. Lukács is prescribing a room for aesthetic work; it would be a gesture of false consciousness to say academic writing can take place there. And yet, you know as well as I, thought finds itself in this room in its best moments -

locked inside its own pressures, fishing up facts of the landscape from notes or memory as well as it may - vibrating (as Mallarmé would say) with their disappearance. People have different views on how to represent the vibration. "Names" and "activity" are euphemisms for the work. You may prefer different euphemisms; I guess the important thing is to copy down whatever vibration you see while your attention is strong.

Attention is a task we share, you and I. To keep attention strong means to keep it from settling. Partly for this reason I have chosen to talk about two men at once. They keep each other from settling. Moving and not settling, they are side by side in conversation and yet no conversation takes place. Face to face, yet they do not know one another, did not live int he same era, never spoke the same language. With and against, aligned and adverse, each is placed like a surface on which the other may come into focus. Sometimes you can see a celestial object better by looking at something else, with it, in the sky.

Think of the Greek preposition ----. When used with the accusative case, this preposition means "toward, upon, against, with, ready for, face to face, engaging, concerning, touching, in reply to, in respect of, compared with, according to, as accompaniment for." It is the preposition chosen by John the Evangelist to describe the relationship between God and The Word in the first verse of the first chapter of his Revelation.

"And the word was with God" is how the usual translation goes. What kind of withness is it?

I am writing this on the train to Milan. We flash past towers and factories, stations, yards, then a field where a herd of black horses is just turning to race uphill. "Attempts at description are stupid," George Eliot says, yet one may encounter a fragment of unexhausted time. Who can name its transcactions, the sense that fell through us of untouchable wind, unknown effort - one black mane?
Anne Carson, "Note on Method," Economy of the Unlost (Princeton: 1999): vii-viii.
such a nasty bug I have caught. my cat has been a total champ of a buddy, doing his sleeping curled up beside me in bed all day.

13 March 2012

It is a relief to know that I don't have to go out tomorrow. I'm sick. My classmates today were very supportive of staying home and getting better. It was nice. I hope I didn't get my germs on them.

12 March 2012

"finding the edge"
Eros is an issue of boundaries. He exists because certain boundaries do. In the interval between reach and grasp, between glance and counterglance, between 'I love you' and 'I love you too,' the absent presence of desire comes alive. But the boundaries of time and glance and I love you are only aftershocks of the main, inevitable boundary that creates Eros: the boundary of flesh and self between you and me. And it is only, suddenly, at the moment when I would dissolve that boundary, I realize I never can.

Like Sappho's adjective glukupikron, the moment of desire is one that defies proper edge, being a compound of opposites forced together at pressure. Pleasure and pain at once register upon the lover, inasmuch as the desirability of the love object derives, in part, from its lack. To whom is it lacking? To the lover. If we follow the trajectory of eros we consistently find it tracing the same route: it moves out fromt he lover toward the beloved, then ricochets back to the lover himself and the hole in him, unnoticed before. Who is the real subject of most love poems? Not the beloved. It is that hole.

When I desire you a part of me is gone: my want of you partakes of me. So reasons the lover at the edge of eros. The presence of want awakens in him nostalgia for wholeness. His thoughts turn toward questions of personal identity: he must recover and reincorporate what is gone if he is to be a complete person. The locus classicus for this view of desire is the speech of Aristophanes in Plato's Symposium. Here Aristophanes accounts for the nature of human eros by means of a fantastic anthropology (189d-93d). Human beings were originally round organisms, each composed of two people joined together as one perfect sphere. These rolled about everywhere and were exceedingly happy. But the spherical creatures grew overambitious, thinking to roll right up to Olympus, so Zeus chopped each of them in two. As a result everyone must now go through life in search of the one and only other person who can round him out again. "Sliced in two like a flatfish," says Aristophanes, "each of us is perpetually hunting for the matching half of himself"(191d).

Most people find something disturbingly lucid and true in Aristophanes' image of lovers as people cut in half. All desire is for a part of oneself gone missing, or so it feels to the person in love. Aristophanes' myth justifies that feeling, in typical Greek fashion, by blaming the whole situation on Zeus. But Aristophanes is a comic poet. We might look, for more serious exegesis, to more serious lovers. A feature of their reasoning will at once strike us. It is outrageous.
Anne Carson, Eros the Bittersweet, (Princeton: 1986): 30-1. I have never been in this kind of romantic love.
there are more ways than one to triangulate desire. Not all look triangular in action, yet they share a common concern: to represent eros as deferred, defied, obstructed, hungry, organized around a radiant absence - to represent eros as a lack.
Anne Carson, Eros the Bittersweet, (Princeton: 1986): 18.
Did I tell you about how the rhetoric paper I read spent half the section on Anne Carson explicating Luce Irigaray on female genitalia as a model for selfhood? This is unhelpfully essentialist and unnecessarily eroticizing. Why are Lacanian psychoanalysists so whacked out?
Lots of people including Aristotle think error
an interesting and valuable mental event.
In his discussion of metaphor in the Rhetoric
Aristotle says there are 3 kinds of words.
Strange, ordinary and metaphorical.

"Strange words simply puzzle us;
ordinary words convey what we know already;
it is from metaphor that we can get hold of something new & fresh"
(Rhetoric, 1410b10-13)
In what does the freshness of metaphor consist?
Aristotle says that metaphor causes the mind to experience itself

in the act of making a mistake.
He pictures the mind moving along a plane surface
of ordinary language
when suddenly
that surface breaks or complicates.
Unexpectedness emerges.

At first it looks odd, contradictory or wrong.
Then it makes sense.
At this moment, according to Aristotle,
the mind turns to itself and says:
"How true, and yet I mistook it!"
From the true mistakes of metaphor a lesson can be learned.

Not only are things other than they seem,
and so we mistake them,
but that such a mistakenness is valuable.
Hold onto it, Aristotle says,
there is much to be seen and felt here.
Metaphors teach the mind

to enjoy error
and to learn
from the juxtaposition of what is and what is not the case.
There is a Chinese proverb that says,
Brush cannot write two characters with the same stroke.
And yet

that is exactly what a good mistake does.
Anne Carson, "Essay on what I think about most," Men in the Off Hours (Knopf: 2000): 30.
I have cast my net rather wide and have mingled evidence from different periods of time and different forms of cultural expression - in a way that reviewers of my work like to dismiss as ethnographic naïveté. I think there is a place for naïveté in ethnography, at the very least as an irritant. Sometimes when I am reading a Greek text I force myself to look up all the words in the dictionary, even the ones I think I know. It is surprising what you learn that way. Some of the words turn out to sound quite different than you thought. Sometimes the way they sound can make you ask questions you wouldn't otherwise ask. Lately I have begun to question the Greek word sophrosyne. I wonder about this concept of self-control and whether it really is, as the Greeks believed, an answer to most questions of human goodness and dilemmas of civility. I wonder if there might not be another idea of human order than repression, another notion of human virtue than self-control, another kind of human self than one based on dissociation of inside and outside. Or indeed, another human essence than self.
Anne Carson, "The Gender of Sound," Irony, Glass and God (New Directions: 1992):136.
blogging the lost: 99 times out of 100 it will work.
I cannot believe
I did not write down
the page on which Anne Carson talks about
looking up every word in a sentence she thought she knew
how to translate
in a dictionary.
I'm camping out in the history department all day, waiting for a talk with Peter Galison. Galison is a historian of science and a fully-fledged freak: he has a PhD in particle physics as well. He teaches at Harvard. I have books by Anne Carson for my paper, Ricola for my worsening health, and a cup of Sencha Ashikubo. Here goes...

11 March 2012

Nothing against my sister's boyfriend, but oh is he boring. Not many people can manage to be offensive through sheer boringness. And he has a creative job! I wish I didn't have to watch. At least I have my cat to do the hating for me. Dude's all, all animals come to me, but my cat takes off in the other direction and hides all night long.

10 March 2012

Ew. My sister and her boyfriend are sharing stories about sharing a bed. To my parents. Had I been thinking I could have shared some cat snuggling details...
ugh. My dad invited my sister's gross boyfriend to my birthday dinner. They live together because my sister made a stress-based financial decision when her former best friend and roommate bailed on her with a fast-tracked romance with a wealthy man; it's not like they're married. She's a drama queen. She couldn't even ask me if we could pick her up a half hour later when I asked her if we could pick her up after four. 4:30? Cool. The gross boyfriend has one upside, and that is acting as a cooling rod in the nuclear reactor of her emotional life.

09 March 2012

My 73 year old grandmother just told my mom, "I want to get drunk." So she's going to the Alpine Club. Earlier in the day she got in a shouting match with her friend Shirley, in public, because Shirley was spending their together time running an extended errand to the passport office. They made up.

08 March 2012

My sister thought she should be "fine" with not being invited to my family birthday supper because "she makes me uncomfortable"?! I called her up and invited her.

07 March 2012

Future historians will say The Factory Supervisor lived his life as a work of art.
Do I sign up to take care of their dog while my parents vacation in Aruba? I would be paid, but not as much as they'd have to pay for her to be boarded. The dog has a personality disorder, due to the fact that the person she is most attached to, my mother, is chronically depressed. I don't enjoy her company, but in mine they trust, based on experience, "she will be happy and safe." Out of solidarity and kind-hearted feelings I should watch the dog. Out of the selfish desire to sleep peacefully and not have to get up early to walk and pick up excrement the other option remains on the table, somewhere.

05 March 2012

the thesis is a letdown. not so much a letdown, the idea, about how the archive of omissions in a text, like variants in the etymology of a word, flash into visibility with careful reading, is nice, but the author isn't herself giving many such opportunities. It's a close reading that proceeds very slowly and deliberately, wasting its density on prose that isn't as creative as it thinks it is.

04 March 2012

This thesis' style reminds me of The Girl Least Likely's but The Girl is even better.
Having put my never ending project on hold for the night I opened the thesis I am so inspired by and had been saving and find it to be as beautifully written as expected. It opens up with a reading of Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own. I remember this book for being funny, but here we're talking about the artist's mind as androgynous.
I did my German. I talked to my grandparents on the telephone. I am drinking. I have time to write tomorrow. I should not be clippy and tired and stressed, boring and so, so far behind, but such is the state of my life.
I wish I could have a weekend off. Doing German seems so pointless when I am just not getting it.

03 March 2012

My favourite flowers to smell when visiting a flower shop are gardenias. They are so tough to grow, but when they're fresh from the greenhouse all lush, dark green, shiny and covered in buds, they are just about perfection.
Why is The Chemical Factory shuttered?
Google has done the impossible and allowed me to log in to Gmail and my blog simultaneously. Yaay!

02 March 2012

I met the orchid lady today at Granville Island and this is what happened. The purple one has a thin layer of black fur on the stem and lower leaves.