Late Summer Musings

paula rego

      Picture by Paula Rego

When I get depressed, the ambition and the spikiness gets pushed back to a very deep place. Rough edges get blurred out by tears. Somehow, I always come off as nice and chill and more beta than usual when it’s heartbreak season. My feelings of defeat gets misconstrued as softness. Which is misleading, perhaps most of all to myself, because I start to doubt what sort of person I really am. Even more confusing when I look back at history!

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Confessions of a budding hermit

The girl who had everything - Cecily Brown

The Girl Who Had Everything by Cecily Brown

And the wall is made of light – that entirely credible yet unreal Vermeer light…light like that does not exist, but we wish it did. We wish the sun could make us young and beautiful, we wish our clothes could glisten against our skins, most of all, we wish everyone we knew could be brightened simply by our looking at them, as are the maid with the letter and the soldier with the hat.

 

The girl with the music sits in another sort of light, the fitful, overcast light of life, by which we see ourselves and others only imperfectly, and seldom.

 

From Girl Interrupted, by Susanna Kaysen

I sometimes think to myself what a glorious and traitorous thing the body is. It’s all you have, this bag of skin and bones you live in, yet so often it betrays you with diseases large and small, by sprouting hairs in unlikely places, by drying up when you need it to be wet, by building up layers of blubber when you want to whittle it down to the bone.

Key words of the day: beauty, shame. Continue reading

The anthropology of gemstones

There comes a time, in every little girl’s life, when the only kind of gem that makes sense is a diamond.

It’s called growing older, more materialistic, more desperate and more cynical.

It seems a mighty shame though, to throw away all those rhinestone rings and teenage baubles….nothing would ever quite match their cheap sparkle against sweaty teenage skin. Continue reading

Singleton seeks to be alone

Much as I like to moan about how I can’t keep up with the circle of lovely marrieds surrounding me, deep down I guess I like being single, up to a point. Can’t quite conceive of a life of shared intimacy, however happy…except maybe in separate flats, in small doses and at scheduled hours.

Even back when things were going swimmingly and I have a more, um, varied pick of suitors, I was the type of person who thinks Valentine’s Day is a joke and would rather get a new piercing than get into a long-term relationship with someone. My periodic bouts of sociability back then was already stretched to the limit by those crazy intense friendships with unattainable females. Oh, and did I mention I broke up with my first love via a typed ‘resignation letter’?  (granted, my handwriting had always been atrocious. Continue reading

The Sounds of Summer

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Surf’s up on Repulse Bay

So it’s goodbye to blue skies and long days drinking in the summer; hello to a work desk and clocking in/out again. Yes, ’tis the season for work after a long hiatus away from employment. (Blame it on the recurring blues) This is make-or-break time, unfortunately…my last-gasp attempt at middle-class propriety. But I’m trying to convince myself that I should treat everything with the utmost lightness.

Until it gets so light that I cancel myself out.

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The Road Home

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Around the Neighbourhood, circa 2014 (Home is just round the corner, after the steep stretch)

“In the beginning there was a river.  The river became a road and the road branched out to the whole world. And because the road was once a river it was always hungry.”  The Famished Road, Ben Okri

It’s a long strange road back to the land of happy valleys and blue skies, full of detours, dead ends and monsters in the disguise of white knights, as well as a few good men (and women). I’m not sure I’m fully there yet, what with the sudden darkening of my mind even on a good day like this (matched by the capricious weather, all sudden showers and squirts of sunshine), but slowly, laboriously, I find myself rejoining the ranks of the sane. This is a strange feeling, happiness, and I am unable to savour it except with caution, for fear it might disappear in an instant.

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All My Literary Heroes

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From left to right: Jean Rhys, Carson McCullers, Primo Levi

“I will tell just one more story… and I will tell it with the humility and restraint of him who knows from the start that his theme is desperate, his means feeble, and the trade of clothing facts in words is bound by its very nature to fail.” – Primo Levi

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The Anthropology of Hell

Hell is pretending to be well when you are anything but. It’s walking down supermarket aisles with next to no cash in your pocket and even less in your bank account, unable to buy even a chocolate bar for sustenance. It’s attending events and function where old friends gather and chit-chat about their various successes while you mime their gestures and try your hardest to blend in with the wash of small talk. It’s dressing in borrowed finery and knowing one day there will be debts to be paid.

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