December 31, 2009


First of all, it's not right that I haven't posted here for a week. Secondly, I have thought a lot, really I have. But with going places and trying to work on a gazillion things that I still have to do and with internet down, I have a few excuses.

In other news, I've decided I'm going to delete my mojo music. I'm saying this here so I can't change my mind. I think this was influenced by two things: One, for Christmas my parents gave me permission to listen to music without it having to be approved. And I realized that it was up to me to determine if my music consumption was moral - both in the content of the songs and the means by which I got them. Also, I was reading "The Enemy Within" (by Kris Lundgaard, if you're interested; I recommend it) and it suggested I ask God to reveal the worst sins He can find. (No, it's not like it put me on an artificial guilt-trip.) But I thought about the music I've gotten that I haven't paid for in the least. Music that I have no idea how many people it has been shared with. Music from artists I already like that swayed me to not pay money to buy their CDs and encourage what they're doing.

I can't listen to some of my CDs without realizing I have a problem with it. Before I had thought about it, I didn't mind. But now that I've considered, and realized that I don't have a clear conscience about mojo music, I can't listen to it, or let it sit in my library anymore. "Knowledge, no doubt, made the bad people worse, but it must make the good people better!" (Lilith). I'm going to delete it once I get home to my computer.

Today I scrolled through my iPod and wrote down all the albums and songs that I still don't want to live without, so I can get them legally. I think I am going to be quite a bit poorer after all of this is over. (Though I'll try to see what gift certificates and such I can use.) But it will also encourage me to listen to my Dad's collection of music, or our classical CD's, and make me value the music I listen to more. Plus, a lot of the music I have I don't listen to anyway. I may also get a Pandora account.

Life feels a lot more free.
(Now that is a little ironic since the music is far from it.)

December 23, 2009

I Capture the Castle

I wrote this in the car right after I finished reading I Capture the Castle, and figured that since Hayley and Lilly have already posted their thoughts on the novel, I might as well. . .

The first thing I have to get off my chest about I Capture the Castle is that I resented Cassandra for maybe a third - the middle third - of the book. Reading the book was terribly addictive but seemed to give me a headache.

But now I wish to talk about the end. It was sad, but true, if I agreed with where Dodie Smith was coming from. I don't understand what this book means about romance. I don't know if love is something where there can be only one "right one." I think there's a good deal of intertextuality going on between this and 500 Days of Summer. I wonder sometimes if God puts stories and poems in our path in a certain way so as to help us understand them. But of course God controls the universe.

I could go and draw parallels between Tom and Cassandra, or Summer and Rose, or I don't know who. I'm really not sure how similar they are except in bittersweet message, or the idea of a soulmate.

I Capture the Castle reminded me of Emily's Quest, by LM Montgomery. They were both kind of girly books, and the old-fashioned but passionate ... setting? mood? style? was similar. So was the mixing of couples.

There were many beautiful thoughtful tings in ICTC, quotes I wrote down. Cassandra's observations on life were very astute. And then the section on her father's writing was fascinating. I admire Dodie Smith for revealing and thinking through another story in addition to her own. Dodie Smith writes very well.

I think the reason I resented Cassandra was because she judged everything's rightness by whether or not she truly loved the guy. I don't think that standard is completely off, but it seemed to ignore a higher, nobler law. Maybe I was annoyed that God didn't matter to her much. The part about God and religion was enlightening though I disliked her claim that fixing your eyes on God makes you miss seeing things and live life less fully.

I found the characters amazing - it truly was a world inside the book and the people had distinct personalities yet depth to who they were. I think my favorite character was Topaz. I don't think I particularly identified with her, except perhaps the communing with nature thing, (though I'm hesitant to claim that as my own; it seems lots of people like being in nature the way I do) but I found her very interesting. And now that I've decided she's my favorite character it will be very hard to change my mind: that's how impressions are.

When Simon was talking about how the image and reality color each other, I suddenly thought that this book must be in a way mine - for the very same idea, or at least a rudimentary form of it, is crucial to why I wrote my NaNo novel (which is still in need of a decent title). I have kind of strayed from writing about ICTC and started on myself. That means I'm mostly done.

I shall close with a few summary thoughts: it was beautifully written, rather insightful, and quite contradictory to my way of life. I wonder how far into the future I'll be able to see the things this book has taught me.

December 21, 2009

I’ve been reading I Capture the Castle because it’s hard to bring the computer in the car to read Micah’s novel. I wondered if perhaps I should journal like Cassandra Mortmain, that is, record my daily experiences. Not that they are quite novel-worthy. I wonder (and see, here’s another place we are different – Cassandra doesn’t wonder the same way I do.) . . . But now I’ve forgotten what I wondered.

Right now I am on the porch of a darling little chalet on the East Coast of Malaysia. This is not to be confused with East Malaysia, a section almost as big, or bigger than the mainland (peninsula). East Malaysia contains the states of Sabah and Sarawak, and is connected to a large island. But we’re not there, we’re here. I’m here, at the chalet. Strangely enough, this resort is run by a Dutch immigrant. It was so peculiar to drive into the gated-in area where we’re staying, with about seven chalets in it, and see people with white skin and blonde hair. I caught a tiny glimpse of why so many people stare at us. Not because they’re trying to be rude, but simply because we stand out.

I suppose I should explain what I mean by chalet, but it’s rather boring. Brown, wooden, carved, one room, like a hotel room but a house unto itself. It has air conditioning (oh joy!) and even better, a Western-style toilet. (:laughs:)

Someone – maybe a shopkeeper – yesterday commented that I look like a Malay. Oh, I remember who it was now – the man at the counter to the Handcrafts museum. I like thinking I look Malay, only if I really want to fit in I ought to buy a whole bunch of headscarves. B-)

It’s lovely hearing my Dad make conversation with a bunch of people and following half of what they’re saying. It gives me such pleasure to go to a shopkeeper and ask, “Berapa harga ini?” (How much is the price of this?) When I heard someone ask if “adik anda cakap Melayu” (your children speak Malay) I was already thinking of how I would reply. All I could think of was kecil, which means small, but later when I asked Dad he told me I should say “sedikit,” a little.

This language stuff is only mildly useful and a little bit of the excitement about it is self-aggrandizing, so I suppose I’ll stop. What else. . .

Oh! The sky is beautiful right now, dawn is breaking. I want to step off the porch to see. Roosters have been crowing for the past ten minutes.

I can’t see the sun yet, but oh, it’s wonderful. The sky is a purply-lavender color, mostly, or rather, the large clouds are, and the sky is a very light shad of a glowing pink, almost white.

I love seeing palm trees all around. This kind of journaling rather seems like the first part of a letter. I like to tell people where I am and what I just did. Then I move on to what I’m thinking about, or responding to what they said. Right now, I’m not thinking very much - I could go back to the house and pull out my notebook and write about something there, but I really don’t want to. I want to prolong this time here, before everyone is up and it’s time for breakfast.

I just thought about when I’ll have the chance to type this up and it made me think about how differently we write when there’s an audience. Because sure, I’m journaling – feel a tad bit like a reporter – but all of this is clearly to you. Like a letter, as I said earlier.

I just must say that I like Malaysia. Even love it. The weather, the scenery, the language.

One day I think I should capture a very different side of Malaysia, tell you what it’s like to wander through the smelly wet market, or pas food stalls, trying to figure out what to order. Yes, the food certainly deserves to be written about. But I’m afraid I ought to go inside and get ready for breakfast. Today we’re boating on a creek/river. Yesterday we made batik. I shall have to show you my scarf. I keep writing because I can’t think of a way to sign off. I’ll use the sign off of the NaNoWriMo pep talk lady who wrote by hand.

Best! Love!

(at least I think that’s what it was. Wouldn’t it spoil it if I misremembered?)

December 19, 2009

quite a few things happened today
but the only one i care to say
is that the pages of my notebook are frankly falling out
so i don't know if i should write in it anymore
and i am over-dramatizing about
an everyday happening that has never occurred before

December 15, 2009

Moleskine [except I don't really have a friend named Lina]

There's a type of notebook that's classy and thin
I once believed that it was addressed as a Moleskin
One day I heard a friend of mine
Call his book a Moleskyne
Later a page on my laptop's screen
Declared that it was a Moleskeen
Yet I owe my current knowledge to a friend name Lina
Who informed me that the notebook was actually Molahskeenah.

December 13, 2009

"Awake, O sleeper, arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you."

Keep me awake,
Aware of your conviction, able still to weep
Oh, for your sake
End encroaching night with your eternal day
Fruitless trouble it would take
To glue my tired eyes open and determine not to sleep
So I beg you, make
Me alive, and send my weariness away
Keep me awake.

time for expression

I put a lot of stock into stream-of-consciousness writing. My best poems, I think, are ones I felt were given to me, like a phrase or image or feeling dropped into my consciousness and all I had to do was to describe it and elucidate further.

When I feel like writing, I generally make time to write. When full of inspiration, I create. So that makes sense.

I think of one of Mary Claire's poems I read today: a line jumped out at me. "but more rich than you might think / that had tears to spare for poetry". That's me. I live with the luxury of being able to write, think, weep. Then I think about something Lilly said at the round robin, that people who are really successful know how to get over themselves, and not waste time. I don't know if it's bad of me to be so tied to a creative life.

There are so many things that cry for my attention, but it's usually poetry and writing that is spoiled if I don't feel it anymore. That's why I give them such precedence. I think I may be forgetting what the point of this blog post was: perhaps to express my sadness at how hard it is to manage everything, feeling especially. I wonder how you people be productive.

Things fall apart

It seems the world is falling into pieces. Everything lasting is found in God alone.
It seems all we can do is to tell people about Him, and to ignore all else, everything passing.

Aristotle races to the rescue, telling of essences within things and purposes in physical objects. I think of this world as a place for God’s will to be done; miraculously, bewilderingly, we can pray “your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven." Restoration.

The purpose of morality to return us to how we are, or as some understand it better, as we should be. But the ought or the will is only the truest is. No being here is complete until perfect, every imperfect thing is not fully existent, because it is partially filled with Nothing.

But things fall apart! How can we win? Will this world not go down in flames? What world is lasting?

I do not believe a fatalistic mindset strikes at the heart of what this world is like, saying that there will death and destruction and doom, so put your faith in God. While that may be true in a sense, I rather think we should our faith in God because of the LIFE he gives. But will we, can we, look upon the goodness of the Lord here, in the land of the dying life? Or must we wait until we come to the other side of judgment, into the living death, where we have died into everlasting life? I do not understand if this world is good; I do not understand what our role is to make it better. How can we glorify an everlasting unchanging perfect God through actions in an imperfect fallen world?

Things fall apart.

December 11, 2009

Because I'm afraid that I cannot live without friends

then flung
hard glaring unknowing
praising encouraging inflating

and all I want is to live truly

so clung
warm comforting communing
advising urging humbling

but all I want
is to live truly.

December 6, 2009

song of myself

Some days I think I want to abolish self-reference.
It's like I don't want to write my memories from the last round robin because it just means thinking about myself, or going back to something I've already thought about, already shared as much as I needed to. The last two days were full, and wonderful, and I feel like today is such a vastly different day, and I see the world so differently, even though I doubt that one good night's rest can really change much.

What am I saying? Only that repeating what I felt over the past two days seems unnecessary, this is today, and I want a break from the selfless selfishness that I seemed to wander through. I wonder why this happens, why I seem to zoom out of myself for a moment, but then later find that I still haven't seen people as they are? And so many times I don't even succeed in getting my mind off myself, my very words and actions all go to reinforce my belief that my mind and opinion is vastly interesting. Or maybe its just that I want attention for myself. (This question I may have discussed with a few of you already.)

Even as I think that don't want to think about whether or not I'm cynical, because it starts me thinking that more is right with me than truly is, I am writing it on this blog and again drawing attention to it.

This is why I think that I should stop blogging, or stop speaking about my thoughts. Except I don't really think that, because I want to share my thoughts so strongly. Now I think about a thought I had that seemed to resolve this. We are one body, one mind. I don't need to talk about myself. And yet I still am talking about myself.

Some days I think I want to be with people always so I can not have only myself to compare things to.

It's so hard to stop myself talking about my own perspective. Then I think about what is true reality, the verse that I'm trying to hold to, and that seems contrary to my current train of thought. Philippians 3:8: I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. . .

It doesn't seem to make sense to me. How do I count something as loss? I think I should stop thinking about it, not put too much value into it, at least in comparison to the worth of the knowledge of God. If knowledge of God is being known by God, then it should be right if I tell God everything about myself. And yet that seems backwards, just going back to self-reference.

I'm afraid I don't know what I'm saying anymore. How can I know one day, and the next be knowledgeless? And how can I ever claim to care about people?

Do I feel guilty for being so happy over the past few days? Do I regret that all that happiness was because people, and words, and God were making me happy? I don't know what I want, or if I should desire to forget myself. I guess I should be glad that every day isn't a tournament day, so real life can remind me that I'm not as important as people treat me.

And yet that isn't it either, is it?

December 1, 2009

I feel like I'm very nearly mad, barely holding on to my sanity.
Tomorrow is a community presentation and I have lines and introductions and transitions to stuff into my mind.
Don't mention the round robin, I'm not ready for that either.
Sorry, Enoch, for not critiquing your cases, I didn't forget you. You don't even read my blog.
My ReCAPs are not finished yet.
One day I will wake up and realize that I do not have enough time to finish everything. For now I can pretend.
This is why I haven't finished editing my novel and haven't sent it to you. Please don't be too harsh.
I can't think of what else to say and I should go back to work anyway.