Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!
I had a pretty uneventful Halloween- my friend and I went as stereotypical white girls and carried around Starbucks all day, and then I went trick-or-treating at some shops across from my school for a few minutes. It doesn't really feel like Halloween this year- maybe it's because it's on a Thursday, or maybe it's just because I'm growing up.

I watched Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas which is my designated traditional Halloween movie to watch, and I followed it up with Kiki's Delivery Service since I haven't watched a Ghibli in awhile and I needed some feel-good teenage witchiness in my life.

I hope everyone had a great day!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

My Personal Sea

(Henry-Joseph Harpignies 1819-1916)

I've always had a strange sort of sadness in me.
A deep-rooted ache,
A dull-edged strain of melancholy.

Those around cast glances my way
when I fail to shed tears
over the events of the day. 
Over the comings and goings,
the commonplace tragedies,
the lives and the deaths.
They don't understand the sorrow
of sunrises and sunsets.

Its the thoughts of unknown
that gnaw at my heart.
It's the ideas I can touch,
but not feel,
that set me apart.

For I envy those whose tears
flow fast and free
as a clear mountain spring
emptying into a mutual sea.
Instead I walk the shores of a fathomless lake,
averting my gaze from the depths
of black and blue,
if only for my sanity's sake.

Perhaps one day a lone soul will find me,
having stumbled upon my personal sea,
and together, with dry eyes and heavy hearts,
we'll drown in this unspoken misery.

--by Skye

Friday, October 18, 2013

Sick of Screaming Let Us In, The Wires Got the Best of Him

I had a pretty tough week this week, so I got home and drew a little. This picture is based off the song "Wires" by The Neighborhood....and yeah it turned out a little freakier than I had intended. It was sort of interesting to draw just from imagination, since I usually draw from a picture. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Quick Thoughts on Roman Mythology, Studio Ghibli, and Feminism

The number one aspect of Studio Ghibli movies I love is how they age with me. The more I learn and the more I understand, I discover new aspects of these movies, and there have been countless times where I've been able to reference Ghibli movies when discussing ideas and events. I feel like all too often these movies are written off because they wear the mask of childrens' films, when in reality they are more insightful than a large number of the films that are marketed towards older audiences. I've never really written a review of any of Miyazaki's works on this blog, because I don't feel like I can do any of them justice in one post. So I decided I would just break them up into smaller ideas I could talk about.

(Orpheus Leading Eurydice from the Underworld- Jean Baptiste Camille Corot)

In latin class we are reading the story of Orpheus and Eurydice. For those who are not familiar with it, Orpheus and Eurydice was a story written by the ancient Roman poet Ovid. In the story Orpheus and Eurydice are a couple that have just gotten married. On the wedding day Eurydice is bitten by a snake and dies, her soul departing to the Underworld, ruled by Proserpina(Persephone) and Pluto. Orpheus decides that he will descend to the underworld, the realm of spirits, and bring Eurydice back. He bargains with Pluto, and Pluto says that Orpheus can have Eurydice back on one condition: when he is leading her out of the Underworld, Orpheus cannot look back at Eurydice or the deal is off. In the end Orpheus ends up looking back and Eurydice vanishes. Or that's the gist, I haven't finished translating the story yet.

So for those of you who have watched Spirited Away, some of this sounds pretty familiar, right? You might even be picturing this scene:

I noticed the parallel quite some time ago- the girl that descends into the spirit realm, makes a deal with the rulers of the place, and escapes, not being able to look back until she is out. But what I didn't realize until today, having revisited the original myth, were the implications of this parallel. Hayao Miyazaki isn't just referencing this myth for the heck of it; he's making a very strong statement. In the myth, Orpheus descends to save Eurydice, but her fate is placed in his hands and in the end he seals it for her-- she had no say, and it wasn't her fault what happened to her. Hayao Miyazaki points out the injustice of this, and counters with Chihiro. Even though she is helped by Haku, in the end her fate is her own. She's the one that saves her parents, saves Haku to an extent, and Haku doesn't lead her out of the spirit world- she walks out by herself. If she looks back, it's because she decided to, and therefore she is in charge of her own fate.

**On a related but separate topic**

I know you could go on for a long time about Hayao Miyazaki's strong female characters and the innate feminism in his movies, but I just want to make a comment on how well he balances it. For example, Chihiro isn't strong in the beginning of the movie. She doesn't know what to do, she cries a lot. And Haku-- a man--helps her. But that's okay. Just because a female character is strong doesn't mean they don't need help, that they should be hostile towards men, that they should be violent or uncaring or not have their moments of weakness. I feel like the film and tv industry hasn't found the right balance for female characters yet-- they don't want to offend people by making the women weak "damsels in distress", so they overcompensate by making them violent, unfeeling, independent characters. (I loved this article about it- "I Hate Strong Female Characters") Either way, they end up with flat characters. In reality, what makes a "strong female character" is being rounded and dynamic, and part of that is having weaknesses. I think the film industry should take some cues from Miyazaki.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

First Chapter, First Paragraph

First Chapter, First Paragraph Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Bibliophile By The Sea , where you share the first paragraph of a book you are thinking of reading. This week I chose Galileo's Daughter by Dava Sobel. I've had it sitting on my shelf for a long time and I've never gotten around to reading it, so maybe I will soon.

"Most illustrious lord father-

We are terribly saddened by the death of your cherished sister, our dear aunt; but our sorrow at losing her is as nothing compared to our concern for your sake, because your suffering will be all the greater, Sire, as truly you have no one else left in your world, now that she, who could not have been more precious to you, has departed, and therefore we can only imagine how you sustain the severity of such a sudden and completely unexpected blow. And while I tell you that we share deeply in your grief, you would do well to draw even greater comfort from contemplating the general state of human misery, since we are all of us here on Earth like strangers and wayfarers, who soon will be bound for our true homeland in Heaven, where there is perfect happiness, and where we must hope that your sister's blessed soul has already gone.Thus, for the love of God, we pray you Sire, to be consoled and to put yourself in His hands, for, as you know so well, that is what He wants of you; to do otherwise would be to injure yourself and to hurt us, too, because we lament grievously when we hear you are burdened and troubled, as we have no other source of goodness in this world but you. 

I will say no more, except with all our hearts we fervently pray the Lord to comfort you and be with you always, and we greet you dearly with our ardent love.

Most affectionate daughter,
S. Maria Celeste

The day after his sister Virginia's funeral, the already world-renowned scientist Galileo Galilei received this, the first of 124 surviving letters from the once-voluminous correspondence he carried on with his elder daughter. She alone of Galileo's three children mirrored his own brilliance, industry, and sensibility, and by virtue of these qualities became his confidante."

What do you think? Do you want to keep reading? Have you read this book--did you like it? I'd love to hear!

Monday, October 7, 2013

I Was Scared of Pretty Girls and Starting Conversations

Sunday mornings are my favorite time of the whole week. You've forgotten the stress and events of the last week, and you haven't yet remembered the responsibilities of the week to come. You can make yourself a coffee, sit down with a book or a sketchpad while the oblique golden light sifts in through the windows, and you can feel like your life is your own for those few fragile hours. 

So this Sunday I was snuggled up in a romper and crochet sweater, full and happy from walnut pancakes, and I got the urge to draw I do from time to time. I ended up with a girl's face- something I draw far too often.(Is that creepy?) 

Anyways, I tried out some new blending stumps I had gotten. The first picture is just plain and the second is sort of edit-y. I didn't know which would look better, so you decide.

I promise there's a Sleepy Hollow review coming as soon as I get over my procrastination.

Friday, October 4, 2013

10 Bookish (And Not So Bookish) Thoughts

Ten Bookish(And Not so Bookish) Thoughts is a weekly blogging event hosted by Bookishly Boisterous.

Ever since I started sophomore year I've had less and less time for reading/watching tv, etc. so there hasn't been much to review. I thought it would be a good time to do a couple memes and such just to keep myself actively blogging-- so here goes!

1.) Yes, I am STILL reading We The Drowned by Carsten Jensen. It's an amazing book, but also like five or six hundred pages, so it's a bit of a project. So far I'm really enjoying it! I feel like it's going to be one heck of a book review when I finally finish it.

2.) The new show on Fox, Sleepy Hollow, is actually pretty good?? I wasn't really expecting much from a drama about a colonial time-traveler and a sassy black cop and the apocalypse, but I've been enjoying it a lot. The characters are relatable and the story moves along well, although it has a bit of a villain-of-the-week feel right now. Sometimes the cinematography is a little reminiscent of someone who's just found new software that they're playing around with, but I can see it going places. Tom Mison and his mussy ponytail doesn't hurt either.

I sort of feel the need to watch the movie now?

3.) I've rediscovered my love for Mushi-shi. I watched it a year or two ago, and never even got through the full season, but I'm so glad I found it again because hands down it is the best anime I have ever watched. Every single frame is just pure art, and the story is poetic and contemplative. The show is sort of like a book of short stories-- each episode the characters, setting, and conflict are all different, but after you always come away with something to think about.... that sort of sad and yet content feeling you get from really great stories. It's so artful and creative and just plain out of the box, I need everyone to go watch it right now. 

4.) Battle of the Year is a strong contender for Worst Movie I've Ever Watched. I went to see it at a party, and literally I just couldn't even. It doesn't merit a proper review. Basically it was 50% cheesy inspirational speeches, 20% badly choreographed dances, and 30% zoom shots of Josh Peck gazing thoughtfully into the distance. The only good thing about it was Mah Boi D-Trix.
....and Chris Brown's intense stares.

5.) Agnes Obel's new album came out eeeep! It's called Aventine  and I have mixed feeling about it. I kind of half dread whenever and artist/filmmaker/author I like comes out with something new, because I feel like it will never be better than the original work... I think partly because I've already devoted myself to the original work, and it's been made better by my good memories of it. (Case in point- Hayao Miyazaki) So right now I don't think Aventine  is as good as Philharmonics, but I may come around. I like Dorian and The Curse, but I find that most of the songs have this sort of muddled sound as opposed to the clear piano riffs of Philharmonics-there's less to grasp onto. 

6.) People really need to start saying Autumn instead of fall- Autumn is far prettier and the word is more reminiscent of the season. To me, fall just sounds tacky. And yet I still find myself saying it. *sighs*

7.) Grades closed for progress reports today. That means I was up all last night making up the work I was too lazy to do when it was actually due : / But I've been getting good grades as I promised myself I would, so I'm not worried. I made a deal with my dad that he would get me a translation of the Tao te Ching if I got straight As, and I'm looking forward to a little more taoism in my life. It's weird that the school year is already and eighth of the way through, though. It feels like it's just begun.

8.) I've reached new levels of obsession with Wellesley College. I visited the campus this summer and it was love at first sight-- the stone architecture, the rolling hills and green every which way you looked. I was literally thinking how I felt like Juliet there when I saw a girl in a white dress sitting on a balcony. Just.. I'm completely and utterly enamored. I love that it's smaller, that it's all-girls, that it has such a supportive community. I need to go there and I need to to go there now. So I've been compulsively researching everything about it, and it's officially on my vision board.

9.) We've been doing a short story unit in English that I'm enjoying like crazy. Actually, I'm enjoying the class in general like crazy. I have a great teacher this year who's very prone to holding Socratic discussions, which is to my benefit since I literally can't keep my mouth shut about anything English related. But we've read Cathedral, The Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge, A and P, The Cask of Amontillado, and most of Jhumpa Lahiri's Interpreter of Maladies. I've been having so much fun interpreting and analyzing the stories-- maybe I'll do some posts about them if I feel like it. 

10.) I've made the resolution to get back into creative writing, which I'm really excited about. Hopefully I can get some work posted online and I think I'll try for a few competitions. 

Until next time!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Elegant Blogger Award

The Rules--

- When you receive the award, link back to and the blog that nominated you-

-Display the award button in the post

-Answer all of the twelve questions given in the post (do not make your own questions)

-Nominate 8 bloggers (see below)

-Notify them that they have been awarded

1.) What made you start blogging?
I started blogging a couple years ago when I was in middle school. This blog started as just a place to save all my creative writing--I didn't expect anyone to read it. I sort of transitioned out of creative writing and into reviews and other editorial/feature-y things, so that's what this blog has mainly turned into, and it makes me happy that people can read my thoughts. I do want to get back into creative writing, though. I miss it :(

2.) What is your fashion style?
In one word- schizophrenic. I'll wear something uber-preppy (I'm talking plaid, herringbone, ruffles, pleats, all in one outfit) one day, and then the next day I'll wear psychadelic hippie corduroys, the next combat boots and a skull tank top. When i think about it, it matches my personality pretty well, even though I like to believe I'm more of the over-sized sweater and mug of tea type of girl.
Some links to brands I like:
Free People
Ralph Lauren 

3.) What is something none of your followers know about you?
I'm addicted to making bad puns. Like, really, it's a problem.

4.)What are some of your blogging goals?
Well, as I said in number one, I started this blog without the intention of getting followers or anything, but it does make me feel good when I know that people are reading my thoughts and that they like what I post about, so I'd love to get more readership and comments! I love to know what other people think. I'd also love to get to know more people in the blogging community- I've found that everyone is such an individual. As far as personal goals, I need to make time to post more. I think it would be nice to get some more art, photography, and creative writing up on here, as well as music selections. But my number one goal is to stay true to myself, and keep my blog a complete reflection of me as a person, not something marketed towards an audience.

5.) Where is your favorite place to shop?
I literally love Trader Joe's and I don't know why. I just love going in there and it feels so friendly and everything is vintage packaging and they give you little samples of nummy foods and you find cool stuff like pumpkin chai mix and I don't know it's awesome. I also love Williams-Sonoma. It makes me want to have a house I can fill with Le Creuset and Cuisinarts and hot chocolate mixes. Apart from food... I love shopping in Anthropologie-- the spaces are always really nicely designed and they have interesting local artists come in to make decorations and you feel like you've entered a lifestyle, not a store. But obviously, my number one is bookstores. The thing is, I can only go shopping for books with a friend. I'm really vocal with my thoughts, and I need to have somewhere there to listen to my steady stream of "Oh my lord, that cover is amazing, feel the texture." "I read this one it was absolutely magnificent here take it smell it read it love it." And my favorite is finding a book we've both read and getting into a really intense discussion of themes and the like. Even though Barnes and Noble is a pretty big chain, I like shopping there, especially when they have a Starbucks and the books are on the second floor apart from all the toys and posters and such. At my local Barnes and Noble the philosophy shelf is in this little nook in the back and they always have a step-stool there and my favorite thing to do is just sit there with a chai reading Plato or Machiavelli or some other sort and think myself a super deep person. Used book stores are nice, too, because you always feel like there's a story behind the books there, you feel like someone has loved them and you're continuing the tradition. Even though this might be a negative for some, I love when books are written in by their previous owners. It's like you're connecting to a stranger through their little notes, like you've seen a piece of their mind they've only shared with the pages of a book.

6.) What would your ideal amount of blog followers be?
ALL OF THEM! But really, though, as many as are interested in what I write. I just don't feel the need to go out of my way to get followers- I'm not out to market anything or make money, so if weary internet wanderers stumble upon my blog and want to check it out, that's what makes me happy. And I don't want so many that I feel pressured to always be posting.

7.) What are your talents?
Well, hopefully writing. But aside from that I love to play the alto saxophone, both in jazz bands and in classical settings-I've been playing since fourth grade and its just become sort of a part of my personality. I also sail, and that's just such an amazing experience- it puts you in a completely different frame of mind about things. I'd like to get better at drawing and photography, so I'm practicing those.

8.) Are you a leader or a follower?
Most of the time I'm a leader-- I'm really outspoken about thoughts and opinions, and I like to think I'm good with making decisions. But if there's someone that I think has good thoughts and can get things done, I'll trust them to lead and I'll become more of a follower.

9.) What is one of your favorite quotes?
"Every first draft is perfect, because all a first draft has to do is exist."

10.) Do you have a favorite book or series?
My two favorite books are Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury and Girl in Hyacinth Blue by Susan Vreeland. My favorite series is The Cornish Trilogy by Robertson Davies.

11.) Out of all the synonyms for elegant, which would you describe yourself as?
I'll go with OOOPPULENT.

12.) What is your favorite flower?
Lily of the Valley has always been my favorite.

Honestly any blog I follow I consider to be amazing and elegant, so if I follow you consider yourself tagged!

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