Metropolis is truly the most beautiful film in existence. Not simply because of the message and the Icarian warning, but also for the inspiring art deco stylings of the set - parts are almost Escher-like.
1. I do not recall being unable to read. To this day my grandmother recalls telling me, when I was about two years old, that the title of a magazine was one thing. I apparently looked at her quite seriously and said, "No, Grandma, it says 'Country Living'" or some such.
2. Appropriately enough, my very first steps were in a library. The apocryphal telling goes that I was about 12-14 months old and desperate to reach the shelves with the glorious books. And damnit, I did. Don't come between a bibliophile and a bookshelf, yo.
3. One of the very first adult books I read was Joyce Carol Oates' "We Were the Mulvaneys". I remember that I read it in secret in the basement, thinking that I would get in trouble for the frank portrayal of sexuality. I was about ten years old.
4. My entire life until adulthood featured a prominent battle betwixt my parents and myself. They would put me to bed and I would stuff a towel or blanket in the crack under the door so that no light would shine through as I stayed up reading. If they woke up and caught me, I then turned the brightness of the numerals of my alarm clock up as high as possible and read by the faint glow of green clock light. I got through The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Amber that way. Undoubtedly destroyed a bit of eyesight too. You win some...
5. There are very few books upon my shelves that I loathe. The few include Great Expectations, Wuthering Heights, and Frankenstein. I have been twenty pages from the end of Wuthering Heights for almost the past five years and have no intention of ever forcing the blasted thing upon myself again. Curse you, Emily.
6. About half of my collection is second-hand and I daresay a fourth has been purchased within the past year. It's small thus far, coming in only around five hundred, but it's growing rapidly and is flowing onto the floor.
7. I feel awful if I set down a book and do not finish it. This means that I nearly always have about fifteen books I'm currently reading, as I keep plugging away at the dreadfully boring ones. Currently, said books in the process are Soul Music, Foucault's Pendulum, China: A New History, Shakespeare's Kings, The Memoirs of Cleopatra, and Crime and Punishment- among others I've forgotten.
8. The single book I quote most often is Janet Fitch's White Oleander, as I'm terribly in love with the way it's written. I see Astrid in myself, to the point of having selected that for my German name in senior year of high school. Don't judge it by the atrocious film, please.
9. One of my dearest wishes is a beautifully bound facsimile of the First Folio. I suspect that it will be a gift to myself upon completion of my degree.
10. I never liked the Sweet Valley High series but pounded down hundreds of The Babysitters' Club books. Unfortunately, I still recall some of the plotlines. My brain, it bleeds.
11. As a child, I hid my copy of The Velveteen Rabbit underneath my bed as I found it horribly depressing and would cry everytime. Same goes for The Christmas Day Kitten.
12. I often got into trouble for reading during recess, always by some frightening woman in a tracksuit with her hands on her hips and the cliche whistle. She never appreciated the irony of being punished for reading at school. (I spent a good deal of time in detention in the fourth and fifth grades. This amounted to spending the lunch period in a quiet room with the option of doing homework or peacefully reading a book. Exploiting the system, what? Also, this was first place I believe I met my best friend, Lady Jane Grey, doing precisely the same thing.)
13. I have a soft spot for historical novels, no matter how awful.
14. I try to acquire the illustrations that accompany my favorite literature - namely Beardsley's work for The Rape of the Lock and Salome; Dore's work for Paradise Lost and The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, and the Waterhouse paintings for Tennyson's Arthurian poems.
15. Hamlet will always be the closest to my heart.
"There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in our philosophy." - Hamlet, Act I, Scene v.
Gotham Boy: Are you sure you want kids? The Protagonist: Yes and no. I do, to be frightfully honest, want a child to give everything to. No one knows that I've got a shelf in my library with books for their future room. I'm a little afraid that I'll never be quite ready though, to relinquish enough of myself to give to another. I'm a little afraid of repeating other mistakes I grew up with. They demand so much and would I resent that? The Protagonist: I'm not ready now, perhaps in four, five years. The idea left me pretty shaken, though I didn't realize it at first. There's a rule. I've got a rule for everything. Not until I'm married and able to provide for them. The Protagonist: It's a bit of buying time.
Thanks for the conversation, twit, you provided me a much-needed avenue to think. I'm off to read Pratchett's "Soul Music" until sleep reclaims me.
We are not responsible for your lost or stolen relatives. We cannot guarantee your safety if you disobey our instructions. We do not endorse the causes or claims of people begging for handouts. We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone. Your ticket does not guarantee that we will honor your reservations. In order to facilitate our procedures, please limit your carrying-on. Before taking off, please extinguish all smoldering resentments. If you cannot understand English, you will be moved out of the way. In the event of a loss, you'd better look out for yourself. Your insurance was cancelled because we can no longer handle your frightful claims. Our handlers lost your luggage and we are unable to find the key to your legal case. You were detained for interrogation because you fit the profile. You are not presumed to be innocent if the police have reason to suspect you are carrying a concealed wallet. It's not our fault you were born wearing a gang color. It is not our obligation to inform you of your rights. Step aside, please, while our officer inspects your bad attitude. You have no rights that we are bound to respect. Please remain calm or we can't be held responsible for what happens to you.
I've got it made. Living on borrowed credit, glasses askew and sweaters pulled tight around a small frame, I walk through carparks with inkstained fingertips and the harrowing gaze of the artist. I know the game, like stripping, carving pieces from yourself to sell to strangers. A painting here, a poem there. Shouldn't there be a line break here? How much can you pay for one?
It's cruel, to be perfectly honest, to pull the stories from yourself and to sell them to the highest bidder. I would like to gather them like coins and bury them, my secret treasure trove.
Old friends returning with the holiday. What have you been doing? I would like to tell them that I've done everything, turned the world about. Played the piano in dive bars, traveled the Himalayas, became a great artist who only wears black - no, white, and parries witty comments with the best of them. A little Dorothy Parker.
Instead, I write in journals with quill pens and pulls out bookmarked pages in Eliot's The Waste Land to comment on. Instead, I paint until all hours of the night with Patti Smith's Horses in the background. Instead, I'm learning different lessons, ones I'd never expected. How to cook puttanesca and which olives are the best. How to develop film. How to write a poem that explodes.
I never did get that tattoo. Never did run away to Berlin. But, I'm happy here, my friends, left alone down by rivers with ancient characters. Shorelines and shipwrecks. There are parts of myself that you would still recognize, the bitter tip of the grin, the arched brow. You'll still find the girl who rolled joints on linoleum floors, the angry Erinye who turned her stereo up too loudly and downed sneaked vodka. But, as I touch my inked fingertips to the bathroom mirror and study the wide face, the Indian cheekbones, the Scottish eyes and Irish nose, I see a serenity you would never recognize, a truer portion of myself, my Soul, that was left sealed and forgotten and beautifully unmarred.
We never did use the word happy then, did we?
This is the way the world ends, This is the way the world ends, This is the way the world ends, Not with a bang but a whimper.