fahye: ([other] is not that strange)
Resolution to Blog More With Words, here we go :) I'm not feeling the best at the moment, and my mother has introduced me to a book that I think will become one of my go-to books during sickness and insomnia: Stevie Smith's Novel on Yellow Paper. It's also got a lively, I Do What I Like, Thor! kind of writing style that's helpful to be exposed to in my current state of complete block on my WIP.

Have a quote!

My friendships, they are a very strong part of my life, they are as light as gossamer but also they are as strong as steel. )
fahye: ([lucifer] all the best tunes)
I've been going to the local library to get study done in the afternoons, and taken to reading books in my breaks but then putting them back onto the shelf instead of borrowing them, as a way of making myself come back to the library the next day. Today I started a book by Susan Hill called Howards End Is On The Landing, a very pleasant sort of autobiography via her personal project to spend a year only rereading books on her own shelf, not buying new ones. In the introductory chapter I came across this quote:

Too much internet usage fragments the brain and dissipates concentration so that after a while, one's ability to spend long, focused hours immersed in a single subject becomes blunted. Information comes pre-digested in small pieces, one grazes on endless ready-meals and snacks of the mind, and the result is mental malnutrition.

Ouch.

I'm pretty sure it's true (at least as far as my personal usage patterns go), and I'm also sure that it's crunch time as far as passing medical school unscathed and sane goes, so I'm doing a small friends list cull in the name of spending fewer hours per day online. It's mostly based on diverged fandomly interests; feel totally free to stop following my journal if you wish, or stick around, I don't make many locked posts :)
fahye: ([other] a many splendoured thing)
This morning's exam was SHITE and I plan to down my sorrows later in a delicious bowl of tom yum gai.

For now, have some excerpts from my favourite-book-of-the-moment, Penelope Lively's Moon Tiger.

At the moment I'm dealing with strata. )
fahye: ([hb] no metaphors can fill)
Let it be known that [livejournal.com profile] bookelfe and Pamela Dean were both absolutely correct in their recommendation of Christopher Fry's play The Lady's Not For Burning. I read it today in study breaks and was unutterably charmed by the whole thing.

In Tam Lin one of the characters describes it by saying that it's about two people who save each other from death, and from life. Which is an excellent way of putting it! It's definitely about love and death in approximately equal measures, which of course puts it so far up my alley it's clawing at the wall.

The writing style -- I don't know, the closest I can come is 'the unholy union of Tom Stoppard and John Webster'. The poetry is gorgeous, the humour consistent and clever, the satire beautifully handled. And at one point someone makes a grand metaphor about genitalia which involves artichokes.

The two main characters are in the Beatrice-and-Benedick mould, except with a lot more discussion of alchemy! and hanging! and skeletons! and how dare the other person waltz around being so inconveniently attractive, they are trying to cultivate an air of disaffected rationalism here!! *_* I love them to bits and now want to name my first daughter Jennet. Jennet is (ironically enough, given the plot) exactly like a Discworld witch crossed with a Jane Austen heroine. AMAZING <3

ILLUSTRATIVE QUOTES BELOW.

Girl, you haven't changed the world. )
fahye: ([ss] must have been mistook)
I recently finished reading W.H. Auden's 'Lectures on Shakespeare', which is essentially the collection of transcripts of a lecture series he gave in New York in 1946-7. I have a habit of flagging and then writing out interesting bits from books that I read, and I thought there might be an interested audience in this case.

Extracts. )
fahye: ([stxi] way to turn my life around)
I've only just started Ursula Le Guin's book of essays on fantasy & science fiction, The Language of the Night, and I can already tell I will be stopping every few pages to write down a quote. This one pleased me enormously:

I have wondered if there isn't some real connection between a certain kind of scientific-mindedness (the explorative, synthesizing kind) and fantasy-mindedness. Perhaps "science fiction" really isn't such a bad name for our genre after all. Those who dislike fantasy are very often equally bored or repelled by science. They don't like either hobbits, or quasars; they don't feel at home with them; they don't want complexities, remoteness. If there is any such connection, I'll bet that it is basically an aesthetic one.

- from 'A Citizen of Mondath'
fahye: ([sn] fingers pinned to the chest)
I thought I'd take advantage of the when you see this, post a poem in your journal meme, which has been floating half-heartedly around my flist recently, to talk about Carol Ann Duffy, who is the UK's current (and first female, and first openly gay) Poet Laureate. I first heard about her tangentally in a post of [livejournal.com profile] foreverdirt's, and looked her up on Wikipedia, and then liked the sound of her so much that I went and borrowed a couple of slim poetry collections of hers from the uni library.

And so I whole-heartedly and without reservation recommend The World's Wife, a collection of thirty-something poems about the women passed over, ignored, unwritten and unrecognised by history & myth. I think this is something relevant to many of our interests, perhaps? Anyway, it's very sly and often funny and sometimes heartbreaking, and Duffy can do things with language that make me want to howl with envy. Some of the poems are short and pointed (Mrs Charles Darwin, Mrs Icarus) and others are longer. When naming my favourite I'm torn between Queen Herod and the one I'm going to post now; it's the first in the book and, it's easy to tell, the most personal.


Little Red-Cap

At childhood's end, the houses petered out
into playing fields, the factory, allotments
kept, like mistresses, by kneeling married men,
the silent railway line, the hermit's caravan,
till you came at last to the edge of the woods.
It was there that I first clapped eyes on the wolf.

He stood in a clearing, reading his verse out loud )
fahye: ([hb] shine forth upon our clouded hills)
From the two books I'm currently reading, a surprising echo of imagery:


No millenium seems likely to descend upon humanity; no better and stronger League of Nations will be instituted; no form of Christianity and no alternative to Christianity will bring peace to the world or integrity to the individual; no 'change of heart' will occur. And yet we need not despair, indeed, we cannot despair; the evidence of history shows us that men have always insisted behaving creatively under the shadow of the sword; that they have done their artistic and scientific and domestic stuff for the sake of doing it and that we had better follow their example under the shadow of the aeroplanes.

- 'What I Believe' by E.M. Forster (1939)


How well would he, Uncle Khaled, the 'great poet', as Baba called him, write under Shahryar's sword? What would come out? Could he make music, could he sing? Scheherezade did, night after night, unable to look up into a sky or rest in the silence and solitude of her own garden, hearing a wicker chair creak with the comfort of her own weight. She, I am certain now, was one of the bravest people that had ever lived. It's one thing not to fear death, another to sing under its sword.

- 'In The Country of Men' by Hisham Matar (2006)
fahye: ([h&c] lasciate ogne speranza)
By some miracle, I have tomorrow morning off. No lectures. I can sleep in. That's enough of a reason for me to break my posting-hiatus briefly, so:

- I can't remember who linked me to it, but this article by Zadie Smith on the importance of speaking with a flexible voice is fantastic. I've only ever read one of Smith's books but I adored it and mean to hunt down the others. And look, this article talks about Shakespeare!
Will had seen too many wild-eyed martyrs, too many executed terrorists, too many wars on the Catholic terror. He had watched men rage absurdly at rood screens and write treatises in praise of tables. He had seen men disemboweled while still alive, their entrails burned before their eyes, and all for the preference of a Latin Mass over a common prayer or vice versa. He understood what fierce, singular certainty creates and what it destroys. In response, he made himself a diffuse, uncertain thing, a mass of contradictory, irresolvable voices that speak truth plurally.

- I am still writing snatches of things, here and there, when I have the energy for it. My newest eyaiverse story keeps sprouting characters like nobody's business, my History Boys fic is encouragingly close to being finished, and [livejournal.com profile] ryokophoenix and I have hammered out a few more plot points for the heist AU (though really the plot doesn't start until the end of the next chapter, so I have no excuse not to write that).

- Mel has also started showing me Lie to Me. I am ridiculously hooked. I want nothing more than for Cal and House to be meet and be terrifyingly intelligent, perceptive assholes at each other.

- Someone just walked under my window singing a very passable version of ALW's Pie Jesu. Heh.
fahye: ([aa] going out of business)
BELIZE: I've thought about it for a very long time, and I still don't understand what love is. Justice is simple. Democracy is simple. Those things are unambivalent. But love is very hard. And it goes bad for you if you violate the hard law of love.

LOUIS: I'm dying.

BELIZE: He's dying. You just wish you were.
Oh cheer up, Louis. Look at that heavy sky out there.

LOUIS: Purple.

BELIZE: Purple? Boy, what kind of a homosexual are you, anyway? That's not purple, Mary, that colour up there is mauve.
All day today it's felt like Thanksgiving. Soon this...ruination will be blanketed white. You can smell it -- can you smell it?

LOUIS: Smell what?

BELIZE: Softness, compliance, forgiveness, grace.

-- Tony Kushner, Angels in America

Tonight the dusk is mauve; the jacaranda trees are blending into the sky.

~

Health update: new drugs and yet more rueful advice to Wait It Out from the doctor. I've had some blood taken for tests, though, just in case. I might be one of the few people in the world who actually LIKES getting blood taken. I like observing the phlebotomist's technique, I like watching the tubes fill up and thinking that's mine.

Relatedly: studying haematology tonight.

Oddly: liking it a whole lot more than I did during the block itself.

~

I'm putting together a master list of all my fic; it's still a work in progress, but it's getting there.
fahye: ([other] I know this because)
And by 'talk' I mean 'ramble at GREAT LENGTH'. )

Keep asking! I love this game.
fahye: ([other] our love goes under the knife)
This morning it was raining and cold so I wore a jacket to my first lecture. And by the time we had our first break, mid-morning, it was so sunny I now have incredibly sunburnt shoulders. Grrrrr. English skin and Australian UV spectra were never meant to be, but when I am given some warning I can at least wear sleeves and sunscreen.

After spending quite a few weeks worrying about the start of classes/the end of my freedom/the tough slog ahead, it was a wonderful relief to sit down and be bombarded with information and think: body systems! Physiology! HOW I HAVE MISSED YOU!

Because oh yeah, I actually find this shit really interesting :D And I think I need to buy a histology textbook full of pretty pretty colour plates of cells & tissues.

I was only asked about one of my icons... )
fahye: ([potc] under the windings of the sea)
Mostly for my own reference: quotes from Howards End* by E.M. Forster. One or two of the later ones contain spoilers for the book; most are harmlessly beautiful.

I had to forcibly stop myself from quoting THE WHOLE BOOK. )

*This was one of the two books I read while away over Christmas. The other was The English Patient, which I had read before but was even more in total fucking love with this second time through. But Howards End, oh my god, nothing in all of the other Forster I have been stuffing my head with was enough to prepare me for how impressed I'd be by this book. WOW.
fahye: ([comics] tee hee)
mjashdasa oh dear god

I am practically screaming with laughter.

Link snatched from [livejournal.com profile] ryokophoenix. It's funny because if it was at ALL within our power, AUSTRALIA WOULD DO THAT. We would! (We always seem friendly!)

I am also EXCEEDINGLY MIFFED at SG:A 3x04 (Sateda) because it just took an entire conversation that I had jotted down for a fic and put it in John's mouth. I mean. It's nice that my writing is canonically supported, but now I can't use the damn thing.

Speaking of SG:A, I seriously have enough snippets to form decent bases for at least five fics, all floating around in the one document. One day I'll pay them some proper attention, but I've just completed my Remix fic and I don't want to do any more writing for a while. (Uhh, this is a lie. I really do want to. But I am also acutely aware of how stupid an idea this would be, academically speaking.)

So here, have a ridiculous extract from...God knows what. )
fahye: ([ww] did you see what I'm wearing?)
- Awwww. I am very defensive of my city, so this warmed my heart. I am hoping to go to Sydney or Brisbane for medicine, but not out of any particular dislike for Canberra - it's just time for a change.

- This article in today's paper is great - one of those things that just makes you glad that there are people around who share your political views and will articulate them nicely so you don't have to. The Bill Clinton impeachment saga showed there comes a time in the affairs of political leaders when the voters become stubborn, dig in their heels, refuse to listen to any more scandalous stories, and punish the muckrakers instead. SERIOUSLY. GUYS. DROP THE HONESTY ISSUE. YOU LOOK LIKE IDIOTS. Not that I care overmuch if the Coalition looks like idiots, seeing as it'll decrease their chances of getting re-elected even further, but sometimes you just want to shake people, you know?

- ...it was murder? Jesus. This seems like the kind of thing thriller novels are made out of. (Guess what, Americans? Some parts of the world take cricket pretty. damn. seriously.)

And now, I return to GAMSAT study. It's tomorrow. At 8:15 in the morning, which my mother assures me is a perfectly valid time to be awake and functioning for a doctor. Clearly they are weeding out the weaklings through enforced early-morning examinations. Bleugh. (Altogether, it's five and a half hours of exams. With short breaks. CRUEL AND UNUSUAL, I TELL YOU.)
fahye: ([other] this could not be more obnoxious)
- First off, I finally have the perfect excuse to use this icon (WHOO) because [livejournal.com profile] svilleficrecs has said some very sane things in defense of the BNF phenomenon. (Okay, so this is possibly the most ridiculous and obnoxious icon I have, but you guys get that I'm using it tongue-in-cheek, right? Right? Please god be as sensible as I think you are. It's not like BSG fandom gives a fuck about the Bitchy Elitist Cabal anymore.)

- [livejournal.com profile] musesfool is holding a love meme on her journal. Pen has put my name here as part of a cunning piece of emotional blackmail (that, sadly enough, worked like a charm) but you should all point out where you are, or where you have listed someone else I know, so that I can go and leave comments. (Upon reading it through, it is mostly SPN fandom-based at the moment, but WE CAN TOTALLY CHANGE THAT. GO FORTH AND LOVE. I'LL START: Holly is made of awesome and you know it.)

- Everyone's reccing it, but everyone's right. [livejournal.com profile] lim's vid 'Us' is a fast, complex commentary on what it means to be a fan, and to see things as a fan sees them, and how fandom takes the creative public domain and loves it both fiercely and constructively. It's difficult to explain, but you'll be glad you watched it.

- I just discovered this fic, tucked away in my 'Fanfic' bookmarks folder, waiting to be read. So I read it. And basically I have to rec it because it's bleak and confrontational and very good and about neurology, for goodness' sake: Finding The Words - due South, Fraser/Kowalski. (I will add the caveat that there is one aspect of that fic that I would have done very, very differently, but it's not my fic and I don't want to colour your reading of it. Come back here afterwards and we'll discuss!)

~

Oh, yeah.

Re: Millicon 2.0/ pxcon / Dragon*Con / other joyous gatherings scheduled to take place at least 10,000km away...

I hate you all. This is not a rational hatred, nor is it a particularly just one, but NEVER DOUBT ITS EXISTENCE.
fahye: ([ww] you feckless thug)
Philip Adams is a liberal columnist in The Weekend Australian Magazine. Usually he's either discussing a serious political issue or paying out all of the outraged conservatives who write letters to the editor about him, but I liked this week's column so much that I'm typing it up for you. Recommended for Americans and Australians alike. (I've added some Wikipedia links for the antipodeanally challenged.)

Bush is another Borat, a piece of lampoonery devised by the brilliant Sacha Baron Cohen following his success with Ali G. )
fahye: ([dw] captain jack > everything)
*KEYBOARDSMASH*

[livejournal.com profile] memlu was right, Larklight is fantastic. It's like...Firefly meets Victorian England meets PIRATES and it has the niftiest illustrations ever. And it fits in my bag, so I've been reading it on my lunch breaks. Today I was very pleased to learn that I share a birthday with Captain Jack Havock (and what is it about the name Captain Jack that makes a character unfailingly awesome?). Speaking of: birthday, shit, I'm only a teenager for one more week! I should go out and do something irresponsible and reckless to make up for my total lack thereof as yet.

Larklight quote:

Among my mother's books I had once discovered a volume of stories by a gentleman named Mr Poe, who lives in Her Majesty's American colonies. There was one, The Premature Burial, which gave me nightmares for weeks after I read it, and I remember thinking that there could be no fate more horrible than to be buried alive, and wondering what kind of deranged and sickly mind could have invented such a tale. But as I lay there immobilised in a jar on the wrong side of the Moon with only a ravening caterpillar for company I realised that Mr Poe was actually quite a cheery, light-hearted sort of chap, and that his story had been touchingly optimistic.

<333333

Mem, you wrote fic, right? WHERE IS IT?
fahye: ([ss] this insubstantial pageant faded)
One of the stories in Peter Høeg's collection Tales of the Night has replaced Murder Mysteries as my new favourite short story. It's called An Experiment in the Constancy of Love and it's like it was entirely written with me in mind. It's about a female physicist who develops a theory of love and sets out to test it scientifically and I can't even explain how many buttons of mine it hits. Even the little grubby personal ones that I didn't even know I had, like suspecting that the feeling of utter displacement in one's own time is what keeps one figuratively frozen. And the fact that most things can fall under rigid scientific control, but right at the pinnacle of discovery there will be something sublime and inexplicable, and it will hurt. It will destroy your foundations and rip your world away but you will understand, in that moment, more than you ever have before.

The story is concerned, ultimately, with what Tom Robbins would call the single most important question of all time: how to make love stay.

It's perfect. It's perfect. It actually reminds me a little of Doctor Who, which you might think weird, but the relationship between the protagonist and her subject is very close, in many ways, to a gender-reversed version of the things I find intriguing about the Doctor and Rose's relationship. Time travel as a way of breaking emotional barriers; determined attachment on one side and created distance on the other; finding new aspects of yourself through the actions of someone that you have underestimated.

Outside it was pitch-black night, and with the cogent scientific mind's covert delight in mysterious parallels and synchronisms Charlotte noted that the storm which the young Jean-Luc had heard blowing up two hundred years before, and preserved for posterity in his diary, was once more beating against the windows and making the willow branches whiplash menacingly over the monument bearing Rousseau's sensitive features.

(JI. LOOK. *flails*)

I am seriously considering typing the whole thing up and posting it, if my fingers can stand it, because it's the kind of thing one wants to spill out onto others.
fahye: ([science] skeletal)
"The best part about being a pre-med student was that my laminated student ID stated my major: pre-med. I carried it in the front pocket of my jeans so that I could remove it throughout the day and gaze at it, reminding myself why I was there. When overwhelmed by a tedious microbiology lecture, I would simply pull out my ID card, look at my picture along with the words 'pre-med' and imagine myself at a future point in time double-parking my Saab convertible."

- Augusten Burroughs, Running With Scissors

~

HAHAHA. THAT IS MY LIFE RIGHT NOW. Right down to the tedious microbio lectures.

*so amused*

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