Jan. 3rd, 2003

The problem with being a hermit-in-training is that anytime you do actually go out into the world, the mob descends on you with redoubled effort, breaking through your atrophied mental defences and leaving you screaming (in your head, hopefully) "WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU FUCKING PEOPLE?" for the most trivial things.

For example, people who go to crowded supermarkets and act as though they are the only person in the store; the correlative being just people in general who move in public without the slightest awareness of or deference to the personal space or vectors of others. How do these people even get driver's licenses, with so little spacial awareness? Do we need walking licenses? 'Sorry, you can only shop at this store if you realise that blocking an aisle for two minutes while you select the proper brand of canned peas, discuss Celine Dion's favourite singers, or browse through a self-help book is unacceptable. Also out: standing immediately inside the entrance to a store talking with your three friends.'

--

Luckily, frustration was mitigated by an intense orgy of consumerism -- having not had any money at all over the holidays, all my latent holiday purchasing-desires were clamoring for release. To the detriment of my pocketbook; the idea was to buy a few things for me, and a few more things to mail back home to people as belated presents. In fact, I seem to have ended up with a little more 'me' than 'them,' though this was partially because Chapter's apparently runs out of books around this time of year. I'll just hope this is because they sold so many more books than they expected, because everyone suddenly remembered how much they love to read.

And immediately taking the award for 'CD which is the biggest pain of the ass to remove from its cover': Bjork's 'Greatest Hits.'

As my major indulgence, and the only reason I really left the apartment, I acquired Anne Carson's translation of Sappho's fragments, 'If Not, Winter'. It's a bilingual edition, so I fully expect to have learned ancient greek by the time I am finished. (Funny how that didn't work for the bilingual Lorca.) It's also a fantastically gorgeous book, which explains why it was a splurge, and not a thoughtful purchase of a meritorious text.

In short: lots of people together are annoying; lots of books together are expensive.

Oh yeah.

Jan. 3rd, 2003 03:35 pm
My new year's resolution this year: be nicer to people.


(No laughing!)

...

Jan. 3rd, 2003 06:13 pm
Fragment 31

He seems to me equal to gods that man
whoever he is who opposite you
sits and listens close
to your sweet speaking

and lovely laughing -- oh it
puts the heart in my chest on wings
for when I look at you, even a moment, no speaking
is left in me

no: tongue breaks and thin
fire is racing under skin
and in eyes no sight and drumming
fills ears

and cold sweat holds me and shaking
grips me all, greener than grass
I am and dead -- or almost
I seem to me.

But all is to be dared, because even a person of poverty


Fragment 47

Eros shook my
mind like a mountain wind falling on oak trees


~ Sappho, trans. by Anne Carson


--

I can't tell if reading fragments is more frustrating or more fascinating. Actually, most of the time it's pretty clearly frustrating, since a lot of it looks more like:

]
]
] pity
] trembling
]
] flesh by now old age
] covers
] flies in pursuit
]
] noble
] taking
] sing to us
the one with violets in her lap
] mostly
] goes astray

(Carson uses brackets to indicate places where text is missing, or illegible.)

But sometimes it opens up possibilities. That said, I'd like to know how that first one finishes.

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