Wednesday, December 29, 2010

What are You Reading?

Hey Readers,
Just thought I'd let you in on what I'm reading and anticipate reading:

Current Reads

The Mysteries of Pittsburg - Michael Chabon

Amusing and insightful tale of a post-grad's transition into adulthood.

All the Pretty Horses - Cormac McCarthy

The Road didn't excite me they way it excited everyone who told me to read it.  I finished it to get it over with.  But All the Pretty Horses is a coming of age tale in the wild west.  John Grady Cole's love of horses and the repeated imagery of ghostliness create beautiful mental images of life in the desert.

The Book of Psalms - Bible

Spanning so many experiences with poetry, I always find the Psalms inspiring as a reader and writer.

Christmas Gifts

Jane Austen Collection (!)

Called Out of Darkness - Anne Rice

Interview with the Vampire is my favorite book, so I'm interested to get into the mind of Anne Rice.  Her personal transition from when she wrote the book, to regarding life differently many years later, will defnintely be insightful for someone (me) who sees so much depth in Interview

What are YOU reading?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

"...the feeling of verbal beauty..."




Just a passage from a book I picked up on a whim. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Poetic Memory

“...the brain appears to possess a special area which we might call poetic memory and which records everything that charms or touches us, that makes our lives beautiful."

-"The Unbearable Lightness of Being" via the Free People blog

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Jenny and Johnny Forever


Jenny Lewis and Jonathan Rice are Having Fun Now, but, for the most part, we aren't.


*This is a very interesting album review.  You all know I'm a sucker for a good review.  I've highlighted my favorite line in my favorite color.

Indie lovebirds Jenny Lewis and Johnathan Rice ooze hipster couple cool: they drive retro station wagons, talk on antique rotary phones instead of Blackberrys and go on double dates with Zooey Deschanel and Ben Gibbard.

And now Lewis, who's the frontwoman of Rilo Kiley, and Scottish singer/songwriter Rice, who have been dating for five years, are teaming up in the recording studio as well, releasing their debut LP, I'm Having Fun Now, under the name Jenny & Johnny.

The pair share vocals and play with light harmonies on Fun, a late-summer burst of sunny indie pop that can't help but recall that other she-and-him duo, She & Him. Sometimes Lewis and Rice hit their own original stride, like on the lilting "Big Wave" and on catchy standout track "My Pet Snakes," which is buoyed by the sort of bluegrass spunk that sprinkled Lewis' two solo albums. At other times, they run into the same doldrums that burden any album of twee folk: monotonous love ballads and heavy, hookless choruses.


But lest you fear Fun to be an exercise in trading sappy sweet nothings, Rice and Lewis seem determined to counter any hint of tenderness stemming from their real-life romance with dark lyrics. Lines like "It makes me queasy when you smile" are spit out with (tongue-in-cheek?) intention; "I don't think that two heads are better than one," Lewis sniffs on another track. On the surface, the album feels like August, and at its core, like February. 
Yet, not all the sentiment is calculatingly covered up. When they coo about "sleeping in a golden cocoon with you" on the plaintive "New Yorker Cartoon," it's a gentle reminder that Jenny and Johnny are lovers instead of sparring partners. By the time "Slavedriver" trades the vitriol for bubbling strings and acoustic guitar, it's hard to even focus on what haunting lyrics might be lurking behind all the sun-soaked handclaps.

"All the best of luck with your career," Rice tosses out ironically at the end of "My Pet Snakes," as if reminding Lewis (and us) that she'll hopefully be back fronting Rilo Kiley after this musical detour. Fun might be a dark and mixed bag, but for now, Lewis and Rice are having too much of it to care.

written by Jessica Misener

(*This is how you describe multi-faceted music!)

Thoughts?

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Book By It's Cover




These images of beautiful old books are from The Selby.  I love old books, the care that went into their covers as well as the stories they hold.  The feel of a a hardback book with a cloth cover is so much more inviting than a modern hardcover book with a reflecitve surface.  Someday, I'd like to decorate with old books that have beatiful, precious covers.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Fragile Times

Hello All!
My, my, my, it's been too long.  In this time, I've finished "Dreamhunter" by Laura Knox.  It is listed as a young adult book, but Laura Knox is mostly known for grown up fiction so it definitely reads beyond the years of a young teen.  The concept is about gifted individuals who have the ability to share their dreams with others while they sleep.  Some people even make a living off of dreaming for an audience in opera houses.  But many mysteries lie in the dream realm of course.....It was the kind of book that I could not stop reading!  I picked it up in a thrift store on a whime.  Now I'm on the look out for the sequel.

For my colloquium class on The American Dream, I am reading T.C. Boyle's "World's End" with the intention of making a presentation for November 16.  In the spring I'd read an article about Boyle.  He seemed more like a literary rock star, like Neil Gaiman.  When I saw on the reading list in class I knew I wanted to dive into it.  I raised my hand and said, "I'm taking Boyle," like it was going to be some great challenge or feat since I'd known nothing of his work.  This book is surely full, exciting, and keeps the reader on their toes.

For pleasure, since I read so much for my studies, I picked up Neil Gaiman's short story collection "Fragile Things."  I really enjoy reading a good short story inbetween studies.  There are many in this book to be disired, including a favorite that I read online months ago (also, a nominee for a Hugo Award), "How to Talk to Girls at Parties."

Happy reading to you all.  Please tell me what you are in the middle of these days.

-J.M.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Etsy, finally!


I have listed one pair of these earrings on Etsy (here).  I'll see if the sell well (soon) and then I'll decide if I want to list other things I've pictured here.  If your interested in seeing more on my Etsy site, please leave a comment!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Zine



I think the time has come for me to announce that I am a contributing writer to a music and art magazine called Hook and Line.  You can check us out here.  Recently, we've moved from limited printing to putting the magazine online.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Genius of Bradbury

image, devian art

“Embedded in the mud, glistening green and gold and black, was a butterfly, very beautiful and very dead" - A Sound of Thunder by Ray Bradbury

*posted via Sherri Dupree-Bemis' tumblr

Check out her band Eisley sometime. 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Power of the Written Word

















I love that there are very few things that books cannot do. They can pluck you from under the covers and drop you into the outskirts of your imagination. They can rearrange the chemicals in your brain until you feel happy and uplifted, or wistful and nostalgic. They can with the careful placement of words side by side remind you of places you have seen in the dreams of your childhood that you thought you had long forgotten.

-Stacey, Free People's concept intern

photo by me

This quote sums up some of the reasons why I have a passion for the written word.  It reminded me directly of how I used to carry around a book ("The Perks of Being a Wallflower," which I photographed at the time) to try to dissappear while I was in school.  I even walked around the hallway on my hardest days reading that book.  During my freshman year, I read it many times just to be in the mind of someone I could relate to.  I had no confidants in my school mates, so I looked elsewhere: in books. 

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Kaleidescope Eyes

I have many hobbies.  I've tried just about every form of art from childhood until now, and still dabble from time to time.  I have too many interests really.  Someday, when I'm aging on my front porch in the country with a husband, I hope that I will look back with joy knowing that I lived a full, adventurous life. 

In these lazy days of summer, mine peppered with studies still, I engage in childish things.  Pretty water color paintings, decorating pages in my notebooks and making jewelry are all so simply satisfying.  On Free People's blog, I found a new idea.  I recently organized all of the colourful friendship braclet string that I bought when I was probably ten.  Now, I've been inspired to make some long, colourful necklaces to wear each day.  Even when I'm not doing anything particularly exciting, I like to dress up my day dreams.

Check out the easy and fun tutorial here.


Friday, July 30, 2010

Wake the Earth

image by me


It has been quite a while since my last post.  These days I've been engrossed in Frank Peretti's "This Present Darkness" and what will be a life long hobby, yoga.  Us East coasters are all too familiar with unbearable humidity, but these past few days have been quite pleasant.  I've opened the windows, placed a tea light candle inside of a sea shell, and watched the water colors of sleepy summer sunsets with content (or Samtosa, a yoga principle I have to write a paper on.)  It seems that this season truly wakes the earth.  In the spring, little buds begin to open and leaves beging to form, but summer is the awakening.  Little creatures crawl and fly about, flowers are mature and abundant, it is a beautiful thing. 

To me, there's almost nothing better than being engrossed in a good book (I actually fall asleep reading "T.P.D." because I don't want to put it down), enjoying pleasant weather on my back porch and listening to an unbelievable music.  Listen to The Honey Trees once and you'll find yourself on BigCartel.com buying their "Wake the Earth E.P.", trust me. 

You said you're scared


But I'll catch you


If you fall


Don't fear


I'm right here

"Don't Fear" - The Honey Trees

Monday, June 28, 2010

Touch the Earth




Lately, I've been focusing on just a few books.  For a few months, I was in the middle of several.  But I realized that I needed to slow down after I bought a new book (A Rainer Maria Rilke) and felt that I simply couldn't start reading something else.  Then another problem arose: I've neglected to read the final chapter of Pride and Prejudice.  Not for lack of time, I just don't want to say goodbye to the Bennett family and the complicated courtship of Lizzy Mr. Darcy that evolves from seemingly impossible to beautiful. This in direct contrast to a conversation I had with the writer Robin Black at a reading.  She said that people tell her that they aren't interested in short stories because they attached to the characters and the story ends too soon.  Her simple answer to this was, "Just read it again."  I agreed and now I lie in bed ever night and re-read the chapter before the very end of Pride and Prejudice
     As far as focusing, I've chosen a book my grandfather lended to me.  Touch the Earth is an incredibly informative look at the Native American lifestyle through quotes, photographs, and excerpts of memoirs.  My grandfather is half Hiawatha and found himself in tears viewing his ancestors culture at the Native American museum in Connecticut.  I will surely visit it myself someday.  But I digress.
     I've found much admiration for the Native American culture through reading this book.  They did not chop down trees for firewood, the instead looked for fallen, dead limbs to burn.  The believed that they environment could be hurt.  The seemingly simpleness of such a lifestyle seemed savage-like to settlers who didn't take the time to try to understand.  In ways, I believe that the Natives were quite wise.  Sometimes, I think people can become so smart about big things that they can no longer understand the enormity of the humble and simple.  The Native American's acknowledged that they didn't own the earth, they didn't make it or control it.  They were allowed to live in it from a power outside their own.  This perspective reminds me of a time when my mother expressed her fear and reverence for the ocean.  She said that it, "allows us to swim in it."  It can choose to take your life with a tide, swell, or tidal wave at any moment.
     I'll be sure to keep you all posted on the interesting things that I journal about from reading the book.  It's very old and a great read if you can find it.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Say Something

Since I became enthralled with the Yeah Yeah Yeah's in middle school, I've been called a music snob.  I know I don't purposefully shun music that is popular.  I quite like Rihanna, and enjoy Fiona Apple as much as I love Iron Maiden.  To me, music doesn't rest high-tech gear, a million pedals, or even a nice guitar.  On the Classic Albums special about Nirvana's Nevermind, the sound technician talked about the cheap guitar that Kurt used to record the harrowing, barren "Something in the Way."  The guitar was cheap, and it sounded cheap, but the power of the song was in Kurt's story and his soul.

Here, one of my new favorites, John Mark McMillan, talks about this issue.  Sure, there are people who play guitar, and have nice voices, but make lifeless songs.  When I first listened to McMillan I wrote in my moleskine notebook, "John Mark McMillan is a real person."  There is a story behind his voice and his eyes that can't be overlooked, like the commonalities that we each miss every day.

"I read an interview with Bob Dylan a while back where he was asked about songwriting. Dylan's immediate response was "the world has enough songs". He said the world doesn't need any more songs "but a person who has something to say, that's a different story".


People often ask me how I write songs, but the question I would like to ask you first is: What do you really have to say?

Ultimately, I really don't care about your technique or your usage of metaphor. I don't care about your ability to communicate emotion with a melody. I, and the world, don't really care about your songs unless we, at least, feel like you have something to say."

-John Mark McMillan

Listen to his music here and check out his blog on my side bar.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

R e l e a s e

LETTING GO TAKES LOVE


To let go does not mean to stop caring,


it means I can't do it for someone else.


To let go is not to cut myself off,


it's the realization I can't control another.


To let go is not to enable,


but allow learning from natural consequences.


To let go is to admit powerlessness, which means


the outcome is not in my hands.


To let go is not to try to change or blame another,


it's to make the most of myself.


To let go is not to care for,


but to care about.


To let go is not to fix,


but to be supportive.


To let go is not to judge,


but to allow another to be a human being.


To let go is not to be in the middle arranging all the outcomes,


but to allow others to affect their destinies.


To let go is not to be protective,


it's to permit another to face reality.


To let go is not to deny,


but to accept.


To let go is not to nag, scold or argue,


but instead to search out my own shortcomings and correct them.


To let go is not to adjust everything to my desires,


but to take each day as it comes and cherish myself in it.


To let go is not to criticize or regulate anybody,


but to try to become what I dream I can be.


To let go is not to regret the past,


but to grow and live for the future.




To let go is to fear less and love more


Remember: The time to love is short


- author unknown

(From LeLove)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A rose by any other name...


"Wild haired woman
with mood ring eyes
afraid to be human
yet stomaching lies
her collarbones sing
with ethereal dust
and though it is Spring
she is rotting with rust
too old to be smiling
 too young to decease
 her soul keeps on trying
to make due at least."



This is a poem by Katy Rose. I was a passionate listener of her music as a teen and found comfort in the poetry on her blog. In ninth grade I wrote each poem over and over again in class (instead of taking notes.) I wanted to remember them all. This is the only one I can recite in it's entirety. I often did years ago when I felt the need to be soothed. It is no doubt my favorite.  I'm sure that her journals are still somewhere on the web.  Somewhere...


myspace.com/officialkatyrose

Sunday, May 23, 2010

quote no. 6



"...'cause I'm a dead man now with a ghost who lives
within the confines of these carbon ribs..."

-John Mark McMillan

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Power of a Name

photo by D. Shand


     A name can greatly impact the way one feels about themselves.  Oftentimes, children with odd names are alienated.  Some children with simple names may wish for something unusual like Ophelia or Prescilla.  For me, my name sort of towes a boundary.  It is not weird or strange, nor is it simple and traditional, just uncommonly heard. 
     When I was a child, my mother told me that she greatly considered Lotus Blossom.  It was my 'working title' while I was still in the womb.  I grimaced at the idea.  How could she imagine giving me such an unusual name?  Later, in middle school, I would think that I was nowhere near delicate or sweet enough (I had a Metallica fixation) to be named after a flower. 
     Recently, I read UnaCosa's blog post about her dreams of the lotus flower.  In Chinese culture it represents strength, creative power and virtuosity.  I now realize that I had quite a strong character for a child and have remained that way.  Creativity is the thread in the needle of my life's journey and virtuosity grealy applies to my many interests and artistic endeavors.  I now believe that it could have been a great name for me.  Perhaps I will save it for my daughter someday.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Put Your Raygun to My Head...



Back in the day, when I was a lone wolf, my life consisted of Princeton college radio, guitar, and magazines.  I would shlep my allowance to Barnes and Noble.  There, I would peruse the shelves for i-D, Preen and other expensive European art and fashion mags.  After sitting on the floor to calculate and deliberate, I'd chose which ones to take home.  In all that time the death of Raygun had already come.  I became addicted to Nylon in 2004 without knowing that the creater, Marvin Scott Jarrett, was responsible for one of the  most ground-breaking music mags of the 1990s.  All I'd known of Raygun was cover photos found on google searches.  But today, when I went to the library to renew my rental of Interview with the Vampire,  I noticed a strangely cool looking coffee table book on the national best seller shelf.  It was indeed a collection of pieces of Raygun!!!  Now it is in my mits for next three weeks.  The genious layout artwork is no doubt inspiring me for future literary endeavors.  We'll see...

Monday, May 10, 2010

To Pass the Time



"Remember childhood and the psychedelic summers, unscripted, crescendos of heat swollen ecstasy, with warm oranges and citrus fruits rinsing your soft palate with their fragrant juices, sylph bodies bare and browned, unbuttoned sundresses, and sea salt in uncombed tresses. When classrooms couldn't keep you, and you were young, drunk from the sun. "

-Susana-Cole

This exerpt from Girl Meets NYC reminded me of the unchained days of blissful summer youth.  Oh! memories and time all spilling over into one cool glass of lemonade under the sunn's delerious rays.  When I small, on days when the sun streamed through the clouds, golden, warm, and bright, I was sure that was an opening to Heaven.  I would look into that intangible glittering brightness breaking through and say, "God is right there."  Only recently did I again begin to look at the sky and believe.

Here, I've made a list of fun ways to spend summer days, just enjoy the brightness with the laughter that I once had in childhood:

1. Read! 

     I used to be an avid reader.  I carried a book around always.  I even preferred coats and jackets with big enough pockets for a book and a cd player.  At some point, I stopped keeping my mind constantly occupied with literature.  But this year I've turned back around.  Now I'm reading, Interview with the Vampire, The Sandman, and The Road.
2. Start painting again. 

     It's calming, fun, and perfect to do while listening to a favorite record.

3. Listen to a whole album without stopping. 

     I haven't laid on the floor in my room with headphones on while sinking into a musical meditative sleep in a long time. 

4.  Sit in a park to daydream and write or draw.  Go to Starbucks and people watch while you journal or sketch, like the French.

5. Have a tie dye party. 
    
     Your friends will thank you for allowing them to act like children again.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Where, oh Where?...

I have been very, very busy lately.  Busy with good, productive, and rewarding things.  In this absence, I have been steadily journaling in my Moleskine companion.  Just the other day, I heard an empowering lecture from the author Don Yost.  If you have the chance, go see him speak.  It's incredible.

Here, I leave you with an inspiring quote, not nearly as epic as the lecture, but relevant to these times.

"Doing what you have to to pay the bills doesn't mean you give up on writing." -unknown

Monday, April 26, 2010

Slow slow slow...

a well of darkness with streams of light penetrating the seemingly neverending void.

That is what the Slowdown sound like.  The feeling of the heavier tracks from my favorite Lovedrug album (Pretend Your Alive) and prog touches of Porcupine Tree come to mind but don't quite provide an answer.  That is why I belive no band should be described with another bands name unless they really do suck.  But, The Slowdown are far from that lowly place.  Give them a listen.  "Reappear" is my favorite.

This description of frontman Sam Hoskins on the Pitch alone makes you want to give them a listen:

"Then there's Sam Hoskins.

Lead singer, songwriter and guitarist Hoskins, like his music, is part ying, part yang. As a personality, he is at once all smiles and all serious. His lyrics tap the subjects of alien life forms and earthly matters, like the death of a loved one. (Hoskins lost his father four years ago.) His right arm is clothed in tattoos, while his left arm is blank. His all-black ensemble renders his skin pallid, and his shaved skull draws lookers to his blue eyes."
-Hugh Welsh

Monday, April 19, 2010

Before the Nightfall...


Robert Francis' lyrics read like good poems:

"I reached to grab the glowing rose
But instead it burned my hand
It was just a thousand moths covering a light
Hoping that they'd found land"

-Nightfall by Robert Francis

myspace

Dream a Little Dream


"...here, on the nightward shores of dream,
loneliness washes over me in waves,
lapping and pulling at my spirit."

-Dream in "The Sand Man: Preludes and Nocturnes"
by Neil Gaiman

Saturday, April 17, 2010

quote no. 5



"Wealth consists not in having great posessions, but in having few wants."

-Esther de Waal, author

photo source unknown

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Poem for Your Thoughs pt. 1


"i shot the lights out too"

i shot the lights out
on a million girls
when i should have stayed
balancing things
i could not save
born coward, taught slave
to be a fool
nourished on fears
and afraid

.....

i am lying alone
in a castle of bones
under a blanket
time to go
close the door
 leave me because i have only the one shot left
and i shot the lights out already

.....

-Ryan Adams "Infinity Blues"

These are my favorite parts of the poem.  Perhaps it's literary blasphemy to only quote parts, but I don't mind.

*photo source unknown

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Méfiez-vous des apparences....

"We wrapped our dreams in words, and patterned the words so that they would live forever, unforgettable."

This is my new favorite quote for a lifetime.  I read it just yesterday in Neil Gaiman's "How to Talk to Girls at Parties."  The title gives you the impression of a funny tale both innocent and perhaps a bit dirty.  But, as with all Sci-Fi, nothing is what it seems.  Read it here.  I've written many quotes from the story in my Moleskine so I can read them throughout the day and enjoy a state of wistfulness.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

I Remember Everything

"I don't think I can live with myself if I don't go to the Robert Francis show,"  I said to a friend last Wednesday.  I called her at nearly 6 o'clock, just hours before the event.  For three weeks, I'd been agonizing over the choice not to buy a ticket.  I had an important commitment at 8 o'clock sharp the next day and need to be, well, sharp.  But I couldn't take it.  So, a friend and I went to the show. 
     Robert Francis wore a plaid shirt, Levi's and no shoes.  He and his band brought Before Nightfall to life in a way that no stereo could convey.  After his set, I went to the merch table, Moleskine in hand, and said, "This might sound a little strange, but I've written about your music in my journal.  I was wondering if you might sign the page?  But don't read my journal."  He laughed at that and wrote:

Thank you so much for coming,
Love,
Robert Franics

I didn't hide the smile that overcame my face, as I was pleased with my whit, and said, "I'd like a t-shirt too."

Thoughts no. 1

"The optimist sees the rose, and not it's thorns; the pessimist stares at the thorns oblivious to the rose."

-Kahlil Gibran

I read this quote recently and it reminded me of a passage in "Letters to a Young Poet."  In the passage, I gathered that Rilke was saying that when someone enters a 'dead' state of existence (depression, or perhaps pessimism) he can no longer see the beauty around him.  Just yesterday, I was out for a walk and wrapped up in the vast world that my mind inhabits.  About twenty minutes in, I realized that I'd lost sight of the flowering trees.  The air felt like a warm bath (as Charlie in "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" would say) and the plants were parfuming the air in the most joyous manner.  I, on the other hand, was caught up in a thought that has been gnawing at my mind each day of late.  Recently, it has distracted me from the things that I should focus on.  After reading Rilke's passage last night, I realized that it was becoming my focus.  My almost overwhelming sense of empathy and sensitivity can make things hard, but I'm working each day to be an optimist-not oblivious to the struggles in life, but being able to see past them.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

quote no. 4

"They carried gravity."


-Tim O'Brien
"The Things They Carried"

(a Vietnam war memoir)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

quote no. 3

"The first time you swore was the first time it happened in history.  It was the first time on the face of the earth.  That is how unique, and powerful you are as human beings...when you write, you are saying, 'I was here.'  You are leaving a record of your existence."

-Don Yost, writer/ English professor

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Quote no.2




"...whereas we find a thick, if translucent, barrier between self and other, he was often without even the thinnest differentiating membrane."

-Stephen Mitchell on Rainer Maria Rilke



Over a year ago, I was gifted with the wonderful book "Letters to a Young Poet."  I wept when I read the little note on the front page that was written to me by a good friend.  Special isn't a grand enough word to descrite how I felt to be given that book.  It is something that someone cherished enough to underline passages that were powerful to them at some places in time.  Now, one year later, I have picked it up again.  This time, at nearly 3AM, I began to see myself in Rilke more than ever.

photo sources unknown

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

quote no.1

"If you approach the world with the apron of a servant, then you are allowed to go places that you can't if you approach it with the crown of a king."


-Jon Foreman
photo by andy barron