Friday, January 31, 2014

& Change

My goodness, Change, how much I can write about thee.

Within the last few days, I've been ruminating about this phenomenon, change. It is, in continuation to my last post, a fundamental of life itself. But somehow, just yesterday morning, while walking outside at dawn heading to work, it occurred to me that change itself is such an abstraction by it's vulnerability to perception. Because that's all it is really: a metaphysical cognitive effect created by our mind's ability to fragment time and circumstance by our perception of them.

When you break it down again, everything in life is pretty much a creation of our own perception. Life itself is this perception. So it could be said that life as we know it, is only existing by our awareness of it. Thus: "I think therefore I am."

Under that 'clichéd' umbrella, it all seems pretty obvious. So much in life already is simplified and taken as understood, but then somehow without actually considering them, we might be living an unappreciated life that is bereft of further enlightenment. "Everything seems simple until you think about it." ― Audrey Niffenegger, The Time Traveler's Wife.

I took those few steps out the door and that's when it occurred to me that the sun's up, and it's pretty much been daylight for quite some time. And yet, I had come to overlook this, not by any carelessness, but due to two reasons, the first: that I had in my many years already come to accept the state of the day as how it came; in a nutshell, I took it for granted simply because this was the pattern that occurred each year; and secondly: so slight the increment in changing sunrise had been day to day that it became unnoticeable to my eye.

Both reasons harken to the very aspect of perspective. What exactly demarcated this phenomenon, change? Was it that which happened day to day? Or year by year? Or minute by minute? Yes, but of course everything fell under the category for measuring change, but change itself was changing through that individual acting as observer. So, far be it for me to wake even earlier each day to observe the lightening of the day from dark dusk to the second by second gradual changing of the morning sky and say with satisfaction, Eureka, I have witnessed change in its full glory. Rather, I awaken each day at the same time, while everything externally does whatever it's meant to do, with or without me, and thus my instrument of observation has significantly increased its unit of measurement: my observation of change bears witness every 24 hours. 

So what? Well, so much simply just gets lost in the tumult of life. And that's sort of ironic considering that all this is life. So much just goes by unobserved, and while that bears little significance to our daily duties and responsibilities which seem to take much higher priority in contrast to dilly-dallying about thinking idle philosophies, perhaps the weight of our burdens would be so much lighter if we did, because by our neglect of these observations we lose the ability to appreciate

This morning I walked outside, all bundled up like I usually am this winter. But suddenly it occurred to me, this is such a beautiful day. Sure, it was grey, the sun was not out, but a sort of balmy breeze was blowing and it wasn't the frigid cold wind that had been gusting the day before. The thing is, it was still -5C, and like I'd said before in Homeostasis, this is still a relatively low temperature. But but but, it was NOT, not to my perspective in that moment; I took that moment to observe that the weather was beautiful in comparison to the day before, and for that one moment - a mere few seconds - my observation heightened my appreciation for the near future; in fact, it made my entire day (thus far) so much more appreciable. The tiny injection of appreciation simply by my act of observing something I could have just as easily not notice made my own mood so much more greater, making my interactions with my coworkers also greatly more amiable, injecting energy into my own work, and also putting a smile of satisfaction and contentment on my bosses, all coming back around to benefit me. So there you have it. 

Today is a beautiful day, what can I say? (Oh yeah maybe it being Friday has some relevance also)



P.S. If you're looking for more to read, interestingly, I wrote about Change years ago (in 2009!) and you can find that post here.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Tone and Mood

Today morning, for some inexplicable reason, I am in a mood for poetry.
That vague abstraction wherein all moods tumble in the way leaves newly fallen glide along a pathway toward a lazy destination, and while it may be a tumultous sensation for some, for me, it is of having two feet not entirely touching the ground, of lost and stray thoughts coming and going, and a sense of the past interlocking with a lingering sensation of a forgotten future.

Tone has always been important to me. How someone says something to me is almost as effective as what they say. Sometimes, more so, depending on the person and context. Sensitivity being one of my stubborn characteristics (Achilles heel), I am quite susceptible to inflections in tone and vibrations carried across.

So goes it with tones in written content. I have read and appreciated the sensation of a writer's ability to create and cultivate a landscape of mood by tone while variously being criticized by others for lack of credibility in technical aspects such as plot, characters and/or intellectual proficiency of the writer him/herself.

I have a guilty pleasure of reading both chic-lit and YA (young adult) fiction simply because of this very reason: the whole feel that is generated out of reading these genres resound pretty well with me. Perhaps there is nothing profound about the actual story, or perhaps the concepts involved are those belonging to a younger generation or age, but somehow they still appeal to me simply because of the way the writer has written.

Likewise, I have browsed around on blogs, and observe how some bloggers (writers) produce a quantity of writing that is lauded by many readers, but after reading much of these pieces, I've felt something lacking in quality. In some instances, somehow sincerity starts to wither away in the writing produced, perhaps by repetition of similar themes, or rather I may get fed up of the same mushy-love-gratitude-sentimentality that keeps getting repackaged up in different wrappings and ribbons but, when you really consider it, remains the same. And the frequency of it happening also perhaps is influencing my perception because somehow it somehow negates sincerity. I also get literary turned off by pieces sounding like they had been written as school assignments; the expression of genuine thoughts and emotions becoming sadly wooden by trying to conform to a solid structure of formality. Or perhaps, this paragraph can be simply considered a rant, and we shall move on.

Mood. Isn't this such an amazing thing? On one hand we take it for granted in our everyday lives, because, well obviously it is part of our everyday lives, what gets us going each day, and more specifically what demarcates each day as different from the next. But then again, less intensely speaking, we often encounter this specimen of being 'not in the mood' or having 'mood swings'. Yet, imagine how absolutely mundane life itself would be if we were living just one baseline of a mood the entire time. Oh, certainly, that is what - in zen realms - we ought to aim for: walking the middle path, balancing all forces, that precise edge of contentment. But we were given (if you accept that something or some external force has the power to be a Giver) this glorious spectrum of colour; are we expected to learn to moderate so much that we relegate all these colours into one tone of mud brown or gray, or pristine black and white?

But we have it, and this is why one day we can say 'Mmm, why yes, today I feel like [having] a chocolate chip cookie, thank you!' and then tomorrow we decide, 'Ugh, no, are you insane? Chocolate? Ew, please.' Sure, it can be annoying, but - aha - it is annoying because it seemingly reflects a sense of fickleness, which for the most part certainly shouldn't be a good thing, but takes us to the idea of unpredictability. Which is, essentially, life.

The unpredictability of life is what injects that very colour (oh God please, Blogger, stop marking my non-American spelling as incorrect! SLAP) into it, and our capacity to experience an equally unpredictable spectrum of moods allows for a greater probability of possibilities.

And for now I shall allow you to assimilate this in all the glory of your multitude of moods, and will take up from where I have left off (hoping that I remember exactly where I was going with this) in my next post.

Song of Myself

I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.


Stop this day and night with me and you shall possess the origin of all poems,
You shall possess the good of the earth and sun, (there are millions of suns left,)
You shall no longer take things at second or third hand, nor look through the eyes of the dead, nor feed on the spectres in books,
You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things from me,
You shall listen to all sides and filter them from your self.


- Walt Whitman

Monday, January 27, 2014

Ingenuity

Today I read an article with the quote below,  in perfect timing with respect to my previous post:

As Dave Gray, an innovation consultant and author of Gamestorming, says:

“Creativity is driven by constraints. When we have limited resources, creative thinking is enhanced. That's because the fewer resources you have, the more you are forced to rely on your ingenuity.”

(courtesy: Golden Girl Finance)

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Metamorphosis of the Butterfly

Somehow, I seem to find connections between almost everything and anything. They just pop up. When I may be thinking some odd thought randomly, then another thought comes around and connects to the previous one, or something happens to make me think, hey, that's just an extension to this thought...or sometimes, someone else comes out expressing their own thoughts and their thought just somehow aligns itself in symphony with all those already going along the motorways of the mind.


Technology

For some time, I have had this ongoing love-hate relationship with technology. No-brainer, right? Because, who doesn't? We've developed a high level of dependency upon technology so that when something actually goes wrong with whatever gadget we are dependent on, it's almost as if the world's ending. Waiting just an extra two seconds more for something to perform or load drives us insane. If the microwave doesn't work, 'oh my God, how do we eat?'.  We lose a phone, our life has become traumatizing. If, God forbid, the power goes out, well, gee, we may as well die. 

Microwave example aside, I'm going to pick on those devices which entail furthering communication. It boggles my mind, observing how dependent people have become on their devices; getting on a bus and just observing people, dozens, hundreds, all just focused on this tiny rectangle. That's become their world. If something happens to their phone - they lose it or it just doesn't work - it suddenly catapults the person into a whole new sphere, almost like rendering them on a deserted island, in total blackout, radio silence, traumatic isolation.

I can say this with my idealistic scorn of course, because I have absolutely no dependency on cell phones. Or, to be more honest, on my own possession of one. In full disclosure of asserting this, I have to admit that I do depend on others' having cell phones to fully optimize our communication. But other than that, my sole technological dependency is via the computer system. My laptop. 

While I spend a good amount of time at a computer - all day at work, and often hours at home also - I do enjoy the time away from being 'on line'. I enjoy being unfettered while outside, and not being one of those phone-absorbed people. Maybe I am old-fashioned, but having phones when outside were once just things to be used in case of an emergency. Now they have meshed so tightly with our everyday lives that they have superseded all other activities.

My 'beef' is with how less we are using our minds with the progress of technology. I harbour this deeply embedded sensation of us as civilization creeping up this graphical curve, slow at first with our lack of technology, then zooming ahead faster and faster at full speed as we develop technology that allows us to perform the most basic actions with greater facility and efficiency, but then we suddenly start slowing down, because with so many machines doing the work for us, suddenly our dependency has become our handicap, and we have forgotten how to actually think.


Imagination

Kids these days have so many options with which to engage their time. Computer games, video games, television, talking books, ...iPads for their own personal use to do all of that. They're born into this new technology-drenched era, so much that to think of any other possibility does not even occur to their mind. It's become taken for granted now that they are entitled. 

But, while it's normal for kids to be able to get a handle on utilizing the most advanced technology and programs, being able to text and type without even trying - things which make the older generations gawk, somehow in the broadening of their accessibility to the world in general, they (we) have in fact put a border on how our minds can grow. 

Imagination, for example, seems to have become one of the foremost casualties in this burgeoning world of technology. You hardly find children today being able to 'make-believe': giving them a bunch of lifeless and unconnected items and they will lose any interest in them almost immediately. Gone is the potential of using our own minds to infuse creativity and life into otherwise lifeless objects and circumstances. I spent my entire childhood creating stories, games, entire story-worlds; hand-me-down toys from other well-off children came alive with their own personalities and entire background stories. Pocahontas became Quasimoto's sister-in-law, John Smith became an Amitabh-Bachchan-song dancer in the Smith Brother's Pub & Grill. Kitty, the Simba-replicated stuffed animal with absolutely no batteries became the official family pet and went everywhere we travelled. Our tiny square of backyard became a huge world wherein our tiny toys had their own farmland, kingdoms, and camping grounds. 

Now, the idea of 'make-believe' almost doesn't exist for children. It has evolved with the last generations to remember what it was, and has almost taken more carnal and definitely adult meanings: "role-play". Once upon a time, role-play was what kindergarten kids did with the random props and dress-up box. Now, I don't even have to explain what has become of the word, because so ubiquitous this evolution, it becomes unnecessary. 

Oh, I know I sound like an aged old woman, and while I am the kiddiest girl around for my age, I also know that while I am a kid at heart, I have an ancient soul. I grieve for the coming generations. Rather than their brains developing new and exciting neuro-pathways creating vast portals of discovery and intellect, the networks that are actually lighting up are those of machines. 


Interaction

The loss of performing what may be perceived as useless activities, such as fooling around with inanimate objects or running around on the streets, comes with the gain of greater interpersonal interaction. Connections are available at the press of a button, communication is accessible round the clock. We've spanned the world hundreds of times, and when once you could be anywhere just by imagining it in your mind, now it's feasible: through technology you are actually capable of connecting to that same place, actually speaking with someone 928502394823 miles away and not just in your imagination.

In elementary school, I was one of just 3 people who put up their hands when our geography teacher asked us who had a computer at home. Then that total number of people went down to two when he then asked who had Internet, my hand still up in the air. I had very little idea of how profound that word, Internet, would actually become, despite being one of the special ones in possession of this Holy Grail.

Perhaps that is what demarcates the concept in my mind so emphatically. I have been on both sides of that line; witness to and part of a generation undergoing profound revolution, consequently I am less susceptible to that sense of entitlement.

But then again, I grew into that generation at a younger age, and taking that in consideration, I can then also understand how parents of our generation would have been even more suspicious of connecting with others through electronic devices. Once upon a time, suspicion of anyone absolutely unknown in person was already in place, now where you cannot even see who it is that you are communicating with - not even a voice, as even with the telephone - imagine the horror.

Years after that moment in my geography class - my short-lived temporary glamour dissipating with the concept becoming so much more mainstream - in high-school, one of my best friends one day told me about this guy she met on the internet, and how they were...well, involved. At that time, I couldn't fathom it. I was already enduring the teenager-fixation of high-school crushology at that time (and boy, was I swimming in that!) that to even comprehend this strange idea of my best friend talking to this random guy on the internet, then somehow falling in love, was totally mind-boggling. Of course, being an open-minded carefree soul, I just accepted it (or maybe I was too entrenched in the drama of my own 239842039840923 crushes at that time) and figured as most crushes at that time and age, it would also be a short-lived thing.

Boy was I wrong. Years (and years) later, she is now engaged to him. And this is amazing taking into consideration 1. the number of years that has actually passed since they first met and 2. they still live where they lived when they met. Her in Toronto, he in California. Of course, there've been numerous visits. But yes, they made it!

But that doesn't even come to me as a shock. Not now. Somewhere down the line, I somehow aligned my appreciation for the internet with my innate belief in love being possible in any form. After high-school, I still wasn't in the fold yet. I went through another year of university before the total unrestricted access to computers and internet finally seeped into my bones and took root.

First came writing. Writing, as I have discussed before, was my companion. When disaster struck and I found myself totally surrounded by a tormenting bubble of loneliness, it was writing that became my balm.
But, even before I really needed it for this reason, I had stumbled upon a blogging site when stalking my new uni best friend's crush for her. (Yes! After all this lengthy and somewhat dry discussion, you finally get some juicy gossip.)

So, this is how it went down. Calculus tutorial. I met her, she met me. We became friends. Became best friends. She confessed a crush on dude. I tormented her by teasing her in millions of ways, i.e. going to talk to him, dancing behind his back for her to notice him, well---let me stop the list before you really think I am crazy. If I haven't really told the story before, I shall save it for another post. In summary, we were in the library one day (well we were usually there, duh) and he happened to be using one of those computers you stand at to do a quick check for whatever, and while she did her usual freeze-wideneyes-hyperventilate routine, I managed to sneak up behind him, but him being 6 feet tall I couldn't see much,  then he just picked up his bag in his usual fastidious and oblivious manner and left, and that's when I noticed he'd left his page open. And it was his blog.

There you have it folks. The key to this portal.


Granted, his blog was on a totally different server, and it took a lot of random stalking his url and dropping random comments under weird aliases (like ApplePie Is Yummy) just to make her have panic attacks (for whatever reason she worried (more like freaked out) that he would know these weird comments ("Hey Grandpa, green apples.") were connected to her. Like really.

But that's how the flicker of a butterfly's wing can create a tsunami across the world.


Connecting

The evolution is predictable. From dropping anonymous comments, to becoming a registered member, to having my own blog, to recording preposterously insane moments with my university friends, to one day having a traumatic experience then suddenly really, actually NEEDING to write for my own solace. Then being on the internet, it only was natural that I encountered people I never met.

I've always been pretty cautious with regards to actually getting close to anyone. Not just strangers on the internet. Friendly, sure, I can do friendly, and everyone who meets me usually gets that impression - unless I want you not to because I do not like you. I have said this before, and I say so again, I have always preferred just having a very select few of very quality friends over a large group of acquaintances. Experience is talking here - the sort which makes a person need writing for solace in the first place.

Then I landed in a place where I was suddenly as anonymous as I chose to be. Then I realized, this is a two-way street. We've been looking at the fact that in the anonymity of the internet therein existed the threat, when on the other side of the coin, there was immeasurable safety and freedom in being anyone - or better yet, no one at all. Then I became liked, and being liked, I became a friend. I became a sister, a confidante, a role model and a best friend. With people who were strangers over the internet.

10 years later. I'm here. I've lived a whole lifetime with those people who became my family. When we have more or less gone our own ways, reminiscing makes me feel as if I am recollecting a previous life. And the sensation is another confusing experience. It once again propagated me into a phase wherein loneliness was my companion, and somehow, I've become even more discriminating about who I let get close to me, and at what distance and for how long.



 Kindred Spirits

When I consider the ease with which children - or rather not only children but those younger than myself seem to be much more vulnerable, no? - are sharing their personal information, sending across pictures, voice chatting, facetiming, whatsapping, with strangers, I cannot help but feel uneasy. I've encountered my own fair share of really really strange individuals on the internet for whom exploiting such information, making threats etc. is apparently what entertains them.

I'm not usually quick to trust just anyone, and this should obviously be how we all are. I have this...thing...with regards to being able to 'feel' a person's personality. Again, this is something I just can't explain. It's what allows me to understand and empathize with a person. It's what makes my literary caricatures of those individuals I put into stories seem so aptly like them.

But those special few. I don't know. There is something even more ineffable about the circumstances of how they happen. We could consider the myriad 'what ifs' that could have taken us on very different paths, but for some reason I really feel that no matter what other hand of cards we'd been dealt and however else we chose to play them, somehow we'd have still inevitably met. Like the dove coming home to its roost every night, somehow perhaps that is how the soul works.

We have connections with everything and everyone simply by our very existence within this huge ecosystem. But sometimes, special connections just pop up. Cherish them.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Stephanie Meyer, A Word If I May

One of the sites I frequent often is Goodreads. You know the sites I mean: everyone has that handful of 'bookmarked' sites they always head to first when online. For some people it's Facebook, others Twitter, some Hotmail, Yahoo, and some Blogger. These are the ubiquitous examples, and now I introduce Goodreads.

Well, not literally 'introduce'. I know there are a few of my Blog readers who are already acquainted with Goodreads. Anyways, that's not exactly why I am writing.

When in my Idly Browsing About The Internet phase, I often just peruse book recommendations and book reviews - written by other members on Goodreads - and sometimes click around the odd Book Discussion forum topics.

NO SPOILERS. (as such)

This morning, I stumbled upon a discussion on the book The Host by Stephanie Meyer - which more people might be familiar with as it had been made into a movie. (Aside: if the name Stephanie Meyer rings a bell (for those who do not already know this), she was the author of the YA Twilight series. The Host  was her attempt to cater to an older audience, as such it is not technically a YA novel. This could be debatable.)

The discussion in particular centered around this question, "should there be a sequel made?" The response was highly varied, from absolute die-hard SM fans gushing a resounding yes, and an equal number of others saying no. Some, like myself, tendered a rather tentative response that fluctuated between a yes and no, conditional upon case-scenarios.

What mostly occurred to me, while scrolling through the pages of responses was that 99% of the responses missed out on something. Why does a sequel have to be defined as the continuation of a story inclusive of the same characters, following off the previous plot?

Specifically: I think a sequel would be a very good idea, if this sequel actually took in consideration the amazing context Meyer had already created. The substantive background that served as the stage upon which her characters lived was/is as unique a concept that it deserves living again.

The characters in The Host, however, have already lived out their story. The ending of both book and movie served that purpose, and furthering the story specific to the book would be a bit of prolonged torture to fans who might only become disillusioned and dissatisfied with the entire project.

Not having been a Twilight fan - book or movie - (I've never relished the conversion of books into movies; my own imagination seems to outdo that of movie-makers) I also hesitate to endorse a sequel being made solely with an intent to commercialize on Meyer's success, and to again make a literary endeavor more of a franchise. Cashing in on this rather than concentrating on the actual creative accomplishment of the author is what most readers should be wary of.

Again, I feel that the theme and context developed in The Host possesses lots of potential that could be and should be used and optimized. Carrying on with the same characters would be exploiting, not optimizing the theme. She created an entire new world and limiting her fictional universe to a mere handful of individuals localized in one place within such a huge world would be a...huge pity. Developing parallel stories would open up so much potential.

 If only she 1. somehow read this, 2. took this all in consideration and 3. actually listened to me, eh?

Pig

I have never been one to be much into politics. Mainly because I'm such an idealistic person that I see rainbows, stars, and unicorns floating about my head most times. And no, I'm not on crack.

Of course, if you put those two words - politics and crack - together, you get one result: Rob Ford. Who's that, several of you may ask. He's the mayor of Toronto, and has been in the headlines for his 'crack scandal' (and other similar reasons) putting the biggest metropolitan city in Canada on the global map for its shame.

Still, I didn't much care, except to scoff, roll my eyes, and shake my head with aplomb; what else was expected, anyways? He's a politician.

Granted, not every politician gets busted for smoking crack, and other drunken and under-the-influence behaviours. Certainly, other politicians already beat that (re: )

And many other politicians are worse: when you've been familiar with the 'Indian' bureaucracy and all that which happens (often depicted in hindi movies- so I confess, maybe my idea is a bit, err, skewed) you only expect the word 'corrupt' to go hand in hand with politics. And I don't only mean to highlight India, so do not be offended; the infamy of politics and government through history has only highlighted those famous words "Power corrupts". (For more background on this quote, go here. Because I'm linking it, I obviously recommend you do.)

So, if I'm not really shattered to pieces by any of this happening, why am I writing about this so called issue? Well, I actually got to thinking about it, in my idealistic moralist way. About what exactly? Well to better answer that question, it should be rephrased as "why exactly":

Yesterday evening, I grabbed the Metro (mini-newspaper-thingy-for-commuters) to read on the way home. I came across this article about this other Toronto MP pushing for a chance to pose beside our Prime Minister at the holy site of the Western Wall in Jerusulem:

The Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem is considered one of the most sacred and holy sites in Judaism.
But when Prime Minister Stephen Harper visited the spot on Tuesday, a Conservative MP nearby was apparently focused on how joining the PM's photo-op may improve his re-election chances.
(excerpt courtesy Huffington Post; read full story here)


So, of course, following that, the man had no choice but to show some sort of remorse with his lack of tact (for lack of a better word) so he makes a statement saying - wait for it - "I was joking".

Err, yeah buddy.

So, all this got me thinking. This man goes to this place where it's all about international relations and diplomacy and he's pushing and shoving and yelling for a photo-op just because it's going to get him re-elected. Then you have Rob Ford, who again gets splashed on front lines because a video is released showing him drunk, cussing and insulting chief police officers, among other people, and yet he asserts that it's what he does in his own time and no one should give him grief for whatever he says or how he talks while with friends. Which is, of course, a point.

But what exactly does that say? That who you are in front the cameras will be different from who you are in reality? That you're only mucking up, hogging for the cameras, showing a 'good side' and yet it's still an act, because what you do in your time is solely your business?

If he were only, say for example, a mere celebrity, maybe I'd be okay with that. Even then, celebrities have to kind of pay attention to their own actions because of the inevitable (unfortunate) effect of being 'role models'. But being a politician is one step further isn't it? You have to really buck up, make good, and stand by it. Sure, no one is dumb enough to expect glowing and flawless candidates; we know no one is perfect. But, by being a politician, you are stepping into a position where you make decisions crucial to the well-being of thousands upon thousand of people. You are representative of their moral compass.

Who you are does have everything to do with the public. Because your beliefs, philanthropy, and politics are an extrapolation of your personality. And when your true personality - exemplified by derogatory, disgusting behaviour - is splashed out for your people to see, that's pretty damn telling.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Homeostasis

Despite my appreciation of the few glimpses of sunshine that I've witnessed in the past few days (re: Illumine post on Lucid Iridescence) the Winter seems to refuse to give ground and relent. In fact, it's been a tease; edging back just a few degrees to give us just a little hope and warmth, to only return in full splendour with it's mind-numbing plunging negative double digit centigrades.

One thing I have also considered is how variable the mind and body is with regards to what we define as cold and hot. A co-blogger has dedicated a few posts in decrying the winter cold that has been killing him every  morning where he has to take a bath. The first time I read this, I raised an eyebrow, then performed a quick Google search: Bangalore temperature. Result: 23 degrees Celsius. And that is COLD.

That's COLD? I would easily chop my much beloved hair off if I could have 23°C right now. I've been numbed down into accepting -10°C as mere warmth, just by the relativity of having to endure -30°C temperatures for way way too long.

Then I had to step back and also admit that in 23°C in Summer, I get really cold just by a mere cool breeze. I abhor air conditioning, and I actually love sitting in just-opened baked interior of a vehicle. Yes, I love heat. But yes, I do also get a bit irritable in those absolute sizzling humid days with no air to breathe.

I often try to keep in mind the possibilities I could have been experiencing when I am stuck in such extremes. On the coldest days, since I was a little kiddo, I had this tendency of announcing that this frigid temperature was nothing but a hot tropical day, and would envision the palm trees, white sands and turquoise waters that were requisite to that fantasy. Of course, this was usually met with weird and blank looks and, from those who had the temerity to do so, such as my sister, the odd rude comment.

Did it help? I would say that yes, for some weird psychologically-rooted reason, it did. Maybe it was just that element of perspective that endorses the saying "mind over matter". In the same way that telling myself that other people had it worse out there, that my hunger was just a petty thing in the big picture, or that my heartbreak was a damned luxury when you consider the poverty and hardship others endure. Perspective.

Then again, I wonder, why was it so difficult to retain that capacity to endure whatever varying temperature per season? For example, when I feel that 0°C is actually a veritable holiday after all these weeks of -20°C etc., why could my body not appreciate this when in Summer, I felt that a drop from 30°C to 25°C was devastatingly cold?

Again, I recalled how chilled to the bone I had been when, in September and October, I was hugging myself and blinking away wind-borne tears from my eyes as the wind whipped me at a mere temperature of 5°C. To consider 5°C now would have me bouncing off the walls with joy!

Of course it's all because of our damned physiological system. Homeostasis. We're warm-blooded, so go figure: this is all for our own survival. Yeah, but but...Aahhhh. Patience. Patience. This is all a lesson in patience. Breeeeaaaath.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Inspiration



The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who'll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you're sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that's almost never the case.”


― Chuck Close

Snow All Winter



I go to sleep alone, and wake up alone. I take walks. I work until I'm tired. I watch the wind play with the trash that's been under the snow all winter. Everything seems simple until you think about it. Why is love intensified by absence?”

― Audrey Niffenegger, The Time Traveler's Wife

Illumine

This is what I love: the magical appearance of hues of colour spreading upon the canvas sky, brushed upon with a million shades, upon a dark and gloomy winter morning. The light still remaining upon the horizon on an evening re-entering the outside cold after a long day in the office, when for days, weeks, months, in what seemed to stretch a whole lifetime of waiting, the sun had bid adieu long ago.

And today, this is what I love: the bright moon waiting patiently as I entered the outside dawn still dark, the glimmer of lighter blue upon the edges of the patchwork sky. The sun had yet to visit, but I was assured that it would definitely come. And it did, and shone bright, reflecting off the frigid cold, glancing off the crystal ice.

And walking through the dark night fallen, this is what I love: the solitary streetlamp which remained dark until I passed under, it flickering itself a hello as I went.

This is what I love, and why not, for what I love is hope.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Luxury

Emotional isolation is usually conducive to the optimization of creativity. Experience, at least, indicates this is so. I have always found a natural rapport with my creativity through the inevitable sense of loneliness that has always accompanied me wherever I went. Wherever I go. Even in the closest intimacies of friendship and love, in companionship with those closest to heart, it accompanies me. Perhaps this might be concerning, and definitely would be to one more practically and logically inclined, but to my own mind - inexplicably emotional and sensitive - this is only natural.

Duality has always existed; black, white, dark, light, good, bad. It exists as existence itself. To be, therefore somehow only balances this immeasurable sense of loneliness. Maybe, therefore, it exists for each and everyone  of us, but as each individual is as unique as its DNA, our own capacity to recognize it varies on millions upon millions of frequencies.

I have always seemed to find a mutual and comfortable rapport with those similar in emotional-frequency to myself - which after having been said, seems already an obvious observation. But I do: I feel at home with those who also recognize and bear witness to their solitary dependency on feeling. I hesitated there to label the sentiment and restrict it to that label; that feeling is melancholy, even sadness, but it is not only that. The poignant place within oneself where words clash with emotions and churn out beautiful masterpieces on one end of its spectrum, or equally nullify themselves into a white noise of a blank canvas of silence.

Labeling to maintain order sometimes makes things more confusing. This post, for example, would naturally be posted in my "Prose" blog at Lucid Iridescence, for all the emotional sentiments shared herein, but for some reason, I am not posting it there. This post was initiated by a intention to explain myself - perhaps once again, and maybe at the risk of becoming a tedious repetitive bore - and my inability to write the way I have been used to. Oh, I know that I don't need to explain a thing, but for some reason I do.

Maybe it is only to myself, afterall that I seek explanation. January has seemed to come in its own stead a whiteness and coldness that has isolated us all within the warm cocoons of our own being. I miss a lot of people, and yet, somehow I do not. Because I accept that we are all in our own places and that this too will pass. But I do miss them. I miss you. If it has been understood, perhaps I feel a need to have it said regardless. Friendship is that which I have always maintained as important, crucial. And when you make some which are deep and resonate beyond normal frequencies of superficiality, sometimes it is often as if we have merged as one and consequently become incomplete without that strong resonance coming down the string of our instrument.

As an empath, I've always felt the being of others very profoundly. It has allowed me to understand and absorb the aura of that person within me, and to learn to be another person through that connection. This is a phenomenon that is almost indefinable because it involves letting go of words and descriptions, because they only form barriers and restrictions, and to open oneself up to actually being. 

Like my prior post which entails the conversion of "ME" to "WE", I have found myself observing a number of abstract ideas all superimposing: in one way, maybe we have all been submerged under the waters of recovery; under water we do not dare open our mouths to speak for we shall drown. Our silences could be our time for 'me'. And yet, it has been noted, we have also been quite much more busier with the practical aspect of life, and consequently had less time to devote to 'me'. Even as I have been loitering around on my own blog, and those of others, I had undergone a phase of not wanting to actually 'talk' - I felt an inexplicable resistance to comment, or respond to comments. In sorting out cause and effect, I am not entirely sure which came first. Was it because I had grown used to being silent because of being too busy 'with life' that I was more reluctant to communicate more? Or was it because of something deeper within, which had triggered a phase of radio silence and only prolonged more through the excuse of being busy?

Another blogger recently wrote a post that put to words another of my thoughts: the disparity in walking in another person's shoes vs. still not being able to be able to see life through their eyes and mind. This blogger is one of the few persons who this entire post is somewhat dedicated to. This blogger has made an effort recently to write more often, and interestingly, though no longer surprisingly, the thoughts which have been expressed have been mirroring my own. Another blogger, impressively, has been writing (obviously) undeterred, and the theme and sentiments which always pour forth from this blogger's mind and heart have always soothed my own because of how easy it is for me to slip into that same melancholic place.

I somehow stumbled on a quote a few days back that said something with regards to melancholy (one of my favourite words), by one of my favourite authors. And I find it again for my reader's sake:

"..Melancholy - that cheapest and most accessible of luxuries . . .” -- Charles Dickens

For, despite it being a torrential affair that could involve a plethora of negative connotations, it is a beautiful luxury. I firmly assert that it is this state wherein some of the most beautiful creations are born. 

Maybe, we are given the opportunity to rail away at what we do not like or want just for the realization what exactly it is that we do like, what we want. If we were always appeased and content, we would not know better. 

I want to be able to write again, and I want to because I know I have done so and done it well in the past. But then I have to remind myself, that most often in the past writing has been my sole companion; it is because of my loneliness that most of my best writing has occurred. Once, in longing for that one soulmate to be able to share and tell everything to, I turned instead to the pen and paper, and put words down to keep my memories intact. Now, I am at a loss for things to write, but again, this is because what I wanted most has happened. Brings to mind that classic warning: be careful what you wish for. Because I got it, I guess...and yet I shouldn't be railing against this fate, because it is the best thing life's given me. 

In duality again, perhaps one passion could be viewed to oppose another, one as a substitution for another. But why, exactly does this have to be that way? It doesn't. That's all.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Capricious

Happy Birthday, Friend!

You know who you are. Wishing you the best life has to offer you and the wisdom and acuity to recognize it for what it is, and more moments to record your experiences in writing... :)

Oh yeah: your gift.... hot water guaranteed ALWAYS (or, as long as the Earth remains...and hot water baths would be the least of your worries if not..)

Hot Water Spring installed in BirthdayPerson's backyard.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Morningness

Immediately as I stepped out my front door, I felt it. Morningness.

"Morningness" isn't a word, of course, and it goes without saying - yet of course, by saying this I am nevertheless saying it - that with every day that comes as naturally as has been done for eons and eras, we witness a morning. Well, 'we' also should be stipulated to mean the collective best known as humankind since not all of us are awake to actually bear witness to this event. But anyways: morningness. Every morning, technically, is a morning. (WOW - full marks for genius). And yet, this morning, something differed, something that made me immediately think 'yes finally, this is morning'.

I am a morning child. I was born in the quiet sunshine of a quiet morning, and that may or may not have anything to do with my being a morning person. I will admit that despite this assertion, I usually do have to force myself to open my eyes, and pull myself out of bed. But that shall be explained in good time.

And that good time is now. I don't consider 'morningness' to be what happens in the cold, dark, grimy and gloomy mornings of the North American winter. Ugh. Ok, that said, new point to note: I am a summer child. Born in the teetering warmth that is already tipping over to welcome the cooler Autumn, that's me. But then agian, Spring is my favourite season. Yeah, confusing you with all these random observations?

To the point: this morning I stepped outside, and I was not ambushed by the frigid fingers of unbearable cold wind that had, for the last few months, clawed itself at me, trying to get a hold on my warmth; seeping through my 109480194 layers, sliding under my hoods, slipping into my boots, clutching onto tendrils of hair escaping under its onslaught. No sirree, none of that today.

Today, there was a quiet peace. I almost felt like I was stepping out into a beautiful summer day, because the wind was not howling, and there was a stillness that I almost forgot could exist outside. I walked down my driveway and didn't feel the treacherous slippery ice below. Slowly, almost holding my breath while taking all this in, the bubble of ecstasy grew. And grew:

For up in the sky, was colour. Fuschia intermingling with clementine tangerine oranges, flirting with tendrils of white and sky blue. Splashed out far and wide, and not one bit ashamed of itself. Which, I do say, it should be, for having hid itself from me all these months! But, my word, it was simply beautiful. 

I almost danced a jig.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

140

Yes, so as I was saying yesterday - or rather, wittering on rather nonsensically - I figured that part of my lack of writing could be attributed to that of being busy with work. But the thing is, then the holidays dropped down, and suddenly I was relatively 'unbusy' and had a whole bunch of time to let loose and fill these pages with words and words and more words. But did it happen? Nuh uh. Of course not!

So that got me thinking. What the hell is your problem, girl? I dunno. Then comes that other thing: I've been twittering quite a bit in comparison to writing anywhere, and perhaps, just perhaps, that somehow satiated my lowered threshold of needing to write. Sounds sort of pathetic though if you think of it that way: my passion, writing, was brought to its satisfaction through just 140 characters? Shame on you, girl. Shame!

But then again there is just something quite...different....in tweeting that one (read, moi) doesn't really encounter elsewhere. Just as I take pleasure in having a small group of followers here, just like I revel in having just very few, but absolutely amazing, friends, over the mass quantity of mere acquaintances, I also revel in the anonymity I find when tweeting. And that is also kind of weird, when you think about it. I'm all anonymous here; I go by a pseudonym (yes, I must confess, IQ is not my name -- shock shock to those who might have thought it was, ohmagawd. Mucho apology) and do not on Twitter (do not, please, harrass/stalk/threaten/coerce/bully those you believe may possess this knowledge because you do not. If I wanted you to know, I wouldn't go by a pseudonym, genius). But, I still feel more anonymous on a place where my face and name are out in the open, and here I kinda do not.

I guess there is some comfort in being able to just say anything, keep it short, and not feel that obligation that comes with writing more than the requisite 140 chars, of having to write something that would do myself proud. I mean, I tweet the most absurd, random, and often unnecessary things. Oh, yes, I drank tea. It is snowing. Blah di blah di blah. Yeah okay, who cares, right? And that is just it. If I wrote that here, I sound stupid. Lame. And no, it's not just how I seem in front of you, or a matter of being self-conscious or whatever, to blog such mundane inanities just seems lame to me. 

So yeah. That's another bit about why I haven't been writing..

Mental

It's sort of weird, time. I mean, I was at a loss to actually 'find time' to write while navigating the daily schedule of work; after a long day spent at the computer, it seemed that it was a bit much to ask from myself; that time away from that special place where the mind could sit in it's creative space and just write also seemed deserved. I don't know how it so happened that my passion became a chore. But it happened.

Perhaps it was the ambiguous presence of expectation rising up stealthily like fog. Getting into a habit where others somewhat depend on you sometimes creates its own rut of reluctance, in a way. Don't get me wrong: the readership in this place has been nothing but effusive, loving, supportive and amazing. So don't think that it's you. It's me.

But (oh yeah, there had to be a but), while it's me, it's what's created in my own mind with respect to you and me also: this feeling of having to do something not on my own impulses but also to entertain. And well, we all know that's just wrong. For the writer, and just generally speaking. I ought to just write how I feel and when I feel like it, and more importantly perhaps, how I feel..not just internally with regard to emotion, but how I feel whatever I want to write ought to be said.

But then again, me being me, I'm weird. So I have this flux of weird thoughts that just come out of nowhere, and do battle with one another, all the while happening below my nose.

Yeah, it sounds confusing. Hell, I'm confused myself. 

Err I had intended to explain this clearly further, but I think my lazier alter-ego is winning the current battle. Let me go check...¬_¬