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Old 01-12-2007, 07:00 PM   #41 (permalink)
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Location: McMurdo Station
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I was lonely enough that in my dreams I sometimes fell in love and woke up with my heart aching
- An Obedient Father by Akhil Sharma
I loved this line.

I recall dreams like this, where I fell in love with a phantom of imagination, a person who seemed so real that it was if our hearts were dancing together in a dream world of warmth and love.

A dream that takes you back to your childhood crushes, where emotions rush over you, engulf you, and make your soul sing.

And then you wake and cling to the memory, hoping that the following evening will bring that torrent once again.

It never does.

"That's me -- call me crazy, call me a pervert, but this is something I enjoy."
- Boogie Nights
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Old 05-18-2007, 02:52 PM   #42 (permalink)
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Not a book this time. A poem. A stanza. The first line, really.
And death shall have no dominion.
Dead mean naked they shall be one
With the man in the wind and the west moon;
When their bones are picked clean and the clen bones gone,
They shall have stars at elbow and foot;
Though they go mad they shall be sane,
Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;
Though lovers be lost love shall not;
And death shall have no dominion.
--Dylan Thomas
Reading this I can't help but picture the moors, knowing Dylan Thomas' Welsh origins.

It is evening.

I hear a voice of emotion on a recording of poor quality, sounding as if it comes from above. He is the narrator of our dreams, a voice from movies long ago.

As he begins we leave our black-and-white cottage, traces of sepia seeping into our memories, and see the moors, hear the waves crashing violently in the distance, the roar of Death - blocked by the stones of life. But from above the clouds merge in a tumultuous dance and the rain begins.
And death shall have no dominion.
Dominion. To hold dominion over one. We all have our taskmasters.

Alas, death holds dominion over us all.
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Old 05-18-2007, 09:33 PM   #43 (permalink)
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A long time ago.

I was in college, taking a lit class. I don't remember which one.

The details are hazy. If you would have told me that years later those days of my life would be jumbled up, tossed together into peaks of recollection where four years would be left feeling like a few months, I would have doubted it - so much was happening back then.

College was a grand time.

My best friend was Mike K. That semester he said something to me which changed the way I read forever.

I had always been a big reader. When I was 14 I went to a party and danced the night away. I was one of two boys at the party surrounded by ten girls. That night, all the girls took turns slow dancing with me to the BeeGee's "How Deep Is Your Love?"

There was one girl, Camelia M, who caused my adolescent heart to stir. I think she took the most turns with me.

That night I went home and couldn't get her out of my mind. We had exchanged numbers.

I never called her. Years later I spot her, singing with a guy on the Subway platform. Not homeless - an artist singing for it's very own sake. I don't remember her voice.

At the party there were walls lined with books. I was taken aback. That personal library left a deeper mark in my soul than the girls. I promised myself to one day have the same.

After that I never threw out a book, never borrowed a book - always had to own them all.

By the time my daughter was born I had hundreds, mostly in boxes.

And then we needed to make room and I learned that my friends, my books, were already with me, inside me. That beautiful as having a personal library was, seeing toys scattered about with love was far more wondrous. So I gave away my library, keeping only those books that at the time I truly cherished.

I gave so many great books away.


In college, I'm bored by what I've been assigned to read and I tell Mike so.

"What are you? Crazy!?!" he asks as he points out a paragraph. "Look at this - look how beautiful it's written!"

I never looked at a book the same way again.

I loved reading story lines, becoming lost in the narrative. I loved becoming someone else, tasting other lives and ways of living. But I never read with an appreciation of the composition.

In one instant Mike taught me to appreciate the melody of written words, to see how a piece need not just read well but how it can flow, sing to you, and whisper to you. How beauty can be found in the very words themselves and not just what they described. Words were the pigment, the hue, to the painted story.

All the hundreds of books I had read and I never really read them.

I remember the book Mike and I were discussing, and vaguely the paragraph. Looking back at it now, having read so much beauty, it doesn't strike me any more. I'll select another part of the book and let you taste those words. I ask that you read it whole, long as it is.
It is a most miserable thing to feel ashamed of home. There may be black ingratitude in the thing, and the punishment may be retributive and well deserved; but, that it is a miserable thing, I can testify.

Home had never been a very pleasant place to me, because of my sister's temper. But, Joe had sanctified it, and I had believed in it. I had believed in the best parlour as a most elegant saloon; I had believed in the front door, as a mysterious portal of the Temple of State whose solemn opening was attended with a sacrifice of roast fowls; I had believed in the kitchen as a chaste though not magnificent apartment; I had believed in the forge as the glowing road to manhood and independence. Within a single year, all this was changed. Now, it was all coarse and common, and I would not have had Miss Havisham and Estella see it on any account.

How much of my ungracious condition of mind may have been my own fault, how much Miss Havisham's, how much my sister's, is now of no moment to me or to any one. The change was made in me; the thing was done. Well or ill done, excusably or inexcusably, it was done.

...There have been occasions in my later life (I suppose as in most lives) when I have felt for a time as if a thick curtain had fallen on all its interest and romance, to shut me out from anything save dull endurance any more. Never has that curtain dropped so heavy and blank, as when my way in life lay stretched out straight before me through the newly-entered road of apprenticeship to Joe.

I remember that at a later period of my `time,' I used to stand about the churchyard on Sunday evenings when night was falling, comparing my own perspective with the windy marsh view, and making out some likeness between them by thinking how flat and low both were, and how on both there came an unknown way and a dark mist and then the sea. I was quite as dejected on the first working-day of my apprenticeship as in that after-time; but I am glad to know that I never breathed a murmur to Joe while my indentures lasted. It is about the only thing I am glad to know of myself in that connection...

After that, when we went in to supper, the place and the meal would have a more homely look than ever, and I would feel more ashamed of home than ever, in my own ungracious breast.
-- Chapter 14, Great Expectations, Charles Dickens

Last edited by william; 05-18-2007 at 11:31 PM.
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