Saturday, September 29, 2012

Because in my heart, I am Ariel.

"I don't know when, I don't know how, but I know something is starting right now. Watch and you'll see, someday I'll be, part of your world."

"Books didn't make me wallow in darkness, darkness made me wallow in books." -Jackson Pearce

If you are not fortunate enough to have living examples, there is no better compass for your character than classic literature.

“When people are insulting you, there is nothing so good for them as not to say a word -- just to look at them and think. When you will not fly into a passion people know you are stronger than they are, because you are strong enough to hold in your rage, and they are not, and they say stupid things they wished they hadn't said afterward. There's nothing so strong as rage, except what makes you hold it in -- that's stronger. It's a good thing not to answer your enemies.”--F.H.B.

“Everything's a story -- You are a story -- I am a story.”

--Frances Hodgson Burnett

Crisis Pregnancy Centers are the future of reproductive health in Texas

Rick Perry has been on a crusade to limit access to reproductive health care in Texas, and so far, it’s been going pretty well for him. Especially in regards to Planned Parenthood, notorious hotbed of sin, which he’s trying to run out of the state. Last week, we got a taste of what he envisions as the perfect future of reproductive health services in Texas, and it’s terrifying.

In many ways, it honestly reminds me of a dystopian novel:
Tiffany Pardue, The Source’s Media Coordinator, took me on a quick tour of the facilities. They were stylish and lovely, with indirect lighting, sepia flower photographs printed on canvas, and pink, olive and brown painted accent stripes on the wall. One could see why Wenz had claimed when women first walk into The Source they’d breathe a sigh of relief. Pardue showed me the counseling suites, exam rooms, and ultrasound rooms, called “Window to the Womb.” These each featured or will feature a 46-inch flat-screen plasma TV mounted directly in front of the exam bed.
Is anyone else creeped out by this fetishisation of idealised pregnancy? Because I am seriously creeped out by it. Writer Emily Deprang is describing The Source for Women, a crisis pregnancy center in Houston that was honoured by a visit from the governor for a ribbon-cutting ceremony next week. Perry stressed that he sees the group as the future of reproductive health in Texas, and he’s delighted to be part of it.
“The opening of this latest medical center will enable you to spread your message,” he said, “and do your vital work, on a significantly larger scale in the years to come.”
The organisation provides no contraceptives, doesn’t employ any OB-GYNS, and doesn’t offer pap smears. Nor does it offer referrals to facilities that provide contraception and abortion services. This despite the fact that in order to participate in the Women’s Health Program, which is their eventual goal so they can access funding and more government support, they must provide contraception services and pap smears.
Evidently a board is going to decide which contraceptives the group will provide in order to qualify for membership in the WHP; and keep in mind that groups like The Source are under the mistaken impression that a number of contraceptives are in fact ‘abortifacients.’ That includes hormonal birth control, a very common standard in contraception because it tends to be, well, highly effective and appropriate for a lot of patients. When you’re throwing out a whole class of contraceptives, you’re limiting options for patients from the very start.
Patients seeking to prevent pregnancy need access to the full range of options, and they need unbiased counseling about everything that’s available, not ‘counseling’ from people determined to impose their own ideology on private medical choices. Neutral information allows them to make informed decisions about the most appropriate method for their needs, given their medical records, situations, and other factors.

A team of board members shouldn’t limit which choices are available to patients, dictating potentially unsafe and inappropriate options. For low-income patients who are obliged to use the services of CPCs, there are no other options. No alternatives to misinformation, and no opportunity for an unbiased conversation. No chance at accessing the most appropriate care for their needs. And it’s deeply disturbing to see Perry quite gleefully announcing that he wants to limit reproductive choice for low-income Texans by severely restricting the kinds of organisations that get assistance.
So, what does The Source provide? Exactly what you think it does; ‘counseling’ to compel patients to carry pregnancies to term. There is nothing in the organisation’s plans for helping patients prevent pregnancy. Limited sexual health services and parenting classes are available (including some courses in Spanish), but the focus is not on a full range of services. Nor does it appear to be on outreach to immigrant communities and working with migrant women; the Spanish classes look like more of an afterthought than a genuine attempt to consider the cultural, social, and political needs of Latinas in Texas, nor do they mention other patients of colour who might need assistance.
The Source is not interested in helping patients determine the timing and spacing of their children, in helping them prevent pregnancy, and in helping people deal with unwanted pregnancies in any way other than having the baby. And Perry is quite proud to be advancing that message and to be throwing the support of the state government behind it; he envisions a world without Planned Parenthood in Texas, and one where groups like The Source receive funds that are supposed to be dedicated to reproductive health care.

And that world seems closer to realisation than ever before, thanks to the rising tide of support for Perry and his extremist proposals in Texas. As attendees of the grand opening swanned around in demure dresses and listened to impassioned anti-choice speeches, they patted themselves on the back for all their accomplishments, and were particularly proud of the placement of the clinic in a low-income community. They might claim it’s because they want to serve the unfortunate, but it has a lot more to do with exploiting vulnerable people and with winning converts.
When you’re frightened and in need of help and you have no money, it seems like there’s always a CPC ready to talk to you. And in Texas, Perry wants to make sure that CPCs are the first line of ‘care’ for patients seeking assistance with reproductive health needs, which is laying the groundwork for even more virulent anti-choice sentiment in the state. As groups like this rise, other clinics that actually provide a full range of services will slowly be forced to raise prices and cut their hours to compensate, setting them on the path to eventual closure, leaving fewer and fewer options for people who need them.

Perry will undoubtedly be proud of himself for lowering the abortion rate in Texas as a result, while patients die of inadequate care, desperate measures undertaken in an attempt to end unwanted pregnancies, and bad choices made on the basis of incomplete, biased information. And, of course, this is a model that many other states will be looking to, putting a throttlehold on access to reproductive health care across the United States.


 The aptly titled, original French name for this film is House of Tolerance. I hate translations. Anyway, House of Pleasures is graphic and disturbing, but remains a beautiful and poignant film that examines the evils of prostitution without being judgmental, via the relationship it develops with the women. Bonello is a genius and I intend on watching anything else of his I can get my hands on.

Thursday, September 27, 2012


Realizing (often) that a significant portion of your creation is attributed to disillusion, subversion and subsequent lack of actual humanity/realism becomes more and more difficult.

What you do not realize is my drive, my success, my passion and my utter will to triumph is based in large portion to your ineptitude. I love you, but your hand in my daily battle is no longer silenced.

You are terrible in ways and I reject you for as long as I need to to survive it.

Yes, Mistress

 "Every so often she appeared before me like a vision among my leather-bound books and dead bones."

Venus in Furs by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch (the father of sadomasochism) is at times perfectly paced and at times redundant. I pity Severin and I understand him. I pity/loathe Venus and I understand her, as well. The idea expressed repeatedly in the beginning (which sets an important tone for the rest of the book) of gods and goddesses being the only real lovers to have existed and how we are living in the cold expectation of what they forced us to imagine, is brilliant. The image that resonates throughout of pale, marbled Wanda/Venus, always chilled by her disappointing reality and inevitably crumbling lovers, in contrast to Severin's obsessive, submissive passion is tremendous.

The novel is delicately and emotionally written which makes it hard to reconcile the voice of the speaker with the actions being played out. And this is why is works so well.

"Stay among your northern fogs and Christian incense; let us pagans remains under the debris, beneath the lava; do not disinter us.... We are chilled in your world."

Saturday, September 22, 2012

“Never touch your idols: the gilding will stick to your fingers.”

“Language is like a cracked kettle on which we beat out tunes for bears to dance to while all the time we long to move the stars to pity.”

“Love, she thought, must come suddenly, with great outbursts and lightnings,--a hurricane of the skies, which falls upon life, revolutionises it, roots up the will like a leaf, and sweeps the whole heart into the abyss...
     Deep down, all the while, she was waiting for something to happen. Like a sailor in distress, she kept casting desperate glances over the solitary waster of her life, seeking some white sail in the distant mists of the horizon. She had no idea by what wind it would reach her, toward what shore it would bear her, or what kind of craft it would be – tiny boat or towering vessel, laden with heartbreaks or filled to the gunwhales with rapture. But every morning when she awoke she hoped that today would be the day; she listened for every sound, gave sudden starts, was surprised when nothing happened; and then, sadder with each succeeding sunset, she longed for tomorrow.” 
-Gustave Flaubert

Gustauve Flaubert

“You forget everything. The hours slip by. You travel in your chair through centuries you seem seem to see before you, your thoughts are caught up in the story, dallying with the details or following the course of the plot, you enter into characters, so that it seems as if it were your own heart beating beneath their costumes.”

A Nanaw sunset

King's Warf, Bermuda

"I have no desire to make windows into men's souls."

Return to The Harvard Bookstore

 E.E. Cummings

Sleeping Beauty and Other Tales

Graves at my command, have waked their sleepers

The Tempest

Let Parker Posey show you how to be the acceptance speech actor you are destined to be. (The 1:20 mark -- I die.)

Because we all know how happily this tale will inevitably end

May I present... "The Stupidest Fox News Article Of All Time"

"Anger's my meat; I sup upon myself. And so shall starve with feeding."

Coriolanus, William Shakespeare


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Rimbaud, Genie

"He is affection and the present since he opened the house to foaming winter and the hum of summer, he who purified drink and food, he who is the charm of fleeting places and the superhuman deliciousness of staying still. He is affection and the future, strength and love that we, standing amid rage and troubles, see passing in the storm-rent sky and on banners of ecstasy.
      He is love, perfect and reinvented measurement, wonderful and unforeseen reason, and eternity: machine beloved for its fatal qualities. We have all experienced the terror of his yielding and of our own: O enjoyment of our health, surge of our faculties, egoistic affection and passion for him, he who loves us for his infinite life
     And we remember him and he travels. . . And if the Adoration goes away, resounds, its promise resounds: “Away with those superstitions, those old bodies, those couples and those ages. It’s this age that has sunk!”
     He won’t go away, nor descend from a heaven again, he won’t accomplish the redemption of women’s anger and the gaiety of men and of all that sin: for it is now accomplished, with him being, and being loved.
     O his breaths, his heads, his racing; the terrible swiftness of the perfection of forms and of action.
     O fecundity of the spirit and immensity of the universe!
     His body! The dreamed-of release, the shattering of grace crossed with new violence!
     The sight, the sight of him! all the ancient kneeling and suffering lifted in his wake.
     His day! the abolition of all resonant and surging suffering in more intense music.
     His footstep! migrations more vast than ancient invasions.
     O him and us! pride more benevolent than wasted charities.
     O world! and the clear song of new misfortunes!
    He has known us all and loved us all. Let us, on this winter night, from cape to cape, from the tumultuous pole to the castle, from the crowd to the beach, from glance to glance, our strengths and feelings numb, learn to hail him and see him, and send him back, and under the tides and at the summit of snowy deserts, follow his seeing, his breathing, his body, his day."

"Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift." --Mary Oliver

Black Flies

Matt Luck

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Florence Welch


This Oscar de la Renta dress is all of my dreams in fabric.

In Bermuda

For Nanaw


Withnail and I

"They found him wandering round Regent's Park with a cheap bottle of sherry... 
And like a fool I mixed them and it strangled up my mind, and now people just get uglier and I have no sense of time..."

Memory haunts me from age to age, and passion leads me by the hand

“The moon went slowly down in loveliness; she departed into the depth of the horizon, and long veil-like shadows crept up the sky through which the stars appeared. Soon, however, they too began to pale before a splendour in the east, and the advent of the dawn declared itself in the newborn blue of heaven. Quieter and yet more quiet grew the sea, quiet as the soft mist that brooded on her bosom, and covered up her troubling, as in our tempestuous life the transitory wreaths of sleep brook upon a pain-racked soul, causing it to forget its sorrow. From the east to the west sped those angels of the Dawn, from sea to sea, from mountain-top to mountain-top, scattering light from breast and wing. On they sped out of the darkness, perfect, glorious; on, over the quiet sea, over the low coast-line, and the swamps beyond, and the mountains above them; over those who slept in peace and those who woke in sorrow; over the evil and the good; over the living and the dead; over the wide world and all that breathes or as breathed thereon.” 

“Though the face before me was that of a young woman of certainly not more than thirty years, in perfect health and the first flush of ripened beauty, yet it bore stamped upon it a seal of unutterable experience, and of deep acquaintance with grief and passion. Not even the slow smile that crept about the dimples of her mouth could hide the shadow of sin and sorrow. It shone even in the light of those glorious eyes, it was present in the air of majesty, and it seemed to say: 'Behold me, lovely as no woman was or is, undying and half-divine; memory haunts me from age to age, and passion leads me by the hand--evil have I done, and with sorrow have I made acquaintance from age to age, and from age to age evil shall I do, and sorrow shall I know till my redemption comes.”

-- H. Rider Haggard

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

E.J., forever and always

"It took me years to learn to sit at my desk for more than two minutes at a time, to put up with the solitude and the terror of failure, and the godawful silence and the white paper. And now that I can take it, now that I can finally do it, I'm really raring to go.... I was in my study writing. I was learning how to go down into myself and salvage bits and pieces of the past."

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Polemic #1

by Honor Moore
"This is the poem to say “Write poems, women” because I want to
    read them, because for too long, we have had mostly men’s lives
        or men’s imaginations wandering through
    our lives, because even the women’s lives we have details of
come through a male approval desire filter which diffuses
        imagination, that most free part of ourselves.
One friend is so caught on the male-approval-desire hook she
    can’t even write a letter. Ink on paper would be clear
        evidence of failure to be Sylvia
    Plath or Doris Lessing, or (in secret) William Butler Yeats.
Hilda Doolittle, the poet who hid behind “H.D.,” splashed
        herself with ink just before writing to make her
feel free, indifferent toward the mere means of writing. I would take
    ink baths if I’d be splashed free of male approval desire.
        This male-approval-desire filter and its
    attached hook, abbreviated M-A-D filter and hook,
have driven many women mad, could drive me mad, won’t because
        I see all the other women fighting the M
Male A Approval D Desire, and I clench my fists to hold
    their hands, and I am not as alone as my grandmother
        was who painted, was free and talented and
    who for some M-A-D reason married, had kids, went mad and
        stopped finishing her paintings at thirty-five.
M-A-D is the filter through which we’re pressed to see ourselves—
    if we don’t, we won’t get published, sold, or exhibited—
        I blame none of us for not challenging it
    except not challenging it may drive us mad. It is present
in the bravest of us. It comes out in strange shapes, escapes
        like air through the tiniest hole in the strongest
woman’s self. It is a slaughterhouse waiting for the calf
    or lamb-sized art, for the sausage-ready little pig poems
        which never get to the supermarket: They
    are lost in the shuffle, or buried as ladies’ poems have been
in bureau drawers for years. Male Approval Desire is a cog
        in the Art Delivery Machine: It instructs
by quiet magic women to sing proper pfIant tunes for
    father, lover, piper who says he has the secret, but
        wants ours; it teaches us to wear cloaks labelled
    Guinevere, become damsels, objects in men’s power joustings
like her: lets us shimmer, disappear, promise to rise like a
        Lady of the Lake, but we drown — real, not phantom.
The Art Delivery Machine is ninety-nine and forty-
    four hundredths percent pure male sensibility, part of
        a money system ninety-nine and forty-
    four hundredths percent pure white-male-power-structure controlled. So you may wonder why I write this poem and say “Write your own poems,
        women!” Won’t we be crushed trying? No. We have more
now, fifty-six hundredths percent of the Art Delivery
    Machine. We can’t be stopped. So I write this polemic I
        call a poem, say “Write poems, women.” I want to
    read them. I have seen you watching, holding on and watching, and
I see your lips moving. You have stories to tell, strong stories;
        I want to hear your minds as well as hold your hands."

Rape Poem

by Marge Piercy

"There is no difference between raped
and being pushed down a flight of cement steps
except that the wounds also bleed inside.

There is no difference between being raped
and being run over by a truck
except that afterward men ask if you enjoyed it.

There is no difference between being raped
and being bit on the ankle by a rattlesnake
except that people ask if your skirt was short
and why you were out alone anyhow.

There is no difference between being raped
and going head first through a windshield
except that afterward you are afraid
not of cars
but half the human race.

The rapist is your boyfriend's brother.
He sits beside you in the movies eating popcorn.
Rape fattens on the fantasies of the normal male
like a maggot in garbage.

Fear of rape is a cold wind blowing
all of the time on a woman's hunched back.
Never to stroll alone on a sand road through pine woods,
never to climb a trail across a bald
without that aluminum in the mouth
when I see a man climbing toward me.

Never to open the door to a knock
without that razor just grazing the throat.
The fear of the dark side of hedges,
the back seat of the car, the empty house
rattling keys like a snake's warning.
The fear of the smiling man
in whose pocket is a knife.
The fear of the serious man
in whose fist is locked hatred.

All it takes to cast a rapist to be able to see your body
as jackhammer, as blowtorch, as adding-machine-gun.
All it takes is hating that body
your own, your self, your muscle softens to flab.

All it takes is to push what you hate,
what you fear onto the soft alien flesh.
To bucket out invincible as a tank
armored with treads without senses
to possess and punish in one act,
to rip up pleasure, to murder those who dare
live in the left flesh open to love." 

"Let me weep."

Shai vs Munkle

Tonight, the epic battle for the heart of the kingdom was waged. The Ballistic Ballerina and Lord Dramadon fought to the death. You can guess who was vanquished. Thankfully, my regenerative powers allow me to upload photos postmortem.

Dramadon's Magical Bow of Expelliarmus  (I was doomed as soon as this appeared.)

She Who Was Slain

I MacGyvered a Deathly Hallows necklace! (Kinda. The chain is a work in progress.)

"Shakespeare uses a linguistic technique known as functional shift that involves, for example using a noun to serve as a verb. Researchers found that this technique allows the brain to understand what a word means before it understands the function of the word within a sentence. This process causes a sudden peak in brain activity and forces the brain to work backwards in order to fully understand what Shakespeare is trying to say...Experts believe that this heightened brain activity may be one of the reasons why Shakespeare's plays have such a dramatic impact on their readers.

This interdisciplinary work is good for brain science because it offers permanent scripts of the human mind working moment-to-moment. It is good for literature as it illustrates primary human thinking. Through the two disciplines, we may discover new insights into the very motions of the mind." -Prof. Neil Roberts, University of Liverpool

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Who knew the world could be held together by such small arms?

Because the Obama's warm my heart...

And because a nation without them is a terrifying prospect.

Sluts Vote

"In that America, your new president could be a man who stands by when a public figure tries to silence a private citizen with hateful slurs. Who won't stand up to the slurs, or to any of the extreme, bigoted voices in his own party. It would be an America in which you have a new vice president who co-sponsored a bill that would allow pregnant women to die preventable deaths in our emergency rooms. An America in which states humiliate women by forcing us to endure invasive ultrasounds we don't want and our doctors say we don't need. An America in which access to birth control is controlled by people who will never use it; in which politicians redefine rape so survivors are victimized all over again; in which someone decides which domestic violence victims deserve help, and which don't. We know what this America would look like. In a few short months, it's the America we could be. But it's not the America we should be. It's not who we are." - Sandra Fluke