Thursday, December 29, 2011

The One on Possibilites by Wislawa Szymborksa


I prefer movies.
I prefer cats.
I prefer the oaks along the Warta.
I prefer Dickens to Dostoyevsky.
I prefer myself liking people
to myself loving mankind.
I prefer keeping a needle and thread on hand, just in case.
I prefer the color green.
I prefer not to maintain
that reason is to blame for everything.
I prefer exceptions.
I prefer to leave early.
I prefer talking to doctors about something else.
I prefer the old fine-lined illustrations.
I prefer the absurdity of writing poems
to the absurdity of not writing poems.
I prefer, where love's concerned, nonspecific anniversaries
that can be celebrated every day.
I prefer moralists
who promise me nothing.
I prefer cunning kindness to the over-trustful kind.
I prefer the earth in civvies.
I prefer conquered to conquering countries.
I prefer having some reservations.
I prefer the hell of chaos to the hell of order.
I prefer Grimms' fairy tales to the newspapers' front pages.
I prefer leaves without flowers to flowers without leaves.
I prefer dogs with uncropped tails.
I prefer light eyes, since mine are dark.
I prefer desk drawers.
I prefer many things that I haven't mentioned here
to many things I've also left unsaid.
I prefer zeroes on the loose
to those lined up behind a cipher.
I prefer the time of insects to the time of stars.
I prefer to knock on wood.
I prefer not to ask how much longer and when.
I prefer keeping in mind even the possibility
that existence has its own reason for being.
This one I'm not even going to comment on. 

Too much comment and where's the poetry?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The One with Best Posts of 2011

  1. Of course, THE FIRST POST

2. The Kindle vs. iPad post (click HERE)

3. The Red Wheelbarrow post and video (click HERE)

4. My short story! Click HERE

5. The Eating Animals post, click HERE:

6. The Rory Gilmore post, click HERE:

7. List of the 100 Most Beautiful Words in English, click HERE

8. The review on The Odyssey, click HERE.

9. Thoughts on Typewriters, click HERE.

10. The Oedipus Rex review, click HERE.

11. Highlights of Cusco post, click HERE.

12. The start of the project, click HERE

13. My reading music playlist:

14. My reading marathon, click HERE.

15. The Macchu Picchu post, click HERE.

16. Essay on recklessness, click HERE.

17. The series on Exodus and Israel, click HERE.

18. And, finally, the A Far Cry from Africa video:

It's been a great year, see you here in the last of our years! (Just kidding. Sort of.)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The One with The Joy of Writing by Wislawa Szymborska

The Joy of Writing

Why does this written doe bound through these written woods?
For a drink of written water from a spring
whose surface will xerox her soft muzzle?
Why does she lift her head; does she hear something?
Perched on four slim legs borrowed from the truth,
she pricks up her ears beneath my fingertips.
Silence - this word also rustles across the page
and parts the boughs
that have sprouted from the word "woods."

Lying in wait, set to pounce on the blank page,
are letters up to no good,
clutches of clauses so subordinate
they'll never let her get away.

Each drop of ink contains a fair supply
of hunters, equipped with squinting eyes behind their sights,
prepared to swarm the sloping pen at any moment,
surround the doe, and slowly aim their guns.

They forget that what's here isn't life.
Other laws, black on white, obtain.
The twinkling of an eye will take as long as I say,
and will, if I wish, divide into tiny eternities,
full of bullets stopped in mid-flight.
Not a thing will ever happen unless I say so.
Without my blessing, not a leaf will fall,
not a blade of grass will bend beneath that little hoof's full stop.

Is there then a world
where I rule absolutely on fate?
A time I bind with chains of signs?
An existence become endless at my bidding?

The joy of writing.
The power of preserving.
Revenge of a mortal hand.
First of all, I hate having to go beyond the delightful allegory found here. The "written doe" in the "written woods" is too much for my girly fancy.

But 'tis due to the two last stanzas that I am forced to do so: 

Is there then a world
where I rule absolutely on fate?
A time I bind with chains of signs?
An existence become endless at my bidding?

The joy of writing.
The power of preserving.
Revenge of a mortal hand.

What she is referring to by this is the power one has over the world one creates. Authors are like gods in the worlds they write about, and if the worlds they write about already have their particular gods, well then, the gods are nothing but translations of their conscience.

Wislawa Szymborska, therefore, thinks that this is "The Joy of Writing", this awe at the power of one's pen.

But she states it simply.

Because a doe and a wood and a hunter are commonday things. But what if one were to write about intergalactic space traveling, or about someone who changed history forever, or the king and queen of a palace next to an enchanted forrest?

This power to create, and the knowledge that a whole world is your world, well, that must be amazing.

And, honestly, I think no one can feel this more than J.K. Rowling. Look at what she made.

Thanks for reading,

Monday, December 26, 2011

The One with The Three Oddest Words by Wislawa Szymborska

The Three Oddest Words

When I pronounce the word Future,
the first syllable already belongs to the past.

When I pronounce the word Silence,
I destroy it.

When I pronounce the word Nothing,
I make something no non-being can hold.

If that doesn't make you tremble in all of its powerful, ironical simplicity, then nothing will. The beauty of the contrast, of the irony. I, among other "authors", struggle incessantly with capturing irony, and yet here Szymborska has managed it in such a beautiful way.


Sunday, December 25, 2011

The One with Tokio Blues

I finished it!

Here's my review:

Tokio Blues: Norwegian WoodTokio Blues: Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I hate rating books like these.

This was the kind of book, that, at any spare moment, I would open up and be for hours submerged in their world. This is the kind of book that I hate falling asleep to (because it's a constant of mine to fall asleep whilst reading) not because it means that I will sleep poorly at night or that I'm wasting time, but because it means that I have to stop reading. The kind of book that I could pick up a flashlight and read under the covers just because it's a must to keep reading.

However, that's as far as it gets. They're sort of addicting, but in the way an alcoholic is addicted to liquor versus the way that a pothead is addicted to marijuana. It numbs feelings rather than enhances them.

It's many books that I've had this feeling with. For example, The Bad Girl by Vargas Llosa. I couldn't put this book down, however, I can't say that I was affected by the prose more than this.

Murakami has a rather elegant way of writing. His style is succint, yet not in an annoying Hemmingway-style, but in a chock-full-of-simile-and-metaphor-and-symbolism way. The title in itself suggests this. This is the grandeur of Murakami, not the fact that he is able to sell thousands of books on his simple ways of entertaining. There is a Japanese refinement to his words and sentences, in a way that you feel that he is saying so much and so little at the same time. This quality is the one that has you re-reading passages two times, and dropping your book to set an idea straight. It's a beautiful and remarkable quality that is so rare in most authors, who are typically either verbose or lacking in profoundness.

All in all, this is definetely not going to be my last experience with Murakami. I'm looking forward to reading more of his word.

View all my reviews

Friday, December 23, 2011

The One on Bookshelves

The reason why I've never showed you my bookshelves is because they're a sorry sight. I have a pity thing of a bookshelf in my room, and the rest of my books are strewn throughout my home. (I am trying to convince my parents to allow me to purchase a more deserving one, however, I never seem to be able to convince them. They pull out the "your room is too messy and only more stuff will make it worse" argument, but in my world, an extra shelf or two will help me get things more organized, not the other way around.)

My pitiful library in a pitiful sort of photograph

My not-so-old but unimpressive books are on top of my closet

My sister holds many books for me in her also pitiful library

My brother also holds some of my books in his room

My very old books are hidden in the basement

My Mum holds some books for me too. :)
Hope you had a good time looking at the most boring bookshots you have ever probably seen.

Have a nice day,

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The One on Lot's Wife by Wislawa Szymborska

Do you know the story of Lot's wife? If not, you must brush up your Bible-reading. I am kidding of course. Everyone is free to do and think what they want.

(Awkward minute of silence.)

Anyway, what the story tells, is that during the destruction of Sodom and Gomorra, G'd tells Abraham that Lot's family can escape with the condition that they never look back at what they're leaving behind. Everyone obeys this order except Lot's wife, who can't resist the temptation to see what was her home being destroyed.

This has many interpretations which I won't dwelve in because I would be losing all track of my story.

Lot's Wife

 They say I looked back out of curiosity.
But I could have had other reasons.
I looked back mourning my silver bowl.
Carelessly, while tying my sandal strap.
So I wouldn't have to keep staring at the righteous nape
of my husband Lot's neck.
From the sudden conviction that if I dropped dead
he wouldn't so much as hesitate.
From the disobedience of the meek.
Checking for pursuers.
Struck by the silence, hoping God had changed his mind.
Our two daughters were already vanishing over the hilltop.
I felt age within me. Distance.
The futility of wandering. Torpor.
I looked back setting my bundle down.
I looked back not knowing where to set my foot.
Serpents appeared on my path,
spiders, field mice, baby vultures.
They were neither good nor evil now--every living thing
was simply creeping or hopping along in the mass panic.
I looked back in desolation.
In shame because we had stolen away.
Wanting to cry out, to go home.
Or only when a sudden gust of wind
unbound my hair and lifted up my robe.
It seemed to me that they were watching from the walls of Sodom
and bursting into thunderous laughter again and again.
I looked back in anger.
To savor their terrible fate.
I looked back for all the reasons given above.
I looked back involuntarily.
It was only a rock that turned underfoot, growling at me.
It was a sudden crack that stopped me in my tracks.
A hamster on its hind paws tottered on the edge.
It was then we both glanced back.
No, no. I ran on,
I crept, I flew upward
until darkness fell from the heavens
and with it scorching gravel and dead birds.
I couldn't breathe and spun around and around.
Anyone who saw me must have thought I was dancing.
It's not inconceivable that my eyes were open.
It's possible I fell facing the city.

What is clear about this poem is that it is written in gesture of disdain towards the interpretations that fault Lot's wife for ridiculous reasons, and the speaker's disdain for this feeling of an All Powerful God that simply decides arbitrarily on what your destiny shall be. It also gives some opinions of the fallacies of women, of the fallacies of mankind too.

I don't agree with it on a grand scale. Some poems are to be agreed or disagreed with, and that's fine. Personally, I disagree with this one. My interpretation of the story of Lot's wife's story is that G'd didn't want them to look back to save them from the image of their homes being destroyed, and that the knowledge that they were able to advance without looking back meant that they were willing to start their lives over again, without any of the harming predisposition of looking back at "what was." And that Lot's wife wasn't really turned to stone by this image of a judgemental and all-powerful Allmighty, but that she was turned to stone metaphorically, as in, she wasn't able to advance in life because she was stuck as in "stone" to where she had been in Sodom.

This hasn't been my favorite poem by Wislawa Szymborska, but that's okay. I still have a very high opinion of it because it's so strong on its thought, on its message, etcetera. It's not a vain or intrascendent poem. It's a poem full of meaning and force, and again, this is such an important part of poetry, that I have to applaud her for it.

Thank you for reading,

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The One with Currently Reading

What this means is that by December 31 I must have finished this baby, Les Miserables, and Doktor Faustus. This thought actually makes me happy.

The One with Dorothy Parker Obsession

I am currently undergoing an obsession of mild characteristics with Dorothy Parker.

Just read the following:

“The cure for boredom is curiosity. 
There is no cure for curiosity.” 
 Dorothy Parker

“Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clean to the bone.” 
 Dorothy Parker

“The first thing I do in the morning is brush my teeth and sharpen my tongue.” 
 Dorothy Parker

“If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to.” 
 Dorothy Parker

“This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.” 
 Dorothy Parker

“Heterosexuality is not normal, it's just common.” 
 Dorothy Parker

She's the epitome of cool. It's a must on my California to-do list to buy a collection of her stories or of her poetry. I proclaim her my new girl crush.

(Quotes from Goodreads.)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The One on Hunger Camp at Jaslo by Wislawa Szymborska


Hunger Camp At Jaslo
by Wislawa Szymborska

 Write it. Write. In ordinary ink
on ordinary paper: they were given no food,
they all died of hunger. "All. How many?
It's a big meadow. How much grass
for each one?" Write: I don't know.
History counts its skeletons in round numbers.
A thousand and one remains a thousand,
as though the one had never existed:
an imaginary embryo, an empty cradle,
an ABC never read,
air that laughs, cries, grows,
emptiness running down steps toward the garden,
nobody's place in the line.

We stand in the meadow where it became flesh,
and the meadow is silent as a false witness.
Sunny. Green. Nearby, a forest
with wood for chewing and water under the bark-
every day a full ration of the view
until you go blind. Overhead, a bird-
the shadow of its life-giving wings
brushed their lips. Their jaws opened.
Teeth clacked against teeth.
At night, the sickle moon shone in the sky
and reaped wheat for their bread.
Hands came floating from blackened icons,
empty cups in their fingers.
On a spit of barbed wire,
a man was turning.
They sang with their mouths full of earth.
"A lovely song of how war strikes straight
at the heart." Write: how silent.

Translated by Grazyna Drabik and Austin Flint

I read someone about powerful sentences. That, writing powerfully had nothing to do with writing verbosely, or writing prettily. It was having power and a statement.

Phrases such as "History counts its skeletons in round numbers.
A thousand and one remains a thousand,
as though the one had never existed:"

and "
On a spit of barbed wire,
a man was turning."

and "
They sang with their mouths full of earth."

Those are powerful sentences. 

I read this (quite shallow, by the way) column on powerful writing in a blog. On the comments, I wrote "to know how to write powerful sentences one must write poetry first."

What is poetry, if not a bubbling of strong statements? What is poetry, but the image of something, an image of an IMPORTANT something, stated in a few words? Of an action, murmured in only a verse?

When I read this poem, I imagine a horrid field, covered with a blanket of gray clouds and the smell of death. I feel hints of the Holocaust. I hear injustice, horror, tears. I feel so much, in only two stanzas.

And that, is what poetry is about.

Have a nice day,

Monday, December 19, 2011

The One on I've been Tagged!

The adorable and ever-so-talented Tasha tagged me in a fun blogging game! Look on: 

1. You must post these rules.
2. Each person must post 11 things about them selves on their blog.
3. Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post, and create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer.
4. You have to choose 11 people to tag and link them on the post.
5. Go to their page and tell them you have linked him or her.
6. No tag backs.
7. No stuff in the tagging section about ‘you are tagged if you are reading this.’ You legitimately have to tag 11 people.

11 things about me.
  1. I have another blog! This is a more literature-oriented blog whilst the other one is a collection of many things! Check it out HERE. (I will post this there too.)
  2. One of the most beautiful things that I dwelve in is guitar-playing. Unfortunately, I am not very good at it, but that might be because I practice sort of rarely.
  3. I write in many journals, however, I tend to gravitate towards poetry more than prose.
  4. I enjoy taking pictures, but don't know what to do with them once I've taken them (I'm not a fan of editing) so photography is not a huge passion of mine.
  5. I love to read, however, sometimes I read books that are too heavy, and that makes me a slow reader.
  6. I love listening to music in languages I can't understand.
  7. I've had about 8 different blogs, and after a year or so I delete them. (I can't quite explain why.)
  8. I'm positively in love with everything that summer has to offer. Grass, bycicles, blue skies, blue swimming pools.
  9. I've been an on and off scrapbooker since 6th grade, and I'm now in 10th.
  10. My favorite subject is, in fact, not Language Arts but Social Studies. Language Arts can be a bit too frivolous at times whilst Social Studies is humanity in essence.
  11. Everything affects me. A pretty song, a sunny day, a beautiful sentence in a book, a smile, a child asking for money, an image. They all have powerful effects over my mood.

Tasha's questions: 
  1. have you tried macarons? and if you have, what is your favourite flavour?            Yes, I have tried macarons! I went to Paris about a year and a half ago, however, kill me now, I had no idea how classical of Parisian life they are!
  2. what movie(s) do you watch for a pick-me-up?         I have mentioned that I am a very reluctant movie-watcher. They tend to bore me. However, I am an avid fan of Gilmore Girls. You could say that's my "pick-me-up" movie.
  3. are you more of a cat or dog person?     Definetely dog person, however, a pretty cat can have me cooing away for a solid 15 minutes.
  4. what is one of the most played songs on your iTunes/iPod/phone etc.?      I don't want to answer this question because my most played songs are junk that I left playing on repeat. Stuff by Julian Casablancas, A-Ha, etc.
  5. have you had your heart broken before?             Nope. Well, I guess I have, but I don't think they count.
  6. what is your favourite colour?                              I tend to gravitate towards blue. Yet pretty, cheery colours always make me feel better: orange, light green, yellow, etcetera.
  7. what motivates you more, love or fear?                    Love. I have never been motivated by fear, however love can take me great distances.
  8. what is the most significant thing that you've accomplished this year?  I changed schools and made it alive.
  9. do you believe that there are both light and dark in each person?  Yes
  10. what is your favourite wild animal?            Many! The eagle, the giraffe, the elephant, the tiger, the wild pig.
  11. what do you like best about yourself?   I'm a very cultural and loving person.
My questions for you (if you were tagged):

  1. If you were a color, what color would you be?
  2. What's your "creative outlet"? It can be anything!
  3. What's your favorite book?
  4. What's your favorite season?
  5. What's your favorite tree?
  6. Are you a tree or flower person?
  7. If you were to speak one language that you can't currently speak, which one would it be?
  8. If you were to travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?
  9. When on road trips, do you prefer to be driving or to be sitting back enjoying the landscape?
  10. On planes, are you a window or hallway kind of person?
  11. What would you say clouds and stars are made of?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The One on Some Like Poetry by Wislawa Szymborska

Some Like Poetry

Some -
thus not all. Not even the majority of all but the minority.
Not counting schools, where one has to,
and the poets themselves,
there might be two people per thousand.

Like -
but one also likes chicken soup with noodles,
one likes compliments and the color blue,
one likes an old scarf,
one likes having the upper hand,
one likes stroking a dog.

Poetry -
but what is poetry.
Many shaky answers
have been given to this question.
But I don't know and don't know and hold on to it
like to a sustaining railing.

First of all, I have to say that I did not expect Szymborska to write about such a topic in such a way. And it's always pleasant to discover that one has been surprised.

Now, let's analyze this poem by parts.

The first stanza talks about the elitist qualities of poetry. I, who  sit during many classes a year listening to teachers ramble on about Blake or Dickinson, and enjoy every second of it, am also saddened by the fact that the vast majority do not care about what is happening in the poem. They care about the grade, about the teacher's approval, but not about the beauty of the words that are presented to them. Szymborska talks about this, and you can feel the sadness in her tone. (I want to add, though, that most of the time poetry lovers are poetry writers so I don't think that even two in a thousand like poetry -without writing it, that is.)

The second stanza is a bit harder to comprehend. One must always be concious that the effect the poem is trying to achieve is that of people scarcely ever enjoying poetry. What I think that the second stanza is refferring to is that one can like poetry in such a simplistic and everyday way as one likes chicken soup with noodles, the color blue, an old scarf, etc.. That once you get to know how to enjoy poetry, poetry becomes a part of your life.

Finally, the third stanza: I agree, I've heard many times definitions for poetry and many times the definition doesn't quite seem to suit it. And that's because there is no real definite answer. For everybody, it is a different reason. For some it can be the beauty or the melody or the intonnation. For example, my reason for loving poetry is the feeling it can transmit, whether the passionate love, nostalgia, happyness, tranquility, or melancholia. And the thing is, that this definition is ever-changing. It changes to the rythm that we change, it changes to the rythm that our perspectives change. But if one likes, or loves, poetry, as stanza two points out, then no matter what the reason you enjoy poetry is, it will always remain with you.

Thank you for reading,

P.S. I don't believe in analyzing the rythm or rhyme of translated poems, and since I don't know how to speak and read Polish, and you probably don't either, we'll ignore that part, okay? Even though in native languages, one of my favorite parts is analyzing the rythm.

Friday, December 16, 2011

The One with Wislawa Szymborska

I had to think the pronunciation of that name twice.

Anyways, I'm going to start a new poet Nobel laureate! Wislawa Szymborska.

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1996 was awarded to Wislawa Szymborska "for poetry that with ironic precision allows the historical and biological context to come to light in fragments of human reality".

And, according to the faithfull Wikipedia:

Many of her poems feature war and terrorism.[1] In Poland, her books reach sales rivaling prominent prose authors[citation needed] — although she once remarked in a poem entitled "Some like poetry" [Niektórzy lubią poezję] that no more than two out of a thousand people care for the art.

Szymborska frequently employs literary devices such as ironyparadoxcontradiction, and understatement, to illuminate philosophical themes and obsessions. Szymborska's compact poems often conjure large existential puzzles, touching on issues of ethical import, and reflecting on the condition of people both as individuals and as members of human society. Szymborska's style is succinct and marked by introspection and wit.

Seems fun! Personally, in the grand scale of things, I prefer poetesses to poets, so it seams to be exiting. (This is not a discriminatory thing, after all, my two favorite poets are men.)

Check in tommorow to read some Wislawa Szymborska poetry. (By the end of these posts, hopefully I will have written that name so many times that it will run smoothly.)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Monday, December 12, 2011

The One on .

Penguin Books Are My Favorite <3

I've hit a blogging rut.

Please do help me get out of it.

What would you like me to blog about?? :)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The One with Awesome People Reading

Anna Karina reads

Aldous Huxley reads

John Lennon reads

Antoine de Saint Exupery reads

Apparently, a lot of awesome people are doing just what I enjoy the most at the moment... reading! Does that instantly make me awesome too? ;)

Pictures found at

P.S. I have been listening to this song for weeks but I had never seen the video.... which is down-right adorable. Enjoy!

Friday, December 9, 2011

The One with Fundamentals

My Tumblr vice led me to this:

And since it's the first time that Tumblr has actually inspired me to do something, I just went ahead and did my own version of "Gandhi's 10 Fundamentals for Changing the World."

And results, you say?

Well, here:

What is the fundamental that is most important for you?

p.s. sorry about the pictures
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