Travel Advice

April 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

Somehow great writers are able to make a place seem exotic even as described through the narration of a native. In immortalizing a place through their writing they rebuild it as their own; we are shown the place in a mirror warped at the will of their words. Their incantations of vibrating music halls and forbidden markets leave me feeling more intimate with a never-visited place thousands of miles foreign to me than with the places I frequent daily. As I read, I become encased in the secret existence of a places richer and realer than my own experience has yet been able to create. The glamour and magic of Marquez, Kincaid, and Kerouac’s words construct beautiful, foggy maps of Columbia, Antigua and New Orleans in my mind. After these hushed encounters I am imprinted with a wonderment and devotion only partly mine, and left with the dream of visiting the clubs, markets, villages, and cities as described, with only my books to guide me away.

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Heautoscopy in Fight Club

March 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

“All the ways you wish you could be, that’s me. I look like you wanna look, I fuck like you wanna fuck, I am smart, capable, and most importantly, I am free in all the ways that you are not.”

Tyler Durden, Fight Club

the self as other

March 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

 

“I want a History of Looking. For the Photograph is the advent of myself as other: a cunning dissociation of consciousness from identity. Even odder: it was before Photography that men had the most to say about the vision of the double. Heautoscopy* was compared with an hallucinosis; for centuries this was a great mythic theme.” 

— Roland Barthes 

 

*seeing one’s own body at a distance

 

February 13, 2011 § Leave a comment

“I do believe

 if you don’t like things you leave

for some place you’ve never gone before…”

– The Velvet Underground, I Found A Reason

January 20, 2011 § Leave a comment

 

 

Allen Ginsberg

“Concentrate on what you want to say to yourself and your friends. Follow your inner moonlight; don’t hide the madness. You say what you want to say when you don’t care who’s listening.” 

                                               

                                                                John Dyer Baizley

 

 

 

 

Consider…

January 20, 2011 § Leave a comment

I was lookingat my last blog about Virginia Woolf’s “A Room of One’s Own.” In it I write reiterate Woolf’s arguement for economic independence as the prerequisite for gender equality. I think at this point in time we can all agree that women are “economically liberated,” but I think I was misleading, because at present men and women aren’t economic equals. Yes, women are no longer the “protected sex,” (although we still can’t be drafted) but despite the changing gender roles in the workplace and elsewhere, women are currently paid less than men in comparable positions.

A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf

January 14, 2011 § 1 Comment

In her essay Woolf presents the thesis that there are so fewer high quality female writers than male writers because in their creative pursuits women have had to overcome not only the self-doubts encountered in the creative process and criticism from reviewers and readers, but also the doubt cast from the centuries of belittlement of women and disparagement of their endeavors imposed in a patriarchal society. She says that women of her time must pave the way so future women don’t hear “the bishops and the deans, the doctors and the professors, the patriarchs and the pedagogues all shouting warning and advice.” The overarching direction of the essay is, of course, towards a room of one’s own as means to and result of financial and intellectual equality. I found “a room of one’s own” to stand as a three-fold metaphor, firstly as a sanctuary from discouragement, which is necessary for writing.

A room of one’s own next stands as economic independence. Woolf leads us along her thought process showing that once a woman has economic independence, she can no longer be made inferior to men. And once this is accomplished, she no longer needs male society’s approval and no longer resents men. And once this is accomplished she can reach the third incarnation of a room of one’s own, freedom of the mind. Now that she doesn’t need men’s approval she can present her own views and opinions, and now that she doesn’t resent men her thoughts and writing will be free of the anger and bitterness that sours and dates work. 

Woolf uses the character Mrs. Behn, a middle class writer who supported herself through the profit from her writing to present her argument concerning the importance of economic freedom to a woman. She writes that the fact that Mrs. Behn “had to work on equal terms with men” was more important than anything she actually wrote, because she earned her financially equality though her own writing. This brings to mind a parallel scene from Julie Taymor’s movie “Frida,” about the life of the artist Frida Kahlo. In the scene Frida approaches the famous artist Diego Rivera with some of her paintings and asks him to tell her if she is any good. When Diego begins to reply that it doesn’t matter, if she is truly an artist she will paint no matter what, Frida cuts him off, saying she’s not just trying to amuse herself, she has to earn money for her family so if she’s no good she’ll do something else. Woolf’s statement, “money dignifies what if frivolous if unpaid for,” stands true to her belief that it is though economic independence that women will find equality.

Woolf’s predictions on the course of equality for women are eerily accurate. “…In a hundred years… women will have ceased to be the protected sex…they will take part in all the activities and exertions that were once denied them. The nursemaid will heave coal. The shop-woman will drive an engine.” Looking at my reading, I see all the fictional writers within these books have a room of their own in which to write—their “sanctuary from discouragement.” In “On the Road” Sal paradise has his room in his aunt’s house in New Jersey, and in “Love in the Time of Cholera” Florentino Ariza has his room in his mother’s house on the Street of Windows. Interestingly enough, each male writer gains access to their rooms through their female guardians. Perhaps we see in this reversal the branches of Woolf’s early thoughts on the necessity of feminist economics.