News for May 2012

Short Story: Yellow Nikes

download it here

Posted: May 15th, 2012
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The Elephant Vanishes by Haruki Murakami

ah, another murakami? I don’t know why that’s all I’m reading these days. Well I’m also in the middle of Hemingway’s boat…a book about Hemingway and his boat, Pilar.

But to talk about the book at hand, The Elephant Vanishes is a collection of short stories, the very last story in the collection being the title of the book.

what can I say, it’s boring, this one. Sometimes you read Murakami and you’re like, oh okay, yeah it makes very little sense and has so little density set in reality but you get it, because it’s suppose to be one of those things that’s not supposed to make much sense but you’re supposed to feel attached to it.

This collection of stories were kind of boring, I just didn’t care about anybody. Also there is way too much repetition of character names and jobs in the stories. they all sort of work for some kind of appliance company, a guy in his late 20s or early 30s, and a few of whom are all named noboru watanabe. A name that is used in The Wind-up Bird chronicles (I think tha’ts the title, i am too lazy to look it up and my memory is not that of an elephant’s apparently).

There were a few interesting stories but i found myself skimming rather than reading…. I feel bad when I do that, and I don’t like the book if the book forces me to skim…..

anyways…. there are still a few memorable quotes, as noted below.

So the mother boarded a train to buy her husband his souvenir lederhosen. In her train compartment sat a middle-aged German couple, who compartment sat a middle-aged German couple, who conversed with her in halting English. “I go now to buy lederhosen for souvenir,” the mother said. “Vat shop you go to?” the couple asked. The mother named the name of the shop, and the middle-aged German couple chimed in together, “Zat is ze place, jah. it is ze best.” Hearing this, the mother felt very confident.

Memory is like fiction; or else it’s fiction that’s like memory. This really came home to me once I started writing fiction, that memory seemed a kind of fiction, or vice versa. Either way, no matter how hard you try to put everything neatly into shape, the context wanders this way and that, until finally the context isn’t even there anymore. You’re left with this pile of kittens lolling all over one another. Warm with life, hopelessly unstable. And then to put these things out as saleable items, you call them finished products – at times it’s downright embarrassing just to think of it. Honestly, it can make me blush. And if my face turns that shade, you can be sure everyone’s blushing.

What is there to do? I just go back to gathering kittens and piling them up again. Exhausted kittens, all limp and played out. But even if they woke to discover themselves stacked like kindling for a campfire, what would the kittens think? Well, it might scarcely raise a “Hey, what gives?” out of them. In which case – if there was nothing to particularly get upset about – it would make my work a little easier. that’s the way I see it.

Posted: May 15th, 2012
Categories: BOOKS, QUOTES
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short story: session’s over

it’s about this guy that goes to a shrink, he doesn’t think he needs it

download it here

Posted: May 14th, 2012
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short story: I WORK

i wrote a short story in the spur of the moment called I WORK

download it here! and tell me what you think by leaving comments, attacking me on twitter (@emmaherself) leaving me an ask on tumblr or emailing me! looking forward to your words!

Posted: May 11th, 2012
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Dance Dance Dance by Haruki Murakami

On the beginning of my trip to nyc, i started reading the chronicles of narnia. For some reason, despite the fact that I am sort of an escapist, I really wasn’t a huge fantasy buff. Something about it unsettled me. I needed it to be fantasy but grounded in reality. Children’s fantasy wasn’t something that I always found myself obsessed with. Strange, perhaps I’ve always been a child that wanted to do realistic things but they were tainted with unrealistic expectations or what do you call it, optimism.

I decided to read Dance Dance Dance among the many other fine works of fiction in my kindle simply because I had saw a picture of my friend (on instagram no less) reading a murakami novel. And at that instant, tainted with sadness and strangeness, I felt like it was the perfect antidote to my endless lethargy.

The protagonist is a free-lance writer that often travels for his work. He churns out (in his opinion) meaningless articles for magazines everywhere, and possibly about everything. He works fast and is reliable but none of it seems to interest him. He calls what he does “shoveling snow”, even though it is necessary, it is uninteresting and yields no merit really. But it’s work that someone has to do.

The protagonist finds himself in Sapporo looking for the hotel that he had once inhabited with his lover Kiki, but Kiki disappeared and he thinks by going to this hotel there would be answers waiting for him. There, he meets a young and attractive receptionist and a young 13 year old girl that soon wedges herself into his life.

It gives the message that everything in our life is connected, and meeting each person is like pushing over the next domino in line that will eventually lead you to a great ending that is definitely supposed to mean something.

Murakami is anything if not reliable. When you read something by him, you can instantly pick up his style and mannerisms. The descriptions of the characters, the sometimes boring and predictable story line, and the way that everything is so goddamn neat really shines through everything that he writes. The themes of music and clothing always repeats itself throughout his prose. The only work that I felt was a bit messy were his earlier works that were never published outside of Japan. Pinball 1973 and Hear the Wind Sing.

I really liked this book despite all of those “flaws”. They can’t really be called flaws because a lot of the times, you read the same author again and again not because you expect a brand new way of writing and style but because you want something comfortable and easy. Reading isn’t a challenging activity, but it’s supposed to bring immense comfort that nothing else could. Murakami is quite comforting, sure, a lot of the times I don’t think he does anything brilliantly new or profound but the comfort is what we are seeking. Especially when I picked up this book.

I recommend it if you’re feeling blue and lost. Instead of feeling blue and lost about your own life, instead join this lost blue world.


Occasionally we’d hear the dull rattling of the elevator, but when it stopped the oppressive silence bore down once more. I picked this one for my own benefit, I just liked it

For three and a half years. I’d been making this kind of contribution to society. Shoveling snow. You know, cultural snow.

Though both of us knew there was no place this thing could go. Still, we quietly shared something approaching a pardon from life. I knew days of peace for the first time in ages.

I went into a small bar I remembered, and had a few drinks and a bite to eat. The place was dirty, noisy, cheap, and good. The kind of hole-in-the-wall I always look for when I have to eat out alone. Places like this put me at ease, never make me feel lonely. I can talk to myself and nobody listens or cares.

There in the dim light, staring at the shadow on the ball, I poured out the story of my life. It had been so long, but slowly, like melting ice, I released each circumstance. How I managed to support myself. Yet never managed to go anywhere. Never went anywhere, but aged all the same. How nothing touched me. And I touched nothing. How I’d lost track of what mattered. How I worked like a fool for things that didn’t. How it didn’t make a difference either way. How I was losing form. The tissues hardening, stiffening from within. Terrifying me. How I barely made the connection to this place. This place I didn’t know but had this feeling that I was part of … This place that maybe I knew instinctively I belonged to …

“Everybody has to grow up.”
“You’re right there. I used to think the years would go by in order, that you get older one year at a time,” said Gotanda, peering into my face. “But it’s not like that. It happens over night.”

and this is what I mean by SO NEAT
I took shirts to the cleaners and picked some up. I stopped by the bank, got some cash from the ATM, paid my phone and gas bills, paid my rent. I had new heels put on my shoes. I bought batteries for the alarm clock. I returned home and straightened up the place while listening to fen. I scrubbed the bathtub. I cleaned the refrigerator, the stove, the fan, the floors, the windows. I bagged the garbage. I changed the sheets. I ran the vacuum cleaner. I was wiping the blinds, singing along to Styx’s “Mister Roboto,” when the phone rang at two.

Posted: May 11th, 2012
Categories: BOOKS, QUOTES
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The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton

I read this book entirely on the new york subways.

there’s always that moment of realization that you don’t know what the hell you are doing. Traveling alone is both good and bad because you can easily do things in your own pace but at the same time it’s not that easy. Because it’s easy to get lonely and this loneliness really gets at you, especially at night, when you do want to go out but don’t know what to do and don’t know who you’ll meet on your way there.

For me, I read this book quickly and eagerly simply because I wanted something to settle my heart. I saw a lot of people walking around alone with guide books. They probably are going through the things in the guide books one by one. I found that it was the case a lot, and I didn’t bring a guide book so I am trusting my shitty instinct instead.

I think I found a lot of solace in this book. I don’t choose to travel alone but alas I have no friends so I end up being this way. Well, that’s not fair to say that I have no friends, but I have no close friends to travel with. Or rather I think no one is close enough with me to travel with….


on to quotes!

This quote is from des Esseintes, but de botton quotes him in this book:

‘What was the good moving when a person could travel so wonderfully sitting in a chair? Wasn’t he already in London, whose smells, weather, citizens, food and even cutlery were all about him? What could he expect to find over there except fresh disappointments?’

The anticipatory and artistic imaginations omit and compress; they cut away the periods and direct our attention to critical moments, and thus, without either lying or embellishing, they lend to life a vividness and a coherence that it may lack in the distracting woolliness of the present.

If we are surprised by the power of one sulk to destroy the beneficial effects of an entire hotel, it is because we misunderstand what holds up our moods. We are sad at home and blame the weather and the ugliness of the buildings, but on the tropical island we learn (after an argument in a raffia bungalow under an azure sky) that the state of the skies and the appearance of our dwellings can never on their own either underwrite our joy or condemn us to misery

Des Esseintes concluded, in Huysman’s words, that ‘the imagination could provide a more-than-adequate substitute for the vulgar reality of actual experience’. Actual experience where what we have come to see is always diluted in what we could see anywhere, where we are drawn away from the present by an anxious future and where our appreciation of aesthetic elements lies at the mercy of perplexing physical and psychological demands

It is perhaps sad books that best console us when we are sad and to lonely service stations that we should drive when there is no one for us to hold or love.

It is not necessarily at home that we best encounter our true selves. The furniture insists that we cannot change because it does not; the domestic setting keeps us tethered to the person we are in ordinary life, who may not be who we essentially are.

I’m obsessed with inventing stories for people I come across. An overwhelming curiosity makes me ask myself what their lives might be like. I want to know what they do, where they’re from, their names, what they’re thinking about at that moment, what they regret, what they hope for, whom they’ve loved, what they dream of … and if they happen to be women (especially youngish ones), then the urge becomes intense. How quickly you would want to see that one naked, admit it, and naked through to her heart.

If the world seems unfair or beyond our understanding, sublime places suggest that it is not surprising that things should be thus. We are the playthings of the forces that laid out the oceans and chiseled the mountains. Sublime places gently move us to acknowledge limitations that we might otherwise encounter with anxiety or anger in the ordinary flow of events.

There is also a large portion describing why people take photos, and our desires to posses things. I don’t know, nowadays it’s so that we could post it on facebook right? Well for me, I take photos to put them on my main blog, facebook is secondary for me and I mostly don’t even use it. Now that I think about it, it has no point, because it sits in my hard drive without much meaning. But I guess the point is that I was there and here is proof that I was there.

Traveling makes me anxious and happy but at the same time very much unresolved. I don’t even know if that makes sense. But if you’re planning to go somewhere and it’s making you uneasy, read this book!

Posted: May 8th, 2012
Categories: BOOKS, QUOTES
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