Monday, August 23, 2010

Moons, new and full

Tonight is a full moon, but this morning is a veil of clouds. The day looks to be both long and short, as all my days have become. I have only one week left in the life I've settled into for five years, then goodbye, Athens!

Worse: goodbye, boyfriend.

My amazing partner is preparing to move to France for a year (well, seven months), and I can't even think about not being near him yet. All I feel are tears, pouring onto my pillow, cutting between us, blurring all the laughter.

But all I want to feel are kisses. If there's only one week left, it had better be a hell of a good one. Go out with a bang and whatnot. We've already shared so many good memories, why not create as many more as we can?

And then? Well, we shall see. This chapter is not yet finished, that's for sure. There will be a massive scene change, but it will only spice things up. Rising action.

After my week of moving and (most likely) moping, my mother and I will drive down to the Grand Canyon and catch up on life. Then I'll present at the International Conference in Chillicothe. Then I'll move to Cincinnati, find a job and a pet-friendly apartment. I'll apply to doctoral programs. Work on my novel. Try publishing some of my poems and essays. Start being artsy again: collages, sketches, jewelry, photographs... So many emotions to capture, so much to reveal, and all without the man I love.

But aren't our twenties supposed to foster independence? Doing things ourselves, so we know we can?

Innumerable people have tread these strange paths before me, and yet no one else can walk this one for me. I feel like a new moon.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A rainbow at home

I find that surrounding myself with bright colors does wonders for my mood. A candle here, a collage there, and soon I'm in the middle of a rainbow!

Under the shadows: two poems from Gillian Clarke

From Gillian Clarke’s “Sabrina”
Before history there was mythology.
Fingerprinted between the strata of story
Is the human sign. We make a guess
At who they were, and where and why it was.
How the daughter of faithless Locrinus drowned
Between an Ice Age and the Age of Stone
To become the river-goddess, a curb in the river.
Today in these fast waters you might glimpse
In the sway of the currents the white limbs
Of a girl caught in a shoal of silvers
Turning and turning in the turbulence
Among migrating salmon, sewin, elvers,
Lampreys, eels taking their ancient water-roads
Under the shadows of thousands of homing birds.

From “The Physicians of Myddfai”
Like a bowl of milk
the mountain cups the lake
where the Ages of Stone,
Bronze and Iron left their bones
under the earth, under the water
with the lake king’s daughter.
Every day he dreams her face
a ferment on the surface
at dawn as the sun casts
its net of light from the east.
With his mother’s bread
he’ll win her to his bed.
The spell is buttermilk and barm,
grains ground between stones,
pummelled and set to warm
by a wood-fire or under the sun.
Such leavening as suddenly she breaks
the waters of the lake.
Three loaves,
three chances for love
to cross the boundaries
of time and history,
of water and stone.
On the third day she is his own.
Three strikes of metal and she’s gone.
The ages drown,
dissolved into the past,
the story of the lake lies lost
in archaeology, the myths and silts
of ancient settlements.

Both of these poems introduce the mythical feel of my novel. They give me shivers, every time I read them.

I got to see Gillian Clarke at the Wales-Smithsonian-Cymru event in D.C. back in '09:

Awww! Puppies and kittens!

Whenever life has me feeling down or flustered, I turn to my brood. Yes, my brood. My darling 2.5-year-old chow-golden retriever-German shepherd mix, Rosie, and her 4-month-old brother, a kitten named Lynx.

Do you need some cheering up?

Check out these awwwww-some photo of them!

Road trip to Virginia

I believe inspiration can capture you wherever you go.

Case in point: my boyfriend and I drove down to Virginia last week, and I found tons and tons of inspiration. We drove to Mount Vernon, Washington's home, but most of the cool things I saw were on the road.

As you see, nature is probably my largest inspiration- well, other than my brood. More to come on that...

Of novels and Mnemosyne

Since the completion of my thesis, I've been diligently working on my novel. It's a yet-to-be-named ghost story set in Wales, imbued with a theme of self discovery and awakening identity. Thirty-one pages so far, with the characters and incidents dripping onto the pages effortlessly.

My main character is a young American woman who moves to Wales hoping to reconnect with her deceased father's spirit. She moves in with her aunt, her father's sister, and helps her renovate the decrepit family inn located in a tiny town. The town's claim to fame is a crumbling Cistercian abbey. During her stay, my main character experiences two ghosts: one of a monk and one of a young Victorian woman.

She sets out to uncover their stories and, in the process, discovers her own.

The entire story flashed in my mind while I was visiting Tintern Abbey in 2008. I've been obsessed with it since. I even dream from my characters' perspectives.

Here are some pictures of the place that so inspired me:

Resurrecting the Red Dragon

The past few weeks have been a whirl of happenings, travels, and adventures. I've been navigating the bureaucratic red tape for my thesis; just when I'd passed my defense and thought everything was golden, I found out there was another organization whose requirements I had to meet. Their requirements: getting new documents signed by professors who are no longer in Athens and completely reformatting my thesis.

Now I'm working on a lovely little conference paper based on my thesis (20 pages of my 95), also titled Resurrecting the Red Dragon. I'll be presenting this sparkling piece on Welsh postmodern national identity on September 24 at the International Conference on Global Citizenship, Collective Identity, and Tolerance.

I am very excited to share my ideas about the growth of postmodern, instrumentalist identities in the wake of receding cultural identities. Identities have forged the world as we know it: kingdoms, nation-states, wars, businesses, corporations; language, art, literature, etc.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Going green!

One thing I love about the rain- even rain that, like today, causes power outages- is how green the world looks after. Green is my favorite color, a color of life, calm, success, nature... Anywho, here are some pretty green things:

A Chrysoprase ring from Jealousydesigns

Urban Outfitters' The Furies Pannung Pant.

Infinity Sequins Headband from Free People

This image from Lady Pandacat von Nopants

... and I really love this double shoulder jewelry from Urban Outfitters!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Bright inspirations

The following are pictures I've taken, and, as such, would request that you do not use them without my permission.

Check out the Axis of Awesome's "4 chords":