A couple of weeks ago I posted my Summer in Grayscale. Well, this is the colourful side of summer. I’ve enjoyed this summer very much and I am thankful for all the people who’ve made it possible. Most of all, I am thankful to God for giving me the opportunity of witnessing such beauty. I’ve also been reading a book called Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi; it’s such a good book! Below you can see a photo of one of my favourite passages, where the author reflects on the purpose of a novel.
Earlier this year I went through some pretty sad stuff and one of my friends told me that maybe the spring would bring a little rebirth. The spring wasn’t that great but this summer has definitely felt like a renewal in lots of ways, especially emotionally. Apart from friends, family and the wonderful people I’ve been working with; taking photographs and reading Nafisi’s book have helped a lot, as has upbeat hip-hop! I am immeasurably thankful.
“There’s so much more to life than we’ve been told
it’s full of beauty that will unfold
and shine like you struck gold my wayward son…”
Josh Garrels, Farther along.
There were many skies. The sky was invaded by great white clouds, flat on the bottom but round and billowy on top. The sky was completely cloudless, of a blue quite shattering to the senses. The sky was a heavy, suffocating blanket of grey cloud, but without promise of rain. The sky was thinly overcast. The sky was dappled with small, white, fleecy clouds…
Chapter 78, Life of Pi by Yann Martel.
Here are some of the photos I’ve taken this month. Most of this month was seen through my sunglasses, which change the colour of things — I’ve tried to add some of that colour through editing the images. Enjoy!
into your imagination
a soft plunge
in the liquid substance
that will sustain it
It begins to unravel
with quick, sharp movements
in all directions —
Then with softer
to the music
of the Sleeping Beauty soundtrack.
I’m having one of those moments when I feel like I need to ask for permission to take a break from the internet and everything within it.This may not be a very healthy attitude. I wonder how many people feel the same way.
I was reading an article in the Guardian this morning – by now I’ve established that I’m a sucker for The Guardian, I always find interesting things there…or maybe they find me! Google knows I like their Facebook page. Spooky, right? Anyway, the article was about this crazy feeling you get with all the information that is on the web. There is such a broad expanse of territory to cover and very little time to dive into anything for more than a couple of minutes. Most sites you visit will have a stream of posts, photos, shares, likes, ads… IT NEVER ENDS! On top of that you have the people trying to reach you; the phone buzzing with emails, notifications of all sorts, messages and maybe even the occasional phone call (!).
I’m a reader, I love a good article. I like to be aware of what’s happening but I always get this nagging feeling that I’m not keeping up. I miss information all the time. I find out about things days after they happen. Sometimes I decide not to read about a specific issue because there’s just not enough of me. I’m interested and I like to be attentive but my social media sites go unchecked for days, I read messages and decide to go away, think about it and answer later.
We live in this fast-paced, real-time reaction, on the spot reporting society that tweets, shares, comments on, blogs and Instagrams everything and anything. But I usually think before I blog, I don’t share things I don’t actually appreciate, I didn’t see the point of Instagram after a couple months so I quit, I’m horrible at tweeting, I don’t comment on videos or articles…seriously, people are so abusive and horrible on comment threads, why bother?, I usually think a lot before giving an opinion about current affairs, I’ve disabled most notifications on my phone and I’ve lost the grasp of what constitutes a Facebook status. I’m mostly okay with being this way but when I look at social media or read articles on newspapers it seems like everybody else is on this wave of being up to date with the world and I lag behind. I sometimes have this overwhelming sensation that I’m just too slow for life in the 21st century. And there’s this strange need to apologise for it. As if somebody were telling me that I need to keep up, that it’s vital. But I am happier when I take my time to think.
These past few months I’ve been thinking a lot about this. My life, my thoughts and opinions may seem small in light of the huge things happening in the world today. It may seem like I drown in the midst of all the other voices on the web. But there is a part of me that believes that there is a place for mine out there. There is value and relevance in every voice.
I hope to learn more about how to use the internet without going insane. For now I’ll just keep telling myself that it’s okay to take a break and I won’t be a total failure if I don’t keep up with the world (whatever that means!).
Just a quick reflection on Camille Paglia’s article about Eminem’s new album, The Marshall Mathers LP2.
Her article appeared in The Sunday Times Magazine, it begins as follows: “The rap star Eminem has a reputation for conjuring violent and degrading imagery – particularly against women. Yet his daring eighth album has won him a surprising admirer in Camille Paglia, America’s foremost cultural critic.”
I read the article with enthusiasm because as a teenager I used to listen to Eminem and some of his songs still ring a bell. I remember watching 8 Mile with my brother; for some reason we both identified with aspects of the main character in that film. Paglia’s article has brought these memories to the surface.
She conducts an analysis of Eminem’s album against the backdrop of the current pop music scene. His album has been very successful so far despite the low-key publicity, the contrast is especially stark if compared to Lady Gaga’s latest album. What I find interesting, however, is Paglia’s take on the connection between Eminem’s troubled childhood and his music. His unhappy, volatile home situation growing up is no secret. And he has undoubtedly used rap as a tool for expressing the anger and frustration that such experiences yield. What makes me uncomfortable is Camille Paglia’s opinion that “Eminem’s conflicts are internal and therefore irresolvable, forever propelling him forward”. Yes, it seems like he hasn’t dealt with his childhood stuff but it is a mistake to assume that internal conflicts don’t have a solution and that it’s okay as long as they are the driving force behind a person’s creativity. I get that what she was doing was analysing his album but I couldn’t help thinking about the fact that this man is alive! As long as he is walking on this earth, his conflicts, if left unsolved, are a double-edged sword. He has a choice to make there but it doesn’t help that academics, in the name of art, put this man’s “monsters” down as the artists’ defining quality. Of other rappers she writes, “Success often undermines black rappers by removing them from their harsh early environment. Striving to stay relevant, they can become pompous and monotonous, such as Jay-Z or Kanye West in their respective overblown new albums”. It seems that what she was saying is that the only reason Eminem is good is because he had a messed up childhood and as long as he holds on to the ugliness of the consequences he will have something to say. Camille Paglia seems to be a woman of strong opinions and I respect her for that. But as someone who has faced the devastating consequences of a childhood similar to that of Eminem, I cannot accept the superficiality of such conclusion. In any case, the article was good Sunday afternoon reading material.
When 8 Mile came out I had no idea that more than a decade later I would be sitting in a therapist’s office staring at a gaping wound, unable to express my rage and process pain – trying to reconcile the disgust I feel for some of the things I experienced growing up and my desire to have a family some day. There was a time when my creativity was fed by the ghosts of the past. I was friends with “the monster that live[d] under my bed”. And I thought that if I ever let go, creativity would dry out: I would no longer be able to write honest poetry, I thought I would be dull, a conformist, a sheltered and creatively impotent individual. I will not deny that the pain of the past has shaped who I am. I am strong, compassionate and honest. But saying goodbye to my ghosts hasn’t killed my creativity. I don’t have to hold on to the anger, reproduce the violence or forever explore my unresolved issues with my parents. And neither does Eminem.
“But if one kid out of a hundred million
who are goin’ through a struggle feels it and
relates that’s great, it’s payback…”
The Monster, Eminem ft. Rihanna, 2013.