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Sunday, October 16th, 2011 02:14 pm
These days it feels as if people have fled LiveJournal en masse, and I don’t know where they’ve gone. Granted I’ve been missing myself for quite some time-- first because of the endless black hole that was my dissertation, and then it was off to Rome, and then I entered the secondary black hole of job searching. You would think that being unemployed would mean I had a great deal of free time, and you would be right. But it also means that I always feel guilty that I’m not doing enough to find a job, which means that even when I’m procrastinating I don’t write, because writing is Not Looking For a Job.

I also accidentally fell into X-Men: First Class fandom, and seeing as this is the first time I’ve been in an overwhelmingly huge fandom, I always have an endless backlog of stories to catch up on. While this has been helpful in getting me through the trials of the past few months, it has also once again brought to my attention that I am absolutely and completely addicted to reading. I’ve been reading books at what has become my customary pace, but the reading that I do online is vast and near-constant. I read until I can’t bear to focus on the computer screen anymore, and then I pick up the nearest book and I read that for a while. If I have no book I read whatever I can get my hands on-- cereal boxes, junk mail, old newspapers. My friends laugh at my inability to get through this or that TV show, but the truth is that unless it really grabs my attention, I would rather read.

xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx

I was talking to my mom on the phone the other day. “I know you’re nostalgic for the Jersey shore as you used to know it,” I said, “bustling, full of people, full of life. But when we went there when I was a kid, everything was run down, boarded up, with grass growing through the cracks and faded graffiti on the walls. And I remember that Dad used to take me by Hoboken on the train, and he would warn me that it wasn’t safe, I had to stay close to him. When I started going myself when I got older it was the same-- a bit run down, a bit seedy, long past the bustling days of the Lakawana rail line bringing vacationers in and out. I would go to the Hoboken Farm Boy and buy this cheap, scented Chinese soap I liked, I would go by the old comic book shop, eat at the Karma Cafe . . . but now Hoboken’s gentrified, and the Hoboken Farmboy is a cell phone shop, and the comic book shop’s long gone, couldn’t afford the rent, and I can’t afford to eat in the Karma Cafe anymore.

“I still like Hoboken, but I loved it as it was-- the Jersey shore, too. I’m nostalgic for them as I knew them: abandoned, run down, dreaming of lost glories.”

xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx

Ghazal, by Dilruba Ahmed

It’s wine I need. Is it a sin to have another?
No harm in merlot, no harm in another.

In Ramadan, we’ll break our fast with dates and wine—
Must we pray in one room and dance in another?

Crushed blossoms at the end of the summer: teach me
how to coax nectar from the bloom of another.

Burned rice on the stove again: what’s to love
but my imperfections—you’ll forgive me another.

Butter by a kettle always melts, warns the proverb.
Heated, greased, we slip one into the other.

When, inexplicably, you enter my prayers,
I hear messages from one god or another.

Me encanta cantar, cuando estoy sola, en el carro.
My mother tongue dissolves. I speak in another.

Heart thief, enter the fields like a woman in love,
vase in one hand, shears in the other.

Sunday, October 16th, 2011 11:41 pm (UTC)
Ha! Awesome coincidence! My good friend just recently fell into the X-Men: First Class fandom too!

I've never thought about it like that, but I share your addiction to reading too. I'm always online reading things. Even when I can't bear stuff online for various reasons, I trawl through my old stuff on the computer, read that, and cringe because they're so terrible.

Speaking of books, an acquaintance lent me the new English translation of Mirror Sword & Shadow Prince by Ogiwara Noriko and I'm uber-psyched to read it. XD Do you know the series? It's a Japanese fantasy trilogy, Tales of the Magatama.
Monday, October 17th, 2011 11:14 pm (UTC)
XMFC fandom is like a hole. A dark, endless hole so deep the vertigo is its own gravity well. A hole FULL OF AWESOME.

and also crack.

And your stuff has never been terrible. :-P At least, not what I've read of it.

I . . . believe I read the first of the books, and I remember it had a lovely cover. Other than that my recollections of it are somewhat vague, and I don't know if that's the book's fault or mine.
Wednesday, October 19th, 2011 12:01 am (UTC)
Aha, see, that's why I don't show you all my really awful things.^_~ NaNo is almost upon us again and once more I feel stirred to participate. You?

My friend tells me the fandom is a pretty good one. It's a shame I have no interest in XMFC characters, although I've always been fond of Professor X, because the CCFF7 fandom is godawful.

As for the Magatama trilogy, I have it from Nijibug on DW that the 2nd book is a lot better than the first, as Ogiwara-sensei improved a great deal from 1 novel to the next. I love them for the retelling of Japanese mythos and folklore, in a way that feels familiar and not at all borrowed, like a lot of the stuff here that's based on Japanese folklore.
Wednesday, October 19th, 2011 08:51 pm (UTC)
I've . . . never participated in NaNo, and never felt particularly stirred to do so. Usually November is a time when I'm terribly busy; at the moment not so much, but. I'm hoping that I'll be starting a job in November, in which case I might also be looking for a place to live, and it might be insane. But overall, I just . . . don't feel like I have the drive, or I'm just looking at it too cynically, or it's just another thing for me to fail at when I fail at too many things already. :-(

XMFC fandom is full of talented writers and artists, aye, and there's immense amount of output . . . but really, if you're not interested in Erik or Charles, there's not so much there. I do, but then there's an added nostalgia factor for me because I followed the X-books religiously when I was in middle school. I spent a great deal of time tracking down places where I could buy comic books.

I did think that the first Magatama book was quite different from anything else I'd read, and I didn't dislike it; it simply didn't enthrall me as much as I was hoping. It didn't put me off, though, I just had no particularly strong reaction of any kind. So I would certainly try the second book, though I'm not terribly compelled to go off and find it unless I heard an enthusiastic recommendation.