Monthly Archives: June 2011

The Thing about Henry James

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While I was reading The Portrait of a Lady, I got so frustrated at some points that I literally threw my book across the room. In real life, people will frustrate me the way that Isabel Archer frustrated me in the book. The only difference being that I can not throw a person across the room whenever they frustrate me.

Anyway, what I am trying to say is that I have yet to read a book that develops its characters to be so realistic and so terribly human, the way that James had developed his. I feel like his books are more character driven rather than plot driven. There is a certain psychology that you have to tap into while reading his work. It is so intensely unique to find something like this, seeing as most fiction is solely plot driven. Although his books, in terms of plot, can easily fall into the cliché categories, his characters do not. While reading the preface to this book, I remember him mentioning how he likes to watch people in society and, in his imagination, place them in interesting scenarios, guessing how they would react. When you think about it, it is so simple (and fun)—almost like The Sims, except in your head!

As much as I  love his work, I was frustrated by the ending of Portrait of a Lady. I lost some sleep last night because of that.

Quotes:

“It appeared to Isabel that the disagreeable had been even too absent from her knowledge, for she had gathered from her aquaintance with literature that it was often a source of interest, and even of instruction.”

-Henry James pg. 27

“The finest pleasures in life are to be found in the world of action.”

-Henry James pg. 34

 

“‘But I always want to know the things one shouldn’t do.’

‘So as to do them?’ asked her aunt.

‘So as to choose’, said Isabel.”

-Henry James pg. 60

 

“I try to care more about the world than about myself–but I always come back to myself. It’s because I am afraid.”

-Henry James pg. 205

 

“Don’t mind anything that anyone tells you about anyone. Judge everyone and everything for yourself.”

-Henry James pg 231

 

“The passion of love separates its victim terribly from everyone but the loved object.”

-Henry James pg 324

 

Blue Dress

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The thing about adventures: you never know when they are going to creep up on you.

After an exhausting day at work, catering to the rock people; I sat on the bus with a bag full of truffles, a wilting lily flower, and my headphones booming noise into my ears. Suddenly, the wind started screaming outside, and the rain was falling in sheets enveloping the world outside of my window. A symphony of cascading rain, car horns, and crying babies trying to penetrate my headphones, and me, just watching passively as the universe happened around me.

My phone rings.

“Hello?”

“Where are you? The power just went out!”

“I’m almost home.”

It had stopped raining, but the wind was still howling. I walked up onto my porch, watching the people on Glenwood walk out of their shells to see what the aftermath of the storm looked like. A man carrying his sleeping child crossed the street and walked into a house a few houses away from mine. My friends were all gathered on our porch drinking beer while one of them lazily strummed his guitar, and I took a seat on my blue throne after putting my flower in some water. We watched as the houses around us got their electricity back, one by one. The night was creeping up on us and still no electricity. We walked to the gas station and bought some candles, expecting a very dark night. Personally, I was excited about the lack of electricity, seeing as it forces everyone to hang out. Something interesting always happens when the power is out.

It was about ten o’clock now and all of the white chocolate truffles had made their way into my happy tummy. The candles were burning low now, and we were wondering what the next source of light would be when Claire and I came up with an idea. “Let’s make an ashtray bonfire!” , “Okay!”

We wandered around the yard picking up the small twigs that had escaped the rain, using her solar powered book light as our source of light. We made a tiny teepee in the ash-tray with a wad of composition book paper in the middle. We lit it to no avail. After three not-so-encouraging attempts, we finally got the fire going! The two of us were so excited about our little accomplishment that we treated ourselves to some more truffles. To be honest with you, I was actually more excited about having a light to read by than anything else. I felt like Robinson Crusoe.

The yawns came along, reminding everyone that it was about that time. We all said our goodnights, and wandered off to bed reeking of bonfire smoke and candle wax. I climbed the stairs looking forward to a candle-lit shower.

Clean me crawls into bed, and wraps herself up in her sheets, closes her eyes, and falls fast asleep only to be awakened with eyes still closed, in a strange dream world where nothing and everything make sense.

I am sitting on a box in a garage and people are robbing a bank. Some big guy is asking me questions, and I lie to him because I don’t want him to find my giant library hidden behind a trap door behind the safe. He has a gun, but I don’t care–my books are more important. A girl with wild hair, and a bandana tied around her head, tells him to leave me alone because I am her friend ( I had no idea who she was, I had never seen her before!) She has a gun too.

We are driving in a yellow car together, this girl and I. We are driving up a giant hill, and the world around us looks like something out of a Dr. Seuss book. She is trying to give me some cash but I refuse it, while she continues talking about her childhood as an orphan. She drops me off at Best Buy, and I walk in looking for Pride and Prejudice. The woman at the register has wild, red hair and she can’t spell Prejudice. I spell it out for her but she doesn’t understand what I am saying. Two teenage boys ask me for my phone number. I walk away from them and into a crazy looking mall, where all of the store fronts look like the rotating things that you have to pass through before getting on the subway. I am at the entrance to Bath and Body Works but the store is closed. I tell the employee that I really had to use his restroom, and he lets me in.

I wake up with a full bladder, bolt to the bathroom, trip over the sheet that is wrapped around me, and stub my toe on the corner of the stairs.

FIN

Crispy: How to meditate in the sun

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It was so nice to finally use my little fan from Barcelona again.

Laying out in the sun is a really nice way to re-energize, and rid oneself of all the brown energy that has been trapping itself in the system over the cold months. The sun being the most powerful energy source of all, gives off a wonderful yellow light that strikes the solar plexus, root, and sacral chakras best, for me at least. As for all of the others that need some healing, that will come along with the rest.

Meditating in the heat can be difficult, especially when there isn’t a pool to jump in when it gets too hot. My solution was a gallon of water lying at the ready, and of course, my fan. The happiest music in my i-phone was blasting in my ears and I inhaled imaginary yellow stuff from the sun, and exhaled imaginary brown (negative) energy that has been sitting in my system for months.

I silenced my mind by picturing myself in an elevator slowly creeping up to the top floor (seven). You might be wondering how it is possible to silence the mind while listening to loud music, well, it is pretty easy as long as it suits the levels that you are trying to reach. Personally, music always helps me, as for others, well I can’t really speak for them.

Anyway, the elevator ride symbolizes the energetic body. Each floor being a different chakra. A great trick is to divide your physical body into seven parts, and relax each of these one by one. You can do this as many times as you need to, just remember to take slow, deep breaths.

Root: Security, self-worth, addiction, finances, karma. This chakra is the most important one because it helps the others function properly. Think of a tree; it can’t survive without it’s roots. This is our connection to the earth.

After your body is relaxed, breathe in the light from the sun, targeting the first floor (root chakra). Picture the light running through your body in ribbons, sort of like a highway. Let it blanket the root chakra, which I always picture as a little red orb located at the base of the spine. When you exhale, picture the brown energy being pushed out by the light and think of something that was worrying you, or weighing you down in terms of self worth, finances, and security. Let that leave your body through your mouth. I usually work on this one at least three times before moving on to the rest, seeing as it is the most important of the seven.

Sacral: Located at the navel, this chakra controls our emotions, sexual activity, our ability to make decisions, letting go, creativity.  Color: Orange.

This is one of the chakras that I found the most improvement in with this meditation. You are going to do the same thing that you did with your root, the only difference being what you let go of (a break up, writers block…etc.). I like to picture this one glowing after the positive light hits it. As I am an artist, this is one of the more important ones for me.

Solar Plexus: This is the yellow chakra. It is highly associated with self-esteem, fear of rejection, aura, freedom, ego, personal power, life force, sunlight.

This is the last chakra that you are going to concentrate on during this meditation. This one is also highly influenced by the sunlight. People who are sensitive to the sun, or have lived in an area where they don’t get enough sun usually have a weak solar plexus chakra, and have to find other ways to heal it. We are going to do something a little different with this one, seeing as it also controls the image that we project to the world and the will to live. Take the deepest breath that you can take, and hold it for five seconds. Let the light from the sun blanket, penetrate, and center itself in the middle of the yellow orb, allow yourself to feel heat in your belly (I know, I know! You are in the sun, so it’s hot!). Before you exhale,  imagine a situation where you have been terribly rejected, trapped, or criticized; a moment where you have questioned your life force. Then watch as the sunlight light spreads like little veins and pushes all of that trapped negativity out. Exhale what is being thrown away. Exhale all the way until you can’t anymore. If there is any more negativity left in there, do it again but not more than three times! I don’t want you to pass out. The deeper set problems are things that can be healed over time.

When you are coming out of this meditation, it is very important that you do so properly.

After working on the solar plexus chakra, watch the light glowing from the three centers. Let it sink in, let the highways finish guiding the light to the energy. Keep on breathing the same way that you have been breathing during the meditation. Picture your elevator, you are on the top floor. As you stop on each floor  wake up your body by wiggling your toes, fingers, arms, etc. When you reach the ground floor, open your eyes and enjoy your new state of mind!

P.S Don’t forget your sun screen!

P.P.S This doesn’t take as long as it seems. It took me like 15 minutes.