Mischievous Muse

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Location: Austin, TX, United States

Scholar, Writer, Mother, Dreamer. Editor of Luminarium, an online library for English Literature of the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Confessions of an Undomestic Goddess

I hate cleaning. With a passion.  I know I'm not alone in this — anyone who loves cleaning is immediately suspect (and potentially unstable) in my book.

And yet, I love coming home to a clean house, showering in a squeaky clean tub, snuggling into sheets still warm from the dryer, and feeling like "my home is my castle" — what's to do?

  1. 1. Become fabulously wealthy and hire full-time staff.

  2. 2. Acquire house-elf to run project "Home-->Castle."

  3. 3. Get off lazy bottom and "Just Do It."

Option 1 seems by far the best. Must work on the 'fabulously wealthy' part post haste.

Option 2 would not be too bad either — although I've already recounted what happened with my gnome. The word is also that fairyfolk are currently in high demand, so finding a house-elf for hire may prove difficult.

Alas, at least for today, I am left with no option but to get off my lazy bum and clean. Oh well, I can pretend I'm Cinderella and that "Someday my Prince Will Come" — in which case, revisit option 1.

Will and Wakefulness

Ah, beloveds, here we are again at 4 a.m.  Boo just awoke to throw up, and Noo has a rumbly in her tumbly, as Winnie-the-Pooh would say, as well.  I'm on the queasy side too, so I'm betting we all ate something bad.  I'm sure it'll be fixed by morning, but ahh, the perils of being awake at 4 a.m.

For some reason, "my Beloved, Master W.S." is never far at this hour, even though this time the cause of my waking is not the previously documented Insomnia, the Hollow-Toothed Beast.  Earlier tonight, I was revisiting the Sonnets, to send my sweet Corrie a few suggestions for possibilities for his class (as if he needs my suggestions — he's brilliant!).

I came up with quite a few, of course, in my list of "favorites" — but I'll not list them all here, unless of course I receive a popular outcry for just such a list. What I thought of doing instead was a Sonnetsday — posting one sonnet per Sunday. This way, those who enjoy sonnets can get their fix, and those who do not (I know who you are, and it's quite alright) can fast forward through those entries. Deal?

It is not Sunday yet, but let's do it, just because I feel like it:

Giorgione. Sleeping Venus, c.1510.

Sonnet 43

WHEN most I wink, then do mine eyes best see,
For all the day they view things unrespected;
But when I sleep, in dreams they look on thee,
And darkly bright, art bright in dark directed.

Then thou, whose shadow shadows doth make bright,
How would thy shadow’s form form happy show
To the clear day with thy much clearer light,
When to unseeing eyes thy shade shines so!

How would, I say, mine eyes be blessed made
By looking on thee in the living day,
When in dead night thy fair imperfect shade
Through heavy sleep on sightless eyes doth stay!

    All days are nights to see till I see thee,
    And nights bright days when dreams do show thee me.


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Miss Scarlett, In the Bedroom, with the Laptop

Hey Munchkins,

I've just had a really nice day, and wanted to drop a line before bed... Well, since I'm currently in bed, dunno if technically it qualifies as before, but - ok, let's stop there - see what I mean about over-analyzing everything?

So anyway. I had a great day. I ate one of the best burgers ever (can you say medium rare with cajun spices and seasoned fries 10 times fast?), spent a bit of time in Final Fantasy XI as an elf-maiden, had a relaxing walk with my doggies, and hung out with my darling friend Nancy, waxing philosophical over life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

To crown it all, when I came to check on the blog, I had lovely and fun comments from wonderful folks from around the world, who I'm only just getting to know. (<--English major pet peeves: Should that be who or whom? GOD, I hate the fact that I'm really not sure!! I'm thinking 'who' since it is plural? Grrr... Anyone have absolute certainty, please release me!)

If you'll permit me, I'd like to introduce you to three gentlemen:

Mark A. from Texas, whose blog has a fabulous mix of witty feature commentaries and unbeatable links, all delivered in a wry and eloquent voice.

Patt from Glasgow, Scotland, whose blog entries are a delight - I can almost hear his voice, he captures it so clearly in his entries. Patt is also a talented artist who just got a digital tablet for Xmas - see if you don't think his Angelina Jolie is excellent! And don't miss those Elvis photos, folks!

Bart from Hoorn, Netherlands, from whose blog I nicked the Legolas cartoon below. Bart's blog is an eclectic collection of funny pics and thoughtful introspection.

While the Internet may have isolated us in many ways, it has also given us new opportunities to connect with people we most likely would never have encountered.

It has been a great day for me. Thank you all for contributing to it!


Monday, January 30, 2006

Yeats and the Cloths of Heaven

I mentioned some of my poetical influences in a previous post, but the list was by no means exhaustive.  One of my old and dear favorites is William Butler Yeats (pron. 'Yates'), whose poetry is filled with celtic lyricism and a keen sense of longing. I spent a few hours rereading my love-scuffed "Collected Poems" last night and thought I would share two of his poems.


He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven

HAD I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

W.B. Yeats

The Cap and Bells

THE JESTER walked in the garden:
The garden had fallen still;
He bade his soul rise upward
And stand on her window-sill.

It rose in a straight blue garment,
When owls began to call:
It had grown wise-tongued by thinking
Of a quiet and light footfall;

But the young queen would not listen;
She rose in her pale night gown;
She drew in the heavy casement
And pushed the latches down.

He bade his heart go to her,
When the owls called out no more;
In a red and quivering garment
It sang to her through the door.

It had grown sweet-tongued by dreaming,
Of a flutter of flower-like hair;
But she took up her fan from the table
And waved it off on the air.

‘I have cap and bells’ he pondered,
‘I will send them to her and die;’
And when the morning whitened
He left them where she went by.

She laid them upon her bosom,
Under a cloud of her hair,
And her red lips sang them a love song:
Till stars grew out of the air.

She opened her door and her window,
And the heart and the soul came through,
To her right hand came the red one,
To her left hand came the blue.

They set up a noise like crickets,
A chattering wise and sweet,
And her hair was a folded flower
And the quiet of love in her feet.

W.B. Yeats

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Once Upon a Time in Middle Earth...

Nicked from Wulfweard who nicked it from Bart.

Quiz: Which Literature Classic Are You?

I spent a leisurely Saturday puttering around the house in my pajamas drinking coffee and eating girl scout cookies (I have 4 boxes on my kitchen table, each alluring and seductive).   I played on the computer, watched TV, read, and generally just luxuriated in doing nothing productive — pretty good for a Type A, huh?

After watching an old episode of BBC's 'Coupling' (Ep.I.4 - where Susan finds Steve's videotape of "Lesbian Spank Inferno") and a dramatic living room redo on HGTV (Hi, my name is Anniina, and I'm addicted to home makeover shows), I thought I'd check out the blogosphere before bed.  I found quite a lot to think about, and some very fun things as well.  My favorite find tonight was at the blog of UrbanMuse.  She linked to a quiz (I love quizzes!) at Quizilla, entitled "Which Literature Classic Are You?"  Here's what I got:

J.R.R. Tolkien: Lord of the Rings.

You are entertaining and imaginative, creating whole new worlds around yourself. Well loved, you have a whole league of imitators, none of which is quite as profound as you are. Stories and songs give a spark of joy in the middle of your eternal battle with the forces of evil.

Now — anyone who knows me a bit can guess how much this delighted me!  Well, go on and see what you get, and don't forget to come back and post a comment to let me know.  And, forgive me, but now I have to sign off so I can go "battle with the forces of evil."


Thursday, January 26, 2006

Blogged, Red-Handed

Okay loves, I confess - I didn't sleep at all.

After writing the entry below |V|, I started clicking on the button in the top right corner (see, up there ^) that says 'next blog.' It ran me through a whirlwind of blogs ranging from the yawn to the hmm, that's interesting to the Oh my god, you sick puppy. Found a couple of blogs of note that I'd like to share:

Well beloveds, more another time. ~A


Mundane Musings

There is an explanation why I haven't blogged in a week.

For one, I probably overdosed on it last week, so a week off is a good thing - perhaps I can now reach a state of normalcy, writing regularly but not obsessively.

Secondly, I realized that I was actually taking stress over it - feeling I should write even when I didn't particularly feel like it, worrying that perhaps I should censor my thoughts, and feeling vulnerable over how much I was, or was not, exposing. Strange medium! So instead of the blog being what I set it out to be - an outlet - I had given it power to give me stress (something I'm quite good at, I admit).

Thirdly, while I was constantly busy last week, it was with mundane things like banks, post offices, dry cleaners, laundry, grocery store, cleaning, reading, doggies, etc.  It felt like writing about those very common things was not worthwhile - and also, I started feeling inadequate, like my life should be a constant circus or one of those hour-long dramas on TV where interesting things happen to an interesting cast of characters.  Looking at my everyday life, it seemed, I  seemed... boring.

Then I realized, I can't let this happen. I can't let myself get stressed out about what should be a relaxing endeavour - it's just me overanalyzing and overcriticizing myself - I have to learn to be gentle with myself, and give myself the latitude and emotional generosity I give other people. I have such a tendency of not feeling "good enough" that I end up trying too hard to be [insert here: better, stronger, prettier, thinner, more accomplished, more interesting, etc. etc. ad infinitum] so many things, that in the end I cannot help but fail while frustrating all those around me who wish I could just accept myself as I am.

So that is what I'm going to attempt: to be okay with who I am, the way I am. (And immediately as I wrote that, my mind went "You'll fail, for sure!")  Damn that self-defeatist inner monologue of mine! Well, I'll try my best, and in the end that's all that can be asked.

Ha! The image of SNL's "Stuart Smalley" popped into my head. "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggonit, people like me." Hmm, maybe he's got something. Maybe I'll try saying that to the mirror a few times a day. God, I'm sad! LOL!

So, now that we've covered my neuroses, maybe we can move on :) What do you think? Alright, let's.

So, in addition to the mundane chores that are life, last week was fun. I slept like a normal person for a full week (!) and got a lot of work done. I had a great Shakespeare audition on Saturday, and two commercial auditions on Monday. I keep going to the commercial auditions to keep my agent happy, but he keeps sending me to "mom" auditions, and I just don't fit the type - sure, I can play mom, and I like kids, but when they've got a room full of real soccer moms and in walks yours truly (the woman with a resume full of mistresses and vamps), whom would you cast? Exactly. And I'm not bitter - I'll have plenty of time to play "mom" in commercials and in real life a few years from now. I just wish that my agent didn't waste my time with these - and yet, I don't want to say no to him, because a) I want him to keep sending me out on things, and b) because you never know when the same client will be in need of someone my type. Good news is, I have another couple of Shakesauditions lined up, and those I love - like my friend Nader says, "Think of those two minutes as your chance to perform for a captive audience." Smart man.

I also had plenty of chance to hang out with friends last week, and to watch a few movies. The tops was, of course, watching "Monty Python and the Holy Grail", which I hadn't seen since I was 15 - half a lifetime ago. It was ridiculous and funny, and especially interesting in comparison to "Spamalot", which I've now seen twice on Broadway, and am nuts for. Yes, like I was saying to my Corrie, if you have to donate blood and fluids to get the money to go while it's still on Broadway, "DO IT."

My parents loved it - my Dad doesn't stop singing "Finland, Finland, Finland" and my mom made "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" the ring tone on her phone. I would do the same, except my phone doesn't have Real Tone capabilities and T-Mobile, my present carrier, are total fascists in their selection of ringtones. (>.<)

Let's see... what else. Ah, I'd managed to get a steal on curtains for my bedroom on eBay, or AnninaBay as some of us lovingly call it, but they are not exactly as I thought, and I think they look BLECHH!  hung up....  instead of being a gold burnout silk (as advertised), they are a) a poly/silk blend and b) BUTTER YELLOW. I mean, I don't care who you are, even a STRAIGHT GUY would never call that color GOLD. So, now I'm playing with the thought of tea-dying them to make them more of an antique gold tone. Since they are not an all-natural material, the chances of things going horribly wrong are great. I'm thinking about it. Ask me next week.

Wow, way to overuse italics and CAPS in the last paragraph. Mwahahah. Can you tell I'm tired as I'm writing this? ;)

I'm slowly putting Christmas away. Slowly, because I had quite a few decorations, but mostly because I never want Christmas to end. It's always been my favorite holiday - it evokes family time, board game time, Christmas food, a good new book for Xmas, maybe some comfy jammies, ginger bread cookies, snow, and love, most of all love. Having my family here this year was very special, and I miss them so. Putting away Christmas decorations is happening slowly, because it feels like a part of that time is still here, and they'll be far away again when Christmas is over. I can't wait to one day have kids and a family of my own, so they can have Christmas. Children possess magic naturally, they still see it, whereas most adults have lost their magic. Magic is important, and I refuse to relinquish mine. To rewrite Keats's "Beauty is Truth, Truth Beauty", I say "Beauty is Magic, Magic Beauty" as well as "Magic is Truth, Truth Magic." Gosh, listen to me!  Yeah, I love Christmas.

Well, I'm getting up in a few hours for a whole day of things to do. So I'll just close with a little poem I wrote a while back. (Hah! Thought you could escape without the requisite "Poesie, by Yours Truly" - caught you!)

 How we long
      for the childhood Christmas,
The safe,
      warm certainty
Of love in the world,
           Good will to man,
                And a snowy,
                     crisp morning.

(AJ, 12-2003)


Tags: Anniina's Poetry

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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

How to keep a Gnome Happy

A little bit of porridge,
A small corner of bread,
A sip of cream,
A thimbleful of honey.

A good tale every now and then
And a warm fire on a cold night -

These are the ingredients
Of a happy gnome.

Tags: Anniina's Poetry

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Gilding the Globe

Every year during the awards season I feel defensive about my desire to watch the award shows. The arrival of the stars, who is wearing what as they twirl down the red carpet, who gets the awards, and what they say in their acceptance speeches, is all entertaining and fascinating to me. I'm transported back to the 5th grade, when I had a movie star scrapbook and dreamt one day of being there amidst all that glitter and hubbub.

Yet, it has become a guilty pleasure, the sort of thing one doesn't mention for fear of derision in the smarter circles. But I often feel that those who are very black and white in their classifications of high brow and low brow, what is acceptable to the intelligentsia and what deplorable -- opera yes, poetry, symphonies, the Rose Society, all good, popcorn movies, award shows, most sitcoms, a no-no -- are narrowmindedly not only excluding the 'lesser folk with baser tastes' from their society, but are shutting themselves from the richness and variety of input available to us as humans.

I remember one of my professors, a lovely, brilliant young man who has since gone far in academia, as well he should have, asking me how I reconciled my love of the great works of the Renaissance with the 'chick-lit' novel I was reading. Then, as now, I had a hard time comprehending that someone could not reconcile the two. Appreciation and love of high-culture, to me, does not have to be to the exclusion of popular culture. I can love Puccini's arias and next day listen to Green Day's "American Idiot".  I can be moved by Branagh's 'Henry V' one day, and cry at 'King Kong' the next.  I can read Greenblatt's Shakesbiography "Will in the World" and Fielding's "Diary of Bridget Jones" in the same evening, and derive equal pleasure, albeit to different nodes in my brain.

Why did Shakespeare include farcical sequences in his works alongside scenes of 'great pith and moment?' Not just to pander to the rude masses, as some still posit, I assure you. Queen Elizabeth herself often 'laughed heartily' at these sequences and so enjoyed Falstaff, for example, that she commanded another play with him in it - the main reason "Merry Wives" ever came to be written. This same woman who could answer the Polish ambassador extempore in Latin, and who could 'englysshe' French and Latin texts with great success, the woman who took a kingdom divided and on the brink of bankruptcy and turned it into the richest and most powerful country in the world at her death, recognized the importance of a full experience, and enjoyed it all, from crass bear-baitings and cock-fights to Spenser's Faerie Queene.

So, I am decided. I am coming out. Let the academics despise me, for I care not. This slip of a girl, whom the Encyclopaedia Britannica has dubbed a Renaissance scholar, likes award shows, enjoys them, loves them even! So there. I've often explained it to people who like football (a love which I can understand, although it holds little interest to me) thus: To me, the Golden Globe Awards are the play-offs, and the Oscars are my Super Bowl.

I'll go back to transcribing Drayton's sonnets and writing a biography of John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester, soon enough. But for now, I am going to eat my popcorn, drink my horrifically strong coffee, and ogle the glitterati. Try and stop me.

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The Reverie

     The stars are falling,
Little pieces
     of the night sky
     My quiet garden.


Tags: Anniina's Poetry

Saturday, January 14, 2006

The Infamous Hysterical Termagant, Heo Cwaeth

I did get some sleep. Thanks to those who wrote letters filled with worry. However, Noo-noo (aka Ariel) needed to go outside at 4am, and try as I might, I could not fall back to sleep. Instead, I spent a most entertaining morning browsing blogs by wonderful kindred spirits out in the mogosphere. Links to those Blogs are on the sidebar.

One posting in particular had me laughing so loudly that I woke up Boo (aka Wilbur) who, alarmed that the roof was falling, ran around the living room in panic until he realized it was just mommy choking with glee.

In Defense of Bitterness by Heo Cweath (Old English for "She Said")

Here is a brilliant, witty woman, who is making the world a better place by a) existing and b) sharing the revelations of that existence with whoever alights on her pages. Bravo, you hysterical termagant!


The Synchronicity Principle

Lo and behold! As soon as I finished posting, I went upstairs and checked my little green house of a mouse trap, which has found a permanent place underneath my stove (where the cookie sheets, etc. are stored). What should I find, but a little tail-and-whiskers! Poor fellow had been there for a long time, and was ready to follow his fellows to the field. As customary, I left him the cracker to eat, so he didn't have to go hungry until he figured out a new domicile.

Another coincidence was that I visited the blog of Bitch Ph.D. for the first time tonight, and devoured several entries with plans for a present return. Her latest entry concerned "The Tale of Despereaux", a wonderful children's novel about a very brave little mouse who falls in love with a princess - I had only just bought it and read it and received another copy for Christmas.

My life, for some reason, seems to have 'Mouse' written all over it today. Fa-mouse, Anony-mouse, enor-mouse! I'm starting to sound like Monty Python here, sans the sparkling wit. Well, if anyone has a book or cards that mention anything on animal totems, drop me a line and tell me what all these mouse-signs mean, would ya?


Of Mice and Women: a Tail with a Happy Ending

It was the month before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature stirred, not even a… Wait. Stop the track. Something was indeed stirring in my house.

I recently moved into a 26 year-old Colonial with a nice big yard that backs into open space – an ideal setup for my two dogs, who finally have room to run. Ideal, that is, until I went to the finished basement a few weeks ago to bring up more boxes in need of unpacking. Mouse pellets. I told myself they were probably from a mouse long since moved away, took out the vacuum, and put it out of my mind. A few days later in the kitchen, I came face to face with a very tiny creature who seemed as alarmed to see me as I was him.

I need to clarify here that I am not scared by mice – indeed, I had a pair of mice for pets in my teens, and this little fellow looked more like Fievel than a sewer rat. No screaming ensued, but this did not mean I was willing to share my living space with him, no matter how cute he may have looked. I promptly went to the hardware store to find out my options.

The helpful gentleman at the store introduced me to various implements used for catching mice, one more torturous and brutal than the other: glue traps, poison pellets, and modern descendants of the guillotine. All of the descriptions were delivered in a matter-of-fact, business-like manner. I was horrified. While I did not want to live in the same house with him, I was not ready to play cold executioner to a helpless small animal who was only doing what mice do – trying to survive.

Disheartened and sickened, I returned home and googled the internet for alternatives. There were indeed plenty of options for humane traps which would catch my critter unharmed, and provide a live release in a field (or galaxy) far, far away.

The first one I tried was a Havahart Live Animal Trap (about $15 at Home Depot). After puzzling over the directions for some time, I finally figured out how to rig it, set my bait (peanut butter rolled in oatmeal flakes), and waited.

Next morning, the goodies were gone, the trap was sprung, and I had caught… nothing. Hmm. It turns out that my mouse was small enough to get through the bars. Just to be sure this was the case and I hadn’t somehow set the trap wrong, I tried again. This time, the trap had not even sprung – my mouse had been too light.

Plan B was a set of plastic M007 Live Mouse Traps from Victor (about $4 at Home Depot). A pair of gray plastic coffins about five inches long, they would tip like a seesaw when a mouse would go to the end to get the goodies, and the little door would trap the mouse inside.

I clomped to the basement the following morning, my excitement growing when I found both traps closed. I got into my car, drove the traps to a field about a half mile away, and opened the traps. No mice. No treats. Puzzling. After a few more nights of my visitor eluding me and laughing into his peanut butter, I still could not figure out how he was doing it. I even considered he might have an accomplice who was holding the door open for him! However my Houdini Mouse was doing it, it was clear I had to try yet another way.

Next, I tried a trap called “The Tin Cat” – a metal box with doors that close after a mouse enters ($12.99 at Allpestpro.com). I think perhaps my gentle visitor did not like the metal for, in the space of three nights, he never made any attempt to get into the box to get the midnight snack to which he had grown accustomed.

By now, as you can imagine, I was starting to get desperate. I could just see my whole family, come from overseas to celebrate the holidays, gathered around Christmas dinner, when Pal Joey would make a dramatic entrance. Though momentarily entertained by the vivid visual of my mother going into hysterics, I knew I had to find something to relocate my furry friend. One last try before I would have to call the exterminator to wreak all the horrible things I had so tried to avoid.

This time, I ran into an article about a humane trap called “The Smart Mouse Trap,” the only trap endorsed by PETA. The trap’s manufacturer, Seabright Laboratories (seabrightlabs.com), advertised their trap as the only one to trap the really smart ones, the ones that kept eluding every other trap. By now I was convinced I had the genius lab rats from “Mrs. Brisby and the Secret of NIMH” camping out in my basement. One of the reviewers reported catching fifty-five mice with the trap – I was sold: I only needed to catch one mouse, at most a mouse and his sidekick. It can be ordered from Abundant Earth; 2 traps for $18.95.

Two days later the trap, a little green plastic house, arrived with directions to set a saltine cracker with a dab of peanut butter at one end. The mouse would enter, the trap would shut, and the mouse would be ready for deportation. I set the trap at 8pm. An hour and a half later, I went downstairs to take a peek and, to my enormous surprise, I HAD HIM! I had caught Supermouse!

Talking to him comfortingly, I took his little house to the field, opened the trap, and away he ran! I was elated.

Just in case he had a partner in crime still loose in my basement, I reset the trap. At midnight, sure enough, Sancho Panza Mouse was also caught and taken to the same field to rejoin his friend. In the span of four hours, “The Smart Mouse Trap” had caught the nefarious twins who had outwitted me at every turn for what felt like an eternity.

It has been a few weeks now, and neither culprit has returned. As I told the bewhiskered brethren, I hope they lead long and happy mouse-lives, just not in my house. Thanks to the “Smart Mouse Trap” we all seem to have a happy ending.

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Friday, January 13, 2006

Emily Dickinson's Frog

I just talked to my dad, who asked me why I hadn't shared everything I share in my blogs with him before, person to person. I didn't think I had actually said that much on the blog - I explained to him that the blog to me was just a place to write down the million trivial fleeting thoughts that roil around inside one's head when one is trying to sleep. "Why not tell them to a person, is it easier to write them down for the world to see?" His tone wasn't accusatory - that sentence suffers from the lack of context, tone of voice, and of course my crude translation from the Finnish.

This got me thinking, though. Why am I making public my private thoughts which I could just as well write in a diary nobody would ever see. Am I Emily Dickinson's Frog?

I’m nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there’s a pair of us—don’t tell!
They’d banish us, you know.

How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!

Emily Dickinson

I'm positive that papers have been written on the reasons people blog, and I will google that subject in a second, but I want to think on it, 'untainted', by myself first.

When I went to London to study at RADA, I kept an online journal at diarist.com (You can view it here). This was not so much a stream-of-consciousness-private-intimate-thoughts-sharing enterprise as this blog we're engaged in currently. It was a more straightforward travel and study narrative, so that I didn't have to email ten billion people individually, and that everyone interested in 'how and what is she doing in London' could stay abreast of it relative to his interest level.

[Before I get critiqued here: I am going to use the old-fashioned 'he' instead of the contemporary 'he/she' in the interests of time and readability, and because everyone knows we might as well be using 'one', except its usage is more clunky. The world is going Politically Correct to the point of idiocy nowadays. Wait. Was that un-PC against idiots? Hmm. Oh well. I don't set much stock, as Huck Finn would say, by idiots.]

But, I might as well return to the original path from the very satisfying side rant.

The original online journal, then, served as a tool of connection. It served a double purpose in that my mother printed the entries out and will, one of these days, give me a book of them to keep as a memento of my time at RADA.

So, since I have no scintillating tidbits such as "I asked Ralph Fiennes today...." to write down here, why am I doing this? I'm not entirely sure. I'm frequently not clear on the exact reasons for my actions, but obviously there's some kind of reward here or, as my psych classes eons ago taught, I wouldn't be doing this.

I think it's still a connection thing partly. For a shy person--and yes, I am shy though some people might not find it plausible, since I can put up a good outgoing front--it is sometimes hard to express one's more intimate thoughts, or to show one's true self, for fear of judgment or rejection. And yet, I am and want to be an open person, so perhaps this is a way of sharing some of who I really am in a 'safer' way - there is no immediate face-to-face disapproval or shock, even if they get expressed later either in person or in reply posts. It is a medium that affords 'shielded intimacy' one might say.

Pondering this and doing some self-probing, I wondered if part of it was a desire to croak like the frog, to get attention, or to make more of oneself. I don't think that is the case with me, though. I'm not really even thinking of this as writing for an audience. I'm writing this for myself, to purge the myriad thoughts that swirl in my mind - if it is of some interest to someone, great, if not, great. And the benefit of affording some of the people who love me, but are far away and can't share in the minutiae of my daily existence, a window into my days (and more often, nights).

So, now I know why I'm doing this. Googling this subject.... hold on a sec. Okay. Here's a few:

The Blog Phenomenon by
John C. Dvorak at PC Magazine

Reasons People Blog at PowerfulIntentions.com

Fascinating stuff. Well, I'm off to pick up two end tables from King of Prussia. Lovely Queen Anne legs, originally from Bombay Company. I'm going to sand, add an applique, and refinish in the Shabby Chic style and sell them right back on eBay again. Will add before & after pictures when it is timely (i.e., after).

I remain,

When in Doubt, Color your World

So, before everyone I know gets worried that I'm depressed, let me say I'm fine - nothing a little sleep won't make better. That, and coloring one's hair always helps. Yup, I know it'll freak out a lot of people, but I went brunette - I think I like it, though I don't recognize myself in the mirror again. I do this every year or so - get tired of whatever my current look is, and reinvent.

You can see this phenomenon here.

Yeah I know mom, I look like someone else's daughter, and like I've just sold my kingdom. I dare anyone to try taking a picture with a phone, against the bathroom wall at 1 am.

Alrighty, I'm heading to bed, at a relatively decent hour for me, too.

The love of my life
     stares at me.
Big brown eyes
               and a nose,
Telling me,
     I'd be much more
Curled up
     in bed
In a furry puppy embrace.

Night night, A

Tags: Anniina's Poetry

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Thursday, January 12, 2006

Insomnia, the Hollow-toothed Beast

Why is it that sleeplessness always lurks on the unwary when they are most exhausted, both physically and emotionally? The mind, the ever-rattling box of tricks, will not quiet down and sleep shies away when most we need it.

Perhaps I'm just tired of always saying 'Good' when people ask me how I am. This society like many others nearly demands it of us, to shield our fellow man the embarrassment or worry or feeling of helplessness to assist us, if we were actually to say "not great." I'm trying to stay away from negativity, but sometimes the dark monster of despair hits in the wee hours of the morning; the fear of, as Jack Nicholson's character says in the movie of the same title, "What if this is as good as it gets?"

Many times when I feel this dark, I turn to the writings of people who've gone before, greater minds than mine, whose moments of darkness make me feel less alone. Shakespeare himself wrote a number of sonnets while suffering from insomnia and loneliness, and countless artists create their best work in the darkling hours between 2 and 5 am.

I was looking for a Coleridge quote I read in Clive Barker's "Weaveworld" years ago (great book - if you haven't read it, you're missing out):

"If a man could pass thro’ Paradise in a Dream, & have
a flower presented to him as a pledge that his Soul had
really been there, & found that flower in his hand when
he awoke — Aye, and what then?"

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Beautiful, huh? Anyway, in the same place that I found that, I found another quote by him that I felt corresponded well with my experience, since much of the poetry I write tends to be melancholy:

"I write melancholy, always melancholy: You will suspect
that it is the fault of my natural Temper. Alas! no. —
This is the great Occasion that my Nature is made for
Joy — impelling me to Joyance — & I never, never can
yield to it."

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

In Coleridge I've frequently found a kindred spirit - I feel kinship in his rhythms and rhyme schemes - a lot of my fairy tale poetry has a similar cadence, and although our creations live in different worlds from each other, they share a texture at times. And no, I'm not flattering myself to elevate my poetry to Coleridge's level, just saying there's something about him that I 'get'.

Then again, I write in many genres of poetry - from the Japanese haiku and tanka, impressionist poems if you will, to full-out Shakespearean Sonnets (one of my faveshakes here), to the afore-mentioned fairytale poems, to poems in the vein of Pablo Neruda (My favorite Neruda poem is here), to the poems of a wonderful Finnish poet, Risto Rasa (I have a website with translations here) -- I never quite know what is going to come out before it's actually on the page. I can't tell you how many times I've gone to sleep and, the next morning, read what I've written as if they were poems I were reading for the first time. Sounds scary, huh, but I assure you there is no psychosis to it - more like you are so caught in the creative moment that the poetry pours out of you faster than you yourself can process it.

So, Gentle Reader, if you're not quite exhausted yet with my early morning ramblings, here is one of my own poems:

I should write
     More happy poems -
          Poems of comfort,
          Poems of contentment.
Yet, do we not
     Need poetry
          All the more
In the lonesome hours of the night
     When grief
          Has struck us dumb,
And another's words
     Of heart's sorrow
Are the only balm
     For our aching souls?

-AJ (Jan, 2004)

Well, the sun has risen and I will try once again to get some sleep.

I remain, A

Tags: Insomnia | Anniina's Poetry

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Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Scripts and the Undead

Last night, even though I was dead tired, I got possessed by the ornery wench who calls herself my Muse, and she wouldn't let me sleep until I had written down the full outline of my first feature-length film script.

Based on an idea I've had for about 3 years, the film is partly autobiography (well, the broken down relationship at least) and the majority of it takes place in Ireland. I would love to have this one come to fruition - who wouldn't want to spend a few months in Ireland making a romantic film??? Okay maybe not everyone's cup of tea, but sounds good to me... obviously, heheheh.

Right now I'm typing this as I'm awaiting a party to get completed to go kill a bunch of undead critters in FFXI. I do so love the whole Fantasy RPG environment. Go figure, an actor who loves to pretend to be imaginary people!

I'm feeling very creative today. So much love from friends showered on me today, that I feel really positive about everything, the future. And my moneypit of a house is now turning out so beautifully thanks to my dad, that I am starting for the first time to feel at home in this house. Most of the ugliness is gone, and some of the remodels turned out even better than I could have dreamt - and trust me, I dream big! Also feel something big is on the horizon, though I may not see it yet.

I hope, I hope,
      The universe is thrumming,
          And I, child-hearted,

Tags: Anniina's Poetry


So anyway. The first post seems quite pretentious, reading it even just a few hours later. I'm convinced I'm not an entire snot, so let me write something more human.

It's nearly 3 am, and I'm in Garlaige Citadel (a dungeon in Final Fantasy XI). I'm barely conscious, but nuking bats and beetles suits my current mood.

My folks and sister were here for Christmas, and it was nice to feel like a family again. My dad left yesterday, and the house is so empty. I realize that as much as I'm brave and independent and all those things my friend Nancy says she sees in me... I don't feel that brave, and I don't like being alone too much.

Had some good news today. My friend David, who was ill, is much better. He's starting a new career and is in high spirits. He said he wants to go to the movies with me, so even though he's in LA and I'm in Philly, we should go see the same movie at the same time, and then call each other afterwards, so it's almost like going together. He is such a sweetie. Promised him I'd go visit him in LA in March.

Dying for the filming to start on the Vampire movie. Sort of like "Interview with a Vampire" mixed with "The Da Vinci Code". And yeah, I know it's such a girl thing, but I'm also itching to see the costume, LOL.

I think of you.
    The slow-ticking night
        Fills with fairy wings.


Tags: Anniina's Poetry



I've been thinking about doing a blog for some time, and my friend Corr convinced me tonight that it was time. So here goes. I feel like adding some sort of disclaimer here, à la the Renaissance writers who would pen a "To the Gentle Reader" to beg for forgiveness in advance for the supposed unworthiness of their output. But, perhaps I'll just quote Gottfried of Strassburg instead who, in the prologue to his "Tristan" wrote:

“I have undertaken a labor, a labor out of love for
the world, and to comfort noble hearts: those that I
hold dear, and the world to which my heart goes
out. Not the common world do I mean, of those
who (as I have heard) cannot bear grief and desire
but to bathe in bliss. (May God then let them dwell
in bliss!) Their world and manner of life my tale
does not regard: its life and mine lie apart. Another
world do I hold in mind, which bears together in
one heart its bitter sweetness and its dear grief, its
heart's delight and its pain of longing, dear life and
sorrowful death, dear death and sorrowful life. In
this world let me have my world, to be damned
with it, or to be saved.”


So thus, gentle reader, I remain,