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.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Sonnetsday 26

It all starts with Petrarch. He wrote brilliant rimes to his Laura in Italy, around the year 1340. He inspired not only the humanists in his own country, but caught the imaginations of the English, who seized upon his sonnets passionately. The first verse translations were by Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey and Sir Thomas Wyatt, the Elder, in the beginning of the 1520s and 1530s. Together Wyatt and Surrey are credited as the fathers of the English Sonnet, upon whose foundation later English sonneteers like Sidney, Spenser, and Shakespeare himself built "in sonnets pretty rooms" (Donne, Canonization).

Today for Sonnetsday, I've taken Wyatt's version of a Petrarch sonnet, then show what Spenser does with the same theme, and finally my own continuance of the tradition. And thus, from Italy to America, we have a sonnet conceit that has lasted some 700 years.

Sir Thomas Wyatt




MY galley chargèd with forgetfulness
   Thorough2 sharp seas, in winter nights doth pass
   'Tween rock and rock; and eke3 mine enemy, alas,
That is my lord, steereth with cruelness,
And every oar a thought in readiness,
As though that death were light in such a case.4
An endless wind doth tear the sail apace
Of forcèd sighs and trusty fearfulness.5
A rain of tears, a cloud of dark disdain,
Hath done the wearied cords great hinderance;
Wreathèd with error and eke with ignorance.
The stars be hid that led me to this pain.
      Drownèd is reason that should me consort,6
      And I remain despairing of the port.

1  Translated from Petrarch's Rime 189.
2  Through.
3  Also.
4  As though my destruction would not matter much.
5  Fear to trust.
6  Accompany.

Edmund Spenser

LIKE as a ship, that through the ocean wide,
by conduct of some star doth make her way,
whenas a storm hath dimm'd her trusty guide,
out of her course doth wander far astray.
So I whose star, that wont with her bright ray
me to direct, with clouds is overcast,
do wander now in darkness and dismay,
through hidden perils round about me plac't.
Yet hope I well, that when this storm is past,
My Helice, the lodestar of my life,
will shine again, and look on me at last
with lovely light to clear my cloudy grief.
      Till then I wander careful comfortless,
      in secret sorrow and sad pensiveness.

1  Careful, full of cares/worry.

Anniina Jokinen
A Sonnet.

LIKE to a ship caught in the darkest night
In grip of storms most venomous and dire,
So doth my darkling heart quest for the light
And seek salvation from my grief's deep mire.
Yet all my efforts lead but to confusion,
Dragging my barque to ever fiercer seas,
And every sight of harbour's but illusion,
Cruel and deaf the winds to all my pleas.
But, suddenly my weak'ned sight doth spy
A beacon bright amidst the wat'ry waste—
This light, it issues from my lover's eye,
Towards it aim I with all speed and haste.
      'Tis true, without you I am lost and craven;
      Within you find my ship and soul a haven.

Tags: Sonnets | Anniina's Poetry

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Saturday, September 23, 2006

An Impression

Feeding sparrows
       A sparrow,
               His sisters,
                       And I,
       Sitting in the sun,
               Shared a sandwich—

       Little crumbs of happiness
               In the midst of a dreary day.

Tags: Anniina's Poetry

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Tales from a Tiredling


I'm sorry for the lax blogging, but this job has sapped me out of all energy, yea, all LIFE as it were, and I am too tired most of the time to even think of writing. Here is a quick synopsis of my life in the past two weeks:

I enter the Office of the Living Dead and sit at my keyboard for 4 hrs, typing nonstop. Then, 30 mins for lunch, which I spend at the Holy Land of Starbucks, then back for another 4 eternities of typing in strings of numbers, which have to be right, or people don't get their paychecks. This task is made all the harder by the woman next to me in the cubicle who, without any exaggeration, is a striking composite of some movie characters.

1. All day she talks to herself—think of the guy in "Office Space" who goes on and on about his stapler, except in her case, it's about a filing cabinet, which I have been forced to assault, due to directions from our boss, who wanted me to alphabetize it, since the woman in question doesn't know that 'Active' comes before 'American' in the alphabet, and other such delightful things.

2. Frightening as that may be, scarier yet is when she does the same in whispers. Hour on end, she whispers "Jesus, oh Jesus" and other such pearls to herself, while sounding and looking unnervingly like the Gollum/Smeagol pairing from "Lord of the Rings."

3. This of course, isn't enough. This week she has added moaning and grunting to her repertoire. She sounds like Moaning Myrtle from "Harry Potter", and she does it constantly. Awwwwww-ooooooHHH. Awwwww-oHHHH. It is an awful sound. I can only describe it as she has swallowed Rodin's sculpture of the Gates of Hell, and it's the moaning of the damned that is issuing out of her.

Through this cacophony of noises, I have to concentrate on entering this vital payroll information. Last week I got strep throat, and was at work with fever all week. My head already feeling like it was filled with hot cottonballs, while someone was slowly sauteeing my brain over a kerosene fire, I had to listen to the chorus of the dispossessed. I can sympathize with them fellers in hell.

Now, I've had my share of crappy-ass jobs. I worked at a burger joint where, after a 12-hr double shift the manager would have me pull the grill off the wall and wash off grease an inch thick from the back wall and range hood, while hot grease dripped into my eyes and hair. I did that for six months. I worked for "Pizza Hut", "Ham-Sweet-Ham", you name it. And lemme tell ya, this is somehow worse than all those gigs. The sheer insanity of the place and my cubicle-mate, the monotony of the job, it's... I dunno. It's bad.

Today, I tried earplugs. Two different kinds, in fact. It seems that my ears are just wickedly tiny, and I couldn't get them working right. Sound was slightly muted, but not enough. What do you think, would they allow me to wear those construction site earmuff thingies? Heheh.

To top it all off, my boss, who is actually very nice, told me I was doing a great job. As I was about to leave for home today, she presented me with an offer letter for a permanent position. Instead of running screaming for the hills (my first reaction), I thanked her politely, and said I would continue on until she found a permanent person, or until October 25, which ever comes first. I explained that I was an actor, and I was doing temping to pay the bills in the lag times between gigs. She was disappointed, but sweet. And for me, my dears, there is LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL. Counting the days, hours, minutes, seconds, till my freedom.



Sunday, September 17, 2006

Sonnetsday 25


OME glory in their birth, some in their skill,
   Some in their wealth, some in their bodies' force,
   Some in their garments, though new-fangled ill,
   Some in their hawks and hounds, some in their horse;
And every humour hath his adjunct pleasure,
Wherein it finds a joy above the rest:
But these particulars are not my measure;
All these I better in one general best.
Thy love is better than high birth to me,
Richer than wealth, prouder than garments' cost,
Of more delight than hawks or horses be;
And having thee, of all men's pride I boast:
      Wretched in this alone, that thou mayst take
      All this away and me most wretched make.


Tags: Sonnets | Shakespeare

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Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Mermaid

Deep in the halls of the Ocean King
     The mermaid heard the call;
The seaweed swayed, the coral did ring,
     To herald the brewing squall.

Her life was uneventful
     At the bottom of the seas;
Her will had grown resentful
     Of her father's strict decrees.

She was starved for new, exciting sights
     And visions of the realm of men;
Spiting the King, on many nights
     She'd ranged far beyond her ken.

Thus, slipping from her silent home,
     She swam ever upward so high;
Finally piercing the watery dome,
     She beheld the furious sky.

Rain pelted the majestic ship
     That clove the raging waves;
Many sailors aboard her lost their grip
     And went plunging to their graves.

In the galley's imposing prow
     The prince alone did stand;
No storm so fierce could make him bow,
     Nor lose the hope of land.

Hungry winds howled as night grew dark,
     The sea like a ravenous beast;
Now ragged and weary was the barque,
     And still the storm increased.

Gale winds blew, the sails were rent,
     The waves crashed over the deck,
And finally the prince was sent
     Sprawling to the floor of the wreck.

Lightning came down, the mast gave groan,
     The ship was split in twain;
Overboard the prince was thrown,
     Was engulfed by the seas and the rain.

Why he was different, she could not say,
     From the others she'd let drown;
But she lifted him above the spray
     And swam him towards dry ground.

She marvelled at his human face,
     And her soul began to ache;
His form to her held untold grace,
     And she feared her heart would break.

Arriving at a far off beach,
     She laid him on the sand;
But, as a mermaid, could not breach
     The bounds of sea and land.

She laid a kiss upon his cheek
     And whispered her goodbye;
Then, with her spirits grown quite bleak,
     She left him with a sigh.

She never knew what became of him,
     Though she wondered about his fate;
But her memory never did grow dim
     Of the man she had saved that date.

And centuries passed in human years
     While the mermaid lived, longing, alone;
Shedding her silent mermaid tears
     For a love she had never known.

©Selina Fenech.

I commissioned this watercolor to accompany the poem two years ago from the amazing Australian fantasy artist, Selina Fenech. The original is very large, and shatteringly beautiful. Visit her site to see more of her luminous art. Visit my house to see the original :P

Poem ©Anniina Jokinen. Copyrighted with the Writers' Guild of America. (i.e. publish in any form without my permission, and I will sue). Hate to be like that, but at this day and age....

Tags: Anniina's Poetry

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Sunday, September 10, 2006

My Mother, the Candid Camera

My mom has a thing for taking candid photographs — she sent me this one today. My parents' condo has a strip of parking spots, and my mom's parking spot is right next to a huge bush. She forgot to let me out before parking, and I could not open the passenger-side door and had to climb out through her side. While I was trying to worm out, my mom clicked a pic on her phone. Silly, sweet mommy. She got me a raspberry and whipped cream cake for my birthday. I miss her and my dad lots.

AFI 100 Years, 100 Cheers

I will post tomorrow on my first week at the OOLD (Office of the Living Dead). For now, however, let me tell you why I'm up at 2:40 am, blogging when I should be sleeping.

Simple. I got hooked into watching the American Film Institute's tribute to the "100 most inspirational American Films." I was dreading the top spot revelation, but was delighted: Frank Capra's "It's a Wonderful Life" (see video clip and earlier post).

There were, however, other surprises and disappointments. Why, for example, should a movie such as "Breaking Away" (1979) make it to #8 (!) when movies such as "The Natural," "Good Will Hunting," "Pleasantville," and "Gattaca" did not even make the list — someone please explain to me how "Breaking Away" gets to spot 8???

It also seemed to me that every Spielberg movie ever made got up there on the list (with proud papa Spielberg schmaltzing away with comments like, "who would have thought a nice jewish boy to make so many movies about resurrection, he he he"). I do agree that "Schindler's List" and "Close Encounters" should be somewhere on the list, but 3 in the TOP 10?? I don't think "Saving Private Ryan" should get to #10 out of #100, overshadowing infinitely better movies like "The Shawshank Redemption" (#23), "Gandhi" (#29) and "Star Wars: A New Hope" (#39)! Okay, show me ONE PERSON under the age of 60 in this country who can say in all sincerity that he was more inspired by "Saving Private Ryan" than he was by "Star Wars" and I'll show you a bigtime blockhead.

As much as Spielberg was stroked on this list, fabulous moviemakers such as Martin Scorcese were dissed. What... "Kundun" wasn't inspiring? It was a splendidly filmed movie on the Dalai Frigging Lama - how much more inspiring does it get? Or Scorcese's "Last Temptation of Christ" — now there was a movie which inspired all kinds of reactions: I personally loved the movie, and felt Scorcese got to the heart of what it means to be a human questioning the existence of God, and I felt that I'd like a lot more Scorcese-type Christians, instead of the Looney-Gibson kind.

There were other outrageously strange omissions, like "The Fisher King" being in absentia. Hello??? It's only one of the most amazing movies script, acting, and direction-wise, but hey, what do I know. I mean, they included "FAME" and the little-known (rightly so, IMHO) "Madame Curie." These guys are insane. Include "The Tale of Two Cities" over "Fame," for heaven's sake! Or "Roman Holiday," or "Rebel Without a Cause."

Furthermore, I thought the clip selections were just plain poor. And here's the final omission, at which I take umbrage:

WHERE WAS "HARVEY"?????????????

Alright. I'm off to bed. Gonna see Madeline tomorrow, yay :)

Tags: Movies


Sonnetsday 24


HEN in the chronicle of wasted time
         I see descriptions of the fairest wights,
   And beauty making beautiful old rhyme
In praise of ladies dead and lovely knights,
Then, in the blazon of sweet beauty's best,
Of hand, of foot, of lip, of eye, of brow,
I see their antique pen would have express'd
Even such a beauty as you master now.
So all their praises are but prophecies
Of this our time, all you prefiguring;
And, for they look'd but with divining eyes,
They had not skill enough your worth to sing:
      For we, which now behold these present days,
      Have eyes to wonder, but lack tongues to praise.


Tags: Sonnets | Shakespeare

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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Office of the Living Dead

First day in the bag! I woke up this morning at 5:50 to a brrr-cold house, and stood underneath the shower feeling equal parts grumpy and sorry for myself. I got all prettied up, went and got a cup of coffee from Wawa (for those not in the know, it's like 7-11 except awesome) and made it to the office well ahead of time. It is the payroll department of a company that lays cable and gets corporations wired.

I'll tell you! I have worked in a number of offices, and done everything from receptionist to secretary to filing/photocopy chick to data entry. And never, EVER, have I encountered such a stifling place. The decor (HA!) is all gray. Gray linoleum, gray paint, gray partitions. No pictures, no plants, nothing.

The office consists of about 8 people, all women, in addition to me. They too, are gray — not just their hair and clothes, but their faces too are pallid and lifeless. They are all, no exception, in their fifties, overweight, and bear looks of grave disappointment and embitterment which has mellowed into stone-faced, numb zombification. There is no music, no noise whatsoever except for fingers on keyboards. Nobody talks at all. In the 9 hours that I was at the office today, the only thing anyone said to me or to one another is, "Here's another file."

So I sat there for 4 hours, typing non-stop into a payment processing system. Then, lunchtime, and I escaped. I thought I might lose my mind, so I went to Ross and bought myself a coffee mug for $1.99, since the office didn't even have foam cups and I hadn't brought a mug. I also bought the only lunchbox on sale — Betty Boop — so now I can bring lunch with me. When I came back to the office I thought I'd have a cup of coffee to keep me awake in the Land of the Living Dead, and discovered DECAF was the only thing on offer.

Dudes. I know I'm spoiled and all that, but MAN! If I stay in this gig long, I'll become one of the wraiths. Here's my plan. Stick it out as long as I can and quit in time for Katja's annual visit at the end of October. I can always say at the temp agency it's the drive (45 min) that's getting to me. I doubt they'd believe my tale of the Valley of Ghouls.

Lalalaaa. I'm strangely happy, though. A) I made around $60, B) I realized I'm very much alive, and things are really not that bad for me. I won't be sitting mutely in that office when I'm 50. *Ptui, ptui, ptui*


Quiz: Who is Your Harry Potter Alter Ego?

Dudes, I'm wickedly tired, having worked on Luminarium all day, but I've got nerves over tomorrow (even though I know it'll go brilliantly). So I fell on another quiz, and c'mon, how could I possibly resist a Harry Potter quiz!

  You scored as Albus Dumbledore. Strong and powerful you admirably defend your world and your charges against those who would seek to harm them. However sometimes you can fail to do what you must because you care too much to cause suffering.

Your Harry Potter Alter Ego Is...?
created with QuizFarm.com


Sunday, September 03, 2006

Olbermann for President!

Kudos to Olbermann for standing up. Finally someone respectable in the news media put to words what many of us think. While his commentary needs no addenda, I would like to sum his commentary with a quote, which at times has been attributed to Thomas Jefferson: "Dissent is the highest form of patriotism."


Sonnetsday 23


OW like a winter hath my absence been
         From thee, the pleasure of the fleeting year!
         What freezings have I felt, what dark days seen!
What old December's bareness every where!
And yet this time removed was summer's time,
The teeming autumn, big with rich increase,
Bearing the wanton burden of the prime,
Like widow'd wombs after their lords' decease:
Yet this abundant issue seem'd to me
But hope of orphans and unfather'd fruit;
For summer and his pleasures wait on thee,
And, thou away, the very birds are mute;
      Or, if they sing, 'tis with so dull a cheer
      That leaves look pale, dreading the winter's near.


Tags: Sonnets | Shakespeare

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Saturday, September 02, 2006

Quiz: Which Norse God or Goddess Are You?

Katja had this cool quiz on her site—and you know my Quiz-obsession:







Which Norse God or Goddess are you most like?
created with QuizFarm.com

Tags: Quizzes

Friday, September 01, 2006


Yours truly is now gainfully employed — i.e., I can tell my mother and all the other people who, upon hearing me say I'm an actor, ask me if I have a "real job," that indeed I do.

data entryI signed up with a temp agency this summer and lo and behold, I'm barely back in the country when they call me today asking me if I would take a job doing data entry (bleh, but not the worst job on the planet) and also front desk, greeting people (I'll have to paste one of those have-a-nice-day-smiles on, tee hee!) It is temp-to-hire, but umm... that ain't gonna happen.

But anyway. Yours truly will be able to afford a) eating, b) home improvements, c) her book habit, and d) her shoe-worship. Wheeeeeeeeeee!

Return of the Jedi-Wanna-Be

I'm home! D'yall miss me? I sure missed you guys. I was entirely disconnected from the e-world, but it was sooo nice to read all your comments and your blogs yesterday.
Fear of Flying
I flew back via Frankfurt, and although security was a pain in the patooty to get through, it made me feel a lot safer. For a seasoned traveller, I sure do hate being up there 30,000 feet in the air, wondering the whole time if we're going to blow up into smithereens. My flight was delayed, and there was the requisite screaming monster-child in my row, but I was just happy I got home in one piece.

I promise I will post something entertaining very soon. For now, however, I have 500 lbs of laundry to do, and 5 gazillion penis enlargement emails to delete.