Back in the Swing of Things

For someone who so often refers to herself as a bohemian, I do love a good routine. My theory is that there has to be a routine for it to be broken. There isn’t anything quite like the freeing feeling I get when I skip out on or rearrange something I usually do. Right now, however, there is nothing I usually do anymore, so consider this the rebuilding stage. Expect to see the return of the Friday Five (literary lovers will appreciate this week’s post!) and hopefully more interesting anecdotes from my new classes (which I am quite excited about, even though I haven’t been to all of them yet).
     This semester is particularly pivotal to my professional future. Last December I developed a new career goal but was unable to take classes pertaining to it until now, so this is the semester I get to see if I’ll actually enjoy my new course as much as I think I will. If all goes according to plan, I will become a much better blogger and social media guru (I may even give in and set myself up on Twitter) and I’ll provide links to anything I write for any publications. I will also write a great many more posts while overly caffeinated, as I am right now. Oh college, I missed you so much.

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Why, yes, I AM a night owl!

Midnighting
By Loryn (2008)

In the middle of the night
when all is at its rest,
with eyes closed and consciousness fled,
tip-toe, tip-toe,
float without a sound,
carefully, slowly, open the door,
and slip into the night.

Moon shine, night shine,
silver and the black.
The night is soundless, serene, and still;
graced by the light of the moon,
healed by the touch of the wind. 

The only ones who see me here
are the celestial stars themselves,
our secret forever hidden
in the sky where they hang.
And blessed night is
my gentle protector;
I am light years from fear.

The night is my lover,
and I am his.

I have always appreciated nighttime so much more than daytime. Don’t get me wrong, I love the sun and I adore stretching out on the grass, soaking up its rays, but nighttime is so much more soothing to me, and, as this poem shows, always has been. I think best in the night, I’m more creative, I have been known to speed-clean my room at midnight so obviously I have more motivation and more energy, and it’s just generally a more relaxing time of day to be awake. 
     Recently, however, I have been cursed with an overabundance of daytime. The big issue here is that I found myself liking it. Over the past few weeks, seven AM has become one of my most favorite times of day, and on the weekends I miss it if I sleep through it. Which, needless to say, presents a problem, because I also desperately miss two in the morning. If my only sleep could be a few hours right after lunch, I would take that in a heartbeat, because, coincidentally, two in the afternoon is one of my least favorite hours of the day.
     I’ve never completely understood why I enjoy the early hours of the night (and now the early hours of the morning) so much more than any other time of day, but a recent conversation with my mom has elucidated the mystery: it’s uncharted time. Now I see that my enjoyment of the time of day has actually very little to do with the sun or the absence of it, because, in reality, I love both, but rather what is expected of me at different times of day.
     From eight in the morning to five in the afternoon, one is expected to be productive, to be out doing something, accomplishing something, getting things done. From five to eleven PM you are expected to have a social life, or to be getting dinner ready, or to be getting to sleep on time. Basically, between eight AM to eleven PM there is too much stress, too many social expectations built up around productivity and accomplishment for me to completely ever enjoy myself. Every night, when the clock strikes 11, something magically changes and it becomes my time. Party time, sleep time, writing time, whatever it may be, it’s mine to decide. There’s something to be said for the morning hours, as well. If one awakens long before their day has to begin, they also have the same freedoms: to read, to exercise (or practice yoga, like I would), or to leisurely enjoy their morning cup of coffee. I guess everyone has a favorite time for “me time.” My dad’s special time is in the morning, and my mom’s is at night. I suppose, eventually, I’ll have to choose or else suffer in the professional world, but for now I’ll get what I can of both. Silence is so rare these days, I have to get it where I can.

A Brush with Surrealism

I spent the entire weekend last week by the beach in Corpus Christi for a long-overdue visit with my good friend Elin and her husband Lantz. Elin seized the opportunity to show me what she loves about her city so we spent most of our time in some pretty cool galleries, cafes, and coffee shops. We’re all the kind of people who adore talking a lot for a long time about whatever is currently interesting to us, so we consistently found ourselves in deep conversations about life, love, and everything in between. In retrospect I have realized all of these conversations were viewed through the lens (or with the naked eye?) of surrealism. Lantz is a self-proclaimed surrealist and, through our conversations (completely lucid or otherwise), I’ve come to realize that I have roots in surrealism as well.
     For me, surrealism has always been characterized by the art the movement produced, like that of Salvador Dali, who I have always been intrigued by but have never studied in great depth.

Until I was about 15 I assumed the white blob on the ground was some sort of ghost, so this painting has always scared me to some degree. Source.
     After these discussions with Lantz, I’ve discovered that I often think in surrealist terms, especially regarding society and how fragile its structure actually is. But that’s not what this post is about. I’m actually more interested in sharing a poem the three of us wrote together using a surrealist exercise Lantz called opposite scheme poetry.
     Opposite scheme poetry is not unlike the drawing game exquisite corpse in that a group of people work together to create a whole piece. In opposite scheme poetry, each person takes a turn writing a line of the poem. The first person can start out with anything, but each subsequent person needs to try to write the opposite of the line before theirs. In this game, the word opposite is open to interpretation. One could write the literal opposite of the meaning of the line or of the individual words, even the opposite of the writing style. Anything goes. Lantz and Elin said they usually wrote a page’s worth, so we wrote ours until the end of the page, cycling through from Elin to myself to Lantz.

Seas of smoke and waves cloud my vision

Suddenly, the mist becomes my clarity, elucidating
Lazily, wind hollows ignorance blindly
Liquid emphatically fills the gaps in this all-too-visual knowledge
and drains away, leaving non-corporeal ignorance
Madness fulfills with fulfillment every solidarity enlightened
Complete sanity leaves without emptiness, only once, weakly in the dark
Confusion, like a blinding light, hits me upside the head relentlessly
Certainly in the hollow hills of muddy corridors nests me comfortably in fleeting essence
Slick buildings irritate you with strong presence
in the forgiving hills you find a home
Beautiful spring in the stones console my timidity. Accuse my empty chest, a lonely journey.

In the beginning of the poem we had a lot of very literal back-and-forth, making our “poet” appear quite confused as to whether he was confused or not, but eventually we broke free and moved on to something that flowed more naturally.
     I find it especially interesting that, at the beginning of the second stanza, Lantz used hills as the home and then I, without realizing it, used that as the same opposite. I could attribute it to the fact that he and I both feel more at home in the hills than on the flatlands, but also it shows how easy it was for my mind to replicate the style and thought processes of both Elin and Lantz without making a conscious effort to.
     Only now it occurs to me that I could have broken the poetic rhythm of Elin’s first line whenever I pleased, breaking away to something less “deep.” Any of us could have but none of us did. Instead, we all fell in line, using literal opposites instead of stylistic ones. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
     The most wonderful aspect of surrealism is that anything goes. A surrealist, such as Lantz, is open to any and all interpretations of pretty much anything, and places emphasis on not assuming anything. Personally, I prefer to just think what I think without labeling myself as a surrealist or Dadaist or nonconformist or whatever (may be a surrealist trait of my own?), but surrealism seems, to me, to be an excellent springboard from which to delve into other cultures, societies, and personalities, not to mention a wonderful tool for discovering and examining what intricacies, truths, and falsehoods you may find in yourself.

Aside from being a surrealist, Lantz is also an artist. Check out some of his stuff on www.minatus.com