The Fear Factor

a letter, unread:

Dear Jamela,

There’s one thing I know for sure, there’s nothing I fear more than losing you.

I’ve just woken up from a nightmare (covered in a cold sweat etc.). In the nightmare (I remember it vividly because I woke with a jolt), I had done something to annoy you and, as a consequence, you had blocked me. I was desperately trying to contact you, but each time I did you’d read what I had to say then blocked that communication channel. Finally, every avenue was blocked so I kept on going to your house (this was a dream and your house and family were here in Holland). Each time I’d go to your house (which was a different one each time) a member of your family would tell me you no longer lived there but I could hear you dancing, or singing, or talking or even playing tennis… I kept trying to get into these different houses to see you, to apologise, to explain myself but on each occasion I found myself trapped in a bathroom, a bathroom from my childhood, a bathroom with carpet on the floor; a bathroom that kept turning into a padded cell of a lunatic asylum.

Anyway, that was a nightmare, nothing more — I’m remembering now that book, Why we Dream. I don’t believe that nightmares are anything other than our brains sorting out and processing information. Nevertheless, as that book kind of suggests, we can somehow take guidance from these dreams/nightmares and that I plan to do. I will be thankful for every day I have you with me as a soulmate, I will work hard to understand each and every one of your personality traits in order for me to treat you right. You have given me so much, you continue to give me so much and, to me, you are the elixir of life; the epitome of my happiness; ‘the’ reason to celebrate and cherish being alive.

It was just a dream, just a dream.

Yours in life & in love,
James

Heaven — is with you

Heaven
The Kiss
by Gustav Klimt (1908)

“The mind is a universe and can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.”
― John Milton

Hell — is without

Hell
The Scream
by Edvard Munch (1893)

“Life moves very fast. It rushes from Heaven to Hell in a matter of seconds.”
― Paulo Coelho


p.s.
Welcome to the twenties! They say to be happy, inter alia, we should (a) go to bed early and (b) embrace boredom. I can see the logic behind such advice but am I likely to follow it? I think not. I am a hedonistic human being and this is something that I cannot escape. Oh! The (futile & fruitless) Pursuit of Happiness.

The book mentioned — Why We Dream: The Transformative Power of Our Nightly Journey — is written by Alice Robb and is reviewed in this post: Dream on

Dream

on the vexing subject of anxiety
Understand your anxieties
Try keeping a diary of what you are doing and how you feel at different times to help identify what’s affecting you and what you are best able to take action on.
on the vexing subject of anxiety
Get to grips with your anxieties
When you’re feeling anxious, it can help to use a problem-solving technique to identify some solutions (e.g., writing them down on paper), this can make the challenges you’re facing feel more manageable.
on the vexing subject of anxiety
Shift your focus
Some people find relaxation, mindfulness or breathing exercises helpful because they can reduce tension and focus one’s awareness on the present.

Elixir
A magical or medicinal potion. — “The seller of snake oil promised Oliver an elixir guaranteed to induce love.”


Epitome
A person or thing that is a perfect example of a particular quality or type. — “He looked the epitome of elegance and good taste.”


Hedonistic
[adjective]
To be engaged in the pursuit of pleasure; sensuous and self-indulgent. — “Julie dreamed of a hedonistic existence of sex, drugs, and hardcore house music but in reality moped around in her dressing gown in her suburban living room.”


Lunatic asylum
A psychiatric hospital.


Padded cell
A room in a psychiatric hospital with padding on the walls to prevent violent patients from injuring themselves.

Academic referencing

When in Rome, do as Romans do.

Academic Referencing

Ladies of Rome! lend me your attention — If you use someone else’s work (i.e., facts and figures and/or opinions and thoughts), you really must acknowledge this; see it as saying “thank-you” and come on! who wouldn’t wanna say thank you to someone who gives/lends your something. Typically you’d do this both within the text (citations) and at the end of the text in a list of references.
n.b., a ‘List of References’ is not the same thing as a ‘Bibliography.’*

For my guide to APA, click here

For my guide to CMS, click here


End notes

* A reference list should only include the sources you have cited in the body of your work. Whereas a bibliography may list those cited sources as well as any other books that were relevant to your general argument/thesis.

Bibliography
1] A list of the books referred to in a scholarly work, typically printed as an appendix. — Similar: list of references / book list / catalogue
2] A list of the books of a specific author or publisher, or on a specific subject.
3] The history or systematic description of books, their authorship, printing, publication, editions, etc.


Reference
A mention or citation of a source of information in a book or article. — “Each chapter referenced the nooks she’d used to formulate her theory on Nature as God.”

French /&/ Latin

Française || Français
Latine || Latius

You’ll no that English is dead flexible and versatile and so on and so fourth. It is genderless but it isn’t written how it sounds phone should be fone but it ain’t so

Dominarum ex Roma, audi me!!

Audite me nimis 😉

2 b clear, I am saying, when you come to do background reading for your academic essays, and dissertations etc., you will see lots of French words and lots of Latin words in what your read. Therefore (not however / not moreover) you may like to see these two introductory guides I did made:

French in English

Latin in English

Read Rainbow

Strung out on

a marooned schooner,

History
History speaks

I was way down, deep deep down below the decks and it’s unbattened hatches, scouring and lurking around like a stowaway seeking succour. It seemed as if there was no tonic to be found; no medicine to mend, for a time, my moribund mood — all the hammocks were of hemlock, no harbour on the chart could afford me birth to lay low in and ease, for a while, my knotted mind — but then, a hint of respite, the faintest of breezes did blow and the sagging sail taunted ever so slightly, I happened upon the following line, penned by one Scott Jeffrey: “There are three main ways to learn about human psychology: read Greek mythology, read Carl Jung, observe others.” He went on to say that while observing others was the most powerful, reading about the psyche helps inform such observations. As currently I’m at sea, I’ve few, and ‘no ‘ new humans to observe, I thus decided to hold course and scrolled down to see which books he’d recommend — this, the going off on absentminded digital tangents, the seeking out of uncharted waters, is what I’m now driven to do — my one&only has abandoned ship and thus, locked shut the open book that we would deviously delve into on a near nightly basis; these nightly trists did span for more than the proverbial one thousand and one nights (they lasted just shy of 6 whole years, 6 deliciously delectable but deeply destabilising years) — but anyway, nevermind (well obviously I do deeply mind but this is my burden to battle with, not one that tonight at least, I’m able to thrash out and fathom in the public arena: Oh! Ladies of Rome, lend me your ear for I’ve a tale to tell of yesteryear) — of Jeffrey’s recommendations was Victor Frankl’s, Man’s Search for Meaning. I didn’t realise what it was about but it is, I learnt, well received and has obvious pulling power. Upon the embarkation of my investigations into Frankl, I stumbled upon Lapham’s Quarterly – a magazine that (and I here quote verbatim), “embodies the belief that history is the root of all education.” To which I say, “here here to all of that.” You see, the magazine’s editors juxtaposed an excerpt from Frankl’s book, in a feature section called ‘Conversations,’ against a passage extracted from Leviathan (Thomas Hobbes, 1651). You tell me. You tell me because, after that, I then ‘stumbled’ upon some eerily touching poetry it seemed to be speaking directly to me. It is alas the sort that’s uploaded on social media platforms as images and thus not easily sharable (of course and probably, that’s the point). I feel I’m going mad (maybe) because I feel it is being written in an indirect but explicit way for me to see and read. I was compelled to ask myself if I’ve now become the Captain of that fabled becalmed clipper ship, doubting my sanity and questioning my very existence but think — I reason to myself — of the Midnight stalker, the Mute troll; I mean, I’m saying, was I not prowling known hangouts? Was I not trawling about in places where I should/shouldn’t be? Where I was/wasn’t assumed to be cruising about in? Maybe I’m not as delusional after all. It is as if my departed other half is pouring out their soul to a receptive receiver who in turn is converting these pains into poetic form and posting them online. But it can’t be, can it? Well, technically it could be. It really speaks to me and the trials that I imagine my absconded soulmate to be going through seem to be those that I read and the imagery of scars could at a push be those that I may be considered to carry… it was said, was it not, that you could have (had) it all…


What have I become
My sweetest friend
Everyone I know
Goes away in the end.


My empire of dirt
I will let you down
I will make you hurt.



Trent Reznor (but in the tenor of Johnny Cash)

Yeah, they’ve cut and run, left me high and dry to cry out and die a thousand deaths but it was i. It was me. It was i who’d made them walk the plank a hundred or more times, knowing full well they were no good with convoluting currents. It was i that unleashed my vile cat-o-nine-tailed tongue and delivered vitriolic diatribes of great length (with her highness Hindsight these were a consequence of my guilt on the one hand and my anger at not being able to be with my one & only day and night — context, culture and circumstance did forbid that from ever realistically coming to fruition during those turbulent times). And maybe the lost love i read about in those jay-peg image poems is between another pair of nature’s most mentally troubled creatures. We can all of us read into something whatever the fuck we want to read into it; some like the sea of tranquility, others of us prefer the fire and the fury.


Thomas Hobbes
Thomas Hobbes
by John MichaelWright (circa 1669-1670)


som_cover
but when all’s said and done we continue to (over)think
lapman's-history--02
so when night is upon us we continue to wonder
flesh_cover_0
this morphs into a mixture of simple to quantify carnal lust
8173PEH672L
and, alas, deeply felt love that’s simply not quantifiable, is wholly insatiable and can ultimately only tear us into two severed and separated hearts.

Immanuel Kant

[German | 1724–1804]

Immanuel Kant was one of Europe’s most influential philosophers and is credited with changing Western thought with his examinations of reason and the nature of reality.

Dare to think!
Dare to think!

Kant’s comprehensive and profound thinking on aesthetics, ethics and knowledge has had an immense impact on all subsequent philosophy.

Key point:

Kant reasoned that to be truly enlightened, we must all have the freedom and courage to use our own intellect.

This is witty:

I had therefore to remove knowledge, in order to make room for belief.


p.s.
The roots of modern liberal international relations theory can be traced back to Immanuel Kant’s essay Perpetual Peace (1795). In that essay Kant provided three “definitive conditions” for perpetual peace, each of which became a dominant strain of post–World War II liberal IR theory. Neoliberal institutionalism emphasises the importance of international institutions (Kant’s ‘federation of free states’) in maintaining peace. Commercial liberalism stressing the importance of economic interdependence and free trade (Kant’s ‘universal hospitality’) in maintaining peace. Democracy, which argues that democracies rarely, if ever, go to war with each other, and thus an executive accountable to the people or the parliament is important to maintain peace (Kant’s call for all states to have ‘republican constitutions’).

A related post: Common Goodness
All things political: Politics etc.

📙 The God of Small Things

Love & shame & despair & & &

Betrayal is a constant element in The God of Small Things (1997). Love, ideals, and confidence are all forsaken, consciously and unconsciously, innocently and maliciously, and these deceptions affect all of the characters deeply.


In line with its title, The God of Small Things explores how the small things affect people’s behaviour and their lives. This book, which is highly worth reading, is Arundhati Roy’s first published novel. It vividly depicts the childhood experiences of fraternal twins whose lives are destroyed by the “Love Laws” that lay down “who should be loved, and how. And how much.”

One interpretation of Roy’s theme of forbidden love is that love is such a powerful and uncontrollable force that it cannot be contained by any conventional social code. We could also assume that conventional society unwittingly or somehow wittingly seeks to destroy real love… in this work (and in so many other books and poems and paintings) love is consistently connected to death, ‘loss’ and sadness.

Roy often denies that she’s been influenced by Salman Rushdie’s prose, yet there is clear evidence that there is some (it is a truism indeed that we are beholden to some degree to the shoulders of yesterday’s people; our predecessors; our parents etc.). One example is the level of foreshadowing that occurs throughout Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children, and like Rushdie (and models Günter Grass and Gabriel García Márquez) uses an incongruous tone to relate to episodes of sadness and tragedy. Rightly so, in my opinion, both Roy and Rushdie clearly make an issue of the problem that the notion of “shame” plays in South Asia and how it all too often stands in the way of love.

The novel received overall positive reviews in the Western press. Time named it one of the best books of the year. It won the Mann Booker Prize in 1997. Funnily enough (in an ironic way because actually, it is far from funny), in India, the book was criticised in particular for its unrestrained description of sexuality. Indeed, E K Nayanar, the then Chief Minister of Kerala (Roy’s home state) obliged her to answer charges of obscenity!

Arundhati Roy

[Indian | 1961– ]

Arundhati Roy
Arundhati Roy

Arundhati Roy is the author of The God of Small Things, which won the Booker Prize in 1997 and has been translated into more than forty languages. Roy has also published several works of non-fiction and is a widely respected human rights activist. Several of Roy’s works are set out below.

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness

As Alex Clark articulates, there is something Janus-faced about the way we fetishise the writing of fiction: Roy is at once seen to be participating in the “real world” but also as having abandoned – or been abandoned by – the creative muse that we imagine propels all artists. Her recent interview with the Guardian’s Decca Aitkenhead, in which she said: “To me, there is nothing higher than fiction. Nothing. It is fundamentally who I am. I am a teller of stories. For me, that’s the only way I can make sense of the world, with all the dance that it involves,” suggests that she would not agree with that binary worldview. And neither, indeed, does her second novel.

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness (2017) is, according to Alex Clark, “a curious beast.” There are many many characters, its written in an achronological way and while the style is somewhat haphazard, it has passages of breathtakingly composed and powerful prose: The idea that the personal is political and vice versa informs its every sentence. This novel of maddeningly frayed edges, wonky pacing and occasional longueurs. But its patchwork of narratives, painful, funny, sexy, violent, earthy, otherworldly, its recurring images of lost and recovered children, individual sacrifice and self-denial, and its depiction of the constant battle toward self-assertion in a society still held in thrall to the taxonomy of caste and class, make for a disturbing and memorable return to the land of make-believe.

An Atlas of Impossible Longing

According to Shirley Chew (2008), the novel is, “deftly and sensitively narrated.” According to Marie Arana (2011), “every once in a great while, a novel comes along to remind you why you rummage through shelves in the first place. Why you peck like a magpie past the bright glitter of publishers’ promises. Why you read.” Roy’s An Atlas of Impossible Longing is such a book, a novel to convince us that boldly drawn sagas with larger-than-life characters are still possible in a relentlessly postmodern world.

Spanning three generations of an Indian family from the turn of the 20th Century to India’s partition, An Atlas of Impossible Longing traces the intertwining lives of the inhabitants of a vast and isolated house on the outskirts of a small town in Bengal. One of the book’s main protagonists is a first-time novelist, is no one you’ve heard of, and yet she is also no stranger to books. She lives in the picturesque hill station of Ranikhet, in the distant Himalaya mountains, and commutes to New Delhi, where she works for an academic publisher that specializes in South Asia. It begins in 1907, when Amulya leaves Calcutta with his young wife, Kananbala, and travels to the backwater of Songarh to open a factory to manufacture herbal potions and perfumes. In time, they produce a son, who is a joy to them both, but the quiet cramp of small-town life becomes anath­ema to the lonely mother. She starts to evince strange symptoms, begins speaking out of turn and is given to obscene outbursts.

As months go by, it is clear she has gone mad.

The God of Small Things

Betrayal is a constant element in The God of Small Things. Love, ideals, and confidence are all forsaken, consciously and unconsciously, innocently and maliciously, and these deceptions affect all of the characters deeply. Read my review: The God of Small Things