Can You Analyze Something to Death?⎟ Critical Analysis

Dear Reader,

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how a reader and viewer engages with different media. I remember when I was in secondary school (grade 9-12), one would hear the chant, ‘But why do I have to analyze the book? It ruins it for me?’ And that mantra still holds true for a lot of people. I think that means you were taught wrong. I had some pretty crap teachers, but I was really lucky to have a mom and neighbour that taught me the importance of books, reading, and forming opinions. In addition to that, I had amazing post-secondary professors that opened a whole new world of reading.

tumblr_n1spelszqh1tqqihyo1_500

via tumblr

For a long time, it was hard for me to read fiction alongside academic sources. Both parts of my brain couldn’t function at once. I like to call that period of time a-bridged. It was hard to do both because I was learning different types of reading. I had to build a bridge between reading fiction and reading critical theory. It was when I learnt that I liked reading in silence at a desk. That may sound incredibly dull, but libraries were the spaces I occupied when I escaped into fictional narratives or discursive accounts of post-revolutionary France. When one is studying, libraries can seem to be this really daunting space. But, I love them. I love carrying all 20 kg of my books to the library, opening all my stationary, placing pens and pencils in a line, taking out my notes, and, depending on the library’s rules, sipping on hot coffee or tepid water. I live for that feeling. I love that I know how the library system worked: HQ for political books relating to women and women in India, NA for art history, B for British History, D-> more history. It is such a good feeling. One of my favourite things is to spend time with a book. I will, on occasion, type notes, but I much prefer to hand write them.

When you read in a library, you fidget and fight the table in front of you and escape into the author’s words. That’s when I started reading fiction in the library. When I was young, I wrote in books. But when I got older, the marginalia became a rite of passion and passage throughout the book. I buy used books (I cannot afford new ones), so I can write in them. It does make my reading time longer than if I skipped it, or perhaps that’s untrue. Indeed, when I write marginalia, I am able to ruminate on a thought or connection and let it go to focus on the next thing.

unicornbears

Medieval Marginalia

So, today, I was watching Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005). I remember being obsessed with the film. I would quote it, laugh at its oddities, and revel in its colour scheme. I was a kid. I enjoyed it the way children are meant to enjoy things, without reserve. I flicked to the station that the film was on, so I could have noise as I fed my dog. I started to eat my own breakfast, and I was once again enraptured by the film. There were so many new things that I hadn’t understood when I saw it. It was like I was watching it for the first time, again. Isn’t that the feeling we’re always trying to recapture?

How had I previously not noticed that using one Oompa Loompa to represent an entire Indigenous culture fits neatly into dominant ideas about indigenous peoples and cultures–that others are all the same but different? How had I not noticed the magic of Wonka’s world? It is magic. I love the magic. How had I not noticed that Wonka’s chewing gum is made to seem as though it is made of real food: the chewing gum isn’t artificial flavours that we know–it is told to us that they are real. That is something we can never know.

tumblr_lxuka8lhx81qeeqito3_r1_250

via tumblr (please expect a future post about cannibalism in this film)

And so, as I found things both mystifyingly awesome and stupefyingly problematic, I realized that being given the tools to analyze things or question how characters are portrayed, based on race and gender, is not tiring or exhausting. It opens a whole new world and aspect of the story that you’re being told. We should not resist questioning the text, music, or film because we don’t want to kill the thing we love. We should go into these things expecting to be challenged and to challenge. We should teach our children to be filled with curiosity so that the norm is always challenged. Instead, we are taught that stasis is satisfying, desirable, and worth doing anything for. That makes us rigid, and, quite sadly, too exhausted to learn empathy and critical thinking.

vzhlvqf

via imgur

As a final note, I’d like to add that you should never be made to feel stupid because you do not have the same education as someone else. Education should not be used to oppress others. If someone purposefully derides you, they are doing it wrong. I have known many people in my life that have had little formal education because it was unavailable to them; they are extremely intelligent and intuitive. These, mostly, women have been the fertile earth that nurtured me. And that is my point, we should teach our children to be filled with curiosity so that they nurture one another. It is important to teach ourselves that we can enjoy things as we think critically about them.

So, to answer my title question: No, you cannot analyze a thing to death, but you can analyze it to life.

 

Heaps of love,

WordPlay Xx

Updates

Serial Posts: I am working my way through Great Expectations to write some posts, and I’m really torn about how to approach it. I am thinking that I am going to have some posts about character development and the gendering of characters, and that I will have a podcast episode about the book as detective fiction.

Misha: I’m sorry I haven’t posted much, recently. It has been quite busy. The warmer weather is a lot of stress on Misha. So, the last little while has been a lot of me ensuring she’s cool and running to her when she’s struggling. Thank you for your patience.

 

Waves ⎟ Poem

unnamed-2

Audio of poem:

I don’t remember the day I
fell into the water.
Some legends say the sky was gray,
I’ve heard elders whisper
that is was the bluest of days,
My story begins as I was
birthed to the sea.

From the strong urn of Mother Earth,
Ejected in a cocoon, bobbing
at the water’s top,
An Albatros freed my limbs
from their silken cage.
I did not scream,
I did not cry,
I did not look for warmth.

For the waves are the uneven beats
of my mother’s hearts,
My own heart’s beat is slow
but quite strong.
An eddy forms as my being
sends opposing waves unto
the sea.

Occasionally, I am berthed and ported,
Men have sought to
tell my story,
‘For she is a mermaid, fair, no darker than
the night, richer than the moon,
sweeter than nectar, more enticing
than drink.’
They say they know me,
but it is I, who have known them.

I swallow their boats,
I drink their lives,
I rain upon their masts,
I embrace their crafts.

Men sit at their fires,
hearth to hearth,
as they tell stories of my
vengeance and vitriol,
Their lust and my desire,
My wild hair enrages their
very being.

Men sit at fires and laugh,
For in the heat of safety,
Fear evokes laughter from
the weakest man.

I bob in the water,
I am incarnate
But I am intangible
Untouchable
Unknowable
Unbelievable
Unbelieved.

I exist,
as the sound of my breath
is the loudest sound known
to mankind–
It raises his hairs,
It tears up the earth,
I cry out, ne’er to be
vanquished.

Legends say I am a cruel nymph,
That I ensnare my prey,
But I am merely
A Malthusian force
of female
existence.

Into the sea,
Like sweet succour,
A song reveals all truths
As you drink
the fount of youth
at the base of my
feet.

–fin

Accompanying song to audio version is Keaton Henson, Elevator Song.

Knotted ⎟ Short Story

unnamed-1

Once upon a time, in a pleasure-dome of opulent origins, I beheld visions of grandeur. The earth crumbled to reveal fragrant, golden soil, like that from fairy-lore, beneath my swollen feet. I tried to wipe it with my hands, but, like rich, milled clay, it clung to me. My shoes were swallowed; my toes swam in fertile earth. I inhaled deeply. The cool air took away the nausea. In, I breathed. Out, I became, in a pleasure-dome of opulent origins.

My feet were planted by fairies, who came to tend me. Upon my wooden hands, they dropped dew collected from pansy petals. In my empty mind, they sang sweet preludes of their wonder-filled adventures. Unto my cheeks, they gave millions of kisses. Into my heart, they brought warmth and desire. My feet seemed to plunge further into the earth, but my height remained the same. No, I grew taller. I stretched my arms sky-ward, sending my fullness to the clouds. Clouds dipped to tip their hats, occasionally tipping hats full of delicious, mountain water. The cool water steamed, when it reached my warm body.

Birds chirruped as they cautiously dipped in flight to ensure my arms were safe for their young—no cat lurked beneath in disguise. They landed with hearts beating quicker and quicker, slowing to a calm flutter. They wiped their beaks, one side and the next, on my arms, shoulders, nose, and head. It was an ancient dance they learned long ago. When their caution was abated, their babies came to squawk, open-mouthed, as they hoped for food. Bird moms and bird dads dove earthbound to find succour, hoping to quieten the babes before birds of prey or pesky cats heard their hungry, youthful cries. For food there would be, but not of the kind one hoped if they remained too loud. I rocked my limbs gently, easing their hunger pains. Alas, their chirps mellowed and they impishly ruffled their down. They chattered quietly to one another and kept sharp eyes on their parents, to whom they chirruped loudly at regular intervals. Whether it was to hasten their meal or let mom and dad know they were safe, if not sound, I will never quite know.

Playfully, my leaves tickled the air, or the air tickled my leaves. Many wise men believed Wind whistles, but Wind dances and sings. Her favourite music is the latest hip-hop beats, so sometimes you heard her rhythmically repeat ‘Versace!’ at top speed, rivalled only by “Shots!” I tried to ask her, once, if she thought it encouraged capitalism and bacchanalia in the forest, but she was too busy singing and dancing to respond to such an impudent question. Her big brother, Gust, charged through with a Valkyrian-like spirit, but he staunchly rejected the Wagnerian operas for political reasons belonging to another time and place. Gust and I had a brief affair, and when he passed through, I willingly gave into his strong caresses. I happily relaxed into his atmospheric forces. It was how I learned to let go of the pain of the past, whilst supported and encouraged to grow.

Indeed, in springtime, I wore fragrant flowers in my hair. Passersby inspected my blooms. Some willingly clipped them for their crowns, and others thought that someone over there had much nicer blossoms. Little did they know, each petal was crafted late at night and bloomed each day with sweet kisses blown from Wind, bees, butterflies, fairies, and, most of all, me. Often, humans forget how precious creation is. Humans do not need to create life itself or even replicate idealized beauty; they must, however, create. For, one must prepare for the nihilism that comes biting with winter’s frost. Do not be fooled by the sea of white that promises new beginnings. Baptism does not come from the void. Salvation resents whitewashing penitence and yearns for character, sins, lust, love, desire, hope, consternation, and purpose.

As it happened, there was a man who, daily, walked the gardens of the pleasure-dome. In spring and summer, he sang lullabies to the trees. He sang such beautiful songs about places on land and sea. To the flowers, he whispered sweet, sweet serenity. There was a hidden longing in his voice that rivalled my heart’s ache. I yearned to be understood, but I was muted by nature. So I began carving words into my skin, tattooing myself so he might unearth my soul. The first chill breeze of the coming autumn sent shivers of anticipation through me; it was about to begin. Like sheets of paper, my leaves fell to the ground with existential grief and hope engraved. He collected all of me and disappeared into the night of the autumnal equinox.

As the morning fog cleared, I saw him. He had returned, he who picked up one leaf at a time and read my will to be. Upon his arrival, a fairy surreptitiously dusted his somnolent, brown eyes with the same preternatural, fragrant earth in which my antipodean-searching roots were deeply buried. His eyes raced over me, as he unknowingly looked in the windows to my soul. His bark-coloured hand traced the scars of growth that age left on my body, as his other hand clutched my history in leaves. Firmly and piercingly, his hand pressed, and he felt my pulse. He gasped, as did I. He ran around my circumference, trying to understand this enchantment. I wished he were ivy, so we could entwine. He knew not how to access my soul, just yet. I dropped more leaves; hear my soul, I begged. He picked them up. He sat down at my roots, nestled in the spot that faultlessly framed his spine, and he read, again and again. Then his song rose to me, redolent of smoke from a well-loved pipe. Wind spiritedly sang and danced, carelessly; she tried to make the leaves dance with her. He cried aloud for her to stop. He will not lose my words to the folly of the wind! The air fell still. Angrily, Gust jealously threatened to unleash the gods of Walhalla onto the man who silenced Wind and captured my heart.

Then, it was our turn to become cognizant; the man began to softly sing. He was called Aalam, he said. Through tears of sorrow, joy, and hope he told his tale. First, in hushed whispers, carried to us by Wind’s shadow; then, a crescendo of excitement and triumph, squalled by Gust; finally, a denouement of sorrow, pain, and forgiveness sung from my lips. All of us turned our gaze onto him, enchanted by his sublime humanity. Driven by lust-filled desire, my trunk began to twist and entwine Aalam within me. He placed my fallen leaves between us. Our story, he said. His feet firmly rooted into the fairies’ clay, he wrapped himself enthusiastically around my curves. Our souls imprinted evermore on the branches, bark, and leaves of our limbs. He grew tall and strong, much better than ivy. His tears dried as our warmth combined. Kissing trees; loving bodies; sweetest dreams. Coiled like snakes around trees of life and knowledge; love is the only truth ye living need know, beauty follows.

From then on, I knew resplendent remembrances of honeyed embraces. Fairies brought us news of the stars from afar. They built their home in our warm hearth. In a time yet to come, their children will find our love story and read, on bated breath, the miracle of our communion. They will take deep gulps of cool air to soothe their youthful, restless, yearning hearts. Fairies, who have vast emotional complexities, will ask us to ease their own unrequited, love-filled marrow. I will drop leaves for them to read, and Aalam will sing to them of visions of grandeur, in a pleasure-dome of opulent origins.

In the meantime, the flowers we, he and I, wear in our perennial hair are our crowning delight. We whisper stories to each other and sing sweet lullabies to the fruits of our love, whilst fairies pirouette, folic, and prance to the beat of our hearts.

****

Notes:

☞  This is a short story that I wrote last year. I thought I lost it on the computer I doused with tea. Fortunately, I had sent to to a friend and recovered it that way.

☞ Please don’t read too much authorial intent into it; I’m much happier letting you drive the course, now.

 ☞ I have two Great Expectations posts coming up. I’m pretty excited about both, but one of them has me in absolute glee.

☞ Connect with me elsewhere (links throughout the site)

☞ Let me know how you’re doing in the comments. I’m thinking of doing a yoga journal every so often, but I’m not sure if that would make this blog a little too eclectic. Thoughts?

Heaps of love,
WordPlay Xx

¶ Paradiso, Commedia III ⎟ PEA

Screen Shot 2016-04-03 at 9.50.25 PM

As we sat drinking coffees,
We laughed and sighed over dreams:
The ones we shared,
and our waking hours of delight.
Your hand on my leg,
Clouds in my coffee,
Nirvana, a vision of ecstasy.

Walking through parted clouds,
You said I had celestial beauty,
As we metamorphosed into abstract phenomena,
unreservedly cerebral,
We moved bounded by each other–
As One.

We swam through the skies,
Weightless and without form,
Like birds drifting, slowed in time,
Like smoke wafting through the atmosphere,
Higher and higher into astral planes.
Where solemnity paints the
sky blue
And stars burn cold
In our souls.

From lilac petals to apple blossoms,
The sun nestles life into spirited roots,
Reaching higher into the skies,
A deeper longing, into rich soils,
The world seems so far away now,
Tangibility, a construct that ebbs
as we find new meanings,
favourably.

Earth breathes, deeply,
As she asks her sojourners to
remember her before they leave
for nether or other realms,
Mars seems lovely, she supposes,
But is that where you’ll find roses?
To pin in your lover’s hair or upon
their lapel?

I gulp the ocean blue,
As we metaphysically entwine,
Locked in free-spirited desire,
Like the smoke of hell,
Our souls wrap around each other
twisting helically
into new data
from the stuff of which we are made.

 

 

 

–fin

Heaps of love,
Wordplay Xx

 

 

☞ ☞ ☞ Links you can click to connect with me: 

Patreon-logo

Want to leave a tip in the hat?

Please consider donating to my Patreon page.

Connect with me elsewhere:

  facebook   twitter  Youtube  instagram  Tumblr-Icon  goodreadsScreen Shot 2015-10-08 at 10.14.44 PM

¶ Purgatorio, Commedia II ⎟ PEA

Screen Shot 2016-04-03 at 9.50.25 PM

There was a time, dear, when
I was led by poets of yore
Through mountainous terrains,
penitent mourners, and the
sins they had cast.
I ascended the Spanish Steps
Heaving sonnets and verse,
trying to find my way to
Love.

On candlelit nights, sweet
with the scent of burning pipes,
You filled my belly with stories,
Rich fruit plucked from fearsome trees;
I seized hold of your words,
Clutching at them, catching at them,
like swirling smoke in my hands.

Seeds grew in my belly,
Ripe apples, plums, pomegranates, and
Intoxicating lyrics that inebriate
reason.
I swooned to your hymn,
And danced in the shadows cast
by the crackling, luminescent fire.

Captive and captivated by your presence,
I lapsed, malnourished,
on a diet of life and knowledge,
Our Hellenic silhouettes dancing upon the wall:
the only truth to comprehend
the only truth of love
the only truth
the only truth
that I may see.

The poets led me past my sins,
and I saw the pain and suffering
that we endure for the pleasure
of proving our devotion,
hoping our wickednesses
will be understood
and forgiven on the alter of
passion,
by one who loves us
completely.

Here I stand, alone,
atop the Spanish Steps,
chilled with
the fire of earthly desires,
I hold handfuls of water
and sand,
fathoming the
steadfast nature of
your fickle love.
–fin

giphy3

Wordplay Xx

 

Links you can click to connect with me: 

Patreon-logo

Want to leave a tip in the hat?

Please consider donating to my Patreon page.

Connect with me elsewhere:

  facebook   twitter  Youtube  instagram  Tumblr-Icon  goodreadsScreen Shot 2015-10-08 at 10.14.44 PM

Inferno, Commedia I ⎟ PEA

Screen Shot 2016-04-03 at 9.50.25 PM

People don’t expect my fire,
They presume one should sit pretty,
but I’m like a wrathful dragon,
Waiting to defend the city,
From knights and kings,
Steeds and jesters,
because they seek to mock
the personhood I possess.

People don’t expect my fire,
As they pass around marshmallows,
chocolate, and graham crackers
to melt into heavenly
bites.
But I refuse horror stories
where women are victims,
sensationalized tragedies.
There is enough of that
in our lives.

People don’t expect my fire,
But I am soaring through the
atmosphere.
Dreaming of the cool, sizzling
landing into a vast ocean,
They look into the sky
and say I am portentous.

People don’t expect my fire,
As you inhale my fumes,
You suck all of me up,
but I poison your lungs.
I drip through all of your organs,
toxic waste that
weighs your thoughts
like noxious
molasses.

People don’t expect my fire,
against the cold darkness of time,
You see me in your today,
but I reflect only my past,
A history ill-recorded for it is
filled, instead, with men
rediscovering me, through
the
ages.

People don’t expect my fire,
But I am a woman who refuses
to sit pretty.
The pages of the etiquette book curls
under lapping flames
as I laugh too much, talk too loudly,
and dream in abstract shapes,
where words are the fantasy
and reality is burning
into subconscious recoil.

People don’t expect my fire,
As I am smothered
in a world of carbon dioxide,
As trees die
As polar bears drown
As bees fail to fertilize
As snow falls in May
As oil sludges
Until there is oxygen
And then
I ignite.

–fin

giphy1

Disney // giphy

And:

giphy2

Pixar // giphy

Heaps of Love,
Wordplay. Xx

 

Links you can click to connect with me: 

Patreon-logo

Want to leave a tip in the hat?

Please consider donating to my Patreon page.

Connect with me elsewhere:

  facebook   twitter  Youtube  instagram  Tumblr-Icon  goodreadsScreen Shot 2015-10-08 at 10.14.44 PM

a no-poem day⎟pea

Dear Reader,

I really want to write a poem today, but I happen to have all of these images flooding my mind that aren’t adding up to the phrases I like. Right now I’m enjoying a Mediterranean sea-scape, sunshine, honey, and happiness–and that’s all just from my head. I’m actually sitting in a room lighted by bulbs for it is a dark night and actually quite cold. I think because my thoughts feel like a vacation, my mind is kind of fully at ease. Additionally, I am listening Zayn’s album to death. I remember that I tutored a young girl who loved One Direction, and the boys at her school teased her for liking them. I’m basically of the attitude that you like who you like. I didn’t listen to them because they weren’t quite my jam. I mean, feminism sometimes clashes with pop music. Ya know? But, if a young listener wants to enjoy their market, I say, let them. Encourage them to think critically and at their own pace, but let them know they can be proud to like what they like. I had a set of stickers on order for her for 1D in my amazon cart, but I had to relocate before they’d arrive. That’s life –eh?

tumblr_mvwviwg8ds1rxui9eo2_250

Me to Zayn’s album.

So, I’m busy proudly listening to Zayn, not feeling as self-conscious about it as I did about listening to Justin Bieber’s new album and enjoying it. I don’t know. You live and learn. I think that’s something that we all have to recognize; we won’t always like everything–that’s fine. You don’t need to TELL people it’s stupid or dumb. Things aren’t always for you. That’s the way it should be. It would be so dull if mass-marketing actually succeeded, and we all had the same tastes. Gross. Let’s be critical thinkers, together, and found our own little niches of happiness. I mean, I say that listening to Zayn, a former member of a widely-loved, tween-audience, pop-star group…

I might post a poem later, but I might not. I guess this will have to suffice for today. I’ve just been having a lot of emotions at the moment. Sometimes, we have to take a day to sort of file them, distance ourselves, and understand ourselves. Today, is one of those days. I’m going to go back to reading Great Expectations so I can do work for the podcast.

Heaps of Love,
wordplay xx

 

¶ plane of existence ⎟ PEA

Screen Shot 2016-04-03 at 9.50.25 PM

It’s not ‘self-pity’;
It’s self-doubt
on an existential level.

***

 

(watch their video on empathy here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SsWs6bf7tvI)

–fin

wordplay xx

 

Links you can click to connect with me: 

Patreon-logo

Want to leave a tip in the hat?

Please consider donating to my Patreon page.

Connect with me elsewhere:

  facebook   twitter  Youtube  instagram  Tumblr-Icon  goodreadsScreen Shot 2015-10-08 at 10.14.44 PM

¶ empathy and pears ⎟ PEA

Screen Shot 2016-04-03 at 9.50.25 PM

I’d like to feel indulgent today,
I’d like to just sit down and say,
‘Hey, it’s been really hard to
hold in these tears, blue,

‘I’ve been holding this in for so long,
And I’m always feeling all wrong.
Is there a way I can feel okay?
Because I’d like to smile today.’

But you just tease and bully,
Because adults, too, are unruly,
Mostly, they’ve lost their softness,
And use their privilege to oppress.

When you’re holding onto lives,
You’re thinking how to make things thrive,
More sunshine, water, and love,
And everything that I think of

Bites to the quick and tastes blood,
Scratching the life-giving mud,
And when the things you love ease,
You feel a deep sense of relief,

There is peace in other people’s happiness,
So let’s not be indulgent in largesse,
Indulge in sharing stories and tea,
Suspend your self and listen to the sea,

For she has stories to share,
That would raise your hair,
Past heaven, way up above,
Beyond imagery of peace-seeking doves

And big boats with floods,
Two-by-two from bugs to slugs,
Listen deeply to others’ words,
For you’ll find you’ve not really heard

The struggles that they’ve faced today,
Because you’ve not heard as they say,
‘I’ve been holding this in for so long,
And I’m always feeling all wrong…’

–fin

wordplay xx

giphy

 

links:

Patreon-logo

Want to leave a tip in the hat?

Please consider donating to my Patreon page.

Connect with me elsewhere:

  facebook   twitter  Youtube  instagram  Tumblr-Icon  goodreadsScreen Shot 2015-10-08 at 10.14.44 PM