Monthly Archives: January 2012

Wednesday Night Poetry

An Ode to the Bane of My Existence:

Valence electrons, octet rule, dipole distribution-
Your words are seductively exotic and
I’m sure if I used them in conversation I’d
Be a hit at parties but
You treat me like an ignominious Quasimodo.
You’ll probably laugh when I drown in
Lewis structures, because you’re a cruel mistress-
Let’s be honest:
I’m only here because I want that damn
Diploma.

On a related note:

Just to be clear, despite the amusing pun, this doesn’t mean we’re copacetic now, chemistry.

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An Eternal Abyss: House of Leaves, by Mark Z. Danielweski

Never before have I encountered a more complex, haunting, and sorrowful novel than Mark Z. Danielewski’s 400+ page tomb House of Leaves.

Eerie, sad, visceral, and yet highly experimental and cerebral, House of Leaves tells the story of a young man named Johnny Truant, who discovers a manuscript in the apartment of a dead man named Zampano.  This academic dissertation explores a movie entitled “The Navidson Report,” a tale of a family who moves into a house, inside which lives, quite literally, an ever-changing abyss of a labyrinth.  “The Navidson Report” is written as scholarly article, citing sources, providing charts and graphs, and using footnotes to cite and recommend further reading.  However, Truant discovers that the movie never existed, and nor do any of the sources referenced in the manuscript.  And yet Truant begins experiencing strange phenomenons-hallucinations, insomnia, increased paranoia, and a haunting growling sound that follows him like an angry lover.

Danielewski uses an extremely interesting technique to present this story, as the reader experiences the novel through three layers of narration: first, the primary author, Zampano, of the original manuscript on “The Navidson Report,” second, Truant, who reads the manuscript and comments on it through footnotes interjected within in the manuscript, and third, the “Editors” of the book itself, who pitch in their own two cents every so often, too.  Additionally, by choosing to have Zampano deconstruct the central story (the story of “The Navidson Report”) in an academic (and, admittedly, at times rather dense) way, Danielwski both denies the reader the (dis)pleasure while also creating a criticism of academia itself.

Furthermore, the purposeful textual layout of the novel is highly representative of both the state of mind of the characters, as well as the labyrinth itself (see below).

A claustrophobic logophile’s worst nightmare.

While many might classify this novel as a horror story, it is so much more.  Perhaps a love story with no happy endings, or a reminder of the enduring and permanent darkness that exists within every facet of life, would be better categories in which to shove this unconventional, yet frighteningly relatable, book.

After all, aren’t each of us attempting to navigate our own personal labyrinth?

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Adios, 2011!

This last year was a wild one, to say the least. I’ve learned so much (maybe too much) about myself, the people in my life, and who I want to be.  2011 was, for lack of a better description, hard, in every sense of the word, and if I want to be completely honest (I do), I was either constantly on the verge of tears or on  the verge of laughter. Let’s just say this: if I had to pick a “theme” that defined my 2011, it would be:

“EMOTIONAL ROLLER COASTER: This ride is a fast-paced roller coaster that takes you on a series of loops, twists, turns, and sudden drops, and entirely lacks all adequate safety equipment should anything go wrong. Not for the faint at heart, those with high blood pressure, heart disease, motion sickness, or for younger riders.”

So here’s to you, 2012! You’re the year we elect a new president. You’re the year the sun reverses it’s magnetic poles. You’ve got the London Olympics, and you’ve got an extra day (whattup Leap Year!). You’re the year the world is supposed to end, and you’re the year I graduate from college (those last two may be the same thing). Here’s to more friends, more celebrations, more adventures, more late nights, more love, and more books.

Lookin’ good already, kid.

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