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Cherry_blossom_by_VforVieslav (1)IMAGE: Taken from VforVieslav at Deviant Art

First of all, you are probably wondering what on earth the title of my blog today actually means. Well, Grasshopper you seem to have found me on a generous information sharing day. Whilst reading one of the many Japanese history books I have assigned myself lately I came across this beautiful sentiment.

Mono no aware

It is a Japanese expression which is usually expressed through symbolism of nature (like a haiku), it represents a view that life is beautiful but ephemeral. It translates literally as ‘the sadness of things’1

I don’t know about you, but I rather like a perpetual state of melancholia, so that screamed out to me.

I’ve noticed that I am a really slack blogger.  Especially when I said to myself this time last year ‘ooo I should do BEDA’ which as you can notice I haven’t.  I apologise.

I have been reading an awful lot this last couple of weeks.    See below.

The Secret Garden

One of my favourite parts from The Secret Garden, this excerpt just paints a vivid image of my Secret Garden.  It’s divine.  This excerpt gives me hope.  I think it also fits with my ‘Mono no aware’ theme.

I think It has been left alone so long – that it has grown all into a lovely tangle.  I think the roses have climbed and climbed until they hang from the branches and walls and creep over the ground – almost like a strange grey mist.  Some of them have died, but many – are alive, and when the summer comes there will be curtains and fountains of roses.  I think the ground is full of daffodils and snowdrops and lilies and iris working their way out of the dark.  Now the spring has begun – perhaps – perhaps – perhaps –‘

‘Perhaps they are coming up through the grass – perhaps there are clusters of purple crocuses and gold ones – even now.  Perhaps the leaves are beginning to break out and uncurl – and perhaps – the greay is changing and a green gauze veil is creeping – and creeping over – everything.  And the birds are coming to look at it – because it is – so safe and still.  And perhaps – perhaps – perhaps –‘ … ‘the robin has found a mate – and is building a nest.’2

I’d never read The Secret Garden before, but I had watched this version of the film at least a million times in my life and absolutely adored the story.  So it was funny reading it thinking Dickon was going to die.  Every page I was thinking ‘Oh no, it must be soon’, because Dickon was my favourite.  (In the movie he died and Mary and Colin fell in love.)  So much to my happiness, Dickon does not die.  Mary and Colin do not make out when the ending credits begin to roll.  Talk about a much more satisfying ending.

All in all it was rather nostalgic and inspiring and filled with joy and sentiment and overcoming issues, which I did adore.

The Lightning Thief The Sea of Monsters The Titan's Curse

The Battle of the LabyrinthPercy Jackson and the Last Olympian

Now This series (pictured above) was also extremely satisfying.  I’ve always loved and been fascinated by Greek Mythology.  Way back in the day, I think my primary school days to be precise, my mother gave me a book.  A book that she bought from the school book club when she was a child.  It was an Encyclopaedia of Greek Gods, Demigods and Demons.  I used to flip through it all the time reading about all the different heroes and Gods.

I thought the idea of having more than one god was awesome.  I thought it was Christianity was rather boring with just the ONE god and then Satan.  But Greek Mythology was so much cooler because there was a trillion Gods to choose from.  I remember pretending the Greek Gods were real and praying to Athena to help me pass a maths test.

So for this series of books to exist – blows my inner-child’s mind.  For an adventure series written in a post Harry Potter world this book is all kinds of awesome (once I got past the whole eww as if Olympus is at the top of the Empire State building and my aversion to all things where Americans always saving the day and being the hero i.e. Independence Day, Deep Impact, Armageddon, the list just goes on and on).

I always loved the story of Hades and Persephone. I like Rick Riordan’s spin on it.  I always imagined it differently.  Maybe I’ll write it down in length one day (taking consideration of ‘Mono no aware’).

If you have a little boy, who can not bring himself to read anything who wont read Harry Potter, get him this series.  It’s got swords and monsters and battles and puzzles and and and… everything a little boy could ever want to imagine.

The writing is sometimes very clunky but it works because you have to remind yourself that it’s Percy’s point of view and he is 13 and his descriptions of things will be very 13 year old boy-like, so it works.  And fabulously.

There is a movie adaptation of the first book, but I do not recommend seeing it ever.  Talk about TERRIBLE.  I liked it for the first 20mins and then it was just spoiled.  Destroyed.  Crap.

Across the Nightingale Floor 'The Sword of The Warrior'
Episode One of the Tales of the Otori: Across the Nightingale Floor. This was really interesting, but there isn’t much I can say about how it goes.  But I promise when I finish the series I’ll fill in all the gaps.  I can say this though, after reading this I was inspired to make my main historical study this year on Japanese history, well and because I have a massive crush on everything Japanese at the moment it would seem.  I’m even considering a Haiku challenge.  Maybe a Haiku every day type thing.  I’ll keep you posted.  Or not, we’ll see how my work load increases.

Shiver

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater, what can I even say.  I cried. Profusely.  I tweeted her and she offered me a tissue.  See. (Below)  I have just started reading Linger and I really don’t know if I have to gumption just now to persist.  I feel like it’s doomed.  I’m thinking Shakespearian tragedy type damnation.  Which also fits nicely with my ‘Mono no aware’ theme.  Sometimes it’s all just too much, especially when it mirrors your view on the real world.

Maggie Stiefvater

Some questions I put forth to you, the reader.

1. What gives you hope?

2. What inspires you?

3. What makes you think of ‘Mono no aware’?


I’m hungry now.

Until next time lovelies.

Live Long and Prosper.

1. Henshall, Kenneth 2004, A History Of Japan From Stone Age to Superpower, Palgrave Macmillan, New York

2. Hodgson Burnett, Frances, 1911 (this edition 2008), The Secret Garden, Puffin, UK

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On the 31st of May 2010 I had the pleasure of reading the most delightfully funny letter to the editor in my local newspaper.  The letter goes as follows;

The Origins of Ethics

Has anyone heard the one about ‘no scripture in schools’, only to be replaced with classes in ‘ethics’?  Whose ethics and on whose instructions?  Bible ethics have been around for ages and have proved to be just what the doctor ordered, but I have my doubts about the government’s morals.

Now I’m faced with a major ethical dilemma here, do I name the writer of the above letter giving her all credit due to such an intellectual masterpiece worthy of harsh scrutiny?  Or do I take the ethical and moral high ground of not naming the person who wrote that before I discuss how moronic they are?

What do I do?  Oh lady, master of ethics.  What  does the bible say I should do?

What doctor ordered this prescription of bible ethics? Where did you get that information?

Bible Ethics?

I think there is a major difference between classroom ethics and government morals as well.  I also think government ethics and morals are considerably different also.  Not that I can be bothered digging around to find the appropriate documentation and such.

Can somebody get this woman a one on one meeting with someone like Richard Dawkins.  Film it, post it everywhere.  Because I’d really love to see that discussion.

Tell me what you think in the comments.

Onto other stuff.

I didn’t do my May wrap up, and it’s nearly the end of June already.  I suck.

The Very Late May Wrap Up

Vampire AcademyCoonardooSuite ScarlettSuperman: Birthright
Scarlett FeverWill Grayson, Will Grayson
Books Read in May: 6
Authors Read in May: 6
Superman, Birthright – Mark Waid
Will Grayson, Will Grayson – John Green and David Levithan
Suite Scarlett – Maureen Johnson
Scarlett Fever – Maureen Johnson
Coonardoo – Katharine Susannah Prichard
Vampire Academy – Richelle Mead
Total Number of Pages in May: 1932pages

I have also began a top secret crochet project.  It’s only really top secret between me and the real world.  The internet is to be trusted keeping my top secret secret.  You can follow me on Twitter and watch as I progress through the gargantuan task I have created.

Here is the project so far.

Share photos on twitter with TwitpicThis was step one.  Designing where the colours would sit in the top secret crocheted blanket of secret.  There are four colours all up and then the white.

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

The Second step, was to begin making exactly 16 coloured centres of each colour.  Clearly I started with Blue.

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

Step Three and Four was to crochet around the coloured centre twice, with the white and the the blue again.

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

Step Five was to crochet the final white bored of each square.  I am only half way through the pile.  But this is what the blue ones look like when complete.  Obviously when the blue stack is complete I will complete the first five steps for each colour.  Then the next step will begin.

I apologise for the horrid quality of the photographs.  I was lazy and used my phone.

Anyway next time I see you I will blog about True Blood and Vampires and Disappointments and things.

TTFN (Ta Ta For Now)

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I was thinking.  (Somewhere someone who actually knows me, has just read that and laughed so hard a little bit of wee came out)

In all seriousness, now that I’ve a had a little bit of time to mature since high school.  I’m studying my butt off in some TAFE course to try and get into Uni as a mature age student – what do I actually want to go to Uni for.

At the beginning of the year when I made the decision to return to study, the goal was to be a primary school teacher.  I don’t know if that’s what I want to be.  I then decided maybe I could do a BA in English Literature, but what on earth would I do with that?  I’d most likely end up some cranky batty high school English teacher dealing with kids who hate me every day.

I still want to do the English Literature and maybe some language and linguistics too, mainly because that stuff is interesting to me.  I’d be expected to build a career from this wouldn’t I?  I LOATHE the word career.  It never sounds ENJOYABLE.

I’m not very career focused.  I do not dream of having a fabulous career.  I never have.  Why.  So.  Much.  Pressure? 

I suppose it would mean not being a checkout operator for ever, which is ridiculously unrewarding.  I’m pointing fingers at RUDE people here.  Don’t get me going, there is always an almost explosive rant building on that topic.

I remember the fantasy bookshop (like Meg Ryan’s in You’ve Got Mail)/coffee shop dream job from when I was 13.  Except in this fantasy I was also an awesome author/poet and all the cool people hung out in my book/coffee shop.  It was the trendiest place to be.  But really a little bookshop like that has no chance with massive chain stores around.

[Off topic for a second.  For example all the GREAT music stores in Wollongong are eventually going to close down since JB HIFI moved in, with their super bargain awesomeness.  This makes me sad, because I would go to JB HiFi like most people because their prices are freakin’ low.  How can awesome little guys compete with that?]

I really though I was past this ‘What do I really want to do’ BS.  This internal mental dilemma was so I HATE BEING A 16 YEAR OLD, shouldn’t I be different now at 24.  Aren’t I supposed to want to follow through with a crazy idea for once? 

Maybe I could do the Uni thing and be an editor.  Maybe I could work from home.  In my tracksuit pants and Ugg boots.  Take breaks when I feel like it.  Sit outside on my deck and work in the sun.  Does this job exist?  Can I invent this? 

Does anyone else have the brain implosions?  Because my brain goes through the I will I won’t I can do this I can’t do this BS on a regular basis.  It makes things ridiculously hard to stay motivated.  It makes me want to sleep in forever.  It makes me want to loll about in pyjamas and escape in fiction until the end of time.  Which of course would be so much easier.  Which brings to mind The Scientist by Coldplay lyrics…

Nobody said it was easy,
No one ever said it would be this hard
Oh, take me back to the start

Oh Just listen to it.  I love this song.  It’s so freakin’ unbelievably melancholy.

You’re probably feeling depressed after that one.  I know I am – but I’m a fan of the Epic Wallow sometimes. 

Now to cheer you up I suggest the following.  I think Darwin Deez is abso-frikkin-lutely adorable in a Napolean Dynamite way.

See you on the other side.  Excuse my while I continue thinking.

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So I finally got my Frankie magazine and after perusing through I get to an article titled ‘What’s it all about?’ An article where five creative people answer the BIG questions; life, the universe and all that other meaningful stuff we meditate on.

So I thought I’d give answering the questions a shot.

What is the meaning of life? One dictionary says; the general or universal condition of human existence another says; the condition that distinguishes organisms from inorganic objects and dead organisms, being manifested by growth through metabolism, reproduction, and the power of adaptation to environment through changes originating internally.

But I think it’s simpler than that, I think the meaning of life is to live.  Everything else is irrelevant, what we should be asking is: what does it mean to live?

Is there a life after death? It sure is nice thinking of death as the next adventure isn’t it?  My Dad’s brother died before I was born, and he used to point to a star and say that it was my Uncle watching over us all.  I liked that.  I used to talk to it when I was lonely or sad.  I think we live on in the memories and hearts of those we leave behind.  It would certainly be nice to be streams of consciousness floating around in space forever though, wouldn’t it?

What do you see when you look up into the night sky? I see everything and nothing.  I see my own insignificance and it’s very humbling.  I feel overwhelmed, ready to burst.  I see the past.  I see endless possibilities.  I feel bound and unbound.  Everything.

What amazes you about the world? That we all get so wrapped up in ourselves that we completely overlook the things that are real.  We are all the same yet we manage to find differences in each other to hate.  Fanatics, I just can not comprehend your belief.  David Attenborough documentaries.  Love.  The human experience. 

What does beauty mean? All that is real.

What does truth mean?  Something that everybody wants, but nobody has. Personal truth, forgetting what you’ve been told.   Something universal, we are all here.  Finding your own reality.

What does happiness mean?  Appreciating the simple fact that you exist. 

What are we here for?  I’ve got nothing for this one, does anyone really know this one?

What are you here for?  At the moment it would seem to cater to my cat’s every whim.  I am here because my parents did that unspeakable thing so many years ago. I don’t really care to spend my existence thinking of what purpose they could possibly have imagined for me to have when the unspeakable act was committed.  But, undoubtedly I will question my purpose for the remainder of my existence.  When that purpose is found, I assure you I will shout it from the rooftops with glee.

What is the most important stuff in your life? The sharing of information and ideas via books, film, art and music.  Caffeine.  Flowers and plants – growing things.  New life.  Andrew.  Finn.  Family.  Grass.  Being able to learn knew things.  Being able to share my experience.

Five words to sum up your values:  Humble Space Cadet Escapist Lover.

If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?  That nobody had to suffer at the hands of another because of intolerance of different cultures and beliefs.

What kind of things do you try to prioritise?  I’m not very good at prioritising.  My boyfriend would tell you if you asked him.  I tend to focus on things completely irrelevant, for example right now I should be working on a 1500 word ‘academic’ review of Apocalypse Now for TAFE but this blog to me is clearly more important.

If you were gone tomorrow, what would you leave unfinished?  All the crochet projects I have started.  My assignments (eww that review).  My life.  Finding my purpose.  Ha ha, Megan Washington in Frankie says her Pokédex – Me Too!!!  Especially now that they are release the next generation of Pokémon soon.  My garden, it’s an absolute mess.  I am finding it hard to beat the Tradescantia.  I wouldn’t be finished my continuously growing reading list.  I would be lost and never know how the Time Traveller’s Wife ends.  I need to stop writing down what I haven’t finished – this is becoming and overwhelming list of incompletion.

Maybe you could try answering these questions too and post them on your blog.  I can tell you this task was not easy.

TTFN (Ta Ta For Now)

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