Pappardelle affairs and modern dating anxieties

I caved in, people. It was Monday night when I finally brought out the huge bag of flour from the pantry and started rolling to make fresh pappardelle pasta, despite the boxes and boxes of different pasta shapes on the shelves. I was so desperate and my craving atrociously strong that I couldnt stop myself, but it was worth the hassle. Mind you, I didn’t have a rolling pin so I used a Japanese ceramic tea cup instead……. Don’t ask me how (it’s an experiential thing) but to cut it short, it went well. Perhaps I could’ve rolled the pasta a tad thinner, but all in all, it came out great and soft, and paired with my experimental sriracha bolognese sauce, I’d like to say the gastronomic affair was an orgasm in my mouth. And I finished everything in 15 minutes (compared to the 1 hour and 30 minutes of preparation).

On another note, I’d like to believe my “I have my shit together!” moment is when I am finally living alone in a wallpapered middle-kla$$ apartment and able to cook perfect fresh pappardelle for dinner while looking like 1980s Suzanna Vega—cropped hair and little pretty Tinkerbell face and all. And while my pappardelle bubbles on the stove, I—slim, feline, and doorframe-leaning—will announce, “It is I, Solitude Standing.” Self Transcendence! I mean OK I’ve got the fresh pappardelle down, I just need a proper rolling pin.  And perhaps lose a bit of my jigglies. And be more graceful. And a lover who can come by any time with cheap wine. Or not. Ahhah I gross myself out.

Or, you know, if I end up becoming a bum, at least I’d have an excuse to look like trash and dye my hair orange and wear blue eyeshadow and call myself Cyndi Lauper, you know??? I’ve accepted my two possible Fates, but I really need to cut it down on the carbs because I’ve been overeating pasta and bread everyday since Monday. It’s because it’s that time of the month; I’ve fallen to the Communists….. (please don’t make me explain this terrible joke further).

Anyway, I was just thinking and I realized I’m 21 and I’ve never been on a (romantic) date and never had anyone to call Beloved or whatever, although I’ve hung out with guy friends alone that felt inadvertently romantic, but those don’t count because there’s no agreement saying we both know and acknowledge that it is a romantic date. Am I making sense? Not that I’m bummed about it or desperate or anything because I don’t need an other half the way people look at other halves; I’d like to believe I’ve been whole my entire life; how can you only be half of yourself? But my best friend was messaging me last Monday night (while I was making fresh pappardelle) and she was on the way to a hotel to meet some horse-dicked guy she met on Tinder and apparently they were going to have loads of fun playing Chess all night or god knows what (Aha) and well, I just couldn’t relate…. At all…. So I told her, I’ll stay up all night, if you don’t call me at 3 am I’m calling the cops! So she gave me the hotel and the room number and she texted me around 12:30 am, but I—lame and a  terrible best friend—fell asleep and only got back to her around 2 am when I woke up from the scratching sound of a baby mouse trapped inside my Post-it box (and before you clutch your pearls, FYI the baby mouse was harmless and was far too cute to exterminate, so I set him free, believing that it knows Compassion and Gratitude and will one day help me create the best ratatouille in town. I’m probably reaching here, but it’s why I don’t eat animals, Deborah). So all my fears didn’t come true. She wasn’t raped and murdered and thrown in a barrel and covered with cement and dumped in a ditch, and I don’t have to be summoned by Forensics and look at my best friend’s body, see her dangling falsies, and identify that it is her, but well, I told her to be safe anyway. There are far scarier things than death. Like STDs. And pregnancy. And internal bleeding. And a bruised cervix. And feelings. I’m joking, if you couldn’t tell… Don’t hate me.

So let me cut this senseless rant short. The reason why I’ve never dated is because… I never really tried. I mean, I never sought it out, so I cant really sigh and say, Aw I’ve never been on a date, because I’ve put everyone at arms length all my life. But, I mean, what if I do go out on a date? And what if the guy I go out with isn’t… human?

What if he purchases things in MSRP? What if he laughs at me upon discovering that I’ve read only the Garnett translation of Dostoevsky’s Brothers Karamazov and not the Pevear and Volokhonsky? What if he doesn’t read Dostoevsky? (Forgivable!) What if he doesn’t get my Bradbury and Alan Moore references? (Unforgivable!) What if he asks me where I want to eat and I can’t answer because I can never decide where and what I want to eat and have to do extensive research days before eating out? What if he’s bothered with my teeth grinding when I sleep? What if he doesn’t like long, winding handwritten letters? Would he hate poetry too? What if he likes cars? What if he finds out I hate cars and is the reason why I’ll never learn driving or bother with a license? What if he doesn’t like pappardelle pasta? What if he’s loud? What if he doesn’t like Japanese jazz and Gabor Szabo? What if he isn’t openminded to listen to Japanese jazz and Gabor Szabo? What if he doesn’t love Eva Cassidy’s effervescence in Wade in the Water? What if he doesn’t read, at all?! What if he asks me about Game of Thrones or some other popular TV series or movie and I wont have anything to say not because I think I’m too edgy for such things (ha-ha) but because I don’t have cable TV, paying for a Netflix subscription gives me so much anxiety, and I super abhor the concept of Torrent? What if he uses Twitter and Instagram? (Just kidding, social media whores!) But what if he works a corporate job? How bureautragic! (Ha-ha, just kidding corporate slaves!) What if he gets grossed out by my seasonal eczema? What if he doesn’t like being the small spoon? WHAT IF HIS NICENESS TOWARDS THE WAITER IS ONLY PRETEND??!??!

Bah! Why bother! I have to read Man and His Symbols before going to The MET in an hour. I have more than a hundred pages to go and my quiz is in two days. I simply wont have the time tonight since tonight is the opening of our new exhibit so I’ll be overstaying for cocktails and fake small talk with a bunch of bougie millionaire saps from the government and the private sector. I don’t mean any offense; it’s just that it sucks that when we cry, they get to use hundred dollar bills to wipe their tears away while I only have Kleenex. Hopefully I’ll find me a rich single Senator who doesn’t believe in buying things in manufacturer’s suggested retail price. Did I mention I was joking? I hate Senators. Goodbye.

PS: Here’s something way way way cooler and more exciting than romantic dates. My reading list for today! Read them with me!

Camus’ The Myth of Sisyphus- http://dbanach.com/sisyphus.htm

Emerson on Self Reliance- https://www.owleyes.org/text/self-reliance/read/self-reliance#root-219808-3

Chesterton on Wisdom and the Weather- http://www.online-literature.com/chesterton/wrong-with-the-world/13/

Pablo Neruda’s Ode to Keeping Quiet- http://www.ginnyhamiltonyoga.com/ode-to-keeping-quiet-by-pablo-neruda-2/

Sullivan Ballou’s letter to his wife- http://www.pbs.org/kenburns/civil-war/war/historical-documents/sullivan-ballou-letter/

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Pared-down Book List

I’ll be flying to San Francisco, California in three weeks to visit my mother and her family. I told myself I’ll set out and buy a few books while I’m there so I took a look at my book list a few minutes ago to go over the books I want to buy and realized that when I said “few”, I was really underestimating. I have 67 books on my list… I’ve already accepted that I cannot buy them all no matter how much I scream myself hoarse to the heavens, so I’ve pared them down to twenty and twenty is already stretching it. I’m not happy about this number. I want to add more, but at the same time, I know twenty is still far too much. But here is my tentative list:

From Hell by Alan Moore

Sleepwalk and Other Stories by Adrian Tomine

Killing and Dying by Adrian Tomine

The Complete Optic Nerve Mini-Comics by Adrian Tomine

Human Wishes by Robert Hass

In Search of Duende by Federico Lorca

Windblown World: The Journals of Jack Kerouac

Hunger by Roxanne Gay

Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Machado

My Life in France by Julia Child

Staring at the Sun: Overcoming the Terror of Death by Irvin Yalom

100 Tales of Ray Bradbury

Complete Poems of e.e. cummings

Letters of Marcel Proust

Honey From a Weed by Patience Gray

Reborn: Journals and Notebooks by Susan Sontag

The Complete Essays of George Orwell

As Consciousness is Harnessed to Flesh by Susan Sontag

What We Talk About When We Talk About Love by Raymond Carver

Selected Stories of Alice Munro

As you can see they’re a mixed bag of nonfiction essays, memoirs, journals, graphic novels, fiction, correspondences, and poetry. I’m still going to pare these down because I think it is impractical to buy twenty books on one trip, but….. Well, we’ll see. I’ll definitely put aside the authors I’ve read before so I have more room for new authors. Honestly, it’s times like this when I wish I were a billionaire. I’d buy all the books I want and not feel guilty for spending at all!

When I Said I Wasn’t Going to Spend Money on Books This Month

I lied. I was quite surprised when I went over my purchases for the last month and realized that I had bought fifteen books in less than 30 days… but, well, I don’t really have any vices other than reading, and buying and borrowing books, so I thought this was better than, oh I don’t know, snorting lines of coke up my nostrils or nymphomania. So I passed by a secondhand bookshop on my way home today and told myself I was just going to have a browse. An hour later, however, I already had a stack of books that I wanted to buy propped up in my arms. Of course I had to kick myself and force myself to only get one, but after debating with myself for a couple more minutes, I finally settled on two: Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes and Selected Fiction by Henry James. I had to put Sue Monk Kidd, Leo Tolstoy’s biography, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and a collection of letters penned by soldiers during the Vietnam War on the back burner for now, much to my heartbreak.

To be honest, though, the real real reason why I went to the bookshop today was to look for the book I hid there a month ago. I was planning to buy it, but never got around to because 1). I was already buying too many books at that time so I thought I should just go back for it some other day and 2). At that time, the book didn’t call out to me as strongly. I was adamant on going back for it today though, in hopes of still finding it. I wanted to give it to this really special friend of mine whose younger brother took his own life just this week. The book is called An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness and I searched and searched and searched with pigheaded devotion until my fingers were covered in soot, but I couldn’t find the book anymore. I’m honestly so heartbroken that I won’t be able to give it to my special friend, but I’m looking at other options. I am not the best in comforting and communicating my emotions, and most of the time I wish I knew the right words to say, so when I show my concern and love to others, I’m not very upfront about it, and I hope the warmth that I want to convey shows through little things I do such as penning long and winding letters and giving books that I believe is a perfect match to the receiver because spoken words always fail me. I can only hope, but hope is never lost.

Rereading Wislawa Szymborska’s New and Collected poetry collection. This poetry collection is the closest thing I have to a bible, and Szymborska is my favorite writer. If I were to choose only one writer across multitudes of genres–although I hope no one would ever make me do that because that’s fucking criminal–Szymborska would always be top of my list, right next to the Dons of my dreams Pablo Neruda and Federico Garcia Lorcaaaaa!!

Reading Man and his Symbols by Carl Jung (for my Philosophy of the Unconscious graduate class)

Continuing When Nietzsche Wept by Irvin Yalom

Something mundane: I finally utilized the full potential of my Evernote and made a separate notebook for all of my terrible poetry drafts and fragmented thoughts, AND made a separate note for each poetry draft. This is it, this is my life coming together… hahaaaa I hope to work on these soon so I don’t continue hating myself.

My forever mantra: Dr. Manhattan’s monologue on Mars. As I was on my way home today, I couldn’t help but feel heartbroken over what my friend is going through. I will never know his pain, and I will never know what it feels like to lose my younger brother, but in these darkest hours I believe that my friend is more resilient than he thinks, with an unmatched reverence and vitality for Life. I know he will keep on. I have the utmost confidence and faith in him. And so, while I was lost in my reveries, I pulled out the small folded paper from my ID case to read while walking; I keep this with me every single day, for times such as this. It’s got Daily Mantra scribbled on it. Here is what it says:

Thermodynamic miracles, events with odds against so astronomical they’re effectively impossible, like oxygen spontaneously becoming gold. I long to observe such a thing. And yet, in each human coupling, a thousand million sperm vie for a single egg. Multiply those odds by countless generations, against the odds of your ancestors being alive; meeting; siring this precise son; that exact daughter… Until your mother loves a man she has every reason to hate, and of that union, of the thousand million children competing for fertilization, it was you, only you, that emerged. To distill so specific a form from that chaos of improbability, like turning air to gold… that is the crowning unlikelihood. The thermodynamic miracle.

But the world is so full of people, so crowded with these miracles that they become commonplace and we forget… I forget. We gaze continually at the world and it grows dull in our perceptions. Yet seen from another’s vantage point, as if new, it may still take our breath away. Come… dry your eyes. For you are life, rarer than a quark and unpredictable beyond the dreams of Heisenberg; the clay in which the forces that shape all things leave their fingerprints most clearly. Dry your eyes… and let’s go home.

Most days I try to be like Dr. Manhattan and improvise a monologue in my head while, say, walking or sitting by myself during the morning commute, but I never sound as poetic as him, and never as articulate. But I try.

Quiet Wednesday

Listening to the background noise in The MET museum. There’s very little

Thinking about job applications, the future, and all the angst that goes into finding a job that is meaningful, that I can love

Trying not to panic over (not) hearing back from places I’ve sent my applications to

Again, thinking about the alchemy maxim, Solve et Coagula. Dissolve and coagulate. That something must be broken down before it can be built up.

Hoping for a calmer state of mind, a bit more kindness from myself, to myself

Feeling annoyed of my recurring back pain

Wanting to just get home and cook my dinner. I plan to bake onion and leek rolls and make a hearty pumpkin soup from scratch. Which reminds me, I have to go to the groceries  to pick up a pumpkin when I leave the MET in a couple of minutes

Stuck on: The warring hotness and coldness of this one person, chapter 4 of Alan Moore’s From Hell, chapter 6 of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, and chapter 1 of D.H. Lawrence’s Women in Love

Dreaming of sticky pistachio bundt cakes and a quiet solitary afternoon in a gallery

of rooftop astronomy and books from my childhood

work and school classes were canceled again today due to the transport strike, so i had the day to myself. as usual i failed to write anything and got lost in my reveries again. i’m so sick of all this, of never having anything to completion. what is wrong with me? around high noon i found myself rummaging through the dust-filled book shelf behind the staircase and pulling out book after book from my childhood. i remember all these. the huge people and places atlas, the illustrated tome-like encyclopedias, the complete set of The Adventures of Poldy, a hardbound book of fairytales, flimsy paperback books on folklore, legends, fables, riddles, and children’s poetry written in my mother tongue, and a graphic bible. these are what got me into reading, these huge encyclopedias that seemed heavier and bigger than me when i was a child. i remember poring through the pages of one of them and reading about Egypt and mummification, how insects help flowers, the different plants of the desert, how hailstorms are formed, the Boer war, how papyrus is made, the Bayeux tapestry, so on and so forth. i open each one and see scribbles from when i would pretend to be a librarian and fix my stamp and name on the pages. i think i still want to be a librarian, secretly…

i also found my complete Jane Austen novel collection. i forgot how huge and heavy this book is. it resembles more of a tome, actually, and i still remember its tissue-thin bible paper, the sound the pages make when i ruffle through them. perhaps I ought to read Jane Austen again. one of these days. I also took an interest in my dad’s Meade ETX70 telescope. it’s been sitting by the terrace door for years and no one’s ever touched it, and i realized, earlier, how much of a fool i am, to be so enamored by so much science fiction when i had a telescope right here all along, and i could look at the cosmos every night if i wished. i could see Mars if i wanted, instead of closing my eyes in bed and trying very hard to picture in my mind Bradbury’s Mars. Or Alan Moore’s Mars. I went through the telescope’s manual this afternoon and am planning to play around with the telescope tonight. i checked the phase calendar and tonight we have a Waning Crescent. i’ve since written down some important dates. November 4 would be a full moon, and the 3rd of December a Super Full Moon. i’d love to see all the moon’s phases. in fact, i’d like to look at the moon every night now, i’d like to know it more intimately, and perhaps if things were in my favor, i’d be able to see someday the orion nebula and the ice caps on Mars. perhaps it wouldnt hurt to pick up rooftop astronomy as my latest hobby. i am very much tired of the things and faces around me that i’d actually prefer it if i could look up at the stars every night instead so id be reminded how insignificant and little i am in this world. it helps that way. I’m so scared for all of us, how we think so highly of ourselves, how we view the world as ours for the taking, never knowing that there is a price to be exacted. how shameful that despite of the universe’s generosity and open palms, we think we can just snatch everything away and brand it as ours, when we are never really free, when we really never own anything, to view ourselves as Somebodies when we are really just some bodies. how dare us demand kindness from the world when we are indifferent to its pain? who are we to ask for more? who are we to insist on peace?

i am so troubled by myself. i graduated two days ago and am feeling really anxious because it dawned on me that i am unemployed. i’ve been beating myself up for not having a job before graduation and i know people will say that i should rest for a month or two before looking for a job, but i really am so anxious. i feel as if i will never amount to anything, and that i will never be certain of anything. i suddenly feel as if nothing in this life makes any sense, and i’ve been mellow these past two days, just contemplating about everything and it’s so so difficult for me to find meaning in anything right now, that all i can think of is gazing at the moon and the stars because real people and real life and bills and rent and money and work and social customs and modern dating and the fucking rat race and all of this shit about life that make me anxious and scared–i wish they’d just all stop fucking mattering!!! i honestly am so lost and so afraid and ashamed and angry at myself and anxious i cannot think clearly anymore

Monday Currently + book haul

Reading way too many books all at once again. Such is the life of a haphazard reader; I cannot ever just stick to one book throughout. Right now I am reading When Nietzsche Wept by Irvin Yalom, Women in love by D.H. Lawrence, It Must’ve Been Something I Ate by Jeffrey Steingarten, and Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. Just finished Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke three days ago and I keep forgetting how cruel and unsparing it is. What a fucking writer, Alan Moore.

Writing this blog post. I haven’t written anything to completion these past couple of weeks and I’m still trying my best not to hate myself for that.

Listening to Alice by Cocteau Twins. I’ve been listening to Cocteau Twins for the entire week and my favorites so far: Cherry-Colored Funk, Pandora, Blue Bell Knoll, Ivo, Donimo, Alice, Carolyn’s Fingers, All Flowers In Time (DUH!!!!!!! I know it’s not Cocteau Twins but it’s still Elizabeth Fraser! And Jeff Buckley is just LOVE)

Thinking about how this Monday is going to be. I woke up relatively early, around 6:00 am but got up around 6:45.

Hoping to figure things out soon. My graduation is this Saturday. I canceled my attendance, so I wont be marching. I don’t have the patience for rituals and ceremonial bullshit; of course finishing university means a lot to me, but the marching I just cannot fucking understand. Well, now I am trying to figure out what I want to do and I find myself lost.

Wanting to speak to and see this certain person more… Ahhhh why am I so meek! Why am I so afraid of coming clean with my feelings! Why! Why! Why!

Feeling a jambalaya of feelings!!! So I’m enjoying Irvin Yalom the most right now, I would totally recommend him. I haven’t read anyone like him; secretly I want to be like Lou Salome in the book.

I’ve pared down my duties to only one—to perpetuate my freedom. Marriage and its entourage of possession and jealousy enslave the spirit. They will never have dominion over me. I hope, Doctor Breuer, the time will come when neither men nor women are tyrannized by each other’s frailties.

and

I hope too, you and I will become friends. I have many faults, as you’ve seen: I am impulsive, I shock you, I am unconventional. But I also have strengths. I have an excellent eye for nobility of spirit in a man. And when I have found such a man I prefer not to lose him. 

I mean?!?!?! God, if I were as brave as Lou Salome then I’d never have to feel anxious around this man I have feelings for! I could just go up to him and say, HEY, I DONT NEED ANYTHING FROM YOU, BUT I LIKE YOU. A LOT…… Ahha sometimes i gross myself out ngeuhhh

I am also past the first 100 pages of Lolita and I don’t know how much of Vladimir’s beautiful prose I can take to excuse the content. Truth be told, I am getting squirmy and squeamish reading about Humbert Humbert’s affairs with little Lo and now I am just angry at Humbert and don’t find the book that enjoyable anymore, but I am adamant about finishing it. I am still on the first pages of Women in Love and I’m still trying to get into the swing of Lawrence’s writing. As for Steingarten, I adore his food essays thus far. He’s the food critic of Vogue if I’m not mistaken? And happening upon his book was mere chance. I dropped a coin and when I picked it up, my eyes landed on his book, which was hiding beneath the shelves of the book thrift store. The pea cover attracted me and, well, I bought it. I’m really into food literature right now and have a couple of others lined up for my next purchase. There’s just something about food in literature! Reading about food, it always feels like home, even though I do not really have a home in the physical sense because this house does not feel like home, there is always that warmth in reading about food.

Eating nothing. I don’t eat breakfast because I get lethargic when I’m full. I’ll probably drink white tea later though.

Loving these perfect pair of trousers. I’ve been thrifting a lot of clothes lately and I found THE perfect pair of pants. I’m still debating with myself whether its color is burgundy, shiraz, maroon, or dark cherry red but who fucking cares, they fit perfectly and elongate my legs and it was such a steal. It’s very very difficult for me to find a good pair of pants, so finding this pair is like finding a best friend. Lol.

I also thrifted a lot of books and magazines. Sometimes I feel guilty for buying so many books and the occasional clothes, but I tell myself most of what I buy is thrifted anyway, and that’s the cheapest I can get them so I try not to feel too bad…. Everything is thrifted except for The Dispossessed and The Ocean at the End of the Lane, which I got from a commercial bookstore.  Here’s what I bought these past two weeks:

Skeleton Crew by Stephen King- bought this the same week I watched It. Feels good to be reunited with my favorite childhood writer. I was never brought up on the classics, but read a lot of Stephen King and Gaiman in grade school and high school.

Wired magazine’s one and only scifi issue

Conde Nast Muhammad Ali special commemorative edition

It Must’ve Been Something I Ate by Jeffrey Steingarten

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery- I’ve read this in my second year in university as a PDF version and loved it so much. I cried when Renee died and I cried when Palome promised she’d never try to kill herself or try to ever burn a thing again because from now on, she will look for moments of always within never–Beauty in this life, and I cried when the book ended so there you go. I love this book so much. :((

Volume 1 of John Betjeman’s letters

The Dispossessed by Ursula Le Guin- I figured I needed another scifi gem to satiate me while I wait for my Bradbury short story collection

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman- Bought another Gaiman. Just because.

The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard Morais- the movie was just alright so I thought to read the book, because books are always better…… ahha you didn’t hear that from me though!

Women in Love by D.H. Lawrence

Two New Yorkers from the past two years

The Simple Things magazine

Regeneration by Pat Barker

Gould’s Book of Fish by Richard Flanagan- I regret putting this book down because the first paragraph reeled me in. His prose is such a joy to read, but since I am reading so many books right now, I told myself I’d just read him once I finish Lolita.

Will start soon with: 

John Betjeman’s letters

On the Genealogy of Morals by Friedrich Nietzsche

Some other things I am grateful for: 

My brother. He’s my rock. Last night we stayed up until midnight just talking. Of course, we talked about his emotions. We need to do this constantly, because I hate the idea of him keeping everything to himself and not knowing who to run to when he’s fed up with everything about life. He is doing well with his affairs; his ex is being crazy and is spreading rumors about him in class to ruin him, so he’s been avoiding everyone… Why do people do this? When you break up with someone, how can you be so cruel and ruin them to other people as an act of punishment? Why cant you just let them live? Why can’t you just move on? His ex supposedly still loves him and wants him back, but my brother is soooo done with her manipulative narcissistic bullshit. Rightly so because he doesn’t deserve swine like that. Sigh sigh. Anyway, I also taught my brother how to play Dungeons & Dragons last night and he is floored. He’s jealous, obviously, because I didn’t teach him sooner. I’ve yet to teach him how to create a character, but at least I’d have someone to play with now!!!! Life doesn’t have to be so lonely