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The Sunday Currently no. 4

It has been over a year since I’ve touched this blog again, it’s now 2017 and I look back on these writings like artifacts. Life has changed so much. I definitely need to dedicate a separate time to sit down for it (the reflecting once again)—for now, just before I leave for a two-hour drive out of the city, a re-visit.

Reading, Writing

An assortment of books and I’ve the terrible habit of reading books but rarely finishing them. It’s been a mix: Flush by Virginia Woolf, I picked up Daring Greatly by Brené Brown (no shame) for my Sunday morning read, sorted through a few coffeetable books, some books on business. I have actually been reading more these days! As for writing, this is as close as I’ll get.

Listening

Ever since working, having a regular commute has made the practice of listening a joy to me. And of course, it helps the lull in the workplace that often needs something more fulfilling. Many good podcasts that I’ve discovered include The Broad Experience, and KCRW always makes good ones. Music has ranged from experimental jazz to classical jazz. I like listening, I wish I’d better at it.

Wanting, Needing

Well, at the moment, I definitely need to pack my things and get ready for the drive out. A few minutes left.

Wishing, Hoping

It’s this quote that has gotten to me: “luck is when preparation meets the moment of opportunity.” Today, it seems like opportunities are all around—but I realized they were always there, I just didn’t see them. I wasn’t ready to. But now faced with the option of choice, and getting my life in order, it’s strange: I can’t tell if I’m underwhelmed or just indifferent. At the same time, I had re-read this excerpt from an interview which I’d kept repeating to myself in university: “you must have will. In other words, you must want.”

Wearing

My relationship with clothes has changed, or more accurately with the way I look in a mirror. I do feel more confident; at the same time, I’ve simply dressed for myself. I don’t need to impress anyone. And as it’s an early Sunday morning now, my hair is up and I’m in an old, oversized t-shirt from when I used to do public school tutoring for class.

Loving, Feeling

Enjoying the inconsequential. People-watching strangers in foreign countries. Knowing those strangers, knowing how to speak.

Clicking

  • I’d wondered to myself how on earth I only heard about Casey Neistat till now!
  • Because they moved to Japan, enjoying their stuff more: Simon and Martina
  • P.S. More at a later time. It’s time to go.
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The Sunday Currently no. 3

Reading

I like to think I would never go for the warning signals of hipsterdom (for instance: overpriced quinoa, succulents, music festivals) without some self-reflexivity—which is partly why I don’t bother with “hipster format” magazines like Kinfolk. Unfortunately I’m very, very guilty of this type of pre-judgment, but I do want to stop messing around with hype or fodder: if you like it, then you just do.

And so, in the flurry of all my Christmas shopping, I acquiesced Kinfolk‘s Winter Issue—as it happens, I really do like it. Of course the attractively minimalist design aesthetic is one thing, but browsing through it every now and again (before going to bed, whilst having my cup of coffee as my father sits across from me reading the newspaper), I realize how lovely the leisure of magazine reading is—accompaniment rather than commitment. Some of the essays are interesting, too.

I also just started reading Look at Me by Jennifer Egan. I went through the first chapter last night and was already taken by it, tearing up and all. To be honest, I have a problem with reading novels: I never seem to go through them end-to-end, even if the story is interesting or the book is lauded as some masterpiece. But I have a good feeling about this one—counting it as the first book for the new year if I finish it.

Listening

It shouldn’t surprise me anymore that all I listen to nowadays is One Direction. I hardly match up to the worldwide obsession in my own fandom over them, but I do love them and I’ve been listening to Made in the A.M. and Four. (Favorite songs include “Stockholm Syndrome,” “Fool’s Gold,” “Where Do Broken Hearts Go,” “Drag Me Down,” “What a Feeling,” and “History.”) And yes of course I’ve been listening to Christmas songs—I love Seth MacFarlane and Sara Bareilles’ version of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” Tony Bennett’s “Silver Bells,” Michael Bublé’s “It’s Beginning to Feel a Lot like Christmas,” Nat King Cole’s “The Christmas Song” (the best version out there!), as well as the classic “Last Christmas” by Wham.

Thinking

About a lot of things, in fact. But it’s much too early for it.

Wishing, Hoping

That 2016 will be a year of doing. Too many years have been spent (over-)thinking.

Wanting, Needing

I really, really need Rebecca Solnit books in my life (difficult to get hold of here).

Smelling

There’s some PG Tips I steeped this morning, but I can’t really smell it now.

Wearing

Gray sweater from H&M, black shorts.

Loving

Rosianna Halse Rojas! Going through her Vlogmas playlist, which is wonderful. Also: The School of Life.

Feeling

I’m about to go out (hopefully) in about half an hour. I guess that makes me feel good—not an entirely lazy Sunday.

Clicking

Frankly, this part of The Sunday Currently is rather just reminders to myself on what to read. A few things:

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The Sunday Currently no. 2

Reading

I finished reading Citizen by Claudia Rankine, and I still have chills from the time I spent with this book. Perhaps most astonishing to me (though I will say that the essay on Serena Williams as black body truly shook me to my core)—among the many parts of this book, with its various forms and genres, a text of total multiplicity—is the idea that Citizen was written as a lesson. I think it becomes one in part because language is so accessible, as it speaks of racial discrimination in the white imagination with such transparency—horrifying instances of racism that the poet recalls, as Wordsworth said, “in tranquility.” In many ways, because language is laid out quite clearly on the page, you’re the reader held at point-blank: what will you make of this information, the necessary revelations that “expose what is really there,” as Marjorie Perloff praises at the back of the book: “a racism so guarded and carefully masked”?

Rankine writes, “[H]ow you feel is how you feel even if what you perceived isn’t tied to what is … / What is?” It’s a lesson that doesn’t know the answers, or perhaps it does yet it cannot fathom our questions about what we’ve been referring to all this time. And I’ll never forget how language held me here: “[O]f course, you want the days to add up to something more than you came in out of the sun and drank the potable water of your developed world—” when I wanted to understand how it’d end. Rankine devised a lesson that doesn’t transact, it only stands there, demanding you to take up and carry the weight which is both historical (the “historical self”) and personal (the “self self”)—there is no alternative route, after all. She said so in the very beginning. “Yes, and though watching tennis isn’t a cure for feeling, it is a clean displacement of effort, will, and disappointment.” Citizen is unforgettable.

Writing, Thinking

I have gone back to writing, but how long will it take to finish anything again? (Will I finish anything ever again?) I just started on The Hour of the Star by Clarice Lispector. Perhaps an answer is somewhere here: “—to all those who reached the most alarmingly unsuspected regions within me, all those prophets of the present and who have foretold me to myself until in that instant I exploded into: I. This I that is all of you since I can’t stand being just me … I meditate wordlessly and upon the nothing. What trips up my life is writing. [emphasis added] And—and don’t forget that the structure of the atom cannot be seen but is nonetheless known. I know about lots of things I’ve never seen. And so do you. You can’t show proof of the truest thing of all, all you can do is believe. Weep and believe.”

Wishing, Hoping

My eldest brother is off to London this week, I’m hoping it’ll be my next travel destination, too.

Wanting, Needing

Better recognition, more opportunities.

Smelling

The body wash I’m currently using smells way too much like peach.

Wearing

Something that falls between a cardigan and blanket.

Loving

The cappuccino in Craft—the stronger, more concentrated one—still tastes as good as when I had it almost everyday.

Feeling

Still trying to figure things out. Still trying to be more forgiving of myself that I don’t know how.

Clicking

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The Sunday Currently no. 1

Reading

Finally, I have gone back to reading books—the physical paperback lugged inside my bag—somewhat regularly, or at least I’ve fully committed to doing so again. These days I am reading To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf. Here is an extract from the beginning that I fell in love with, describing Mrs. Ramsay: “… she must interrupt for a moment, as they passed the tennis lawn, to ask Mr. Carmichael, who was basking with his yellow cat’s eyes ajar, so that like a cat’s they seemed to reflect the branches moving or the clouds passing, but to give no inkling of any inner thoughts or emotion whatsoever, if he wanted anything.” Also, how the digital economy is making us gleaners again.

Writing

It would seem that I am again, that I am writing for my own—enjoying and exploring language and the issues and ideas that mean the most to me—which I’ve not felt like I’ve really done ever before. I admit that my writing again happened due to my reading again—primarily because of Woolf, as well as rereading sections from Plainwater by Anne Carson—and I’m happy about this and feel good about where I am right now, as a writer.

Listening

I hadn’t been listening to a lot of new(er) music until recently upgrading my Spotify to premium and splurging on some award-winning speakers (something I get from my dad) from Harmon/Kardon. A list of songs I’ve been enjoying: “Indian Summer” by Jai Wolf. “Queen of Peace” by Florence and the Machine. “Roses” by The Chainsmokers and ROZES. “Change of Heart” by TOPS. “All My Friends” by Snakehips featuring Tinashe and Chance the Rapper. A cover of Tamia’s “So Into You” by Childish Gambino. “Sorry” by Justin Bieber —yes.

Thinking

For a long time now, I’ve been thinking through this hefty new writing project, tentatively entitled “Political History.” It’s an attempt, in my mind, to roughly map out what motivates people and their political affiliations, what it takes to truly understand the views of others and show compassion, how we care. Many people on social media, for example, call out what they consider ill views, they criticize privilege and back in ways that a lot of us, frankly, would have already seen before. Many people are rarely capable of changing our minds, and still “there is no neat us and them, pale and dark, east and west, except in the lousy stories people tell.” So far, this is the first sentence: “I want to have a conversation about politics with my mother—the way prose, occasionally, might crystallize into a form of art.”

Wishing, Hoping, Wanting, Needing

To know what to do with my life—as most confused young people in their early twenties who are fresh out of college would like to know. Terms like “the real world” and “the future” and “making a living” and “something worthwhile” have never been more real to me. Nonetheless 23 is a good age, I think.

Smelling

Traces from a cup of coffee I had a while ago.

Wearing

A gray cotton t-shirt, a navy blue stole shawl from Uniqlo.

Loving

The latest album from Florence and the Machine, How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful. Souvenirs from The British Museum and The Keats House that my managing director brought back from her trip to London. My mother’s birthday gift, the Longchamp Le Pliage Néo in Opera. P.S. Why isn’t there an option here for “Watching”? Because How to Get Away with Murder has been blowing my mind and I cannot wait for the #WhoShotAnnalise revelation in the winter finale!

Feeling

Secure with myself. And: I know it’s not Sunday yet, but hey, I just felt like stealing this series off the Internet and starting it on my blog.

Clicking

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