Fossilization

This should be a useful post, a good post. After a long silence, one should do that, I suppose, write something meaningful and pithy. But I’m instead going to write something very dull.

I thought this morning, as I was checking out different phone companies to switch to a cheaper contract, that maybe I should get myself a new phone with the new contract too. A budget smartphone instead of my old regular phone so that people would stop rolling their eyes when they see me take out my phone. I’m not totally immune to that. Also, the thing I’m missing is not being able to transfer photos to other devices more easily and having a chat programme, so I can do away with regular text messages with people who also use the same IM service.

Since I wouldn’t be using most of the gadgets that come with it, the cheapest models seemed to be the thing to go for. I don’t even care for high picture quality. Adequate would do. And if the device gets so little use for all its extras, paying a lot seems foolish.

I picked out two models that seemed okay, but the moment I checked their battery life, I went off the idea completely. Having to charge them every day seems extremely tedious. Particularly if I’d hardly be using the apps and things that take up all the battery. My old phone lasts 5-7 days without being charged and I suppose one could get used to it lasting a day, but given what I would get in return for this increase in discomfort, it doesn’t balance out. For half the price it might make sense.

So I’ll stick to my old phone until it stops working and continue annoying and surprising people with not having a smartphone. The discomforts that come with it are not daily, but occasional at least.

Findings

I was spending Sunday morning reading up on specific psychiatric disorders and stumbled upon something like nidotherapy. This type of therapy seeks to achieve a better fit between the personality and needs of the patient and their environment.

First off, it was a pleasure to see that my own scattered ideas and leanings regarding what might potentially the most beneficial therapy had a term for it. It also seems to be quite a new approach, but I hope it fares well and will be perfected in time and lead to a change in attitude in the treatment of a lot of mood and personality disorders. Too many people receive no benefit from conventional drug treatment nor cognitive behavioural therapy. It does seem truly hard to implement, however, but my highly subjective and non-evidence-based opinion is that there is no better treatment for most personality disorders and mood disorders than this, and even scizophrenia could be made more tolerable if the environment of the person was suited to their personality and …..um, biology.

Also, The Secret Garden sounds like a manual of nidotherapy and its successful implementation.

Being a dreamer

I think I’ve been throwing around that descriptive a little too uncomprehendingly, and I have never doubted its positivity.

To me, being a dreamer meant  that you spend more time in your head and are prone to fantasizing of other worlds and alternative lives or environments, some more realistic, others completely not.

This is the kind of dreamer I am. However, I’ve recently realised that there is after all a downside – I don’t like it when my dreams start to turn into reality. I want to take the opposite course. I want to reject it and run away. And it is not fear, it’s the misery of getting what you want.

Truly, there is nothing worse than getting what you want to a dreamer like myself.  I live on hopes and dreams, what will I live on if yet another is destroyed by turning itself into a reality? Reality can never live up and I will have lost.

Sometimes, it’s not so bad, of course. Sometimes you get used to it and there are days when you are pleased and praise yourself for having made a very good choice. But other times you just want to get rid of what you obtained to return to the blissful state that you were in when only dreaming of it.

A few months ago, I made myself an Instagram account upon a whim. Sometimes I scroll through other people’s pictures. Who has not heard that social media depresses people because they feel their own lives are inferior? Well, it doesn’t seem to work on me. Instead, I use it to cheer myself up. It inspires me to dream on dull, dreamless days. I notice someone has a fabulous flower garden, and I dream of my own, and make a mental note of the design. I notice someone more beautiful than me, and am full of admiration. I notice someone has an awesome bookshelf and dream of the time when I will have a similar one.

Dreams are the most important things to me in life. I am truly unhappy only when I don’t have anything to dream about, anything to be inspired by, to look forward to, to hope for.

So getting everything I want must promise great unhappiness indeed.

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Today looks like the last day of summer. The wind is so strong but also so warm. I spent the morning reading The Secret Garden, and must praise it as one of the few 19th to early 20th century children’s books that doesn’t suffer from excessive sentimentality. It is what it describes. Magic. The style does exactly what the words say the garden and children are doing. Growing, transforming. It’s an ode to the transformative potential of the individual and to nature.

I hope the fair weather holds until I get my work done and can go out to enjoy it.

Parendamine

Tõlgin parajasti ühte teksti, ja mõtlen, kas ma peaks kasutama sõna “parendama”. Sest see on just selline koht, kus üks laialdase kogemusega tõlkija seda kasutaks. Sest mõeldud on ju tõesti, et too asi X teeb head veelgi paremaks. Enne oli ka hea. Ja nüüd tehakse veelgi paremaks. Ma saan erinevusest aru, aga…. keegi ei räägi ju nii? Ainult tõlgitud lepingud ja kasutusjuhendid on parendamisi täis. Et jah siis. Tõrgun.

Ei suuda seda sõna trükkida. Eneseirooniaga, pihku itsitades suudaks. Aga no tõsimeeli. Minu sõrmed ei paindu. Või teeks ikkagi naljaga. Ega keegi aru ei saaks. Iseendal oleks siiski parem.

(ranting about my highly personal, language-specific translation struggles)

Not knowing how to read: Shelley’s Matilda

I was reading Mary Shelley’s Matilda today – a novella about a 16- to 20-year old girl, whose mother died at childbirth and whose father ends up developing an incestuous love for her, which leads him to suicide and her to becoming a lonely exile wishing nothing but death. This death quite quickly comes in the classically Romantic way of her getting consumption.

I’m writing of this because I didn’t like the novella particularly much. I usually love melodrama and Gothic elements, but this suffered from an overdose of gloomy vocabulary and didn’t seem well-contained.

The narrator is a 20-year-old girl. Her style is amateurish. Some of her thoughts, her high emotionality and glorification of death would bring to mind any average teenager of a gloomier disposition. Her thinking in extremes certainly reminded me of myself, and her style of my own style (if let loose).

But here’s the problem, and it’s a weird problem to have. I wanted to read a better-written story, while this was all over the place and didn’t seem believable. It was as if Shelley had tried to put a Greek tragedy into a contemporary setting and format, and it turned out…… a little silly? Excessive. Implausible. Maybe it’d have worked as a play. Even the long monologues had something of the style of play to them.

And yet it is not implausible, because this is how a 20-year old can think, particularly when on her deathbed, having little life experience and being an emotional person. So. My problem was that I expected a less emotionally overflowing and more refined writer. When reading a work of fiction, I expect the storyteller to have style. I’m sure that if this had been the diary of a real person, I’d have approached it differently and been touched by it. Because I wouldn’t expect good writing then. Right now, I felt it to be clumsy and couldn’t empathise with the characters. This again is strange because when I’ve read some other 19th century first person narratives, I’ve caught myself thinking the opposite – would a boy as young as this really be able to tell the story so eloquently? Would someone so little educated be such a good writer? I can’t currently bring specific examples, but I’ve felt those thoughts often. It’s not believable that all the narrators featured in these first person narratives of the 19th century had style. Some must have been as bad as Matilda, but well, she was sweet. Her style was sweet. And I wish she had had a less deep nature, so she could have moved on, but deep natures never can, can they?

The plot has potential though. I think I have some weird tendency to like a thing more for its potential sometimes than for what it is. Unrefined gems. Old wooden houses and creaky floorboards and people who sometimes wear ill-fitting clothes. I like the scope for imagination. What it could be. As it is, I didn’t care about this story, but it might make for a good tragic poem or play if one wants to preserve the melodrama.

But here of course the fault is in me and my expectations for literature. If the character never existed, if it’s fiction, I expect style and wisdom such as an average person of this particular type wouldn’t possess. And when I’m given it, a part of me rolls her eyes and feels inferior because when I was THAT age, I would never have been so intelligent and rational, or so good. These narrators of the 19th century seem such ideal people sometimes.

One thing I did like though. There were some flashes of great understanding of how life and people work. This. And I also enjoyed reading about the poet guy’s suggestion of how to move on and what to devote one’s life to if personal happiness is not an option. I’ve been trying to give the same advice to a friend, but no one ever listens to good advice, do they? I liked meeting, albeit in fiction, someone else who shares my views. I hadn’t seen it around before, not in this form that so closely copies my own philosophy.

Overall, it was an okay read. 3 out of 5.

Why I Heart Latvia

Brainstorm

This Latvian band I was a great fan of in my early teens. They also introduced me to the country and its language. A lot of other girls my age liked Brainstorm and Renars Kaupers. I remember being annoyed by one girl out in the yard singing their song. What’s she doing singing it?! This is MY favourite band. I even got their autographs and all the usual fangirl stuff. When I first heard their song”Under My Wing” in Latvian, I fell in love with the sound of the language.

Language

To me, it’s one of the most melodious languages in Europe. I love it’s soft L’s. University made it possible for me to learn a little as well. Not enough to hold a conversation, but the little I do know has proven quite useful when travelling in Latvia.

Ice cream

They actually make ice cream out of milk and cream in Latvia, not water and milk powder which head the ingredients lists here. The variety of flavours is greater too.

Cats

Latvians seem to love cats a lot more than Estonians.  The souvenirs of Riga feature a black cat from the roof top below, the Sigulda town centre is dominated by a chain that calls itself Cat’s House, including a cafe that serves a cake with a cat decoration on top. Or used to serve it anyhow. There’s a cat hostel in Riga’s old town, a cat feeding house in the town park, and one curious spot behind the opera house that I have started to call the Cat Park. There’s always cats there in that park. I don’t know why they are there, but they always are.

 

Cat hostel

Cat hostel

Flowers

Latvians also appear to love flowers more than we do. I love their Midsummer’s Eve tradition of wearing wreaths. I wish we had something like that still alive and it wasn’t just about making a fire and getting drunk. It was enchanting the first time I experienced it. They do get drunk too of course. Also, I have this quirky habit of smelling flowers while walking past them in the park. I don’t do it when I’m alone – that’d be too weird – but when there’s someone along, I tend to make a stop and smell a flower or two if they look promising.  Naturally, of all places, it should be in Latvia that I encountered the first and only person with a similar quirk. He too walked with his friend and stopped to smell the flowers in the park. It was heart-warming to spot a fellow-weirdo.

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Sigulda

Beautiful views and nature. Valleys, hills, rivers, castles, manors, shortage of ugly houses – what more could one want. A main square perhaps.

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And of course the plums! I got the best plums ever from one of the local supermarkets.

Cecis

I love the compact cute town centre. Sadly, lacking pictures of it. Never took any or deleted them, god knows, but lack is great.  Only found this castle.

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Kuldiga

Charming little town with beautiful nature around it. I wish I could go for long walks around there.

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I could live in any of these three towns much rather than I live in my own.

 

 

Snippet

A few weeks ago, maybe a month, I noticed I had grown tired of pop music. One day I had found it vacant, lacking in variety, and couldn’t see any value in it any more. I thought – oh good, my music taste has finally improved. It took its time, but better late than never. I was really proud of myself.

But alas, I’m listening to Ed Sheeran as I type this. So it’s back to old ways, and it was only a momentary loss of interest. I think pop music has its place with me, its moods. I don’t know what would have to happen for me to grow forever tired of it. Brain surgery perhaps.

 

It’s interesting because some sentimental type of literature I’m quite allergic to. The other day even Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensbility made me go “eww, none of that stuff please.” But music is different.

Wodehouse

“He has the most distorted ideas about wit and humour; he draws over his books and examination papers in the most distressing way and writes foolish rhymes in other people’s books. Notwithstanding he has a genuine interest in literature and can often talk with enthusiasm and good sense about it.”

Dulwich College report on P.G. Wodehouse, 1899

 

I want to write foolish rhymes in other people’s books too. It sounds like a charming thing to do.

 

Getting a sore throat

My vocal chords are clearly not used to my recently more extroverted personality. I got a sore throat from talking for 6 hours in a row. It’s not the first time either, but the other time I assumed it had been air conditioning or a draught.

Continuing on truth

I’m struggling to find things to write about on the blog now that I’ve banned introspection and incompetent statements expressed with unfitting confidence.

I’d just end up producing lies or texts that embarrass me upon a second reading.

Introspection defines the self. The moment I do that and realise that I’m X rather than Y, I cancel out the Y. Even though the Y might also exist in me. A while back, I wrote about how I assumed I was an introvert for most of my life and my lifestyle adapted to this. Currently, it’s taking a lot of effort from me to adjust my life to my extroversion. Making new friends at my age is not the easiest thing etc.

I think all these introspective thoughtlings that I have – and continue to have because I am simply like that and cannot help it – they should stay amorphous like my dreams. I will think and analyse as before, but I shouldn’t drag them out into the open. Just as with dreams, when expressed outside the mind, they become one’s prison bars, limiting a person to a homogeneous identity, which mine is not.

Some time ago, I was rehearsing a difficult conversation in my head. I didn’t seem to get anywhere with figuring out the best way of saying what I wanted to say. In the middle of yet another clumsy monologue, I stopped: “Just tell the goddamn truth!”. But what is the truth? All the four or five monologues I had been having were true, but they emphasised completely different aspects and would create a completely different emotion and reaction in the recipient. That was my struggle. They were all true, but I couldn’t easily tell them all because they seemed inconsistent with each other. How can you invoke – or desire to invoke – anger and pity and hurt and disappointment and amiability at once? I would have to choose my preferred narrative, my preferred emotion and tell that. But that would be a lie because the others are as essential.

To my surprise, I do continue on this course of truth-seeking. The mood Jean-Christophe and perhaps a certain person I know (whose name begins with the letter J) have led me to, seems to be more lasting than I initially dared predict. In the end, I resolved the above situation by deciding to offer no explanation whatsoever and simply say the gist in one sentence. At least I wouldn’t be lying and avoiding that seemed topmost.

I hope in the future I can focus more on simply being and not trying to force the inconsistent manifestations of character into something like a personality. I think it is the right thing to do  – for me, at this point – and not for anyone else, because this is my journey, my shedding of skin I have grown too big for.

It seems old-fashioned to be valuing and striving for truthfulness at our time, but it feels fresh to me, like spring water.

The blog, though, maybe I’ll just start making outfit and recipe posts. This dress is perfect, for example. I don’t think I’ve ever ended up with a dress that fitted me so perfectly in almost every way (it could be a bit longer, that’s the only downside). I’m going to live in it come autumn.

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I look positively cross-eyed on this picture. So maybe mirror selfies are not going to be my new blog direction after all. I think I will do cat pictures instead.

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