Above The Clouds: Casual Musing | Our Thoughts, Imagination and Condolences

There are….*sigh* going to be times when you are just knocked by what you see and what you hear. You experience moments to celebrate but you also experience moments where your ability to think independently and creatively is lost. Where you’re head is no longer in the cloud and has sunk into your entire being; sometimes for reason you can help and sometime for reasons you can’t help. In fact, you might be helpless.

This might be from your thoughts and room to create and imagine is clogged by an oddly empty sort of space. A space that is filled with a numb feeling because you are unsure what to do and how to feel when grief, anger and even feeling social-justicey are clouding the normal thoughts that float in your head. I don’t know about you but this feeling is tiring.

There are times we need to remove ourselves from the shells of our lives and be aware of the lives that have been affected throughout…this entire year. Indirect and direct associations and connections can make us very human and vulnerable but can also reel out an ugly side of us that is only exposed when your thoughts are clogged.

Sometimes for a few days, like myself, your have sparks of creativity, but a build up of things internal and external to yourself are going to shift the way you think about your environment and about people, probably in general. Sometimes, there are actual blurred lines in your thoughts and your imagination: what will happen next? Sometimes those lines aren’t so blurred and something is right or wrong. Sometimes it’s is too hard to tell when your thoughts are clouded by the clogged thoughts of others. We must all at some point have our heads filled with just space.

Right now, there isn’t much of a conclusion. I want there to be one but this is going to be more casual than my other musing I’ve written so far. I’ll leave you with some thoughts from here:

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quotefancy.com

Thank you for reading.

Some links you might be interested in:

Based on 04/06/16: http://www.bbc.co.uk/timelines/zy3hycw#zsgstyc

Based on 11/06/16: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-36506082

Based on 13/06/16: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-36512308

Feature Image URL: http://img01.thedrum.com/s3fs-public/news/tmp/980/thoughtleadership.jpg

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“No One’s Gonna Care”: Responding to ‘Confident and Insecure’ & Internal Monologue

I think this will hopefully explain how important and fun this blog is for me, but also how challenging it is for me to keep going. Maybe in a way you might not think. I don’t know, I can’t read minds (yet) but continue reading if you want.

I’m struggling now to even begin writing. But I need to do it. I want to it is just becoming difficult to become motivated to follow through with an idea on the spot. You would tell if you follow my blog. I go from absence as in tumble-weeds-and-wolf-howling-in-the-distance-in-a-desert sort of absence to very full-on activity as if my creativity has been sharply sparked and I can’t stop. In my head, I can’t stop. I keep ‘writing’ and drafting my blog posts in my head. But not one has been published yet. The thing is one week in April I had a lot of ideas that rolled one after the other and I immediately went to my computer to write the plan down, write the title, add tags and categories and find a feature image. This is so when I come back to it, my future-self doesn’t have an excuse not to work on it because I have already perfectly done the groundwork. I have a list of drafts that may or may not be up to 30 posts that I plan on finishing, starting and publishing. There are going to become a reality. But I am very aware of how much my inner monologue is stopping me.

What even made me write about this was a video I watched. I already used Filmmaker and Comedian, Jack Howard, as an example in a previous post about my creative process but there is one thing in particular that stuck out to me in a video he recently posted, Confident and Insecure. I will get to this later on.

I’ve said it before it isn’t necessarily writer’s block because I can clearly come up with ideas and it is one of my strengths that I can just think of something on the spot. I just go through peaks of being in the right headspace to not only follow through with those ideas but to then have it to my standard that of course, I will never reach because it is my own personal standard. I will get to this in a post (I am working on in the future but currently in the draft list I have previously mentioned, all planned and everything), but Jaques Lacan (talked about at the end of my Sigmund Freud post in a Wisecrack video I discussed) addresses the idea of want, how the minute we want something, the moment we get what we want, we no longer want it, because that want is fulfilled so you go searching for another thing to want, something that is very likely to be better than what you wanted previously. If you have read any of my posts you know that very often that they would be no shorter than 500 words and ones that I have spent the most time on perfecting and getting everything polished for is over 100 words such as Art Fart: Waves edition, Graphic Novels, Sigmund Freud or Robert Frost, or even my casual musing posts. They always take at least three full hours of writing excluding finding the right images, citing them and other thingy-ma-bobs I want to include to make this a professional post to my unattainable standard. I always want my posts to get better and better but in this process, I set the bar higher and higher for myself that I find difficult to reach because the want to do more will always be there. Always.

Yesterday*, I was in the wrong head-space. I let my inner monologue that was quite…ranty judge what my next post should be. It was about how it is sometimes difficult to actively decide not to drink but be surround by the British (Uni) culture of drinking. Because I was going full force and just wanted to post something because I wanted to write, I published it. I did some revisions of the post to edit some things to polish it, but then a few hours later I realised: this is not my blog.

From the get-go, I knew what I wanted my blog to be in April and take it from there. Yet somehow, a single thought slipped out and created something I thought was important to say. it still kinda is but it was 100% not what I wanted to write. Of course, I wrote it and had full intentions of keeping it. And I know that I don’t have to be rigid to what I write but at the same time, this post was in no way creative in the sense I wanted it to be and I didn’t care about it. I didn’t feel like I spent some time in a creative mindset and produced something that I was proud of. And of course that was based on my standards and what I want my posts to be, because I established goals and went off target in a voice I was not able to recognise as my own voice. It was a voice I knew for a long time, but it was the internal monologue voice that wasn’t creative and very often can take me down a spiral of thought I can’t get out of that doesn’t help my creative process as a writer.

Back to the video, the whole point of this video and the whole point of this blog post. Right… Left. Directions. One Direction. Off-tangent. Moving on. Jack Howard posted a video which I won’t summarise because then you are forced to watch it mua haha (seriously, it will be better hearing it from him than me).

Confident and Insecure

I was watching, understanding that sometimes the personas displayed online aren’t necessarily the person in reality and how his brain has conflicted with creative and negative thoughts that people can dismiss or even just umbrella-term as being a ‘struggling artist’, which I personally think is outdated considering how difficult making yourself present in a crowded world of money can be. I was happy to watch this and let my usual thoughts and inner monologue just discuss this internally and never see the day of light, or be immortalised (because if you didn’t know anything is temporary on the internet, now you do but I don’t know why you had to find this out in my post) in word or speech. BUT, here are a few things he said that spoke to be perfectly and I wanted to actually write down about.

“If I’m writing something, I have to believe in what it is enough for it to sustain possibly years before anyone wants to make it into a thing”

Spring-Summer 2015, a close friend of mine passed away and because I didn’t allow myself to grieve because I was preparing for a 15-hour art exam, I spent and an entire weekend dedicated to writing a play-script. A very short 19 paged one, in an Absurdist style, that was indirectly influenced by my grief. I had that viewed by my creative writing tutor and she gave me the feedback for it. It was all valid and important for the revision and editing process. But since that day I hadn’t touched it because at the time I thought because she didn’t understand how significant writing this piece was, it shut my creative brain down into protective mode, it shouldn’t have done, but it did. I felt pricked an plucked and pranged about the narrative and writing style that was done with purpose. But, rightly so, because I said I saw this as potentially becoming a short film in a very distant future and thought it had potential to be more than a written piece, she saw how difficult it would be for my characters to go through a 2005-2015 timeline with two young adults and how to depict the aging process they would have been through and how fashions, styles and ways of speaking would have been different. This was another reason I shelved it because I didn’t and still don’t know how to solve this problem. I really believe in this script and I really believe I have something worth saving and going back to, it was just at the time I wasn’t ready to make changes to it when I couldn’t find solutions to those problems. But the belief is still there that I will very likely hang onto for years before anyone notices or I even want to do something with it. That is one creative dilemma.

If you haven’t watched the video already, 1) why? 2) go to 2:45-3.10 minutes in the video. It is the very moment he stops talking, a lightbulb went off and I knew exactly what he was probably thinking. Because that has happened to me too many times where I am just writing, happy as Larry (whoever he is) and then I suddenly stop. The page I am writing on suddenly feels blank. I stop writing, my train of thought is lost, I can’t get it back and I can’t get back into the headspace of writing. I have deleted things before, all because of this very feeling of putting the breaks on what I have been writing. I am tempted to delete everything I have written and make the entire page blank, the same way my train of thought just pulled at the station abruptly. Because something, that something being myself, has told me to stop. All this because:

“my brain is going ‘you should stop this video because it’s rubbish and no one’s gonna care’

That was exactly what happened to me when I was writing a post responding to a political image. I thought it was rubbish and no one was going to care. Even though I know from my stats (I see you from *insert country here* don’t think I don’t know) that very few people read or even go to my blog. That’s fine. I don’t write for readers. I do write so what I want to say is out there for people to potentially find in whatever way, and I want what I have to say to have a reason. I don’t want to just say something because I can, anyone can do that. I want to take the time to articulate my thoughts in a coherent manner as you would for an essay but in a way that was more accessible and mattered most to me for when I read back. Again, I set a bar I can never truly reach but I set it and I try. So more than…five times I have been writing, then I stopped because I thought it was rubbish and not something I would be proud of publishing. More importantly, I have had nagging feelings in my head all through my blog posts, especially the post I deleted yesterday* (one that I am definitely not happy with), these small creatures of thought that drag through my head where no one is going to care.

No one cares about my thoughts on why I don’t drink.
No one cares about my readings of certain art.
No one cares about my experience with certain literary and theory figures.
No one cares that I had spent time writing and structuring this post.
No one cares how many things I link or reference in a post.
No one cares about my creative writing.
No one cares I structured and edited my posts in a coherent and accessible way. Why bother with the effort?
No one cares I posted a new blog post. Why bother writing this post if no one if going to care to read it?
No one cares about what I wrote.
No one cares about what I have to say.

But you know what, I care. It is very clear that I do care even thought I set myself these challenges and goals. I care. Because I want to write. I am partially a part of a monstrous yet fun world of the creative industry, and I want to be here. Even if sometimes there is the lagging thought that makes me stop and think ‘what is the point of writing this if no one cares and no one is going to read it’, that is sometimes the driving force I need to finish a post, like this one, and keep going because I care about it and I will read. Not in a narcissistic way but as a way of tracking what were my thoughts at a certain time and how my creative process/writing ability has developed. If I think something is rubbish then I will try and summon the will to revise it, not bin it.

No one might care about what I do, but I care about what I do. That is enough for me to keep going.

 

Thank you for reading.

*Note: If you are reading this where ‘yesterday’ is no longer relevant, please refer to ’twas Saturday 28th May 2016 in the break of evening’

Update: As of 30/05/16, although this was written in response to Jack Howard’s video, I have also turned this post into a response to The Daily Post’s daily prompt, Blank 

My Friendship Tree Has A Lot Of Bea Leaves: Casual Musing | Friendship Matters

Can we just take a moment to appreciate how good of a pun that was! *bows* athankyouverymuch.

Even though I don’t consider myself an adult even though in the eyes of the UK law I am, I think that sometimes we forget the importance of the collection of friends we gather through our lives and how many of those friends stick to you like a fly to Low’s Pitcher Plant (ok, maybe not the best simile).

As Feminist Writer, Virginia Woolf says:

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The word ‘illusions’ can oh so easily be exchanged for the word ‘friends’ in this case.

I remember my mum telling me about how in later life the friends you have are likely to stay with you the longest and the friends/best friends you have in your early years such as primary and secondary school are more fleeting but still a part of your life for those small moments. I am very fortunate to be going to University with two people I have been best friends with for 11 and 7 years. Considering that I known one person for more than half of my entire existence, I take this as a blessing I was not expecting. I am also blessed where I have such a good relationship with my parents that they can be considered friends. My family are my friends and my friends are my family and that is a charming thing I am grateful for and appreciate that some people might not have.

I have said to my friends them once how I was ready when we thought we were going to different Universities that I was ready and prepared for losing the connection we have maintained for so long because I knew the nature of friendships in young life, but I wasn’t prepared to keep them. I was aware of some sort of underlying pressure to have that friendship evolve rather than remain stagnant in our primary, secondary and college years. We all go through personal changes no matter now marginal, but that can be enough to change the dynamic of a friendship and for a friendship to take those changes and then develop rather than buckle under the difference is remarkable.

Just remember how stupidly and wonderfully unlikely the friends you have made have come to be. Because of the unlikeliness of the events, actions and existence of our parents are the same for their parents, a string of thoughts, feelings and situations have put you and your friends together when a single change in your family history of events could result in an entirely different set of friends.
Your friends are also an incubator of your personality. Think about it: I have said before in another casual musing how to different people we unconsciously act in a different way and talk about different things and because of that, what you talk about and the version of yourself with your friends is determined by your friends, different set of friends mean your friendship version is different. I had/have different groups of friends, sometimes I am the listener and more quiet, sometimes I am more loud and the speaker of the group. All of those friendship are significant in their own way to create a version of yourself you are most happy with and therefore unknowingly are the decider of who are your friends for life.

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Virginia Woolf has also made comments in her work A Room of One’s Own that female friendships are almost nonexistent in conjunction to male friendships. This is only where every few times can female friendships existence without the presence of men.

Recommended: Friend Like Me

(I think this is a really good short film and I think you might like it to but consider the following…)

How many times have you heard about or seen a film or read a book dedicated to a ‘bromance’ where the male friendship is the focus of the film and don’ always talk about women? How many times have you seen a film or read a book that did the same for female friendships? How many times have you seen/heard/know about a female friendship where a conversation about guys doesn’t appear?

I’m not going to say that is nonexistent but the amount of times I have seen a film, like the film attached to my generation Mean Girls, very often there is a desire to have a connection with a male and even with Cady’s friendship between a male and a female, there is still a mention of her ‘crush’ involving their goals of High School domination.

As I’ve said, I’m not saying a female friendship existing without the presence of men isn’t impossible, but a film or book that is purely about a friendship between two females and nothing else is absent to my personal knowledge. But that might be based on what I have seen, read and heard. Friendships are slightly undermined and so are female friendships sometimes where the absence of conversation dominated by topics involving men can show how meaningful a friendship can be as a friendship stand-alone to romantic or sexual relationships.

I say this knowing this sounds hetero-normative and not the same for all cases of friendship, there can be a plethora of people in a friendship, whatever gender or sexuality. I want to state this clearly because I am using Woolf’s ideas of female friendship as an example to elaborate my point THAT FRIENDSHIP IS JUST AS IMPORTANT AS ROMANTIC/SEXUAL RELATIONSHIPS AND SHOULDN’T BE UNDERMINED IN THE ADULT WORLD.

Although this is an announcement video created by Fran Meneses, an Illustrator that I have mentioned before in a blog post about Graphic Novels and Illustrators, she makes some very interesting points I tried making a blog post about (clearly otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this) in terms of friendship and how adults (should) approach it. I am also looking forward to her project and can’t wait to read it at some point because this really does interest me. Enjoy,

New book AND travel journal coming up, podcast and PO BOX ~ Frannerd

Also, whilst you are buzzing on the friendship and want to either give your friend a cuddle or a fist bump or that weird-hold-hands-and-slap-and-or-pat-each-other-on-the-back-thing, what is friendship? This varies to different people and the main reason that I think it is important because is a voluntary way of keeping who you know and care about in check without other motives i.e. romantic or sexual (which can be difficult to establish or defer in a friends with benefits relationship as that has its own complications, I mean, there are two films released in the same year about it; Friends with Benefits and No Strings Attached).

We decided who are friends are and we also decide and develop not only the closeness or those friendship through events and actions that happen through one another’s lives, but also an unspoken set of boundaries that each person is comfortable with. Whatever type of friendship and however close (acquiescence, friend, close friend, best friend, biffles, other things etc etc that blur the boundary between being friends and being a couple or set of people essentially married to each other), that friendship has enough meaning and trust for those boundaries to not be explicitly expressed unless desired.

Those friends are a part of you in a way that if you are comfortable with them, you are comfortable with yourself because they also chose to be friends with you, remember that. This is because even for me, I find it odd when I check myself and realise the unlikeliness of my friendships and how they willingly choose to be my friend, have me as their friend and actually want to be in my company or want me to be in theirs.

Friendship
noun

1. the state of being afriend; association as friends:

to value a person’s friendship.
2. a friendly relation or intimacy.
3. friendly feeling or disposition.
Dictionary.com
Friendship should have an unspecified amount of intimacy, no matter what gender, should be personal and most definitely have value, no matter how fleeting or everlasting it is. It can help you try and walk in someone else’s shoes, see a different side or set of values, understand the lives of others and develop your personal intellect from another person or set of people.
All friendships matter in helping the creation of you.
Thank you for reading.
Other Image: Quotefancy

Feature URL: http://www.wallpaperswala.com/wp-content/gallery/best-friends/best-friends-pics.jpg

Hello, Again

Hello Readers,

June 24th 2015, I saw a friend of mine post a blog post and I thought, ‘Hey, they’re a thing, I forgot about that’. Low and behold! Welcome to Blurred Limes.

If you have seen this blog before in 2015 it was called ‘by Hannah Rose Govan’, but I wanted my blog to be more than my name now.

In college, I wrote a series of articles in our college magazine, Forward, called ‘Blurred Lines’ where I talked about (in chronological order) pornography, differences between sex scenes in books and film adaptations, and our moral compass when watching films. Already, I knew what I was was interested in talking about, but NOT A JOURNALIST.

When thinking of re-naming my blog which I did over my Easter break, I first called it B|E|T|W|E|E|N T|H|E L|I|N|E|S (visual puns, I like puns, if you can accept that then you can tolerate my blog posts), but when I typed it into Goggle to see it it changed the name URL (It didn’t which I’m quite happy about) but there was another blog called ‘Between the Lines’ and I didn’t want to take that name from them. I typed in ‘pop culture puns’ and found this image:

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And it became a halo-hallelujah-angles-singing-in chorus flying from the heavens with a spotlight over my laptop moment. Chariots of Fire was fully embodied when I typed the new name of this blog.

Currently studying English with Publishing. I love it, I don’t really need to add into that. 

Trying to fulfill a six-year olds dream as an aspiring fiction writer, what else is new.

I quite like Tuesdays, one reason being Tuesday 5th May 2016, I returned from the metaphorical grave of my unintentional hiatus. Almost like death itself, well-

I like talking about things that matter to me. This blog is me. Not the ‘dear diary’ me, I already have a shelve of half-filled journals (I have a problem with stationary, the problem is I like it too much), but the ‘Have you ever thought why blank is blank, maybe it is because of blank’ me. I also write creative writing (who would’ve thought) when the creative smoothies are a flowin’. Art, the media, literature, culture, film, popular culture, the things I am also likely to write about. Not likely, I do writer about that, ignore the ‘likely’.

If you want to know more about the inspiration of this blog in a more off-tangent way, my blog post on Robert Frost is the place to clicky click on, it is one of my favorites I wrote.

Expect an image-overdose, overuse of parenthesis, rants, not proof reading my work properly and enjoy.

Thank you for reading.

Feature Image URL: http://www.15five.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/culture.jpg

Image URL: https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.fstoppers.com/styles/full/s3/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Fstoppers_Talking-Food_Gary-Martin.jpg

The Road Not Taken By Design: Revisiting Robert Frost

This blog post has been brought to you by things.

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This is a thing. A very beautiful thing. Now we are in the right sort of mood, let’s talk about poetry!

The Suite Life of Zack and Cody

OK, I know I said we’ll “talk about poetry” (Govan, 2016) and this is a kid’s TV show, but I have a point. I am pencil, this bit is the sharpener, let’s sharpen the point (what is this metaphor?). 2007, there was an episode where Zack had to go to Summer School and was called ‘Summer of our Discontent’ (No, I didn’t remember that far back, the internet is a wonderful thing!) named after the quote from Richard The Third, ‘Winter of out discontent’. (Also, not-that-fun fact: from 1987-79 in the UK there was a period known as the ‘Winter of Discontent’ because of multiple strikes from miners and other trade unions, putting a lot of things on hold such as piles of black bin bags outside people’s houses not getting collected because the dustbin people were on strike. A-Level Late Modern History being put to use. Where is my point? I think I broke it.)

Anyway, in this episode *SPOILERS* Zack turns out to be quite smart in terms of literature during his first days at Summer School. When he is getting bullied for it he tries to fit in by being ‘dumb’, but after a reading of the line by the teacher-embodiment-of-regret:

Two roads diverge in a yellow wood, I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference’ (I don’t think the ‘an I-‘ bit was included for some reason).

She then asked the class what was Robert Frost trying to say. Then from inspiration and being pestered by the teacher to possibly know the answers, he says he could be talking about how sometimes there is one way to go which everyone takes and you feel like you should do, but you decide to take the other direction because it’s okay not to follow what everybody else is doing. This was a metaphorical life-lesson for what he was going through with being the bullied rather than the bully about being smart.

This was an enlightening moment for me, because it reinforced for me when I was (oh god, math time) about 11 that I was happy and fine thinking and taking different routes to other people because it suited me better and I didn’t have to try and fit into what was considered ‘the norm’ for pre-teens to think and do. I wanted to be a writer. I was a bit off-the-grain, I didn’t really get trends just because I didn’t like them and not the trying-to-be-anti-mainstream sort of way. I was content being myself even if I took the road not taken, because for me, that made the difference as to who I was. It became my mantra and I carried that mantra through my life, I’m not kidding.

Oh, how? Well, have you seen at the very top of this page what it says under the name of this blog? If you read something I wrote last summer you would have seen that and not think I was just putting it in therefor this post for effect to be like a mind blown moment, but it really has become something I live by. Not to the extent I would want a tattoo of it. But it is still prominent in me thinking I am this person, I am not these group of people who think a certain way or have certain attitudes towards writing like ‘how about journalism/teaching?’ and that’s okay. Because what YOU decided to do makes the difference for what YOU do and who YOU are. CAPS LOCK FOR EMPHASIS.

So that is why The Suite Life of Zack of Cody has sharpened my point, because if a kids comedy show can affect one person that way, then something is done right and is why their so popular. As well as being very funny. Oh, the nostalgia.

So, what’s special about Frost?

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How he describes the feeling poetry gives. Need I say more? I mean, what a way to explain the power poetry can give.

People (including me) consider him as one of the greatest American poets. One reason could be because he writes so vividly about nature they aren’t about nature, they become something else entirely and have a grounded sense of meaning in them as readers we try and de-tangle.

If you haven’t read at least one poem of his then I think you should at least read one in your lifetime. You don’t have to analyse it, or figure out its meaning. Just read one.

Frost? How vintage.

Puns! Get your puns here!

The summer before I went to University, I bought the Vintage Classics edition of all of Frost’s poems in one volume. I’m so saying stop what you’re doing and buy a copy. No, that involves exchanging it for money if you can’t trade or borrow it, even for me I was having £6-something worth of separation anxiety. Call me weird, but by my bed, I have on shelf dedicated to Chris Riddell and one shelf dedicated books I might read in bed. One of them is the collection of poems.

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OK, call me lazy if anything. But you know what?

I could be brown, I could be blue, I could be violet sky

Colour plays a prominent role often in Frost’s work and often, that imagery of crisp colours becomes so visual we are distracted for small moments of the weighted meanings that be read from the poems. Repetition of colours such as ‘white’ are so ingrained in some poems to certain items or things that conceptually are strange and yet fascinating to imagine in our head, we are encouraged to think ‘now, what could that mean?’ Yes, he might be using colour for the sake of colour because why the heck not. But, the text of an author arguably belongs to the public once it is available to them so I am going to read it the way it reads to me because interpretation has become an open privilege.

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Isn’t it cool? the idea that ‘nature’s first green is gold’. Green is grown from the power of photosynthesis with help of sunlight, associated with gold. Gold fields. Sunrise to sunset, green is illuminated with almost a blanket of gold. Green is nature’s gold because of how rich we can feel when we are with the vast amounts of nature available to us. But sadly yes, ‘nothing gold can stay’, heavy with ideas of globalisation and the current state of the environment. See what I mean with how heavy Frost’s poetry can be about the world? AND HE’S TALKING ABOUT WHAT WE SEE SUPERFICIALLY in such beauty that the last words are powerful enough to take your breath away to the fact he distracted you with such beautiful imagery. We are brought to a certain amount of truth and reality at the end. I mean, wow.

In his life, he has had to experience a lot of family tragedies with him outliving a lot of his family members included some of his children. How ‘nothing gold can stay’ and the nature of family (love) as a precious, golden thing, can be another layers to the infinite layers of meaning in a text. Although authorial intention is not necessary to know when reading their work, it can always be interesting to explore. Because we don’t know for fact (in its truest form) that his tragic family history and personal life could have affected the way he wrote and approached work, unless it is explicit in the text that is the intention, we don’t have to read into that if we read something else. As readers we have that power.

But, what is meaning? 

17th April 2016, Monday afternoon in a Lecture on Post-Structuralism.

Run-down in the best way possible:

Structuralism: Meaning is given based on the structures of language such as Semiotics which I learnt about similarly in A-Level Media Studies. The key components of Structuralism were by Linguist, Ferdinand de Saussure and the essay compiled out of lecture notes made form his students, Course in General Linguistics.

Post-Structuralism: Criticisms on elements of how Saussure viewed signs based on this essay and Post-Structuralists like Jacques Derrida examined signs and meaning in a philosophical manner such as the definition of meaning, what is given meaning and our consciousness of meaning which creates interesting arguments about our identity as well. Get your knee-highs because that’s deep shoes.

Correct me if I’m wrong, both theories are difficult to get your head around. Especially when you are not only question the existence of meaning in language, but what is meaningful to us.For me, there were brain spatters everywhere. I wouldn’t recommend that happening to you, imagine how frightened and angry the person who would have had to clean that up would be. But not before a quick snap and insta on what has been witnessed by many students with many phones.

Our lecturer gave us two poems. One of them was Design:

dew_on_spider_web_luc_viatour

Design

I found a dimpled spider, fat and white,
On a white heal-all, holding up a moth
Like a white piece of rigid satin cloth —
Assorted characters of death and blight
Mixed ready to begin the morning right,
Like the ingredients of a witches’ broth —
A snow-drop spider, a flower like a froth,
And dead wings carried like a paper kite.

What had that flower to do with being white,
The wayside blue and innocent heal-all?
What brought the kindred spider to that height,
Then steered the white moth thither in the night?
What but design of darkness to appall?–
If design govern in a thing so small.

Why is the spider dimpled?
Why is it white? Why is a heal-all white when their a blue flower?
It is a morning or is it morning?
Why is something comforting like a broth juxtaposed with witches?
Why is it night?
Why are the wings dead?
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

Welcome to Post-Structuralism.

The second poem was a full circle moment and I almost gasped at this reunion. It was The Road Not Taken:

818887-003

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

My introduction to this poem encouraged and drove my pursuit of my writing and what I wanted to do. Being at University 9 years later older and probably wiser, I was simply reminded why I was at University and why I was studying English with Publishing. I was reminded what that all meant to me. I was reminded, when I stared at this poem and next to it drew a red heart (handwritten double-tap) in a lecture room, what it meant to me.

This is the root of the meaning of my blog (pun very much intended); the root of the meaning of me. This poem certainly has meaning.

I will leave you on a final note…quote (rhymes):

Quotefancy-24654-3840x2160

Thank you for reading.

 

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Image 1: https://louisey.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/leaf.jpg

Image 2: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/2b/Dew_on_spider_web_Luc_Viatour.jpg

Image 3: https://environmentalbrigade.files.wordpress.com/2015/06/o-tree-rings-facebook.jpg

Quote URL: https://quotefancy.com/quote/32248/Robert-Frost-A-poem-begins-with-a-lump-in-the-throat-a-homesickness-or-a-love-sickness-It

Quote URL: https://quotefancy.com/quote/23/Robert-Frost-In-three-words-I-can-sum-up-everything-I-ve-learned-about-life-it-goes-on

Book cover URL: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/fa/22/bc/fa22bc0ef0aa556a0f6d2cca3669d799.jpg

Me, Myself and I: Casual Musing | It’s Good to Be Alone

Introvert, Extrovert, Ambivert, Amphibian, let’s just ignore that for a musing or two. At some point, we will all have just the company of ourselves, even if people are around you, you can be alone with your thoughts and only have a connection/interaction with yourself.

adjective, (used predicatively)
1. separate, apart, or isolated from others
2. to the exclusion of all others or all else
3. unique; unequaled; unexcelled

adverb
4. solitarily; solely
5. only; exclusively.
6. without aid or help

Dictionary.com

You can be alone, that doesn’t mean you’re lonely. Now, we got that out of the way.

When you are working, your thoughts are with yourself. When you are typing they are your words you pre-think or unconsciously type by yourself. When you are reading the narration is a voice only in your head. When you listen to a song with earphones the voices are only talking to you in your head. A song might be in your head. You are reading this now you yourself. We do things all the time on our own without the assistance of outside company, and that’s okay, and so is not being alone.

What is great about yourself is that they will listen, they know the right responses, they keep the conversation going and they laugh at all your jokes, even if they shake their head after the shame of a bad pun.

Have you ever noticed the way to speak to people is different depending on who they are? Have you noticed the things you talk about are different depending on who they are? Depending on who they are, have you noticed they have an agenda of discussion just as much as you do? Have you ever noticed when you on your own you don’t have to comprehend or worry about that?

It is your agenda, you think the way you naturally (want to) speak and you think about what you want to talk to someone about, but this time that someone is you. Everybody based on all those factors and more have a certain perception and list of thoughts about you as a person that is specific to them in their perception unless stated otherwise. You are a different person to different people. It is an unconscious performance of a characteristic or extract of yourself.

When you are on your own, there is not need for that ‘performance’ because you (on some level) know who you are. You are truly yourself and all of what people have seen or known or thought about you on your own, there is no different person of yourself in your own head to what you already know and are. Sometimes that can be hindering if you happen to be someone whose thoughts, and feelings change the way you see yourself because the version people have come to known might have changed to what you think of yourself now depending on what your thoughts say who you are on your own. This could possibly, although I have no experience with this so correct me if I am mistaken, be the case if your mental health is not at its best or if you might have a mental illness. Being on your own can be in that sense both a gift and a curse. To have thoughts think the opposite of who you actually are and then in result change the perception of who you are.

Interesting then when looking for the opposite, what is not ‘alone’, there was only one result:

Antonyms for alone
together

Thesaurus.com

There is the absence of togetherness in the sense of being on your own, but your own company can make you feel as if you are together with your thoughts, your ideas, your conversations in your head, yourself.

We can be together with ourselves, and that is great about being alone because of we aware enough to know that we can not be truly alone if thought is present. It is the absence of thought and communication is when loneliness truly exists.

Thank you for reading.

 

Feature Image URL: https://spirit-empowerment.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/27408-at-the-edge-of-a-cliff-1680×1050-digital-art-wallpaper.jpg

I Blame Mum: Freud, his Ideas and Textual Application

UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUURRRRRRRRGGGGHH Freud. The basic response that can often be mumbled out of pain and shows how much ‘Freud’ has become a household name or even word.

WARNING: Multiple video links to this post so if you want to view them without leaving this post, right-click for the drop-down menu or Ctrl-click the link to open into a new tab. If you’re on Chrome then the videos won’t start if you have multiple tabs until you go onto said tab. If you’re on Internet Explorer, I can’t help you with that. Just suffer by pausing each video on every tab or get some sense and download Chrome.

DISCLAIMER: Sex(y) things stated so not for those who just learned about the birds and the bees unless they are a risk-taker and live life on the edge by reading Freudian Theory(!) This is a personal response to Freudian theory. This is in no way informative academically about Sigmund Freud and psychoanalysis. I study English. For something worth your time and a bibliography… I don’t know, Google Scholar-it or something.

NOTE: You’re probably are tired of all these things unrelated to the actual content/point of the blog, I’ll stop now. I promise.

Throughout a small portion of my life, I have been spoon-fed on occasions a bit of knowledge, or very often, anti-knowledge about Sigmund Freud and psychology. It mainly consisted of in casual conversations ‘basically sex [with your mum]’. However, this wasn’t really telling me how Freud has actually contributed to psychology and how his ‘interpretation of Dreams’ changed the way people thought about, well, people.

My mum did her best trying to explain to a 13-year-old about certain ideas that I might not have totally understood and her understanding of psychology was attached to her profession as an Occupational Therapist, so the application of Freud and Psychoanalysis wasn’t as in depth in comparison to someone who had spent their entire academic life learning psychology. Also, both mum and I shared more of an interested in Lucian Freud so someone just saying ‘Freud’ often confused me. which, if you know or even looked at his art, is border-line Freud with the nudes anyway, but then again nudes in art aren’t new. In that sort of sense with my confusion, I can blame mum, I’m not going to, but I can. (Getting on tangent and back to the point) I also asked my Dad but his views of Freud were again very much the ‘you want sex with your mother’ type. I only truly understood the significance of Freud and his impact by accident, as many things are (like Kellogg’s cornflakes, or creme brulee).

Story time: In my first module of my English course, we have Peer Assisted learners (PALS) which helped with certain things we might need help with for our course. In this one, it was about note-taking and remembering important and key information. Because the module was about Homer’s The Odyssey, they showed us a video about it. This was the day I not only found out who John Green finally was, but also about the YouTube channel Crash Course. After that session, I found the channel and immediately began a nerdy Netflix adjacent binge session on Crash Course Literature videos (Dear Crash Course, more literature videos please. Sincerely, Lots of people).

Within this playlist they were certain videos that touched on what I knew on a very pre-mature and casual level which were psychoanalytic readings:

Fate, Family, and Oedipus Rex: Crash Course Literature 202

This was where Sigmund Freud cited his ideas about the infamous Oedipus complex. In fact, a lot of his influences were derived from Literature and this is the most (in)famous example of application of a text to extract out a theory. This video was useful to know as I was actually able to learn the root to this controversial analysis of the human unconscious and ‘sex with your mother’. I also learned about the parallel which was a hatred towards the father. These two things led onto Penis Envy in ‘The Interpretation of Dreams’. In this video, John Green made an interesting argument about why Oedipus does not have an Oedipus complex involving awareness. I can’t tell you EVERYTHING as much as I want to, the video is your best bet (don’t gamble, kids. I’m not encouraging it) for understanding this in a concise, nonFreud-y waffly way.

Ophelia, Gertrude, and Regicide – Hamlet II: Crash Course Literature 204

This is the second part of a two-part video about Hamlet, a text I was reading for another module about 17th-century literature…basically Shakespeare. This video looked at the psychoanalytic reading of Hamlet. Interestingly, Freud (as far as we know) was the first to use this argument for a text that was already so well known and iconic in literature and Shakespearean drama. People were still asking ‘why was Hamlet so indecisive and taking so long to kill Claudius?’ (which personally, my reading of it is about morality and the politics of treason) and he made, at the time, a groundbreaking response that he was so indecisive because Claudius had fulfilled what Hamlet unconsciously wanted to do which was to kill his father in order to fulfill his repressed desires towards his mother, Gertrude. “Hang on? Wait what? Huh? What do you mean!!!?” I imagine them saying, probably. 

This reading we have of Hamlet’s relationship with Gertrude was brand baby-going-through-the-oral-personality-development-stage (Freudian thingy, makes sense later on in a video later in this post) spanking new to the literary study and is a reading we take granted for as overused and still controversial. John Green made an argument dismissing and challenging this reading in this video which I personally agree to because it wasn’t my first reading of the play. But again, watch to find out about it. Learn something today, why not (she says in hopefully a non-patronising tone)? what is interesting about Freud reading what that is completely changed the way people viewed the text. We must remember there is no fixed meaning or reading in a text, just the ones we find as readers and there will always be overlap and layering of meanings in a text. Otherwise, one reading written on-purposely into the text is, well, boring and a wee bit bland in a discussion.

After I had watched all the videos on the playlist, well, I kept re-watching them and actually bought Slaughterhouse 5 because of the two part videos about the book, it made me that interested. I felt this void most people might experience after binge-watching all the seasons of Pretty Little Liars on Netflix and have to wait for new content for a few months. So I decided to watch more playlists from this channel. I started watching Crash Course Psychology. My mum studied psychology, my dad studied psychology, my mum’s friends studied psychology, two of my best friends studied psychology at A-Level and one is studying psychology at University, I went to a wedding where both the bride, groom and even their guests studied psychology. Basically, somehow, psychology is the 23 enigma of my life. Watching this playlist was just unavoidable based on experience and I was genuinely interested in learning some psychology, I just love learning (*voice whispers* nerd).

There are two videos that mainly discuss Freud and his work:

Getting Help – Psychotherapy: Crash Course Psychology #35

[Speaking about Freud begins 1.13 mins into the video after the subtitle sequence]

With this video, I learned not necessary his ideas about what the unconscious might, but how the unconscious can be a source of therapy. Freud was the big daddy-o of psychoanalysis and talking through experiences to reveal the root of a problem, like how the unconscious might actually reveal some unknown reasons to problems a person might be having that they needed therapy for. I didn’t know until watching his video his contribution to therapy and how ‘armchair psychology’ and in-jokes with my parents, ‘and how did that make you feel?’ have become so commonplace in our lives and onscreen (film, television etc.). He is, technically, a household name and I didn’t know it.

Rorschach & Freudians: Crash Course Psychology #21

[Speaking about Freud begins 2.47 mins into the video after introducing the ideas of personality and characteristics]

This video introduced the ideas of the unconscious, repression, regression, interpreting dreams to reveal unconscious truths, the ID, Ego and Superego and other things that can construct our personality which is again, controversial. This video showed me how Freud is not just about the Oedipus complex, castration and penis envy (although if there was a place to start with Freud…), all things basically about genitals and sex. Freud was also about revealing the construction and development of our personality based on unknown or repressed sexual…things (I don’t know how else to describe it). This is difficult to accept fully (personally) if we then argue a baby sucking on a dummy is the unknown desire for oral sex but what then makes Freud interesting is how he was able to split opinions so greatly that there still divided opinions about his thoughts on the unconscious.

Isn’t the unconscious scary? I don’t mean it will make you jump out of your skin (well…), but the thought that there is portion of our brain that can’t be analysed truly under a microscope and even ourselves don’t have access to because we are unaware of the things we might be repressing. One of the most terrifying things is the unknown: what we don’t know. That can be said about a lot of things but in this case, it is about how something might be a cause of something because of something in our unconscious that we don’t have direct access to that can only be accessed through psychoanalytic therapy and the interpretation of our dreams. Even that is scary because we feel we might rely on answers not only from our past but from a stream on unconscious, (supposed) unrelated thoughts that we might forget after waking up. The things that might unlock our unconscious and the answers we might want are repressed through the act of just forgetting. And we don’t even know it. That’s terrifying; a bold statement (haha, puns galore), but terrifying.

The ‘Interpretation of Dreams’ became useful to me in my most recent module about Critical Theory, where we study, analyse and apply theories such as ‘The Intentional Fallacy’, ‘The Death of the Author’, Structuralism, Marxism and most recently, Psychoanalysis, hence the whole point of this blog post. We learned about (even thought I already have a brisk understanding of these beforehand from these videos) the Oedipus complex, castration and penis envy (interesting feminist argument to be made here but that can be for another time). We also learned about Displacement; how a symbol or item or whatever in a dream can have a large significance in unlocking the unconscious and the meaning of that dream, but is displaced by being a very small component of that dream. If you have the time I do recommend reading ‘The Interpretation of Dreams’ for…the interpretations of dreams, and not just for the repetitive things you have already heard about Freud i.e . sexy-time with mums.

During a break from one of the seminars we had specifically about Freudian theory and the application of it on two short stories, I asked if I could play devil’s advocate: ‘I am NOT pro-incest, but what was the root of this social idea that incest is wrong?’ We discussed the gene pool and having a diverse range of genes in a family rather than a limited, in-bred amount that can risk mutations. However, it is interesting to think about in terms of the unconscious, as in the things we don’t think about rather than Freud’s unconscious, and how in society and the majority of thought, incest is wrong. But, there is nothing stopping us from having a crush on our cousin (moment to cringe and shiver) or second cousin or third cousin twice removed, there is nothing really stopping us from having desires to be fulfilled with them except this unspoken rule we don’t really think about. We don’t think about incest and when we do it is with often an aura of creepy and discomfort. It is not commonplace in our everyday thoughts: we might fancy someone and we happen to fancy that particular person because they are not part of a branch in your family tree no matter how far away that branch is from you gene-wise.

We immediately have this unknown shield that family members are the turn-off because it is, inherently in society based on historical and cultural agreement, just wrong. So the image of a mother making out with her son (in Freudian terms no longer castrated by law and his father) that is on trial just oozes icky and we can’t help but look away because it is also wrong to look in case we might show some sort of interest in what we are watching. Even if it is just because we are passively watching the program, with that scene I immediately felt I was invading some sort of space I didn’t want to be in and observe in case people might think by a lack of response to this meant that I wasn’t not pro-incest. Always the mother.

Speaking of mothers and castration:

I’m not done just yet because my most  recent discovery from my Easter holiday break was a new video by the channel (amazing video essays) Wisecrack. This video is probably the dessert (apart from naturally being at the end due to chronology’s sake) of this entire menu of Freud because it’s application was unexpected yet interesting.

The Philosophy of Dark Souls – Wisecrack Edition

Believe it or not but even though I don’t play video games, I want to. Don’t ask. Anyway, I knew this game existed because one of my flatmates told me about it and he, in depth, was trying to break down the premise of Dark Souls and it’s narrative. He did the best he could from, what I’ve heard, it’s confusing elements and frustrating gameplay of practically dying the whole time (they didn’t make the game to be easy, I imagine!).

If you watched this video, you could say ‘YOU DIED’ from the content of this video and how you feel about it, positively or negatively. Get it? No?No? Too soon? Moving on then…

It took certain things we might imagine Freud analysing this game for but making it seem probable for being it’s underlining meaning since the video argues the complicated and confusing narrative in Dark Souls is a distraction. But you need to watch the video to find out more. This video has become quite controversial in terms of its content, subject matter and let’s face it, Freud. As one person eloquently commented:

what i got from this video – Freud has issues.

dune3001

“Well, it is fascinating to learn about his issues,” I cite my friend, LostInThyLabrynth (casual plug for my Pretty Little Liars addict). And she is not wrong, he is quite fascinating with his ‘issues’ but something people might need to remember is when it comes to applying his interpretation of dreams, it is a theory in the sense of a critical theory and just one of many reads you can apply. The ‘philosophy’ of Dark Souls expressed in this video is give and take: you don’t have to accept that through visual design there is meaning and in particular, Freudian meaning but it does make you look at the whole point of the game in terms of life, death, identity and desire (this also means want) in a different way.

Because the video has got quite a lot of dislikes (3,793, viewed 13/04/16), not enough to override the likes (10,838 with 236,713 views since 05/04/16, viewed 13/04/16) but enough to show how people still have a split opinion about Freud and how people might be a bit distressed about a few things. Urgh enough with the Freud goddamit, I imagine some people thinking, again. The channel had to later comment:

Hey everyone, thanks for the feedback. OK, this video clearly is not us at our best.

We rushed to get this out before the U.S. release of Dark Souls III — and in doing that, we messed up. This doesn’t meet the standard we’ve set for ourselves and that you’ve come to expect of us.

It means a lot that so many of you have provided smart, insightful responses and input. We may try this one again. Thanks for the support , y’all.

Wisecrack

Even though this didn’t directly comment on the points they made using Freudian theory, it is clear that based on some comments, it gave the impression that they’re rushing of the video to be in time with the release of Dark Souls III. This meant that the quality of content was slightly compromised and some points might have not totally been thought through such as mistakenly saying that ovaries lead from the vagina to the womb as stated by ‘QuikVidGuy’ (makes sense if you watch the video, I hope you have, I did put it right above this for your viewing pleasure). Although someone did comment a funny response to that which can summarise the way you might accept, reject or negotiate the thoughts expressed in this video:

Not with that attitude.

Fendran

Based on that I can agree; you can take (with a pinch of salt if you like that sort of seasoning) the video or leave it. It’s up to you how you decide to respond to this video. Sigmund Freud’s interpretations of our desires and the unconscious are interesting at times, can be frustrating, can be repetitive and can be very take-it or leave-it and that’s good because don’t have to accept it as the cold hard truth like when you die a frustrating amount of times in this game.

But it is important to say that Freudian application is repetitive, because doesn’t that say how much of an influence Freud has made in terms of the way people think and how people like the Wisecrack team respond to certain (media) texts?

If you think I wasted your time with all the Freud stuff and then adding Dark Souls into a controversial mix, I’m sorry. I don’t know how to help with that, blame my mum or something.

So, how did this post make you feel?

A moment of silence and appreciation for how long it took for me to get the first sentence, or rather two words, fit onto a full, single line. A while, it took a while. It took strategy, oddly enough.

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