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Monday, 3 February 2014

Mood, thoughts, emotions

I no longer feel a thing about Tết.

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Reread a couple of posts on my former blog "Monochrome window". An insufferable stench.

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Winter in Scandinavia this year is surprisingly warm. After a little snow at the beginning of December or the end of November, everything was fine, with temperature never dropping below 0, for a long while until January, whilst I was in Stockholm. And till now it hasn't been particularly cold, most of the time the temperature is above -10. 

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My "American literature in the 50s and 60s" course is absolutely boring, tedious and lifeless. Or maybe it's me. But I feel nothing, absolutely nothing, when reading the poems by Allen Ginsberg, by Robert Creeley, by Charles Olson. And what follows is the realisation that I'm not good at literature at school as people seem to think, most of the time my favourite novels are discovered outside school, from American, British literature to Russian, German, French literature. 
And why not include Sylvia Plath?

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Depression comes back, creeps in and clouds all of my thoughts.

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In the same week I said goodbye to 2 friends. It was a couple of weeks ago. 1 returned to Australia, the other went to England as an exchange student for 1 semester.

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Develop a theory after reading "Invisible man": whilst all literature is political and one can't separate one's political view from writing, a person can be either a writer or a politician, not both. Writers and politicians have different mindsets. 

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One may sometimes like an artist (writer, director, actor...) and at the same time dislike his or her fans.

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The man has no pleasure in reading, watching films, listening to music, going to the theatre, eating, travelling, shopping, dancing, going to parties, exploring, doing something adventurous... No enjoyment. No joie de vivre. All he cares about is earning money. What will he do when he has earned money, one asks. Earn more money. And for what?

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One must wonder if this is fate, or merely a coincidental combination of several bad factors: Karenin, Mrs Norris and Ebenezer Scrooge put together. 

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My cell phone is silently yelling at me for not getting a new one for replacement. But it is difficult, not because of the price, which shouldn't be very high, nor because I have used this Sony Ericsson for years, for I have no such sentimentality, but because to buy a new one now I must waver between a stupidphone or a smartphone. A smartphone can be convenient, especially when I need directions, but there's always the lurking fear that I may like it too much and get immersed in that world, having no time for anything else.

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Waiting in uncertainty, even though it means there's hope, is torturous. 

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The prescriptivists who point out and criticise people who use what they call Việt cộng language apparently have the illusion that language is constant. All languages change, not only Vietnamese but also English and all others. Sometimes there's a shift in meaning, sometimes in word class. I suppose they also have the illusion that people can live in a society and speak a so-called correct, standard language without being influenced 1 bit by the language spoken around them.

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Vladimir Nabokov's "Lectures on literature" ends with a "L'envoi". 
My favourite part:
"... The novels we have imbibed will not teach you anything that you can apply to any obvious problems of life. They will not help in the business office or in the army camp or in the kitchen or in the nursery. In fact, the knowledge I have been trying to share with you is pure luxury. It will not help you understand the social economy of France or the secrets of a woman’s heart or of a young man’s heart. But it may help you, if you have followed my instructions, to feel the pure satisfaction which an inspired and precise work of art gives; and this sense of satisfaction in its turn goes to build up a sense of more genuine mental comfort, the kind of comfort one feels when one realizes that for all its blunders and boners the inner texture of life is also a matter of inspiration and precision.
In this course I have tried to reveal the mechanism of those wonderful toys- literary masterpieces. I have tried to make of you good readers who read books not for the infantile purpose of identifying oneself with the characters, and not for the adolescent purpose of learning to live, and not for the academic purpose of indulging in generalizations. I have tried to teach you to read books for the sake of their form, their visions, their art. I have tried to teach you to feel a shiver of artistic satisfaction, to share not the emotions of the people in the book but the emotions of its author- the joys and difficulties of creation. We did not talk around books, about books; we went to the center of this or that masterpiece, to the live heart of the matter. 
[...] The main thing is to experience that tingle in any department of thought or emotion. We are liable to miss the best of life if we do not know how to tingle, if we do not learn to hoist ourselves just a little higher than we generally are in order to sample the rarest and ripest fruit of art which human thought has to offer."

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