Mood.

Sometimes I feel like a caretaker of a museum; a huge, empty museum where no one ever comes and I am watching over it for no one but myself.- Haruki Murakami

I cannot rid myself of the feeling that I am not in the right place-Franz Kafka

I always wonder why birds choose to stay in the same place when they can fly anywhere on the earth. Then I ask myself the same question- Harun Yahya

I need days when I can be alone, to think, to daydream-Margarita Karapanou

I swear to you that to think too much is a disease, a real actual disease- Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

I don’t know who I am, where I am going- and I am the one who has to decide the answers to these hideous questions.-Sylvia Plath

The other day, lying in bed, felt my heart beating for the first time in a long while. I realized how little I live in my body, how much in my mind. –Rodger Kamenetz

I desire very little, but the things I do consume me.-Beau Taplin

I want so much that is not here and do not know where to go- Charles Bukowski

What you seek is seeking you-Rumi

Waiting for something to happen.

Deep down, all the while, she was waiting for something to happen. Like a sailor in distress, she kept casting desperate glances over the solitary waster of her life, seeking some white sail in the distant mists of the horizon. She had no idea by what wind it would reach her, toward what shore it would bear her, or what kind of craft it would be – tiny boat or towering vessel, laden with heartbreaks or filled to the gunwhales with rapture. But every morning when she awoke she hoped that today would be the day; she listened for every sound, gave sudden starts, was surprised when nothing happened; and then, sadder with each succeeding sunset, she longed for tomorrow.”

-Excerpt from the book Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert.

A spy in the house of love.

Two weeks into 2021, and after just one week back at work, I am tired and over it all. All the stress and anxiety from 2020 has rolled forward into the new year and it’s just this endless cycle of I cannot be bothered leave me alone what am I doing with my life? Ever so often I remember this tweet, which so perfectly encapsulates my vision for my life.

My dream job is no job” Yes Lord! I am grateful to still have a job and a source of income during these unprecedented times (one year later), but my soul needs more. A mansion by the sea with lots of windows sounds exquisite. I don’t even need a mansion; I will be happy with a two bed apartment with a balcony. My passions are existing- I love being alive and well- and being left alone. I am looking forward to the day when I can just be a woman of leisure.

In less dreary news, I am officially on my third book of the New Year! The first book was The Fishermen, and the second was Anais Nin’s A Spy in the House of Love. Granted, the second book is only about a hundred pages long, but I am still pleased by my progress. I have been familiar with the name Anais Nin, but I only really got into her a couple of years ago when I came across her quotes and felt inspired by them. I decided to check out her writing and I got this book in 2019 as it was supposedly her most popular book. When I first started reading this book, I could not get past the first few pages. I thought what the hell is this and put it aside. But after reading The Fishermen, I was in the mood to read and decided not to buy any new books until I have read (or attempted to read) all the books I already have. Surprisingly, when I picked it up the second time I found it much easier to read.

A Spy in the House of Love is set in New York and follows Sabina, a restless woman a la Madame Bovary. Sabina is a woman who seeks to live life like a man by enjoying sex with multiple partners without the emotional attachment that is expected of women. She is however married to Alan, a man who is presented as her safe space and whom she feels she cannot live without. She lives this double life by pretending to be an actress appearing in plays in other cities when in fact she is just a few blocks away in a hotel. The stress of trying to maintain this other life weighs on her and it is exhausting keeping her lovers secret from Alan, and vice versa. She likens her behaviour to that of a spy, and refers to herself as an international spy in the house of love. Sabina reminds me of Madame Bovary in that they both seem bored, and their attempts to find some stimulation do little to reduce this feeling.

The plot is pretty flat, and for me I think it is just Anais Nin (the writer) using Sabina to convey her real life feelings. Ms. Nin had several concurrent relationships, and at the time of her death she had two husbands. There is no climax, no resolution, just a hundred pages of writing. I did enjoy the writer’s use of words, but sometimes I found the descriptions long and confusing. The timelines were also a bit confusing to me; I could never really figure out if we were in the present or past. It is an okay book, but I will stick to the Anais Nin collection of quotes.

Tomorrow is Monday and I am dreading it. I have to clean my room and cook for the week, but I will more likely try to savour the remaining precious weekend hours by staying in bed, reading a book and finishing up my Netflix shows.

back to life.

“قالوا: تموت بها حبـاًً؟
.قلـت:  ألا آذكروها علـى قبـري لتحيينـي
They asked, “Do you love her to death?”
I said, “Speak of her over my grave and watch how she brings me back to life.”

– Mahmoud Darwish 

Something restful.

“Home is something very peculiar.
There is a yearning in it, you know.
Something special, mystical, hopeful, restful.”

-Toni Morrison (via Beyonce’s Homecoming)

This quote is from Home, a book by Toni Morrison and it was recited by Maya Angelou in Beyonce’s Homecoming documentary. I have written about my constant longing for home so of course this resonated deeply with me and I was instantly hooked. I searched the whole internet for the quote and could not find it. I had to go back to the documentary and copy it down word for word.

The quote encapsulates how I feel in a nutshell; a constant yearning for something restful. A need to fall into a large cosy couch and relax, lay down all my burdens and stresses and just relax.

“There’s a yearning in it, you know” 

illusion that youth is happy

“It is an illusion that youth is happy, an illusion of those who have lost it; but the young know they are wretched for they are full of the truthless ideal which have been instilled into them, and each time they come in contact with the real, they are bruised and wounded. It looks as if they were victims of a conspiracy; for the books they read, ideal by the necessity of selection, and the conversation of their elders, who look back upon the past through a rosy haze of forgetfulness, prepare them for an unreal life. They must discover for themselves that all they have read and all they have been told are lies, lies, lies; and each discovery is another nail driven into the body on the cross of life.”
― W. Somerset Maugham, Of Human Bondage

It’s never too late

“For what it’s worth… it’s never too late, or in my case too early, to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit. Start whenever you want. You can change or stay the same. There are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you’ve never felt before. I hope you meet people who have a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start over again.”

-The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Your children are not your children.

I first became aware of the Lebanese-American writer Khalil Gibran when I came across one of his quotes. I don’t remember the quote, but it was enough to make me want to read more of his work. I eventually settled on The Prophet as it had good reviews and seemed to be one of his more popular works. The book arrived and I was surprised to find that it is not a usual book with a plot and suspense, but rather a collection of poems/fables. I was disappointed and put the book away without another thought. I recently picked it up again and discovered some gems. Once I got over the fact that it was not a novel per se, I was able to enjoy it.

The book is a collection of 26 poems, and follows a prophet, Al Mustafa, as he boards a ship to return to his home after a lengthy sojourn in the city of Orphalese. He is stopped by a group of people, who take turns to ask him to speak on several issues ranging from love and marriage, to work and death.The book is a life manual of sorts; I can see people turning to it when they need inspiration and guidance.

One of my favourite passages is the one about children. I don’t have any children, but I am a child and I recognize his words as truth. It is typical for parents to pass on their identify and beliefs to their children and get upset when said children choose different paths. This stems from the sense of possessiveness that we have over our progeny; they have come from us and therefore should do as we want. Though this feeling is understandable, it is also important to know that children are their own individuals, not simply photocopies of us. This is what Gibran says through the prophet. The passage goes thus:

“And a woman who held a babe against her bossom said, Speak to us about children. And he said:
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.”

 

Wise words from a decent man.