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Lauren Cook
30 April 2007 @ 03:20 am
This truly is a beautiful passage. While it speaks of hope in the cyclic nature of life (not all bad things will last forever, but are a natural part of life), there is also a degree of foreboding in the sense that down-periods are inevitable. The author conceives of time as something contextual, a frame within which certain actions are appropriate. In other words, time is not designated by evenly-spaced arbitrations (seconds, hours, etc), but by a proper use. It comes from an era in which humans did not time their interactions by the hour on the watch, but by long cycles – seasons, months, night and day. Therefore, a broader perception of “time” is appropriate, but no less relevant (timeless) to the present day. Regardless of how one parses time into smaller and smaller increments, and no matter how the pace of modern life increases, time still has its uses.
Lauren Cook
22 April 2007 @ 10:38 pm
It is difficult to reconcile this question; there is no clear answer. Insofar as the artist is the one who creates the work and makes decisions about how to produce it, he is irremovable from it. However, insofar as communication is cumbersome and only a piecemeal way to communicate the entirety of one's thoughts, in all of their implications and subtleties, art is as obscuring as any other form of communication. Before making a painting, one may actually have assumptions about an artist's thoughts that are closer than after the person views the painting; the painting may have an entirely different meaning to the viewer than the painter intended. Jung would argue otherwise, that archetypes in visual art have universal meaning, but beyond those very basic ideas, symbolism is arbitrary. Ultimately, all art is merely “form and color”, as all communication is merely a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
Lauren Cook
15 April 2007 @ 11:30 pm
The experience of which Douglass speaks is one that I myself have been attempting to analyze and, indeed, bring about in other people for their benefit and mine. However, one cannot do this; the experience must be so authentic, so penetrating, that no mere words, no matter their elegance and force, could ever come close to emulating it. This is a frustrating realization to come to.

I guess the closest such of my own experiences to mind at the moment is the one I had in which I realized this very fact, that regardless of the sharpness and accuracy of my words, I could not make people realize truths, but they had to do this on their own. It was very frustrating to lose this false sense of control, but at the same time very liberating. I remained identical in form--high school student, same clothes, same hobbies, etc--but was far more able to conduct conversations accordingly, trying to steer people toward their breakthrough experiences, instead of give them that experience myself.
Current Mood: calmcalm
Lauren Cook
08 April 2007 @ 11:23 pm
If time is considered a causal chain leading directly from one event to the next, following this vector at any point in the time (past, present, future) is to be utterly detached from this chain-reaction. The cliché says that "time is not linear", and that we create our linear perception of time based on cause and effect. From a practical standpoint this does not help much historical or artistic analysis, but the basic idea is of importance in understanding how to revolutionize any field. Indeed, to work "in the beyond" is to revolutionize the field, and to revolutionize the field, one must work "in the beyond". To perform revolutionary music, one must break from the field's current vector. Same as for writing, science, anything like that.

It is commonly called a "paradigm shift". That is moving to the "beyond".
Current Location: Mi casa
Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished
Current Music: House guests
Lauren Cook
26 March 2007 @ 03:56 am
(Oh, awesome. I absolutely adore T.S. Eliot, and I love this poem.)

Something about this smacks of The Hollow Men, though I guess that is not unexpected. What is profound to me is the small, sensory details Eliot speaks of that bring a memory to life--a trigger, that fleshes out the intimacies of a long-forgotten situation, brings it from the faded past to intimate relief, smell, sight, and sound making time collapse in on itself. I have come to realize in my own studies of writing that these seemingly small, irrelevant details (the material of which a shirt is made, a pattern on a teacup) can bring every detail of the entire scene to life by triggering an intimacy, a placement, in the reader's mind.

Miscommunication is integral to all of Eliot's poems, though the more one knows about his life and the disillusioned poets of his era, this isn't very shocking. Everybody has been in a situation in which he or she is talking to somebody close, and no matter how many times you repeat exactly what you mean (or so you think), the person never fully understands, and visa versa. The gulf is crippling, and is sometimes the death-blow to an otherwise loving relationship. It is excruciating. And, when Eliot asks if it would have been worth it to try to hammer things out, one has to wonder if it could even been done, as the girl repeats again, "you don't understand". And, would the pain and misunderstanding have been worth the good times, if he had it to do over?

It seems to me a painful flashback, fragments of grittily realistic memory infused with the brilliance of observation. This is how poetry IS life. This sort of poetry is the missing link between lofty, dreamers' prose, and the gospel of the common tragedy.
Current Location: The dorms
Current Mood: calmcalm
Current Music: silence
Lauren Cook
11 March 2007 @ 10:32 pm
I think struggling to reach the "essence" of something in its purest form is THE aim of all forms of communication since time immortal. It is impossible to understand 100% of any idea, especially ones others try to communicate to us; in parsing an idea into cumbersome parts, expressing it in terms of other ideas, integrity is inherently lost. There is no escaping this. We will never be able to communicate 100% what is in our minds and hearts, so we try to integrate as much medium as we can to communicate every nuance, every image and seemingly meaningless symbol and hidden memory and shadowside of a thought. Sometimes it is chaos, and sometimes it speaks to something in us we all recognize.
Current Location: Mi casa
Current Mood: chipperchipper
Current Music: BUCK-TICK -- "Muma ~ The Nightmare"
Lauren Cook
04 March 2007 @ 09:18 pm
It's difficult to concretely define what exactly gives a language "life" beyond its communicative functionality. The first thing that comes to mind is attempting to define what it is that gives an anthropomorphic carbon-based entity "humanity", at the risk of sounding trite. Or, when does a mechanical activity (such as jewelry-making or painting) lose its "life" and become purely mechanical?

I do not know if such a definition exists. Indeed, almost by definition, if you can define something in more concrete terms (such as "love" and "emotion"), it loses meaning in the mechanical, cumbersome definition. Writing that is alive is undefinable, but the reader knows it is alive. That is the only way to define it without perverting it. There is emotion and meaning and the wildness and madness of dreams. There is an unrestrained element, something of the innermost secrets of humanity.

Writing for an audience (instead of for oneself), writing without regard for art or sound or emotion--considering these former topics, writing becomes alive when it fulfills the most positive aspects of these topics. When it comes from within, when it evokes all of the senses. Life cannot be parsed into pure elements.
Lauren Cook
18 February 2007 @ 07:10 pm
The concept of any one medium being utterly uninfluenced by any other is impossible. Words attempt to describe visuals, sounds, texture, taste, emotion; as does music attempt to express the same, as does painting, as does dance, as does ANY form of artistic communication. The different mediums are all different expressions of the search for the same concepts: truth, meaning, emotion, the layers beneath what is seen, the very essence of the material world. They conflict and coexist in a Taoist paradoxical whole, and we humans can only clumsily express so much of the whole in any one artistc work.

Music comes to associate itself with clothing style, and the two are seen as one and the same message to some people, be it rebellion, emotion, nihilistc hedonism, redneck pride, or ghetto-fabulousness. This is the most common and obvious pop-culture example familiar to youth. Lyrics separate themselves from the music and the melody as words. Visual is music video and fashion. A certain emotional state or philosophy is often the root of affiliation with one or another philosophy, or, some argue, the end-result of overexposure. It is clear a way-of-life that one labels with a musical style has root in far more than the bending of pitch and sound. It is a multimedia representation of a philosophical base and a social movement.

Science and philosophy so often influences the thought, and therefore the art, of people. The age of reason has influenced both a reverence for rationality and a romantic backlash--even the romance is influenced in its renouncement of the rational, for without the rational to study and come to reject, the co-existing form of "romanticism" loses its characteristic flavor.

Writing is merely another medium effected by all of these manifestations. In ages of antiquation and propriety it is marked by euphamism and an avoidance of unpleasantness; in ages of rebellion is it marked by swearing and irreverence. The examples abound. Nonsensical lyrics, poems, and prose often give the reader a subconscious awareness of the author's world, a sort of ambience one cannot explain with any one line in the work. I have come to think all of these mediums are merely our clumsy attempts to express the full-fledged ideas in our subconscious, far too complex and wholistic to be parced into different mediums, clumsy words, single notes, and single outfits. We only do what we can.
Current Mood: anxiousanxious
Lauren Cook
11 February 2007 @ 11:19 pm
There is no concrete way to mark the universal method of balancing taking criticism wisely and being true to one's inner voice as a writer. It is a subjective art in all in own, and much in the same manner of determining pornography from erotica, one must know where the line must be drawn. Ultimately, and ironically, this requires a degree of listening to one's own heart, though one could argue that he or she could benefit from a leap of faith on a trusted friend's advice. It still requires subjective judgement to decide when to leap, though.

Writing from the heart is to venture into wild territory, unfettered by the trappings of convention. With this comes risk and the potential for great gain. Often one risks an extreme reaction: few will feel moderately by a work that delves deeply into the most personal, eccentric aspects of one's heart. In this a degree of finess with words is required: when one dispenses with the time-honored cliches of description, one has to describe things of his or her own accord with the accuracy of the greats to get the same message across.

Writing from one's own heart can be incredibly rewarding. I have had people say I have described situations with such accuracy they have never yet encountered. Truly, it is worth the risk for the incredible gains that come.

[As most people did not make their own post, I may make a direct reply to the comments in Professor Cowger's post if I see an entry I want to discuss.]
Current Location: Somewhere over the rainbow
Current Mood: tiredtired
Current Music: Futurama on [adult swim]
Lauren Cook
Yet another journal, this time for a class. trenchkamen strikes again.

Why didn't my other English teachers think of this before? I swear I think better in a Livejournal text box than on MS Word sometimes.

I should stop customizing and work on that thing that's due tomorrow.

Am I allowed to really jazz up my layout?

Here's a little something to jazz up your day: South Park in Japanese! This amuses me because I am a Japanese minor and can actually understand most of this, and I do rather love South Park, besides. It doesn't speak well of how much of my life I wasted watching anime.
Current Location: Irish C Dorm
Current Mood: blahblah
Current Music: David Bowie -- "Life on Mars"