L’esprit d’escalier: (French) The feeling you get after leaving a conversation, when you think of all the things you should have said. Translated it means “the spirit of the staircase.”

Waldeinsamkeit: (German) The feeling of being alone in the woods.

Meraki: (Greek) Doing something with soul, creativity, or love.

Forelsket: (Norwegian) The euphoria you experience when you are first falling in love.

Gigil: (Filipino) The urge to pinch or squeeze something that is unbearably cute.

Pochemuchka: (Russian) A person who asks a lot of questions.

Pena ajena: (Mexican Spanish) The embarrassment you feel watching someone else’s humiliation.

Cualacino: (Italian) The mark left on a table by a cold glass.

Ilunga: (Tshiluba, Congo) A person who is ready to forgive any abuse for the first time, to tolerate it a second time, but never a third time.

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My final Latin composition; I thought it was rather fun.

P.S: Small disclaimer from Grammar Nazi Cat:

So don’t steal it, k?

“Non omne comminatio est hostis.”

Olim urbs quae deīs amavī erat. Prius urbs factus erat, populī in mediō terrae perliculosae habitāvērunt, cui tuta nōn fuit, nam multa monstra habuit. Pessimae bestiae magnitudis magnae et virīs fuērunt ne vincerentur. Terra concinerata et cum sepulcīs factus erat.

Sed deī populōrum hōrum miseruērunt nam religiosī fuērunt, et simper altara eōrum honorāre memoraverant – etiam in tempore moestitiae. Cum tempestate bonā et autumnīs munificīs eōs benedixērunt, et civitatem aluērunt.

Etiam, deī “Terminus” in sospitatem eōrum commodum praecipuum capissivit. Terminō deō finitonum et murōrum, Terminus decrevit murum faciendus esse, ut populī possint de monstrīs perliculosīs ipsōs defendere. Etsi nōnnullī deī sapientiae Terminum nōn intercedere monuērunt, eum adjuvāre desiderāvit. Post multa diēs, Terminus virum invenit, quem adjuvāre potuit. Nomen eī fuit “Hadrianus.”

Cum auxiliō Hadrianī, populī murum magnum circa domicilium fuērunt, quem eōs de monstrīs defendit. Cum vigore, cito provenērunt, et urbs magna esse surrexērunt. Et propter sacrificia populī gratī, deī beātī fuērunt.

Sed Terminus eīs urbem expandere desiderāvit, tam libellum speciale ex librarō sanctō, quod narrāverit quam vincere monstrum terrae. Ex caelō libellum demisit, et is ab populō invenit, quō mox terram periculō levaērunt. Monstrō captuō, populum sensērunt eōs requisivisse murum, nec salutem eius. Ignavus exisitērunt, et potestatis et civitatis cogitāre incepērunt. Altarem eōrum dedicērunt, et super rem frivolam pugnavērunt.

Longe urbs huius audivērunt, et bellāre decrevērunt ut illam terram acquirerent. Dixērunt; “Hanc urbem petāmus, quam tam superbam est. Sine monstrīs, mox exercitus urbem advenit. Urbs, sub unō duce nōn potest conciliāre, cito victae sunt et ab rē publicā capissitae sunt, quam Mārs amata erat. Cum magnō dedecore, Terminus urbem eius Mārī dedit. Mārs, victor, solam commam dixit: “Nōn omne comminatio est hostis.”

Today I was thinking about a quote – you know the one, that says “Pain is your friend, it lets you know you’re still alive” – and I realized that I couldn’t place it. And it occurred to me that this is likely due to the fact that it’s such a universal idea, employed by nearly every war/drama/comedy film out there.

[Just as I was writing this I remembered where the exact line is from: G.I.Jane, as spoken by Viggo Mortensen. Aha! Writing solves everything.]


Universal ideas: they have a 50/50% chance of wreaking havoc on your life. They’re everywhere: everyone dies, love is all we need, love with kill you, money talks, good will out, etc. Check out some Beatles albums – you’ll find many. And for all their generality, they usually turn out to be true. My 18th Century British Lit professor will hate me for saying this, but the universal human condition often turns out to be just that – universal.

So I suppose as I relate the following anecdote, many of you will know where I’m from – and if you don’t, oh just wait, you will.

Let me say that as of late, my life has become a cluster fuck. And like any good English major, I love this phrase because it brings up so many appropriate images in varying intensities. While there are several aspects I could go into here, I will say that the heart of the cluster – the chewy center, if you will – is my personal life.

This weekend, determined to get away from it, I hiked up to the top of a hill in a local park, with one of the best views in Sonoma county, and just sat there for a bit. Totally alone, wind in my face, watching the falcons swoop up and down on the wind currents. Peaceful, right?

And that’s when the little God who controls the Ipod shuffle intervened. I kid you not, every song that came up was somehow echoing the exact thoughts in my head. And I thought to myself, either I am projecting my troubles heavily onto everything around me, or everything around me knows my troubles.

I chose the latter.

I am becoming ever aware of the fact that life is messy. And frustrating. And causes people around you to punch the sides of armoires. But in these moments there is a reassuring sense that you are somehow participating in the angst of the world – a universal pulse. Maybe no one’s pain is exactly the same, but maybe at the heart of it all, it is more alike than not.

I cannot help feeling that if all I gain from these trials is a deeper understanding of country music, so be it. Maybe it’s the eternal optimist in me, but I feel like whatever may happen, at least I’m still here, being frustrated, and upset, and thoughtful, and alive.

And for the record,

>

“And the Lord spake, saying, "First shalt thou take out the Holy Pin. Then shalt thou count to three, no more, no less. Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out. Once the number three, being the third number, be reached, then lobbest thou thy Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch towards thy foe, who, being naughty in my sight, shall snuff it.”

“He must be a king.
Why?
He hasn’t got shit all over him.”

n 

That is all.

I always wonder about the authors of literary theory or criticism: who do they think they’re writing for?

Unfortunately, in many cases the answer seems to be: themselves. Or rather, people exactly like them.

Fellows readers of academic writing, you  know what this is like.

As required by my major and my department, I’ve read my share of literary theory; many of the “classics,” as it were. Pieces by Foucault, Bahktin, Greenblatt, Butler, Freud, Jung, countless others. (Don’t even get me started on the craziness of some: my critical theory grad seminar spent a whole class trying to picture exactly what the hell a rhizome is really supposed to look like; we ended up being someone around a garden potato.) And generally speaking, they are all pretty brilliant in one way or another – even if that way means you can only tell that at some point in life, the writer had a brilliant idea, and stopped there.

But there are some pieces that are so wrapped up in their own “brilliant” way of thinking, that you’re left with only two options: 1, that the work is so wonderful and smart that the only reason you can’t understand it is becasue you are not as wonderful and/or smart; and 2, that it’s a piece of crap, the author knows it’s a piece of crap, and therefore decides to write using the most-confusing logic available, that may/may not have made sense to them or their editor at some point.

[If you’re still following me after that paragraph, you must have been in this situation before.]

Which brings me to this question: Does critical work need to be complicated to be respected?

I’ve never had a teacher that didn’t want their students to write concisely, so where are these writers coming from? (I’m not sure where, but I’m sure you’re not supposed to ask.) Then again, I’ve had teachers comment that sometimes being too logical is a negative, making your argument too predictable.

I digress. But what causes this whole issue to pop up (yet again) was a book I’m reading for my thesis which cited a large paragraph of French without giving a translation.

I wonder: Is this inconsiderate of the author, or just an error on my part? Perhaps, in their mind, I am expected to be able to read Old English, Middle English, Latin, and French (and two out off the list just doesn’t cut it).

Yeah…..I’ll get back to them on that one.

image

Did you ever think about a project so much that it seems like it will never actually be realized?

I’ve officially begun the thesis, and by that I mean: I have my specific topic/claim, and it’s been declared “great” by my adviser. Hurrah!

I’ve been reading, thinking, doodling, brainstorming, fantasizing – but at this point, I haven’t actually started the writing… It’s so strange to think that within the next year I will have finished it, and finished my degree entirely. Done already??

I already miss regular seminars – does this mean I should keep going in school? Or will I always be one of those people who simply loves it. There’s a point in the lives of most adults, it seems, where you make the decision between getting a job and continuing to do the thing you never get sick of – and if you’re lucky enough those things coincide.

 image

But the thesis. I’m beginning to think that it’s like that first plunge into cold water: you can slowly “adjust” yourself in all you want, but until you jump in and immerse yourself you will never really get used to your surroundings.

It all feels a bit like I’m back in elementary school, staring down the high dive, telling myself that walking down the stairs is not an option.

image

But the hardest part of any project, for me, is simply getting words on the paper. Ten pages of crap is better than zero pages of “great ideas,” in my opinion. Bring on the crap!

image But I’d like to see those smurfs…

So this is an interesting combination:

I write like
Margaret Atwood

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

I write like
Charles Dickens

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!


…but I have to say, I’m intrigued by what a book by both of them would look like.

Now I don’t know how “scientific” the “statisitical analysis” done by  I Write Like (website) is, but it’s fun to think about, no?