litharriel: (Flight)
"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be." --Douglas Adams
litharriel: (The madness of your choice)
So, I came across this article on empathy. Despite being a pagan, I tend to be healthily skeptical of New Age stuff, as it tends to have its share of fluffy bunnies, nuts, and charlatans but I will say that this describes me with a fairly eerie amount of accuracy.

There are just a few things that don't quite hit right:

4. I have no problem watching violence on TV. It's fake, and I actually think violence in a fictional context is an important means of catharsis.

7. I'm pretty sure my lower back problems stem far more from having an enormous rack, than from "being ungrounded." You know, they say having DD breasts is on par with carrying a couple of full-sized frozen chickens around with you all the time. So, strap a couple of those to your chest for the better part of 30 years and tell me how your back feels.

21. I actually find a certain amount of clutter to be pleasant, so long as it's a clutter of pleasant things. Growing up, the walls of my room were crammed with art I'd printed out, and my bedroom now isn't much better. It's just I paid for the art and it's framed.

24. Let's be real. I'm overweight because I don't exercise enough. Also, I suppose a fondness for comfort food doesn't help, even if I do often only eat one meal a day.

28. I don't actually have a problem owning antiques or used things.

29. I have no problem eating meat. I'm an omnivore, nature designed me to eat meat, along with all the veggies and fruit. Meh.

The rest of it, though, is pretty spot on. It's largely why I'm happiest living alone, and start getting stressed and overtired if I have to be sociable too many days in a row. It's like when you lay in a bath. If it's hot, your skin gets hot. If it's cold, your skin gets cold. After a while, if you spend too much time with people, they kind of seep into you, and it's hard to tell where you end and they begin and it's unsettling, exhausting, and sometimes confusing. And then there are moments when you're minding your own business and an impression comes in on you and you're like Where the fuck is THIS coming from???. Oh! Oh! And have you ever tried living with a person who's got a mental illness and an anger management problem? Imagine that, only you can feel all of their fucked up emotional shit pressing in on you! Having fun yet? Being able to use logic and reason become very, very important. I mean, there are some good sides to it, too, but anybody who tries to call being empathic a gift, I have one word for you.
litharriel: (Enlightenment)

For a lot of people, some sort of sweet, amusing story would probably go here, but I don't have anything like that to tell, at least nothing true. From the time we're born, from the time we begin to interact with other human beings, we begin to learn what love is and what love isn't. Unfortunately, we're usually taught a lot of commonly-held bull about love, first, and it's by weeding out all of that that we come to understand the real thing. There's a place lower down the list where I'm to explain my definition of love, and so I won't go into depth, here.

However, here is one of the most important real things you learn: You must love yourself, if you'd ever hope love others.


My first love is me.

I have loved myself all my life, despite all of those--be they family, assorted authority figures, strangers or my peers--who have tried to make it otherwise. (You're easier to control, easier to manipulate, if you don't love yourself, if you believe that you need the love of others to have worth, you see.) I have loved myself, sometimes peacefully, sometimes defiantly, but either way, I have loved and do love myself truly. Whether or not I have One True Love walking around on this earth, whether that even exists at all or it's just a delusion like so much else we're raised to believe, I'd say that's a good start.
litharriel: (Default)

Hi, I'm Litha!

It's short for Litharriel, and no, that's not my given name... or, rather, (and I know this sounds silly, but it's no less true for it) it's a name someone called me in a dream, so I decided to keep it. If you go by the various zodiacs, I am: a Pisces, an ash tree, a snake, and a rooster. I am also a writer, a jewelry-maker, a pagan, a polyamorist, a pansexual, a black sheep, a professional night owl, and a reluctant Midwesterner. Like everybody else on Earth, I am made of the stuff of exploded stars and, to paraphrase Bill Bryson, a billion or more of my atoms once occupied the bodies of the Buddha, Genghis Khan, Beethoven and who knows how many other interesting, famous, dead people. According to some web site, I may be some sort of illegitimate descendant of Canute the Great. According to another, I'm a distant cousin of the silent film actress Lillian Gish. According to my grandmother, there's Rom blood somewhere in our past. I'm 1/16th Irish, on my Dad's side, and 1/8th Native American on my Mother's, and there's supposed to be some German in there, too.

Also, I really like tea.

I'm turning 33, this year, and I've decided to see this as a lucky thing. Not only does it mean I've managed to live that long, but 3 is supposed to be one of those fancy, magical numbers. So I figure I'd better make use of whatever having achieved two of those in a row might get for me.

I live in a small, Indiana town, in a cozy little apartment with my cat. My mother is crazy, and my father didn't have enough confidence in his parenting skills to really take much charge of me. So, most of my upbringing was overseen by my conservative Catholic grandparents and the school system. Needless to say, I don't much trust authority figures, and my sense of guilt and shame (which honestly had never been very strong to begin with) have been worn down to almost nothing.

I've been married, once, but I found it distasteful for various reasons, so I ended it. Currently I'm dating a small poly-family of two men and two women, who are lovely, geeky, creative people, though I only get to see them once every month or two, as they live some 3 hours away. I have no children and I would be perfectly happy never to have any. I like the idea of being the cool big sister/eccentric aunt much better.

I think that's a good enough start, for now. If I keep rambling, there won't be much to talk about in the rest of the entries!

Until tomorrow! (Probably.)
litharriel: (Tightrope)
Right, so... I've been thinking I'd like to get back into using DreamWitdth for personal blogging, more often, rather than only RP. So, in interest of doing that, I'm going to re-instate this meme, which I tried to do, a few years ago, and ended up stopping somewhere in the middle. I cannot promise I'll really make one every day but I will at least make it through the entire thing, this time!

Day 01 - Introduce Yourself:
Day 02 – Your first love
Day 03 – Your parents
Day 04 – Your music
Day 05 – Your definition of love
Day 06 – Your hobbies
Day 07 – Your best friend
Day 08 – A precious item
Day 09 – Your beliefs
Day 10 – What you wore today
Day 11 – Your siblings
Day 12 – What’s in your bag
Day 13 – Your mode of transportation
Day 14 – Where you live
Day 15 – Your childhood
Day 16 – Your first kiss
Day 17 – Your favorite memory
Day 18 – Your favorite birthday
Day 19 – Something you regret
Day 20 – Your morning routine
Day 21 – Your job and/or schooling
Day 22 – Something that upsets you
Day 23 – Something that makes you feel better
Day 24 – Something that makes you cry
Day 25 – Your sleeping habits
Day 26 – Your fears
Day 27 – Your favorite place
Day 28 – Something that you miss
Day 29 – Your favorite foods/drinks
Day 30 – Your aspirations
litharriel: (Tightrope)
Today, in honor of Sky's birthday, he, Jade, their friend Adam and I drove up to the Indianapolis Museum of Art. It was a bit of an adventure right from the start, as I misread one of the directions, so we had to trace a very wide circle to get there. Once we arrived, we broke out the parasols and walked around on the extensive gardens that surround it, for about an hour. There are statues and fountains scattered throughout them, and a large turn-of-the-century mansion. It was a beautiful day, if a bit hot, lots of flowers blooming, and butterflies, and I even saw a couple of hummingbirds. And Adam chased a squirrel. (I wish I'd brought my camera for the gardens at least!)

After our constitutional, we went into the museum itself, and managed to see very nearly all of it, from top to bottom. There were lots of beautiful sculptures and paintings and artifacts, but my favorite of the day was what, at first, appeared to be an empty room, up in the contemporary art exhibit. You step inside, and at first all you really notice is the giant window looking out over the parkland outside. Then you hear something, so soft you aren't sure you heard it at all. Then you look up, and there's a massive, interconnected web of colorful wires hanging from the ceiling, and hundreds of tiny speakers hanging down. And you stand there, and you listen, and the sounds swells like a wave washing across the room and back again, and then you're immersed in quiet, ambient noises and soft voices whispering loving words. It's eerie and surreal, and it kind of took my breath away.

I think we could've spent a solid hour or more there, just listening, but there was a whole museum to see. We all kind of lost each other for a while in the European art exhibit, but managed to stumble back together again in time to visit the gift shop, get some dinner, and head home. Best day I've had in a while! ^_^

Next time I will remember my camera!
litharriel: (Tightrope)
It’s a solid two hour drive, to get to Lothlorien from home, but it’s a nice drive, through some of the prettiest countryside in the state. Lots of woodlands and hills and cliff-like bits, where the road cuts through it all. The directions on the website are (I think, deliberately) difficult to follow and outright wrong in places, so you‘re likely to get turned around unless you‘ve been there before or are coming with someone who has.

It’s a beautiful, little privately-owned nature preserve, and I am always happy to go. Josh and Rachel were waiting for me as always and there was much cuddling.

The first thing to greet me, this year (apart from them), as I was walking up the road from where I was parked, was a bohemian tea party. (There was an abundance of tie dye, along with the vaguely Victorian garb, and nobody was quite sure what kinds of tea we were drinking.) It was being served by a handful of rather pretty, shirtless young men, and one of them was also meandering about, offering bits of pineapple that had been soaked in some kind of sweet liqueur. There was an amiable bidding war over the last piece, and it was ultimately decided that it should be placed upon the bosom of the first bidder (a rather pretty girl in a corset and top hat) and be eaten from said bosom by the second (an also-pretty, very curvy, older woman in a flowing red dress.)

The camp grounds all stem off of a central loop of road which runs around the Lightning Shrine, which is where the bands play, over the festival, with vendors tents running along either side. For the past few years, we’ve been camping at Shaman’s Circle, for its proximity to the nightly drumming circle at Thunder Shrine and to the vendors.

Dinner both nights came from 2 Bears, a café of sorts that always springs up for the festivals, run by a gay couple who comes every year. They serve the best grilled sandwiches you will ever eat. (And they also had the most delicious pumpkin soup, this year.) Afterward there was hanging out with Beck and Janet and their group (an Indianapolis branch of the poly scene). It was Miranda’s wife’s birthday, and so Pizza was brought in, and cupcakes were had, and between us we drained a bottle of passion fruit mead and half a bottle of Moscato.

From there we meandered down to the Thunder Shrine, a kiva-like structure big enough to hold the couple hundred who always filter in. The drums go from dusk till dawn, and generally the evening’s kicked off by a ritual to one deity or another, followed by some the campers showing off their skills with fire. There were many poi spun (Beck is getting amazing) as well as people doing tricks with flaming fans and staves, and one very skilled man with a fire whip.

Between the mead, the wine, and the young man meandering through the crowd offering up ladle-fulls of peach vodka, I was decidedly tipsy at this point, and, really, that’s a good state to watch the dancing in.

You really get to see the full cross-section of the pagan community, at Thunder on a Fest night. An aristocratic goth in leather pants danced by a hippy earth mother danced by a guy in a luchador mask danced by a girl dressed in nothing but a fluttering scarf. They come in robes or sequins or sarongs or nothing at all and move to the beat. All shapes, all sizes, all ages, all beautiful.

The fire was huge, like every year, rivers of red-orange sparks floating up. They make little paper hot air balloons and send them up with them while we howl our encouragement. There was a man singing scat to the djembes and the didgeridoo. The celebration went on till dawn.

The next day was horribly cold and rainy, but I got up early, read a few chapters in Jane Eyre and went to breakfast at the long hall, did a little shopping at the vendors and got a pretty little cup carved out of a chunk of green and orange agate, and was informed by one of the sellers that I have "very bright" energy. Went back to the tent for another nap. (My energy was clearly not that bright. After I got back up, we went over to Lightning to watch Keshvar Project, before we fled to the tent for the rest of the night. They were one of my favorite things about last year, a sort of Spanish Arabian Gypsy Jazz band with a troupe of belly dancers who perform on stage with them.

All in all, but for the cold (and the extra super fun of waking up this morning and realizing that all of those tiny, wiggly shadows covering the outside of the tent were in fact an army of slugs) it was a fun festival and I got to hang out with some good people. I didn't get nearly enough proper sleep and I'm feeling a little feverish from the cold and damp, but nonetheless, I regret nothing! Hopefully next year the weather will be more cooperative. X-D
litharriel: (Flight)
So, there's this article, which has been brought to my attention. It's a very good article, and I do recommend reading it. However, I also feel it's a pertinent fact to bring up that places like India aren't the only places where the rape culture that would allow a young girl to be sold like a piece of meat thrives. It's in places like America, too. It isn't so blatant, it's more subtle, more insidious, but it's certainly here. We see it in instances like the recent Steubenville case, in which sympathy was voiced by newscasters for the rapists (though they were, thankfully, found guilty). We do not see it until it's much too late, in people like me. As a child I was blackmailed into silence, when the son of one of my father's friends decided he wanted to touch me whenever and wherever he wanted. He told me that if I spoke of it, he would tell my family it had been my idea. The way my family was, I had no reason to believe they would side with me. When I was 17, my boyfriend at the time decided he didn't need to take no for an answer, and the one person I told, at the time decided I was lying because my rapist had been my boyfriend, a fact which devastated me to the point that I didn't bother trying to tell anyone else until years later. My family still doesn't know, because what good would it do? These are things which happen right in America's heartland. I can't know how many stories from other girls, other women, I've heard of similar things. I have no doubt that I'm one in a hundred thousand, or more. Of those who are victims and survivors of rape culture in one way or another, there are millions.

The only thing that's going to stop these things is awareness, education, and all of us not being silent, all of us not being tolerant of those who would perpetrate it. They will not learn, so long as there are people blaming victims and patting the rapists on the back as if they were victims of anything other than their own wrong actions, whatever their age. It must be stopped. All of it. In India, in America. Everywhere.
litharriel: (Nyeh)
Night two of the visit with my poly-family! They were having a promotional event at the art supply store Rachel works at called Wild West Wednesday, which featured costumed desk clerks, fresh cookies and chocolate mustaches on sticks, and a band playing something called "Newgrass," which is Bluegrass but new. It's not the kind of thing I normally listen to, but they were still good, and Rachel looked so lovely in her saloon girl costume that I couldn't resist grabbing her and dancing a polka down one of the aisles.

Also, I have been used as an arm-rest twice, today. I glowered and told them about my plurk-friends making fun of my height in relation to the short posts on Twitter (*cough*Tom Hiddleston is there*cough*), which I've started hanging around on. So, in the past two days I've been called little, pocket-sized and funsized, between all of these people, and one of my friends even wrote a Haiku about it.

All I can think of is Hermia and Helena bitching at one another in Midsummer Night's Dream. I am 5'4"... or 3"... (or something, I've never actually measured)... and I cannot help it if the world is populated by maypoles. >:-{

At any rate, hopping back off. Peter's back from martial arts class and we're going to a vaguely-steampunk-themed brewery for dinner, and then I'm going to see whether learning the mandolin might be something I'd be interested in. Apparently my poly-family is starting a somewhat unorthodox garage band.
litharriel: (Burning Tree)
Okay, so the night before last, I caught a few minutes of this movie A Joyful Noise. Something about a gospel choir. And there was a scene where a mother and daughter were having an argument, and the daughter accuses the mother of having low self esteem and says that God can't really help her with that... and the mother slaps her and goes on a yelling rant about not bringing God into her "adolescent bullshit" (or somesuch, I'm not positive of the exact quote, but I feel I should stress that the woman's issue was that the girl spoke of God in a way the woman disagreed with), hereby winning the argument.

Shortly after, I changed the channel, and...

I've been stewing over this in the back of my mind since then, and I just really feel the need to get it out. Because this is something which some Christians have been struggling with for a while, what with their human bonfires and Inquisitions and Crusades and abortion clinic bombings.


For that matter...


Little shit like that slap is where all the big shit starts. All of you kids can squabble in the sandbox all you like about who Daddy loves best and who the most special snowflake is (which is unavoidably the mental image I get, when any particular group talks about whatever god's chosen people, and, Their Way being the Only Way), but the second anyone takes it into their head that they are so special that their faith exempts them from being responsible for committing violence just by saying "this is for my God," they are instantly and irrevocably wrong.

Provided there is a God of one sort or another out there somewhere, why would anyone with a brain--assuming they use it--think that God needs them to fight his battles for him? This is an omnipotent, omniscient being. Moreover, it's generally agreed that this God is big on love. He is, in fact, generally considered to be a being of pure and perfect love.

Think about this, please, because this kind of arrogance needs to stop.

So, if this being is not only big on love, but made of it--of perfect and pure love--in what universe does committing even the most small violence in his name make any kind of sense, whatsoever? People can say God moves in mysterious ways all they want, but here's the thing. You are doing this. Not God. You. You have free will. It's one of those things which, as I understand, signified that God favored humans over the angels, right? That's what your devil's supposed to have Fallen over, right?

So, take a little responsibility. God wasn't offended. That's like saying en elephant can be offended by an ant. You were offended. And you wanted an excuse to feel righteous about hurting another person.

And this brings me to another thing, and then I'm going to finish making this quiche and wrap goddamn Christmas presents.

Faith without logic and reason to balance it is nothing but another form of insanity. And the world is sick enough as it is.

Thank you, and goodnight.
litharriel: (The madness of your choice)

I like this article.

I'd like to write something clever of my own, right now, but I think I'm too sleepy to quite know myself well enough, just at the moment.

... Blah...
litharriel: (Burning Tree)

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): notes that American politician John McCain tends to repeat himself -- a lot. Researchers discovered that he has told the same joke at least 27 times in five years. (And it's such a feeble joke, it's not worth re-telling.) In the coming week, Pisces, pease please please avoid any behavior that resembles this repetitive, habit-bound laziness. You simply cannot afford to be imitating who you used to be and what you used to do. As much as possible, reinvent yourself from scratch -- and have maximum fun doing it.

As always, sound advice, and dear gods, the last thing I'd ever wanna be like is John McCain! D-:

I've been noticing that I seem to get angry about things, lately, when I don't usually. I rather suspect that it's a lingering aftereffect of all that remembered rage bubbling up over that not-quite-argument with Mom last week. I'm torn between inundating myself with positive stuff (a la To Wong Fu, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar, which I'm watching right now), or taking an evening and marathoning a bunch of violent, bloody horror movies to get it all out. I'm leaning toward the horror flicks, as they've been a good source of catharsis for me in the past. However... *looks up at Horoscope contemplatively*
litharriel: (Nyeh)

I am still very much in the honeymoon phase of playing Lacie, and I'm rolling all over the place over all of the spoilers in these past few chapters of Pandora Hearts. I didn't care particularly for Jack or Glen until this arc; they're so much more interesting, now that we know them properly!

Mother called tonight and gave a little speech about how she doesn't like that I don't want to be around her but accepts it, and from the sound of it, I suspect she had either written it down and was reading it or had rehearsed it. (Wouldn't be the first time. When I lived with her, I used to hear her rehearsing the arguments she wanted to have with me before actually coming to find me to start them.) It makes no difference whether she accepts it or likes it or not, and I honestly think she just bothered with the call so that she could convince herself that she's "the good guy". Bleh. When I get my new phone, I still will not be giving my number to her.

A week from today Josh and Rachel (two of my little quartet of lovers and the two I've been with the longest) will be coming up to visit for the weekend. They live three hours southwest of me, so we only get to be together every month or so (every couple of months when it's winter and slick), so I'm really looking forward to seeing them. Jade'll be coming over too. If the weather is nice, I'm thinking of possibly dragging everyone over to Little Nashville for shopping and dinner. It's this pretty, artsy little touris town in Brown County, which has some of the loveliest countryside in Indiana.

I'll take you there, Callie, when you come to visit. I suspect you'd like it, and there's a coffee shop there with really good chai and bagel sandwiches.

It's supposed to be around 50, today, so I think if I can get up early enough I'll go and take a walk at the nature preserve. It's not as obviously pretty as Brown County, but it still has its charm. It's very marshy, so you get these drowned forests, and pools and ponds and lakes, and it's pretty in a vaguely lonely sort of way.

And it's nice to get out away from everything now and then, even if it's only for an hour. The sheer stillness one can find out there can be stunning, sometimes. When you're inside, there are always all these sounds, even if there are some of them you don't notice. The humming of the lights, the sound of the heat running, whatever else is going on in the building. But out there, there are moments when you could almost swear you'd been struck deaf, but for the sound of your breath and your heart beating, and it's oddly awe inspiring. Then a crow calls, or there's a breeze through the branches and the spell is broken, and you go your way. But a little piece of that peace stays with you the rest of the day, and that's nice. Yeah, I think I feel like going out there, today...
litharriel: (Enlightenment)

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): A sign outside the Apostolic Bible Church in Bathurst, New Brunswick invited worshipers to meditate on a conundrum: "Why didn't Noah swat those two mosquitoes?" After all, if the builder of the Ark had refused to help the pesky insects survive the flood, we'd be free of their torment today. (Or so the allegorical argument goes.) Please apply this lesson to a situation in your own sphere, Pisces. As you journey to your new world, leave the vexatious elements behind.

... Well, not that I particularly needed reassurance that continuing to cut mother out of my life is the right thing to do, but it's still nice. /*stretches out and rolls around in here.* Incidentally if anyone's been looking for a good horoscope to follow, Free Will Astrology is a decent one. They even have a newsletter so your horoscope lands in your inbox every week.

Thus far, my "new world" entails mainly groceries and figuring out what exactly I need to take to get my taxes done (which I will do before the end of the week.) I've got my W-2 and my social security card, but I think I may need stuff for the money my great aunt left me, as it constitutes a healthy savings. (I doubt it matters that I don't intend to touch any of it until I'm of retirement age, unless I suddenly need a new car or something.)

Meh, things to do, things to do, and I feel just sick enough to have no motivation to do more than sprawl here in my fuzzy black bathrobe... /*wanders off grumbling*
litharriel: (String of lights)

So I was in the shower, today, and I was thinking about churches, and those beautiful stained glass windows, and I had a thought I’d never really had, before. The windows are beautiful, certainly. But, the downside is that you can’t see out of them. And I got to thinking, that’s really kind of the problem with churches in general, and the reason I left Christianity, when I was oh, 13 or so. (And really, I think these issues hold true in regard to all organized religion. I'm just talking about Christianity in particular because it’s what I was raised with, so naturally I’m going to be most familiar with the ways in which I disagree with it.) It imposes these boundaries that are very grand (or terrifying) and forbids you to really look past them. Don’t do this, don’t think that, don’t disagree with us or you’ll go to Hell.

And if you take these boundaries to heart, this keeps you from experiencing and living in and dealing with the real world. It’s the mental equivalent of living your whole life in this one building and never going--or even looking--outside. And that’s really just not a healthy way to live.

It’s like those maps from Vespucci’s day: oh, don’t go past here--here, there be dragons. Don’t go past there, you’ll sail off the edge of the world. Meanwhile, there are no dragons, and the world is a lovely sphere where you can just keep going and going and going. You’ll see places you’ve seen before, yes, but you never have to stop. The tiny world bounded in Hell that I grew up with is just another outdated map. Hell’s just another dragon.

They say “Oh, abortion is wrong!” but tell that to a 13 year old girl who was raped by her father. Tell that to the woman who knows she would not be a good mother or be able to give a child a life where it (or she, for that matter) could be happy, but one night the condom broke. They say “Oh, being gay is wrong!” when all it is is another, natural form of love (and one that helps the overpopulation problem, frankly). And I think with all of these antiquated boundaries, people forget the core of their Christ’s teachings: Love.

And really if you think about it, if God (or whatever’s out there) really is Love, then there can’t be a Hell. Would anyone who truly loved you want to see you punished for eternity for something you did over the span of ten minutes? Because if you look at things from an eternal standpoint, that’s as much as a human life is. Less, even!

It’s people who invented Hell, and people, with all of their flaws and pettiness, who want to see you burn forever. Not God (or whatever‘s out there). I think we invented Hell, partially as a scare tactic for social control, and partially because of our own arrogance. We can’t imagine our actions not having such enormous consequences. We’re terrified of a reality in which we don’t somehow live forever, even if it’s being punished.

But, people, take comfort and wake up: We aren't that important. We aren’t the center of the universe. Heck, we’re not even the center of the galaxy. That’s a black hole, last time I checked. We’re just ants crawling on a cantaloupe somewhere off in left field. We’re just cells in this greater organism called Earth. (Honestly, I can’t help feeling like we’re cancer cells, most of the time.) And yet, for all of that, we are as free as we choose to be. We have no boundaries but for those nature itself sets, unless we make them up or choose to accept those that other people made up.
litharriel: (type)
Had to post this after seeing it in Xy's plurk.

litharriel: (Plague Doctor)

After hanging up on mother last night (see Plurk), I’ve decided to treat today as a new start, of sorts. Hopefully, she will get the message and not call again. I will never again have her attempt to hold me accountable for her choices as if I were the mother and she the child. I will never again speak to her only to have my words twisted to mean what she wants them to mean, dismissed entirely, or to have her ask the same goddamn questions over and over like an interrogator trying to get the answer she wants. I will never again have to deal with her refusals to get help, or listen to whatever the delusional persecution of the month is. I will never again have to listen to her try to be sweet and buy my affections or play the innocent martyr--and she plays it so very well--only so that she can get self-righteously abusive around the next corner when there’s no one else to hear and the mood strikes.

It’s always words. She only tried to use her hand once, but she was too drunk for the strike to hit target.

Lately, my bedtime reading has been Forms of Heaven, a collection of Clive Barker’s plays. (Incarnations has his better ones, but I’ve read that book enough times to know it nearly by heart.) The play I’m starting on, today, is Paradise Street, which tells the story of a drab little street in the middle of a wintry Liverpool, which is transformed one day, when it receives a visit from Queen Elizabeth I and her entourage, traveling through time and bringing spring with them.

I’ve decided this is a good omen. I’ve always admired Elizabeth. Who needs a real mother when I can have queens and goddesses and writers and heroines... and myself and my freedom.
litharriel: (Wake up)

Prop 8 is no more.

And I pity anyone who was surprised. Because here’s the thing:

The rights of homosexuals are just like any other rights that have had to be fought for. It’s just like African American rights, and women’s rights. It may be a long, hard fight, because there are a lot of small-minded, ignorant bigots out there who fear anything different from themselves, but it will happen. It will happen because, no matter how much it terrifies the bigots, people will be free.

People will be free because freedom is the natural state of things, despite the ranting and raving of fundamentalist ministers. It’s all these religions and rules and laws that are unnatural. Artificial. And like every mortal thing, they will all eventually pass away and be replaced by new religions and rules and laws, as has been happening since human societies began to form. People will look back, a hundred years from now and wonder why anyone would have allowed such a law to exist in the first place. A thousand years from now they’ll shake their heads at our primitive ignorance, surely as we do in regard to slavery, the Inquisition, and notions like the world being flat and that a bunch of flowers can keep away plague.
litharriel: (Default)

So I was listening to this, today, and it always makes me think of the Phantom of the Opera. (I will admit, I’m a little bit of a Phan.) He’s really quite a fascinating character, if you look at the book (or books, if you count Susan Kay’s novel as part of the canon, which many fans do). He is an inventor, an engineer, an architect, a magician, a musical genius both as performer and composer, who has served royalty. He has traveled the world. He is also a prolific murderer who has ultimately been driven mad by the cruelty he found there, because of his equally remarkable physical ugliness. It is only after living a full and eventful life that he retreats to his subterranean “house by the lake.”

Thinking of all this, I always wind up thinking of the movies made about him, and it strikes me as rather sad that the only one that really comes close to capturing the character--this musical genius--in his full scope is the silent film starring Lon Chaney.

Now, mind you, I’m not a purist. The other versions of the tale that have been committed to film all have something to be recommended, and I own a few of them. However, I always find it a bit frustrating that none of the other films get his backstory right, when really his backstory is what ultimately makes him the fascinating character that he is.

In the 1943 film, starring Claude Rains, the Phantom is a poor, middle-aged violinist, at the end of his rope. He writes one good song, and when he attacks the publisher who tries to steal it from him, his face gets burned by acid and he flees to the sewers and dungeons under the Opera. (I will, however, say for it that Claude Rains’ performance is marvelous, and at least they get the general area of the character’s age right.)

In the 1982 film, starring Robert Englund, the Phantom is a psychotic composer who made a deal with the devil. While I applaud this film for being the only one that doesn’t try to declaw the Phantom, that gives him a dark and epic past if not the canon one, and does contain some of my favorite film!Phantom moments, it degenerates into horror movie schlock at the end.

The 1990 mini series starring Charles Dance is endearing and funny, and makes extensive use of actual opera, but again it robs him of backstory in that he is actually raised under the opera house and is thus essentially innocent until the events of the story. Also, they seem to have entirely forgotten that he wasn’t only a lover of music, but a composer in his own right.

The 2004 film based on the stage production has some lovely visuals and a few good performances, but the Phantom is pulled underground as a child by a sympathetic young!Madame Giry. Apart from this, it is the film with the second-prettiest Phantom, delivering us Gerard Butler with a really bad sunburn on half his face (second only to Julian Sands, in the Argento version, whose main difference from the rest of the human race is an eccentric affection for rats).



As an aside, I’ve said this before, but listen, folks, this is what the Phantom of the Opera is supposed to look like.


Long story short, while this tale has stood the test of time for a full century, inspired many enjoyable films, and even a spin-off novel or two worth reading, I would like to see one well-done, modern film which captures this character in his full scope with all of the genius and horror and heartbreak that birthed the Phantom Phenomenon.

Y’hear me, Santa? Just one.
litharriel: (Default)

Stray Thoughts

Yesterday, a friend of mine posted a link to this article-ish thing on 15 styles of distorted thought. It seems like a useful practice in mindfulness, to me, learning about them and keeping watch for them.

Really, when you think about it, there's a lot in our society that seems to actually encourage distorted thought. Religion, entertainment, politics... (Not each thing in entirety, of course... That would be a thought distortion along the lines of number 13... But still, if you look, you'll find them aplenty in those things.) I suppose people who are properly mindfucked are easier to keep influence over.

The trouble, of course, with encouraging insanity--and, really, that's what distorted thought is: a low-grade, form of insanity--is that all you wind up lord over is a loony bin. And I suppose there are some scavengers who don't have a problem with that. I, on the other hand, have a problem with it.

I would like to live in a sane world. A reasonable world. An intelligent and conscious world. It seems to me, that the start to fixing the world is fixing ourselves by becoming sane, reasonable, intelligent and conscious people. I know for a fact that at one point or another in my life, I've been guilty of each of the issues listed on that page. I've already been working on not being so guilty of them for years, but I suspect this little page will help a bit...
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