XXIX

slake; verb, [sleyk]

  1. to allay (thirst, desire, wrath, etc.) by satisfying.
  2. to cool or refresh.
  3. to make less active, vigorous, intense, etc.
  4. to cause disintegration of (lime) by treatment with water.
  5. Obsolete. to make loose or less tense; slacken.

Going through old WordPress drafts, deleting a few, accidentally publishing one (that unfinished review of Moonlight, a film that I’ve concluded to be impossible to put into words).

I don’t have a lot of thoughts about the new year—just another day, another sunrise. Lovely and quiet. I watched Margarita with a Straw last night and it was an imperfect film with a lot of heart. Ethan showed me Schumann’s Dichterliebe yesterday, which has lead to my current Schumann kick (a different taste compared to Schubert, equally enjoyable). Also, Fischer-Dieskau can sing me to sleep any day. What a voice.

I’m on an inexorable sci-fi/fantasy binge. I don’t know why I keep demeaning my own obsessions—maybe it’s because I know that sci-fi has a cult-like quality and fantasy is pure geekiness and both are supposed to be “out of touch with reality” (on the surface, anyway), but I also can’t help loving the immense imagination and curious thoughts of these otherworldly adventures. Like Italo Calvino’s Cosmicomics: short stories that are about making the cosmos a wondrous place to behold, even through laboratory lenses and astronomical equations. Calvino re-defined science fiction to mean something more; he took conventionally drab theories and turned them upside down, so that they could be seen through the eyes of enthralling fiction. A lot of it ties back to Calvino’s Cybernetics and Ghosts, on the value of storytelling and how it presses its palms against the confines of cardboard literature (i.e. the confines of words and language, how we use stories to simultaneously create and destroy language).

That is to say, I will be returning to campus with an armful of crinkly old sci-fi and fantasy books to read when I’m exhausted. (I’m also eyeing the Ghormenghast novels. A friend said that they’re positively dripping with dark lore and beautiful words and aching phrases. Holy smokes).

Other sundries:

  • I need to get back in touch with people. This break has been good for my mental health but I already feel distant from so many hands and faces.
  • Knapsack. What a beautiful word (and a nicer alternative to backpack). Especially the bookending “k”s that encase the inner letters.
  • Just when I think it’s impossible to fall in love with Prokofiev’s second piano concerto any more, it happens. This piece is incredible.
  • “They pilfered supplies and ran above ground. It had been weeks since they’d seen anything above. They rushed out into a clearing in the middle of a bombed town. The surrounding buildings were washed in rubble and grime and dust, but in the clearing, in the center, grass had sprung out beneath the cement and cobblestone, and there were flowers and insects and vines curled around fallen roof beams. There was a small stream trickling at the base of a busted pipeline, and it flowed for half a kilometer before tapering off into another clearing. The whole space was quiet, not the eerie, unsettling quiet of a dead town, but the quiet of something on the edge of rebirth.” (I’m getting into the rhythm of writing fiction again). 
  • To love a prophet is to become their desert“—wow, okay, wow. Messiahs as devils and gods.