Tag Archives: literature

You and I at least try

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“What is the point of worrying oneself too much about what one could or could not have done to control the course one’s life took? Surely it is enough that the likes of you and I at least try to make our small contribution count for something true and worthy. And if some of us are prepared to sacrifice much in life in order to pursue such aspirations, surely that in itself, whatever the outcome, cause for pride and contentment.”  – Kazuo Ishiguro, The Remains of the Day

Just bought this book, so expect a review sometime soon! I’m not too far into it, but I’m already surprised by how different the narration is to Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go. I think I’ll like that one more, but this one certainly has great potential already.

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Crybabies in Literature

Recently, I heard a story about a boy who found a lost kitten. This boy took care of the animal, fed him milk and watched over him, but unfortunately the kitten was just too little, and he didn’t pull through.

The young boy cried when his little cat died. And when he cried, his father told him, “Stop being such a pussy.”

I apologize for the language, but I want to put this out there as plainly as I heard it. I’m completely infuriated on behalf of this boy, who experienced what it’s like to love something and have it slip away despite his best efforts. Of course he was sad about it!

I wonder what kind of person he’s going to be, with a father who not only won’t allow for weakness, but who also uses derogatory terms and basically makes fun of his son.

In society, there has always been a huge dichotomy between masculine and feminine. Men are taught they have to be stoic, emotionless creatures in order to be “manly.” They are also taught that open affection between two men is something to be avoided.

With all these messages being shoved at boys from a young age, it’s no wonder there’s rampant homophobia and sayings like “no homo” slipping out of the mouths of boys afraid of being labelled “gay” or “unmanly.”

Now, I don’t know much else about this family aside from this little story, but even so, it inspired me to make a list. The men on this list are great, manly characters, and most importantly, they cry.

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Starting over, and over

 

My name is Kelsey, and I’m a writer. It almost sounds like a 12-step program, doesn’t it?

“Hi, Kelsey!”

“It has been a week since I last wrote a story, but I think about it every minute of every day.”

I’m a print journalism major, English minor, and I’m about to graduate and sink deep into the real world. Terrifying thought, I know. Writing is something that I just have to do—I never really had any choice. I love finding kindred spirits who understand the gritty hard relationship writers have with their writing. We will never be completely satisfied with anything we do, no matter how much the world shakes at our words. So agrees poet Sarah Kay, who says, “My self-confidence can be measured out in teaspoons mixed into my poetry, and it still always tastes funny in my mouth.”

Kay is a stunning spoken-word poet, and in the same poem she talks about how people were disintegrated to ash during the bombing of Hiroshima. Watches and diary pages were the only surviving mementos of these people. So, despite her insecurities (which exist in every writer, ever) she says she keeps writing because, if she ever crumbles and slips like dust through slats in the floor, she wants to be proud of the piece of paper bearing the poetry she leaves behind.

My poetry professor tries to convince us every chance she gets not to be writers. She scares away the ones who don’t really need it, who don’t feel the vibrating echo of words deep in their souls. The die-hards, though, we just suck in our complaints and write anyway, which is what she expects us to do. She knows that real writers never had any choice. We want to leave something behind.

 

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