Monthly Archives: March 2013

inspired by Bukowski

I’ve spent a fair bit of time on the Blogosphere, and while I’ve been here I’ve noticed a common reoccurrence of Bukowski quotes. So, a couple of months ago I purchased a book of his – Love is a Dog From Hell. It’s 300 pages of mostly sexual encounters, in poetic form. I suppose what makes Bukowski so appealing is that he is easy to read. His language is simple yet rhythmic. And the content is certainly of relatable matters. Descriptions of the women he has slept with, the lack of inspiration they provide to his heart and general feelings of discontent. Just reading his words makes me feel like I am at home, even if home has an air of malaise to it.

However, not everyone is a fan. To a couple of the people I have mentioned Bukowski to, I have met groans and surprised disdain. Particularly one friend, who I consider to have a much greater understanding of poetic works than I do, based mostly on the fact that he has read more and been interested for longer. His comments to me were that Bukowski was lacklustre, and ruined by the hype given to him. Or at least, something along those lines. And then he thrust several Pablo Neruda poems into my hand.

Does enjoying Bukowski reduce my literary credit?

I really don’t think it does. I’m just going to put the disparaging remarks of my friend down to personal opinion, and part of his own identity. After all, the reactions of others say more about them than they do about whatever we did to cause them.

Sometimes it’s hard to remember that though. But Bukowski has some words for that.

From Charles Bukowski's poem 'Trapped', featured in his book 'Love is a Dog From Hell'

From Charles Bukowski’s poem ‘Trapped’, featured in his book ‘Love is a Dog From Hell’

So just remember that when life (or other people) have you down and wanting to scream out, you are bigger than the mountains.

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reconciling my religious views with the celebration of Easter

Today is Easter Saturday. Not one of the major days of the Easter weekend, or at least, it’s not a public holiday, unlike Good Friday, Easter Sunday or Easter Monday. Which means for most people, it’s a fairly regular saturday, sandwiched between two important days in the Christian calendar.

But for non-Christians, Easter is a non-event. Unless, as I do, you choose to participate in the consumerist version of the holiday – a weekend long chocolate fest with the occasional fluffy bunny or chick.

I was raised in a fairly lax, but still Christian household. I attended an Anglican school, though we only had a religious service once each term and on major holidays. But somehow, the religious message never really sunk in. I emerged from these institutions as wanting to believe in something greater, but finding it difficult.

Even other religions, though they make sense, don’t really click with me. I’ve had the core tenets of Wicca explained, and while I like the ideology, the ritualism of practising and the symbolism just aren’t right for me.

I find the multiple gods of Hinduism fascinating, but still not something that I can fully believe in. Islam, Judaism, Buddhism and Shintoism are ones I don’t know all that much about, but what I do know serves only to stimulate my intellectual curiosity, but not any kind of belief. Perhaps this is why I am so keen to study religion from a sociological standpoint.

I have trouble actually identifying with any religion, so for a while I supposed that made me an atheist, but I didn’t see any real proof that there was no God either. So I set my Facebook to agnostic and left it at that.

But then in that conversation with my Wiccan friend, we were discussing religion and ideology in general and she said something which really stuck with me, “don’t tell me what you don’t believe in, tell me what you do believe in.” Agnosticism seemed, suddenly, a lazy explanation for my feelings on religion.

So I thought about what my beliefs really are. I suppose they come closest to secular humanism (realism), but I still don’t know if that term fits quite right. But I do appreciate how truths in science constantly change with new information and discoveries, which is appropriate in our ever-expanding world.

Perhaps consumerism is my religion, but if it is, it seems rather a sad way to be. Material goods can only get you so much.

I suppose when it comes down to it, I believe in people.

So, this Easter, I will be eating chocolate, but mostly because it is so readily available and societal tradition implies that it’s what is expected of me. I will be seeing my family today to exchange hollowed-out, ovular confectionary and I will greet people with the phrase “Happy Easter!”. But for the most part, it will just be a regular weekend, full of work, family and chores.

The owner of a vintage sailor dress.

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I bought this dress off Etsy, on one of my many online shopping sprees. There’s something about vintage clothing that seduces me, and who can resist a classic nautical design.

I’m fascinated by how previously owned items have an enduring life. They have a story of their own, and, oh, the tales they could tell. I just love to think of the things they have borne witness to – this dress could have been the star in a summer romance, attracting the eye of some man as the owner danced about all night, her eyes glittering with good humour. Or perhaps earlier in its life it was worn by an aspiring singer, who wore it to audition for the role in a musical (maybe Pirates of Penzance or Guys and Dolls). 

Or maybe someone only wore it one special occasion, and from then on only took it out of the closet to study it and relive the bittersweet memories of that golden occasion (memories are always bittersweet to me – the bad are inherently bitter but sweet when they’re gone, the good are sweet but you become bitter because it’s over and the memory is all you have left).

The point is, the dress is not a part of my life. I am a part of its experiences. And I won’t be the last person either – this dress has a future ahead of it.

So, today, I am privileged to have the possession of a beautiful dress to make memories of my own in.