My Metaphysical Murakami Milkshake

I’ve made it one of my missions this year to read a book a month, since I’ve been such a measly reader in the past few years.

So far so good…

It’s July and I finished reading my sixth book and the first of my Murakami adventures, Kafka on the Shore, earlier this month. The future looks bright! Safe to say, this is the beginning of a long magical Murakami journey for me.

I don’t think I’m in a position to call Murakami my favourite author just yet, but Kafka on the Shore had me hooked from the beginning to the end. I found myself reading the novel during my 5 minute wait for the bus, 15 minute bus ride to work and back, even while shopping with my cousin (shhh…) and whenever and wherever else I could – something I haven’t done before.

A lot of people feel that Murakami’s novels are pretentious. I agree that many are probably not suited to his kind of surreal storytelling, but one way I would describe Kafka on the Shore is therapeutic. It was to me, at least.

I encourage you to read the novel if things like an old man being able to talk to cats and make fish rain from the sky, and a plot that is as confusing as Jamie Oliver’s kids’ names (Poppy Honey, Daisy Boo and Petal Blossom Rainbow… really??), interest you. Not to mention, unexplained endings and well, no ending really. Um, and the really slow plot. Hey, don’t say I didn’t warn you!

On that note, I’ll leave you with one of my favourite extracts from the novel:

Sometimes fate is like a small sandstorm that keeps changing directions. You change direction but the sandstorm chases you. You turn again, but the storm adjusts. Over and over you play this out, like some ominous dance with death just before dawn. Why? Because this storm isn’t something that blew in from far away, something that has nothing to do with you. This storm is you. Something inside of you. So all you can do is give in to it, step right inside the storm, closing your eyes and plugging up your ears so the sand doesn’t get in, and walk through it, step by step. There’s no sun there, no moon, no direction, no sense of time. Just fine white sand swirling up into the sky like pulverized bones. That’s the kind of sandstorm you need to imagine.

An you really will have to make it through that violent, metaphysical, symbolic storm. No matter how metaphysical or symbolic it might be, make no mistake about it: it will cut through flesh like a thousand razor blades. People will bleed there, and you will bleed too. Hot, red blood. You’ll catch that blood in your hands, your own blood and the blood of others.

And once the storm is over you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”

― Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

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Isabel Isabel

Yesterday was THE worst day at work for me. Having worked three nights in a row till 1 am, the first time I’ve worked from home and that too, during my long weekend and then having to listen to bossy seniors boss me around some more with nothing nice to say.

I must’ve yelled I quit in my head at least ten times, and drafted at least five resignation letters. In my head, again.

sigh

big sigh

But then, I got home, listened to some music (Bastille, to be precise), and I felt fine. Thing is, I love what I’m doing. And even though it can get overwhelming at times, I think of the end-result – when I turn my work in, I’m glad that I can do what I do. Why should ONE person in the whole office put me down, when everyone else tells me that I’ve done a great job.

So, I woke up this morning and kissed Worst Day goodbye.

At work today, I had a random moment. I suddenly remembered (you know how you suddenly remember random things? Like, when you wake up in the morning and start singing a random song that you haven’t listened to, in years? No? Just me? Okay then.) a poem we did in school – Adventures of Isabel by Ogden Nash – one of my favourite poems (have pasted it below so you can read it). So, I googled it to read it again.

And suddenly, I felt like Isabel. Like I so easily turned that witch of a day into milk and drank her right up.

Isabel is my hero.

And I need some sleep now.

ADVENTURES OF ISABEL

Isabel met an enormous bear,
Isabel, Isabel, she didn’t care;
The bear was hungry, the bear was ravenous,
The bear’s big mouth was cruel and cavernous.
The bear said, Isabel, glad to meet you,
How do, Isabel, now I’ll eat you!
Isabel, Isabel, didn’t worry,
Isabel didn’t scream or scurry.
She washed her hands and she straightened her hair up,
Then Isabel quietly ate the bear up.

Once in a night as black as pitch
Isabel met a wicked old witch.
The witch’s face was cross and wrinkled,
The witch’s gums with teeth were sprinkled.
Ho, ho, Isabel! the old witch crowed,
I’ll turn you into an ugly toad!
Isabel, Isabel, didn’t worry,
Isabel didn’t scream or scurry,
She showed no rage and she showed no rancor;
But she turned the witch into milk and drank her.

Isabel met a hideous giant,
Isabel continued self-reliant.
The giant was hairy, the giant was horrid,
He had one eye in the middle of his forehead.
Good morning Isabel, the giant said,
I’ll grind your bones to make my bread.
Isabel, Isabel, didn’t worry,
Isabel didn’t scream or scurry.
She nibbled the zwieback that she always fed off,
And when it was gone, she cut the giant’s head off.

Isabel met a troublesome doctor,
He punched and he poked till her really shocked her.
The doctor’s talk was of coughs and chills
And the doctor’s satchel bulged with pills.
The doctor said unto Isabel,
Swallow this, it will make you well.
Isabel, Isabel, didn’t worry,
Isabel didn’t scream or scurry.
She took those pills from the pill concocter,
And Isabel calmly cured the doctor.

– Ogden Nash

Night Bird or… Early Owl?

I’ve always been a bit of both, an early bird and a night owl.

Okay, okay, more of a night owl. But, an early bird on days of school outings and most weekends*.

Nothing has changed. I’m lucky to have a job that starts at 9am unlike most jobs here that start at 8am. What difference does an hour make, you ask? Well, it makes a big fat difference to ME.

I would love to wake up at 6am, except I don’t. I don’t want to say I can’t, because I very well can. So yes, I’m going to admit to you all that I don’t have the will power to wake up at 6am. Or even 7am for that matter.

I never fail to set my alarms the previous night, that start from 6.24am to 7.56am. I usually end up waking up around 7.41am.

*Yesterday, I woke up at 6.30am feeling as fresh as a daisy only to realise two minutes later, that it was Saturday. A HOLIDAY. So what did I do? No points for guessing.

Nope, that isn’t me. I never look like that in bed.

That’s right. I went back to sleep.

That’s more like it.

I’ve spent hours reading articles on ways to wake up early, have even done things like keep my alarm in the cupboard across the room. Lock the cupboard that the alarm is kept in and store the keys in another cupboard.

No, not even that worked.

What do I have to do to wake up at 6am just once? On a weekday, that is.

EARLY

– Michael Scott

#firstworldproblems: Crappy Shows and Inner Conflict

Warning: Fans of The Vampire Diaries might hate this post.

Also, spoiler alert.

Many TV shows start to get boring or repetitive or just really crappy and complicated after the first few seasons. In my opinion (I repeat, in my opinion*), The Vampire Diaries is one of them. However, I can not get myself to stop watching the damn show. I just need to know ‘what happened next’.

This is me, every single time:

TVD1TVD2TVD3TVD4TVD5 TVD6TVD7 TVD8 TVD9 TVD10 TVD11 TVD12 TVD13 TVD14TVD16 TVD17 TVD18

TVD15

*No offence to vampires all over the world. Although, the show has probably offended many of them**.
**No offence to TVD fans.

Please get off my bed

Happiness is…. not sharing a bed!

We had relatives over the last two nights. In other words, I had to share my bed with my cousin. Not for one night, TWO nights.

Now, I can be very fussy about ‘my space’. In queues, I hate when people stand so close to me, so close that I can feel their various body parts. No ma’am, it’s not okay for you to be this close to me even though you’re a woman. And no, I don’t want to be harassed by your boobs.

Same with MY bed. I’m not a sleep-fighter (read: a person who kicks around in his sleep). I often wake up with a numb arm or leg from sleeping too long in one position.

Life was good when I got my single bed replaced with this ‘princessy’ queen-sized bed. What I didn’t realise till two days ago is that…. I’d be expected to share my bed with sleep-fighter cousins. Not cool.

Okay, I lied. I'm not that tall.

Okay, I lied. I’m not that tall.

My bed is MY bed. It’s what I miss most when I force myself to get off it every morning. It’s what I run back to, when I get back home.

I love my bed so much, that I’m starting to tear up as I type this. Though, that’s probably from no sleep and all the bruises my cousin gave me last night.

True story

And now I’m all sleepy and grumpy. And I’ve got work tomorrow.
Early night for me tonight, while I fall asleep to my favourite new discovery, The Bed and… I mean, The Head and the Heart’s Another Story.

Have a good weekend, rest-of-the-world!

The Way I Am

1. The Dreamer – The Tallest Man on Earth

I’m just a dreamer but I’m hanging on
Though I am nothing big to offer

2. Time to Pretend – MGMT

I’m feeling rough, I’m feeling raw, I’m in the prime of my life.

3. Perfectly Lonely – John Mayer

Nothing to do, nowhere to be
A simple little kind of free
Nothing to do, no one to be

4. Uncharted – Sara Bareilles

Now, I’ve too much to hold, everybody has to get their hands on gold,
And I want uncharted.

5. Upside Down – Jack Johnson

I want to turn the whole thing upside down
I’ll find the things they say just can’t be found
I’ll share this love I find with everyone
We’ll sing and dance to Mother Nature’s songs
I don’t want this feeling to go away

6. Warrior – Kimbra, Mark Foster and A-Trak

Nothing magical
No hologram behind the door
Just a chain reaction
But I know I’m made for more!

7. Wake Me Up – Avicii feat. Aloe Blacc

Feeling my way through the darkness
Guided by a beating heart
I can’t tell where the journey will end
But I know where to start

8. Fading Flower – Yuna

You can’t tear me down
Beat me to the ground
Try to block my sunshine
My blue skies with your clouds

9. Empty – Lianne La Havas

I’m alone,
But oh how I’ve grown

Bonus Tracks – Of course, I wouldn’t forget to include some of my most favourite songs:

10. Pumped Up Kicks – Foster the People
11. Save Tonight – Eagle Eye Cherry
12. Pompeii – Bastille
13. Dancing in the Moonlight – King Harvest
14. The Way I Am – Ingrid Michaelson