preferablysomethingspecific asked: So it seems like you have the best suggestions when it comes to books, music, tumblrs, &c. My question is, what's your pop culture comfort food, the thing you reach for when you need to smile/cry/scream, and why. It can be a book, a play, a song, a tumblr devoted to bacon, whatever! (Mine is a poem by ee cummings, "since feeling is first," which years after discovering it in an English class still makes my heart a little fluttery on reading. :D)
Gosh, I really love this question- and for several reasons. I feel like I dedicate a massive amount of time to exploring and “tasting” different pieces of pop-culture, taking things in and marking the things that make me “feel feelings” (as my friend franny puts it). I feel like I’m building a little nest of these bits of music and words, a place where I can reach out and pluck a feeling from my immediate surrounding when all the other feelings I’m coming up with just aren’t cutting it.
Anyway. There are so many levels on which I can answer this question, but I guess the best place to start is the bookstore. Whenever I’m having a hard day (or a sad day, or a day off or sometimes even a happy day- oh gosh) I’ll go to Powell’s bookstore (the best bookstore EVER) and wander the aisles. I’ll let myself read backs, inside covers, and sometimes even first chapters of books I find interesting. But sometimes, often when Portland begins to feel just as rainy on the inside as it does on the outside, I change my browsing style and look particularly for books that I’ve read and loved. I’ll pick a few out and flip to my favorite parts, and reread them. Some books I’ve pulled recently have been “A Prayer for Owen Meany” (for the last chapter), “The World According to Garp” (also for the last chapter), A Hundred Years of Solitude (for the last few paragraphs), Sailing Alone Around a Room (A book of billy collin’s poetry- my first favorite poet- for several of the poems), Selected Poems by Frank O’Hara (for a few poems, but in particular “Meditations in an Emergency” and “Having a Coke with You,” The Master and Margarita (for that scene at the end right before Behemoth and Azazello are set free from their contract with the devil, and they come off as just this hilarious prankstery pair and it makes me smile), almost any of the books I’ve read by Haruki Murakami (in particular snippets from “After Dark” and first chapter from “The Windup Bird Chronicle”), Skinny Legs and All by Tom Robbins (oh my gosh, I could reread almost any part of that book and be happy.) Those are the most recent ones I’ve reread parts of. It’s an activity that I’d definitely recommend! I’ve probably reread the last chapter from “The World According To Garp” like 20 times, and the last line never fails to give me the shivers.
But that’s not really an answer to your question. So here’s a more direct answer: I recently went through a shitty sort-of-break-up with this kid I was sort-of-seeing and, well, I was feeling really awful. In an effot to cheer me up a friend of mine sent me part of a poem that she had seen posted on a tumblr of a friend of ours, and after reading it several times I went and found the rest of the poem. I then continued to read it every few hours…for like, 3 days. It somehow made me feel less alone in my sadness and anger, but also validated those feelings. The poem is by Adrienne Rich (I’ve since bought a book of her poetry) and it’s called “Dedications” and can be found in her compilation “From an Atlas of the Difficult World.” I’ll post it at the bottom.
Ok, before I sign out I want to say that I LOVE sharing the things that make me feel feelings, and I love love love when other people share the things that make them feel feelings with me!! So let’s keep doing it! (and as I mentioned, I LOVE ee cummings, and I love that poem. It’s pretty wonderful, isn’t it?)
Dedications, by Adrienne Rich
I know you are reading this poem
late, before leaving your office
of the one intense yellow lamp-spot and the darkening window
in the lassitude of a building faded to quiet
long after rush-hour. I know you are reading this poem
standing up in a bookstore far from the ocean
on a grey day of early spring, faint flakes driven
across the plains’ enormous spaces around you.
I know you are reading this poem
in a room where too much has happened for you to bear
where the bedclothes lie in stagnant coils on the bed
and the open valise speaks of flight
but you cannot leave yet. I know you are reading this poem
as the underground train loses momentum and before running
up the stairs
toward a new kind of love
your life has never allowed.
I know you are reading this poem by the light
of the television screen where soundless images jerk and slide
while you wait for the newscast from the intifada.
I know you are reading this poem in a waiting-room
of eyes met and unmeeting, of identity with strangers.
I know you are reading this poem by fluorescent light
in the boredom and fatigue of the young who are counted out,
count themselves out, at too early an age. I know
you are reading this poem through your failing sight, the thick
lens enlarging these letters beyond all meaning yet you read on
because even the alphabet is precious.
I know you are reading this poem as you pace beside the stove
warming milk, a crying child on your shoulder, a book in your
because life is short and you too are thirsty.
I know you are reading this poem which is not in your language
guessing at some words while others keep you reading
and I want to know which words they are.
I know you are reading this poem listening for something, torn
between bitterness and hope
turning back once again to the task you cannot refuse.
I know you are reading this poem because there is nothing else
left to read
there where you have landed, stripped as you are.