My Locus Amoenus

Sanctuary

This is in response to the Daily Post’s Word Prompt for Sanctuary.

I haven’t been around much, I know. I apologize for this, sophisticators. Things have changed in two year’s time. I have much to say and not enough pairs of ears, or rather eyes in this case. Anyway, this post is to be dedicated to the daily prompt.

So you’ve probably heard about the Locus Amoenus, right? It’s Latin for ‘pleasant place’. In fact, it’s rather more of a landscape. Now, we all know how much I love the trees and nature (a lot), so with that in mind it does become my sanctuary, but in reality I do believe my Locus Amoenus is within me…or rather in my mind.

And sometimes when I don’t follow my own thoughts, I often hear chimes in the back of my mind…as if coinciding with the strains of an angel’s harp. A nocturne plays and I find myself swayed over the borderlines of reality, a vast inception that exists deep within my imagination.

I am untouchable there. You should be too.

 

 

 

 

Spools of Thought. #1

My inner-Robin is calling to the forefront of my mind.

My inner-Robin is calling to the forefront of my mind.

Sometimes when I cannot fathom a real story, or post in this case, I just write whatever comes to mind. I call them spools of thought for the notion that our thoughts can be much compared to string around a spool, ready to be sewn.

What I cannot surmise in this life is grasping reality. Like I’ve said before, I live in a dream land of my own accord with all the special effects elements you could think of. I’m someone who is fully affected by the weather. For the past few days we’ve had nothing but dense fog and mist, and being that I live in glass, I always note the weather trends as they occur. Mist really puts me out. It actually has a way of tuning out my good conscious and making me wonder about things when in reality, I should be studying for my finals and exploring around the city as usual.

I find it hard to concentrate thereafter. It’s like being in a book! And I end up narrating my thoughts and actions so perfectly, I always think I should have a scribe following me around. I swear my most conformed words only occur when I don’t have a pen handy. Does this ever happen to you, whoever you are?

Sophisticaters, I call you, because it should be a worthy title. You should be credited with such an honorific. But now I feel as though I cannot even credit A Sophisticate. I fear I cannot uphold my title.

Peaks and valleys, is one of my old mottos. I just happen to be in a valley.

To put it short:  I’d like to have my shit together at this moment. Yet I don’t. I need to clue into reality. Like a reminder of some sort. You know, like the proverbial sounds of an oncoming train…?

A reminder…a reminder….

Does anyone have any suggestions for this rut? A rope or ladder perhaps? I’d take a helicopter too. I’d very much like to get back to my life now.

Not a ‘Just Book’.

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Everything in the world exists to end up as a book. -Stéphane Mallarmé

This here is a post about literature. To find more specific reviews done by me on YA lit, you can visit Bookinity (bookinity.co.uk).

Why do a post dedicated to books? Because like the events that occur in one’s life to shape them, books occur in mine. Music does too, but that’s more difficult to read a blog about. Books are…chapters in my life. I had this English teacher once, one of the only smart teachers I’d come by in high school, who believed that there was an honest difference between literature and just books.

He explained his logic that literature ascertains a certain quality of writing alongside employing literary devices that gave air to a brilliant work of fiction. Then he made a face and said, “Just books are Twilight. Dense paperweights.” Or something to that effect. Twilight was involved with much hate and was compared to paperweights at some point. He devoted the rest of the class complaining about it.

But it wasn’t as if he were wrong. I mean, technically speaking what he said made sense to me. But I really didn’t believe it until I got a weak mark on one of his papers. Being an average, yet bright student, I was accustomed to high marks when it came to English papers. I confronted him, he said that the writing was fine, but there was no depth.

I’d never really been criticized by a teacher like that. It hurt, I won’t lie. So i spent the rest of the semester devoted to earning this teacher’s acknowledgement that I was a good writer. This was the man who had only ever given out one 99% on a paper with the belief that absolutely no one could ever achieve a 100%. This was the man who quoted Shakespeare and read a play out loud with the same effect of watching a Christopher Nolan film.  I at least wanted to hit a ninety range. So rather than starting papers the night before, I started weeks in advance, and I got him to read over revised copies before handing it in. I devoted all my spare blocks to his class.

Finally, finally I got a 92% on my final paper. He written that he’d loved it as a comment and even the students sitting around me were in awe. A 92% in any other class was easy enough to pull off, but in his? Not so much. I felt…really brilliant. Respect for him was very selective. A Nobel Peace Prize didn’t even faze this man. It was all about being witty with prose for him.

Weeks later after exams, I went back to him to get my final mark for the course. As it turned out, he’d lost one of my older projects entirely and marked it down that I’d never handed it in, bringing my mark down a considerable amount as it was worth a lot. I went back to him to inquire and he told me to resend it to him by email that night. It was imperative I maintained an 80% in English for my enrolment at university in the fall. I was actually worried. That was a new for me.

I came home from school that day and he’d written me an email to ascertain that I had gotten a good mark and that he didn’t need to review the assignment:

It read: You write good essays. You deserve it.

I never went back to see him. I wanted his last words to remain his last. That I write good. That I deserved it.

I guess my lit reviews are also a tribute to him. Hopefully, through this, I can maintain his belief about literature. I believe that I do.

The Ground Floor

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I’m not a flake.

I realize it’s been about a month…maybe more, I don’t like counting. It’s not that I had no inspiration either, or that I wasn’t reading other blogs (I’m always reading, everything and anything. You guys interest me more than you know). It’s just that I hadn’t had the time. And I don’t believe in putting down quick words without a real thought.

You deserve more than that.

So, on the incredulous notion that I’ve been only thinking about you in my brief but oh so long…sabbatical…we’ll call it, let’s get back on track shall we?

This post is about The Ground Floor. The Ground Floor is this space right next to my building that cohorts one of the most luxurious memberships only. Better than being a Daughter of the Nile or a Freemason or a member of Mensa.

Or so it would seem.

I have no idea what they do down there. The Ground Floor is seemingly this wide space where talented people meet up to…well, I’m not sure. Some days they play instruments, classical music that floats down the street and catches your attention. Other times they stand in a circle and just talk. Sometimes they’re doing origami. Overall, it would seem that they all just band together to produce creativity, one of the most generative spots that I have ever crossed by accident.

I found out about The Ground Floor one day in the summer as I walked by when they were practicing music outside. Their space is all glass so it’s hard to hide what goes on in there. But as I walked by, I smiled to say hello, not wanting to disturb them. I went on not caring.

Few days later I walked by The Ground Floor on my way home and saw inside their space. There were no tables or chairs I surmised, but rather things– unclear decorations that dangled from the ceiling, streamers that fell from the halogen lights. A map of the world hung up against one of the walls. The smallest of desks was pushed into the corner, smaller than you’d see in an elementary school, with a work lamp and a laptop that barely fit on it. I had it in my head that next time I saw one of their members, I’d ask them.

It took a few weeks until I saw one of them again. I was walking with Gracie, my sister, and asked her if she knew what happened there. She shrugged. A woman I’d seen there before, with a tallish stance and always in a turtleneck and skirt, was smoking outside. I waved, she smiled, I asked her what The Ground Floor was and she gave me a little shrug, tossed her cigarette on the ground and went on back inside.

So you see, this is evidently an organization with a certain image to maintain. A certain secret.

I’m dying to know what it is. There’s something about them, the group of people who all band together on sporadic nights to share their creativity, something that seems so rare and valuable that I sort of find myself in both envy and awe when I walk by.

It’s officially become one of my missions.

A shrug can hold many meanings I learned that day.

The Day of All Days.

Peugeot Onxy, my love.

Peugeot Onxy, my love.

My goodness, the question of all questions has been asked. What would you do on your day off? Well, if it was truly a day off, I’ve a solid answer for it.

Sparkles.

I hate sparkles. The entirety of my dislike revolves around the notion that I hate sequins and feel that they are the tackiest thing a girl could put on. They are an abomination.

But back to the concept of still or sparkling. A still day would still shimmer with sparkles, for if it does not it’s not a true day off. That being said, in this relative sense, I’d need my day to sparkle.

Go figure, as if A Sophisticate would ever not be doing something. Viktor claims it’s a sickness. That I don’t know how to not think of things to do.

But when the world’s quite literally at her fingertips, then what’s a girl to do?

The day would begin with visiting a new spot. Anywhere in the world. France, Romania, England. The second would be making a friend in that new spot. I feel it a necessary tradition when visiting a new spot, as the memory would grow fonder in my mind.

Next: the ballet.

Afterwards, a classical concert. Did you know that I’ve only ever been to one classical concert in my life? I scarcely remember it at all as well, because I was too little.

Then I believe I’d attend a car show. I absolutely adore luxury vehicles. The one of choice right now is the new F-type Coupe.

Also, my favourite concept car is the Peugeot Onyx. Heather says I’m odd for daydreaming about cars. I always get distracted in the middle of a conversation because a sleek Maserati would slip by and I just gape, slack-jawed at it until she snaps her fingers and asks me what I’m looking at. It’s much comparable to a dog with a bone.

Anyway, back to the day of all days: reality.

If I had none of these things at my disposal (which, honestly, I don’t), I’d spend my day off in a decent bookstore and build a fort with my favourite books and climb inside and read Shakespeare aloud in different, animated voices.

Why, you dare ask?

It’s my day off. Don’t judge me.

Sparkling or Still

Bob the Barista.

Who is this man?

Who is this man?

There are certain people in my life that upon meeting I just think “You are something special.”. In some cases it’s attraction on a romantic level, but in most cases, it’s just plain interest. It can happen with anyone to be honest. I have it with people on the street that I only glance at for the briefest of moments. But this moment induces some sort of alertness in me, and I end up wondering about that person. I don’t wonder about a lot of people. I know people want to believe I do, but I don’t. I’d rather not think about you unless you choose to share whatever’s going on with your life to me properly. Otherwise…I tend to live in my mind by my own accord.

Bob the Barista is just plain interest. Bob the Barista has worked at the same Starbucks since what feels like forever now (perhaps longer than five years). I’m interested in him. Perhaps it’s because he’s acquired a hipster beard since before it became trendy or perhaps it’s because he’s worked there long enough to finally catch my eye. Either way, Bob exists in my mind and I’m not sure why.

Bob the Barista is a poet. Bob also has a real name, but I don’t care to know it. Once I nickname people it’s really hard for them to break out of that namesake. I number people too, but maybe that will come up another time. Bob is an art student. Bob has a girlfriend who sports a short bob, coincidentally. Bob is in his late-twenties and knows how I like my name spelt. Aside from that, Bob really knows nothing about me.

Or so I think. He’s almost always there for mine and Heather’s Starbucks dates and is always seen in the background wiping down tables or helping other customers. He can be compared to a extra in a sitcom. Just there for the movements in the background. But it wouldn’t exactly surprise me if he knew details about me because of it. We’re loud enough, and we visit often. At the very least Bob knows my name.

I wonder about Bob. I’m not so sure what poets do exactly. I figure they sit on windowsills and stare out into the rain with a pad and pen I suppose. Yeah, that seems…poetic. I know the rain puts me in one of those moods. Heather says I’m not allowed to strike up a conversation with him because she thinks “it’s wierd”. I don’t think she realizes how hard that is to refrain from that exactly, especially considering what I know about him. I just want to be able to walk into my favourite Starbucks and say “Hey Bob, what’s up?” And he’ll reply with something fitting and ask me if I want my usual.

I think every customer deserves that bond with their favourite barista.

Maybe then I’d use his real name. It’s hard to say. What gets me about this the most is that Bob doesn’t realize that there’s an interest in Bob. He probably just goes about his life attending poetry slams with his soccer mom girlfriend.

So here’s to the Starbucks barista who doesn’t realize he exists–Bob the Barista.

Who is Bob the Barista? And what kind of life does he live exactly?

Self-worth for Sale

I hear tattoos are supposed to increase your self-worth. Something about choosing an image to remain permanent on your skin for the rest of your life is said to–I don’t know–increase your oxytocin levels or something of that matter. I can likely say I won’t ever get a tattoo. Why? Because I can never imagine marring my skin like that. No image is better than the real image. No message is better than the one seen in plain sight. So why on earth do people get tattoos?

The same reason people smoke. The same reason hipsters stretch ghastly holes in their earlobes. The same reason I deliberately wave to the person behind the stranger walking toward me. To feel badass, or important. Haven’t you ever done that? If not, then perhaps you should test it out. It’s quite powerful, and in all honesty I do it for fun. The person just about jerks when they see you waving, and their eyes get a little testy before they flush and realize it wasn’t for them. They lower their heads and walk on past as if nothing happened.

Perhaps that is quite crude for me to do. But I do get bored. What’s a girl to do when she forgets to bring her novel from home?

I enjoy mind games. They entertain me on my long walks to school and back. For about forty mins, I can make people look where I want them to look, make people do double-takes with an odd face, make people point a finger back at themselves in confusion. In a city that walks everywhere, it’s hardly likely you’ll ever see that stranger again. And by the time you reach home, it’s a ephemeral moment lost in your time-stream. And theirs. Least that’s how I rationalize it.

I’m quite the prankster, obviously.

If self-worth was that cheap, we’d live in a manic world.
Wait a second…we already do.

Oil and Vinegar

Oil and water make nothing beautiful when put together. So, let’s make some salad dressing instead. Also water tends to be flat, unless infused with some berries or cucumbers or something of the sort, making it relatively unfitting for my life. There are no flat people in my life. I don’t keep bad company. One thing I pride myself on is knowing when to close doors.

You might’ve read If I stay by Gayle Forman. If not there’s a movie out now based on the book that is also worth while. In it the main character categorizes people quite smartly. There are two types of people in the world. People who drink real coffee and people who drink the sugary latte drinks. Heather is among the latter, and I’m the first.

So perhaps oil and vinegar don’t even fit.

She’s the person in my life who’s most unlike me. We argue over everything. She’s a cat person, I’m a dog person. She watches what she refers to as “TLC crap”(AKA reality television) and I watch shows based off history. She listens to pop music on the radio, I prefer the more obscure bands. Point is, we have a difference of opinion on basically everything.

She’s not a sophisticate, however.

So then how exactly are we friends? Gracie has this way of describing when two people can be around each other as “operating on the same wavelength”. I suppose that’s what we do. She knows me better than I know myself most times. We grew up with each other and both agree that modern art is a hoax.

Every week we set time apart to have what we call a “Starbucks Date”. Basically we just go get coffee, but to us it’s so much more. A breath of fresh air after a long week. She orders a sugary drink (I think she’s moved on to some raspberry refresher. Her staple is usually a chai tea latte), and I grab a tall Pike with nothing in it. We sit down at our spot and hours pass until we decide a long drive through the trees is a good way to end the hangout. Since she goes to school closer to where I used to live, she still lives with her parents in my old town. That means I only see her when I’m visiting on the weekends. Or unless I pull one of our ‘secret sleepovers’ which is what I’m doing tomorrow. Basically I come home and just hang around her place, not even letting my parents know I’m in town. It’s a good way to unwind and I do it every so often to recharge.

See what I mean when I say my life is something like a book? There are characters in my life. Events. Relationships. That’s one of the reasons I began A Sophisticate. Just seemed…odd that I had this story right in front of me and no one else could access it.

 

 

 

 

 

 
Oil, Meet Water

The Man in the Bookstore

This post is about the man in the bookstore.

It’s no secret that I love books. Lately, I’ve strayed from my usual reads to go back and explore what made me fall in love with reading. So I went to the first book that really made a change in me. I understood it in comic books for little boys, but I didn’t quite think I could ever capture the concept of…well, superheros. Batman to be more precise.

Somehow in my high school days I’d picked up a copy of the book Batman Begins by Dennis O’Neill. It is indeed the novelization of the movie. But I hadn’t seen the movie at the time either, and everything I knew about Batman (basically that he acquired a butler with a fanciful name and a sleek ride) was from cartoons that I’d flipped through as a little girl. Anyway, the book struck me for the simple reason that Bruce Wayne was human. And that he was selfless, for the most part.

It made me wonder. I do love it when things make me wonder. People usually don’t. Concepts and history do. I hold the story dear to me for that reason.

Anyway, a few days earlier I made a trip to the bookstore in search for a copy of this novel so that I could have it at my disposal for whenever I wanted to flip through it. That was when a man stopped me as I searched through the aisles.

Truthfully, I didn’t want to be bothered. Once I have an idea of what I want, I don’t appreciate interruptions.

I have this concept of a knight. Every girl does, in her own way. Mine’s because the knight is a reoccurring motif in my life, but that’s for another time.

Either way, I wasn’t the slightest bit fazed by him. He clearly didn’t carry any honour. He tried chatting me up, and in the beginning I allowed him to speak, thinking he’d wander off in a moment. He didn’t. He began to tell me about his impressive life, eyes growing wide when he explained he had a top-dollar job in the downtown core and a stable career ahead of him. As if to impress me. I couldn’t help but think this creep was going wife-shopping in a bookstore.

It irks me that people believe in marriage. Not that their love isn’t real. But rather that I don’t think I could love the same man for the rest of my life.

He scared me, but also annoyed me a little with his pompous tales.

So what did I do?

Naturally, I concocted a story about how horrible my life was. About how I wasn’t studying anything that was bound to get me a career and that I held no job title.

I watched the light slowly fade from his eyes. From interest to disgust. Now he felt about me the way I felt about him. He still asked for my number. Overkill, he was. I didn’t give him the right one. In truth though, I’d do the same. I’m not dazzled by a good status and five-year plans. What I really admire is people who aren’t bound by society’s constricts. And people who deviate from the norm.

He made me realize that about myself even more.

Honour, that’s not something you learn about in school.

And I still never found that copy….

It think that’s what irks me the most about this occurrence.