it's a sad day for sure

I know seasonal affective disorder has hit when I start getting bored with everything. When Instagram accounts I used to love make me roll my eyes; when I go from animated to buck tired in seconds; when I start watching tv all the time. I have been watching a lot of tv. Like waking up and watching tv before I brush my teeth a lot. And unlike watching tv when I’m in a fun mood, it’s mostly felt like a drag. I’ve watched things I’ve enjoyed — Unbelievable, Fleabag, a few episodes of Modern Love — but not with any real joy. Not with the kind of joy that makes television criticism seem like an exciting career. I’ve been in a pretty comfy school hole for two weeks and after hitting a very dramatic bump this past weekend (it involved ugly crying and three hours on FaceTime) I feel drained. One of the most exhausting parts of school for me right now is feeling like I’m putting in the work and not feeling any smarter or wiser. It’s frustrating because this is not a new feeling and I’m not sure what I could do to get over it. In The Story of A New Name, the second novel in Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan series, the narrator expresses the feeling of reading and gaining facts, yet feeling that you are not knowledgeable in the way it matters. She says: “I recognized in them what I had never had and, I now knew, would always lack. What was it? I wasn't able to say precisely: the training, perhaps, to feel that the questions of the world were deeply connected to me; the capacity to feel them as crucial and not purely as information to display at an exam; a mental conformation that didn't reduce everything to my own individual battle, to the effort to be successful.” Thinking about the book, I wrote a note in my phone: will I ever know enough? And furthermore, will I ever be good enough? I love learning but so much of knowledge is about expressing it, is about being able to talk about it. So much of the time I feel like I’m talking in fragments, using vaguely understood concepts in incorrect ways. I feel like no matter how much I read, no matter how much I analyze, I will always be missing something.

consumption report

The one Twitter couldn’t stop talking about: Adam Driver in the New Yorker. He claims not to know what ‘toxic masculinity’ is about.

The one I’m going to see live: loving the Kate Bush energy that fka twigs’ mary magdalene is giving me, especially “sad day”.

The one that made me laugh: Condé Nast employees really care about their fancy snacks.

The Timothée Chalamet one: I would not recommend The King but cackling at Robert Pattinson’s French accent is worth putting this on in the background

The Days of Abandonment

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I'm not sure when I decided that I had to read an Elena Ferrante novel. I had been clued into the hype for a long time--EVERYBODY recommended her My Brilliant Friend series, but I didn't find myself falling for the hype. It was just another thing people loved to talk about just to talk about, like avocado toast or Snapchat filters. But then, Gabby Noone,nail polish influencer and my idol, mentioned that she had just finished the first book in the MBF series and all of a sudden I was like, all over that shit. I decided to read a book outside of the series, just incase I didn't love it and then I wouldn't feel obligated to finish the series. I grabbed Days of Abandonment when I went to the Strand (!!) which gives it an extra element of specialness.

The book took me longer to finish than expected; it's barely 200 pages but is so intense, the emotion so tangible that I had to take a break from it for a few days. The book is about a woman named Olga, whose husband one day declares that he's leaving her and is gone so quickly, I could barely close my mouth from the shock. The abandonment completely overtakes Olga and she is submerged in a haze of feelings she can't comprehend. She becomes disconnected from her body, her life, her children. and as she seeks to understand her husband's choices and her future without him, she falls deeper and deeper into abandonment. 

One of the most difficult parts of reading the book was that Olga's feelings were so intense, so raw, that the more she descended into abandonment, the more I felt as if I was losing grip with myself. There were moments when I want to grab Olga and shake her and scream at her; I felt like doing the same to myself. Ferrante writes as if she is laying everything bare and it's rare to experience such emotion in words. When I read the last page of Days of Abandonment I felt exhausted--like I'd been caught in some rapids and barely made it. That's how books should make you feel, isn't it?