Lost and Found

Hello Readers!

So, remember when I was lamenting the loss of some of my books in progress? I just found one of them again yesterday! It’s Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, and I have just finished reading it. I believe I started it quite a while back, I mean, perhaps as far back as September or October even.

However, I sadly lost it just as things were getting really exciting in the storyline, and here’s the reason why: I’m a book sleeper- I have always liked to read before bed, and in graduate school I developed a (bad? Or Good?) habit of keeping my books close at hand, piled on the side of the bed in heaps. That worked pretty well when I had a bed on the floor, but apparently it does not work so well when the bed is raised.

Very nice tree. I really just wanted to post a tree picture 😉

I found the book tucked away under my bed, amongst a few other items I have been searching for, some for months. Next time I lose a book, I am looking here first.

Will be back with a review for you soon about this novel! I am also curious to know your experiences with books before sleep. Do you leave your books piled on your bed? Do you have a bookshelf next to your bed? I am looking for some strategies for managing this better in the future, and will hopefully be able to continue my reading habits of many at a time, without losing more of my books.

Best,

Miss E

 

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Working in Seattle

Hello everyone! Hope your Tuesday/Wednesday is going well.

Lately I have been reading blogs that have “Wordless Wednesdays.” Have you ever heard of that? It’s when blogs have a series of pictures, or one picture instead of a prose post.

I do not think I’ll start doing Wordless Wednesdays, but I did want to share some fun pics I took of writing in Seattle yesterday with you. Nothing serious today- just fun Seattle sunshine and latte art from a place you should definitely check out- Zoka coffee shop.

The Space Needle with sun in Seattle

Love it when the sun comes out in Seattle!

With the flash!

Different angle- no flash.

Love the new pattern.

about 1/2 the way through

Ah, I love my coffee while writing. It makes me more productive, although I usually don’t order lattes. Just regular black coffee. I am also very glad to have finally found a few places that serve delicious lattes (although coffee is everywhere here, truly great coffee shops are bizarrely difficult to find in Seattle, which shocks me). Zoka definitely makes one of the best lattes I’ve ever had in my lifetime.

In other good news, these pictures were all taken with my cell phone camera, as are many of the ones I post here. If you have a larger screen, you might be grossed out by the poor image quality/ pixels. However, my wonderful friend gave me an old Nikon digital camera yesterday. As you might have guessed, I will use it to take pictures, and will then post those (way better than cell phone quality) pictures to the blog! I’m very excited about it, and hope that it will make your reading experience better.

Do you drink coffee while writing?  Something else? Nothing at all?

Let me know if you have any suggestions!

Cheers,

Miss E

Definition of Hegemony

Last Thursday I met with a brilliant new student. She is working on a paper for the novel 1984, and wanted to bounce ideas off of me. It was very fun, because she had so many wonderful ideas already. She was talking about George Orwell’s rejection of totalitarianism throughout the book, but had many questions she was just dying to explore the answers to. Unfortunately, she is only a junior in high school, and her paper is only supposed to be 3-4 pages. Working with her made me want to go back to graduate school though. It was so refreshing to have that type of conversation with someone so young, who has so many ideas and questions. She was also very excited to learn a new vocabulary word during our session- hegemony.

Photo Credit: netcharles.com (cited in the hyperlink above)

After she learned about hegemony and how she could use it while conceptualizing her paper, she smiled and said, “I like that word” before typing furiously for ten minutes on her computer. I was glad to know that learning a new word like that could help inspire her writing so much. It was a very cool moment. I know I have mentioned hegemony here before, but I am not sure it really gets used very often in regular conversations, so I have decided to define it for you as well.

Hegemony, as I understand it, means the oppression of others by a larger dominant, overarching (and widely accepted) force that creates a structure of sameness and difference. All societies have hegemony, and the tools to create what is deemed “normal” often belongs to the people/ entities in power. Hegemony can be both cultural and political, and its presence can be seen in books, movies, and society as a whole, since a small percentage of the population controls what movies are made, which books are published, and who wins elections.

One small group of people, usually the ones with the most money or political influence, can influence the way the society as a whole thinks and acts, even if they are perhaps acting against their best interests as individuals. Perhaps the easiest example of hegemony at work is in media portrayals of “average” people, ethnicities, places, politicians, love interests, gender identities, religions, music, rituals, and cultural practices.

Here is an interesting article that discusses hegemony’s role in relation to media theory which might interest you.

In our conversation, my student and I were discussing Orwell’s subversion of hegemony. Totalitarianism tries to enforce and reinforce a strict hegemonic culture from which to work from. Any variance must be destroyed so that people don’t question, don’t think, and certainly don’t make connections with each other independent of the state.

A very fun light from Spa Envy in Seattle- a group of people I have made individual connections with 🙂

In many ways, I like to consider this blog as a variance from hegemony. My interests include things that the hegemonic parts of Western culture accepts, like Jane Austen, but this blogging project also builds various connections with others based on individual interpretation and experiences. That, to me, does subvert hegemonic influence in many ways, and has been one of the primary benefits of the internet.

What do you think? If you have any more examples of hegemony in our modern times?

Happy Sunday,

Miss E

Art of Writing

This will be a short post, but happy Saturday/ Sunday depending on your location!

I just saw this quote, and wanted to share it with you because I thought it was beautiful:

“The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.” ― Gustave Flaubert

Do you agree with Flaubert?

This has been true in my experience. That is one of the reasons I have wanted to get back to writing for myself (see post about Writer’s March). For example, I had no idea I was so interested in gender until I had an imperative to write hundreds of pages, and the topic kept coming up as one of my main focuses.

For those of you who voted to see more movie and book reviews here, just rented quite a few literary movies from Scarecrow Video, and also that I have purchased the book, “Jane Austen Made Me Do It,” since Austenprose Blogger Laurel Ann Nattress edited it, and I keep seeing it on every Austen inspired book blog I encounter. I’ll review it here someday in the future.

I also wanted to alert you to the Looking for Pemberley Facebook page. If you “like” the page, you can get updates as to articles of interest, and I often post “writing songs of the day” there as well.

Here is a photo that makes my heart happy, and that has inspired one of my personal writing goals for the night:

That was a good day 🙂

Talk soon,
Miss E

What makes a man a man?

Last weekend I saw Le Faux, a drag impersonation show at Julia’s on Broadway in Seattle. The show was incredible, and was definitely the best show I think I have ever seen. There were so many artists portrayed, the dancing was incredible, and the host of the show, Jinx Monsoon, was amazing.

Here is a slideshow of the event!

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The entire show was outstanding, and I loved every minute of every performance. Pink was definitely a badass, and one of my favorites, and there was very awesome rope dancing as well!

The best moment, in my opinion, came to the was when Isaac Scott, who had also played Pink! performed the moving song, “What Makes a Man a Man?” The number began with full drag, and throughout the song the wig comes off, makeup is removed, and he is down to his boxers.

It was incredibly powerful as an example of the performativity of gender, and the lyrics of the song were so impactful in part because they were directly relevant to the experience of the performers in the show. This song really created a moment of audience awareness to important political issues surrounding gender identity, sexual orientation, and the stage life. It especially highlighted the specific struggles of those in drag impersonation performance who are also gay men. I was crying by the end of the song. It was incredibly moving, and I would be shocked if others were not moved as well.

Here is a Youtube video of the song (not the same as the performer I saw, but similar style):

Here are the lyrics in print as well:

“My mum and I we live alone
A great apartment is our home
In Fairhome Towers
I have to keep me company
Two dogs, a cat, a parakeet
Some plants and flowers
I help my mother with the chores
I wash, she dries, I do the floors
We work together
I shop and cook and sow a bit
Though mum does too I must admit
I do it better
At night I work in a strange bar
Impersonating every star
I’m quite deceiving
The customers come in with doubt
And wonder what I’m all about
But leave believing
I do a very special show
Where I am nude from head to toe
After stripteasing
Each night the men look so surprised
I change my sex before their eyes
Tell me if you can
What makes a man a man
At 3 o’clock or so I meet
With friends to have a bite to eat
And conversation
We love to empty out our hearts
With every subject from the arts
To liberation
We love to pull apart someone
And spread some gossip just for fun
Or start a rumour
We let our hair down, so to speak
And mock ourselves with tongue-in-cheek
And inside humour
So many times we have to pay
For having fun and being gay
It’s not amusing
There’s always those that spoil our games
By finding fault and calling names
Always accusing
They draw attention to themselves
At the expense of someone else
It’s so confusing
Yet they make fun of how I talk
And imitate the way I walk
Tell me if you can
What makes a man a man
My masquerade comes to an end
And I go home to bed again
Alone and friendless
I close my eyes, I think of him
I fantasise what might have been
My dreams are endless
We love each other but it seems
The love is only in my dreams
It’s so one sided
But in this life I must confess
The search for love and happiness
Is unrequited
I ask myself what I have got
Of what I am and what I’m not
What have I given
The answers come from those who make
The rules that some of us must break
Just to keep living
I know my life is not a crime
I’m just a victim of my time
I stand defense-less
Nobody has the right to be
The judge of what is right for me
Tell me if you can
What make a man a man
Tell me if you can
Tell me if you can
Tell me if you can
What makes a man a man”

So, what makes a man a man? A woman a woman? Attraction? Hopefully this sparks some food for thought. Have a great weekend.

Miss E

Flat Ruthie and I

I had some adventures this week with “Flat Ruthie.” She is like Flat Stanley, if you have ever heard of that trend.

Check out the post (mostly pictures) over at Cardboard me! *(There is a link to Flat Ruthie Info here!)

She has a great idea, travelling the world and having adventures with all kinds of people in all kinds of places. Pretty fun!

Cheers,

Miss E

****So, after getting a few reader questions, I have posted links to more info about the Flat Stanley and Flat Ruthie for you all 🙂 This was my first experience with a “Flat” anybody, and I would highly recommend trying it- twas a lot of fun!

Excited to See “Emma, The Musical”

Hello readers! Happy Wednesday!

Tonight I am going to see the theater adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma with a meetup group I joined a while back. It should be a fun night, and I am very excited about it.

I read a review of the musical today that was not so enthusiastic.

Photo credit: Charles McNulty

It was also not a diatribe. The reviewer was ambivalent about performance he saw  but I am still excited to see it!

The one I’m going to see is a student performace, and after reading the reviews surrounding it, I don’t have any great expectations.

I do love Jane Austen, and I also love musicals, so this seems like a wonderful combination.

Since I started blogging, I have learned about so many more adaptations than I had ever seen or heard of before, and I count that as a major benefit.

Once I see the “Musical and Romantic Comedy,” I will certainly share my opinion of it here with you!

Best,

Miss E