Archive for ‘Inspiring Bits’

September 2, 2014

When the daugther of the sea rises up to the air…

But a mermaid has no tears, and therefore she suffers so much more.

Andersen’s The Little Mermaid is a beautiful tale of love and sacrifice. I guess many will disagree with me but I always thought that there was something very empowering in the little mermaid’s struggle to be with her prince.

There is a tendency I observe in society that either puts women on a pedestal or debases them to the point of elimination. It is clear in either scenario that the woman is not considered a human-being, let alone one that is equal to the man. We are all familiar with the second scenario from the different kinds of violence all women suffer on a daily basis. But in the first scenario, the woman is claimed to be well-respected. This might be one of the greatest delusions of society. Women are loved, hated, praised, shamed, adored, etc. but they are not respected. Respect is reserved for man only. Those who claim great respect for women often merely regard them as a precious object to be admired, possessed and enjoyed. The woman is not even granted the benefit of the doubt that she might have an opinion and feelings of her own. Consequently, she is not given any choices. She doesn’t have a voice.

In the tale, the little mermaid saves the prince’s life in a storm that breaks out on the sea. How often do we come across a female assuming an active role and saving a male’s life in fiction? Later she decides to abandon her life under the sea to follow her heart. She strikes a deal with the sea witch to have legs in return for her beautiful voice. She is to suffer with each step she takes as she walks on land but she will be able to dance and glide more gracefully than anyone. So the minute she loses her voice, the tables are turned. Only the reader knows the lengths the little mermaid has gone to earn her prince’s love. The prince is enthralled by her beauty and overwhelmed by her devotion. But that’s it. It doesn’t occur to him to find out about her mind or her feelings.

But still it is refreshing to read a love story ending in tears (actually it doesn’t end with tears but I won’t get into the immortal soul bit) where the heroine gives up everything and yet can’t be with her prince rather than a love story with a happy ending where the hero gets to be with the princess who does nothing but exist like an empty shell.

May 5, 2013

An outpouring of Tori

I can’t remember how old I was when I discovered Tori Amos, but it must be around the time I was attending middle school. It feels as if my whole existence, everything I am today, was shaped during those three years. Anyway, I stumbled upon her Strange Little Girl music video on VH1 and I liked her instantly. I can see now why I liked her. The song was good, the song title appealed to me, it was a woman singing, she had an oddly pretty name and I had never heard of her.

So I looked her up on the internet and started buying her albums. I liked her music but unlike now, I didn’t fall in love with it at that time. I was (and am still not) never a fan of the piano. Strings > Piano. Always. Period. But something about her music, her fiery red hair, her not-so-pretty face, that ever-mocking expression on her face told me that I would like this woman. Very much.

But it was really hard for me to achieve that at that time. Me, a teenage girl from Turkey who spoke intermediate English, had very little in common with Tori. And I am a person who finds comfort in familiarity. She was singing from the bottom of her heart, I could feel that, but I understood nothing from her lyrics (I still don’t most of the time).

Around that time, I had tried to read Tori Amos: All These Years: The Authorized Biography by Kalen Rogers. I finally read it last year and realized why Tori had seemed so distant to me even when she was put into words by others. Here’s one example:

…Dr. Amos recalls, “the first time I told Tori the Christmas story, she asked me what would have happened if Joseph had emerged from the manger shouting ‘Wow! It’s a girl!'”

There is no way, I could have understood this reference at that time.

On top of all this, I was shocked when I found out that she was a rape survivor. Another huge gap. The idea made me very uncomfortable, scared and curious at the same time. I remember being kind of like a nun at that time. I had a very strict no-swearing policy. And I had resented a lot when I had heard her swear in some of her songs. For some some weird reason, I had thought that she should certainly not swear using sexual slurs because she had gone through something so horrible. Silly me…

But I think I must have liked her enough to go to her concert in Istanbul in 2005. It was just around the time The Beekeeper was released. My mom had accompanied me. She was no fan but neither were any of my friends and it was obvious that I wasn’t going alone. I remember being very excited because, for the first time in my life, I was going to a concert because I wanted to. I wasn’t accompanying anyone and it was my music that was going to be played.

So naturally, I cried when she appeared on stage. It was a rather short concert because towards the end, something happened to Tori and she rushed backstage. I think she got an electric shock from one of the devices there. She came back a few minutes later and played Silent All These Years as the final song. No encore. Later I queued behind the people trying to get backstage. I remember two girls holding her CDs and begging the bodyguards to let them in because they had come all the way from Greece. Of course they didn’t allow any of us backstage and I was too shy to try to sneak inside unnoticed. I know I could do it and my mom was urging me on from afar. After seeing at least three Turkish celebrities pass by me to the backstage, I started shouting “Tori! Tori! Tori!” and was astonished when the crowd of fans surrounding me joined in. But we could not go in.

After that I stopped listening to Tori. I’m not sure why. I guess I was embarrassed by the way I acted during the concert. I remember thinking to myself that I should have known my place and not tried to go backstage. I thought it was only right that a fan would want to see her idol and I was touched that all the other fans started started cheering along with me but I felt guilty over the whole thing. This incident is a perfect example of how awkward I was as during my teens. I was overflowing with feeling over the things I loved and, at the same time, constantly trying to contain myself. And when I couldn’t I felt ashamed. So I must have felt rejected by this whole experience and given that I could in no way relate to Tori let alone understand any of the things she was singing about, I gave up.

Wow… I think this is the first time I put these feelings into words. Weird how liberating a blog can be.

So yeah, Tori was a fascination, an enigma that everybody except me could understand. Yet no matter how unapproachable she seemed she was very… female. I think I sensed and was struck by the feminine in her at that time.

And today? I think it is safe to say that she is one of my favorite musicians. I still don’t understand her lyrics (I don’t even understand her interviews sometimes), we are still worlds apart but she’s somehow closer to me than she was before. Close enough that I can say that she is part of my world, she is one of the things that I would use to identify myself like The Rose of Versailles or the Harry Potter books. Having started listening to her again last year after such a long time, I also discovered how she has shaped my taste in music. For example, I like it when the music starts calmly and gradually builds up and climaxes as the whole orchestra starts playing. Sound familiar in let’s say Yes, Anastasia, Pretty Good Year and Precious Things?

So yes, I can say that I love everything about Tori. Needless to say, this blog is named after one of her songs. But okay, maybe I’m no fan of her earlier music videos that much, but I love her looks, her image, her dreamy and distant expression, what she represents, the way she gives lengthy explanations during her interviews with long pauses in-between, the way she rolls out the word “girl” and the way Code Red starts so dramatically after Programmable Soda.

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January 3, 2013

Fancypants grammarian owl tee

Who vs. Whom t-shirt

-Whoo. Whoooo. Who.
-Whom. It’s whom. I’m a fancypants grammarian owl, so blah blah blah… the difference between subjective and objective pronouns… blah blah blah… pedantic grammar rant… whom. The proper usage is whom.
-*owl eye roll* Who. Whoooo. Who.

Couldn’t stop laughing when I StumbledUpon this one at One Horse Shy. That’s my cup of tee. Ahahahaaaa! Oh, stop it you!

November 7, 2012

Yeah, really why?

Cartoon by Bestie. Couldn’t have expressed it better… That is the wonderful feeling of being immersed in a romance novel.

October 30, 2012

Santa Giovanna d’Arco

Joan of Arc statue in Rome

I spent kurban bayram in Italy with friends. On our last day in Rome, I came across this statue while looking for the Aventine Keyhole. We were on a hurry to visit all the places on our list before airport transfer so I didn’t really pause to have good look around. But the expression on the statue’s face caught my eye. She looked so serene in her simplicity. Later I got one of my friends to take a picture of me with it imitating the same expression (no, I won’t post it here because I failed miserably). It’s only now as I thought of posting it here that I zoomed in to look for a name. “Santa Giovanna d’Arco” is the inscription. I ran a search on Google images and there you have it… It’s Joan of Arc pronounced in Italian. One really should treasure life’s little serendipities such as this one. I have always liked the character of Joan of Arc ever since I found out about it because her character might have been an inspiration for Rose of Versailles‘ Oscar. I was fascinated by her story, which resulted in a small obsession phase including encyclopedia searches and watching movie (directed by Luc Besson) and TV (starring Leelee Sobieski) adaptations. And years later, in the most unlikely place and time, I found myself drawn to her statue without knowing its identity. I feel like I should be grateful. I really am.

October 12, 2012

She walks in beauty…

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellow’d to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

This is the song that plays at the beginning of the movie Vanity Fair, starring Reese Witherspoon. It features the first verse of Lord Byron’s famous poem She walks in beauty.

I’m not at all big on poetry but this… is simply beautiful. Although this is a well-known poem, it’s new to me since I’m no scholar on literature. But it just is too beautiful for me to ignore together with the haunting melody and the soft voice of Sissel. It fits perfectly to my current mood which is a state of constant daze influenced by the historical romance novels I’m reading. It sets off my imagination. I try to create a scene in my mind. What sort of sight or fantasy would inspire such fascination? Would mesmerize what sort of man to reflect that emotion so beautifully? Could its beauty be truly equal to the verse’s? It’s so inspiring that one can write an entire story out of this mere verse. Oh, no! Don’t look at me :D So far I only came up with a simple music video.

September 24, 2012

junipaurora as “she”

She’s a girl, rising from a shell
Running to spring
It is her time, it is her time
Watch her run with ribbons undone

“Ribbons Undone” by Tori Amos (from The Beekeeper)