PEC:C9

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eye contact

This chapter discusses eye contact as it pertains to love/relationship intimacy. A noted professional (relationship counselor) mentioned a belief that the cycle of interpersonal intimacy is a perpetual “coming together and drawing apart”. By her observation, relationships that lack intimacy lack eye contact, and vice verse..that we are often found seeking, when our partner “seeks not”. She also highlights the disparity between the amount of still, potent eye contact we receive as infants (too young to speak) and what we experience as adults in the “grownup” world..

Immediately I thought of my new nephew who I helped babysit a few days ago. Her point is well made. Often all there is have to do with him is to connect with the eyes, almost as if I cant draw myself away, whereas among peers – it would seem as if there is too much to lose.. or maybe even gain(?) It’s an odd little reality I (up until now) had no reason to acknowledge.

The chapter ends with a story about a blind man who received sight after 30 some odd years. He recounted looking into someones eyes shortly after and losing the ability to speak – later wondering how people with sight even make it throughout their day..

Go figure.

sah

 

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DMAW:C13

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menandwomen

 

Political Correctness. This has been one of my most treasured chew toys these days. Whether or not I prefer something discussed in certain terms, do I save room for honesty? Do I even care?

The author of this essay (Jayne Ann Krentz) tackles the critique romantic literature has received since its inception.  It would seem there has been a push in recent years (recent, to its 1992 publication date) to tame the aforementioned beast, among all other manner…reportedly to no avail. From the aggressively charged atypical alpha male to his traditionally virginal target, swept in the heat of passion, everything has come under fire and survived – which would say a lot about our nature, or at least the nature of our fantasies..

About said passion she makes an interesting point: although the conquering of the heroine is often perceived as bordering on rape – there is a distinct parallel in romances of any genre. Usually, interestingly enough, the seducer – in mysteries, sci-fi, you name it – is female. Most other areas of fiction feature a male lead, succumbing to (or at least deterred by) a siren. One immediately begins to think of our present day teacher-student scandals. It should come as no surprise to anyone, given a reversal of roles, our initial impression of an affair changes. Whereas no other genre is questioned about this, romantic lit is routinely attacked for what would be standard seduction anywhere else. Solely, it would seem, because of she who is being seduced. This is simply at odds with our “newer” sense of what is right – to say. Our pocketbooks, however (a more than loaded term, in this instance), would argue otherwise. One is left to wonder why..

I can remember many conversations with past lovers in which I was exclusively identified as the aggressor. Exclusively. As if there where no doing on the part of my partner – and she would insist upon this as I sat in awe of her convenient amnesia. In light of this essay, it actually makes a lot of sense. The author cites our inherent desire to identify with the treasure more-so than the treasure hunter – even though romantic fiction serves up its reader the rare opportunity to vicariously be both. As attested to in the previous essay, there is something deep within our legacy of romantic myth that insists upon a very particular order to our fantasies. And the woman, for fantasy sake, must be a target of her aggressive captor – were she to ever enjoy “taming” him in the final act.

Another aspect criticized, was the virginal state of said target. According to this essay – the oft used virginity of the heroine, exists most importantly as a metaphor for the completeness of a woman’s trans-formative power (one should note, hymens can break platonically).  It is not that sex corrupts her (which would be the lament of the PC), but that the most complete transformation can only come from what is essentially at first- pure. This actually made me think of the “perpetual innocence” I’ve known many women (even the most lurid) to travel with. A sort of insisted upon narrative that was often treated as both beginning and end point to almost every instance – again, no matter how complicit she was in the matter. And why not? as is suggested – without this purity.. her fantasy dies. Maybe even fantasy itself for man and woman alike- for what is there to be affected when everything has known corruption? And on whom does the societal “burden” of redemption weigh more heavily? The man? or the woman?

Interestingly enough – political correctness would have these stories feature gentle, pre-tamed stallions. Ready-made affectionate lovers who understand everything that already needs to be understood and sit inoffensively in their predetermined chairs with ‘nare objection. But what about that even begins to appeal to our intrinsic notions of fantasy? (Man and Woman.) Sales would insinuate that there are little if any buyers at all for this sort of saga, and I’d say reality reflects this truth profoundly.  Young girls dream of horses, not the puppies at their bedside – why should women be any different? And what’s with this whole “should” thing anyway?

– sah

TSD:C6-9

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There’s a real interesting play taking place in terms of morality and righteousness.. cops taking illegal vengeance,  rogue assassins, family against family, honor driven motivations, military loyalty.. real interesting stuff..

I really didn’t think about it before, but the author does a great job and giving you sides to pick – each with blood on their hands. One is left to wonder if their even is such a thing as righteousness..  and on which side do you (the reader) stand since the impulse is to root for all sides of the equation..

A lot of tension building here..and it’s hard to anticipate anything other than an explosion..

– sah

NFU:A2C2

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notes

Once again, I’m affected by the narrators ability to resonate with me.. (I dont know if I said that right)..but I suppose it should make sense..i dunno..

A good portion of this chapter addresses the narrator’s ability to spring forth from his most low and debase moments into a sort of regal loftiness (at least as he imagines in his mind), and again, the nature in which he describes all this really hits home..

What strikes me as being at the center of it all is a remarkable vanity. There’s even an interesting part where he pats himself on the back for merely thinking nobly – such so that the corresponding action is rendered unnecessary..which is true enough about all of us at at least one point (if not many) in our lives, isn’t it? I’ve heard quite a few comedians discuss this..

I’m also caught by how he describes these decent (and indecent) phases of his life as appearing out of nowhere.. as if his life has ‘a life’ of its own and he is imprisoned in the role of spectator – frantically rushing to justify and make sense of it all..

What is the root of this assumed role of “observing eye” (beyond its literary use – of course)? ..maybe thats what the author is attempting to ask in the first place..

I feel like I should be discussing this in class.

– sah

 

PEC:C8

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eye contact

This chapter begins with a pretty dope story.. apparently there was some dude not to long ago who got away with marrying 104 different women, many after a few days of meeting, tricking each to abandon their lives, sell their assets, and wait for him in an agreed upon honeymoon suite…I’m not even going to get into what that says about the american dream, but the setup here is the role eyes (and the gut) play in detecting deceit..

According to the author’s research, the tricky thing about discovering someone mid lie is that – while eyes betray emotions, thoughts are rarely revealed. Essentially all one needs to convincingly pull a  lie off is a concentrated focus (to cover your emotions about your deception) or no emotions at all (which would be the case of psychopaths).

Psychopaths tend to have (and are often known for) an unrelenting gaze, which may not even be intentional as much as a reflection of their inability to internally moralize wrong doing. Again, our natural impulse is to soften our gaze by occasionally averting our eyes during conversation. When I think about it, I can not only recall several times where the intensity of someones gaze was unwavering, but also the feeling that rose up in me (my father would often use this on me to great effect..I can only imagine his father before him)

As for that feeling, the book advises that one should “follow their gut” in the case of uncertain negotiation  An example was even brought up that when considering food that is bad for you, your body will often advise against it if you listen close enough (this I can relate to too)..the only evolutionary reason I could imagine for this would be situations where concealing intent (or even discovering bad food) means life or death, so thank God for that… but I still cant get those instances out of my mind..

sah

DMAW:C12

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menandwomen

 

Just realized I read the wrong book for today  but whatever.. This essay covered what is referred to as “dark romance”. Darker fare is (understandably) a more gritty and emotionally tense rendition of the more common romantic saga. The hero, as usual, is a beast only to be tamed by the heroines redemptive love (see: Belle) – but these would be tales pertaining to alcoholism, incest, ect and so on..

The author (Mary Jo Putney) essentially states her case that romantic lit is not all fantastical and “light”… highlighting the realism – discussed in the previous post – that would ensure a grounded reader is complicit in the move to ‘escape’ from said reality. Interesting points are made along the way: the ability of location (as in time/era) to buffer against extreme brutality, the existence of wounded heroes (as opposed to the standard “unmovable man”), and even the tragically flawed heroine (which is humorously rare) ..but not too much in the way of new information..

The confirmation is clear however: it is the transcendent quality of an all too unobtainable redemption that draws us in.. the emotionally charged dynamic of the hero and his(?) redeemer ..is what makes us stay.

– sah

TSD:C5

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So I definitely didnt see that coming.. I suppose I should’ve though..(I’m gonna try to avoid specifics because this book hasnt been released yet).. essentially: someone unknowingly kills their cousins while suffering from withdrawal . it’s a trip. Excellent way to underline how one man’s ills affect the entire community (read: family)  though this may have not been the author’s explicit intention.

I also didnt expect the two narratives to collide as soon as they apparently are.. and I cant help but imagine death/suffering (in this instance) as the omniscient hand of God moving all pieces in their correct places..

I suppose there’s something to be said about the loss of innocence, but I’m gonna wait a few chapters..

things are definitely picking up..

– sah