Monday, February 28, 2011

Brave New WorldBrave New World by Aldous Huxley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I googled "which should I read first" when I tried to decide whether to read Brave New World first or 1984. Most of the interweb's eloquent writers wrote, in few words, to not bother with 'Brave New World', but no I wanted to read it.

And I'm glad I did.

Brave New World was a little difficult- to be honest it reads like a Science journal, which makes sense when I read the brief biography about Huxley. I guess in his early twenties he suffered an illness that left him blind for like two years- ruining his early aspirations to be a doctor. Later finding his true calling in becoming a writer he was always interested & highly influenced by science.

It may be trite, but 'Brave New World' does read like a complete poem. You have to keep a wide eye view on the story as a whole as Huxley skips around a bit in his storytelling. There would be times when I would be lost and drifting and yearning to find a point and other times where the imagery was specific & beautiful & I was entranced.

Here are just a few examples of those moments:

"I feel... as though I were beginning to be able to use that power I feel I've got inside me-- that extra, latent power. Something seems to be coming to me." Hermoltz

"What fun it would be, if one didn't have to think about happiness." -Mustapha Mond

Lenina who had lingered for a moment to look at the moon, dropped her eyes and came hurrying across the roof to join him. Drying her eyes, she walked across to the lift.

My favorite characters in this book would have to be the salvation in this book to me: John & Lenina. I also enjoyed Mustapha Mond quite a bit, who in my mind resembled Alan Rickman.

*Some Spoilers

John quickly becomes the main character and the person the reader begins to be represented by. He is one of the savages from out of the 'civilized' compound raised by a mother, Linda, who yearns for her home life with the civilized ones with their sex play, 'feelies' and 'soma' drug relief. You learn how John came into contact with a rare book from some guy called Shakespeare entitled "Complete Works". When ever john talks with another character or thinks out for the reader he interjects bits of Shakespeare. Relating a of his life to Romeo & Juliet, Othello, Hamlet & of course Tempest with 'Brave New World'.

"O Brave New World, that has such people in it...."

Lenina is a refreshing character in that she seems to finally have a change of heart, and for me that was quite exciting to have a character finally questioning their environment. She falls in love with John, the savage, and experiences the first frustrations of love (jealousy, low self esteem, etc). Love in this society is almost like a swear word- and sex is a obstacle to be conquered easily & quickly as to not get too frustrated or sad.

John who reciprocates Lenina's feelings (in fact probably more so) but is offended at the instant satisfaction & gluttony of her world- and would rather courtship, love & marriage. Lenina just can't understand- you see her eyes cloud over with the wish to be drugged and make it wash away.

Okay- the biggest pay of this book does indeed come at the end, where the controller of world their society, Mustapha Mond explains why these changes were made.

"we did a great deal to change the emphasis & beauty to comfort & happiness... Universal happiness keeps the wheels steadily turning; truth and beauty can't."

It was interesting how Mond described how their society had no need of a God even if God did in fact exist. In a world where you never age, are never alone, are never unhappy, why would you have to rely on a God? That their civilization had no need of such virtues such as nobility or heroism, there is no cause for their attendance.

John states: "You got rid of them. Yes, that's just like you. Getting rid of everything unpleasant instead of learning to put up with it. Whether 'tis better in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing end the,... But you don't do either. Neither suffer nor oppose. You just abolish the slings and arrows. It's too easy. I'm claiming the right to be unhappy."

Mond: "Not to mention the right to grow old and ugly and impotent; the right to have syphilis and cancer; the right to have too little to eat, the right to be lousy; the right to live in constant apprehension of what may happen tomorrow; the right to catch typhoid; the right to be tortured by unspeakable pains of every kind."

"Christianity without tears, that's what 'soma' is."

To me- the book seemed to toy'd with the phrase 'Ignorance is bliss'. And towards the end of the book- the reader will definitely question this phrase, which I liked.

But don't take my word for it! buh duh duh!

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Screwtape Letters - How a Senior Devil Instructs a Junior Devil in the Art of Temptation.The Screwtape Letters - How a Senior Devil Instructs a Junior Devil in the Art of Temptation. by C.S. Lewis

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've been meaning to read this book for quite awhile- a more perfect time in my life could not have come before however, and I'm glad that I am reading this now, at this time in my life.

Way before Screwtape Letters I completed reading The Chronicles of Narnia, my first introduction to C.S. Lewis. I praised those books because they offered a rare lesson in Christianity. Lessons of Christ and His teachings at a slant, at an angle that isn't often taught; and I found it refreshing.

The same can be said for The Screwtape Letters.

At the end of each letter I wrote at the beginning the basics of what Screwtape counseled and sought to help promote. All of the seven sins are present but virtues too- virtues twisted and bent till they're unrecognizable.

One of the clearest ones I recognized was complacency, and I see it all around myself and in my friends. A longing to be better, an urge to be worse.

Few of my favorite underlined parts:

"A Being which can still love is not yet a Devil."

"All mortals turn into the thing they're pretending to be."

"That kind of humor.... is a thousand miles from joy; it deadens, instead of sharpening; the intellect; and it excites no affection between those who practice it."

"I now see that I spent my life in doing neither what I ought nor what I liked."

"When He talks of them losing their selves, He means only abandoning their clamour of self-will; once they have done that, He really gives them back their personality, and boast (I'm afraid sincerely) that when they are wholly His they will be more themselves than ever."

"The more often he feels without acting, the less he will be able ever to act, and, in the long run, the less he will be able to feel."

"The Enemy wants him, in the end, to be so free from any bias in his own favour that he can rejoice in his own talents as frankly and gratefully as in his neighbor's talents."

"He has created, and always gives back to them with His right hand what He has taken from his left."

"For the present is the point at which time touches eternity.... Hence nearly all vices are rooted in the future. Gratitude looks to the Past and love to the Present; fear, avarice, lust, and ambition look ahead."

"He has balanced the love of change in them by a love of permanence. He has contrived to gratify both tastes together in the very world He has made, by that union of change and permanence, which we call rhythm."

"He {Man} [In reference to the World] feels like he is finding is place in it, while really it is finding its place in him."

The last two letters alone are worth the read. Screwtape talks about the Blitz and England at the dawn of WWII and it's an awakening moment for the reader. Screwtape talks about the balance between keeping the human out of a religious stupor but not enough danger and sin to wake them out of it. The best way to the human would be through fear- that the world in his disillusioned state is how the world really is. Intellectual attack doesn't work you can always try attacking the emotions. "It turns on making him feel, when he first sees human remains plastered on a wall, that this is "what the world really is like" & that all religion has been a fantasy. You will notice how we have gotten them completely fogged on the word 'real'.... Thus in birth the blood & pain are 'real', the terror and ugliness reveal what death 'really means.' The hatefulness of a hated person is 'real'-- in hatred you see men as they are, you are disillusioned; but the loveliness of a loved person is merely a subjective haze concealing a 'real' core of sexual appetite or economic association."

In contrast, letter 31 is a breath of fresh air.

The man being tempted is brought to a moment of true awakening & to use the term, enlightenment.

So does the reader, hopefully....

Here's hoping.

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Friday, September 24, 2010

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A favourite,

INTO my heart on air that kills
From yon far country blows:
What are those blue remembered hills,
What spires, what farms are those?

That is the land of lost content, 5
I see it shining plain,
The happy highways where I went
And cannot come again.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


It was really nice to meet up with some friends of mine I hadn't seen for a while.  Meggan, Tasha, Eric and Suki who had been studying theatre in New York for the previous two months- and Carrie Colton who was
 about to set forth on her own adventure doing theatre in Hong Kong. 
We all talked about the thing we all love to talk about the most, that being theatre, and the plans & hopes we had for a theatre of our own unique workings.  A balance of art & spirit, which we have all believed to be one & the same.  My good friend Hye Soo brought up a point about what a good exercise it would be to try to write a monologue a day- just be working on some form of art a day.  Be it gathering monologues, my friend Chris Bodily ( who's for the past year & a half or so has been doing a sketch journal.

So here it goes- nothing at all to that scale.  But you know.... practice.  
This is a situation that happened to me today- in a new segment I'm gonna call:
The art in Others...
1.  Theology @ a trainstop
I left work today and walked to the trax station and took a look @ my seating prospects.  Farthest seat away from me sat a larger grey haired man with a bit of a gut who was starring at me vs. two ladies nearest me with laugh lines.  I took the seat next to the women and quickly plugged
 in.  I had my iPod in as always and was plugged into whatever- it was on shuffle as I had no clue what I wanted to listen to.  A few moments later two older men came around the corner and joined the ladies, their wives obviously and so I scooted over towards Señor Stares-a-lot.  The elderly men take the seats graciously, one of them saying to me "May there be jewels in your crown."

I had never heard that expression before.  
Paul McCartney was playing at that time.  
"What are you listening to?"  asked Señor.
"Oh.... Paul McCartney.  Flaming Pie..."
He went on to talk about the fact that I didn't have an instrumental piece of Paul's.  A song that I guess played while the Berlin Wall was being torn down.  I didn't feel to uncomfortable surprisingly- he didn't intimidate me and I didn't feel too unsettled, even though I realized as he continued to talk to me he lacked a few social practices- but who am I to social practices?
He told me he was alien.  I said I was too, being resident alien.  He learned I was Canadian and that I was a dual citizen.  He said he was too- he was a citizen to the state & to the federal government- and that in truth I was a triple citizen. 
He told me he was alien and from a different universe- the universe of Kolob where God lives- and where we are all from.  
"Are you Mormon?"
"Yes."  I replied.
"Oh well then you know all about that."  He concluded.  
He told me about how a proper country should be run- with three figures.  Religion, Corporations & Government.  A woman in a purple dress was Religion- and there was some significance in the colour of her dress whether the cause/religion was just or not.  The beast was Government, an ox or bison or something like that..... I don't remember what Corporation was.

Then something he said struck me.
He said that "Everything man touches fails, and is not for good."
Without really thinking I replied.  "At least the intention for the most part is good, people try.  That's what counts I think."
He thought at that for a moment.... and continued on in his rantings.  That in revelations the first thing they saw coming out of the ground was sheep- sheep with two horns...
My mind began to wander about what he had said.  Lines from the movie Away We Go came to my mind:
"Everything's already broken, so why don't we just keep on breaking it again and again?"
He kept talking and I starred across the street. In front of Abravanel Hall there is a water fountain of a diagonal
jets spurting out water. A black & white dog was happily running through this fountain, snapping and biting each
of the jets streams in turn- each one more entertaining and taunting than the one before. His owner watched him,
resting in the shade with his bike. The dog ran back and fourth, biting, drinking and cooling off in the cold water.
You could tell the dog was having his idea of a perfect afternoon.
"Look at what fun that dog's having." I told the man. He looked at the dog for a moment, and continued on.
A korean woman holding two year old passed me at that moment, the elderly men to my right each got up and offered
the mother their seat. The woman sat appreciatively and the ladies quickly began playing & squeezing the boy. The mother looked grateful.
The man continued onward- ranting and stating matter-a-factly the failing case the world was. My optimism took
a point.

Things tend to be quite simple.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


As you can see I'm choosing to retool my blog. It was in need of a renovation- perhaps that would inspire me to want to write more. I took a little blog hiatus but the time has come to give it new life again...
A few things that you may have missed since the last night I wrote in- we're gonna do this in bullets:

-attended and finished ACTF. My dear friend Suki received a thousand dollar scholarship to attend a Playwrighting/Directing/Acting New Works workshop for two months in New York City for it. (where she is currently at as I type)

-Hye Soo & Eric combined their lives together and were married beginning of this year- they are now pregnant and are expecting a baby boy @ the end of this year.

-I finally got a job, two in fact. I currently am working as a Ticket Agent for Utah Symphony/Utah Opera, AND as Front of House Manager @ the Deer Valley Music Festival up in Park City Utah on the weekends.

-Learned how to ride a motorcycle
-Alison finally finished Harry Potter
-Ali & Dan got some chickens so we've all been getting rural.

-I was in my first paid professional gig this last Spring (first of many let's hope). Meat & Potato Co. production of Everyman and we performed for three weeks @ the Rose Wagner Theater downtown. I played the roles of 2nd Horseman (War), God, Goods, and a Devil.

Anything else important? Been on two dates, took two trips to Canada, visited my old home in Washington.... a little over two weeks ago my best friend, my little white dog Keemo went on ahead and we put him to sleep. It was very hard but a perfect send off to the friend who's been a tender mercy for me & my family since he came into our lives fifteen years ago.
Finished Lovely Bones, Wuthering Heights, & am now starting my Jane Austen's with Northanger Abbey. Attended some concerts: Ben Folds, The Twilight Sad, Beirut & the worst concert ever- Modest Mouse. (They performed great when you could hear 'em- the crowd was awful!)
With my new job I'm staying true and loyal to my goal to move to London in about a year and a half. I had to add 6 months to that goal as it took me sixth months to actually find a job...
I'm going to start to make weekly goals to stay on track with some of the creative projects that I've wanted to undertake. For example, my Music Blog that I mentioned last February is well on it's way and I should be adding information on a new band within this week... but I also want to get started on my Family Monologues.

So a bunch of projects- but that'll be good as I've got some time to kill.