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Have you ever read a book that makes you cry? This sort of emotional phenomenon has been happening less and less (actually not at all) lately, and I'm wondering why....

What is it that makes us cry, anyway? Nevermind the neurons and the conjunctiva. What those authors have managed to do is somehow, without losing the specifics of the characters themselves, craft their characters as a sort of archetype of universal Loss. Like despite the person being from another time, place (universe), of a different race, gender, social denomination, having a different personality, and perhaps even a completely different view of the world - something happens (I don't know what - yet) that makes us bond at the crucial moment so that we cry with them (or at them - is that possible?) in terrific, heaving, silent screams that pour out inwards, so only we (not our parents, who would become alarmed) hear it resonate, or maybe merely with a sense of elevated moisture levels reaching, but not quite hitting critical mass.

How do you achieve this total self-identification with a figment of the imagination?

But my question is, how do you clothe this universal Loss (if it exists)? What is the nature of it in the first place? (Questions posed by yours truly, a person who is thus far relatively unscathed, having only lost a few minor friends, two grandparents half a world away, and the occaisional ounce of self-respect).

This is to be contrasted with the great philosopher Wittgenstein:
- three of his four brothers commit suicide (I wonder what was on his mind after the second?)
- he gets into physics in his youth and wants to study with the renowned physicist Ludwig Boltzman, but L.B. commits suicide before this takes fruition
- his parents die, as a result he now has a great deal of money, which he despises
- he donates some of it to Georg Trakl, big thing in poetry in Germany, who finds out who the donor is and is all set to meet him but commits suicide three days beforehand
- his friend Dave Pinsent is killed in an airplane accident (as far as we know, not intentionally)

Just - just imagine this for a second: you hear of a maverick poet, a young pharmacist sending electric pulses through his pages, someone who, figuratively speaking, runs in circles around the literary circles, and you give him a great deal of money, anonymously too. You feel pretty good about yourself, feeling you have spared a (fellow) genius from the Van Gogh syndrome of enormous popularity and respect at a most posthumously inconvenient time. The guy is a little more grateful than you anticipated, he insists on meeting with you, and you're, you know, excited. You buy the train ticket, pack your socks and toothbrush a week too early in anticipation, and just when you're giving the last lecture to the dogsitter about proper bathing procedure you receive a most distressing note. Of course you sympathize, considering where you're coming from, but still.

I dunno.


What makes up a person? What are the necessary categories, first of all?

- how someone views himself vs. how other view him
- how someone behaves in a) anger b) sorrow c) fear d) love e) happiness f) places where no one is looking (how does he shit? How frequently? How does he feel about it? Does he make noises? Does he read? What does he read? Most importantly: does he give them to other people afterwards?)
- What is his Cosmic View? Does he have one? Does the fact that the Sun is going to supernova in 5 million years regardless of his ultimate concerns(s) give him the jitters at all? It's a big number, but geez, only 5?

This is such an incomplete list. What are the essentials? At what point of detaillage does it start to become trivial, like what shoes they wear on a Sunday (if the world in which they exist has Sundays, or shoes for that matter)?


So what's new in my life?
- Sharmin: I am now officially reading manga, despite my previous hesitations. It is about a group of Otaku called the Genshiken. I think I am in love with Madarame. He's so adorably nerdy.

- Adam: Haven't seen him much (my fault), but I am borrowing Good Omens from him soon. He seems relatively happy and drama-free, but maybe that is just a guise, but hopefully not. He has recently gotten into a game that my father absentmindedly masters every night called Generals, and of course he has no pretensions of ever coming up to the level of my Dad.

- Simon: Sigh. I've decided that rather than facing Simon's vacillations about his schedule, I'm just gonna ignore him for a month until exam time is over. This is unfortunate since I'm one of the few in Ottawa under 65 who digs his music, and of course because I find him fascinating, as I always have, though definately not as much as I did in grade 6 when I had a huge-ass crush on him, an event I dwell on occaisionally because it has, if not an entirely happy ending, at least a moderately contented one (as opposed to a lot of other unrequited loves I can and cannot mention).

- I need to learn violin really fucking quickly or else something terrible will happen in 1 2/3 months when I go to China to see my steadily aging grandparents.

- I need to phone OUAC. I have lost my PIN.

- I got quite a big scholarship to Ottawa U and this makes me feel bad because basically what I did was half screwed up most of my courses and then took Chem in summer school and got 95 and combined with orchestra, a class that is not a class and is a quaranteed 90, my actual top 6 average is something like 88% (which is horrible) but it JUST makes it onto the VERY bottom of the group that gets 10,000. So as a result I feel incredibly cheap, especially cuz some people work for the marks I carelessly fling away.

- These days I think about food a lot. I think about things I need to force myself to do. I consider with much ambivalence the relative merits and demerits of my singledom. I don't know what it is I should be thinking about, but I know it's not this.


f . a . r . a . w . a . y

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