Annabel Lee (by E.A. Poe)

This has been my favorite poem since my 7th grade English teacher first read it to us. I had my eyes closed, so that I could imagine the story. If you are not familiar with it, you should try having it read to you as well. Here’s the loveliest rendition I’ve found. It’s too easy to intone the entire thing in a sing-song, emphasizing rhyme over meaning, but this recording avoids that pitfall beautifully.

During that initial reading, the first few lines made me roll my eyes. Childish. Then the poem took a rather dark turn and captured my attention. By the end, I was startled by its beauty. I think I gasped at the last lines. That’s love, I decided. That’s real love. Of course, I was 12 and I was wrong (that was limerence), but from then on, my notions of romance were never far from macabre.

Favorite lines:

And neither the angels in Heaven above
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee

Do you have any favorite poetry? Do tell!


Located at the base of Mount Fuji, it’s also known as the “suicide forest.” A bunny trail from the Wikipedia page on the Golden Gate Bridge led me to it, and I’ve been fascinated ever since. If you look past the occasional corpse lolling from a tree, it’s got an otherworldly beauty.

I’ve had trouble with the difference between “romantic” and “macabre” since I was introduced to Edgar Allan Poe’s Annabel Lee in middle school. I’d like to go there and set up a tea party. Yes, I’d wear a frilly, lacy birthday party dress with a too-large bow in my hair. Macaroons, fruit tarts, petit fours, and other confectionary would gleam enticingly from under glass domes and on tiered stands. The table would be set with pairwise non-matching tea cups.

I don’t flatter myself that I would be able to prevent even one suicide, but I do want to be there in case anyone wants a last bite of pudding and sip of tea — but just not alone. Or in case someone has a few last words that they want a person to hear. I want to be that person. I want those final stories. I will collect those hearts, for mending.

Bath music

The expanse of marble floor spreads before you as you enter the bathroom. An arched window at one end lets in the golden mid-afternoon sun. A bubble bath has already been drawn for you in the claw foot tub. This Adagio is playing for you as you slip into the bath and, in that moment, you feel as if there’s only beauty in the world. Only good. The delicious swells of music make your back arch with pleasure. It would be quite alright with you, you suppose, if this was how you died. Death by Mozart, by indulgence, by gorging on all that your senses had to offer.


Lost things: raver bracelet

If you ever doubted how sentimental I am, you can put that to rest today. This will be the first of several posts about the things I am saddest about not having any more.

The summer I spent at Oxford, I lived in the dorms at Pembroke College. We were served breakfast and dinner at the dining hall. Though it was buffet style, there were people lined up on the other side of the food trays, filling our plates as we pointed and nodded. One of the workers was a girl who was probably about my age and just fairy-tale beautiful. Her hair was pure gold and her eyes were some improbable shade of bright blue-green. We became friends. Really! I even have a photo of the two of us together in the quad. She was a raver and I was a raver, so at the end of the summer she gave me a raver bracelet. Every bead was a different day-bright color. I cherished it.

Then I lost it. I don’t think it even made it back to the US with me. I still have her name and contact information somewhere. I’m sure she wouldn’t even remember me, much less the silly bracelet. But this is still one of my saddest lost things. When I die, I’ll know I’m in heaven if I’m reunited with them all. A little box marked “dolly’s lost things”  will be waiting for me.

New wildest fantasy

Greetings from the frozen wasteland of the library.

I was reminded of a different frozen wasteland. The fabulous monster you see above is known heartlessly as “Jotunheim Creature”. To me, he would be “Fluffy”. He would be my best friend, and my primary form of transportation. Talk about traveling in style! Forget traffic, Fluffy crashes through it in impossibly majestic leaps. Best of all, he, like Hannibal Lecter, hates it when people are rude, so he also feasts on the free range rude.

He may look terrifying, but is actually a big sweetheart and is always ready to comfort with an affectionate nuzzle. He’s just a little territorial. I’d have to have a sign on my property “Warning: Jotunheim Creature prone to spells of irascible overprotectiveness.”

The Deep Blue Sea

No, not the shark movie. I just watched it, and it was devastating. If you let yourself get into the movie, you can imagine Hester’s thoughts as she slowly walks home or stares out the window. Ever had the feeling of wanting so desperately to fight for something and simultaneously knowing it was already gone? Or, what about glorying in a memory, polishing it over and over again until it shined brighter than any reality?

This movie helped me almost understand the feeling of futility that leads some to suicide. That being said, you probably won’t like it. Well, maybe if you’re a masochist…

TWSBI 540 Diamond EF

Another wonderful birthday present:

That’s what it looks like unfilled. I can’t wait to fill it with something gorgeous like Iroshizuku Murasaki Shikibu (try to guess what color that is before clicking on the link). Up to now, I’ve had the most experience with Lamy extra fine pens. While those are good, reliable writers, none of my Lamys write nearly as smoothly as the TWSBI. This pen glides like a dream. It has the added bonus of being easy to refill without taking anything apart. Sure, for $56 you could probably buy 560 Bic pens. But then you’d have to write with Bic pens. *shudder*

Highly recommended, especially if you die for demonstrators like me.