Saturday, 3 January 2009

The 2009 New Year's meme quiz

Well, from reading Vesper's lovely blog, I feel I cannot but follow suit and propagate the quiz meme she's answered onto yet another blog, so here goes. I suppose, somewhat lazily, it provides a topic/framework for me to write on without having to go to the effort of constructing a fresh one for myself!

As she points out, blogging is a process of discovery (particularly of self) - made infinitely more interesting by the prospect of an audience, however abstract that might be (for, in reality and probably likelihood, your words may just disappear into the overflowing ether of cyberspace heeded by practically no one). But regardless, the very fact that someone might, can, or will read what you have written, does give it an extra element of intensity: for every writer wants someone to read them. It is perhaps, in the smallest sense, an opportunity for a slight grasp of immortality; for you will exist as long as there is someone to hear you, even from the grave.

For the written word presents something incredibly rare: the chance for truly authentic, uncoloured, direct communication. Unlike the blinds and social respectability that common conversation enforces.

We might be accountable, as she points out; but we are also, simultaneously, free; most significantly, probably freer than anywhere else to really communicate, unabashedly.

Anyway. Here goes with this little quiz thing.

1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before?

Set up and maintain a blog with at least some level of consistency. Although I have previously created a blog, it was a short lived affair with no stability; after an initial explosion of inspiration, it disappeared as quickly as it arrived, as it died a death as I felt I had nothing to say at the time. It had zero durability. I have improved in terms of persistance and patience, awareness of myself.

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I had no specific resolutions that I recall. I lacked the required insight into my own situation to make any truly meaningful ones that had the necessary qualities of targeted specificity with ostensible goals. So they fell into generic, and hence empty resolutions, devoid of real elements under my direct control - i.e. they were simply platitudes of "find love", "earn more money", etc., etc.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?


4. Did anyone close to you die?

No. Not in a literal sense, anyway.

5. What countries did you visit?

None, sadly.

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?

Where to start! Home, love, money. Pretty fundamental things.

But I shall be honest, and quite basic: sex.

7. What date from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

No particular date. 2008 was a year of the realisation, in an experiential sense, of the fact that we give temporal definition to our lives through awareness. We connect with what we incorporate into our being; it is in this sense that the past is truly "alive" for us here and now, in this very moment. It is always available provided one is present and alert to the moment; present and alert to oneself; present and alert to being. Time is by equal measure both scarce and infinite.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Taking a stand on a long running personal family issue of mine, that required me to be both authentic to myself, and demonstrate strength of character. Since it concerned something that was not easy to tackle, but was necessary; and that required accepted and facing the consequences of.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Being unable to clearly take control of my life into a direction I wish it to go. Continually, as usual, vacillating between too many diluted goals and directions.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

None notable. Physical health at least, overall, has been superb. In fact I have practically not had a single cold all year; or indeed barely for the last two years.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Nothing particularly of note. Perhaps, as incredibly mundane as it is, a soft shell jacket that has proved itself highly useful across a wide range of typical British weather.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?

My mother. Under difficult financial circumstances she has managed to separate from her partner, secure a wonderful home (despite limited funds) and build a new life for herself; as usual she single-handedly has moved, shifted and done all the work pretty much for herself.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?

Appalled? No one in particular, since that would imply surprise, as if I realistically expected any different from the people concerned. Depressed? Again no one particular person, but perhaps the seeming spiritual barrenness and lack of Dasein (being) that the Western world, as a whole, seems to further lack, as in many ways it just continues to decline...
14. Where did most of your money go?

Rent, as usual. What a waste. But how an earth to afford my own home?

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Actually getting a date for the first time in 2 years, pathetic as that sounds. Unfortunately the excitement ultimately proved unfounded...

16. What song will always remind you of 2008?

John Dowland's In darkness let me dwell. Dowland was a late 16th century lutenist and Elizabethan era English composer. His music is profoundly beautiful, melancholic, and cathartic. The lyrics to his songs are poetry of the highest calibre with exquisite use of language.

I saw Emma Kirkby, a brilliant soprano, and Anthony Rooley, a superb lutenist perform a concert of his songs towards the end of last year.

The final song, appropriately enough, was the aformentioned one.

The ending, the final notes, as it drifts off into silence, were heavy with the intensity of a collective catharsis; a true pathos, timeless, and utterly human. It was a few seconds that will be forever engrained on my memory.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
- i. happier or sadder? Happier since at least I have a job I like. Sadder in the sense that life seems to be a continual battle from within. Sadder since I feel a greater sense of existential gravity.
- ii. thinner or fatter? Thinner, barely. I vary very little.
- iii. richer or poorer? Richer. Which is a highly relative term that merely means "slightly less in debt".

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

As related to number 6. Yes, sex. Any at all would have been a start!

Otherwise, hiking, walking, cycling, kiting; anything that involves being out in nature in beautiful surroundings and fresh air.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Staring into space feeling hopeless. Having periods of feeling energetically zapped in a depressive gloom.

20. Did you fall in love in 2008?

Categorically no. Unfortunately. Unfortunately. Sadly.

21. How many one-night stands?

As should be pretty clear from previous answers, necessarily precisely zero.

22. What was your favourite TV program?

Scarce few options. My favourite new program was probably Stephen Fry's documentary series covering his travels across America. Simon Schauma's history/documentary on the American political history/future.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

I don't have any particular person I direct hatred towards. Apart from anything else, it is an immense waste of energy. People I strongly dislike I tend to filter out, ignore, forget about, not engage and not choose to waste any energy over.

24. What was the best book you read?

Now this is an especially difficult question. Several choices. Probably Alain de Benoist's On Being A Pagan towards the end of the year.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Messaien's Vingt Regards sur l'enfant Jésus or Brahm's Ballades (and the rest of his solo piano output, for that matter).

26. What did you want and get?

iRex iLiad electronic book (e-ink) reader. It is superb, though it still hasn't torn me away from paper books, if you'd excuse the pun!

27. What did you want and not get?

All the things that really matter. Love. Sex. A proper home. A true sense of direction in a specific career sense.
28. What were your favourite films of this year?

A very lean year for films for me; I've barely been to the cinema and have seen few new films. In fact I watched fewer films that practically ever before. I suppose I haven't felt like going and renting new DVDs for watching just by my lonesome.

At the risk of getting laughed at: Rambo. I found the grittyness and almost existentialist sense of grimness, violence, and inability of fundamental human change (collectively) quite cathartic.  I also enjoyed the Pursuit Of Happiness, right at the end of the year. 

My true love is world cinema, and disappointingly (with myself, as much as anything) did not watch anything new in this regard.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

27 rotations around Sol. Absolutely nothing. It was day of disappointment, and above all, isolation.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Finding someone to really connect with in person. And by connect, I certainly don't mean just sex (although that could certainly have featured!), since I just mean in general with a person of either sex.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?

Fashion concept? I am not one for fashion, particularly. Goal was well tapered, form fitting clothes rather than baggy, shapeless garments that just hang of me.

32. What kept you sane?

The usual: books. Music. Conversation, communication, recognition with a very small number of online contacts and a few people important to me in real life.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

No idea. Have no interest in celebrities or public figures really.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?

I cannot recall a specific issue. I suppose I have been insular and measuring things against less obviously worldly measures.

35. Whom did you miss?

My ex, from time to time. I hope to visit her in her new home in 2009.

36. Who was the best new person you met?

Unquestionably a particular female friend I have made over Facebook who is resident in Colorado Springs. Her quirky reflections on life and musings on the peculiarities of the place she lives in and people that populate it have cheered me up on numerous occasions. She's also one of the few rare people I feel I can at least on some level identify with.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008:

Life is a continual struggle: this is something learnt not just as something merely theoretical (for that is both obvious and something you learn very young), but from the very depths of my being. The innate growing sense of one's own mortality (not that I am old by any stretch; simply that unlike a teenager, you don't have a sense that you will almost "live forever", since death seems like such an abstract concept) is what makes the awareness more acute.

On the the sense that it is only in the recent couple of years that I am starting to form a true comprehension as to who I really am. This is a gradual process of awakening.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:

From John Dowland's In darkness let me dwell

"In darkness let me dwell; the ground shall sorrow be,
The roof despair, to bar all cheerful light from me;
The walls of marble black, that moist'ned still shall weep;
My music, hellish jarring sounds, to banish friendly sleep.
Thus, wedded to my woes, and bedded in my tomb,
O let me dying live, till death doth come, till death doth come.

In darkness let me dwell"

Sad, bleak; but beautiful in its pathos and intensity.


Indyeah said...

all that about that true?or is that true?:D ..''slight grasp at immortality''...true..true.all of it..thats why we give words to our feelings....for some its fun,for others a catharsis,and for yet others ,a window to the world and possibly to themselves...
btw that's a pretty eclectic list of questions not to mention the honest answers..:)in a rush now..but will def do my list too...same questions,diff answers...:)

Happy New Year...:)have a wonderful one..

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the mention!

I wish you lots and lots of sex for 2009! ;)

French Fancy said...

Yes, hope you get more sex :)

Tutta Rolf said...

I once met Kirkby - and made a complete ass of myself...
A couple of years ago i found out, last minute, about a concert she'd give at the academy of music, got tickets the same afternoon. She sang bach cantatas and afterwards i discovered that they were going to have a little signing, as they didn't accept creditcards i had to rush out to the nearest bank machine...i didn't even catch my breath and all of a sudden i was standing face to face with this extrordinary artist whom i had admired for so long, and i was completely starstruck and speechless, i don't know what happened to me, i just handed over the record for her to sign, shook her hand she reached out, mumbled thankyou and left. So ambarrasing!