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...but are


Petoygy lniq Shestohujnik
(the fiveangled sixdicker)


With midterms and Friends' rehearsals and study abroad applications, I've been
thinking a lot about time lately.  For me, time is about deadlines, four hours of
sleep, running from thing to thing, and the realization that my sophomore year
is halfway over, which means that my time at Williams is almost halfway over.
But for the past few days I've also been thinking about the ways in which time is
a beautiful thing.  When I was a kid, time was about growing, learning new
things, and getting closer to summertime or Christmas.  Time can also heal
things - scrapes, colds, broken limbs, minds, and (I hope) ecosystems and
planets.  Time means that tech weekends end, deadlines pass and something
gets handed in, Spring Break arrives, the first blossom appears.  And it is
because of time that we experience beauty.  I'm thinking of Ana's exercise,
where we had to close our eyes and imagine something beautiful.  I thought of
the walk back from brunch at Dodd last Sunday.   The sun felt warm on my back
for the first time in months, a stream of water from melted snow gurgled down
the side of the road, a warm, wet, green smell rose from the grass.  I felt
connected to every spring I had ever experienced, stretching back to my early
childhood and even before, to my mother, to my grandmother, to the settlers
who landed in this country and made it through their first winter.  Sometimes it
helps me to think of time as moving in a circle, carrying everything else along
with it.  It reminds me that, somehow, everything will be better tomorrow.

I love this quote from Confucius: "They must often change, who would be
constant in happiness or wisdom."

Sorry for the long and somewhat disconnected email.  It's also late, which is
fitting I guess (smile)

Meghan Rose           Four-leaf Clover    surprise surprise (green star)












I absolutely love dirty snow. Even though in the traditional sense it isn't beautiful at all, it reminds me of being back at home in Boston so to me it is.


To begin, let me say that I am typically not a fan of Flannery O'Connor. A Good Man Is Hard To Find is certainly not among my favorite stories, nor do I think it should ever be called "beautiful." The story is gruesome, agonizing and slightly terrifying. However, the narrative has a striking elegance to it, and the themes posses a certain grace that seem impossible at the outset.

Other things that immediately came to mind are objects that (to me) symbolize absolute love in my life. There are many, many things in this category, but the top ones are the pillowcase hanging in my room with every inside joke my high school friends and I ever had written on it in sharpie, the traveling postcards that we are sending around throughout the semester and the two letters from my mother reproduced below. These two letters written 18 years apart are physical representations of everything I love about my mother and our family - her ridiculous attention to detail, her simple but grand plans, her absolute bias (and admittance of it), and above all her unconditional love. I'll print them here in the same order I read them.

 A couple notes - Edna Gladney is an adoption agency in Dallas Texas through which I was adopted. Also, I was bald for almost 18 months as a baby, so beautiful would definitely be an opinion. (tongue)

[David adds: photos of the pillow case Mattie brought in, from her friends before they all went to college]



Damien Rice, "Sleep Don't Weep" (21:55 / 20.3 Mb) - Start listening at 5:45 minutes in


I know exactly what it is! I was looking for images for David's design class when I found it. I'll post it in like half an hour! I would have printed it out, but I felt awful for finding it somewhat beautiful. I'll go find it.

In the meantime, I judge that I've been too image focused, so I will offer that Romeo and Juliet, III.v, is a perfect example of something that shouldn't be beautiful, but somehow is. The scene is painful and horrific, both for the audience and Juliet; yet the language, the consistent antithesis and wordplay, the religious and deathly imagery, and ultimately the raw emotions, are all stimulating to the viewers (and actors) in a way that is pleasing to the senses. I guess the question I'm trying to ask is: "how is it that violence, sorrow, and grief can seem beautiful?"

 Romeo and Juliet, III.v

Start reading a little past halfway down the page, when Capulet enters.

Stephen Wangh, author of An Acrobat of the Heart (he's a dude that studied under Grotowski, and the book is what he describes as "a physical approach to acting." It's super cool, and a nice book for anybody interested in theater), suggests a great metaphor for the audience's vicarious experience of emotion: he compares people to Stradivarius violins. It is said that Antonio Stradivari carved his violins so well that if two were placed at opposite ends of a concert hall, a note plucked on one would vibrate the same note in the other. Wangh believes that human emotions operate the same way: viewing sorrow, grief, joy, or love onstage (or in real life) recalls for us the moments in our lives when we had the same experience. Is this vicarious emotional response, this weirdly shared experience, beautiful?

Okay, so I after a while I found the book with the image again. The book is called "Looking at Death," and it is a compilation of photographs that are, quite literally, photographs of death in its different forms.

I would like to say now that, having found the image again and remembering how it makes me feel, I do not feel very comfortable posting it in a public place. I do not know how much I should prepare you for what it is you will be looking at (because I saw it completely without warning), but I will say that it is somewhat graphic, and quite difficult for me to look at.

Here you go. 

This might be the perfect chart.  Brown line shows the geographical route taken by Napolean's army as he invaded Russia and marched on Moscow   Black line shows the route they took back (this part is a map.)  Width of those lines indicates size of the invading army (!!!)  Graph at the bottom charts physical position (and army size) in time.

The data itself might be dry, and the content of the data (i.e. the historical events it charts) are horrific.  But the presentation, the simplicity of the way it synthesizes so much data, is beautiful

 Also I'd like you all to look at the Mutter Museum too...


[I love this poem, but particularly the whole image of the tank and how she teases him about it but also sees the beauty of it.  Plus:  best opening line EVER]

Love in Brooklyn
by John Wakeman

"I love you, Horowitz," he said, and blew his nose.
She splashed her drink. "The hell you say," she said.
"Not love. You don't love me. You like my legs,
and how I make your letters nice and all.
You drunk your drink too fast. You don't love me."

"You wanna bet?" he asked. "You wanna bet?
I loved you from the day they moved you up
from Payroll, last July. I watched you, right?
You sat there on that typing chair you have
and swung round like a kid. It made me shake.
Like once, in World War II, I saw a tank
slide through some trees at dawn like it was a god.
That's how you make me feel. I don't know why."

She turned towards him, then sat back and grinned,
and on the bar stool swung full circle round.
"You think I'm like a tank, you mean?" she asked.
"Some fellers tell me nicer things than that."
But then she saw his face and touched his arm
and softly said, "I'm only kidding you."

He ordered drinks, the same again, and paid.
A fat man, wordless, staring at the floor.
She took his hand in hers and pressed it hard.
And his plump fingers trembled in her lap.

  1. Mar 12, 2009

    Adam and Mattie (and everyone else)---

    If you accidentaly erase stuff when editing a page, or if two (or more) people are editing simultaneously so they all start at state A, then Mattie saves (state B1) while Adam is still editing, when Adam saves his additions (State B2), B2 will NOT contain Mattie's additions (B1).

    HOWEVER, the cool thing about wikis is that they archive every state of every page ever.  Hit the Info link in the upper right corner of any page and it'll give you a History of the page, and you can roll back to a previous version, or grab the code from an earlier version and paste it into the code for the latest version (this would be how to solve the B1/B2 dilema, I think.)


  2. Mar 12, 2009

    Addendum:  so you know, if that State B1/B2 situation occurs, the wiki will tell you!  A popup will appear at the top of the page saying "Someone else was editing and saved already, would you like to review their changes and decide whether to keep what they did or overwrite it?"  (I'm paraphrasing)