July 2018
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PJ Harvey concert / new shelf and rearranged books!


I recently went to see the PJ HARVEY in concert! (Sara went with me, which made it so much more fun ;-)) I was really disappointed that ze was doing all songs from zir collaborations with J. Parish -- I had never heard either of those albums so I didn't know ANY of the songs (so they didn't mean anything to me (yet), unlike most of zir solo songs). But it was still incredible to see zir perform because ze has the most AMAZING stage presence! Some singer/songwriters are singers first and storytellers second -- PJ Harvey is a storyteller who happens to use singing to tell zir stories. A few hundred years ago I could so see zir as a shaman of some kind, one who told stories to teach lessons and sang all of zir magics. I've never seen someone so utterly unconcerned with the audience -- ze could just as easily have been by zirself if you judged by the lack of self-consciousness. And so humble! Ze still seemed a little surprised when people would applaud, and said "thank you" in this quiet, pleased way.


(the photos in this post are all rather bad quality because the lighting was so variable at the concert and consistently blah inside my flat. But thanks to Ialu they're at least viewable!)



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ze was so expressive and swishy!

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this one captures zir attitude the best.

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I love this one despite the blurgrain, 'cause it looks painterly to me.

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do you get the sense of eerie intensity that I do from this one?

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The sound is not so good, so if it bugs you, watch this on silent -- it shows the intensity and fierceness that I love so much.

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I bought a new shelf (for $8.88 at goodwill :D) and rearranged all my books! It was about time, as I had two knee-high stacks of books with no home. Now I have actual space! and I know where things are, for the first time in ages.


one set of already-read books (that weird poky thing is the handlebar of the healthrider)

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top shelf: to-be-read tall fiction
middle shelf: to-be-read mass market paperback fiction
bottom shelf: already-read mixed books, with a few not-yet-reads thrown in (I just realized that :-p)

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already-read oversized books/albums (except "Secrets Of The Great Pyramid")

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next down -- to-be-read spirituality, death experiences, & non-fiction about children.

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next down -- to-be-read animals, nature, and how-to divination/spirituality.

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bottom shelf -- to-be-read feminism, psychology, anti-racism, social-commentary-autobiography, hypnotherapy, gender, egypt, & queerness. (I've started about 8 of these)

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top shelf: favorite fiction-in-a-paperback-series
bottom shelf: favorite standalones and tall books

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favoritest, unsorted. This shelf is part of a secondary altar -- many of these books have deeply changed me, and I consider them my holy books. I need to rearrange though; I couldn't decide whether I wanted to sort by how much I love the books or how much I love the authors, so it's sorta haphazard (some of my sacred books are on the black shelf in the previous photo).

Hannah got me those candles and the little stack of cards are Michael Whelan trader cards which I intend to use as bookmarks but haven't because I wanted to sort them in order of favorites and then put them in my favorite books so that my #1 book has my #1 card and so on. I'm going to have to be a little less structured about it if I want it to ever get done ;-)


my to-be-read books -- if you have read any of these, tell me what you think!
(some of these I actually HAVE read, but it was so long ago that I don't remember them well enough to 'count')

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Comments
samwhise ══╣╠══
This isn't related to your post necessarily, but why is it that you use gender-neutral pronouns for PJ Harvey? I've never heard anything from/about her to suggest she might be uncomfortable with female ones.
gender is a lie
belenen ══╣gender is a lie╠══
I use gender-neutral pronouns only: http://belenen.livejournal.com/386763.html & more explanation here: http://belenen.livejournal.com/392330.html and a lot more here: http://belenen.livejournal.com/tag/genderfree ;-)
samwhise ══╣╠══
Hm. Thanks for the links - I read the posts but I only skimmed the comments, so if I'm starting a conversation you've already covered by all means let me know and I'll go back and reread things.

I really do respect where you're coming from with this, but I think it can get pretty problematic pretty quickly, particularly when you're referring to trans folk. Gender-neutral pronouns are a gaping hole in the English language and I fully support anyone's efforts to use them more frequently, but I think respecting peoples' pronoun preferences should first. I'm a trans guy, as you could probably figure out by reading my profile, and while I agree with a many (not all, but many) of the things you wrote about gender, I'm really uncomfortable with people using gender-neutral pronouns to refer to me. Not because I think of myself as a particularly gendered person - I don't - but because of how hard I've had to fight for people to respect my identity. Which, for the record, is male. Not masculine particularly, but male.

Obviously I can only speak for myself, but I think deliberately degendering people can be really disrespectful. If it doesn't make a difference to the person, then that's one thing, but if it's someone who feels comfortable or identifies with a particular sex/gender and has expressed a pronoun preference, their preference should take precedence over the user's.
honesty
belenen ══╣honesty╠══
I did explain most of this in the second post, but I'll give it another go.

Well, I can see how it may feel disrespectful, so if that is a boundary for you I understand, but it doesn't feel disrespectful to me -- gendered pronouns do. Even though I do not want to seem disrespectful, it's more important to me to be true to how I feel about gender (I feel that it is a harmful set of stereotypes), so I can't bring myself to use gendered pronouns deliberately (though I still slip up sometimes). If a person doesn't like to be referred to as ze/zir, I will try to avoid that, instead only referring by name. (I'd be happy to refer to you only by name -- do you go by Sam?)

In my opinion, identity is about one's view of oneself, not other's views of one. I do see all people as just people, so if I were to use gendered pronouns, that would be a lie -- I'd be pretending to agree with gender when I do not. To me, it would be more disrespectful for me to outwardly agree when inwardly I do not, than it would be for me to disagree in language as well as mindset. I cannot believe in gender -- and while people who DO believe in gender may find this disrespectful, at least they know my honest feelings about it. I'd relate it to religious identity -- many people identify as believers in God, and they might find it disrespectful to them if I were to use a lowercase g, but if I genuinely did not believe in deity it would be nothing but a pretty lie for me to capitalize it. I am willing to make compromises on most things, and I love going out of my way to show respect, but I do not feel that it is respectful to use terms I do not believe in. Someone might feel that it is respectful to call them "sir" or "ma'am" but I believe those terms are disrespectful, so I do not use them even though others would not feel disrespected. To me those words are insulting, because they imply hierarchy (which I feel dehumanizes), so coming from me it would be an insult. I can't use terms that I consider to be insults even if someone else feels that they are compliments.

Using the terms 'she' and 'he' is to me the equivalent of using race identifiers every time one refers to a person. It only serves to allow people to create generalized pictures of people -- even if someone identifies strongly with their culture, that doesn't mean that it is relevant to every conversation. I identify as many things but I do not expect people to list all of them when referring to me; and I don't think sex is any different from skin, religion, sexual orientation, etc.

Also, I cannot (and would not if I could, as I don't believe in force) degender anyone. If I refer to someone as 'ze' that changes nothing about their identity, their behavior or dress or attitude. I simply change my own language.
samwhise ══╣╠══
I did read that, but it didn't seem to me to apply for some reason. Sorry about that.

I'm on the fence about this. Like I said before, I really do respect and appreciate where you're coming from - I disagree with the way you're applying it, but I remain interested in reading your journal if that's all right with you.
concentration
phoenixdreaming ══╣concentration╠══
Scrolling up and down the bookshelf pictures is so fun! It's like walking into a secondhand bookstore and being faced with a huge shelf of mixed books, wanting to look and look and look and explore. Your post reminded me to make a little list on Twitter of books I've been reading recently, or purchased. Oh *remembers another, updates*. I don't think Twitter's any good for archiving details like that, but it's been very useful for brief snips of conversation about books. No bad thing, that!

PJ Harvey played at a festival here a few years ago. (Oxegen 2004 -- great fun, with Muse and the Cure headlining.) My sister went to listen, I think, but I'd never listened to zir music before and didn't go along. When I did start listening I really regretted missing the chance to see zir live then! Wouldn't miss out again, that's for sure.

Hm, have only read a handful of your books-in-waiting. Sacks! I do like zir a *lot*, those fascinating, well-told anecdotes. And Sarah Waters -- The Night Watch is perhaps my least favourite of zir books, but ze's a good writer indeed.
aliyna ══╣╠══
I see some freaking excellent titles in those shelf photos!! It makes me want to take photos of my own- eventually, when they're unpacked and shelved again. =D
djcliche ══╣╠══
great photos of pj harvey. i think they came out awesome, especially the last one.
cordite ══╣╠══
I must admit to not being a huge PJ fan (I'm not sure why, I've just never really connected with zir music like I have that of other people) but I loved the duet ze did with Thom Yorke & I'm glad you had such a lovely time :)
nadalia ══╣╠══
Lemme know if that Palms Up book is any good. I've always been interested in palm reading, but haven't done enough research.
sidheblessed ══╣╠══
I love seeing other people's book collections. I've been sitting here with my head at various angles trying to read the book titles. ;)
kiwi ══╣╠══
"Next of Kin" is fabulous - the Chimpanzee and Human Communication Center is actually just an hour drive from me (on the campus of the college my brother went to) and while I've never been (ironic), it's on my to do list for sure. A fantastic read, though. Strange as it sounds, it gave me a lot of inspiration and hope when I was teaching special ed, particularly with my non-verbal students who had a vocabulary of...well, one or two signs. I'd love to hear your thoughts on it.
Writing
juushika ══╣Writing╠══
Akin to your first comment thread, but apropos precious little else in this post, I just have to remark upon your LJ. I found it while randomly surfing and what caught my eye was the non-gendered pronouns—caught and held it long enough to read through most of your "essential" posts and skim a couple hundred daily entires. What I've found has been food for so much thought.

It is a brave and not uncomplicated decision to forgo gendered pronouns, but it is thoughtful and so inspiring. I'd never thought to make the leap from breaking down gender boundaries to dismissing them as what they are: purely societal constructions which shouldn't be used to distinguish a person every time we discuss them. It seems simple, but it's also revolutionary concept.

I don't know if I'm brave or secure enough to follow in step, but I am very glad to have been exposed to the idea. Other facets of your worldview and character (and spirituality) are also inspiring, but they weren't new to me. Forgoing all gendered pronouns was—and I am thankful to have had my eyes opened to it.

Good luck! With your journaling, and your path. Yours was a welcome voice to encounter. ^_^
clown_frog ══╣╠══
Been meaning to buy a PJ Harvey cd since I heard a duet with Nick Cave and liked her voice very much. Maybe I'll get on and do that! She does look very expressive in the photos, very lovely.

I'm massively jealous of your book collection. One day I'll live somewhere longer than a year and can afford to keep that many books with me! They're so heavy to moving I tend to leave the ones I have with parents and just get ones from the library. But I would love to actually own loads, I like having them around. So, very jealous! Especially jealous of you having a not-yet-read section - oh the potential!
clown_frog ══╣╠══
Forgot to say:

Would you still like it if I came to visit this year? Would August be any good? I can look into campsites/b&bs if I can't stay with you, but if its a bad time for you in general (if you're moving around about then or anything), then never mind! Basically my lease here ends at the end of July, and I'm considering leaving this job and then taking a break in august to travel, and then hopefully finding another job!
starblydsneetch ══╣╠══
my partner and i looked in SO MANY opshops trying to find a bookshelf, couldn't find a single one! and you got a great one for $8.88!
theindiequeen ══╣╠══
I had so much fun at the PJ Harvey concert! Your pictures came out MUCH better than mine did. I only got one where you could even tell what was going on, but then I didn't really try to take that many.

Also, I am completely in awe of your amazing organized bookshelf. I have had tons of books scattered everywhere (my room, boxes in my garage, living room, closet) for forever, and I REALLY need to do something like that. This post may have just inspired me to do so. Hehe.

Also, I read most of Life of Pi and then finished it on audio book on my way to North Carolina and it is so, so, so good!! I think you would love it. It's just one of those books that really makes you think about how all life is spiritually connected...and how nature is so horrible and beautiful at the same time in this constant cycle of life and death...creation and destruction. And everything is life and everyone is divine...and just...yeah. It really touched me. :)
on communication, social justice, intimacy, consent, friendship & other relationships, spirituality, gender, queerness, & dreams. Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.
Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.