All posts by Cecilia

June 1st IRJE: Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes is one of the most renowned detective novels, written by Arthur Conan Doyle. Dr. John Watson is injured upon return from the Afghanistan war and through a mutual friend he meets Sherlock Holmes in hopes of rooming together to save budget. Genuinely glad to have a roommate, Dr. Watson is deeply interested in Sherlock Holmes due to his zest of research and profession in an ambiguous field. He later discovers that Holmes is a private detective, and the two visit the crime scene requested by another detective.

“Before turning to those moral and mental aspects of the matter which present the greatest difficulties, let the inquirer begin by mastering more elementary problems.” p.23

Holmes is a very fact-based person with good intuition. He doesn’t see it necessary to act in a role to approach things in the “right” way. He cuts through all the layers of bluff and seizes the main problem, which is satisfying to see as a reader. I think it’s a great privilege to put aside the “moral and mental aspects of matter.” It is also astonishing because he doesn’t need to understand the murderer’s source of motivation to find out the identity. I wish all things could be solved like that.


PW May 21st

My grandpa from overseas called a few days ago. He is a bit def for his age, so I needed to yell into the phone, but I’m glad he called. He saw my recent art posts and told me not to give up on art.

I’ve been drawing for 16 years. It’s not a very long time, but it is my whole life. I had many attempts to stop drawing, but I am already a dull block of a person, so I can’t imagine what I’d be without art. But I’m getting quite lost these days. It seems like I need to start giving meanings and purposes to my art, but they don’t mean anything. They are just products of the unconsciousness.

That’s why recently I persuaded myself to get a job. I started to draw for other people. It is the worst thing ever. It made me feel like a skilled robot. But I can’t do anything else except to draw. Maybe I am a skilled robot, after all.

I’d like to believe that I have talent. I genuinely enjoy compliments, because I really wish I had talent, or maybe I wish I had passion. I’m obsessed because I wouldn’t be anything without it. I just draw, and I don’t know why. I can’t tell when I feel happy about it, but I’m never sad. It’s just what I do, and I don’t really stop.


May 15th IRJE: Maurice

E. M Foster’s Maurice is a homosexual love story that takes place in 20th century England. As a young boy, Maurice was introduced to the concepts of heterosexual relationships and intercourse by his prep school teacher Mr. Ducie, who claimed that marriage was an ultimate goal. Maurice grows up living a mediocre life, with a secret doubt and fear of engaging in romantic relationships. Then he enters a college, which appeared to inspire him at first sight.

“Once inside college, his discoveries multiplied. People turned out to be alive. Hitherto he had supposed that they were what he pretended to be – flat pieces of cardboard stamped with a conventional design – but as he strolled about the courts at night and saw through the windows some men singing and others arguing and others at their books, there came by no process of reason a conviction that they were human beings with feelings akin to his own.” (p. 30)

I can relate to this section of the book on a personal level. “People turned out to be alive” is a very simple yet touching sentence for me. Its meaning is self-explanatory but somehow very enlightening. Growing up, it was told as a fact to me, but I never confirmed that people are actually alive until a certain inspirational person entered my life. I am becoming better at experiencing lively feelings from others, which is an experience exactly the same as how E. M Foster described in this section of the chapter. However, that dullness still remains in my mind, where defining feelings and experiencing feelings still require more coordination. This is evidently portrayed through “as he strolled about the courts at night and saw through the windows some men singing…” where Maurice is able to absorb himself in the atmosphere, but still at some distance. It really gives me a feeling of reminiscence.


PW: May 7th

Wuhan is my home.

I love all of Wuhan; of its colourful buildings bursting through the ever-gray sky, its heavy mist floating above the river, and most of all, the charming ladies. (Wuhan women are very pretty!)

At the same time, I hate all of Wuhan. I hate how people are so far apart, how things come and go, and how one could feel so alone in a crowded subway on a Sunday night.

There’s nothing waiting for me there, not anymore. I love and hate Wuhan, but it no longer matters. It’s an ever-changing, and never-changing city. I haven’t changed either, I am still the person who loves riding the subway on Sunday nights. I still admire the pretty girls from afar. I still watch three movies at the theatre in a row, alone. But Wuhan is just a pile of blurry memories, the more I think about it, the more it fades away. I’ll need to leave before it leaves me.


You are a jack of all trades (PW April 21)

You are a jack of all trades. If we lived together, you can cook, clean and manage better than me. Unlike me, you are witty, and I like your fast reflexes, though you say it gives you headaches. You are superior, and you know it. You know enough to scold me for my mistakes, but you don’t know enough to spare me and let me learn. You influence me, but not enough for me to realize the pain to be you. You are mature, but not enough to be responsible. You are cruel, but not enough for me to heal. 

I am the complete opposite. I never shed layers, I am just a clump of something, which you have so commonly shamed me for. In comparison, you really are a jack of all trades, but more like a treasure box, though you scowl when I call you that. 


PW: April 7

I like E-learning. The truth is, I never felt more comfortable learning from home. I don’t mind people; I love seeing teachers and classmates around. It’s the classroom that gets me. I’ve been finding the best position to sit still in class for all of my life, and I always end up being uncomfortable. Nothing ever works; my body parts just can’t seem to find their place. The tablet-chairs at the school aren’t helping either. They require extra attention to balance when sitting on them. But those are just my own complaints. Now I am slowly becoming nostalgic for school. I have no problem staying at home forever, I deal with quarantine just fine. But school is a completely different experience that nothing can compare to. It’s not necessarily a good experience, and definitely not a bad one; it’s just extremely special.


IRJE: April 1st (Boy Erased)

In Garrad Conley’s memoir, Boy Erased, he recalls the night Chloe invites him to have sex to maintain their relationship. Conley ends up playing video games with Chloe’s brother Brandon for the entire night, whom he soon discovers to be gay too. Brandon is later caught in an affair with another boy and is harassed by many people. Conley destroys all his gaming equipment and volunteers to go to a treatment center in a nearby city.

“I had once heard someone call the city a trash dump, and I’d been offended at the time, but now I could see how they were right. It was the place where things came and went, home of the FedEx headquarters, the city with the most available overnight flights to other cities in the country, steel barges on the Mississippi floating right through the center of it–But the things that gathered and collected here, the things that stayed and took root, these were the things that gave the city its sense of abandonment. ” (p.80)

This passage is located near the beginning of a new chapter and immediately sets the mood for the readers. In the same chapter, Conley mentions that it has only been “Two full days at Love in Action, and the city had already lost its shine.”(p.79) It indicates that it isn’t necessarily the city that has lowered his mood, but rather it is the treatment program that appears to make him anxious. The first sentence of the passage above immediately tells us his change of opinion and gives us a contrast of Love in Action’s purpose and the reality it creates. By using words such as collected and abandonment, Conley gives us a chilly atmosphere that is unsettling and lonesome at the same time.


PW (March 21st)

There was an interesting thing that happened before. I used to live in the dorms with three other girls. Unlike the dorms in Brookes, my previous dorm had bunk beds. I lived on the lower bunk and discovered a fruit knife under my bed. We were definitely not supposed to have any sort of knives in the dorm.

I brought some apples to school during the weekend, so I asked if anyone had any knives. My roommates told me to eat it without peeling the skin, like how a normal person would.

I knew the person living on the top bunk was cutting herself because it was just really obvious. You can’t hide things like that from people who live in the same room as you. I thought it was none of my business back then, but thinking about it now, I would’ve “found” the knife and used it to peel apples instead of ignoring everything that had happened. But even now, during this time of the virus, I  can’t bring myself to talk to her. Sometimes, I wish she was never here to experience it all, simply because I can’t think of how to help her. Or worse, maybe I knew how to help her, and I could’ve, but I just never really felt like it.


IRJE: March 15 (Boy Erased)

In Garrard Conley’s Boy Erased, he starts recalling his earlier experiences with his family and his girlfriend Chloe, whom he liked and dated in an attempt to ignore his attraction towards men. The members of the Baptist community are expecting them to get married once they become adults, but Conley feels that he is losing control of this relationship as Chloe attempts to advance it. She suggests having sex with him in the near future.

“We have to do something,” she said. “I’m worried.”

“The storm will be over soon,” I said.

“No,” she said, “About us. We have to do something drastic.” (p. 58)

In this passage, Chloe did not suggest the idea because she wanted to. She has no interest in sex, it is the only thing she knows that is “drastic”, and can presumably change the awkward state of their relationship. She also talks about how there’s no time in Heaven, so they are “already married”. It is just about “demonstrating love for God”. I don’t think she understands this completely. She is anxious, but her solution to solve the problem is to escape into the truths of her religion. (From what I believe,) Heaven has no concept of time because only mankind needs time. There is never any resolution to anything that guarantees “all has already been done” because all has never existed if we must use that logic.


Sentimentality in Love Poetry

While love poetry should arise passion in its readers, it is quite different from directing readers to feel the emotion demanded by the speaker. This is sentimentality, which usually involves cliches and plots guided by the purpose of making one feel strongly for the characters. In the Love Poetry handout, one of the most sentimental poems is Anne Bradstreet’s A Letter to Her Husband, Absent upon Public employment. 

The title adds dramaticism to the direct impression of the poem. One would only know that the speaker is writing to her own husband, other than someone else’s husband, once they read the poem. By using the third-person point-of-view, it gives the title a smoother ring but really means nothing much. Rather it seems like the speaker sounds sad and melancholy on purpose.

The poem itself sounds smooth and has a consistent rhythm to the ear. Since this poem is such a long, single stanza, this repeating rhythm does not seem very interesting. One desperately long line is divided into many short sections: “My head, my heart, mine eyes, my life, nay, more,/ My joy, my magazine of earthly store” (ll 1,2) These extravagant layers of words may seem to emphasize the speaker’s sadness, but strong emotions should be portrayed best in a simple and powerful manner in order for the reader to relate to it. There are many adjectives in this poem compared to other poems about separation. In fact, there are simply too many words that could be simplified: “such frigid colds,” (l 11) and “sweet contentment.” (l 15) These lines are losing concentration in the quality of sentiments.

It is understandable about the concept of “I here, thou there, yet both but one.” (l 26) This line is more likable compared to the other lines, but I can’t help but become bored with the long chunk of lines that could have been structured in a more impactful and less self-pitied manner. I appreciate how the poet is able to use so many poetic devices to create some imagery, but it really makes the poem so cheap and too dramatic. I can relate to someone with silent but powerful melancholy. But it is hard to relate to someone who is moaning continuously about it.


Mar 7 PW: Can we touch π if we touch a ruler between its 3rd and 4th scale? 

I think touching π would take a lot more effort than simply touching a ruler. First of all, we cannot prove the consistency of our hands’ motion. Secondly, say if our motions are consistent, it might be impossible to touch every atom on the ruler. Looking in an atomic view, the ruler does not have a flat surface, and due to its production process, it’s material might have different densities, which makes it almost impossible to touch π.

Besides, how can we confirm that things like πexist in the first place? There’s no physical representation for theories and names. We can conveniently describe our world using theories and establish it as facts and truths, but who knows, maybe none of that exists.


IRJE: Mar 1 (Boy Erased)

Boy Erased: A memoir is written by Garrard Conley, that tells his story about his struggles of self-identity in a Baptist community. After hiding his sexual orientation for many years, his identity crisis finally alarms his family and they agreed to send him to a conversion therapy camp. On his first day of therapy, he’s being told to draw a genogram of his family’s history, which may potentially be where all his sins came from.

“Our colour-coded genograms would tell us where everything had begun to go wrong. Trace our genealogy back far enough and we would find, if not the answer to our own sexual sins, then at least the sense of which dead and degenerate limb in our family tree had been responsible.” (p.29)

I agree that the raising environment is crucial for one’s personality development, and if not, is the reason for their “sins”. But there is no scientific proof that sexuality is subject to genetic inheritance, or parental influence. We chose to acknowledge our world in our own ways, and it may cause lots of trouble to enforce it on other’s worldviews. Unfortunately, human history consists of this constant struggle.


Personal Response of Romeo and Juliet

In William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Mercutio is my favourite character. At first, I disliked his vulgarity, but I happened to adore the complexity within him. Everyone needs a friend like Mercutio in their life, but Mercutio suffers more than anyone could imagine. Rarely could anyone reach into the heart of a person like him. The closest attempt made was a scene where he talks to Romeo before going to the Capulet’s party, and the film portrays a close-up view of the two men. The light is dim, and the tranquillity of the scene is very touching. In one of the moments where Mercutio is serious, I thought I caught a glimpse of his inner-self. Contrasting to his witty and annoying guise, he might longe for harmony, considering how he is caught in between of the two noble families. My favourite scene is when Mercutio dies. The camera films Mercutio from below, and he covers his wound in his hands under the beaming sun. Then, he collapses. The crowd of men lifts his hand in horror to discover the fatal injury and quickly drops his hand back. Mercutio plays a role that eventually cost his life. I might cry for him if I watched the play alone.

The main characters, Romeo and Juliet, are the only ones who succeeded in becoming themselves in this play. The other characters’ actions revolve around them and can’t seem to do what they want. Although it may appear like the lovers have the most restrictions, they break through all of them with youth’s passion. I admire Romeo and Juliet. In my culture, people value dying with dignity for a good reason. Their seemingly irrational decisions are respectful and meaningful to me.

This play changed my understanding of love. While reading the script, I felt that they weren’t really in love with each other, but instead, they are in love with the concept of love itself. Their attractive appearances, dramatic first-sight encounter, and the obstacles that set them apart act as triggers that lead them to live a romantic, almost unrealistic life.

My life isn’t romantic. Being in a romantic relationship does not guarantee that it is romantic at all. It is tough to love someone and earn love’s mercy at the same time. Once we are spared from love and confronts our real partners, suddenly, it takes all the effort in the world to love them. If, by chance, that they happen to be in love with each other truly, then they will either stop soon or develop a reliance on the partner, which is not romantic and rather pitiful. I wouldn’t say I like having conversations with my partner. It is only romantic when I think about her.

Love has nothing to do with reality, or anything physical. In the play, Romeo and Juliet spend a night together and have sex. We can call this an act of love, but it has nothing to do with the quintessence of love. Sex is an act of contamination. It is a type of passion, which is romantic but cannot be defined by love.
Love is not limited to romantic relationships. An example would be parental love, but we don’t see much of its display in Romeo and Juliet. Familial love is realistic and, therefore, less romantic, but I believe it is the most solid relationship established under love’s name. Interestingly, Juliet is independent of paternal love. Although she is somewhat betrayed by it several times, she can withdraw from it with little struggle. This withdrawal could be due to her mother’s distantness and the nurse’s inferior identity as a servant. It is also because of her engagement to Romeo, a replacement for the love of her family. Therefore, running off with Romeo becomes an easy decision. While paternal love is one-sided and can rarely be balanced, romantic love should always be equal.

Other than love, the play also includes blind hatred between the two houses. We never know why they fought, but the play would be less interesting if Shakespear gave us the answer. There is no identified antagonist in the story, but I think hatred is qualified enough to take the role. It is an essential element that highlights love and makes the story even more romantic. It is also why the story is tragic, but I think the story of Romeo and Juliet will always be sad, even without alternatives to the plot. If Juliet obeys her father and marries Paris, she will endure the fate of becoming just like her mother. Romeo will eventually stop searching for his love. They will lose their youth, wealth and passion regardless of what happens. Romeo and Juliet is a successful tragic love story. It would be less successful if it were happy love story.


PW: About MBTI… (Feb 21)

MBTI s†ands for the Myers and Briggs Type Indicator, and it isn’t very good.

MBTI, or often called 16 personalities, is a popular indicator that determines one’s personality type, which is represented in four letters. The first letter indicates introversion or extroversion. The second tells us about the method of interpreting information (sensing/intuition). The third represents the method of decision making. The last letter indicates whether one is judging or perceiving.

For instance, my “personality type” is INTJ, known as introverted, intuiting, logical, and judging. I agree that this is quite accurate. But rather than helping me making better life decisions, I found myself limited to decisions that would only suit the INTJ personality type. These unconscious limitations and stereotypes could be really toxic. MBTI and the IQ test are only used best in places such as the military. Their effects are quite disturbing in everyday life.



IRJE: Feb 15 (The Picture of Dorian Gray)

The picture of Dorian Gray, written by Oscar Wilde and published in 1890, was an unconventional novel about the moral struggles of Dorian Gray, a charming young man who is revealed to the darkest beauties and moral indecencies to humanity. Basil Hallward, an artist that worships Dorian for his looks and purity, creates an incredible portrait for him. Dorian soon meets Lord Henry Wotton through Basil’s connection and was heavily influenced by Lord Henry’s world view. He began to realize his beauty and fears it will fade one day. Looking at the beautiful portrait of himself, he makes a wish for his youth to remain forever, and the picture shall age instead of him. After committing several mischiefs, the portrait begins to look crude and ugly and becomes Dorian’s biggest secret. When Basil confronts Dorian about his degrading reputation, Dorian shows Basil the picture and uncontrollably murders Basil in the room. 

“Ugliness that had once been hateful to him because it made things real, became dear to him now for that very reason. Ugliness was the one reality. The coarse brawl, the loathsome den, the crude violence of disordered life, the very illness of thief and outcast, were more vivid, in their intense actuality of impression, than all the gracious shares of art, the dreamy shadows of song. They were what he needed for forgetfulness.” (p. 103) 

 By being forced to confront reality, Dorian breaks his connection with the pleasure of youth and forgiven sin. This seems to suggest that the power of coarse ugliness overweighs beauty. I think everything could be counterproductive if it becomes too immense. Extreme beauty is ugliness.


PW Feb 5th

Last year, I discovered a passion for military strategies. I want to be a military administrator or intelligence officer. I do not have any prominent reason for this dream. The things that occur in my life are the unexplainable ones. I probably drove my family nuts by doing whatever comes to my mind. My life never followed what they predicted; I am even surprised that they would let me go without much questioning. Sometimes it’s not a very good thing. It makes you wonder if they care about you that much. It makes you feel worse not to appreciate all the support you have. But after all, resources are only worthy when there is a goal, no matter what changes it will embrace when the environment changes.


IRJE: Feb 1st (The Catcher in The Rye)

In J.D.Salinger’s The Catcher in The Rye, Holden, the narrator, was expelled from his school and takes a three-day break in New York before returning to his home. He calls his old friend, Sally, for a movie date. They were going to see The Lunts, which Holden dislikes. While watching the movie, Holden remarks that although the movie was crappy, the actors were great actors.

“When one of them got finished making a speech, the other one said something very fast right after it. It was supposed to be like people talking and interrupting each other and all. The trouble was, it was too much like people talking and interrupting each other. The acted a little bit the way Ernie, down in the Village, plays the piano. If you do something too good, then after a while, if you don’t watch it, you start showing off. And then you’re not as good anymore.”

There seems to be nothing wrong about doing something too good unless you are one of the people who can’t. But I don’t see any faults in that. These things are like mirrors. Instead of seeing others’ talents, most people see themselves. Being good at something is not the ultimate goal, nor the criteria we use to measure ourselves upon.


PW: 2020

If I took a sharp turn in 2019, then 2020 might not be the best direction I’m heading towards. It has been a weird start for me.

It is the first year that I will celebrate Chinese New Year without my family. I wasn’t a big fan of the Chinese New Year’s TV program, but something about sitting with my father (my mom refuses to participate) and eating sunflower seeds arise a zest in me. My mom would write antithetical couplets and paste them on the doors using rice. Other than that, there is nothing exceptional about the Chinese New Year. Especially with the active virus in Wuhan this year, my family isn’t in the mood for celebrating. I didn’t even visit my grandma’s grave! I loved her grave. Next to her grave was a pre-ordered one for my grandpa. He is old now. I can’t remember his exact age. I don’t know anyone’s age in my family. Occasionally, I feel a bit detached from their lives.


IRJE: Jan 15 (The Catcher in The Rye)

In his book, The Catcher in The Rye, J.D.Salinger uses Holden Caulfield, a depressed teenager as the narrator and tells us his story.Holden tells the readers that the school expelled him due to his failing grades. After numerous struggles with the other boys in the dorm, He leaves the school frustrated and decides to have a short vacation in New York before returning home to deal with his parents, who will be disappointed hearing him expelled from Pencey. On the train to New York, he meets the mother of a person he considers a stinker in the school. He tells the lady fascinating things about her son, despite how much a scoundrel the son is.

“It really took everybody quite a long time to get to know him. He’s a funny guy. A strange guy, in a lot of ways–know what I mean? Like when I first met him. When I first met him, I thought he was kind of a snobbish person. That’s what I thought. But he isn’t. He’s just got this very original personality that takes you a little while to get to know him.” (p.56)

The conversation between Holden and Mrs. Morrow reveals more depth about his character. Holden dislikes Ernest but has no problem impressing Mrs. Morrow by telling lies about the boy. He leaves no negative impression on the readers, even though he is telling lies. Holden may be potentially describing someone he wishes to become, or instead how he wants others to view him. By telling lies, he describes a story lovelier than reality, which makes him forget about his miserable self for a little while.


PW: Does being fair mean treating everyone exactly the same?

There is no real way to be fair to everyone. We can make an effort to treat everyone the same. However, it does not serve the purpose of being fair.

Humans can never be fair towards other humans. Nature can, because the rule it applies to us, is to make space for the newborn and the strong. Other than that, it grants us to do whatever we want. Death is inevitable, and the unpreventable event became a fact to most of us. But we can only die when we acknowledge our limited existence in the first place. Death does not make our lives worthless, because by creating the idea of death, we create value for our existence. The same thing applies to the topic of “being fair.” It is only that “fairness” and “equality” exists that makes things unfair. After all, the more things change, the more it stays consistent.


IRJE: January 1 (It’s Kind Of a Funny Story)

Ned Vizzini wrote the book “It’s Kind Of a Funny Story” in 2006. He based this book on his experiences during his stay in an adult psychiatric hospital. The protagonist, Craig Gilner, is a 15-year-old kid who lives in Brooklyn. He experiences depression due to peer pressure, unrequited love, and academic pressure. Before deciding to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge one night, he called the suicidal support line and signed himself in a nearby hospital. He was reluctant towards staying for an entire week in the psychiatric hospital, but he notices many things the system of the hospital has that made his life simple. For example, each morning, a menu is carried to each person, and they could tick off the ones that they want for the day. Craig, who used to have eating disorders, slowly recovered his appetite again:

“I wish the world were like this, if I just woke up and marked the food I’d be eating and it came to me later in the day. I suppose it is like that, except you have to pay for whatever you want to eat, so maybe what I’m asking for is communism, but I think it is actually deeper than communism–I’m asking for simplicity, for purity and ease of choice and no pressure.” (loc. 2655)

This passage describes the recovery from mental disorders well. We used to have that simplicity, but the author suggests that we lose it as we age, and as we gain more cognitive knowledge of the world. Our cognitive beliefs can affect our actions to a great extent, and it explains why the world could be such a different place for someone else. Perhaps this is also why our material needs could be so different from our mental desires. One will often connect the satisfaction of our material needs with our subjective desires, and when we aren’t able to have tangible things to make us content, we will likely suffer. “Pressure” will always exist, but in a way it never did.



My friend loved to smile, and when she did, she had small dimples on the sides of her cheeks.
Her room was quite a mess yesterday. She pulled out lumps of clothes from the closet and tossed them carelessly on the floor. She sat motionlessly in front of the camera, looking straight into my eyes.
I told her to clean her room because it was the most I could do on the other side of her screen.
She started by folding her clothes. They looked very heavy in her hands, and I wish I could crawl across the screen and do it for her.

After she finished, she sat on the bed and stared into space with a blank, childish, and almost inquiring expression. To be alive, to feel the warmth and the circulation of the blood is to assume that tomorrow will always be better naturally. How far is tomorrow from the present? It seemed as if a million lightyears away, from her small, squared room.
So I assume her lovely dimples and her fearless smile could only appear as illusions of the past. Her dimension disconnected itself from when she was able to smile. But there’s nothing much I could do nine thousand kilometres away.


IRJE: December 1, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

In The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, written by Douglas Adams, earthman Aurthur arrives at a legendary, ancient planet called Margrathea on the space ship Heart of Gold, stolen by the president of the Galaxy, Zaphod. After surviving a few attacks programmed from the ancient planet’s core, Zaphod asks Aurthur to guard the spaceship while the others can explore the interior of the planet. Arthur is taken away by a Magratheian called Slartibartfast. He tells Arthur the truth; Earth was a superintelligent computer system ran by mice. Arthur mutters that he is unused to his current lifestyle. His careless mutter has been carried back in time by a freak wormhole and caused an interstellar battle between the Vl’hurgs and the G’Gugvuntt because of Aurthur’s complaints became very insulting when translated into the Vl’hurg tongue. The battle continued for thousands of years, their ships tore across space and dived towards the earth. However, the entire battle fleet was swallowed by a small dog due to an unfortunate miscalculation.

“Those who study the complex interplay of cause and effect in the history of the Universe say that this sort of thing is going on all the time, but we are powerless to prevent it.
‘It’s just life,’ they say.” (p.116)

Douglas’ virtue is portrayed again through this section of the book. The most important things could disappear instantly, and we have no power to influence the changes in life. The unconscious process of adaptation is fascinating. But I think to adapt and to accept are drastically different matters, and one should always accommodate to survive, but never to forget the opportunities for alternatives.




Slumps would visit me at ungrateful occasions through sleepless nights and crumbled sketches. A few months ago, I was finally brave enough to throw my equipment away, and I came to Canada to study because I no longer wanted to be an art student like I always thought I would.

Other things occupied me and kept me busy, but the future was beyond my imagination. Along with the canvases, sketches and brushes, many parts of my identity disappeared from my life. Who am I without them? Have I worth anything other than them?

As I began to miss the slumps, I was able to draw again. It wasn’t something I was expecting to do at all, as it came rather late and at the wrong moment. But I’d cherish it just as much. These things only came back to me if I stopped searching for them.