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Tenth: In Retrospection

“Where does a thought go when it’s forgotten?”— Sigmund Freud

I don’t know, Dr Freud; I am into retrospection.

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Yes, retrospect.

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Today was the last day of scheduled classes at Lehman. [Teach me how to whistle like that.] And there’s no better timing that to dust off our blog posts here — the ones authored by me, I mean. (Oh how I assume authority of works! Sorry Roland Barthes. Remember Authorial Animals?)

So far I’ve “authored” 9 — oh wait, 10, that is if you count this one — blog posts and each holds a little story as to how I came about it:

You And Blue: My eldest son (— wisest? I am not sure). I was so on-toes about it. Probably the only time I managed to let Pinterest inspire my writing — the board titled Blue Velvet, of course. Also, it was (it had to be) clearly the beginning of the semester — I liked/tolerated the commute enough to let the blueness of the Hudson River be my guide. And strangely, I started to pick up blue (not to be confused with “the blues”) everywhere I happened to be. It was all about Me and Blue and You, hence ‘You And Blue.’

(https://obscuralitmag.wordpress.com/2016/10/05/you-and-blue/)

This Somewhere: I had put out a blog, on a Hollywood movie. And as much as I was tempted to put into limelight a Bollywood movie, I thought it was important I watch a randomly chosen independent non-English, non-Hindi movie. Chilean Spanish. (He Hated Pigeons!) And woah! — I was still suffering from the fever I had from my first post, that of finding everything blue. And hey, the W. H. Auden poem paints the bluest blue, without ever dying as a cliché for lost love.

(https://obscuralitmag.wordpress.com/2016/10/12/this-somewhere/)

“It’s A Crime” : Cherry Wine: Hozier, Hozier, Hozier. I had been listening to his stuff even more around the week. I was talking Hozier, Hozier, Hozier everywhere, and strangely there are those who had never even heard of him or cared to lend an ear to his words. His words. Right then, I knew I wanted to offer in writing what a genius this man is! And I chose to promote him, his Cherry Wine, and his good cause of #FaceUpToDomesticViolence. Again Hozier, Hozier, Hozier.

https://obscuralitmag.wordpress.com/2016/10/19/its-a-crime-cherry-wine/

Lights, Leaves, Lootera: Bollywood. Fall. Finally. All the colors … it was not just blue and cherry-ish, it was all colors changing and bursting. To all those who haven’t watched Lootera, what?! Poetry on celluloid. I remember I had wanted to write about it sometime. I didn’t want to deprive you all of good ol’ Bollywood.

(https://obscuralitmag.wordpress.com/2016/10/27/lights-leaves-lootera/)

My Dear Gatsby: The election results were here, and I just wanted to escape it all. I was tempted to write all good Gatsby, the broken-hearted hero. As much as I worship this book, I couldn’t escape the feeling that all too long Daisy had been quiet and needed to take the mic, well the pen. Nick Carraway would not have been happy, but then hey, who cares — the world was not happy either. (It was going to “the blues” I didn’t want to encounter but I had zero choice. Ugh.)

(https://obscuralitmag.wordpress.com/2016/11/10/my-dear-gatsby/)

Not Faking It, No More: Not to say that this was anything in parallel with “says it like it is,” for this one time somebody had to be honest about stuff without manipulating others or even self-contradicting here. I read this amazing nytimes.com article in my Intro To Literary Study class and I wanted to point that out, that how even when not lying we are choosing to “appropriate” our language, “fake” our literacy, and how it’s all pressuring simultaneously.

(https://obscuralitmag.wordpress.com/2016/11/14/not-faking-it-no-more/)

A Thanksgiving Gift For Us: Is there a better gift you could have received on any social platform than a recommendation to go watch The Scent of Green Papaya? No, exactly. Except maybe if I sent you tickets to watch in the theater but then you’d have missed some awesome (in other words, worth-a-story) family time. Look, and I didn’t want that. Do I hear a ‘thank you’? You’re welcome.

(https://obscuralitmag.wordpress.com/2016/11/21/a-thankgiving-gift-for-us/)

Hallo-winner!: I had to announce the winner of our Halloween competition. And it only made sense to befriend the winner, right? And I did. I annoy almost every time I see Deirdre Fanzo. I still have to come up with a nickname for this woman with ‘The Devil’s Darning Needle.’

(https://obscuralitmag.wordpress.com/2016/11/29/hallo-winner/)

And

Authorial Animals: At this point I was aware that I was approaching the end. And I had watched Nocturnal Animals earlier on, and it was still fresh in mind. How could it not? I mean this one was a Jake Gyllenhaal psycho-thriller. I needed to gyllenhaalize. And before I drive this keyboard nuts with writing my love letter and then immediately erasing it, I just wanted to remind you: GO WATCH NOCTURNAL ANIMALS. Don’t prepare yourself any more than it’s a Jake Gyllenhaal movie, and see if you love or super-love the movie. And then read the article by my most favorite theorist (so far) Roland Barthes and why he professes that you kill the author. Or you could just read the following (again, I hope):

(https://obscuralitmag.wordpress.com/2016/12/06/authorial-animals/)

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Retrospection is done.

Do you have a better answer for Dr Freud’s question? Think about it and follow where that thought goes when forgotten. Or that is too much to ask for, just spend a bit of your time on retrospection.

Happy end-(yes)-of-the-semester, lovelies!

~ Hardik Yadav

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Authorial Animals

For a change, let’s just kill the Author!

I have not gone insane. Hard to believe yet you will have to, here.

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Two weeks ago, post Thanksgiving, I convinced my family we have to treat ourselves with the new Jake Gyllenhaal movie. A Jake Gyllenhaal psycho thriller. Now that’s something we all should be doing, Thanksgiving or not, given the reputation Gyllenhaal holds with ‘Donnie Darko,’ ‘Nightcrawler,’ ‘Prisoners,’ ‘Enemy,’ and ‘Zodiac.’ This one’s called ‘Nocturnal Animals.’
I went to the theatre with just that much information: the title, genre, and one star. Nothing more. I was ‘free’; I didn’t have to know who was who, and figure out why they did what they did… the director’s other movies, the actor’s history (except for I am quite well-versed on Gyllenhaal’s movie history), etc.

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Before reading beyond this point I would suggest that you jot the following down on a piece of paper and base it (in your mind) for all what you read after this: This film is about an author, one who is invisible but dominant.

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Earlier this semester (stay with me; reminder: semester ends soon) for my Introductory to Literary Studies with Professor Jessica Yood, I read an article that proposed I let the Author die, “for the good reason that writing is the destruction of every voice, of every point of origin.” The proposal comes from a French literary theorist by the name of Roland Barthes. “The birth of the reader must be at the cost of the death of the author,” he concludes in his translated (from French) 1967 essay, ‘The Death of the Author.’

What he suggests, in my words: “Don’t worry about the history and intentions of the Author; let the text be text; don’t be too nosey a reader… When writing, don’t let yourself walk in; let the characters be their own selves; don’t be too self-centered a writer… Kill the Author; birth a reader, who will read the text for the text… Kill the Authority: a text is a text, that is it.”

In his words: “Writing is that neutral, composite, oblique space where our subject slips away, the negative where all identity is lost, starting with the very identity of the body writing.”

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I came out of the theatre. Now I love Jake Gyllenhaal — if that was too difficult to figure out. But I came out praising two different things especially for how they stuck to me: the directorial choice of what color curtain to put (of even just putting a curtain in the first place), and the haunting music (abundance of it).

I remember mentioning that to my beloved family in the car on our way back home.

“The director’s Tom Ford, a fashion design,” one of them said.

“Of course.”

“The music composer is Abel Korzeniowski. He composed music for the show, ‘Penny Dreadful,’” said the other.

“Of course.”

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These “Of course” moments, I tell you!

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I went back home, and looked these geniuses up. I was tempted to know why it was so logical that a director with a background of fashion designing would choose to put beautiful clothing on-screen. Was it logical? Was I looking into things a bit much? And forgetting that I am not giving the due love (“authority”) that it well deserves. [Please do yourself a huge favor and watch ‘Nocturnal Animals.’]

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Somewhere Roland Barthes must be angry at my nosey behavior.

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And I do apologize.

But I have something to say here. I am also interested in hearing what your feelings on killing the author are.

For a good while, I was looking at the movie for its own goodness (Gyllenhaal added). And all those praises went to “Of course” the moment I connected them to the history and businesses of the geniuses mentioned earlier. 

Not defending my apology BUT how do you escape the temptation of finding out why theses geniuses made the choices they did and if they have in the past worked on more or less wonderful art pieces?!

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As a writer (in the process), I want the readers not to try tracking down why I made the choices I made. Like you don’t have to be a criminal to write about crime, so why let readers deduce that?

As a reader, I cannot help myself.

Where are you on this?

Should we kill the Author?

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Should we tame the Authorial Animals?

~ Hardik Yadav

‘The Death of the Author,’ Roland Barthes, http://artsites.ucsc.edu/faculty/Gustafson/FILM%20162.W10/readings/barthes.death.pdf

‘Nocturnal Animals,’ directed by Tom Ford: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4550098/

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Open Mic Night Memories

Open Mic Night Spring 2016 was a HUGE success!

I was able to speak with some current Obscura members who were lucky enough to experience Open Mic Night last semester. A few members explained how special it was to see performers display their different talents. Some recited poetry, rapped verses, and others played guitar and sang classic hits. Lehman College students did not disappoint at the last Open Mic Night event.  Continue reading “Open Mic Night Memories”