falling for medea (1)

falling for medea, or why i love sarah mccarry’s about a girl

In college I read Euripides’ play, Medea. It’s the story of a girl. She falls for a man, Jason, who marries her. She follows him, in love, leaving a trail of blood behind her. Medea has kids with Jason, then she is shoved aside as Jason decides to marry another girl for a crown, leaving Medea and their two children exiled. Medea is betrayed. She decides to get revenge for her and her children, and Medea is fierce. She’s found her courage and she’s found her determination. She wants Jason to pay. She wants him to feel an ounce of the betrayal she feels–and for all the claims that she’s just an emotional woman, Medea puts aside her love and erupts with vengeance, killing Jason’s new bride and her father. Then, deciding it is better she kill them than someone who doesn’t love them, Medea slays her own children, which becomes the ultimate revenge against Jason, their father.

 

She’s a “monster” Jason says.
The class discussion of Euripides’ play erupted when I claimed that I loved Medea, not just the play–I loved her. I like that she carries fire in her hands and isn’t afraid to destroy those around her. Of course, I’m not one who is okay with people killing other people, and I certainly would never celebrate someone who kills their own children as revenge against their spouse in real life. But as a work of fiction and for what she stood for to me in those lines, bold and unforgiving, I loved the character of Medea.

 

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painting: “Jason and Medea – John William Waterhouse” by John William Waterhouse – http://www.jwwaterhouse.com. Licensed under Public Domain 

The only encounters I really had to feminism at this point, were pastors telling me it was dirty and sinful and gross and that was pretty much what I believed at that point, but even then, I remember commenting during that class discussion, of all the plays I’ve read up to that point, I’ve never seen a female character like this. I know I’m not supposed to like Medea. I know I’m supposed to be repulsed. But there was something in her I couldn’t quite explain or make anyone understand.

 

And I wanted to be her so bad and I became her any chance I got–any acting scene I could do as Medea, I would. I always hoped I’d come across a casting call for a production of Medea so I could have a chance to be her for a full production. I wanted (and still do!) a chance to own that character. For once in my life, I wanted to be the woman who didn’t give a shit about everyone else before myself–to constantly have to be thinking of every dude’s sad story and how it justified the pain and betrayal I carried deep inside. I wanted the pain on the outside and I wanted everyone to feel its fire.
I was alone in this, apparently. Even my closest friends turned to me in disgust upon my announcement that I was in love with Medea. “She kills her own children. How can you like a woman who is a mother who kills her children?”

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painting: Medea (about to murder her children)  by Eugène Delacroix. Licensed under Public Domain

Now, again, I don’t like people who kill children. Not. At. All. It’s difficult to explain how you can love a character who does something you hate. I still don’t know how to explain it. Luckily, there are people out there with words that are better than my own, so when I came across Seven Ways of Thinking About Medea by Sarah McCarry (via The Book Smugglers), I knew I found someone who understood Medea in the way that I loved her.

 

My third book is, like the first two, and like all the books I love best, about love and sex and death and growing up. It is also about Medea: Medea, as she might be now, kind of punk and wicked witchy, kissing girls, still slitting throats. Medea, a girl who doesn’t apologize, not even once she’s learned her lessons the hard way, not even once she’s had to learn them again. Looking death in the face, looking for vengeance, cutting her own bloody path. What girl’s gotten to do that since? We’ll cry for Hamlet (from this time forth, my thoughts be bloody, or be nothing worth), despite his swath of collateral damage, but Medea’s everybody’s worst nightmare: a girl without fear or remorse, a girl with power, a girl whose fury is big enough to swallow the world. Medea (sailing serpent wings) her own kind of warrior, her own kind of witch (she can quench the hot blast of unwearying fire / halt rivers dead when they’re roaring down in spate / control the stars and the Moon’s own sacred orbits). Medea, who knows exactly what she is: My very spells have torn the throats of serpents. — Sarah McCarry, Seven Ways of Thinking About Medea

 

Later, I would tweet something, which was probably about Dirty Wings and I don’t even remember what it was, but Sarah McCarry was tagged in it and she responded to me that I would love the final installment of her young adult series because it was full of astronomy. That final book of the Metamorphoses series, About A Girl, would turn out to be my favorite of the trilogy.

 

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Medea. Astronomy. Mythology. Music. Magical realism. Girls kissing girls. Girls who are monsters. Girls going on quests. Girls falling in love with Medea.

 

How could this book possibly exist? I preordered it. It was the first book I had ever preordered. I had to have it and I was partly ashamed that I asked for it to be autographed because I’m not usually one who feels the need to have an autograph, but before I even read this book I knew my heart was in there somewhere. The heart that got buried during that time I was that goth chic who was part hippie, aspiring astronomer, lover of words, lover of theater, lover of girls. The girl who felt too damn much. But so much of it was buried because I had to get through and because I never trusted myself. But I wanted the quest. I wanted to break out of that “good girl” persona so desperately that it practically leaked out of my pores, but there would be time for that later, just get through this here, get through this right now and then leave it all fucking behind.
Tally is who I wish I would have been had I trusted myself.

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Tally. She is destined to be an astronomer, to study the mysteries of how the universe began when she goes on a quest to find out if a legendary musician is her father. During the quest, Tally finds the world around her is so much more magical than she realized–but this isn’t necessarily a “scientist learns science is just numbers, unemotional and wrong,” type of story. It’s the story about a girl who learns to approach the questions of the universe from multiple stand points. Most of all, it’s the story about a girl who finds herself in a world of magic looking for answers, but having the strength to return back to the world she knew–not unchanged, of course–but still allowed to love science while simultaneously falling in love with mythical monsters.

 

 

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climbing vines background by webtreats

Tally runs away from home in search of answers, but also to run away from the emotional confusion she is feeling about, among many things, a boy she loves. And while running from one love, Tally runs right into another. Tally meets Medea and falls hard and begins to forget everything else. But one love doesn’t cancel out the other– sometimes you love two people at the same time. And this is, indeed, at its core, a love story.

 

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I love Tally. And I love her family just as much. Each character feels so real, honest, alive, yet magical in their love. And it’s that love–that stability, those phone calls home–that anchor Tally when she is in danger of losing herself to loss and to darkness. Yes, this is a love story, but as the first book in the Metamorphoses series points out, “…not the kind of love you think. You’ll see…” (p. 2, Sarah McCarry, All Our Pretty Songs).

 

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book jacket design by Elsie Lyons. photo of girls on book by Sandy Honig.

 

This final book in the series (About a Girl), like the other two books (All Our Pretty Songs, Dirty Wings) is a standalone, and is beautiful all on its own. In relation to the other two books, though, we see that time isn’t linear. The second book takes place before the first book. The third book takes place after the first book. (But read them in order! Your heart will thank you!) Stories repeat themselves, each book loosely based on mythology from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Stories repeat themselves, and yet each girl in each of the books owns her story all on her own. The stories are timeless, and time itself feels like it is fluid, bouncing around from one generation to a previous generation, to a later generation, all of them connected to ancient mythology, all of them flowing–time moving, not forward, but all around and everywhere.

 

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climbing vines background by webtreats

 

In About A Girl, myths become reality. The Stars guide you home. But in the end, we do have power in our destiny. We meet monsters. Make love to monsters. Fall in love. Fall under spells. Walk the dark paths into and beyond the ocean, venture into the past and find our way back into the present–and what makes all the difference between becoming lost in it all and drowning, and from finding the strength to walk on water, and to swim when you can’t walk on water, and to flail your way through when you can’t swim–is that love and stability that you know awaits somewhere in this world full of scientific wonder and magic.

 

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This book is for those of us who are lovers to monsters. Those of us who want to be part monster. Those of us gazing up. Those of us who carry equations in our heads, yet see magic all around us. Those of us who look up into the night sky and see the wonders of the universe and know that the stars will guide us home.

 

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If you haven’t figured it out, yet, yes, I (a million times yes!) recommend you read Sarah McCarry’s About A Girl.

 

related links

buy about a girl by sarah mccarry, here

follow sarah mccarry’s blog, here

monthly wrap-up

december wrap-up

*throws happy new years at the internet*

 

December was such an emotional roller coaster. 2015 itself was such an emotional roller coaster. I don’t have any spotlight posts to share–not for lack of awesome blogs, but because I just didn’t keep up with blog reading or saving the favorites of what I did read. I do have some articles to share, though.

 

Here’s for a 2016 full of healing, self-care, and reflecting on what’s important. Cheers!

 

ic’s recap

 

the 2015 playlist

stream and enjoy!

 

cool links

 

science links

 

i thought the future would be cooler

and as we enter into 2016, let’s just all admit to ourselves, we thought the future was gonna be cooler. enjoy this music video from YACHT.

 

 

“Infinitely scroll through a SWAT team on the sidewalk, serving death by remote control and unrestricted sidearms.” — YACHT

 

 

SEE YOU IN 2016!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

2015

the 2015 wrap-up

 

I’ve been on a long social media break. We had a death in the family, which took us out of town somewhat unexpectedly. Between mourning and illness, plus the confusing feelings of the holiday season upon us, I haven’t been in a social mood.

 

But I’m slowly coming back and as I catch up on blog reading, one thing I’ve really enjoyed is reading posts where people sum up their favorites of the year (favorite books, movies, etc.). I thought I’d go ahead and share my own.

 

enjoyinglabyrinth

 

These are the favorites of 2015 for me. I’m probably forgetting a lot, as stuff that happened earlier in the year feels like several years ago to me. Also, these aren’t necessarily things that came out in 2015, just what I’ve discovered and obsessed over in 2015.

 

books

 

 

 

tv shows

  • Gilmore Girls (first time I watched episodes in order from beginning to end)
  • Agents of Shield
  • Jessica Jones
  • X-Files (currently re-watching episodes in order)
  • Parasyte the Maxim (anime) (watch here)
  • Daredevil
  • Game of Thrones

a midwest drive

 

movies

  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  • Big Hero 6
  • Bram Stoker’s Dracula
  • Mockingjay Part 1
  • Inside Out
  • Song of the Sea
  • The Haunting (1963)

 

albums — albums I discovered and played over and over and over…

  • How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful by Florence and the Machine (listen here)
  • Every Open Eye by CHVRCHES (listen here)
  • The Bones of What You Believe by CHVRCHES (listen here)
  • Broken Bells (self titled) (listen here)

 

wait

 

songs — the songs i obsessively played over and over.

Note: I was going to include YouTube videos for each song, but there’s so many that I decided to just make a playlist. So if you’re curious about my obsessions– the good, the bad, the uplifting, the epic, the sexy–check out the playlist below (some songs drop the f bomb, just to warn ya):

I will add more as I think of them. Songs in playlist include:

  • I Thought the Future Would Be Cooler by YACHT
  • Clearest Blue / Leave a Trace /Science and Visions by CHVRCHES
  • Begin Again / Bodyache by Purity Ring
  • Space Song by Beach House
  • Which Witch / Third Eye / Mother by Florence and the Machine
  • Lampshades On Fire by Modest Mouse
  • Jackrabbit by San Fermin
  • Monster / Desire / Heart, Heart, Head by Meg Myers
  • Lockdown / With or Without You (U2 cover) by Amy Lee
  • Elan / Shudder Before the Beautiful by Nightwish
  • Measure of Me by Amy Ray
  • And the list is growing…

I so much enjoyed putting together a playlist that I will probably start a 2016 playlist right away and add songs as I obsess over them. I also think it’d be fun to do a collaborative playlist with other bloggers and our song obsessions. If interested, stay tuned as I try to put something together in 2016.

most popular blog posts of 2015 on inertial confinement:

 

This is the first year that most of my traffic was brought by searches, mostly because people were looking for gothic literature information. I may have founthe feard my niche, huh? I didn’t real
ize so many people would be interested
in planners (excited to meet fellow paper enthusiasts!) so I held myself back on pics and information on my planner post–next time I won’t hold back so much, as my hobonichi techo post is already a popular one. I’m also surprised that my book reviews and book thoughts are some of the most popular. Whenever I write them, I tend to think people won’t find them interesting, but I’m happy to be wrong about that.

 

 

your turn

So what about you? I’d love to hear about your favorite books, movies, TV shows, songs, albums, etc. Have a post your wrote that you’re particularly proud of? Anything you’d like to share from 2015? I’m all ears!

girls like that

note: some thoughts i jotted down after reading All the Rage by Courtney Summers.

note ii: also, i may be out a while due to some unexpected traveling of the sad variety. hug your loved ones and stay well, you all.

 

 

 

girls like that

 

it’s a tragedy but…

it’s so sad but…

i feel for her but…

girls like her,

girls like me,

meet their inevitable ending.

 

girls should be like this,

but she’s like that.

she should have done this,

but i did that.

and i’m just this,

but the outcome doesn’t change

just how how you react

to all the rage.

 

because of girls like that.

 

it’s a tragedy but…

it’s so sad but…

i can relate but…

girls like her,

girls like that,

girls like her,

girls like me…

i’ve stopped listening

i’ve stopped listening

i’ve stopped listening

but you keep talking.

 

 

 

 

nanowrimo

tips for nanowrimo from someone who failed nanowrimo

title image: by Joel Montes de Oca. found here.

 

 

  1. Write advice for NaNoWriMo even if you’ve never completed NaNoWriMo. This is called brainstorming.
  2. Tell significant other or trusted friend that should you die or go missing, all the notebooks are to be burned and all the hard drives wiped. Also, they will need to overthrow the cloud, because you were awesome at backing up your shit. Tell your friend/SO this is important because you don’t want the world to ever find out what a crappy writer you are dark and terrifying place your mind is. The world just isn’t ready.
  3. Write down the lyrics to whatever song is stuck in your head. This is your outline and will be totally useless.
  4. If you’re a pantser, this is the wrong month for you. Writing should never be done in pants.
  5. Novels can’t sing, so if you’re writing a musical, just stop. Also, if you hear your novel singing, just stop. You’re too close.
  6. Don’t ever get too close.
  7. If you’re bored writing it, the readers will be bored reading it. So if you find yourself getting bored while writing, then turn it into a sex scene. I DON’T CARE! Just start writing sex! There! Fixed!
  8. Good sex writers are good sex readers.
  9. Writing makes you a writer. Typing makes you a typer. Or something. So write out your grocery lists by hand all through November. Congrats! You’re a writer!
  10. Add 50,000 items to your grocery list. Congrats! You won NaNoWriMo!
  11. The benefits of winning NaNoWriMo include a well-stocked pantry.
monthly wrap-up

november wrap-up

 

*shovels pie into face*

*realizes there’s an audience*

is it that time already? i’ve been so wrapped up in november that i almost forgot to wrap-up november.

*wraps november in holiday gift wrap*

*hands it to internet*

here you are! and happy holidays!

 

ic’s wrap-up

sing my mind: “lies” by chvrches: i love this band. watch me obsess.

the fear series: the decaying home of october’s gothic posts.

green ginger tea and other rituals: i was sick and shared my healing rituals. i realized after posting it how the title sounds like i’m using a ginger that is green. my sick, fatigued brain didn’t catch that. it’s actually green tea with ginger in it.

 

spotlight

Day of the Dead by Café Nox: A beautiful post about Day of the Dead with a wonderful video to accompany it.

The Lighter Side of Tywin Lannister by Patrick Sponaugle: Just as the title says!

Carl Sagan: A Personal Voyage by Faraday’s Candle: Celebrating the birthday of Carl Sagan, scientist, teacher, writer, host of Cosmos and so much more! Check it out!

Only by half… by ireland2day: Beautiful photo of a golden field. I just had to share because it made my heart flutter.

Drive it out of her by Candice Daquin “how can you dance / on nothing but pain? / it is agony / that keeps you moving”

 

 

science links

Distant Planet Terrified It Might Be Able to Support Human Life via The Onion

Damselfish in Distress Release Chemicals that Summon More Enemies by Ed Yong

An Evolutionary Basis for Allergies by Karen Zusi

What’s in a Scream? by Alastair Gee

Fighting over fatigue by Virginia Gewin

The Feminist Asylum That Redefined Women’s Mental-Health Treatment by April Wolfe

Here’s How Geoff Marcy’s Sexual Harassment Went on for Decades by Azeen Ghorayshi 

 

other links

How ‘Badass’ Became a Feminist Word by Megan Garber

The Invisible Foreigner by Angela Qian

Watch Mallory Ortberg On Starting The Toast

In My Image by Fariha Roísín 

“No So Bad”: On Consent, Non-Consent, and Trauma by Christina Tesoro

Reading While White: What Does Thanksgiving Make You Think Of? by Angie Manfredi

 

and some lisa hannigan because she makes my soul happy in a unique way that i just need right now. some know lisa hannigan from damien rice, others as the hypnotic voice from the movie “song of the sea.” i know her as the nostalgia that runs through me whenever her voice tickles my ears.

 

 

see you in december!

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green ginger tea and other rituals

*disinfects the internet*

 

I’m sick. For the second time in two weeks. Perhaps it’s from not sleeping well. Or maybe stress. Or just because.

 

Whyever it came upon me, it is upon me. I’ve been out from reading blogs and out from writing blog posts. It’s just too difficult to focus with a stuffy head and a nose that is constantly running.

 

 

I tend to avoid medicine not because I have a thing against medicine but because my body tends to be sensitive to side effects. Cold medicines make me nauseous, followed by intense shaking. They tend to not be worth the little sinus relief they offer. I have found a night time medicine that seems to be doing okay for me so long as I only take half a dose–it relieves the sinus problems and helps me sleep without the nausea, which is helpful, but there’s no daytime version I’ve found that doesn’t make me feel worse. Even cough drops make me nauseous after a while, especially those menthol ones.

 

So my go-to for daytime relief is usually home remedies. Hot showers and baths offer temporary relief and when I can’t take the time for that, I will put a hot wash cloth over my face. I avoid coffee and caffeinated pop as those tend to put my body into overdrive with really no benefit. I drink tea which keeps away the caffeine headaches without feeling so harsh on the system.

 

When I’m nauseous or just feeling under the weather, I make a green ginger tea. I grate some peeled ginger root into a pot of brewing tea leaves. It adds a nice kick to the tea and offers some relief. I’ve also just brewed ginger root when I wanted to avoid caffeine altogether.

 

For sinus problems, I like to brew cinnamon sticks with peppercorns (maybe some cloves).

 

(True story: in college when I had a cold, I would carry a thermos of “pepper tea.” Like, I just brewed a bunch of peppers and drank that. Cleared me right up, but I have no idea how my stomach was able to handle it. I can’t imagine doing that now!)

 

If I have a sore throat, I use my grandmother’s remedy of freshly squeezed half of a lemon and honey (about 2 TBS of each). I often add a bit of the cinnamon tea mentioned above to it to thin it out (and the cinnamon feels good going down).

 

And then there’s the old fashioned, chicken noodle soup. I often have homemade broth in the freezer, ready to go for when we get sick. I ran out this time around, but I was able to wing some chicken noodle soup with canned broth.

 

These are a few of the home remedies I use for relief when I’m sick. Do you have any remedies to share? What’s your “care ritual” when you get sick? I hope you are all staying well!