sayonara 2010 - the year in pictures

December 31, 2010 Candace Morris 4 Comments

Happy New Year's Eve, dear souls.


the 2010 book list

December 30, 2010 Candace Morris 2 Comments

I wasn't even going to write out the list of books I read this year because I shamefacedly thought it wasn't enough to make a list.  However, once I checked into it, I realized I had read more than I remembered, and that over half of them were worthy of sharing!  Anyway, here's the list of what I read this past year, in order:

by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

This was a short read I picked for a vacation to Florida early in the year.  I really enjoyed it, but Marquez isn't for everyone.  Completely salacious and somewhat shocking to my Victorian sensibilities, the book reminds me of all the reasons I love "Lolita."  One of my major tenants in life is to try and vicariously experience varying forms of human existence.  Very intrigued by what it must be like to be in another human body and living an entirely different life, I find myself gravitating toward authors who write sensational characters but who at their very core are universally the same as you and I.  We ache for love, we have sexual appetites, we eat, we drink, we read, we die. 

by Jeannette Walls

For those of you who are well-acquainted with my snobbery, you might be shocked to find a non-classic book on my list.  Well, I joined an online book club that I lost interest in, but this is the one book I read from the pool.  I hadn't heard of this author before and I certainly have not paid $20 for a book published seconds ago, but it was a good experience in new things.  It was the kind of read you want when you don't want to put your book down.  Super easy reading, poignant at times, and memorable.  I recommend it.

by Sylvia Plath

I actually started this many years ago, but had set it aside for a while. This year, I finally finished it.  Melodrama aside, I think SP's journals make my top two favorite/most inspiring books of all time.  It actually began an obsession about journaling and reading other's journals (looking to start Steinbeck's "Journal of a Novel" this year).  There is absolutely nothing like experiencing another human soul than reading their own interpretation of it.  I miss SP when I am not immersed in her words so I am sure to have this one readily available on my nightstand.

by Kurt Vonnegut

I had forgotten to pack any books of merit when I traveled to San Diego to stay with my sister in March.  She had this one and I had been meaning to start reading Vonnegut for ages.  I really, really loved this damn quotable and slippery with sardonic undertones.  Loved how bizarre and poignant it was.  I want to continue reading his stuff, anyone have recommendations about where to go from here?

by Christopher Moore

Another modern book?!  More pulp fiction? I know, I know.  This one also came recommended by my sister, and it was beyond enjoyable.  Of course it won't become a classic, but it CAN become something you will laugh your ass off reading.  It's also surprisingly smart.

by Annie Dillard

I admit that this book baffled me entirely.  Annie was strange and detached in this piece, her words more like the elusive lyrical angst of poetry rather than the linear path of prose.  Once I stopped being so frustrated that I didn't understand what was going on, I enjoyed it much more.  She wrote it while living on an island in the Puget Sound, so it was interesting to know the places of which she spoke. I cannot say that I would recommend it to a burgeoning Dillard fan, but I am very glad to have read it and found something new in an author I have come to regard as family to my soul.  Also, it's really short...

by Ayn Rand

Another recommendation by my sister, who picked it up for a trip and returned telling me to read it.  How I had never before read any Ayn Rand is well beyond me, but it was a good one to start with.  Very easy to read and very short as well.  I am a sucker for a good dystopian plot, and it delivered.  Recognizing that although I felt I had read the story before ("Brave New World", "1984" - side-note, "Anthem" was published just 5 years after BNW and 12 years before 1984), she was one of the only women at that time to stir up such a raucous.  

by Annie Dillard

By far the best book I read this year.  This is also the best book on writing I've ever read.  Annie manages to explain with realism the plight/pleasure of writing.  I would read this in the morning before writing and it was my single inspiration and all I needed to find my space that day.  A complete must for anyone who writes.  It will probably become a frequent reference/yearly read for me.



let the lists begin - the 2010 soundtrack

December 29, 2010 Candace Morris 4 Comments

It's the end of the year.  In Candace speak, this translates to LIST after LIST.  Things I DID do, things I WANT to do, places I've been, places I'll go, people I love, people I hate...wait.  Well, you get the idea.  I've got a few to share with you because I think they are interesting and if you are reading, you probably think I am interesting, so you are now subjected to what I find interesting.   So. It. Goes.

Today's list is my discography of 2010...the soundtrack of my life this last year.
In order of appearance.

No disclaimers.

Okay, here's my disclaimers...ahem, explanations.

 I love Goldfrapp.  The end.
"Head First" wasn't my favorite at first, but it has really grown on me and I adore it.
(I think I might die and go to Zanadu heaven from this video)

Arcade Fire's "Neon Bible" is by no means a new record, but when I moved to San Diego for a few months at the beginning of the year to be with my sister, she had the CD in her car.  I listened to it over and over and over and I began to fall in love with it.  

Because I was introduced to Arcade Fire this year, I found it serendipitous that they released a new album that very same year.  I loved Suburbs from the beginning, and I do not take to new music very easily.

Kelly introduced me to Fleet Foxes when I stayed with her this last summer.  I had heard of them, but figured they were another indie band I wasn't interested in hearing (Band of Horses, Mumford whatever) and cast them off.  One afternoon as Kelly was painting in her studio and I was writing in the neighboring room, I heard her listening to it and I asked her to burn me a CD for the 12-hour trip home.  I haven't removed it from my CD player since.  That was 6 months ago.  I should really stop being such a snob...but golly, it's so very fun.

The Velvet Goldmine Soundtrack.
My sister loves David Bowie, and though I had always loved him by proxy, I was a bit of a poser in my knowledge and appreciation.  She finally sat me down to watch this amazing and campy film, and we all realized what a kick-ass soundtrack it boasts.  Now I can't say I know any Bowie better, but I am now a loyal fan of Velvet Underground and Lou Reed.

This is the new-to-me music I've absorbed into my soul.
I do feel obliged to mention that without Radiohead, I would not have survived the year.
Particularly "In Rainbows"

What tunes this year have kept you spinning right round, baby?


a humble christmas

December 28, 2010 Candace Morris 7 Comments

The saint and I spent Christmas in quiet.  I realized throughout the day how rare it is that one gets to do exactly as one wants to do on holidays. We will pull out the big guns with our family Christmas this coming weekend, but actual Christmas was sleepy, full of randomly wrapped stocking stuffers, cinnamon rolls, lots of movies, google tv for the saint and two amazing etsy purchases for me (a gorgeous messenger bag and a tailored-to-me black tuxedo jacket)! and a walk to the pub because suddenly we didn't feel like preparing the big dinner I had planned.  Truly, all I wanted was a contented mind, to allow the angst of the year to subside, to hear my soul resonate deeply with the stillness of the day, that all was at peace with me and I was at peace with all.  I believe I even asked Santa for a good mood.  Thanks, Fatty Clause.  Seems simple, but good moods aren't easy to come by (without vodka) and I'm not taking them for granted.

Happy Holidays, my pets.  If your wishes didn't come true, there is always beer.

It snowed IN the pub!
Now that is what I call a Christmas miracle.


christmas debauchery

December 23, 2010 Candace Morris 3 Comments

pastie wreath

My sister placed our pastie ornament on the wreath outside this year.

 Because everyone needs a little something irreverent mixed in with the traditional.
It makes me laugh every time I open the door.

Now if you would like to know WHY I have an velvet pasty ornament, that is simply unexplainable.

Happy Merry Making!

"Ah, in yule...yule log.  I don't have a log, I...not in the sense that you think I said I did."
Clark W. Griswold.


the little things

December 22, 2010 Candace Morris 2 Comments

20 December 2010

One of my favorite "little things" we do for Christmas is writing clues on the packages we give each other.  It's so much better than a simple To/From tag.  Sometimes it's just a nickname that we use during specific times that might give us insight into the gift, other times a few sentences.  Trying to guess based on the clue is just as fun as the actual gift.  Well, except that Joel makes his almost impossibly obscure.  

20 December 2010

What do you think this one is?

I love little things that combine into a feeling of overall magic.  Jillian's tree contest, my owl ornaments from Kelly, wonderful conversations over dinner with Devon, December Nights photo group, getting together for Niki's mole, wrapping presents, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, drinking mimosas, the dollar store outing for stocking stuffers, etc, etc etc

What are your little things?

After I wrote this post, I was informed that Joel does, in fact, NOT participate in the giving of clues.  Apparently it's a tradition I made up all by myself to keep that sucker from guessing all his presents like a smart ass.  God, I love him.

Happy Christmas, my holiday elfs.


a poem written long ago

December 21, 2010 Candace Morris 1 Comments

Weary of myself, and sick of asking
What I am, and what I ought to be,
At this vessel's prow I stand, which bears me
Forwards, forwards o'er the starlit sea.

And a look of passionate desire
O'er the sea and to the stars I send:
"Ye who from my childhood up have calmed me,
Calm me, ah, compose me to the end!"

"Ah, once more," I cried, "ye stars, ye waters,
On my heart your mighty charm renew;
Still, still let me, as I gaze upon you,
Feel my soul becoming vast like you!"

From the intense, clear, star-sown vault of heaven,
Over the lit sea's unquiet way,
In the rustling night-air came the answer:
"Wouldst though BE as they are? LIVE as they.

"Unaffrighted by the silence round them,
Undistracted by the sights they see,
These demand not that the things without them
Yield them love, amusement, sympathy.

"And with joy the stars perform their shining,
And the sea its long moon-silvered roll;
For self-poised they live, nor pine with noting
All the fever of some differing soul.

"Bounded by themselves, and unregardful
In what state God's other works may be,
In their own tasks all their powers pouring,
These attain the mighty life you see."

O air-born voice!  long since, severely clear,
A cry like thine in my own heart I hear:
"Resolve to be thyself, and know that he
Who finds himself loses his misery!"

Matthew Arnold

In so many ways, so much of what I'm feeling this week.


on disappointment and self-definition

December 20, 2010 Candace Morris 6 Comments

This year didn't go quite how I expected it to.  Of course one can never fully prepare for:
  • Death
  • Divorce
  • Friends moving 
  • Cancer
  • Rejection
  • Transition
  • Disappointment
  • Failed dreams
but even with that understanding, I can't help but leave this year feeling disappointed somehow.  In her wisdom, my sister says that's the way things go...everyone has their onslaught of bad thing after bad thing and then things begin to turn around and life becomes easy and the good sticks around for a while.  I feel that things are starting to settle, but I am straining my neck to see the part where the good sticks.  It still seems unattainable, precarious despite there having been so much good recently.

For the last few months, I've given myself a lot of leeway regarding maintaining my artist lifestyle amidst full-time work.  But this last week, I've been increasingly disappointed in myself for ____.  I don't know what.  Maybe not having enough energy, not taking care of myself enough, not calling my friends enough, not giving enough...but mainly, for not writing enough, for not shooting photographs enough.  Today, I am sick of this disappointment.  I want to dig deep and remember my wise, capable self.  Today's mantra is this..."Self, I trust you with myself."  

I took myself to coffee yesterday morning and while I thought I was going to read some of my favorite poets (recently Hughes and Arnold), I actually found myself reading my own journal.  I forgot that one of the most beneficial things about journaling in the first place is re-reading your own thoughts...remembering as only you can where you have been and what have you processed.  Remembering that you have been amazing and will be again.  

Just as I was bemoaning the loss of my art, I stumbled upon something I had written a few weeks ago.  It soothed my soul.  Imagine, myself taking care of myself...this may sound basic to you, but I firmly believe that the ability to comfort oneself is not easy to come by. 

2 November 2010
11:01 p.m.

"Thinking about art/self-perception.  This summer, I felt as though I came into something as a writer - in that, I WROTE.  I saw that to BE a writer, one must ACTUALLY do it.  It was good, so satisfying and good.  Thinking about now.  I've not written in days/months/years it seems.  Does this negate all I came to this last summer?  I mean to ponder the notion of self-titles, of the DOING to being an artist.  Is it as important or more/less so than simply the BEING an artist?  Can it be so tied to producing?  My gut says an emphatic "no."  The doing NEVER matters as much as the being, but how to wrap my soul around the principle?  Or is it a matter of timing?  Can I have been because I DID and now am a writer even if I am not currently doing it?  Is Dillard only a writer when she is working on something?  No.  She has done it in the past...there are tangible evidences of her having written.  Does this undo her self-definition going forward?  Does it matter then if I do it often? How often...every day? Every second?  No, of course, no.  So what matter is time, then?  Is it even important to still title myself as an artist?  And if so, to whom?  I KNOW no one else cares how I title myself (and if they do, it doesn't matter, MY self-definition is not their business). I feel my soul here jerk, because I did fight so hard to find that definition.  That I am now willing to let it be whatever it becomes, does that negate the past work?  Is writing so true to my essence that it doesn't matter HOW I label it? 

The DOING.  I think it must not matter as it used to.
It's just...only ever...
                                   THE BEING.

for me.
for now."

And so the truth is that I am done being disappointed in myself.  I cannot do what I used to do when I was home all day.  Who even says I am supposed to?

where she may have sat

"There is only the fight to recover what has been lost
And found and lost again and again"
T.S. Eliot

And. So. It. Goes.


a poem for the birth of my saint

December 17, 2010 Candace Morris 14 Comments

we turn

leaning into the road
that snarls and portends
empty threats and fearful blind spots.
i wrap my arms
clutching to your grandfather's
worn leather jacket.
we lean into the turns.

my hair whips my face,
i loose my stomach,
it irritates me that i have to yell.
i have to hide in your shoulder,
my knuckles hurt with trying to hold on.
my sunglasses crunch on the pavement behind me.

but still
we lean into the turns.

for a while,
i could ride on my own.
right next to you
and we would be
separate together.

but still,
we lean into the turns.

i pulled ahead of you
overly cocky and full of adrenaline
but i leaned too far.
and yet again
wasn't careful enough with myself.
you pulled up behind me,
blocked all oncoming traffic
grinned as i insisted on doing it myself.
The gentle sexy way you pick me up
and put me on the back of your ride.
Preserving my confidence,
loving my weakness.

but still.
and yet
we lean into the turns.

Happy 32nd Birthday, Bubba.
Your remarkable soul is so, so good.

Now let's go get a drink.