Cuddle Time?   6 comments

This is kind of an addendum to this post.

Some things shouldn’t be commodified, but apparently, there is a sucker born every minute, and people who have money will inevitably spend it on silly¬†things. Professional cuddling is now a thing, at least in a city close to where I live. It is what it sounds like: You pay someone to cuddle with you (but it has to be fully clothed and completely platonic), and you have to make an appointment to meet your “cuddler” at the cuddling “office.” Sounds like prostitution, and like prostitution, it’s a mockery of relationships. Instead of having a real relationship, you can have a watered-down version with a total stranger.

I understand that humans are social beings, and supposedly love and hugs and physical affection can make people happier and give them a better quality of life. But an instant-gratification thing like professional cuddling is a cheap way to get some of the benefits of a real relationship while exerting none of the effort to actually get into (and stay in) a real relationship.

This whole thing just screams “creepy,” and I think the saddest thing about it is that to be a cuddler, you will be paid $20 per hour, which is totally unfair to those with jobs in fast food, delivery services, teaching… basically any legitimate area of work. A 30-minute cuddling session is $40, and I think that $40 would be better spent doing anything other than touching (and being touched by) a complete stranger.

Posted February 28, 2015 by Maggie in Entertainment and Current Events

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When Stone Angels Walk   5 comments

Warning: This post contains spoilers.

I’m going to be honest: The only reason I picked up Thomas Wolfe’s Look Homeward, Angel was because I liked the title. I had no idea what the story was about, and the copy I found at the library did not have cover art or a blurb on the back. So I was pleased when I realized that it’s a coming-of-age novel, and the author was from North Carolina.

The book takes place in the early 1900s and the 1910s (published in 1929), so it’s 100 years or so removed from today, which made¬†it somewhat hard to relate to. The “n-word” is used quite frequently, and other racial slurs abound, but I suppose this is an instance where you have to recognize that the author, like every other human being, is a product of his time. (Not to mention that this book takes place in the South, which isn’t the most racially tolerant place in the world, even to this day.) I also learned a lot of new words that I hadn’t heard before, simply because they’re almost archaic nowadays (phthisic being the most notable of them).

The writing style is gorgeous, although somewhat long-winded at times. There were many moments in the book when I had to read a paragraph or a sentence over again just to enjoy the words. I could somewhat compare the author’s style to that of Marcel Proust (although not as disjointed) in that he managed to put into graceful words a lot of the usual neuroses and angst of being a young person and longing for the past.

At first, it didn’t seem like there was really much of a plot. The book reads more like a memoir, and it’s basically a fictionalized account of the author’s life, so the story is really about “man versus himself” or “man versus the world” or “young man versus his hormones.” It’s about the tragedy of death at a young age and finding yourself and figuring out where “home” is, what “love” is, and where you belong.

I loved the hallucinatory twist of the ending: the main character, Eugene, is standing outside with the “ghost” of his dead brother, and they are watching the stone angels from the monument shop get up and start walking (and in some cases, flying) around. So it seems that the overall theme of the book is flight, leaving the town where you grew up to meet your own destiny somewhere out there.

Poetry Time: Alter Ego   Leave a comment

February 20, 2015

i hasten to bury her in gravel,
choke her roots,
close off her stoma,
rip up the stakes that keep her standing.

she lies
open and still, as
the silver plate of
a frozen pond, as
a reflection shrieking soundless in a mirror.

snow-light
burns, glares
into the back of her skull,
the brown leaches from her eyes,
the hair colorless, ash-blond,
a watered-down facsimile.

i become a flame
to destroy all petals,
i rage in the wind,
i seethe in shimmers
of heat to melt all winters.

Posted February 24, 2015 by Maggie in Writing

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