Alice Soon

My Literary Life & other obsessions…


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Tale #2: Celebrating One Year of ROCKS

As promised – I’ve just returned from Austin, TX, where exactly one year ago, I purchased two innocuous rocks that would begin my descension into rock madness.

Rock Yard @ NATURE'S TREASURES

Rock Yard @ NATURE’S TREASURES

Austin, TX

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! Austin, TX

Here’s a short story of how it all began…

My Personal Journey with Crystals

This journey began precisely one year ago, with a serendipitous visit to an art gallery called ART FOR THE PEOPLE in Austin, TX. My cousin, his wife and I, had made reservations at a popular brunch place, where the wait time was over 30 minutes. In an attempt to escape the heat, we stumbled upon this new art gallery which had only opened a day before – a simple bungalow, renovated to house local artists’ works and interesting displays.

We walked about the place in mild interest; there were, in fact, some very nice art pieces at the gallery, but let’s be honest, we could not afford them and I was ready to board a plane in less than 4 hours – how would I carry anything?

The purveyor of the store was a tall, large, talkative and very friendly woman, who didn’t seem to mind that 3 strangers had stumbled upon her art gallery in search of heat relief and A/C. We ambled about, remarking upon the innovative art on the walls, the textiles and simple jewelry on display (even took a picture in front of their BATFEST display), when I noticed 3 small crystals lying on a table. They were two clear quartz points and one rose quartz piece (at the time, I didn’t know what they were). The two clear quartz specimens, in particular, reminded me of a relic from Superman’s home planet, Krypton, so my first thought was that they looked like kryptonite. I then turned them over to reveal the prices: $5 each for the clear quartz and $3 for the rose quartz. Well, I thought to myself, that is not too steep of a price. And as I already felt extremely guilty for using this poor woman’s gallery as an air conditioning refuge, I thought, I’d better buy something for using her space.

Quartz

The 1st of my Rock Collection

I decided on one particular clear quartz piece over than the other, because even then, I “felt” more of an affinity to the clearer one with a better point and thought it was nicer. The shop’s assistant even brought me another black-ish rock that I didn’t like, so I declined that one and also purchased the rose quartz instead.

At the cash counter, I asked the owner what these rocks were good for, and she referred me to her BOOK OF STONES on her coffee table, but did remark that the rose quartz was “the most important one for love” and that some people liked to put crystals in their bra. I smiled and thought it was interesting, but put my purchases in my carry-on suitcase and we were on our way to brunch.

Book of Stones

On the flight home, I pulled out my new rocks and put them in my purse. It had been a long and stressful year with a lot of business travel and I took them out to examine them further. I was lucky on that flight, because there were no other passengers beside me and I was all by myself in the row. Yippee!

Instinctively, after I pulled out the clear quartz, I put it immediately back in the bag. It felt too strong. On the airplane, I wanted to feel calm and secure. So I pulled out my rose quartz. Ah, perfect! Instantly I could feel a wave of calm pervade over me as we cruised at high altitude far above the ground. For the entire flight back to Toronto, I held the rose quartz in my palm or in my jacket pocket.

That was scarcely twelve months ago. Since then, my fascination and curiosity with rocks and crystals has ballooned to a full-on obsession. I don’t really know how this happened, only that I feel that the crystals came to me at the right time; when they knew I would be ready for it. Sounds completely insane, I know, but these past twelve months have been like a wormhole opened to me and then completely sucked me in.

Since then, I have ventured to learn all sorts of things, including, but not limited to: geology, paleontology, sustainable development, quantum physics, Buddhism, meditation, neuroscience and much more! And the purchase and presence of those tiny little rocks: Clear Quartz & Rose Quartz started it all.

It’s fitting that a clear quartz was the first crystal I ever acquired. It’s a silicon dioxide (SiO2) and silicone is one of the most abundant sources on earth. We’re all made of silicon! It is the mother of all stones, a powerful energy amplifier and cleanser.

My experience with rocks has opened up a whole new world for me & I hope for others as well. On my next blog post, I will talk about some of my personal energy interactions with my crystals & how they led me down a slippery slope called QUANTUM MECHANICS.


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IN THE PRESENCE OF GREATNESS & THE DEATH OF THE LITERARY NOVEL

“As I Lay Dying” is my first Faulkner (I’m ashamed to admit). I was supposed to read “Absalom, Absalom!” as part of my 2nd year university English class curriculum, but after reading a sentence that was more than a page long, Faulkner scared me and I was apprehensive to return. However, over the years, I have felt the call of his genius beckoning me from my bookshelves, until finally, on one fine day last month, I picked up “As I Lay Dying” and started reading.
As I Lay Dying
From the first chapter, I KNEW I was reading something great. There was no doubt I was in the presence of genius. Though I had no background or knowledge as to what this book was about, or why it was hailed a literary masterpiece, or that Faulkner had reportedly written it in six weeks while working as a night watchman at a power plant (talk about NOT having excuses about having no time to write!)…None of it mattered. I could see in his words and phrasing that his writing carried WEIGHT. It meant something.

I am halfway through the book now, and although I may not fully understand all of the themes, motifs, nuances, profound inner meanings, etc…I know why Faulkner’s work is venerated and revered. I can see it leaping from the page as if he’s slapped me on the face. His genius is clear. I may not understand all of it, but even from the brief snapshots of 15 different narrators, I can see their clarity of voice and their depth.
WF
Which brings me to my next question…Last month, Will Self wrote a provocative article bemoaning the Death of the Literary Novel (again). GROAN. But wait a minute, does he have a point? In this age of YouTube and Twitter and Netflix, does anyone have the cause or desire to flip open a mind-numbing, literary book? Are people like me going to be the new DODO bird? Will discerning, literary readers become extinct?

After all, when there is a cute kitten video to be watched, who cares what Faulkner was trying to say when Darl (*SPOILER ALERT) burns down the barn or Vardaman compares his mother is a fish? Why ponder literary merit at all??

I don’t know the answers, but it disturbs me. I see young people who cannot write or spell properly…In the era of texting and auto spell correct, who needs to read or write anymore? More pointedly – in the future, will anyone do as I have done: Pick up a William Faulkner book willingly, for fun, for the deep pleasure of pondering words and wrestling with their meaning, with no other purpose than to read a literary genius and stimulate our brains?

Read Will Self’s very long article:
http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/may/02/will-self-novel-dead-literary-fiction


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What I’m reading now…

From time to time, I will like to update and rant about what’s currently on my bookshelf (typically dozens of titles, both self-owned and from the library, but I usually read 3-5 books simultaneously, as I’m certain I have some form of reading A.D.D.):

– Re-reading “Anna Karenina” – The last time I read it was I think in 2003-2004, so I figured with the new movie release, it was time to pick up the new translation and I’m loving it so far…About 1/2 way through…Tolstoy really is a master.

– Reading Man Booker Nominated “The Garden of the Evening Mists” by Tan Twan Eng, a fellow Malaysian.  Gotta support!

– Also, one of my favs, John Banville’s latest, “Ancient Light” (possibly the worst book cover in the world??? Hahaha…).  I gotta say I don’t love the subject matter, (like a revised Mrs. Robinson tale), but Banville is such an exceptional writer, I find I can’t turn away…I just want to keep reading because he writes so darn well! Here’s hoping his words will permeate my brain…

Over & Out,

Alice 🙂