I was looking for reading music and stumbled upon an amazing harp concert. I love that this is my first impression of Sophia Kiprskaya. Her level of talent is iconic. This needed to be shared because I’m sure fellow classical enthusiasts and dark academics who love the harp will cherish it.
Have you heard of her before? Which of her performances would you recommend?
Wow, I talk about perfectionism a lot don’t I? Lol, well that’s because it haunts the f**k out of me. I’m a very ambitious, but sensitive person. I have big ideas that turn into elaborate, yet overwhelming strategies, and have issues altering those strategies only because I get stuck in a strong spell of the I-have-to’s…It takes time for someone like me to practice simplicity. Over-complication doesn’t mean it’s more exemplary than what’s simple. Taking a big picture view on my projects helped with that. When I look at the general goals, I can root out the extraneous details I thought I needed. Maybe that’s common knowledge for most people, but I suck at it! Anti-perfection is another pursuit of mine that takes so much conscious effort. I know I can work well under pressure, but that doesn’t mean I have to work under the pressure of perfection, yet here I am!
Have you been watching The Olympics? Can you relate to the olympians that beat themselves up for being second or third place? Can you relate to the olympians who perform wonderfully, but beat themselves up for not doing everything perfectly even though they’re on the track to winning gold? I can. It sucks.
Are you in the dark academia fandom? Do you relate to taking on academic assignments with the concept that your grade defines your self-worth? Have you ever had a meltdown over failing a quiz or test that didn’t even carry the entire weight of your grade? I have. IT SUCKS.
Now I’m here still struggling with seeing my projects as a process. Why can’t I just enjoy the journey? The relief and enjoyment truly comes when I keep things simple and push myself to be anti-perfection. I hope to the gods I can experience this relief more consistently…
This has been a wonderful read so far. The narrative style is specific enough for the sake of immersion, but also jumps into the action of the story without too much wait. Traveling through Hell from the perspective of multiple characters is mesmerizing; each chapter isn’t too long nor short for me, which contributes to this work being a delightful page-turner. I’m always excited to witness a new area of Hell, another god, the growth of a revolution, and the developing external and internal conflicts of each character overlapping with one another without being confusing or sloppy. So far, I truly enjoy Lost Gods with all its ruthlessness and narrative poise. This was a book I started reading on Scribd, then had to order in print.
Still reading…but close to dropping it…
Deadly Education by Naomi Novik
I was excited for a magical/occult dark academia work to dive into. Unfortunately, the info dumps are incredibly bothersome, but are a good example of why authors need to show rather than tell. The most exciting part about magical systems and their environments is the experience, after all. I’m also concerned with how each character is portrayed, whether through their choices or their description from the protagonist’s perspective, leans into ignorance and racial prejudice. My first impression of the world building and character design overall isn’t good; I’m underwhelmed and keep hoping for actual storytelling and more active characters. I do enjoy the protagonists’s sarcastic and cynical tone, but I would prefer she would stop ranting to me about her conflicts and motives in life and just go after them. She gives me Slytherin vibes, but good gods, stop bitching about everyone and everything around you and do what you claim you’re going to do.
Still reading and loving it
The Demonologist by Andrew Pyper
I heard many people compare this book to The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova so I started it a while ago. So far, I really like it. The narration style is believable and fresh, meaning it’s a style I don’t really come across often. Similar to Brom, Pyper’s writing jumps into the heart of the story with good pacing. I’m a sucker for the stories about an academic who is recruited for some kind of mission that turns out to be more dangerous than it is educational, but is educational nonetheless. I love the narrator’s perspective on things, mostly because his tone of voice is certainly someone who is haunted by many things beyond his control, but isn’t drowning in cynicism necessarily, which must be due to the love for his daughter.
Listening and very intrigued
The Death of The Artist: How Creators Are Struggling to Survive in the Age of Billionaires and Big Tech by William Deresiewicz
This was a featured audiobook that was a recommended read on Scribd and I absolutely love it. I think many people, especially artists, may think it’s all doom and gloom, but I like a good wake up call to the reality of artistry in our time. I think any artist and creative entrepreneur should read or listen to this book if they’re stumped by the question “How do I make a living doing what I love?” Deresiewicz provides research and testimonials from artists who answer the question with, “Well, you may not make a living. That’s kind of the point.” It’s not as pessimistic as artistic souls may think. It’s more of a realistic, big picture view as to why it’s so damn hard making a living doing what you love and that it’s simultaneously harder and easier compared to how artists fought for their careers in the past. I’m not contradicting myself; Deresiewicz breaks down the conundrum of the art and entertainment industries so we as artists can have a more grounded view on the many roads of success that inevitably come with obstacles, failures, and a hell of a lot of exploitation from corporations. (I’m on the chapter about writers, publishing, and fucking Amazon right now…and if I told you how I feel about all this information, this post would be a long ass rant.)
I plan to provide updates about my current reads to stay in touch. I’m actually reading a lot more at once than what’s posted here. That will be another post.
A while ago I ran into a Tumblr post about “grind culture” describing how there are people who are perfectionistic in regards to how they should be working, studying, living, and that reminded me of my fellow fans of the dark academia aesthetic and the studyblr tag. Here is the post:
I talk about perfectionism a bit whether I’m blogging or writing an article and it’s because it’s something that empowers me and haunts me. Although I’m so incredibly excited to be working on my psychology degree and in love with the course material so far, I had a meltdown over a quiz that I failed. I cried and panicked for nearly an hour and had to spend another hour calming myself down. In hindsight, I felt ridiculous, but more than anything I felt powerless. The perfectionism in me has developed into something that makes my mood swings and anxiety incredibly difficult to control. Therapy helped, but the feeling of shame took more time to work through.
I go through this as a writer too. What I was really worried about after my meltdown was my inability to handle something as small as a failed quiz leading to my inability to brace for subjective opinions about my work and career path. It was all revolving around a small failure that was hypothetically turning into a gargantuan failure. So after meditating on this, I came to the quick conclusion that first off, I was so tired of being this mean to myself; I truly do love myself so being unnecessarily harsh feels like a regression in my pursuit for better emotional and mental health. Then, I decided to challenge my view on what a “failure” is. At my core, I believed failure means shame and punishment. To challenge this core belief, I switched from calling my failures into mistakes. Failure can have a crassness to it, but “mistake” reminded me of the classic term “learn from your mistakes”. After that, I could look back at the quiz as a lesson about my mistakes.
What I learned was incredibly helpful. I took notice my anxiety levels while studying and doing any exercise, quiz, or whatever that “tests” me. I learned that instead of expecting perfectionism, I could strive for excellence, which to me requires an open and teachable mind that enjoys the process of self-improvement (You know, the whole “it’s the journey, not the destination” thing). I balance this out by thinking about my health logically. For excellence to happen, my brain needs rest, my body needs care, and my soul needs joyful reminders of my ambitions and aspirations. Although I did make sure to follow a schedule so the workload each day wasn’t more stressful than it already was, I didn’t take myself to the rigidity of grind culture I used partake in a long time ago in a elementary charter school far, far away almost until grad school. Knowing my personality, I’m already in that frame of mind where I want and will do my best. There’s absolutely no need for me to make my perfectionism into a monster, when its brought me so far and polished my work ethic. The most important lesson from that silly quiz was… don’t take the quiz if you’re panicking about the time limit more than the material. Lol.
Anyway, I just wanted to share that. Now that I have a decent routine with my psych classes, I can return to my writing routine. I am so glad my structure has returned and is solid enough to try new things.
neoclassicism: The dominant literary movement in England during the late seventeenth century and the eighteenth century, which sought to revive the artistic ideals of classical Greece and Rome. Neoclassicism was characterized by emotional restraint, order, logic, technical precision, balance, elegance of diction, an emphasis on form over content, clarity, dignity and decorum. Its appeals were to the intellect rather than to the emotions, and it prized wit over imagination. As a result, satire and didactic literature flourished, as did the essay, the parody, and the burlesque. In poetry, the heroic couplet was the most popular verse form…Neoclassicism survives in the twentieth century in works that exhibit the styles, forms, and attitudes of classical antiquity and that emphasize the importance of universality, objectivity, impersonality, and careful craftsmanship.
Popular writers from this period: John Dryden, Alexander Pope, Jonathan Swift, Joseph Addison, Samuel Johnson.
So, I would say that if you’re a fan of the fiction/mystery subgenre dark academia, then you’re already into neoclassicism. Wit over imagination surely meets the dark academia standard; knowledge and how you use it will always supersede fantasies unless that act of escapism tickles us intellectually with faint crack of a character’s psyche. I am and always will be a proud aesthete, but as an essayist and student of literary criticism, I’m naturally akin to this movement because it’s naturally noble and disciplined. Especially when I write a research article, objectivity is crucial. I do admire this movement though the more I think about it, the more paradoxical it seems. Technique, balance, and elegance are all good and well, but chaos and all its messes are beautiful too. I think those immersed in this movement knew that, thus the satire, parody, and burlesque.