How I Love The Word “Languor”

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Dorothea, by Loretta Lux

I accidentally found out the word “languor” when I read a blog of a Vietnamese girl, who kept writing in English as a way to express herself more than to revise vocabulary. I love the word “languor”, for its meaning contains paradox:

  1. Tiredness or inactivity, especially when pleasurable.
  2. An oppressive stillness of the air.
    (Online Oxford Dictionary)

Why can I distill pleasure from my tiredness, or it’s just fake tiredness that I’ve been imagining to comfort and console myself. Too much love, too much lassitude, too much caring for my own dreaming world lead to too much languor. That’s why I’ve kept feeling painful and pleasant coincidentally.

I just type this post after long time no write anything in English, since thinking back everything, I guess that word definitely suits me, just for me. When I created this blog, even all over the world, there is no blog having the same name as mine.

When my mouth opens to pronounce “languor”, do you know how I feel, I feel like I’m unveiling something that has been insulating my heart, my head for a long time, and my inner self gradually becomes exposed and fragile, but beautiful (at some aspects).  I find my whole soul transparent.

I love the word more when coming across the poem There is a Languor of the Life written by Emily Dickinson. How funny, it’s not even related to my situation right now, just contains the word I’m always obsessed with.

There is a Languor of the Life
More imminent than Pain—
’Tis Pain’s Successor—When the Soul
Has suffered all it can—

A Drowsiness—diffuses—
A Dimness like a Fog
Envelops Consciousness—
As Mists—obliterate a Crag.

The Surgeon—does not blanch—at pain
His Habit—is severe—
But tell him that it ceased to feel—
The Creature lying there—

And he will tell you—skill is late—
A Mightier than He—
Has ministered before Him—
There’s no Vitality.

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Hold My Hand, Lean on Me *

It comes as a big surprise to me that in these moody day, I keep playing many times a few songs of Sơn Tùng M-TP. Thanks for his songs, I feel all my inextricable anxieties lolling somewhere else, just somewhere else for a moment in the middle of the day. Now I’m even hearing Cơn mưa ngang qua, a song he’s written since four or five years ago. It’s terribly emotional in some ways. I know why, I’m pretty sure about the root of those feelings.

For many years, and even up to now, pop music of this “modern society” has really fazed me. I’ve been mad about the way  pop composers nowadays use their their poor source of vocabulary and rhythm for their songs. Most of them is too platitudinous to absorb. Though trying listening, I could ever bear, get used to them or take them serious. Basically, I didn’t think those composers were going to take any effort to write an immaculate song ever. I admit that I’ve kept that old and deep-seated prejudice for a long time. I means, it is not about the intricacy of those lyrics, but about the artists’ attitude.

While watching the interviews with Sơn Tùng M-TP and following his stories, I realized that the most valuable thing of a guy is not what he’s created in his life but his attitude towards his work. Anh none of those famous singers nowadays doesn’t take their career serious. When typing these words I know they’re quite didactic but before knowing Tùng’s story I never recognized that, it was somewhat a pity.

I was moved with the way Tùng proudly, excitedly and honestly talked about his activities and achivements during those lastest years since he was a high school student creating songs with his sluggish computer in his hometown, till the day he took his first flight to Ho Chi Minh City with his budding vision for the future ahead, till the day he eventually was on a glorious stage and surrounded by his fans. It never occurred to me that I will care about him so much like this. Because his music is never my cup of tea.

But I start  listening to them these day just because his story which I don’t know to what extent exasperated really stirs my emotions. Since I can’t assume how much a person can change during four or five years after graduating from high school, looking at Tùng’s selfie photos five years ago and his images appearing almost everywhere today I think everything can become so legendary when time elapses unless one figures out one’s way. I respect Sơn Tùng, not for his works much, but for his view towards life and work. Anyways, such interview can be so didactic, but I believe in and respect the way Tùng distincly regards everything he does these day as his passion and responsibility without any excessive complaints and explanations, from his style of dressing to the encounters of scandals, etc.

Enjoying teen music is somewhat a guilty pleasure to me. I know many hit songs today are totally lack of creativeness and intricate meaning,. Some of Sơn Tùng’s ones, however, are not of such monotonousness. Personally, I think their lyrics and rhythms are catching, smooth, complexed and fathomable enough to absorb. I’m also more open-minded about the fact that the genuine voice of singers now need not be taken priority any more by use of other techniques or instruments. A song can be the result of the cooperation among many people, it’s not fair if we demand only the singer or composer to take responsibility for the whole song. And what if I enjoy a song not just for its lyrics but for its  harmoniousness on the whole?

In other words, I will be more pleasant and feel less guilty when following Sơn Tùng if he won’t get involved in any music copycat scandals any more. But who cares?

* The title has nothing to do with the content, just the first sentence of the chorus in a song of M-TP. 

New New Year

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A scene in What Time Is It There?

Carlos Drummond wrote in his poem New Year’s Recipe:

“You don’t need
To make a list of good resolutions
To file in your bureau drawer.
You don’t need to cry with regret
Over foolish things you’ve already done
Or to half believe
That by the decree of hope
From January onward things will change
…”

Sometimes I feel like I’m floating in nothing, even time. Though at this period, time means so much for me. I count it, I perceive it, and try not to be excessively vulnerable in front of it. That’s why the poem has assuaged my conscience and consoled my guilty soul.

The poem reminded me of the fact that  people (including me) can’t resist being dependent on the numbers indicating elapsing time. Making a to-do list before going to bed, making resolution of the coming year, making a list of deeds on the verge of ending a year, or even waiting till the weekend to clean the house, they are all, actually, the indications of  defencelessness when facing to time. It’s like a person have to do things since it’s the right time. But why is it the right time? No clues, he just himself enjoys the thoughts of a fitting moment, just for him, or for every ordinary people, like the ones of a new year moment. To start trying to be a new “him”, a new “them”, or a new “me”.

I don’t want to start a year with any wishes or goals, a week or day with any solid lists of things to do. But if I don’t do such things, what can keep me from hopelessly floating! There’s one way I give away for myself, that is finding the meaning of everything I do, for not having to tranquilize myself with a list of deeds in the end of an abandoned year in some respects.

All of a sudden, I remember the man in What Time Is It There?, a Taiwan movie directed by Tsai Ming-liang. He is apparently obssessed with time, for after selling his own watch to a woman who is going to Paris, the man suffers from a hopeless desire to set every clock he comes across to Paris time.

Many things I have done vaguely stem from my fervor. But whether my fervor covers the fear of time.