emancipated dissonance from the desk of renee ann

emancipated dissonance

Friday, February 28, 2003

ieri sera: learned how to be a wine snob. swirl it and find the legs. hmm.. the tannons.... a hint of pear and butter... the guy who taught it is a writer for the most prominent wine magazine in britain... rock
morning: scrambled eggs and shrek in my pajamas. comfortable with the heat off, finally.
poi: smiling at a couple on the bus... half skinny girl, half ben-affleck lookalike... as they smile at each other, oblivious... and her absent minded finger sneaks into his coat's cuff while he stands next to her, looking down, feeling lucky
poi: walking and feeling lucky myself. passing the same bum i do every day. the one with the fat puppy. and realizing that i never knew ice cream could smell like that
plans: cantalope (which raffaela told me to eat wrapped in prosciutto crudo... interesante), practicing piano (new song), possibly daisies, possibly the italian version of chinese food, possibly live music... happy girl am i

how lucky am i to be able to have a day of no plans... just wander the streets of florence with no destination, no time i have to be home...

posted by renee 5:05 AM

Thursday, February 27, 2003

i don't have much to say
except i am reluctant to buy my train tickets for leaving here in the end of april
firenze to austria to prague to berlin
sounds like fun
until i realize that that's leaving for real
i like going to visit places
(ie greek islands/pompei/the amolfi coast for spring break)
but i always get to come back to the first apartment of my life
in the first european town i have lived in
where i know the 14 year old chain smoker who makes us gelato in the shop around the block likes the yogurt the best
and i don't want to go home at all sometimes

posted by renee 3:15 AM

Wednesday, February 26, 2003

too much
i had a perfect morning
scrambled eggs and toast with strawberry jelly
and an ice cream sandwich, but don't tell

spring break plans are being made like mad by those around me and i will end up following someone around for the week, probably
maybe that's okay
i'm going by myself afterwards, though
it will be good to be independent- a quality i am realizing more and more that i don't have
i have to stay home and study all weekend and that's disappointing
i should go to venice
it's the world famous carnivale
and they say you can take the best pictures there... ever...
i bet
but i've been there already
and if i don't stay home, i'll be behind in all my classes and that matters, and the money
but i still feel guilty
it'll be crowded and expencive and...
dang it
maybe i'll get myself into going anyway. but i shouldn't
i hate this back and forth
long enough

posted by renee 6:24 AM

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

i felt sick to my stomach about it yesterday, but ida calmed me down...
put on your coat and your hat and your gloves and go walking
and take one hand out of your glove on the street when you're walking
and look straight ahead, don't turn around when you're walking
cause nothing can hurt you now, don't turn around when you're walking

and i did.. well, except i don't have a hat with me

i need to learn to live more in the moment. to look around me and let the amazement run through my veins and make me alive again. it's like the feeling in the sistene chapel when you look up and can't quite comprehend what you're seeing, but you feel the depth of it anyway. i want to live my life like that. to learn to let go the fringes of my emotion and learn to focus. a wise woman recently reminded me that i am promised only enough strength for today. perseverance is important, but i really only need to think about the short term. the rest of my life? something i always worry about... but when it comes down to it, i don't think it will ever arrive. only tomorrow, if that. focus, renee, focus. just live.

posted by renee 3:25 AM

Monday, February 24, 2003

i don't know anything anymore
war is always about money?
who are you and what have you done with my old life?
my gpa is going to suck
overwhelmed is an understatement
i miss playing the piano to get out my emotions, but here they're just bottled up
i am curling up inside myself, write my heart into an envelope and drop it in a mailbox with no postage
where will it end up?
a poem written while sitting in a church where no one speaks my language and my brain is pulled nearly out of my head with the effort of understanding
and sometimes i think it's the coolest thing that i can go to rome for the weekend
but sometimes i miss my own little corner and my own little chair
and now i'm late for art, a subject at which i suck royally

posted by renee 6:29 AM

went to rome. on overload. saw the sistene chapel, climbed to the top of the biggest cathedral in the world, looked in the pope's window, wandered up the spanish steps with a polish speaking canadian named magda, threw coins into the trevi fountain, left a candle and a prayer at the parthenon and didn't go inside the coloseum because it's a monument to death and destruction and that's stupid. my brain can't handle anymore and dara was the only one who came through for me this weekend. i need a break, but i can't have one. and i'm late for italian class.

posted by renee 3:32 AM

Friday, February 21, 2003

hmmm.... i am currently in rome. we went out for dinner, but were too tired after wandering around on foot all day to "live it up" any more. tomorrow morning, bright and early, we're going to go on a tour of the vatican... that will be better, because walking for miles and looking at a bunch of buildings is much cooler if you know more than that they were built 1950 years ago. and that they're made of travertine and concrete.... thanks, though, abby....

posted by renee 4:23 PM

Thursday, February 20, 2003

ps. i brought one of those wine-boxes to school with my tuna sandwich today. i am fricking awesome.

posted by renee 4:00 AM

i live in an american bubble and i keep trying to convince myself that it's impossible to get out of, even though it's probably just that i am too lazy and unmotivated and i need an excuse not to try. grr... i wish i lived with a family sometimes. my italian would be sooo good if i just spoke it all the time. i translate things in my head all the time. i get so frustrated when i see little kids jabbering on in italian to each other and i think "seriously. you're 5 and i am totally jealous because i wish i could communicate like you." and sometimes i want to give up and just live in my bubble. think like an american. dress like an american. talk like an american. but i want to learn to be human first, american second. a bigger challenge than i anticipated.
also, i think i'll bop over to rome for the weekend... yeah, that sounds good.
lastly, i was a day counter for the first two weeks. then a week counter for the next two. but yesterday, lyndsey told me that next saturday is march 1 and i freaked out. i am not ready for march. because march means next month is april. aaaahhh... i want to stay here. don't make me go home! it's not enough time!! but i think i'm going to end up doing this again. i want to have my first real job in new zealand, i think. a couple of years bumming around in new york with abby and lisa and then i'm going to get the bug again, i know it. if i last that long. dang it all, i'm a world citizen.

posted by renee 4:00 AM

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

i don't know what to say
last night i sat and did pointalism (spelling?) and listened to mr 1986 and completely enjoyed myself
and robyn and i saw wine in cardboard juice box things... rock
and today we talked to a bunch of italian kids at their business school... rock harder
and i hate hate hate waiting for things that don't happen

posted by renee 6:04 AM

Monday, February 17, 2003

another monday morning... sigh
happy emails from several and an hour long conversation with my parents on the phone makes me feel connected
i like that
i got hit on by a 35 year old man from kosovo when i was sitting in a pasticeria near my apartment (which i couldn't enter because i didn't have a key, dang it... layed on the landing in the cold until 3 am and then played piano for church in the morning)
anyway. things are weird.
italy is weird.
and i really like it when people ask me questions in italian and i answer them in italian. it feels good.
i'm going to watch la vita è bella now... and i will be blowing my nose the entire time...
i need to remember those multivitamins...

posted by renee 3:31 AM

Thursday, February 13, 2003

so it's the week of only two posts... i never thought it would happen. i guess reading through my entries thus far is not encouraging me to write more... i have lost the linguistic prowess that i once had myself convinced i posessed...
valentine's day is tomorrow. sort of a silly holiday, really.
we're having our whole group over for spaghetti tonight. twenty college kids, 200 grams of pasta, several bottles of wine, and an early morning tomorrow to get on the bus for sienna... yay...
i went to a photography exhibit yesterday by the fratelli alinari, a family of photographic pioneers. many of the pictures on display were from the 1850s. and they were amazing, but i wasn't as amazed as maybe i should have been. isn't that always true? we lose the ability to really be astonished by things when we are used to them. i see photographs all the time. it's a part of my daily, if not hourly, life. but for the people who had never seen naples, living in the north of italy in the late 19th century, photograps were magical. and the subjects of the pictures are worthy of more attention on my part, also. i walk past the duomo every day. and it's started to become so commonplace to me. when there's a twenty degree difference between the sun-lit areas and the shade, i hate them for building the baptistry, because it makes my walk home that much colder. but it's so beautiful. and the dome itself... it is a practically unparalelled engineering feat. but i fail to really understand the things that i am living among at the moment. like i never remember that the david was carved out of a 16 by 6 by 6 cubic foot piece of marble. but they didn't have motors then. how do they get a chunk of rock that size anywhere to get it carved? or that michaelangelo didn't want to paint the sistene chapel. he spent four years of his life lying on scaffolding in the dark, wax dripping into his eyes, feeding his obsession with achieving perfection. sigh. i think that there will be so many things i will only truly appreciate about this experience when it's over. and i wish there was a way to really grasp how lucky i am to be here, while i still AM here... but it's probably impossible. i'm in italy. cool.
also, we are looking at going to interlaken, switzerland to go canyon jumping. ha. this is my life.
oh yeah, and about valentine's day... it's usual for me to be physically alone on that day. in fact, it's never been any other way. but i feel very individual for some reason this year. and i kind of like it. i am attached, yet unattached. loved, yet not smothered. happy girl am i.

posted by renee 4:30 AM

Tuesday, February 11, 2003

i hate it when i go through a weekend without posting. there is simply too much to say when i finally get back... to get the basics out of the way.... we went to venice, did indeed ride on a gondola through the fishy smelling canals, and had absolutely the best food i have ever had in my entire life. bottom line. we ate in this resteraunt that was completely the stereotype. family run. free glass of wine to start you out. cats running around on the floor, cat-tails in vases on all the tables (which are set up in long lines, cafeteria style), the 60 year old chef grating huge rounds of fresh parmagian (spelling?) cheese and everyone in the whole place getting their food at once. mmmm.... i was tempted to buy a billion little glass things and carnival masks. we went to a museum and saw peggy gugenheim's collection of avant garde art, including a couple picassos and a salvador dali. see what i mean? simply too much to say... and nothing of ME is in this.. just a collection of "and then we did this"....
yesterday i felt so alive. so suddenly aware, or at least reassured that the things i feel aware of actually exist. my culture teacher went on a lecture-long rant about american idealism and how we see our politicians... italy has fought two world wars (within thirty years of each other) on their own soil. the people in my generation have grandparents who know what it's like to starve in their own country. and we are taught to look at our "founding fathers" as heroes. perfect in moral character and flawless in judgement. italians look at government and expect corruption. the president had an affair, they ask? well, that's obvious. the president has oil interests in the middle east? well, that's obvious. but we protest... our leaders, bastions of democratic truth and light, unfettered by personal concerns. YES! LET'S GO TO WAR! after all, it means very little to us. we send a few of our boys over to be heroes far away, and we make this huge sacrifice of starting to make $50,000 a year right out of college instead of $200,000. Wow. all for freedom. all for democracy. but italians know what war really means. we look at september 11 and say "what a tragedy" and they look at complete messes of countries after FIGHTING BATTLES WHERE THEY LIVE.... grr... i can't even say it right. my momentum from yesterday has been absorbed by time and movement and i can't put words to the tangle of discomfort and discovery i find racing through my veins..... grr....
allan went to cinque terra this weekend, and found a room for rent for €15... it had a full kitchen and an austrian in the next bedroom... sweet... he will be our tour guide when we go, unless we end up going to venice again.. i am slightly tempted by carnival, just because it's world known, but eh... the same place twice? i don't know for sure.
anyway, that is all for now, if you read this far, i commend you.

posted by renee 3:24 AM

Friday, February 07, 2003

tomorrow i'm going to ride on a gondola
next fall i'm going to start out my year living on jill's couch
in two years i'm going to move to new york with abby and lisa
in twenty five years, i will tell some kid of one of my friends that they should really study abroad, because it was the coolest thing i did in college

posted by renee 3:32 AM

Thursday, February 06, 2003

my watch ticks always.
it is both the most comforting thing
and the most threatening

i like it here, but only because i will be here for 89 more days and not indefinitely
when i go home, i will have mere months left of being a kid, and likely no place to live when i go back to school

posted by renee 3:56 AM

Wednesday, February 05, 2003

the way i exist
a) i'm alive (threatened by the idea that italy has many bombs trained on iraq, and therefore rumor has it that they may have some trained on us)
b) in the big things (going to see the David in mere minutes)
c) in the small things (my fingers have permanent traces of charcoal dust on my fingertips)
d) as an observer (the guy in his late twenties wandering the market with his big backpack, unshaven face and sleeping bag made me wonder what goes on in the head of a true wanderer)
e) always, always inside a language (english, usually...)

posted by renee 9:39 AM

the dogs here are much better behaved than their owners. they are allowed into shops and even eating places sometimes. every time i'm out there are people walking their dogs... unfortunately, they don't clean up after them... ick (jilly, i think of you often...)
dust cover mentality n. the mindset that makes a person put away their umbrella while it's raining because they don't want it to get blown inside out, or listen to their mp3 player at an impossibly low volume considering the traffic because they don't want to wear out the batteries, or not spend their money freely because they want to have more to be stingy with later... aka renee's biggest fault
that is all for now, except i hope i have a place to live when i get back to school next fall.... aaaaaaaaahhhhhh

posted by renee 6:20 AM

Tuesday, February 04, 2003

it snowed yesterday.
big fluffy snowflakes.
my culture teacher said "it never does that here"
but it did.
dang minnesotans bringing the weather with them.

posted by renee 3:25 AM

Monday, February 03, 2003

i hate monday mornings, because i feel like i have to try and sum up everything from my weekend, but i know that's impossible. me and my obsession with detail...
a sketch, then:
saturday night: who loves her more? the one who leaves the irish pub at 11:30 because she can't stand there and watch the downing of the ceremonial shots without being tempted to ask "are you sure you want to drink that? you really don't have to" before every one, and then wakes up several hours later to sooth the birthday girl post-puking? or the one who stays with her the whole time, buys her the tequila, just because that's what turning 21 is all about, and makes sure she gets home all day? something makes me feel like i should have stayed with her the whole time. but then again, there's my ubiquitous battle with how much to give, and how often to find my limits and be a little selfish...
sunday morning: brian and i went to an italian evangelical church (which had a piano and therefore brought much joy to my stiffened fingers). i understood a good amount of the service, and it was refreshing to be surrounded by people also seeking to serve God. the spiritual pressure here has been more than i'm used to. anyway, the pastor i had a connection with invited us over to his home for lunch, and we stayed until five in the evening talking to him and his wife about their forty years serving in italy... amazing (the conversation and the food...)
that is about all i have time for at the moment... yay, italian class...

posted by renee 3:11 AM


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my band(mates)
thomas built the wall
casey on the drums

other friends
joa jean
nate t
nate b
the MAN i hate
my ex-neighbor

some i wish were my friends

music i listen to
band of horses
zoe keating
rilo kiley
(jenny lewis)
mr 1986
regina spektor
iron & wine
the new pornographers
radio on
the combo
emiliana torrini
sigur ros
nickel creek
trampled by turtles
the hold steady
the decemberists
del the funky homosapien
death cab
tv on the radio

the guys that review it
jason (in a kilt)
peter c

and the places to hear it
the fine line
varsity theater
the 400 bar
first avenue

found magazine
my pottery teacher
my favorite designer
aesthetic apparatus
the friendly stegosaurus

railroad illusions
we'll go sit on a coal car
bask in the soft light
and dream of a someday
simpler than this one

take a walk with me tonight, my dear
away from complications
away from fluorescent lights

we'll go lay on a rooftop
breathe in the sweet smoke
and talk of a place that’s
so far from this one

take a walk with me tonight, my dear
away from complications
away from conditioned air

we'll get lost under covers
smile at our trite words
and fall for a vision
so far from the truth

take a walk with me tonight, my dear
away from complications
away from the flightless facts

LEMUR is the answer!!