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the modern noir
dark, mysterious happenings
I was reading Patti Smith’s newsletter a few days ago and that is where I got the inspiration to write this. A few months ago, I found a playlist on Spotify of songs that play in film noir movies. I instantly fell in love with the ominous, jazzy tunes. That playlist was the background score to my life for a very long time during the lockdown. I’d wake up and put it on, listen to it on my headphones the entire day, end my day by listening to it before sleeping. It made me feel like my reality was different. I would be following a monotonous non-routine of waking up, reading books, eating, doing nothing much, and going back to sleep. But in my head, I was roaming around in a big city in the ‘40s, walking alone in quite streets on noisy rainy nights in glossy black stilettoes, with a mysterious air around me. I know, I do tend to romanticize life a little too much, but that’s how I make it fun. Okay, enough digression.
So, the playlist came into my life and then this issue by Patti Smith did and it forced me to think about all the times that life feels like film noir. Sometimes things happen inexplicably, without any warning or explanation. Dark days with clandestine happenings. Lately, all our lives have been playing out in film noir mode. We are living in the modern noir. Sickness, isolation, living away from family, friends, lovers, all that happened without any explanation, any warning. My family recently got tested positive for COVID and that has felt so dark. Not being able to touch my mother or hold her hand, not being able to see my father everyday, its been so exhausting. But I’m not here to talk about the coronavirus. I want to talk about strange, mysterious things that happen around me everyday, which make me feel like I’m in another world, an alternate reality.
Staying up at night and writing quietly on your laptop while your balcony door is left open, like right now, is noir. Finding a quiet room during a big party. Dropping the cap of your pen just below your chair but never being able to find it, how did that happen? Any book my Haruki Murakami, honestly. Broken friendships and friends who never manage to make their way back to each other. Waking up in the middle of the night for that big, cool sip of water. Walking on the streets and having a cat follow you. Sitting on the terrace to do your psychic meditation and hearing the clouds roar at the exact moment. This painting of Marie Antoinette and her children, the dark cot indicating her dead child.
Flights by Olga Tokarczuk. Thinking the same thing at the exact moment when the other person just said it, for the fifth time in the day. Data mining. Looking at someone you’ve never known but feeling like you’ve seen them somewhere and that you’ve known them all your life. Love at first sight. Starting a new job only to find a couple of your classmates already working there. Getting stuck at the place you’ve been working to run away from. Midnight meals. Visitation dreams from dead ancestors. Reading a book and sticking your head out only to see its already 4 am. The mystery of your pet understanding it when you feel low and comforting you with their snuggles. Similarly, your friend calling to check on you the exact moment you were feeling down. Watching this girl smoke cigarettes and drink her coffee and grade her students’ papers, all at once and with such ease and elegance, even among the chaos of the café. An empty house, early in the morning before the sun rises. The outside during a storm. Women with dark hair and hoarse voices. Soft Sounds from Another Planet by Japanese Breakfast.
What I’m reading right now: Flights by Olga Tokarczuk, The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri, and A Manual for Cleaning Women by Lucia Berlin
Current hyperfixation: Women
What I’m listening to at this very moment: Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
On this night of a waxing gibbous moon, I have, ritualistically, manifested a growth of happiness and peace in your life. I feel like that’s what we need the most right now. Hope you find it, soon, you who are in desperate need of it. If you want me to make a specific spell or something, just reply to me so that the next time, I make this less generalized.
Ending this newsletter with the Big Moon Energy Ritual:
Have a lovely Sunday!