In Which Many Things are Discussed, and Nothing Whatsoever is Understood

Gia Arora
3 min readDec 24, 2023

I wonder how many times I can start a post with some variation of “It has been a rather long time since my last post,” before the tedium threatens to overwhelm me. Many times, it would seem. Since listing how long it has been since I’ve done something appears to work, I might as well make a list.

It has been three days since the commencement of my winter break. I have spent these three days obsessing over linguistics, writing one (1) chapter of a story I am working on, buying three (3) books in one afternoon, and reading about half of one (1) of them.

It has been nearly two weeks since the last time I read Hamlet. I read part of Act 4, specifically the scenes with Laertes in them. I was reading them in the bus, doing my best to drown out everything else. My best, it would seem, is not very good when I am actively trying to use it, but is absolutely flawless when I am not.

It has been over two months since I read Moby-Dick. One of the last scenes I read was Ishmael describing the crew, and my attention was snagged by something he said about Starbuck: “But were the coming narrative to reveal in any instance, the complete abasement of poor Starbuck’s fortitude, scarce might I have the heart to write it.” It isn’t often you see an unreliable narrator being aware about said unreliability, and even less so that you see them admitting it. With this one line, Ishmael tells us two things: first, that there is something amiss about Starbuck, and second, that Ishmael is not to be trusted. But then again, I haven’t finished the book, so what do I know?

There is a number of chrome tabs that, at this point, are permanent residents of my laptop. Every so often, my laptop will crash, and all the tabs will close and remain closed, because no matter how much I think I need them, I’m not sure I truly do. Of course, as Ishmael illustrated above, self-awareness only gets one so far, and I will keep these tabs open until they force themselves shut. Two of these tabs are of, and a third is a French poem that only exists in its translated form on

The first poem I have open is ‘Litany in Which Certain Things are Crossed Out’ but Richard Silken. I mentioned earlier a building interest in linguistics, so I believe I am qualified to say that there are many words in the English lexicon, and that not one can describe the way I felt after reading this poem.

Build me a city and call it Jerusalem. Build me another and call it Jerusalem.

The second poem is ‘The Road Not Taken’ by Robert Frost. This is because I have a draft of another post talking about this poem saved in some file somewhere, and I needed to be sure I was quoting the poem correctly. I chose not to post it, because I was convinced it was too dry. I might post it one day. On another note, I’ve always thought the name of this poem was ‘A Road Not Taken’ and not ‘The’. Oh, well.

The third poem, the French one, is perhaps my favorite piece of poetry: ‘Liberté’ by Paul Eluard. As the title suggests, it is about liberty. It was written during the German occupation of France in WWII, and rings with one of the three fundamental tenants of the French Revolution. Even if every single sentence had not sent fire roaring through my blood, just the phrase ‘l’espoir sans souvenir’ would have been enough to briefly leave my heart utterly destitute. It translates literally to ‘hope without memory’ — hope without cause, hope without reason, foolish and guileless and indomitable hope. The kind of hope that is birthed from darkness to live in darkness, and sings of the sun just the same.

I’m not sure how to end a post that was never going anywhere to begin with. Do read the poems linked here — unless, as in the case of Frost’s, you’ve already read it for seventh grade English. To hope that my next post will be on schedule will indeed be hoping without memory, but I suppose one may well try.