Step One

Hello there.

Thanks for checking out the blog. It’s a little bit empty right now, but I should have some more stuff up in the next few days. This might normally be the time for a self-introduction, but chances are that if you’re reading this you already me. Either that or you scrolled down the archive for fun, in which case kudos to you I guess. There is an about page though if that’s what you’re looking for. But I do want to take a moment to talk about what this blog is – or rather, where it came from and what it’s supposed to be.

figure fifteen is the result of a few chapters of my life that I’ve thrown together. It is a blog primarily dedicated to book reviews, but I hope it can also grow into a bit of a personal space for my own writings and observations. I’m not a company, I’m just… me.

I first had the idea of starting a blog back in high school. For about a year my best friend at the time and I actually did run a little blog where we talked about… not a lot really. The only posts of mine I seem to remember from then were about the Valentine’s Day and hockey at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics. Oh and some embarrassing poetry from the both of us (I say embarrassing because I think she actually showed it to the girl I was writing about, eek!).

University was when I rediscovered my childhood love for reading, which I had lost somewhere during high school. I’m not entirely sure when it happened, actually. In my first year, it picked up Anna Karenina just for fun – a figure skater I enjoyed watching was skating to the music of the 2012 film that season, and I wanted to understand the story. I liked it and ended up taking a Russian Literature class (and eventually majoring in Russian Studies). I originally intended to major in East Asian Studies but “downgraded” to a minor in Japanese Literature. It was few years later when a close friend of mine encouraged me to take a graduate seminar on Yuko Mishima that really solidified that decision.

During university I also made a second Twitter account to talk about figure skating and livetweet competitions and stuff without annoying everybody that followed my personal account. This venture into “stan Twitter” is where the name figure fifteen comes from—figure, well, for figure skating and fifteen because at the time I happened to be looking at Feynman’s Lectures on Physics vol. III and chapter fifteen discussed the motions of spinning particles. This seemed a reasonable enough connection to me because spinning is… kinda what figure skaters do. Unfortunately there is no literal figure 15; the first illustration in the chapter is labelled Fig. 15-1 (for the scientifically inclined, the full text of the chapter including the relevant figure can be viewed here). I don’t use that account anymore, but I was rather attached to the name seeing as it became my online identity for a while there and I really did put a lot of thought into it.

And that brings us up to today. As I’m writing this in June 2021, we’re still slowly recovering from a global pandemic that continues to devastate large parts of the world. I’m still recovering from devastating personal losses as well, though this perhaps is not the time to dwell on them. But together, from the safety of home, we’re going to start a journey. You, me, anyone else that chooses to come along, and the infinite number of authors, poets, and characters waiting to be found.

Here’s to step one of that journey.

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