W is for…

 

My 2015 A to Z Challenge Theme is Quotes & Lines from Literature. Each day I will be posting a favorite quote or a few lines from well known short stories, poems or novels, with the letter of the first name as the A to Z. I’ll have a short write up with each quote, but each quote can also serve as a writing prompt for readers or myself.  I may write a poem or flash fiction based on that quote, or just throw it out there as inspiration. Hopefully you’ll join me in this adventure! I’ll try to include some of my favorite blog finds as I move through the challenge as well.
  

  
These are the first lines of Shakespeare’s Sonnet LX (60) which I found on one of my favorite and most commonly visited websites, Shakespeare Online

Why might you ask do I visit Shakespeare online so frequently? Well, I will tell you I have fallen into a new relationship with the Bard in the last year or so. My interest began thanks in large part to my fangirl favorite, Tom Hiddleston, who is a great fan of Shakespeare, but has grown as I have gotten more into the works, including seeing several performed, which is truly the best way to find a love for Shakespeare. 

One of the ways I have gotten more involved with his words is through the weekly Shakespeare lovefest that is #ShakespeareSunday on Twitter run by @HollowCrownFans. Each Sunday I search for the most fitting line to tweet within the theme and my day is always made when @HollowCrownFans retweet me. Hey, it’s the simple things in life, right? 😉 

I also picked up a really great iTunes download of a Shakespeare documentary called Muse of Fire where two actors go about trying to figure out what makes Shakespeare still so beloved after all this time. The two interview lots of everyday folk but also some big name actors, like Dame Judy Dench, Jude Law, Ewan McGregor and just the tiniest bit with Mr. Hiddleston. It’s a great exploration of why these works are so powerful even today. 

And just one more small mention of an absolute gem you should check out is PBS’s Shakespeare Uncovered. I watched the first season and am working on the second. Each episode focused on one play or a combination of related plays. Each episode is led by an actor who explores various parts of the history of the play as well as productions of it. I found these to be so helpful in understanding the works, but also just so fun to see the work in action. Definitely worth checking out! 😀

So given all of this I couldn’t pass up making W for William Shakespeare and I picked a favorite part of one of his sonnets that speaks to Time – which is a theme I am frequently drawn to. Not especially cheerful, but I love it.

Have a great week & make your minutes count! 😀

Poem a Day – Day 24 – Prompt is Guilty Pleasures

So today’s OctPoWriMo prompt was not exactly just about guilty pleasures, but that was the part of the prompt I responded to the most, so I’m running with it. I did read the fantastic post by Jessica Scott, which got me thinking about guilty pleasures instead of the reality shows the prompt mainly touched upon, so, thanks Jess! 🙂

I am an unapologetic Fangirl and my love extends to many books, movies, TV shows and people. I have posted about
being a Fangirl before and also about my absolute love for all things Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Sherlock and Game of Thrones. I also started this blog and writing challenge because of my Tom Hiddleston Fangirling.

So without further ado – my poem tonight for guilty pleasures is my fun Fangirl anthem. I hope you enjoy. Feel free to share what you geek out/Fangirl out about in the comments.

I am Fangirl, hear me roar
By CJS

I geek out about a lot –
this I will not deny.
So here I am now –
letting my Fangirl flag fly high.

I have book characters
that I love with great zeal
And worlds in those books
I wish dearly were real.

I have movies I love
and am known often to quote
I love when you quote along
but still will, even if you don’t.

Oh and TV shows!
I’m not afraid to admit
I love the tenth Doctor
and the eleventh, Matt Smith.

There may also be an actor
that makes me smile quite a lot
perhaps I should feel guilty
but, honestly, I really do not.

I am a fangirl –
hear me roar
I am a fangirl –
With much I adore.

Come along if you like and
Share what you love most
We can share in the bond
Or share in a toast.

Fangirls don’t judge
We just have lots of fun
And if we scare you a wee bit
It is okay to run.

🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Poem a Day – Day 12 – Prompt is Obsession

Today’s prompt for OctPoWriMo was on obsession, desire or lust.

Hmmm, quite a lot of ways to go with those prompts, not all of which would fit this particular blog.  🙂  

I went around other blogs having followed this prompt and I saw a wide variety of approaches.  My favorite so far was from Diana T.
Be sure to read to the end.  Very clever approach to the prompt.

This that I decided on was for the fun.

Ode to a Villain

I know it’s the good guys

For whom I should cheer

They fight for the right

And villains instill fear.

Yet sometimes a villain

Captures our imagination

Perhaps he’s not completely evil

And not too late for redemption.

This villain we love

Is acted with skill

And written with layers

So to watch is a thrill.

One minute he dazzles

Frequently he schemes

Always full of mischief

Not as simple as he seems.

This villain is a favorite

And yes, we may be obsessed,

But the reasons are many and varied

For why we remain so impressed.

It’s about to get crazy

Tomorrow, football season starts for my oldest son. We have practice four nights a week for two hours for three weeks, then three nights for an hour and a half for the rest of the season. Plus games on Saturday and random events/fundraising. He’s 9. And I have two other sons starting martial arts. And a little thing called school with lots of reading and homework. So… my life is about to get really crazy. 🙂

I am going to need to really work hard to keep up with all of that AND stick to my writing challenge. But the great thing about having a goal, and sharing it with others, is that you have a way to keep moving ahead when things get crazy.

A friend posted this great quote on Facebook today:

Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.
– Henry Ford

I may get busy ( or rather, busier ), but I will keep my eyes on the goal.

Have a great week y’all and I’ll catch you next Sunday after I have made it through our first week back to football. 🙂

PS – I saw 30 Seconds to Mars in concert for the first time last night and it was such a fun time! I became a fan in the last year or so. You can read a tiny bit of my 30 Seconds to Mars love in my A is for Alibi post from earlier this year. Seeing them live was great. And they played part of the song Hurricane, which is one of my favorites!!

I will have to see them again and I will have to get seats closer to the stage next time. If you wanna go see a cool show – be sure to check them out.

And Jared Leto – he is awesome. 🙂

Me Before You

 

I just recently finished reading Me Before You, a popular book by JoJo Moyes which was recommended to me by several friends.  Since finishing the book, people have asked me, “Was it good?”

It depends on what makes a book good.

Is a book good when you don’t want to stop reading, when you are filled with curiosity about what will happen next and are anxious to see how it will end?  Then this was a great book.  I really didn’t want to stop reading it the few times I had to set it down and I frequently found myself throughout the workday wondering what would happen next.

Or is a book good when you love the whole story and how it ended?  Then no, it was not a good book. I have mixed feelings about how the book ended so overall have mixed feelings about the book. If asked if I liked it, it’s hard for me to say simply yes or no.

But maybe it is that indecision and continued thought after finishing the book that makes it a good book.  Maybe the fact that I didn’t simply put it down and move on without any further thought makes it a success. 

Me Before You is billed as “heart-breaking”, “romantic”, and generally a weep-fest.  I did cry a bit, but found myself more frustrated than moved.

Our main characters are Louisa Clark, who in need of a job, accepts one as a caregiver to Will Traynor, a wealthy quadriplegic man who used to live a very large life and now struggles with living a smaller, more painful one.

Moyes puts a lot into the book that makes you think. Reading Me Before You made me think of a favorite quote about one of the joys of reading: 

A book is the only place in which you can examine a fragile thought without breaking it, or explore an explosive idea without fear it will go off in your face. It is one of the few havens remaining where a man’s mind can get both provocation and privacy. ~Edward P. Morgan

Moyes gives us both fragile thoughts and explosive ideas.  I’ll tackle the fragile thought first, as it was what I liked most about the book and why I would recommend it.  The explosive idea is morally and politically charged as well as filled with “spoilers” – as River Song might say in Doctor Who ( sorry I have a house full of Whovians at the moment and I can hear her voice saying spoilers, spoilers).

The fragile thought for me, that touched me, looked at how we define ourselves, our lives, our limits. Will Traynor challenges Lou to live a bigger life, not limiting herself to the tiny world and life she had defined for herself.  While I may not have connected with Will’s character, as I’ll discuss more later, one thing I did appreciate about Will was the way he challenged her tendency to say “That’s not me.”  Louisa’s response to things she hadn’t done before, like going to the orchestra or scuba diving was often, “Well that’s not me.”  When Will basically dares her to try things, and then provides her not only the opportunity but a strong motivation to try them, she begins to see herself differently. The Louisa Clark we meet in the beginning is a very different one than we see at the end, and I liked her journey. It made me ask myself, “What am I missing out on by telling myself, ‘That’s not me’.”?  I love that a book can open up new thoughts like that. 

The explosive idea (spoiler alert) is with Will’s decision to end his life through assisted suicide.  While I’ve read some very heated responses to the morality or politics of the “right to die” or “right to choose” or however you want to define the idea of whether a person should be able to receive medical assistance to end their own life, I don’t want to get into a debate about the big concept.  I think people will have very strong opinions about whether it is right or wrong, should be legal or should not be legal, and then even further into other related issues.  I don’t really want to go there.  Though many certainly will, and would argue it’s an important discussion to have. Perhaps.  I just don’t want to have it.

I’d like to speak very specifically about Will’s choice.  Not whether he should be allowed to have the choice. 

Why I struggled with this book and felt like flinging it across the room in the end was because Will was so determined to end his life and would not be swayed from that decision.  His argument was that it was the last choice that he was able to make for himself.  I’m sorry, but that’s BS.  He could choose to make the most of the life he had.  He still had his mind.  He wouldn’t even consider the possibility of trying to make a life work.  He gets a tattoo at one point in the book that I absolutely HATED.  The tattoo was “Best Before” and the date of his accident.  As if his life expired when he had the accident that disabled him.  All he can see is the life he used to live and the greatness of that life.  He cannot see beyond the limitation and pain of his new life.  Okay, I will concede that yes, that must suck.  You go from being the king of the world to having to have someone else be responsible for you basic physical needs.  He could no longer travel, climb mountains, ride motorcyles and have sex.  Yes, that would be awful.  But to not just joke but to believe that he was best before his accident and no longer wants to live because he can’t have those things is to take for granted what he still has or could have. 

Will and his family have the means to provide him the best care possible.  Will has full use of his mind and could use much available to him to still do something with his life.  Will has people who care about him, including a woman who loves him and wants to help enrich his life.  He has life.  I was so frustrated with this book because of his refusal to even consider that his life could still be good despite the incredible difficulties and limitations. 

Maybe it is the part of me that is an optimist that hated his pessimism (or even realism if you want to look at it that way).

Maybe it is the part of me that loves to see people rise up in difficult circumstances that hated his decision to end his life because it was difficult.  I want to read about a person who fights against difficult odds, overcomes insurmountable obstacles, and is ‘bloody, but unbowed.” 

I do not, and did not, want to read about a character who believes the best of his life is over and the rest of his life has no value.

And then he focuses his determination toward ending his life, despite how he knows it will hurt those around him.  I couldn’t like Will for all of these reasons.

I find it interesting that Moyes never gives us a chapter from Will’s perspective after his accident.  We get bits from the POV of most of the characters, but not Will.  I wonder why Moyes chooses to limit his POV chapter to only before the accident.  I have to say it contributed to my inability to connect with his character.

But do I have to like Will to like the book? No.  So was it good?  Yes, for making me want to read and making me think after.  But if someone asks me if I like it – my answer is no.  Because of Will.  Because of his decision.

Feel free to share with me (not political or moral outrage please) how you felt about the book.  I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Read on for a related note on this book from my Fangirling world.

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Part of the reason I read the book was because there are rumors that Tom Hiddleston has been considered or suggested for the part. Here, for my fangirl friends, are my thoughts on Tom in this role.

Tom is extremely talented and this could be an excellent vehicle for him to show off his talent.  He communicates much through his eyes and face alone, so playing a role where his face and eyes would be pretty much what he’d be limited to would show off his skill.

It’s also not hard to imagine Tom as the larger than life pre-accident Will that is an upper crust British gentleman or to imagine our devastation at seeing him broken.  I am certain Tom in this role would add a whole other layer to the story that I don’t know that I’d honestly want to explore. There is little possibility that we would not care about Will.  I’m certain Tom would fill in a lot of the holes in that character that I feel were present in the book.  I’m afraid I would love Will like Lou did and I would indeed be a weeping mess at the end when they say goodbye.

If Tom were Will I am sure I would care in a whole different way than I did in the book. 

And that is just one reason I don’t want him to play the role.

I think that whoever takes on this role will be thrust into the kind of discussions I’ve wanted to avoid when discussing this book.  People may ask if because of his decision to play the role, does he then support the choice Will made?  Certainly Tom is intelligent enough and articulate enough to make whatever argument he would choose to make, but I don’t know that I want to see the idiocy that may become prevalent on social media if he stars in this movie.

One of the reasons I am a huge Hiddleston fan is because of his positive and joyful spirit.  Many quotes are full of optimism and I love that. A favorite quote is:

“Never, ever let anyone tell you what you can and can’t do. Prove the cynics wrong. Pity them for they have no imagination.  The Sky’s the Limit. Your Sky. Your Limit.”

I know actors play characters that aren’t like themselves.  I know Tom has played characters that aren’t like him.  I know that. I just don’t like the idea of this character in his collection of characters. I don’t want him inhabiting a character who would value life so little.  I just don’t want it. 

But if he does, I am sure I will watch. I am sure I will weep. But I kinda hope I don’t have to.

The Fault In Our Stars

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As seems usual for me, I am a bit late to this party, but now that I am here, I love it! 🙂 John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars is, as you have no doubt heard and/or seen, being made into a movie. I was tempted to wait until after I saw the movie to read the book because I have the tendency to play the “That’s not how it was in the book!” game and I was afraid I might do that with this one. But I really wanted to read the book because I have seen so many great reviews. I bought the book at a local grocery store with a gift card I’d been given. Why buy food with a gift card when there are books? :). I got a trade paperback with the original cover, not the movie cover, because I am funny like that. 🙂

Then I was busy with family in town and other things and only this week did I finally get around to reading it. It took no time to love it. Sadly my life does not easily accomodate reading a book the whole way through anymore, but I did stay up late reading a few nights and finished it yesterday.

Cleaning, who needs to clean? Laundry? It’ll still be there. Kids fighting? Sorry guys, I gotta see what happens to Hazel and Augustus. Mommy, are you crying? Yes, yes I am.

Green does so many things right with this book, and as a writer who is always looking to improve her craft, I had to admire his story and all the little details. I cried several times and not just in the BIG moments. I laughed a lot too, cared for the characters, and could see it all so clearly.

I purposely did not watch this trailer until I had read the book so there would be no spoiling the book for me. Now that I have read the book I am super stoked to see that the movie looks like it will be really great, too.

Since I did not want any spoilers I will carefully avoid giving any. I do want to share with you one of the things that really spoke to me that is not tied into something that would be considered a spoiler. Feel free to comment and we can chat about the book as much as you want though. Because there are so many good things.

Hazel has a book she loves in this story. A book she had read again and again. A book that spoke to her and her experience. A book that meant something to her and then to Augustus as well. Of course as a reader I can identify with having a book that you love like this. But because of some things that happen in the story, I really caught a glimpse into the power of being the author (or creator of anything really) that touches people. What we write has the power to move people. Maybe it is simple entertainment, and that is great. Maybe we just take them out of whatever else is going on in the world for a moment. Maybe we make them laugh. Maybe we make them smile.

Maybe we can change their life.

As Spider-Man’s Uncle Ben reminded him, “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility”. Reading this book helped me see the power and the responsibility.

As I work on things I am writing, I will remember. And even if all I ever write that gets read is this blog, even this can be important to someone. Maybe not monumental (ok probably not monumental 😉 ) but even small things can make a difference.

And we may never know the difference we make.

Zoolander

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Z is for Zoolander which is a silly movie really, but it never fails to make me laugh. My sister and I will sometimes text each other Zoolander quotes randomly because it’s guaranteed to make us smile. 🙂

If you can quote Zoolander with me, we are instant buddies 😉

Zoolander stars the hilarious Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Will Farrell, and a host of cameos like David Duchovny, Billy Zane, Natalie Portman, Vince Vaughn, David Bowie, and even a Bet You Didn’t Know This pre-True Blood Alexander Skaarsgard. See if you recognize him. 🙂

Ben Stiller takes us into the world of male modeling as the intellectually challenged Derek Zoolander. Derek soon discovers there must be more to life than being really really ridiculously good looking.

That’s pretty much the plot. But it’s just comedic gold.

Below I give you my favorite Zoolander quotes, some of which may not make sense out of context, but if you are a Zoolander fan, you’ll know them. 🙂

And with that, I bid adieu to this A to Z challenge! It’s been a great experience and I will definitely have to do this again next year. It has been a pleasure exploring other blogs and getting to ‘meet’ new people and getting to know some of you better.

Big hugs!!

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Derek Zoolander: Have you ever wondered if there was more to life, other than being really, really, ridiculously good looking?

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J.P. Prewitt: Male models don’t think for themselves.
Derek Zoolander: That’s not true!
J.P. Prewitt: Yes it is, Derek.
Derek Zoolander: [meekly] Okay.

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Mugatu: Hansel… so hot right now… Hansel.

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Derek, presented with a model of a building for his proposed school:
Derek Zoolander: What is this? A center for ants? How can we be expected to teach children to learn how to read… if they can’t even fit inside the building?
Mugatu: Derek, this is just a small…
Derek Zoolander: I don’t wanna hear your excuses! The building has to be at least… three times bigger than this!

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Hansel: Listen to your friend Billy Zane, he’s a cool dude!

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Brint/Meekus/Rufus: [in unison] Orange Mocha Frappuccino!

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Billy Zane: It’s a walk-off!

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