A Neverland Heart

Growing up, my favorite movie was Peter Pan. Well, that’s not entirely true. Perhaps a better beginning to this post would be, Growing up, my favorite concept was Peter Pan. To this day, I still have never seen the Disney rendition of Peter Pan. I grew up on a filmed stage-play rendition, which my older sister ruined for me by revealing that the actor who played Peter was actually female (it was almost as bad as realizing that black coffee doesn’t taste nearly as good as it smells). But I had heard the story of Peter Pan (or bits of it), and that was enough to capture my attention. The idea of flying, never having to grow up, living a life of adventure–it seemed ideal to my young mind. And my young heart. Unfortunately, I was told around the time that I was eight that to believe in such things, much less long for something like it, was absurd and to be put away in the toybox.

I don’t know who posted this, but it is awesome.
http://weheartit.com/entry/13013392

Much to my mother’s dismay, my interest was piqued again when I was twelve with the release of a live action version of the tale, which I immediately devoured. My sister says that I loved it because of the main actor. My mom was afraid that I loved it because I didn’t want to grow up. What I think (though it might have been a mix of the previous two as well… I mean, I was twelve) is that I fell in love with the idea of escaping, going to a place entirely new, dangerous and yet still innocent, with adventure at every turn.

I have a Neverland Heart. It’s why I write. It’s why we read. It’s why we daydream. It’s why the idea of time travel is so intriguing; we can’t be too crazy if we only escape to the world that once was, or is yet to be, as opposed to yearning for one that “doesn’t exist.” That’s the sad reality of reality. But what if we didn’t worry about being crazy? Or what if those who don’t seek after Neverland are the crazy ones?

My Neverland Heart still looks for the glimmers that others might miss simply because looking for them is “childish.”  Well then, I’m a child. I realize that I’m growing up, and I don’t regret it. But honestly, what happened to the wonder? Our world has it; can you see it? Looking with a child’s eyes… yearning with a child’s heart. One that’s not deterred by sarcasm or pessimism. Undaunted hope. Looking for the chance to take Peter’s hand. Come away to Neverland.

I mean, why not?

P.S. This post was brought on because for my last birthday, I received a DVD entitled “Neverland,” which was a tv mini-series on Syfy. Has anyone ever seen it? I’m trying to decide if watching it would be fun, even if it isn’t accurate, or if it would ruin something. Let me know!

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Are You Awake?

The good news is, if you read my last post, I found a book that can hold my interest. Maybe even awes me a little. Forbidden by Ted Dekker is my latest binge, and I’m almost through it in two days of on and off reading. The bad news is, he stole a concept that I had played with about three years ago, just waiting until I had time to write again before it became anything more concrete and serious. Figures.

Image

“Pain is in the mind.” Says Inception… a movie about dreams. Hmm.
Snagged the photo from greenteamovie.blogspot.com

Anyway, now that the reading update is out of the way, I want to discuss another topic with you. After dinner this evening, my family launched into a discourse on weird things that humans do on a regular basis. We ended up on dreams, when my brother mentioned that he has felt pain before in his dreams. I have as well, and my dad, while my mom sat by and looked skeptical. She had never had anything like that happen before, and then we debated for a long time whether one had to experience a sort of physical stimulus in order for the brain to misinterpret it as pain, or if it could conjure the idea of pain in the mind, being felt in the dream, disappearing upon awaking. Needless to say, we came to no conclusion.

But that had me thinking: do you think we experience anything during our waking hours that is conjured by the mind? It may not be real at all. Maybe we’re dreaming already, waiting to wake up. Do you think we could experience things differently? Is what we feel, see, think, hear in dreams really so far removed from reality?

I’m not going to go into weird psychological stumblings about whether what we see or not is real. How do we really know what we think we really know, and such. But what if our brain did conjure some things? Oh look, I tied it back to Ted Dekker again. Maybe you all should just read Forbidden. Maybe this would make a little more sense. 

Do you think you’re really awake? Are our dreams as ethereal as we make them out to be? 

How about this: are you ever inspired to write because of dreams, no matter how dumb or uninteresting the initial dream might have been?

Looking to Be Awed

It’s been a while since I’ve read any fiction novel worth raving about. Sure, I put up a post about the Hunger Games, and while I recommend it still, it’s more for the social commentary in it (particularly the parallels between the Capitol and America now) than any particular craft or beauty of wording. I do believe it was a book worth reading, and it has its moments, yet it had nothing of extreme beauty that made me fall in love with it.

The last book I read that led me to rave about story and craft was Ted Dekker’s Circle Trilogy (the original three, the real three, as in, not including Green). Black in particular was my absolute favorite… a rereading might be in order. Yet there’s something missing in my mind, I think, when I don’t have a book that I can read for the first time and be awed by it.

I am sorry to report that I just finished reading a book by C.S. Lewis that I only kind of enjoyed. I know, it makes me sad too. And while I did like Till We Have Faces, I can’t say I’m in love. Not enough to rave. Which is a new thing between Lewis and me. And I don’t think I like it. That’s what let me know that I need to start looking to be awed.

So I’m wondering: Have you come across any books lately that you absolutely love? Not something that is merely recommendable, but one that you can rave about. Fiction is preferable. I just graduated, and I am going to read for FUN.

Thanks, all.

P.S. I’ll hopefully be putting up some new posts about writing soon, but I’m also looking for inspiration–and a little rest to jumpstart my drive to write again after finishing senior project. A little burnt out from that yet. There hasn’t been much time for musing, let alone wardrobe-sitting. Thanks for your patience and comments. I appreciate you all!

A Breath of Poetry

I heard this read at a Writing conference I went to recently. It was absolutely gorgeous, and I couldn’t help but post it. I’m not sure if I got the formatting right; the site where I found it wasn’t much help in that area. Nonetheless, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. What is your favorite poem or poet? Let me hear it.

Closer by Anis Mojgani

Come into this. come closer. you are quite the beauty. if no one has ever told you that before know that now. you are quite the beauty. there is joy in how your mouth dances with
your teeth. your mouth is a sign of how sacred your life truly is. come into this. true of heart come into this. you are true of heart. come closer. come closer. know that whatever God prays to He asked it to help Him make something of worth. He woke from His dreams scraped the soil from the spaces inside Himself made you and was happy. you make the Lord happy. come into this.
come closer.
know that something softer than us but just as holy planted the pieces of Himself into our feet that we might one day find our way back to Him. you are almost home.
come closer come into this. there are birds beating their wings beneath your breastplate gentle sparrows aching to sing come aching hearts come soldiers
of joy doormen of truth come true of heart come into this.
my heart was too big for my body so I let it go and most days this world has thinned me to where I am just another cloud forgetting another flock of swans but believe me when I tell you my soul has squeezed into narrow spaces. place your hand beneath your head when you sleep tonight and you may
find it there making beauty as we sleep as we dream as we turn over when I turn over in the ground may the ghosts that I have asked answers of do the turning kneading me into crumbs of light and into this thing love thing called life. come into it!
come you wooden museums you gentle tigers negro farces in two broken scenes. come rusting giants!
I see teacups in your smiles upside down glowing. your hands are like my heart. on some days how it trembles. let us hold them together. I am like
you. I too at times am filled with fear. but like a hallway must find the strength to walk through it. walk through this with me. walk through this with me. through this church birthed of blood and muscle where every move
our arms take every breath we swallow is worship. bend with me. there are bones in our throats. if we choke it is only on songs.

A Glimmer of Whimsy

What’s on my mind today? Whimsy.

My idea of Whimsy. Thanks to my lovely friend Jackie for putting these pictures on her Facebook page for admiring pleasure

It’s kind of a word that insinuates (at least in my mind) rainbows, strange little bunny-like animals, maybe a few hippie spirals, and cotton candy blue. It means sparkles, maybe even a caffeine high. And giggling. Lots of giggling. But as I sat down with my senior writing project, I began to wonder, why is so much fiction today so depressing? And why should I write that way?

A couple weeks ago, I sat in the lovely chapel at Northwestern College listening to Leif Enger (best-selling author of Peace like a River, which regrettably, I have not yet read) speak about his writing process and his thoughts on what writing should be. I think what stood out to me the most was his references to whimsy in the life of the writer. I actually had the chance to go up and speak to him the next day and discuss writing with him and my frustration with depressing literature, especially for young adults. While I can’t repeat here exactly what he said, since I don’t accurately remember his quote (and he could say it better than I could even think to write), he said that while life is gritty and sometimes harsh, there are glimmers, moments of true delight and whimsy, and that I shouldn’t forget to write about those times too.

He used the word whimsy to describe delight. Those two concepts had never truly connected in my head before. So what is whimsy? It’s the moments that glimmer, the ones that make tuck your knees to your chest and curl your toes, grinning like a child on her birthday. It’s a moment of innocence, watching a girl twirl in a white sundress with a bouquet of dandelions in her hand.

Then realizing that the girl is you.

The Hunger Games: Twisting Out of Corners

One of the Movie Posters, taken from http://www.fushionmag.com/ May the odds be ever in your favor.

I think I’m going to jump on the bandwagon… I read The Hunger Games. I saw the trailer for the movie coming out on March 23rd, 2012, and decided that if I was going to see the movie, I might as well know how well it compares to the book, which has been a best-seller in the world of YA lit. Needless to say, I read the whole thing in two afternoons, during which absolutely no homework got done.

This might be a good point to insert a DISCLAIMER: I’m going to start talking about the book now, and I am not responsible for the comments that may pop up regarding spoilers for the book or the movie. My point here is to start conversation, so if you’re worried about reading something that will ruin the end of the book/movie, you’ve been warned.

Anyway, I just wanted to point out that Collins did a masterful job with the book. While not particularly exciting in terms of diction or word choice, the voice was in first-person present tense (a voice very difficult to pull off). Plus, the words, dialogue, and descriptions all match beautifully with her portrayal of the main character, Katniss. I was immediately drawn into the story, what with my identification with Katniss, as well as the present-tense voice that keeps the reader involved in every aspect of the story. Then, there’s the TWIST ENDING! Oh my goodness, I had some suspicions about the reversal of the rule put forth in the middle of the Games, and that it would be reversed, but I was so scared that she was going to kill off one or two of my favorite characters!

To stop my ranting, I have to applaud Collins for backing herself into a proverbial corner, plot-wise. I wonder, did she plan how to end it when she arrived at that point in the story, or did she have to think on the spot? Many characters have done this to me; then I have to find a way to keep them out of the trouble they instigated. Is it risky for writers who don’t plan out their books, but more write on the fly, to let the plot drag them into situations such as the showdown on the last day of the Hunger Games? What is the effect on readers if the writer does not satisfactorily resolve such a situation? Also, why create a character like Katniss, who doesn’t even understand her feelings throughout much of the book? Are characters who do not know their own minds more relatable, or just more fun?

You can comment if you’re stoked about the movie too. Oh, and when it comes to getting tickets for opening night, may the odds be ever in your favor.

Beauty and Imagination

Is there such a thing as objective beauty?
Let me explain a bit quickly. 

I was thinking recently–thanks to one of my classes–that language is completely representational. Any word that you might say, particularly nouns, represent something that we can see or a concept for which we can think of scenarios to exemplify it. For example, when I say the word “leaf,” there is probably an unconscious picture of a leaf that you think of. It might be a maple leaf, a fern frond; it doesn’t even have to be scientifically correct. (I happen to think of  a green dogwood leaf, most days. Or a yellow maple. Kind of depends on my mood and the season.) Anyway, if I were to call leaves one thing, but in my mind a leaf is something different than what you think it is, then we reach a stretch of severe miscommunication. If I were to start describing my idea of a leaf to you, while instead thinking of a platypus, not one of my readers could possibly understand my message. Most readers do not believe that leaves are a combination of an otter and a duck and lay eggs for reproduction. While a reader might see the correlation between the my descriptions of a leaf as being a platypus, my writing itself would be discarded as absurd for not abiding to the “standard” of a leaf.

Concept art from "Thor" and the rainbow bridge of Norse mythology. Found it on http://ssyndrom.blogspot.com/ along with some other neat concept art pics from movie production.

I think that in the same way, imagination and our definitions of beauty also have standards to which they may appeal. For fiction writers, how can you make people imagine things that have never been seen? The Greeks’ mythology is perfect for this illustration. Unless I’m mistaken, no one has really seen a faun, a mix of a man with the hind legs of a goat. And yet we are able to picture it. Yes, it is probably due to things like modern illustrations, movies like the Chronicles of Narnia or Thor (both of which I recommend), when it comes to us picturing things from mythology. I think that movie directors are CG experts are really the best artists, since they have to take things that readers hold dear and make visible what has only been in their imaginations.

Yet we all can understand books that we read. If I say that a man’s nose it hawkish, you could probably come up with a picture very similar to what I am picturing. So our imaginations may also have standards to which they look for direction. Is our sense of beauty the same way? Is there a standard of beauty that all of humanity looks to? Is there a reason why classic works of literature remain classics, why famous paintings will continue to be extolled for their aesthetic qualities?

As a Christian, I think that beauty stems from God. It is the only explanation, in my opinion. I have multiple reasons why I believe this, and I can write more if there is demand to talk more. But I want to hear you all as well. Pass this around, ask your friends. I’m not asking for a definition of beauty necessarily, though if you are going to argue that, tell me how you define beauty as well. Let’s talk. Is imagination and beauty something that has a shared source, a common link to the minds of all humanity?