Wednesday, December 03, 2008
After all the buzz dies down a little, I'll take some similar roles, trying to replicate my previous success, but they'll all be flops. Then, fearing that my career has already peaked, I'll fall into a cycle of drug use and rehab, repeating several times until I take up Kaballah or Scientology or cheesemaking or knitting and kick the habit for good. Then I'll be on the cover of Vanity Fair.
Inspired by my new-found lust for life, I'll take a role in a quirky, low-budget indie film, for which I will be nominated for an Academy Award. (Eventually, I will receive a total of three Oscar nominations, but I won't win until the third time.)
Then I'll go on Inside the Actors' Studio. These are my answers to the ten questions:
1. What is your favorite word?
2. What is your least favorite word?
3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
-Perfect peace of mind
4. What turns you off?
5. What is your favorite curse word?
-"Bangers and Mash," and yes, I know it's technically not a curse word. I'm not even sure what exactly it means, but it's so fun to say, for instance, when you stub your toe or hit your head- and I hit my head on stuff a lot- you just go "Bangers and Mash!" and it's so satisfying.
6. What sound or noise do you love?
-I actually really love bag pipes
7. What sound or noise do you hate?
-Someone singing off-key
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
9. What profession would you not like to do?
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
-"Well done, my good and faithful servant. Bathroom's over there." Because I'll probably have to go to the bathroom.
Then, after a string of highly-publicized romances with very famous, very handsome movie stars, all of which will end in bitter breakups, I will finally find true love with a director or a producer, or maybe a cameraman. We will be married in a multimillion dollar ceremony attended by such A-listers as John Travolta, Steven Speilberg and Oprah. We'll keep the ceremony a secret, but somehow photos from the event will wind up in half the magazines in the country.
The Hollywood press will invent some nickname for my husband and me by combining our first names and we'll pose together on red carpets and get voted cutest couple. (You know there's some magazine that has a "cutest couple" award. Hollywood is just like high school, except with lots of money and better cars.)
There will come a day when a photographer will get a picture of me in an empire-waist dress, the skirt of which is being blown by the wind in such a way that it looks like I'm pregnant, but I'm not. When I am pregnant, I won't try to hide it by wearing an empire-waist dress. Baby bumps are the new iPhones.
Eventually, through some combination of adoption from third-world countries and the fruit of my own womb, my husband and I will have six children. We will name them Khaki, Soccer, Lamppost, Cerulean, Halibut and Silly Putty. We'll make play dates for them with the children of other famous people and buy them extremely expensive strollers and baby clothes. They'll be pretty much the cutest kids ever.
I'll still be taking roles in movies, but less frequently and in more family-friendly projects. Then I'll decide that I want to retire from acting and start a farm in Connecticut with my husband, who will decide that he wants to retire from directing or producing or... camera-ing. We'll move to the farm with our kids and raise sheep and horses and host a spectacular Christmas party every year that will be attended by all the biggest stars.
The kids will grow up, and four of them will just live normal lives as accountants or teachers or something. One (probably Halibut- he definitely has the most potential) will become famous in his or her own right, as a director or screenwriter or musician, and one (most likely Cerulean- she's such a freeloader) will try to just coast on the fame of his or her parents until the world realizes what's going on. Then he or she will write a tell-all book about my life, and, though it will be poorly written, it will top all the bestseller charts for weeks.
I'll live out the rest of my days on the farm in Connecticut with my husband, maybe write a novel or two, and do a lot of charity work. Yep, my life will be so great when I'm famous... not that I've thought about it that much or anything.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
This is a paper that I wrote for my POES (Principles of English Studies) class. I rather liked it, and I got a good grade on it- 100%! Enjoy!
A common concept throughout literature is that of women being forced to, or choosing to, conform to the expectations placed upon them by a patriarchal society. F. Scott Fitzgerald and his contemporary James Joyce both wrote in a period of history in which women's rights were beginning to emerge and gain importance in the public mind. Joyce's “Eveline,” from his collection Dubliners, and Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, published ten years later, both contain female characters that illustrate the conflicted attitudes toward women and gender roles at the time. The women in both stories are reflections of the progress that women were making toward equality, but also of the tendency to revert back to a male-dominated existence out of habit. Eveline in “Eveline” and Daisy in The Great Gatsby are similar in their ultimate submission to the roles assigned to them by society rather than choosing another course in life, and in their unrealistic idealization of the men that represent those courses, perpetuating patriarchal views toward both women and men.
Eveline lives in constant fear of her father's violence and works not because she wants to, but because her father cannot work to provide for the family. She is also responsible for two children, having to step into the role of a mother at the age of nineteen. On the surface, she feels obligated to stay because of “the promise to her mother, her promise to keep the home together as long as she could” (Joyce 134). But, as soon as a way out presents itself, she jumps at the chance. She believes that, “in her new home, in a distant unknown country... people would treat her with respect then” (132). Eveline is not marrying Frank because she loves him; at least, that is not the only reason, or even the main one. She wants to marry him so that she can escape her domineering, violent father and hard, working-class life. “She must escape! Frank would save her....Why should she be unhappy? She had a right to happiness” (134). By viewing Frank as a means of escape, placing him in shining armor on a white horse, so to speak, Eveline objectifies him, setting up expectations of him that are sure to be disappointed eventually and, ironically, allowing herself to be objectified as well.
Daisy seems to have an easier life than Eveline; it is certainly a more luxurious life. Her marriage to Tom appears to be, if not happy, at least stable at the beginning of the novel, despite Tom having a mistress and his apparent indifference toward their child; he interrupts Daisy when she is talking about the girl to ask Nick what he does for a living (Fitzgerald 16). Beyond this, we see very little interaction between Daisy and Tom. At the end of the novel, Nick lumps the two of them together, claiming that Daisy is shallow and careless, but we know that Nick is not a reliable narrator, and a look into Daisy's past reveals a greater depth: “Her mother had found her packing her bag one winter night to go to New York and say goodbye to a soldier who was going overseas” (82). Whether or not this soldier was Gatsby (and it is most likely safe to assume that it was), Daisy's willingness to travel from Louisville to New York simply to say good bye to him implies that she had true feelings for him. Five years later, in the present of the novel, Daisy believes herself to still be in love with Gatsby, or in love with him again, but it is clear from their disjointed conversation that they do not really know each other anymore. Daisy's plan to leave her husband for her former beau is founded on a romantic image of Gatsby that she has built in her mind, an image which is fueled by Gatsby's invented identity. She, like Eveline, is allowing herself to idealize a man that does genuinely mean something to her, but who cannot rescue her like she expects him to.
Both women, after planning to leave their respective homes and run away with the men they have idealized, do not decide so much as fail to act on their intentions, and stay in the situations they were in from the beginning. For Eveline, this situation is oddly comforting: “It was... a hard life- but now that she was about to leave it she did not find it a wholly undesirable life” (Joyce 133). Now that she has seriously thought about, even planned, making a major life change, Eveline finds that she can not. “She prayed to God to direct her, to show her what was her duty” (135). She feels that her duty is to stay with her father, and she must do her duty. To do otherwise would put her in an unfamiliar situation. Similarly, Daisy finds that she cannot completely commit to running away with Gatsby. At the moment of confrontation between him and Tom, though she still says she is resolved to leave Tom, Daisy tells Gatsby, “Even alone, I couldn't say I never loved Tom... It wouldn't be true” (Fitzgerald 139). Daisy stays with Tom not only out of duty, but because she really does want to stay with him. Though she wants Gatsby too, she feels that Tom is the safer choice. As Sarah Beebe Fryer wrote in her essay “Beneath the Mask,” Daisy's “fear of emotions and her need for stability make her cling to her unsatisfactory marriage to Tom” (47). Both women end up choosing their perceived duty over happiness (or, what they think will bring them happiness) ostensibly out of obligation, but what they are truly deferring to is fear.
Daisy is no stranger to indecision. As Jordan reveals, the night before her marriage to Tom Daisy had some serious second thoughts, presumably triggered by a letter from Gatsby (Fitzgerald 82). Whether the letter is recent or one that she has saved is unclear, but either way she goes ahead with the wedding. For Daisy, financial security is what drives her initial decision to marry Tom; “Her voice is full of money,” (126) as Gatsby himself says. She can only briefly entertain the thought of living outside of the luxury in which she has been raised before rejecting it. Fryer also wrote of Daisy's need of security: “Her need was not for any particular person... but simply for an attainable partner who could provide- through marriage- the sense of identity and stability she so desperately craved” (51). She would rather marry a man she had only lukewarm feelings about than one that could not provide that security.
Eveline, too, craves stability. Frank seems able to offer it; he has a home in Buenos Aires, where he has “fallen on his feet” (Joyce 133). Yet as they are about to board the ship, “all the seas of the world tumbled about her heart. He was drawing her into them: he would drown her” (135). The use of water as a metaphor seems especially significant in light Eveline's desire for stability. The water of the sea is ever-changing, never still, and she now believes that leaving with Frank will throw her onto the waves, not only literally, and she will lose the stability she needs, even more than she needs the respect she thought would be hers after her marriage. Eveline's hesitation, like her desire to marry Frank, has very little to do with Frank himself. Her main reason for leaving Ireland with Frank had been to escape her hard life, so “she would not be treated as her mother had been” (132). But, as Florence L. Walzl points out in the essay “Dubliners: Women in Irish Society,” in Joyce's work “mothers so influence or manipulate their daughters that, in effect, the young women relive their mothers' lives” (47). This manipulation is seen in Eveline's promise on “the last night of her mother's illness” (Joyce 134) and is what ultimately makes her choose staying with her father over leaving with Frank; there is greater stability for Eveline in pleasing her parents than in a financially secure marriage.
Both women are afraid to take risks. They have both been brought up to accept the position allotted to them by a patriarchal society without complaint or question. And, since this is all they have ever known, when faced with the opportunity for something new, they revert back to the familiar. For both Eveline and Daisy, what drew them to the unfamiliar and made them consider giving up that security was an idealized, romanticized image of the men onto whom they projected their longings. For Daisy, this longing was for freedom, and for Eveline, respect. But in the end they both choose to keep their lives as they are, which perhaps is for the best. Would Daisy really have been happy had she left Tom for Gatsby, assuming he hadn't been murdered? Would Eveline have found the respect and affirmation she so clearly longs for had she gone to Buenos Aires with Frank? The alternate endings that they ultimately rejected may not have brought them happiness, and who is to say that the lives they end up with won't, either? While they may have chosen submission, the point is that they chose.
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. Harmondsworth, England: Penguin Books Limited, 1981.
Fryer, Sarah Beebe. “Beneath the Mask: the Plight of Daisy Buchanan.” Fitzgerald's New Women: Harbingers of Change. Ann Arbor, Michigan: UMI Research Press, 1988. 43-55.
Joyce, James. “Eveline.” Fiction: a Pocket Anthology. Ed. R.S. Gwynn. New York: Pearson Longman, 2007. 131-135.
Walz, Florence L. “Dubliners: Women in Irish Society.” Women in Joyce. Eds. Suzette Henke and Elaine Unkeless. Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 1982. 31-54.
Friday, November 14, 2008
I have lived twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex me, except that I have yet to find one who inspires my deepest affections. All of the young men I meet seem more similar to either Mr. Collins or Mr. Wickham, to varying degrees. I would be satisfied with a Mr. Bingley, but need I despair of ever finding my Mr. Darcy? Does he exist outside of novels?
If you say it is so I will believe it.
My dear Miss Watts,
Never despair! It is true that in novels the greatest powers of the mind are displayed, and the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusions of wit and humour conveyed to the world in the best chosen language. Yet it remains that novels are not life, and this intelligence, I gather, is from what your despair would spring. But in this great universe the truest measure of a woman is not of the everyday details of her life, but of her grasp of the whole of truth and knowledge.
Yes, Rhonda, there is a Mr. Darcy. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and friendship exist, and you know that they abound and give your life its greatest happiness. Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no Mr. Darcy. It would be as dreary as if there were no Miss Wattses. There would be no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. The eternal light with which the hope of young womanhood fills the world would be extinguished.
Not believe in Mr. Darcy! You might as well not believe in love! You might go one and twenty years in the world searching for him, but even if you did not find him, what would that prove? No woman sees her Mr. Darcy until the time is right. The most real things in the world are those which we cannot see by searching.
You may have your Mr. Collinses and Mr. Wickhams and even your Mr. Bingleys, and hope that they are enough, but there does exist an affection which not the strongest man, or even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside the curtain and lead you to the affection you dream of. Is it all real? Ah, Miss Watts, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.
No Mr. Darcy! Thank God he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Rhonda, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of womanhood.
Monday, August 18, 2008
I still had several hours before the store closed, yet there was a sense of urgency pushing me, compelling me, even as I sat at an intersection literally two minutes away. After an eternity the light turned green and literally two minutes later I was in the Target parking lot.
I almost ran to the back of the store, for once not even glancing at purses, clothes or shoes, even bypassing a rack of DVD's with a sign displaying their price, a tempting $7.50. I was relieved to find a copy of New Moon in stock in paperback. For a minute I entertained the idea of buying the third and fourth books in the series, too, to avoid repeating the agony I had just been through. But when I looked, I saw that the third book, Eclipse, was completely out of stock and the fourth, Breaking Dawn, its debut being only a couple of weeks old, was only available in hardcover. So, I picked up just the one volume and wandered around for a bit, trying to look casual, trying to convince myself more than the preoccupied shoppers around me.
Finally I meandered to the check-out lanes, grabbing a 20-ounce Coke and a package of Iced Tea Icebreakers on my way. There, standing in line, a morsel of guilt sneaked its way into my mind as I thought of my new copy of I Capture the Castle sitting at home on the coffee table, only the first two chapters having made it to the other side of my Post-it bookmark from the rest of its pages. "I didn't used to be like this," I thought. "I didn't used to abandon classic literature for teen vampire novels. What's wrong with me?"
That was almost a week ago, and I'm doing much better now. Even though I finished New Moon less than 48 hours after I bought it and then ordered the third and fourth books from Amazon (you save 5% by buying them together), I'm still waiting for them to come in. I've managed to pass the time, though.
I Capture the Castle is a lovely and delightful book, I've found, unlike anything I've ever read yet somehow deeply familiar. (If I had an older sister and a younger brother and a retired-author father and a twenty-nine-year-old stepmother who used to be an artists' model and we all lived together in a rundown Norman castle in England in 1948, this very blog might be remarkably similar to the first-person narrative of Dodie Smith's novel.)
Also in this time of waiting, I've had a chance to think about the dilemma I discovered in the check-out line at Target of reconciling vampires and classic literature. The solution is ridiculously obvious, as I'm sure most of my readers (meaning three out of the four of you) have already thought of and are now furiously shouting at your computer screens: "DRACULA!!!!"
Yes, Count Dracula, the infamous, ever ubiquitous title character of Bram Stoker's classic novel is perhaps the prototype, or at least a reference point, for the multitude of vampires in current pop culture. I first (and last) read Dracula as a high school senior determined to become well-read in classics beyond my Austen-Bronte-Alcott safety net, years before I discovered Buffy. (I was born half a decade too late to be in its initial target audience, so I've been borrowing the DVD's from a friend.) Vampires were completely off my radar, so I came to the novel with only a vague idea that vampire stories were weird and maybe a little creepy. I didn't like Dracula.
Fast forward three (gulp!- almost four) years and I'm hooked on a series of teen novels about vampires that are certainly a little weird (in a good way) but that I wouldn't really call creepy. They are fantasy, suspense, romance, but not horror. I find my Target check-out line guilt unfounded, for they are to me what I've discovered I Capture the Castle to be, though in a vastly different, rather darker package: escapism.
Friday, August 08, 2008
The night you left us, I wrote this: In the heart of my flesh I am a little girl who has lost her Papa. But in the heart of my spirit I know that we will meet again one day. Not as we were on Earth, but whole, our true selves, restored in the light of God's presence. Though my heart mourns a loss, you have gained Eternal Joy, and I rejoice for you. Until we are face to face in the land that shines brighter than the sun, I will continue to rejoice. I will live, I will laugh, I will pray, I will hope, I will dream, I will love, and I will remember you.
Monday, June 23, 2008
I work at a child care center. I hear those sighs of pity. Working in a child care center is really a great way to get exercise, especially if you work with 12- to 18-month-olds like I do. It's also a great way to get some free entertainment during the day, because if you don't have anyone over the age of four to talk to, you can just mock the children. They can't tell you're mocking them. They're not even two yet; they can't talk and they can't even completely understand English yet. They also have a very underdeveloped sense of humor, so if they see a smile, they think it's a good thing and they smile too.
You can really say anything you want to a one-year-old as long as you have the right facial expression and tone of voice. For example, "You're a stinky little girl, aren't you? You smell like poop and tuna!" and, "Look at your big head! I can't believe your mommy found a shirt that fits over it! You're going to have a hard time walking with that thing weighing you down!" when said with a huge smile and in an excited tone are real crowd-pleasers.
There is also fun to be had with books. Reading to a one-year-old is practically fruitless. If it's your idea, they're almost never interested. If it's their idea, they usually just want to sit in your lap, hold the book upside-down, point at one picture for five minutes while yelling out several nonsense syllables, before turning the rest of the pages as fast as they can and then throwing the book across the room.
Sunday, June 01, 2008
Lord You hear me when I call
And You catch me Every time I fall
But I want so much more
Could you show me what I'm looking for?
Set me apart
My mouth with your words fill
Change my heart
Conform my mind to your will
Let me be a sanctuary dedicated unto you
Give me a brand new start
Set me apart
Father There are things I've done
And I've taken glory from your Son
So I give it back to You
I want serve you in everything I do
Friday, February 29, 2008
Now for the miracle. Today is Friday.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
There seems to be a trend lately of making films based on children's fantasy novels. It started with Harry Potter in 2001 (that's when the first Lord of the Rings film was released, too, but I don't know if it can be considered a children's book). By the end of 2005 there were a slough of others, including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Five Children and It, Ella Enchanted, and the aforementioned LW&W.
This past holiday season saw the release of The Dark is Rising (based on the novel by Susan Cooper, which is really good) and The Golden Compass, which wasn't nearly as successful as all the hype predicted. I read the latter when I was younger, too (I never realized how many fantasy novels I read between the ages of 8 and 14 until they all started being made into movies!), and it was okay. As for the controversy surrounding Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, all I have to say is this: the author is an atheist, but he wrote books about killing God. How can you kill God if He doesn't exist? Besides, like I said, the book is just okay, so it's not worth arguing over.
Any way, soon a film based on the Spiderwick series will be released. I haven't read any of these because I believe I was already at least in high school before the first one was published, and they have a slightly younger target audience. And, as I said before, the highly anticipated (at least by me) release of Prince Caspian is this May. Hollywood studios are probably going to milk this trend for all it's worth and keep making films based on children's fantasy novels as long as they can make money on them. Here are a few more children's fantasy novels that I think would make good movies.
The Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander
I read all five of these books in three days the summer I was eleven. Disney made an animated version of The Black Cauldron in (I think) the late 80's. It actually combined the plots of the first two books, The Book of Three and The Black Cauldron, but I think all five books should be filmed each as their own movie, and in live action. Not quite as good as Narnia, but almost, because the land of Prydain is based on ancient Wales!
The Enchanted Castle by E. Nesbit
This book was originally published in 1907, so it's a little older, but I remember devouring it when I read it for the first time at ten. Nesbit pretty much invented the three- to- five- children- find- a- magical- creature/ land/ object- and- have- adventures- while- learning- to- appreciate- each- other genre, and many authors since then and today, including C. S. Lewis and J. K. Rowling, owe something to her.
East by Edith Pattou
Based on a Norwegian fairy tale, this novel was actually written for teenagers, not children, but who's being technical? "East of the Sun and West of the Moon" has been one of my favorite fairy tales since I was seven. I wrote a review for Amazon.com that's really good. Read it here.
The Novels of Edgar Eager
Half Magic, its sequel Magic by the Lake and companion books Knight's Castle and The Time Garden; Magic or Not? and its sequel The Well Wishers; and Seven Day Magic, which stands on its own, are all great books. Eager gives credit where credit's due: he mentions E. Nesbit's work at least once in every novel and recognizes her influence on children's fantasy.
The Once and Future King by T. H. White
The first part of this novel, The Sword in the Stone, has been Disney-ized, back when Disney was still respectable (I mean that in the best way possible). White based his book on Sir Thomas Mallory's Le Morte d'Artur, the definitive work on Camelot legends. I know, there are a lot of King Arthur movies out there already. The story of Arthur, Gueneviere, and Lancelot is probably one of the most-used in literature and film (outranked only by Romeo and Juliet and maybe Pride and Prejudice). But I think this is a different angle on the tale. Besides, after the disappointment of 2004's King Arthur, we deserve a good Camelot movie, so it should either be this or a remake of the Camelot musical.
The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley
Again, a book that's technically for teens, but I've seen it in the children's section of several libraries. This book will make an amazing movie, and not one that just kids will like. It has everything any reader of fantasy expects: magic, epic battles, quests and tournaments, mystery, lore, even a little romance, and it has the added bonus of being a story from a female perspective, something we need more of. McKinley wrote a prequel titled The Hero and the Crown that takes place hundreds of years earlier. It was good, but not as good.
I might just have to write the screenplays myself.
Friday, February 08, 2008
It's the L. Ron Hubbard (yep, the Scientology guy) Future Authors Award. You're supposed to write a science fiction or fantasy short story and then four winners each year receive $1000 and then of those four a grand prize winner receives an additional $5000. Sounds great, right? My only question was: how am I going to write a science fiction or fantasy story that's good enough to win such a prestigious award?
The rules of the contest state that you can't use worlds or characters created by other authors (plagiarism, who knew?) so there goes my Pride & Predator idea (Lizzy Bennet takes out the Predators- they've been on Earth since, like, 1823 or something, remember? So it wouldn't be that much of a stretch- and then maybe we'd find out that Caroline Bingley is a Terminator). I assumed that Greek Mythology was public domain, and I thought it might be fun to play around with, but I couldn't really come up with a story based on it that wasn't completely lame.
But then, last night during my shift at Maple Valley Library, I noticed a book titled Time Lord. I was intrigued, so I pulled it off the shelf. The subtitle is "Sir Sanford Fleming and the Creation of Standard Time." He's the guy who came up with the Prime Meridian and time zones. Interesting... from time zones, a fascinating and very real concept, it's just a small leap of the imagination to time travel, a fascinating and very science fiction concept. I can use that.
I don't really have a story yet, but I have the concept, and that's the hook. Story telling has never been that big of a problem for me; I think I can come up with something pretty good. And if the story is pretty good at least, I think I have a decent shot at the scholarship. It's just motivating myself to actually write the dang thing that I'll have to work on.
Maybe when I finish I'll post it on here. Stay tuned!
Friday, January 25, 2008
So, that's the lineup. I'll repeat Keith's invitation to come on over if you want to watch something. Happy viewing!