“I tell you, there is much to tear the heart”

Do Your thing.

February 14th.

Today is a strange day.

Everyone has a different opinion. It goes by different names. Galentine’s Day, for the empowered single women, neglected and scorned. Singles Awareness Day, for the humorously bitter, compensating for what they lack with fruitless rebellion and secretly hoping to return this day to its flowery, lovestruck place. And then there is its given name– Valentine’s Day, a day of permission for lovers to shed shame for open, public affection and controlled suppression for outrageous demonstrations of love.

Valentine’s Day is a constant. It may be a lot of things to a lot of people, but it has always remained faithful to me. It shows up once a year, showing off with its floating heart balloons and rich chocolate assortments. It finds rest in cozy couples and teases the unattached. It pokes and prods, aching to get a reaction. It wants loneliness, bitterness, heartache. It longs to see proud men torn down by petty emotions and strong hearts made weak with wanting.

It takes what you give it. And I, for one, choose to withhold.

Valentine’s Day has no real power. It is neither good nor bad, painful nor treasured. For me it has always been just a day, one that I have enjoyed (and will continue to enjoy) with good company and a grateful heart.

Well, oh well.

SONNET XXIX, William Shakespeare

When, in disgrace with Fortune and men’s eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,
Desiring this man’s art, and that man’s scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least,
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven’s gate

For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings,
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

Second star to the right!

I am somewhat of a trickster when it comes to learning. I somehow manage to cling to the threads of my oddball childhood by passing them off as a part of higher education. Yesterday in COHI 123: Children & Media, we watched Sesame Street. A few weeks ago, we watched Disney’s Peter Pan, which despite its slight problems of racism, sexism, other-isms, will always be a classic in my book.

Before my stepfather went on a vindictive raid of my childhood memories and decided to sell nearly everything that has shaped who I am today, I had in my possession a massive collection of Disney movies. My sister and I would play and replay those VHS tapes until we had the dialogue memorized or until the cassette just broke from overuse. We popped them out of their sturdy plastic cases and listened patiently to the hum of the VCR as we waited for our movie of choice to rewind. And Peter Pan was always high up on the list.

Years later, I began to read J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, a twinge of skepticism skipping around inside my head. Would it do the movie justice? Would it ruin the idea of Neverland I had imagined for myself, so many years before? W0uld I even like it? And I was older then, so I thought maybe I wouldn’t. But I swear, I loved it from its very first lines.

All children, except one, grow up. They soon know that they will grow up, and the way Wendy knew was this. One d ay when she was two years old she was playing in a garden, and she plucked another flower and ran with it to her mother. I suppose she must have looked rather delightful, for Mrs. Darling put her hand to her heart and cried, “Oh, why can’t you remain like this for ever!” This was all that passed between them on the subject, but henceforth Wendy knew that she must grow up. You always know after you are two. Two is the beginning of the end.

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The Book Thief

I had some spare time in the middle of my procrastination and I thought I would share the new book I am currently reading:

THE BOOK THIEF, by Markus Zusak

He was the crazy one who had painted himself black and defeated the world. She was the book thief without the words. Trust me, though, the words were on their way, and when they arrived, Liesel would hold them in her hands like the clouds, and she would wring them out like rain.

Why this book? Initially, it was the title that caught my eye. I love the word “thief.” There is a hint of adventure, intriguing and encapsulated in this one little word. Thief. And to be a thief of books! Well, that was even better!

The first time I saw this book was in a sales rack a few years ago. I seriously thought of buying it (and looking back, I really should have), but it seemed so thick–550 pages– and I was so poor. So I left it there, having no idea what I was leaving behind.

Fast-forward to the present. The Book Thief has gotten a lot attention since it was published in 2005, which is great considering all the other crap that gets published (and popular) for adolescents nowadays. It was one of the Children’s Best Sellers of 2009!

I was still skeptical about the length. Let’s not even mention the fact that it’s written by a modern author and, for the most part, those have failed to really really impress me. But I surrendered, once again, to the lure of all those outstanding reviews and shining literary awards. And I am so unbelievably glad I did because I am loving this book. Why? I shall try to make it brief.

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