Saturday, November 22, 2014

Tears in Beauty

For all my friends out there who are sick of me talking about how I'm not a crier, just bear with me for a second.

One of the things I always say when people start talking about sad parts in movies, or what made them cry, or the infamous 'feelz', I always have to say that I don't get feelz, and I cry very rarely during movies or books. Percy and I are known as the Robots because we never get emotional at the emotional parts in movies. At least, not as emotional. No feelz.

Then of course my siblings remind me about the ONE time I cried during a movie. Not just tearing up, legit tears streaking my cheeks, and that was during a certain scene in Star Trek: Into Darkness. Now, in my defense, I'm a semi-Trekkie. Original Series all the way for me. I'm a sucker for a good bromance, too. Brothers in Arms. So, Spock and Kirk. Gets me every time. Their friendship is gold.

More seriously, though, I finally got to thinking. What does make me cry? What gets to my heart? Recently I posted on my tumblr a song that caught my breath and held it. It was just....... beautiful. Such a simple poem, put to such a simple melody, yet expressing such vast and lovely insights. Love and loss and longing and faithfulness and friendship.... A little teardrop of beauty.

And then I realized that it is beauty that touches my heart. Things like a child's face lighting up when her father comes home, or unexpected forgiveness from a friend when you can't even forgive yourself, or a wife's inability to let go of her soldier so he can go off to war. All things born of love are beautiful. Honestly, one of the reasons I like a good death scene so much is because there is so much love in them. Be it the sorrow of those left behind, or the love that drove the sacrifice in the first place, there is so much love associated with loss, because if you didn't care it wouldn't be much of a loss, would it? And death, as horrible as it is, is only so horrible because it is a loss of life.

Which means life is beautiful, and beauty is love. And love... is everywhere.

A quiet family night around a fire.
Holding hands tightly, an unspoken "you're not alone."
A small child's fascination with the simple wonders of the world because to him, it's all so new.
Sunlight through the treetops dappling the grass with dancing light.
Laughter. True laughter, sincere and unexpected.
Rain on the rooftop and sliding down the windowpane in the house that's protecting you from the cold and the wet.

Try this: sit still, very still, wherever you are. Put yourself right in the moment, and look around you. Look, and listen, and breathe, and feel. There is beauty at your fingertips, try to find it. It's in the air, the warmth of your clothes, the roof over your head, the marvel of life in yourself and those around you. It's in color, in sight and sound, in touch.

Just take a moment to wonder at the world. It's a marvelous thing that goes so often overlooked. And in the times when beauty is so overwhelming, let the tears come. For a heart stirred by loveliness is beautiful, too.

Dia duit,

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Parkour Strikes Again

I found another video similar to the one I posted a while ago. This is an excellent visual example of why I love to write teams of characters instead of just one or two. Plus Parkour is just awesome. And the costumes.

Dia duit,

Monday, November 10, 2014

My MiniMo

Okay, technically it should be called a MiniWriMo, but MiniMo is more fun to say.

Okay, so this is what it is. But shhhh! It's a secret! Dana and I brainstormed a somewhat humorous retelling of Sleeping Beauty several months ago, and since I have absolutely no time to write a full length novel, I thought hey! I can make this a short story! And since I got Dana absolutely nothing for his birthday (cut me some slack, he was at basic training) I thought it would be a neat surprise welcome home present.

The main character's name is Alden. He's the youngest of four brothers, in a time long after fairytales. All the damsels have been rescued, all the dragons slain.... Or so they thought. Alden discovers an unfinished story in one of his Great Grandfather's old books, and along with it, a map, hidden in the binding. Soon he's sent on an adventure right from the old stories he loved so much, but it's going to take real courage and strength to succeed against odds that are anything but fictional.

I have a vague idea as to what the plot and theme are. I also am writing the entire thing out in a notebook. By hand. Which is.... interesting. My handwriting is also interesting. Heh.

However, I am about halfway through, I believe. I work on it every night. Writing by hand is actually fairly relaxing. While I wish I had a fancy notebook and pen, all I'm using is an old, half filled red meade notebook, and a cheapo Papermate pen. Black. Actually, the papermates are amazing. They write so smoothly. I really like them. Of course, I bought, like, a ten pack of them, and I'm down to one. Keeping track of pens is inexplicably difficult for me. I panic every time I can't immediately locate the one I have, now, because I'm positive it's going to go missing and I'll be stuck using some other inferior pen to write with. That will make me quite grumpy. A Grumpy Dragon, as Rosie called me the other day when I had to get up too early in the morning.

I'll be cheering on you NoMos. Hee hee. That is a very fun word. Go on, say it. It'll make you happier. And then go back to writing because you should probably be writing instead of reading this blog post.

(What is the actual plural for the participants in NaNoWriMo? Wrimos? Wrimers? NaNos?)

Dia duit,

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Legend Post -- Persephone and the Pomegranate

 At the moment there is no schedule for Legend Day, but I got to thinking this morning about legends related to the Autumn seas, and of course the first one that came to mind was that of Hades and Persephone. Or Demeter and Persephone. However you want to angle it.

After doing some google research, it's clear there are several different versions of the legend. The story as a whole is fairly similar -- Hades kidnaps Persephone, Demeter pursues, and eventually the compromise consists of Persephone spending part of the year with Hades and part of the year with Demter, resulting in the yearly cycle of seasons. But the varying little nuances change the tone of the tale from one version to another.

For example, in some versions Persephone is a little girl, while in others she's a beautiful young woman. In some versions Hades is cold and selfish, while in others he's fallen in love with Persephone. Still further, it's Zeus who helps Hades lure Persephone into Hades' trap, and sometimes Persephone finds out she loves Hades in return, or alternately the six months she is forced to spend in the Underworld are pure misery for her. In one telling Persephone was the Goddess of the Underworld and there was no mention of Hades at all. (Obviously all this makes my writerly self quite intrigued, being the type to like to rewrite legends and fairytales.) All these differences ranged from ancient to more modern, the tale having been told and retold countless times. It is, I read, the oldest Greek myth, as well as one of the most popular.

One of the things that nagged me when I was looking over all the sites that talked about this story is the pomegranate. [i]Why[/i] a pomegranate? This was very poorly explained by most of the sources I found. Not that I claim to be any sort of researcher extraordinary... 

The tale goes that while Persephone is the captive of Hades, she refuses to eat or drink anything, out of defiance towards Hades as well as out of grief for missing her mother, Demeter, so much. Hades of course does his best to convince her otherwise, appearing each day --whether tenderly or harshly depends on the version -- to entice her with delectable morsels. He is a king, afterall. He has much wealth at his disposal. Eventually, right on the eve of being discovered and subsequently rescued, Persephone relents, and eats six seeds from a pomegranate. As a result she is bound to the Hades and the compromise of her spending a third of the month with Hades and two thirds with Demeter is instituted by Zeus.

So of course my reaction was, "wait, what?" How do we get from a light snack to inescapably tied to the Underworld? Obviously there's a bit of ancient culture I was missing. However, looking it up proved somewhat elusive.

At last, in some of the retellings, I found a few lines eluding to just the traditional symbolism I was looking for. Apparently, as decreed by the Fates, anyone who ate or drank in the Underworld was doomed to remain there eternally. Since Persephone only ate six (in some versions, three or four) seeds from the pomegranate, Zeus determined that she would only have to spend that amount of time in the Underworld, before being allowed to come back to the land of the living.

There was only one version of the legend in which Persephone ate the pomegranate seeds deliberately, and that was a more modern one. In all the others, whether Persephone had grown to love Hades or not, she was tricked into eating the little morsels that essentially sealed her marriage to the Ruler of the Underworld.

The most well known theme behind the story is one of the seasons. It's a story that, for the Greeks, explained the cycle of the seasons. When the leaves turn colors and slowly the earth falls asleep, Demeter is saying goodbye to her beloved daughter, and her sorrow turns the world to winter until Persephone, like the blooming flowers of Spring, is returned to her. Along with the cycle of seasons, it is speculated the legend also demonstrates other cycles. The cycle of a girl becoming a woman and leaving her mother to marry, of life and death, of love and loss, of innocence and wisdom.

It's an interesting legend to study, especially in light of all the wonderful retellings one could write using it. But that's the writer in me.

Go ahead. Google it. See what you find.

Dia duit,