Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Holding my breath...

I just had THE. MOST. PERFECT. vacation weekend with some extended family, including two ADORABLE children who now love me, and just now at some point in the process of getting the pictures from the weekend off my camera and onto my computer the camera battery died and the photos had NOT yet appeared on my computer and I am hoping hoping hoping that they didn't just vanish in the process but I won't know until the battery is charged since I can't check on the camera to see if they are still there without a battery and if I lost them all I may just have to resort to drastic action.

Like weeping.


Tuesday, August 05, 2008

On reading. Sort of.

So is it cheating that I just read the synopses for ALL the Twilight books on Wikipedia? There's been so much hype about the fourth book coming out, but I have no real desire to actually read the books - I heard them described as "sensuous vampire" books, and that, uh, didn't really, como se dise?, strike my fancy. And now I know how it all ends, so you won't change my mind. :P

But it does make me think about reading in general. (And yes, I'm a little embarrassed that it's the Twilight books that finally prompted me to write all this out.) Unless it's 1am and it's a book that I haven't read before and I'm halfway through and just want to find out how it ends, dang it!, I typically don't read books just to know the ending. I have a cousin who reads the ending FIRST - that way she knows if it'll be worth it to read the book. I've never really understood that, and I don't even agree that you could tell if it would be worth it to read the book just by reading the ending. You would be totally missing the significance of the events! Ok, sure, there have been times during movies when I've been nervous or scared and if I'm with someone who's seen it before I'll say, "just tell me - does so-and-so die??" And sometimes they tell me and sometimes they don't, but typically I want to see the story develop. (P.S. And I'm reading a book about D-Day right now, and yeah, I know how it ends. But don't get me going about the movie Titanic - everyone knew how that was going to end, too, but TOTALLY different league here, people - this D-Day book is LITERATURE.) Books that I read again and again, and there is a list, are typically books that are satisfying because of the development of the characters - the realizations the characters come to - typically the recognition of their own worth / talents / heritage. I like books in which a character realizes that, even without any major personality changes, s/he can do stuff. You know, like beat the bad guys, or solve the mystery, or whatever.

One time for Enrichment meeting a few years ago we each were supposed to bring something that symbolized "us" - who we were. I grabbed "The Blue Sword," by Robin McKinley. It's at the top of the list of books that I reread frequently, and there was a summer, a few years before this incident, during which I read it about twice every three weeks. Really. I would finish it, and then a few days later pick it up and start again. Apparently there wasn't much else going on in my life that summer. :) So I grabbed it, kind of just on my way out the door to Enrichment, thinking that if I had to I'd say something about how I love reading, blah blah blah.

But then I got to Enrichment and started thinking about it, and not being one who can let the chance the deliver a good line pass me by, I decided to say a little more about why I like this particular book, and thus I put into words for the first time what has since become my philosophy on life (or not, but I still really like this summary of the book and of every teenage girl's psyche) (ok, fine, and my psyche, too):
Who wouldn't want to find out that, not only do they really not belong in the world in which they feel like they don't belong, but there is a world in which they do belong, and not only do they belong there, but they get to get into really good shape, be a hero, have magical powers, and marry the king?!
Sounds pretty good to me.

(And I just right now added that bit about getting into really good shape. Huh. It is true to the book. Huh.)

I really do love it, though, when a character realizes that they already have what it takes to accomplish the whatever-it-is that they need to accomplish. I feel really strongly about the idea that the goodness and power and strength we need are already in us. And part of the strength is in recognizing our own strength.

And yes, I do think some of these thoughts are at the front of my mind right now because I am grappling with the idea that I, silly normal me, am starting a !!!PhD program!!! in a few weeks and have also just decided that I'm going to get !!!my own apartment!!! in my new town instead of signing on with roommates. These are both big steps for me, and it's a little disconcerting to be making them both, and both at the same time. So here's hoping that I find the magic sword and use its power for my good and discover that I really truly do have in me what it takes to make this a success.