On How Fate Nearly Turned Me into Bruce Wayne

“Hey kid…you ever dance with the Devil in the pale moonlight?”

Make no mistake; writing can be intimidating.  Blogging is not an entirely natural phenomenon for me, being an individual who values her privacy. I do, however, love and need to write so, occasionally, I fight my inclinations toward reticence and unleash my word-horde, as Beowulf would have it.

Today, my composure has been shaken by something as unassuming as a sentence prompt.  In the attempt to jog my mind into action, it has released a river of feelings I have hoped to bury for good.  I do not wish to think about this event, on a Friday of all days at the end of a very long week.  Even now my mind is screaming at me, begging me not to post this.  Why can’t I write about revisiting old blog posts and cringing, or raging against Chris Brown, or gushing about how much I love Fringe and/or John Noble?

Perhaps it is time to exorcise this ghost, once and for all.

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The Militarization of Femininity: Revisited

A while back, I blogged about how an image of Kristen Stewart as Snow White in armor from the upcoming Snow White and the Huntsman raised my hackles.  I’m not convinced I fully articulated my point, which meandered back and forth between defending Disney princesses, supporting the actualized woman warrior, and supporting a woman’s right to a more traditional (read: archaic and sexist) lifestyle.  I think the point I wanted to make was about the contrived nature of this version of femininity and why it’s not a solution to the problem of well-rounded female characterization.

In my original post, I was mystified: “My first impression was one of disdain; the last time I checked, Snow White was not Joan of Arc.  I don’t remember her having any martial inclinations or talents nor the socio-economic status to make such a transformation possible. The last time I checked, her enemy was one vain witch, not an entire army.

My second impression was one of conflict: I should be more supportive of this …modern expression of female agency. Shouldn’t a Snow White who can wield a broadsword be more awesomely great than one who prefers to spend her time cleaning up after 7 slovenly men before she gets food poisoning and largely disappears from the narrative?

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Saying Goodbye – An Ersatz Moral

Last night, I said goodbye to an old friend.  A friend who used to burn the midnight oil with me while the rest of the world slept.  A friend who got me through some of the best and worst times of the so-called “best years of my life”. A friend who rarely failed me, even under intense pressure.  That, my friends, was my 2000 Sony VAIO, now formatted and soon to be laid to rest in the recycled heaven of Best Buy.

I was upstairs in the office cleaning out the detritus of years and years of fastidious, almost compulsive recordkeeping, when I stubbed my toe on a heavy briefcase under the desk. Lo and behold! My fully loaded, 13 G C: drive, 40G D: drive (hush, you; that power was unheard of back then), 50M of RAM laptop gazed back at me, complete with Catwoman sticker on the lid. Continue reading

The Art of Zen and Tea Making

As a writer, there are days where you feel like you should write something ponderous and important that reveals something new and useful about life and human nature. We yearn to be contributors to life, to make an impact on this vast universe through our words and insight.

Some days it works.

Other days — days like today — words feel limp and hollow, devoid of substance and worth in the face of so much worldly chaos. For those days, there’s but one thing to do: Keep Calm and Put the Kettle On. Continue reading

I Open at the Close: A Review of Deathly Hallows, Part 2

“I wouldn’t be surprised if today was known as Harry Potter day in the future – there will be books written about Harry – every child in our world will know his name.” – Professor McGonagall

If given all the space and time in the world, I’m not sure I could accurately convey what it’s like to be a die-hard Potter fan. Perhaps I’d begin with a line, a long queue wrapping around street blocks for long-awaited books or movies. This time, it’s a movie line, filled to the brim with Potter fans anxiously awaiting The End of it all. Sad, overwhelmed, fearful, excited, proud.

Perhaps your friends managed to get in line 3 hours early, happily braving the heat for the chance at great seats in a sold out showing. There were people in handmade T-shirts reading “Sirius Lives”, “All was Well”, and “My Other Car is a Firebolt”. There were people wearing House scarves in the 85 degree weather; Slytherin, to be precise (ahem). A group of 30 year olds took turns passing around a pair of round-rimmed glasses, trying them on only to find that yes, your eyesight does suck, Harry.  Perhaps a friend in a Quidditch hat had the genius notion to bring a box of Bertie Bott’s All Flavor Flavor beans. Maybe you chose the EarWax bean just for the opportunity to repeat Albus’ line regarding that particular flavor.

Maybe everyone started cheering when the line moved and like 10-year-old barbarians, you elbowed your way to the best seats in the house. Along the way, you were passed by whole families, little girls walking in with their fathers in full robes and regalia, twirling their wands and casting silent spells on the theatre. The greatest spell, however, was yet to come. Continue reading

Writers Block and the Internet: A Scapegoat Story

A long time ago, in a faraway land, there lived a green-eyed girl who loved to read books. Big books, little books, books of all shapes and sizes. Blue books, red books, green books, black books, books of all colors and kinds. Even as she loved her books, she loved the Words that lived in them more. These Words became her lifelong friends, glowing companions on dark and stormy nights. While she loved seeing Words in books, she dreamed of creating her own books for them to inhabit.

Unfortunately, fear held her back; fear of creating a shabby home for her Words. Fear of faulty structure, weak load-bearing members and a tawdry paint job for the interior. Rather than burdening them with an infrastructure unworthy of their value, she contented herself with seeing them in other books; in worthy, comfortable homes. Continue reading

Love Never Dies (or is Only Mostly Dead): A Eulogy

“I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him…”

Last Friday I received some stunning news; on June 17th, it was announced to the world that Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ill-conceived sequel to his masterpiece The Phantom of the Opera was closing its doors for good in August of this year. This gave me a joy one can only describe as Schadenfreude, a delightful Germanic concept that means “deriving pleasure from the misfortunes of others”. This would be the second time in a week I would experience such sadistic enjoyment, the first being when my Dallas Mavericks demonstrated what they thought of LeBron James’ taking of his talents to South Beach. But I digress.*

You might gather from my language that I have a deep fondness for the Phantom in its original theatrical form. That would be the understatement of the century. In no uncertain terms, the Phantom of the Opera, in all of its myriad forms, has been an obsession of mine since I was a young girl and old enough to understand the complexity of its emotional landscape. From the moment I first heard the opening chords of the overture, I was lost. Hours later, I was both lost and found; lost in its spell and overwhelming emotion, and found in the sense that a lush world of supernatural, romantic, even baroque artistry had been revealed. As melodramatic as it seems, I was never quite the same again.

Like Christine, I reveled in the contrast of darkness and light, and discovered myself somewhere in between. After falling in love with the musical, I devoured the original text in both English and French, and opened my mind to other musical and dramatic interpretations of the narrative. Some were excellent (Lon Chaney’s 1925 silent movie), some were not (Freddy Krueger as the Phantom?), and some were downright absurd (Phantom of the Megaplex, I’m looking at you!). Somehow, I didn’t mind these varying interpretations of the original, no matter how much they strayed from the canon. They each had their merit and were easily compartmentalized as a unique part of the Phantom universe. All well and good. Until 1999. Continue reading