Brand New Day

Photo on 2015-01-02 at 1.00 PMI think I might be one of those exceptionally “uncool” people who is kind of enamoured by the prospect of new beginnings. It’s not that I buy into the cliche of “new year, new me” or anything like that, I guess I just like the idea of definitive starting points. Monday is my favourite day of the week, after all.

We had our annual “goals” meeting with the family today and of course this is always a kind of emotional thing. There have been tears on many occasions – mostly from me – but also encouragement and happiness, I guess. Strangely I find it harder to share my goals by speaking them than I do by writing them down. Actually, I guess that’s not strange.

This year I have decided on some fun goals. To be perfectly honest I am a pretty unhappy person most of the time. Last year fucking sucked. Not only did I spend a lot of time questioning the legitimacy of my marriage (I can say this now because I am feeling a bit better about it – and just fyi I love my husband to bits but holy crap the baggage he comes with is sometimes exceptionally overwhelming and this last year it has caused a lot of hurt between us) but I also found myself questioning the legitimacy of my entire existence for the first time since I was a kid. Despite our wonderful trip to Thailand and the really great people we met there, the other 11 months of the year were damn hard.

I do, however, think I learned a lot in the last year, and while I did not share those things at the time I think I might make a little effort to share them over the next couple of posts. Now that 2014 is over I feel nothing but relief. It’s just a number, I know. But the relief I feel is real.

I have a few long term and I suppose rather serious goals for myself for the next while. They are personal though and I am not ready to discuss them. I did, however, decide that the start of this year will see me playing with some fun goals instead of depressing ones like “finish my novel” or “lose weight” or “sort out my fucking career”.

So here are my very real 100% serious goals for 2015:

1.) Get into Cosplay

I want some Rowena Ravenclaw stuff. Etsy and Amazon are being very helpful with that. I need a wand too. And I need a long blue gorgeous gown that will make me feel regal. Yes. I’m 100% serious. After that I’m not sure where I’m going. But I’m starting here. I might need a new closet for all of this. I can’t wait.

2.) Take more photographs

I don’t plan to become a “real” photographer, but I do think it’s a wonderful hobby and even though I kind of suck at it, it suits me.

3.) Read 100 books

I’ve tried to do this for the last 2 or 3 years and failed. This is my year.

I feel happy about those three goals. They feel fun and exciting. I need a little bit of fun and exciting for a while. There’s been way too much serious lately.

PS: excuse the lame head tilt in the picture – it was the only way I could get the screen to not reflect in my glasses. Also this post needs a pic because pic-less posts look weird with this current WP theme… And no, I can’t change the theme. The theme is a subtle reminder that I really love Asia and despite my failed plans to live there for a while it will also have just a tiny bit of my soul.

 

Cinderella

I’m having a little teary moment while watching this. I don’t really know why. It’s just too beautiful I guess. I can’t wait. I haven’t been this excited since Alice in Wonderland. *sigh*

How cute is my dog?

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November Challenge #4: I can’t live without my book habit…

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November Challenge #3: The Weather Outside My Window

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November Challenge #2: I saw the gooseberries growing…

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Watch this because it is so damn awesome.

An Open Letter to Lena Dunham

Dearest Ms Dunham,

I won’t lie and pretend to be your biggest fan, or gush and tell you how wonderful I think you are (though I do think you are pretty damn awesome). I will however, admit that I love how Girls is something that not everyone “gets” and it makes me feel a tiny bit superior when my husband watches an episode and gets all annoyed and confused, while I watch it with the same kind of understanding and kindredspiritness that I find within the pages of the books that I hold so dear to me. There is no question of your talent, and I feel confident in claiming that your integrity cannot be called into question either.

What I wanted to say to was simply this: This shit sucks.

I can only imagine how annoyed you are at these ridiculous accusations of abuse against your sister, which you were “stupid” enough to “confess” to. It’s all quite yawnable.

What makes me angriest though is that these kinds of false accusations (and I know without a doubt that in your particular case they are bullshit) are just so fucking damaging to the public in general. Yes, they are damaging to you. You have been hurt and I am sure you are under quite a bit of stress right now. You are undoubtedly experiencing hurt and stress and anger which you do not deserve to be experiencing, never mind all the abuse that you must be shielding on all social media fronts (because let’s face it: reasonable is not something we can always expect from our friends on the internet) – I do not in any way discount that. But this will blow over (not because you are a “white girl” as has been suggested but because you did nothing wrong) and all that will be left of this mess will be your bruised ego…and the ever-more-damaging subconscious public idea that people get falsely accused of abuse all the time.

It sucks. Here you are, a true-life honest-to-God innocent person with bile and rubbish being spewed at you. And what does the world see? The world decides that this always happens. Some attention-starved two-bit nobody decided to use you as a pawn to achieve their own fame…and in doing so they made it just a little harder for real victims to come forward with the stories of their abuse.

Because why should we believe them? People lie about abuse. All. The. Time.

I’m sorry that this happened to you, but I hope you know that there are people out there who get where you are coming from. Fans. Regular human beings. People less invested in media drama. And most importantly: your sister.

I hope your book sales are incredible!

Sending you love & luck from a part-time fan!

Nadine Rose Larter

 

 

November Challenge #1: Love is Blue

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November Photo Challenge.

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I have to do this challenge. Because Sarah Addison Allen is doing this challenge. And she is my hero. 

Finding Forrester

I think what I love most about this movie is that if you watch it hard enough you can pretend that you yourself are being mentored by a man of sheer brilliance. It is, I suppose, a movie that reminds us of what so many of us are missing as writers: someone to show us the way. Someone to yell and encourage and cause us to produce. And to stand up for our work if need be.

Stranger Than Fiction

To kick off the madness of NaNoWriMo I decided to pop in not only my favourite writing movie but possibly my favourite movie period: Stranger Than Fiction. I could not love this movie more, and I think what I might love most about it is that it takes a specific kind of intelligence to appreciate it fully. It’s so easy to brush it off as ridiculous, but honestly I think it is Will Ferrels most impressive role, and Emma Thompson is just exceptionally brilliant in this one. The story, of course, is brilliant – but there is so much more too it. The colours. The videography. The insanity of it all. I so seldom re-watch movies, but I love this one every single time. Emma Thompson should be narrating as a living. Having her as a mom reading bedtime stories must have been extra special. That voice….*sigh*….that voice….

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn made me question a few things…

Gone GirlGone Girl by Gillian Flynn

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I finished this book a while ago and wanted to kind of let it sink in before I reviewed it. I also planned to go and watch the movie tonight and write my review afterwards, but we won’t be able to go anymore because of kid stuff. I reckon before I start with NaNoWriMo I should probably get my thoughts down.

This was certainly not close to being the best book I have ever read. To be honest the only reason I read it was because of the hype. The only observation I can offer is that sometimes I  kind of felt that some of the words used were a little “big” for the writing style. Maybe that’s just me though. As far as books go, it was pretty average, but this particular story did kind of tie in with something that I’ve been struggling to put into words for a while.

Now please, I need it to be absolutely clear that what I am about to say in absolutely no way reflects poorly on the author of this story. I am not one to bemoan the state of literature, or entertainment in general, and go on and on about how creatives have a duty to the public to blah blah blah. Creatives are not there to help you become a better person. They are not there to educate you or teach you any specific thing. They are there to create. That is not to say that the things we consume (movies, books, poetry etc) don’t have a growth-like/detrimental effect on us. They might. But it is your own job to be a specific kind of person and to make sure that you grown in the right direction. You need to question everything. You need to take nothing at face value. And above all: you need to remember that characters in books are not characters in real life.

I’ve been thinking about rape a lot. As in: I think about rape every single day. It’s kind of weird I guess, but it is a subject that has weighed on me for most of my life. I can give no real reason for that, other than the fact that rape exists in all sorts of forms all around us. So I think about it. A lot.

I read a statistic recently that noted that as little as 2% of rape charges are false. 2%! But let’s round up and call it 10% just to make sure that we haven’t made the number too small.

I read that statistic and my stomach lurched.

Do you know why?

Because for a very long time I have assumed that that number was much higher. I just assumed it. Seemingly for no reason, I, a girl (with a 1 in 5 chance of being sexually assaulted sometime in my life) assumed that a lot of women cry rape as a sort of “fuck you” to men who they are pissed at.

WHY ON EARTH WOULD I THINK THAT?!

The only possible answer I can come up with is because of the entertainment that I consume. The female falsely accusing men of rape is a common character who I have encountered many times, in many different forms. I first encountered her in the movie The Crush with Alicia Silverstone when I was very young. That movie gave me chills. I still, to this day, worry that that kind of thing will happen to my brother. The book Salem Falls by Jodi Picoult was just as chilling. And now, here’s Amazing Amy, with her special brand of crazy.
The false accusation of rape is so destructive (obviously rape is also destructive – I am in no way saying that it isn’t) and it has always struck me as such an efficient way to completely break a good man to a point of repairlessness.

Somehow, this woman, this destructive crazy (and fictional) woman who cries rape with ease and with the intent to punish and innocent person, has become a common figure. She has moved from the pages of books and from behind the camera and become far more “real” than she actually is.

And she has made it really difficult for women who have suffered real trauma to get justice for themselves. This fictional woman who exists only to add depth and dimension to stories (she is crazy because the story would be boring if she wasn’t) has walked into the lives of real women and she has planted this massive seed of doubt into the minds of the real public.

Is this the fault of the writers who created these women? Of course not! It is our (my!) own fault for allowing fiction to cloud reality without giving it a proper deal of consideration.

We all want our rapists to be scary terrifying people. We want our rape to be brutal, destructive, bloody. We need our rape to look like rape so that we can recognize it and be sure: this is rape.

But it doesn’t always work like that. Sometimes rape happens at the hands of a super cool guy who you went to school with. Sometimes your best mate is abusing his wife. Sometimes it’s the teacher who gives the most interesting classes. The trusted religious councillor. People with kind faces and lovely demeanours.

They don’t look like rapists. So when their victims come forward, we write them off as liars. So-and-so is a good guy. He would never rape. She must be lying. Women do that “all the time”. And so we err on the side of caution.

Because even if she was raped, at least it’s “over”, right? She can get over it and move on. No one moves on from a false rape conviction.

Right?

It is easier for our peace of mind to believe that victim as a liar, than to believe the worst of someone that we love. Anger at a liar is easier on us than having to acknowledge that our fathers/brothers/husbands/mentors have violated someone in this way. (Note: I acknowledge that women also rape and that men can also be victims of sexual assault. I in no way minimise that.)

We need to stop confusing fictional crazy with real women. We need to not let the liberties taken by writers influence how we respond to these kinds of things. Let everything you read allow you to think. Don’t let the things you read be your truth, rather allow the things you read to lead you to your truth.

I am the first to admit that books and stories have shaped me and that in many ways the parts of me that have been shaped by the extraordinary minds of my favourite authors are my favourite parts of myself. I do need to be careful though. Fiction is only fiction. Fiction is sometimes truth but not always. Real truth is often a lot quieter than fiction. Real truth whispers and it gets lost in the midst of everything louder and flashier. You have to look for it.

You have to look for it.

You have to look for it!

It is no author’s job to hand it to you.

View all my reviews

November Nonsense

Photo on 2014-10-31 at 11.12 AM #2I had brilliant plans for November. I was going to spend the whole month of November celebrating NaNoWriMo month by watching every writing movie I could get my hands on and laughing aat all the fools attempting this insane challenge while still being (blocked) writery. That seems to have changed. Instead: I am doing NaNo. Why? Because apparently if I don’t have travel plans to stress over then I don’t actually know what to do with myself so now I have to add a bit of pressure. Don’t ask me to help you understand. It doesn’t make sense to me either. Anyway, I shall be NaNo-ing. And it shall be brilliant/dreadful/rewarding. Or something. But I am still going to watch my movies. If you’re keen to connect with me on a NoNo level you can find me here: *click*

On Staying and Going and Thinkery Things

DSCN2424I’m too zen. It’s weird. I’m not usually “ok”. I’m pretty much usually a mess. Lately I’m ok though. Obviously there must be something wrong…

(I’m kidding: yoga, better eating and a little meditation have gone a long way. I’m allowed to make awkward jokes about myself though.)

I guess it helps that our Thai trip is behind us now (pity the debt incurred during the trip is still very much in front though) and I am no longer overwhelmed by all the planning and wondering. For now we kind of have a vague-ish idea of where we stand and it feels like a good place to be.

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