Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Prince Caspian

I watched Disney's live-action version of Prince Caspian last night. Well, I watched the last hour yesterday from the comfort of my treadmill. The first bit of the movie seemed to follow the book as I remember it, but it wasn't my favorite Narnia book, so I'm not sure how the rest of the movie matched up.

I do know that I was almost proud of how they handled "The Problem of Susan" (an excellent Neil Gaiman short story/essay on how much it sucked that Susan Pevensie was damned to hell for hitting puberty and becoming a girlie-girl). Anyway, at the beginning of the movie the viewers see that Susan is not interested in boys. Point in her favor, according to the misogynistic Lewis. However, we also see that she's a bit world-weary and doesn't quite believe in Narnia anymore. To keep it fair, though, we see some of that same doubt in High King Peter as well.

Throughout the movie, we see Susan's strength with a bow-and-arrow, but I think this has less to do with her strength as a female character and more to do with the fact that she's really pretty and has boobs. Throughout the movie, we see her very slowly start flirting with Prince Caspian. At the end of the movie, she kisses him before going back through the portal to 1940s England, but we can almost forgive this. Because just before she goes, Susan and Peter are told by Aslan that they won't be coming back. Nope, neither one of them. They've "learned all they can" from Narnia and it's time to live their own lives.

Now I can't remember if Voyage of the Dawn Treader had just the two young ones or if Peter got a bye as well. Either way, Disney seems to be the good guy in the war against sexism this time. It's not lipstick and hairpins that make Susan unsuitable to return to Narnia. She and Peter have both hit puberty and they're both (very kindly) not invited back. By itself, this is a much milder reproach than Lewis's own words would have us believe.

In the context of Pullman's His Dark Materials series, the importance of puberty as a soul-altering (or fixing) transition can be seen as a little ominous. But I prefer to temper it with some of William Blake's ideas about innocence and experience. Innocence is childhood, Experience is post-childhood, but maybe both Peter and Susan have been well-equipped enough in their adventures as high king and high queen to achieve a kind of experienced innocence.

Instead of Susan being killed in the apocalypse at the beginning of The Last Battle.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Whiskey River Take My Mind

This one just ain't making it to my public blog. It was a true sentiment at the time, but it doesn't feel true anymore. In fact, the last few times the "she" in this poem drank, it seemed to be in moderation. I was happy... but, no, I won't mention it to her yet.


She drinks a bottle of wine every third night.
If there’s no pinot grigio or chardonnay,
she hides Jim Beam or Bacardi
in her tea or Coke.

He doesn’t like it when she guzzles
the Maker’s Mark, but
it’s not like he’s gonna drink it.
He just knows that shit’s expensive.

I flinch and avert my eyes, listening only
to every third word when she gets like this.
For days I’ll avoid the house, fuming, sad,
wary about even sipping a beer in per presence.

Mama starts to slur; smoke clings to her clothes and hair.
She gets chatty: ebullient in her Gnosticism, vitriolic at the fundies
and their bullshit, or maudlin about how she’s slowly
turning into her father, hoarding books, boozing, misanthripoic.

Daddy turns up the television. Who knew he was such an enabler?
He’s not blind to it, he says. It’s just she’s always been like this.
Her babies’ childhoods were just a pause in the action,
and he finds himself complacent, resigned to her choices.

I watch the cycles.
My liberal education has equipped me
with pointing fingers. I am a mirror,
showing the world its problems
but offering no solutions.
Still I try to redeem myself,
redeem us all.

I hear her spirit underneath the ecstasies and sad ravings;
I share her books, take her out, share my friends.
Daddy joins us for politics or a game of rummy.
We cook and clean and laugh together. And I avoid the sherry.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Silly Lists

10 things you wish you could say to 10 different people right now.

1. Grandpa, I miss you.
2. Stop drinking so much.
3. Dr. M, that A- was bullshit.
4. Your hair looks lovely.
5. I've already named our children.
6. I'm doing okay.
7. You do the same things you bitch about your mother doing.
8. I would like to grow in your garden.
9. You're only annoying when you say you're being annoying.
10. Fuck you.

9 things about yourself.

1. I can wiggle my eyes.
2. I really like the color green.
3. I'm obsessed about walking on the treadmill every day, at least for now.
4. I'm excited about traveling.
5. "The people I love best are geeky and passionate and have a perpetual curiosity for the world." - from the person I stole this from
6. I am hungry.
7. "A partial list of superficial things that make me happy:" bubble tea, elephants, Fraggles, really good coffee, being praised in a meeting (happened yesterday!), pretty churches, long walks, fog, garden smells, cozy cardigans.
8. My hair used to be three feet long.
9. The job hunt seems to be going well.

8 ways to win your heart.

1. Be honest.
2. Be passionate about something that you find worthy.
3. Be interested in what I say...
4. and challenge me when you disagree.
"5. Flattery doesn’t hurt. Heh. Neither does musical or poetic ability."
6. Look at me with honest eyes that melt me.
7. Trust me.
8. Be confident.

7 things that cross your mind a lot.

1. job hunt
2. selling the house
3. my financial situation
4. my friends
5. books
6. food
7. romance

6 things you wish you never did.

1. acted out of fear
2. failed to act out of fear
3. led people on
4. lied
5. cheated
6. let myself go

5 turn offs.

1. Dishonesty
2. Dispassion
3. Disinterest
4. Cowardice
5. Smoking

4 turn ons.

1. deep eyes
2. a good massage
3. confiding in me
4. passion (for something other than as well as sex)

3 smileys that describe your life.

1. :-/ the I'm not so sure about that smile
2. ;-) the mischievous wink
3. :-D the I'm beaming at you smile

2 things you want to do before you die.

1. more travel
2. publish

1 confession.

I'm ready to move on.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

If you like it then you should...

I've been wanting to put something together lately about my rings. Specifically my engagement and wedding rings. Which I've now not worn for two or three weeks. Something about how I'd worn them so long that there's still a mark on that digit, extension of my love line. A scar, an indentation, a muscle memory knitting of the skin cells. Lotion will not heal it - only time. When my body forgets how to be married. Or at least devoted. Is this a scar that new people I meet will notice? Should I wrap a band-aid around it to draw more attention to it? Or help it heal?

Will it last as long as my self-imposed "time out" period, a resolution I still keep mostly because of the inconvenience of time-space? Another month? Another year? Somewhere in between - a miraculous healing at the moment of my sister's wedding vows this summer? She looks better in my dress than I did. Not to say I wasn't gorgeous, of course - I was just the same color as the dress. :-)

I don't feel I'm pitying myself or trying to extrude sympathy from my readers. I'm doing better than I feel I should be (if there were an objective book to explain all this). I do have books to read, on marriage and divorce, waiting in my car and on my bedside table (a chair, actually). And I have books of literature, of love, of fantasy and science fiction as well. I have my friends, my family, my health. I recently earned a new degree. It doesn't qualify me for much else, but the experience and the relationships I've built have given me fuel to find a job I will love anywhere I want. I'm already designing meal plans, exercise routines, and locating potential new public libraries.

This is my potential for a Renaissance. Forgive but never forget. We'll see if the skin on my hands will be reborn too.