Golden Oldie

A few weeks ago, I told my father that for some strange reason, I wanted to watch Troy again. I have no idea how I came up with it, but I just suddenly wanted to see it once more. Two or three weeks later, Troy was broadcasted on tv.

Speaking of coincidence! Maybe someone has taken pity on me for not going to Russia, and maybe he is trying to cheer me up by doing these little things that light up my day. I like it.

It’s not like I haven’t seen Troy before, I have seen it multiple times, but at an age when I couldn’t really enjoy it to the fullest, I believe. Of course I know the story and everything, but there’s more to movies than just the plot line. I wanted to see the images and hear the music and just watch a movie of which I know I will like it. So yesterday we watched it again, and we all enjoyed it here. There are so many stunning one liners, great comebacks and brilliant scenes. For example this quote:

“I’ll tell you a secret. Something they don’t teach you in your temple. The Gods envy us. They envy us because we’re mortal, because any moment might be our last. Everything is more beautiful because we’re doomed. You will never be lovelier than you are now. We will never be here again.”

Achilles says this to the Trojan girl he kind of stole and who becomes his lover. She was a servant in a temple.

Achilles is one of those characters who make this movie so great. He is so stubborn and doesn’t want anyone controlling him. He seems so good, but then kills Hector and treats him so badly, and you want to like him still. Then there is also his king, Agamemnon, such an asshole. Oooh, you just hate him for being greedy and brutal. But he’s got some of the best lines from the movie, and the way he says them makes them close to epic. (Then every son of Troy… shall die.)

In the end, they basically all die. Well, almost all of them. This is not exactly how the myth goes, but hey, at least the good guys don’t all survive. Greek mythology isn’t the one inventing the happy end after all!

There are many more examples and an IMDB page full of quotes, which I won’t share here – though I would like to. Let me just tell you that nothing compares to a proper Greek myth. There is barely anything you can’t find in these stories. They are so full of reall humans, real feelings, real reactions. Greek mythology, I think, can teach us way more about human nature than the Bible. I love those stories, and I like this movie a whole lot.

 

Which Golden Oldie do you want to see or read again?

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I just killed Eva Braun

It’s been a sunny, warm Monday in July, holiday, summer, and I have witnessed the Third Reich fall. I killed Hitler. I killed Eva Braun. I dropped bombs on the others. They fell from my hand, slipped through my fingers.

You see, exaggerating is also an art. Of course I killed no one, especially no people that have been dead for ages now. But I was reading a book about Eva Braun’s niece, and when I put it away, it felt like I had a choice. Will I let her live? Or will I let her die? I didn’t have to continue reading, I didn’t have to kill these people.

On the other hand I knew that the end is always inevitable. They would have to die anyway… So I read on. And watched it all happen. And felt a very weird kind of guilt.

You see, it kind of feels that I’m the one who does all this because I am reading on. I felt that quite clearly when I was reading Bring up the bodies, a book about Thomas Cromwell. I knew we were reaching the point were Anne Boleyn has to be executed. When I put the book down to do something else (which was hard, sometimes, though I knew what was about to happen), I suddenly felt the guilt creeping upon me.

You are killing here. But you have a choice. Will you let her live?

No… No, I want to read on.

But you will kill her. And there will be no turning back.

But… But…

No. You have to choose. Choose wisely.

Needless to say, I kept reading. Because ignoring the end doesn’t make it any different. The last page was waiting for me and the scaffold was waiting for her. I could only apologize to her, inside my imagination.

Is there some kind of word to describe this? The feeling you are killing the people who die in your book? And do you feel the same way?

Evil is the new sexy (part 1)

Question: what should a human being be like?
Good answer: good, kind, empathic, loving.
Fun answer: slightly evil!

Lately I’ve been noticing quite often that the slightly evil people in books or movies often turn out to be the most interesting and sexy characters. Do we really want kind and loving people, or do we in fact like it when someone is being a bit of a douchebag/bitch? Do we really want to be the good people everyone tells us to be?

No, we don’t. Because when you’re too good, you’re missing out, and you might let people run over you. Being a tad evil means you are strong enough to stand up for yourself. Being strong is nice, so yeah. When realizing this, I started looking around to see if I could find some good evil examples, so here we go…

Let’s start with a good old one: Dracula. The classic example of a man that’s dangerous and bad for your health, but o so irresistible. At least, that’s what he’s become lately, thanks to the media (the original Dracula is just a serial killer – nothing romantic about that). Now this series is running on the Belgian tv, and I so want to watch it! I mean, the hat, the moustaches, the clothes for god’s sake! I’m normally not very fond of moustaches, but hey, it’s No Shave November after all. And Joe just rocks it. (I shouldn’t call him Joe, should I?)

Let’s stay in this atmosphere a little bit with the movie The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. While most people aren’t very fond of it, I actually kind of enjoyed it. Especially Mina Harker, the Mina of Dracula indeed, was so cool. She was this mature, dignified woman with dresses and a voice to kill for. And o yeah, she’s a vampire! But above all that whole attitude of her – she’s the kind of woman you are a bit scared of, because she knows more than you do, and she will be right, always.

Mina

Next to that, there’s this Dorian Gray in this movie. He’s a total bastard and looks like one too, but still, some people get away with that.

Now, let’s leave the vampire sector and move on to a pretty evil song from Indiana. If you think you hear ‘I want to hurt you just for fun’, you are very right. To quote the singer though: “I make music to tell stories, I don’t want to hurt people just for fun.”(approximately a quote) But believe me, when you’re a bit angry or in a bad mood, this is perfect to listen to.

A good example of evil, but also good, is Morgan La Fay. She’s a powerful sorceress and possible half sister of King Arthur. She tried to get that pretty amazing sword Excalibur while Arthur wants it as well. For this purpose she uses one of her lovers. One of them. Which means there were more. But next to her evil actions she’s also a good human being. When Arthur is fatally injured, she’s one of the women carrying him to Avalon.

By JR Spencer Stanhope

Those eyes! That look! She’s kinda a femme fatale.

The last one for now is I. Not I as in me, but I from Zamyatin’s novel ‘We’. It’s 1984 avant la lettre; the story takes place in the future, when society has become something very clear (literally a glass world). There is but one party everyone has to vote for. Actually, you don’t have to, but they’ll take you out if you don’t, because it means there’s something wrong with you. Everyone is happy that you’re protected this way. Now in this world lives D, a devoted and good human being who works really hard and is really convinced that this world is perfect. He starts writing a diary in which he writes about his work and his world. But slowly there’s this I showing up in his life more and more. She’s not the example of a good citizen of the One State, she drinks, she smokes, she breaks the rules. But D gets attracted to her, she almost makes him worship her. But then (spoiler alert!), of course, it turns out she was using him the entire time to get a revolution started. She used him and he believed she loved him… Tragic. And though you know it’s not very likely she truly loves him, you still kind of believe it might all be real…
Evil evil evil, but irresistible.

Stay tuned for more evilness!

Dear Diary…

There’s something strangely attracting me when I see paper and pens, and notebooks. When I was about 8, I wanted to be a writer, and since that moment, I liked writing. With writing I really mean the action of taking a pen and putting it on the paper, causing it to form symbols that mean something. Not only the action pleases me, but I also like the fact you put your thoughts on paper. And ever since my parents gave me my first diary, I’ve been doing that punctually.

We were on a holiday, a skiing holiday, when I was 8, perhaps 7. I was somewhere close to a closet, which my mother opened, and suddenly a notebook fell down. Of course, nosy as I was, I wanted to know what it was. Because this one wasn’t just a dull notebook, no way, it had the picture of a puppy on the cover and a lock. The fact that it had a lock made clear that it was serious bussiness, you know. This was secret stuff. And I liked having secrets.
It was a gift for me, from my parents who probably had no idea how far this hobby would go. Ever since that day I’ve been keeping a diary, and mostly I write at least once a week. In the beginning it was a matter of reporting what had happened, what was important that day for me. But as nothing important really happened, it turned out to be just a numeration of meaningless details. But hey, I liked it. Later on my diary became the place where I could whine about the people around me. Though I had quite some friends, I was a loner at heart, and a diary makes you less alone then. It was my partner in crime.
Years passed by and I began writing on how hard life was for me, how I didn’t fit in, ect etc. The regular teenage stuff to write. It wasn’t so important what happened during the day, what really mattered was how I felt. I wrote about that the entire time, though I wouldn’t recommend that. Don’t overthink feelings. No good.
Luckily I was never the ‘dear diary’ kind of person. I sometimes named it, but never maintained that kind of thing. It’s not a person, but just paper, which is even better. No overly girly stuff for me, with pink pages and stickers – as I grew up, I wanted regular paper with lines, and not a line saying ‘DATE’ at the top. You can’t force these things. If you try to write every day, you will fail and give up. You should write because you want it and the best way to give  yourself as much freedom and neutrality as needed is by not buying a real diary with ‘DATE’ and a lock. (The keys are all the same anyway, so it’s not even safe.)

Not my dairy, but someone else’s.

The good thing about diaries is that you will forget a lot, but you have written it down so it’s not completely lost. It’s also hilarious to read some parts again… I took myself very, very serious, and that’s pretty funny (and embarrassing). But above all it’s an outlet for what you think and feel. It’s really helped me to put an order to things, to understand things, to deal with everything. And by now, I start to miss that little notebook when it’s not around.

Sometimes I wonder what will happen to all these notebooks – I have quite a lot of them already – and then I wonder if someone would ever read them. I would feel incredible vulnerable, but at the same time I don’t want all of that writing to be lost. Diaries can be important and interesting and touching, they can become very famous. Anne Frank is of course the best example. I must say that there are parts and sentences that even surprised me when reading them again, and I would like to spread them somehow. But then again, maybe it’s just me liking them, and I would feel exposed.

As a drama queen and collector of memories, I cherish my diaries and I don’t think I’ll ever stop writing one. It’s become so important I would miss it too hard. However much I change, its role will just change with me. Nothing is as patient as a notebook, lying there, inviting you to create your own place where you can store your thoughts. Oddly enough experience taught me that one notebook, however big or small it is, will be able to cover a year approximately. I’m almost done with the current one, which is so filled with memories that it will feel weird to put it aside.

But then I’ll take another one and fill that one with new memories that will not be forgotten.

Do you have diary? Did you have one? What does it mean to you?

Three toughest books I’ve ever read

1. The Name of the Rose – Umberto Eco

This novel was meant to look like a medieval document, and I must say the author, Umberto Eco, succeeded. Like, very well. That’s really impressive, but it does make this book at times hard to read. Eternal descriptions of a church, or endless discussions on ‘did Jesus laugh or not?’ are a great part of this book. Plus: people are killed, and you’d better be not too sensitive for the vivid descriptions of the corpses. But overall the story is interesting, a decent thriller. You would never guess the ending! And that’s what keeps you going. So if you know how to skip or read quickly over certain parts in a book and you like thrillers, then go for it. I never regretted reading this, not at all. And when you say you have read this, you will immediately gain the respect of those who know this book. It’s like becoming a part of the Elite That’s Read This Book. All you need is some stamina. Good luck!

2. Crime and Punishment – Dostoyevsky

As someone studying Russian, this is real blasphemy. This semester (but actually that means three months) I had to read ten Russian books. Translated, yes. But still. I started with this one, and set a deadline for when I had to finish it. But it was a struggle to finish these 600 pages… The perseverance was gone after this. The initial idea of this book is very interesting though: a student kills a woman, a pawnbroker, so that he can continue his studies and his mother and sister will have a better life. But he starts to feel guilty… Very interesting, but to fill such a giant book with just this? It ends up being like this: guy kills two women, gets away, fever, fever, talking about God, fever, God, God, guilt, sister, fever, punishment.
I was so glad when I finished this book… If you are more like me and like stories that are to the point, I’d suggest you read Father and Sons. That was a good Russian book, one of my favourites so far.

3. We didn’t mean to go to sea – Someone who should be forbidden to write

I had to read this book for my English class, and after that I had to resume it in three minutes. The point is, how are you going to resume a book in which nothing happens? Here’s what happens: a few children, overly attached to their parents, end up on a boat, and o lord, there are no adults around when the boat leaves, and o god, they’re heading for the sea… But they promised not to go there! O my! So they sail on… And on… And on… O look, a cat, floating on the sea! And they sail on… And on… And on… Until someone they knows enters the boat and brings them home.
Such a happy end.
So little happens that I was totally focusing on talking for three minutes, and then I even forgot about the cat… I never found out what grade I got for this assignment, but I hope it was a good one ’cause I read this damn dull book ’till the end.

Luckily there are still good books as well, and what gift is better for a poor, bored student than a free book? So thanks again to Michael Cargill for helping me retaining my sanity. Though I had read these stories before, I was still pleasantly surprised by how good they are. Recommend much!

Snapshot_20130711_1

What tough books have you read? Were they worth it?

Another rainy day

Rain.
Everything is rain.
There is no point in realising it’s spring, because everything is dark anyway.
And life slowly ends.
Our cafe is closed because the people who run it should be studying.
Everytime I walk past our very own closed cafe, I think of how depressing it looks.
Just chairs on tables and darkness.
No people.
And the puddles.
The lack of sun.
The cold.
It’s so cold.

It’s winter.

There aren’t many ways to survive this endless winter, but if I may suggest something, go watch The Great Gatsby. It’s a wonderful movie. Those parties look awesome, the clothes are fantastic, and that entire world is intruiging. I didn’t know the story in advance, but it was easy to follow. The looks on teh faces of the characters is sometimes enough. Powerful. Great.

Meanwhile, we will all have to try to survive this. Let’s support each other in these hard times, that aren’t elegant and vivacious as in The Great Gatsby. I’d seriously like to be at one of those parties, just drinking and making fun and looking fabulous. Life should be that careless.

 

To get me out

Tides may turn, turn the dead end roads within me
Turn back time towards me. Waves of infinity
To wash ashore and leave me be.

Uselessly.

Bring hope, give it to the trembling body.
I waited ages for us to meet and lay floating
In my inner desiring sea.

Patiently.

Listen to a conscious voice inside me
Run. Now. Flee.
Don’t watch the tides turn – they trick
Your mind as you trick me.

Deadly-
it’s never. You will survive and see
Overwhelming waves drowning
The certitude that used to be.

Lost within the disarray of my body,
I refuse to obey this. I refuse to comply.
Rather trying to find out cunningly
Whether I’m wasting my time and me.

Eternally.

But there’s ends to everything, you see.
I’ve always known this, supposedly.
Perhaps denied the upcoming, too badly,
Because of your chest and hands and all – manly…

I could turn my back and walk away,
Create this end so viciously.
Going under in my sea, indistinctly.
Putting an order to things again, as it should be.

To get me out.
To get me.

Finally.

 

*What you get when you spent an hour reading about literature and poetry. You start to hope that one day, they’ll analyze your writings. You try to write something. You fail at catching what you wanted to catch within these words. But somehow, I’m still a bit proud. I somehow got to say a bit of what I wanted to say.
Reading and understanding’s up to you.*

My Life – An Update

A few things going on right now:

– the beginning of weeks filled with studying (finals are coming!)
– me realizing my life has moved to the city of my university
– me realizing I’m not nearly as dramatic as I used to be
– does this means I’m growing up?
– me realizing time goes fast, way too fast
– having seen The Hobbit and approving of it
– wanting to see Anna Karenina like desperately

Next to that, I’ve been overthinking something that recently happened, and I realized I’ve said so many true things. I was so right. Not fateful, but right. Holding water is impossible. But I’m not nearly as dramatic as I used to be about it. Guess that’s sort of growing up…

So, what’s going on in your life?

Meanwhile, in my Life

Blisters. Because we really had to walk and take a look in that disco, only to discover that we were right: there was no one.

Decisions. Did I think I had decided upon my studies? Ah ah ah. Good joke. Really.

Heat. 39°C, in Belgium. Rather unique. You won’t hear me complain about it, but I’m inside, and happy with that.

Skirts. Though I don’t often wear them, this climate doesn’t give me a choice. I’m even happy with the existence of skirts. Because sometimes, pants won’t do.

Never Let Me Go. Barely any time left for something else because this book is so good. Just like Catcher in the Rye, by the way. I was surprised by its style and fluency. Recommended.

Pink toenails. I’ve got a pair of shoes, black shoes, which immediately turn my toenails into black, unhealthy looking things. So I painted them pink. And then wore such little socks in my shoes anyway.

Eighteen is a much exciting age indeed.

Sweet taste of success… and irony

Well, it’s almost a week ago, Sunday to be precise, but actually I didn’t plan to tell you this.
But I will after all. Don’t ask me why I wouldn’t or why I do it anyway, just don’t ask anything, because my brain moves in mysterious ways.

Good. Last Sunday I participated in a competition. It’s a competition held in Flanders and Netherlands, and it has multiple categories to participate in. So there are: dance, music, text, fashion aaaand so on. The preselections (WP claims that this word doesn’t exist. Do you know what I mean though?) are held in a few bigger cities of Flanders, I think there are ten cities more or less where the first part of the competition takes place.
I participated in the categories dance (together with a friend, with whom I share one mind 😉 ) and text. Aaaaand I ended up third with my humble text! Aaaaaand what’s even better? I wrote the text for this blog! It was Luck is a loaded gun. I was proud, duh.
Unfortunately this story is based on reality, and when I said that irony striked back, I ment that the gun was fired and things went indeed wrong, after having achieved that third place.
Luck is a loaded gun.
I wish I didn’t write the truth. It felt so… ironically.

BUT that doesn’t take away that I won the third price with something I actually wrote for this blog. I didn’t win anything spectacular as in a lot of money, but I got some chique books and an ‘arty’ magazine, and a bag of the competition and a T-shirt, and the honour.

Realising this took me a few days, but now I’m very glad with it.

PS: have you seen it? Haven’t you? Come on, the sun shone! At 8 o’clock in the morning! How could you have missed that?