RSS

Author Archives: RedheadCarol

About RedheadCarol

Be not immortal, since it is flame, but be infinite while it lasts. (Vinícius de Moraes). Addicted to coffee, books, & music.

The choices we make

Decisions-714972Deciding to live in another country is a tough decision. It comes with a price. It’s a decision to leave behind all you ever knew as right, as safe. It’s a decision to be far away from those you grew up with and love. It’s to know not only that you’re now responsible for your own laundry, your own cleaning, your own groceries, your own toilet paper, but also to know that you’re responsible for taking care of yourself when you’re sick, when you’re sad, and when you need to cheer up. You’ll meet new people, that’s true, but it won’t be the same.

Most importantly, to decide to move to a different country by yourself means to accept you’ll always have this voice deep inside of you asking “did I make the right choice?” In good days the voice will be so quiet you’ll forget it’s there. You’ll have moments so full of happiness you’ll think yourself to be a fool for ever wondering if it was right or wrong, and you’ll know in your heart you did the right thing. But there will be bad days, in which the voice will scream so loud you won’t be able to ignore it. You may find yourself stalking your hometown friends on Facebook and even regretting not being there when things happen in their lives. You’ll regret not going to a graduation or to a wedding, not holding someone’s baby in your arms, and not being there to see them attempting to parent said child.

I’ve been living away from home, from my country and the ones I love, for almost 6 years now. It’s been a long journey and things have not turned out as I planned, but for the most part I’m happy with my decision. Sure, there are good and bad days, but the good tends to outweigh the bad. Or so I choose to believe. What other choice do I have? Sit down and regret? Consider what if…? What good will that bring? 

In life we must make choices all the time. And since there’s no way of turning back time to try both decisions first, there’s no way of knowing which one is best. All we can do is trust our guts and hope for the best. After all, all we have is now. So make the best of it. Free yourself from the weight of guilt or regret, and enjoy your choices. Allow yourself to be happy about them, even if they didn’t turn out the way you hoped they would. After all, the choices you make are, at least at the moment you make them, the ones you want.

And when things seem to go wrong, do not waste your energy on what ifs. Allow yourself to say “Oh, well,” smile, and move on.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Watch out for that signal, when life as you know it ends.

PS_I_Love_You_(film)Watching the movie P.S. I Love You today got me thinking. The movie starts with a couple fighting over some silly misunderstanding, ending with the couple having make-up sex. It then jumps to him a time where he died and she’s left mourning him as if nothing else in the world mattered and her own life had ended.

Is it a bit too much? Yes. Is her reaction too dramatic? Of course, it’s a movie after all. That’s what movies (and all other stories) do, they exaggerate feelings to an extreme. And even though we do know it’s an exaggeration, we still identify with it. Maybe because we have, at one point in our lives, felt a bit of the hopelessness she feels there, and it’s always nice to be able to identify ourselves with a character. And maybe it is an exaggeration, but when we are hurting, at that very moment, we do feel hopeless, even if for just a short period of time. We all know all suffering ends, but as we go through it, sometimes it’s hard to see the end of the tunnel.

But I do think that what’s nice about this movie is not the overwhelming hopelessness that makes us feel like our life is not so miserable, or even the love stories in it. It’s the other message. The bigger one.

This movie is not about finding someone to love. It’s not about the importance of finding love or of letting love find you. It’s about finding yourself. Holly is in a journey to find herself, and only after that she can find her happiness. Love will come when she’s happy, not as a means to happiness. And that’s something we must learn in life. You can’t hope that you’ll find love and that will solve all your problems. You must first fight and struggle and find yourself. Find yourself and learn to love yourself. You must find something you love doing and make it go from a dream to a reality. Not that you can’t find someone you love before that, but you can’t expect that love itself will fix everything. You are the only one who can fix yourself.

In any case, there are several little bits I like. I like the different characters, the cheesy lines, the crazy letters, and the idea of a kiss that will show you that life as you know it has ended. And that doesn’t mean life as you know it can only change once. It will change as many times as you allow it to happen.

So go, live your life to the fullest, and watch out for that signal, when life as you know it ends. :)

Quotes:

Gotta be rich to be insane, Hol. Losing your mind is not a luxury for the middle class. ~ Sharon McCarthy

So now, all alone or not, you gotta walk ahead. Thing to remember is, if we’re all alone, then we’re all together in that too. ~ Patricia

Oh, is that why? [fake smile] Oh. Okay. Because I thought it was something different. I thought that it was because I thought I deserved the best and he’s out there. He’s just with all the wrong women. And let me be clear. After centuries of men looking at my tits instead of my eyes and pinching my ass instead of shaking my hand, I now have the divine right to stare at a man’s backside with vulgar, cheap appreciation. If I want to. ~ Denise Hennessey

All I know is, if you don’t figure out this something, you’ll just stay ordinary, and it doesn’t matter if it’s a work of art, or a taco, or a pair of socks! Just create something… new, and there it is, and it’s you, out in the world, outside of you, and you can look at it, or hear it, or read it, or feel it… and you know a little more about… you. A little bit more than anyone else does… Does that make any sense at all? ~ Holly Kennedy

We’re so arrogant, aren’t we? So afraid of age, we do everything we can to prevent it. We don’t realize what a privilege it is to grow old with someone. Someone who doesn’t drive you to commit murder or doesn’t humiliate you beyond repair. ~ Daniel Connelly

Lemon drops and Tequila, my friend. The moment where a 30-year-old body does not recover quite as fast as a 29-year-old body. ~ Sharon McCarthy

Honestly, I don’t blame you. It’s not your fault, it’s mine. I didn’t plan on liking you, it just sort of happened that way, I’m sorry about that. ~ Daniel Connelly

If you can promise me anything, promise me that whenever you’re sad, or unsure, or you lose complete faith, that you’ll try to see yourself through my eyes. ~ Gerry’s letter

You made my life, Holly. But I’m just one chapter in yours. There’ll be more. I promise. So here it comes, the big one. Don’t be afraid to fall in love again. Watch out for that signal, when life as you know it ends. P.S. I will always love you. ~ Gerry’s letter

Gerry Kennedy: You have my jacket.
Holly Kennedy: I’m keeping it unless we meet again, otherwise that will be the most perfect kiss ever shared by two strangers
Gerry Kennedy: I bet we will meet again.
Holly Kennedy: You better win that bet, because if we do, that’ll be the end of it.
Gerry Kennedy: The end of what?
Holly Kennedy: Life as we know it.

Dear Gerry, you said you wanted me to fall in love again, and maybe one day I will. But there are all kinds of love out there. This is my one and only life. And it’s a great and terrible and short and endless thing, and none of us come out of it alive. I don’t have a plan… except, it’s time my mom laughed again. She has never seen the world. She has never seen Ireland. So, I’m taking her back where we started. Maybe now she’ll understand. I don’t know how you did it, but you brought me back from the dead. I’ll write to you again soon. P.S… Guess what? ~ Holly Kennedy

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

My impressions of 1Q84

Disclaimer: This post is my opinion of Murakami’s work and it will be full of spoilers. If you have not yet read the book and do not appreciate spoilers, please skip this post. Instead of reading this you can go check out Geri’s game, or Alma, or how fascinating differences can be. Or just read about the day a venti skinny peppermint mocha tried to kill me. Your call.

103575751Q84 is a novel by Haruki Murakami originally published in Japan in three volumes but released as a single volume in the US. It’s an international best seller and it’s Murakami’s 12th published book. The letter Q and the number 9 are homophones in Japanese. The title is a play on the Japanese pronunciation of the year 1984, a reference to George Orwell‘s Nineteen Eight-Four.

In all honesty, after learning all that about it, I had really high hopes when I started reading this book. I had been trying to get my hands on it for quite some time and was eager to know what was so amazing about it. Thinking back I realize I set my expectations too high, and that’s never a good thing. The best thing is to have low expectations, so you can never get disappointed. But some things are easier said than done.

The novel opens with a very vague first paragraph. It doesn’t cause an impact and things start very slowly. For a long time I felt lost, not knowing where the story was going or what was the connection with Nineteen Eight-Four. There’s a lot of repetition throughout the chapters, including information that is given again and again, as if I was not capable of retaining information as I read the book. The first two books go back and forth between two different point of views: Aomame’s and Tengo’s. The third book introduces a third point of view: Ushikawa’s. Bits of information are dropped here and there but the reader is left wondering what the H is really happening. And yes, good books do not review all their secrets at once, and curiosity does move you forward and makes you eager to know what happens next, but too little information can be frustrating.

At times there was too much telling when a simple showing would suffice. One example is when Tengo is cooking. It is explained to the reader how that was not a chore to him, dishes are explained to specific details, and it’s said how the character likes to use this time to think about things. Honestly, I don’t think it was necessary, and it even slowed me down. Just show me Tengo thinking while chopping one thing. That’s all I need.

I also felt that characters reached the right conclusions way too easily. Ushikawa, for example, when investigating why the dowager helps victims of domestic violence, concludes that the dowager’s daughter did not die of illness, but that she took her own life. Really? Is that the most reasonable conclusion? I would have thought the daughter had probably died as a victim of domestic violence; that the violence she suffered either left her to die from injuries inflicted on her by the abuser or had led her to give up hope and commit suicide. That would have been a more reasonable way for a character to reflect on the dowager’s real motives.

Then, as we get closer to the end of the book, things seem to get sloppier. We have the narrator’s POV during Aomame’s POV, which was not a resource used throughout the book, so it was just odd it was dropped there all of a sudden. It was as if the author couldn’t think of a way to deliver the message to the reader. In Tengo’s POV we have another character telling his story, and for a chunk of the chapter it becomes his POV instead of Tengo’s. Then in Ushikawa’s POV, in a chapter he’s being tortured and blindfolded, we have the name of the torturer, which is something Ushikawa couldn’t possibly know, being dropped from nowhere. We, readers, know who that person is, but Ushikawa shouldn’t know. And we shouldn’t have a description of the aggressor closing his eyes or anything like that, since the chapter was supposed to be from Ushikawa’s POV, relating only what Ushikawa could hear or sense (he’s blindfolded, after all). And in chapter 29 (book 3), since it says the chapter is from Aomame’s POV, we shouldn’t have the whole chapter narrated from Tengo’s POV.

Those little things really bothered me. Maybe some of them are due to translation issues, but I doubt all of them are. And I know it’s a book written in a different language through the eyes of someone who lives in a different culture, but that shouldn’t change things that much. But the most frustrating part, for me, was that one of the main characters is a writer! He talks about writing, he talks about fixing issues with a book written by someone else, a book where details are not explained. His editor tells him that when something new is introduced, something people don’t yet know about it, it must be explained as well as possible. He talks about those things and makes such silly mistakes. He introduces elements we do not have in this world we live in, and does not provide us a good explanation, or even a good image. He leaves his readers confused at times, when they needn’t be.

Other than that, I do think the book has a nice story in it. I don’t think it is as great as some make it seem, though. Sometimes I wonder why a particular book is a best seller, and what makes people thinks something is so great. I have already reached the conclusion that being a best seller does not guarantee a book will be good, but I’m still curious as to what draws people’s attention to it so much. Don’t take me wrong, the book does have good points, but overall, I’m not as happy with it as I hoped I’d be.

So, did you read the book? What did you think of it? Have you read any other books by Murakami?

Quotes:

“That’s what the world is , after all: an endless battle of contrasting memories.”

“Even if we could turn back, we’d probably never end up where we started.”

“Most people are not looking for provable truths. As you said, truth is often accompanied by intense pain, and almost no one is looking for painful truths. What people need is beautiful, comforting stories that make them feel as if their lives have some meaning. Which is where religion comes from.”

“Perhaps this was the wisdom with which a child in her position survived: by minimizing her wounds–staying as small as possible, as nearly transparent as possible.”

“(…) but if she actually put it into words, the facts contained in the ‘something’ might irretrievably become more definite as facts, so she wanted to postpone that moment, if only briefly.”

“It is not that the meaning cannot be explained. But there are certain meanings that are lost forever the moment they are explained in words.”

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Letting go

release

Just let go…

Why is it so hard to let go of things from our past? And why is it that the hardest things to let go are the ones that hurt us the most? Why can’t we not let go of good things instead? I don’t have the answer to those questions, but I sure wish I did.

Things from our past, especially the painful ones, seem to stay with us longer, and letting go of them seems too hard at times. I don’t get why my brain chooses to remember the painful things. Maybe it’s a lesson I’m supposed to learn. Maybe it’s so I won’t make the same mistakes in the future. Maybe it’s so I learn not to let people treat me the same way ever again. But in the end, the reason doesn’t really matter. What matters is the way we feel when we think about those things.

But now I think I may be learning to let go of some of those things. At least the last time I talked about them, they didn’t hurt the same. It still hurt a little, but not nearly as much. I’m starting to think those things are not influencing me as much. Am I growing up? Or is just that I’ve decided that I won’t let that pain dictates my future?

Hard to say. But whatever it is, I woke up feeling much happier about that.

Photo credit: Sophia “release” by David Hayward. And by the way, if you click on this link you’ll see what the artist wrote about the drawing and it goes pretty well with this post.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Welcome to Monsters University!

Earlier this week I went to see Monsters University. I have to admit I was pretty excited about seeing this movie but also quite a bit worried about it. It’s just that making a prequel is not the same as making a sequel.

In a sequel, things move forward, so almost any action can be justified, since the future has not been determined. It can be a disaster, and fans can be disappointed, but there’s more freedom in them. In a prequel, things need to move toward an established truth. The characters already exist and act a certain way, and the prequel must show the characters as they were but also be true to who they are now. Prequels don’t leave much room to play with the ending, which usually pleases the fans more than sequels, but it also creates a lot of expectations in fans, and when expectations are not met, things can get complicated.

I was relieved when I saw that MU was not at all what I had expected. It was so much better! I was happy with the choices made for how the characters met and how they were in the past, as much as what led them to choose the path they did later in life and how much college life influenced them later on. I was happy to see that Mike and Sulley were not best friends from the start, and that Randy was so insecure. It showed how little experiences and how you deal with them have a huge influence in who you’ll become.

“Just wait, hot-shot. I’m going to scare circles around you this year.” ~ Mike Wazowski

Oh, and before the movie, as it happens with all Pixar movies, there was a short animation film, The Blue Umbrella, which was adorable! I loved it! Here’s a clip of it. I’ll post the full version when available.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

And then I saw Despicable Me 2

I somehow got tickets to go see this early screening of Despicable Me 2. How? I’m still trying to understand that part myself. The best part is: I saw it! And I loved it! And I want to see it again!

Gru as a father is adorable. He’s so dedicated and overprotective it’s adorable. The girls are still funny. I kept hoping Agnes would say “It’s so fluffy!!” at some point, even though I highly doubted it would happen. She does say something else with the same passion, but I won’t mention here as not to spoil for those of you who haven’t seen the movie.

I loved that the minions appeared more (or so it seemed to me) in this one. I also loved Lucy and her weirdness. The way she says “Yay” is funny.

And after watching the movie three things were on my mind: I wanted some guacamole, a stuffed minion, and to watch the movie again. Loved it.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What’s my motivation?

Lately I haven’t had much time to read all the blogs I follow. Part of it is because I follow several blogs and there’s not enough free time on my days to allow me to read them all. But most of it is because I’m trying to focus my energy on my own writing. So what I usually do is pick a few of them to read each time.

Today I stumbled upon a blog post on Legends Undying called What’s My Motivation? It talks about plot, which is something I talked about a couple of days ago. It talks about a book I have not read yet, but it got me interested in it.

Anyway, here’s a little story by @VeryShortStory to start your week with the right foot:

photo

Have a great week!

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: