Tag Archives: TV

Not What She Deserved (Spoiler Alert)

My friend Julia and I have been watching a series called Once Upon a Time for a while now. I watched it for the first time with my friend Nick, and it was totally necessary to share. Eventually it becomes evident that the series follows a pretty basic good versus evil scenario, typical of any fantasy series, and rather apt, considering all the characters are, in fact, from fairy tales or Disney movies. Over and over again, the heroes are faced with a villain or several villains, and several problems that have to be solved. What’s great about the series is that it sometimes changes the nature of characters, so, for example, characters that were heroes in the original telling of the story, are villains in the “real world,” and characters that were once villains become heroes.

One might think that a series that follows a basic good versus evil plot like this where the situations simply get more and more difficult to handle might get boring. It doesn’t. Just when you think the heroes have won and it could never possibly be worse, it gets worse. From a writer’s perspective, it’s fantastic to see just how creative these writers are.

There is one part in the series where the heroes actually get sent into the Underworld–where the Greek god Hades lives. The afterlife system in this series is actually pretty interesting. Basically, one goes to the Underworld if one has unfinished business, and one has to stay there until one has taken care of whatever that may be. Once it’s finished, one moves on, either to a better place or a worse place; in other words, Heaven or Hell. There is one character in particular who definitely does not get what she deserves. She plays a significant part in the series, and she is utterly detestable, but because of something she does for her two daughters while she is in the underworld, she moves on to the better place.

I mention this because Julia and I had very different reactions to the scene. I found it rather satisfying, while Julia was thoroughly displeased. I don’t know all of Julia’s reasons for her reactions, but I could likely guess a few. I do know my reasons. To be sure, there is nothing redeemable about this character. However, she has a brief moment when she realizes how awful she is, and she freely and honestly chooses to help her daughters. I like it when people are given the gift of redemption. It doesn’t matter who they are or what they’ve done. This character didn’t have a long, drawn out redemption story. She simply saw reality for what it was, acknowledged that she deserved the worse place, and was given the better place because of it.

In real life that’s called Grace.

Continued…

In my last three posts I talked about my hope to be a consecrated virgin. Things are moving as they should be. I’ve been praying a lot and looking into better ways to pray. I met with the vocations director this past Friday. She was nice and gave me good advice. She told me the most important thing to do was to find a spiritual director who will help me figure things out, and to slow the heck down.

Yesterday I helped teach eighth graders about death, which was kind of hard, not because I find the subject depressing or awkward, but because they do. We had to talk about heaven and hell and purgatory, and I guess it’s just a lot for fourteen year old kids to digest. I also finally told Father Patrick about what I’ve been thinking about, so now everyone who needs to know does know–that being my parents, the two priests at my church, and the people who are helping me along. Also, one of my friends knows, but I don’t think I should tell anyone else until I know more what I’m doing.

Anyway, my mosaic still isn’t finished. These things take more time than one might think. I keep reassessing it every time I work on it, which I guess is normal for every art project. I added a design piece, and I have a few to alter. The bottom half of the background is just about finished. The reason it’s taking so long is because I have a lot of small parts in the design that are hard to work around. I’ve also started working on an idea for my next project.

I’m actually hoping to make several mosaics that share a common theme: Who is God? This mosaic is symbolizing the moment of creation: God is our Creator, so the actual design is an abstract representation of the Big Bang, but there’s parts of the design that are meant to show that the Universe was created out of love, and there’s parts of the design that are meant to show that even at this moment, God knows there’s sadness to come.

My next mosaic is going to show God as Savior. I haven’t worked out the design yet, but I think I have to show that to save us, he had to be a victim, a conqueror, and a friend. In this case, I actually do think friendship is the most accurate way to describe it. I’ve got an idea of the materials I want to use, but I think I’m not going to know how to design it until I have the pieces.

My third mosaic is going to represent God as Guide through this life. I have absolutely no idea how I’ll design that one. Probably what I’ll do is look at some motifs from the New Testament, play around with some of my own ideas, and take it from there. I could also use some stuff from other stories I know. I think I’ll also want to use brighter colors for this one because for the mosaic I’m working on now, I’m using somewhat dark materials. That’s actually why I’m replacing a bit of the material I have on this one. The red glass I’m using is too dark, so I got some slightly more orange stuff at the store.

I gave up TV and movies for Lent. It’s actually been fun, and I’m learning a lot. I’m rereading the Harry Potter books, as well as some spiritual stuff, and I started working on a new song. My mom went out, and my dad went to bed early the other night, and I realized just how much time we waste watching TV. A week ago, Tuesday, My friend and I watched more of Once Upon A Time. He freaked out when I told him about my TV fast. What I didn’t know, and what my Godmother informed me of, is that you can break the fast on Sundays, so we’ll just have to make that work until Lent is over. Yesterday I did watch the second half of a documentary called “Everything and Nothing.” It was so confusing that when it was finished I had to take a two-hour nap. I did watch a few hours of Once Upon A Time with my friend last night, too, but I’m being a good puppy.

Incidentally, Easter falls on April sixteenth this year, but my family always goes to the Easter Vigil the night before. My birthday is April fifteenth, which means I’ll be celebrating Christs’ resurrection on my birthday, which is ludicrously epic.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

Conversation

Awhile ago I found a little green book on the coffee table in our living room. I picked it up and started looking at it. It had a picture of someone hanging onto a cross in a heart on the cover and had that old book smell that I can’t resist. It was filled with super old poems meant to help people through doubt or fear or what have you. I read a couple of them. They weren’t really “my thing,” so I put the book down and left it alone, but I kept thinking about it. Why did we even have it? Where did it come from? I asked my dad, and he said he had bought it a long time ago in a used book store. He just happened to be looking at it on a whim. It seemed like a pretty weird thing for my dad to buy. I was never really under the impression that my dad would be interested in this kind of thing. I decided to “borrow” it, but I didn’t look at it again for weeks.

For several weeks now I’ve been trying to finish the third story in my mythology. It’s a very short story, but it’s complicated because it’s about how death enters the human realm. In my mythology, the spirits in various realms are the equivalent to gods, though there isn’t much of a hierarchy, and they don’t interact much with humans. In this story Death personified tricks Wisdom personified into allowing him to accompany her and the soul of a little boy into the human realm. I won’t spoil exactly how the story ends.

This story was hard to write partly because the main focus of most of it is the exploration and musing of a spirit cartographer named Anthes, and also because I wanted to write an origin of death story in which death isn’t humanity’s fault. I think it was hard for me to write because of what I believe in. Another reason, however, has to do with the action of a character in a previous story who created a barrier between realms that is very difficult to cross.

Every week my friend and I have Story Time on Sunday nights. Several weeks ago we began watching “Once Upon A Time” on Netflix. I can’t even explain how much we both love this show. It’s such an insane, complicated, fun, magical story that takes place across multiple realms. The stakes are high. The characters have depth. The funny thing is, it’s often predictable, and often not. The writing, meaning the actual script, isn’t always totally perfect, but I can’t expect it to be, and most of the time, it’s good or great.

My friend doesn’t usually have work on Mondays, and I can sleep late, so we usually stay up insanely late. We are addicts, but at least we admit it. This Monday he did have work, though, so he left early… early here meaning midnight. I wasn’t tired when I went upstairs, and my mom said she wasn’t either, so we considered watching a movie, but I could tell God wanted my attention, so I went to my room.

I don’t remember everything we talked about, but after a while he told me to open the little green book. I opened to a random page and found a poem written by an anonymous author. The first stanza was this:

Body and mind have tried
To make the field my own;
But when the Lord is on my side,
He doeth the work alone.

I don’t really even know why, but this did a lot for me. I spend so much time in fantasy land, whether I’m writing or playing a game, or what have you. Sometimes it’ll suddenly occur to me that though I love stories of every kind, and as scary, unpredictable, and chaotic as the “real world” is, and as powerless as I am, I want this world because the God that I know and love is in this world. While we were talking he said, “I redeemed you. I’m helping you.” I needed to hear that. I know it’s not just that he’s helping me with my story, and that’s not really the only thing I was thinking about. Sometimes he interjects things into our conversation that don’t exactly make sense in context, but end up being exactly what I need to hear.

I read an article about really listening to God. I’m not sure I’ve ever audibly heard his voice, but I can tell when he’s speaking to me. Sometimes it’s through song lyrics. Sometimes it’s through other people. Sometimes it’s something the priest says at church. Sometimes it’s through my own thoughts. Other times it’s more abstract. Communication doesn’t just happen through words. Most of the time we recognize it through body language or the way a song makes us feel. Sometimes God speaks through sunsets or moonlight or thunder or bird song (or maybe my bird being weird).

The truth is, God tends to be fairly quiet, but what he does have to say is important, and sometimes earth-shattering. It’s important to listen because he will let people ignore him. After Story Time on Sunday, I wanted to just watch a movie with my mom, but I could tell he was saying, “Please come hang out with me. I have something important to tell you.” I didn’t hear words in my head, but it was a feeling, and it was easy to put into words. It’s sometimes easy to forget that God wants people to just spend time with him. I’m learning that sometimes that means just sitting around and talking about stuff.

What does any of this have to do with fantasy stories? I love the idea of magic. I grew up on Harry Potter. I still love to have in-depth discussions with my friends about Star Wars or Lord of the Rings. God gave me the stories that I love. After Story Time, though, I often get that now fairly familiar feeling that translates to “Katie, can we hang out for a minute?” God gave me so many of the stories I love at his own expense. Sometimes I get so sucked in that I forget to thank the one who led me to the stories in the first place. The point is, God is ultimately the writer and creator of everything good.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

The Hipster Strikes Again!

I am a self proclaimed hipster. I refuse to wear brand name clothes purely for the fact that they are brand name– that and they’re pointlessly expensive. I avoid shopping like the plague– unless it happens to be guitar shopping. I listen to music no one has ever heard of and only old people and fellow hipsters recognize the songs I cover. The only jewelry I wear is a little cross that my parents got me for my confirmation a few years ago and a pin that I bought from a friend (it’s currently on my favorite hat). I don’t wear nail polish. I collect odd but stylish hats. I suck at using technology– I’m always at least one or two generations behind the current “thing.” I kept my little purple iPod up until my parents got me an iPhone 5, even though I had a smart phone already. For the longest time I refused to use the internet with my smart phone.

I mention all of this because I’ve never cared a whole lot about what people thought of me– at least not the way I look. I still have arguments with my mother about shaving my legs. I think I’ve basically lost though because I think she’s probably right about image being a significant part of performance. I can honestly say that I almost never notice what bands or artists are wearing, but I’m not particularly observant sometimes– a lot of times, actually. I do care deeply about what people think of me personality wise though. I want people to know that I’m caring and sensitive and even naive. I really am still a kid in a lot of ways.

The truth is that I can be selfish and judgmental, and I hate that about myself. I try very hard not to be, but it’s like it was just put into my head without me knowing and it seeps through sometimes. I think a lot of things have made me skeptical and cynical over the years. I think it was a combination of the crap my friends and I dealt with in high school and all the terrible things I see on TV. Sometimes the things that make me laugh simultaneously make me feel guilty. I know I think too much, and that’s part of it. As I’ve said many times before, it has helped me a lot to be able to say “I don’t know,” when it comes to big, scary questions. When a “yes” or “no” answer could create waves or just freak me out, I satisfy myself and try to satisfy others with not knowing.

I am afraid of over simplifying or over complicating things. Neither usually has good results. I’m especially afraid of doing this when it comes to my faith. There are things that I vehemently believe, and I will defend my beliefs, but there are questions I just don’t know the answers to– most people don’t, and sometimes I think taking a stand one way or another can cause more harm than good. There are things that I think humans just can’t know. If we could know everything I think it would make God seem less significant. I want to need God. It seems weird to want to rely on someone because I’m a very independent person in a lot of ways. I don’t know how to explain it. I guess needing him keeps me humble. Knowing he’s with me all the time makes me want to be a better person. I honestly do think that a lot of bad things happen because people don’t love and don’t fear God. I don’t want to sound preachy, but it logically just makes sense. If people believe that there is an ultimate judge watching over them, they will try to be the best people they can be. Of course this is what would ideally happen since people have always and probably always will twist scripture and put God into a mold that suits them best.

I read a blog post last night talking about how people will always pick and choose what they like from scripture. It’s impossible not to. I think it is possible to objectively look at it and pick out the big, overarching message. Most of scripture can be boiled down to “God is awesome,” “Do the right thing” and “Don’t be a jerk.” Most religions and philosophies have a moral code that can be broken down into these three things. Christians often call other Christians brothers and sisters, but the family extends beyond just believers in Christ. Everyone is included: Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, gay, straight, crazies, nerds, hippies, actors, artists; everyone from the dudes who pick up our trash to the CEOs of huge international companies. We are all equal in the eyes of our Father and we should all love each other as family.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

Clutter

Some people really dislike clutter. I’ve never really minded it. In fact, I find it quite interesting. I think a person’s clutter can say quite a few things about them. My desk is currently covered with a few books left over from this semester, an enormous box of Reece’s peanut butter cups, my cross that I usually wear, my Kindle, a half-full, orange coffee cup (which I am currently drinking), my iPhone, a story that I wrote and printed out for my friend (which I still need to give her), my Bible, a pair of fingernail clippers, my favorite hat and my camera along with the box and instructions it came in/with. These things are all surrounding the computer that my brother made me. All that’s missing is my little box of guitar picks (which is downstairs with my guitars– go figure). If that was here, you would basically have me represented in stuff. Luckily I have an enormous desk. I also have a very small bed. My room is basically dedicated to hats and clutter.

The other day I started on my “Piles” project. Instead of making piles however, I just wandered around my house and looked for them. Although I wouldn’t call all of my photographs “Piles” in the way one would normally think of them, I did find some things that were “naturally” grouped together in ways that you wouldn’t necessarily expect. I’m going to include those because I think they are interesting and I think it’s probably ok to think outside the box a little.

Somehow I’ve managed to keep “busy” in the past few days even though I haven’t really been doing much of anything. I did go to the studio to start recording my song “Understand” yesterday. Other than that I’ve been playing a lot of video games and watching a lot of TV with my brother and cousin. I did spend a few hours writing a couple days ago, which was fairly productive. Long story short, I haven’t got the software for my camera on my computer yet, but once I do that I will get some of my pictures up for you guys to see.