Sunday, November 24, 2013

Woody Allen and Manhattan - Life Worth Living

I just finished watching the film Manhattan starring Woody Allen and Dianne Keaton; this is one of my favourite films of all time. The black and white, the music, the humour as only Woody Allen can deliver. There is a scene close to the end in which Isaac (Allen) is recording the things that make life worth living. He includes Marlon Brando, the second movement of the Jupiter Symphony by Mozart, the apples and pears painted by Cezanne, and other things.

Watching that scene got my brain thinking - what are the things that make my life worth living? Life, as we all know, is a perfect display of the good, the bad and definitely ugly, yet there are moments when it is not so bad and we as humans can actually smile.

So, here is my list of what makes my life worth living:

The film Yellow Submarine

Marcel Proust

Kate Bush

Watching the leaves turn colour in Autumn

Playing with a kitten

Sharing a good laugh with people I care about

Listening to French music

Reading a good book

Making a new friend

Blue Train by John Coltrane

Autumn from Antonio Vivaldi's The Four Seasons

Seeing my first book get published

Walking through the French Quarter

Standing on the banks of the Mississippi River in Memphis

A good cup of green tea on a cold day

Telling someone that I love them

I would go on and on but I think you get the point. So, what makes your life worth living?

Saturday, November 23, 2013

poem - 28 July 2006

When we see ourselves truthfully
a little bit of our shadow selves begin to die,
crumbling like a lost book, the information dead
and long forgotten. We must be ready and
willing to shed our dead skin and wake up
refreshed and sensitive, our new skin glowing
without the aid of glorified lies and stories
not researched well enough.
We have lost, I think, a little bit of what it
means to be human, but still it is a small
sacrifice to weigh – the shedding is painful
and long lasting.

(copyright 2006 Kimberly Richardson)

This is NOT a Book Review of DUNE

So, I have finally finished reading DUNE by Frank Herbert and YES, I loved every page, yet this is NOT a book review.

Why, you may (or may not!) ask? Simple!

I know that many, many, many people have read this book and loved it - I think by now, almost everyone has read the book and knows almost everything about it.

However, what I would like to do in this blog post is talk about what I got out of DUNE.

Ready? Here we go!

DUNE is a damn fine novel with a good mix of everything for everyone: science fiction, mystery, politics, drama, romance, theology, spirituality, psychology, history and anything else I can't think of. This is a novel that made me ask many questions with answers that led to more questions regarding the Spice, the true role of Paul, the "relationship" between the Atreides and the Harkonnen and so on.

Although the majority of the book was set on Arrakis, I felt as though it could have been set anywhere in the world because the intrigues were born of human and therefore could be universally felt.

At times, I felt as though the sandworms were a symbol of Fear; when one can ride a sandworm and control it, then one can "ride" and control their Fear for after all, Fear is the mind killer.

Ingestion of the Spice means an awakening within oneself and the connection to everything around you. How many of us use yoga, mediation, Nature hikes and other methods to obtain said connection?

Although Jessica and Chani were seen as concubines, they held more power as opposed to a wife of a Lord; this reminded me of the geishas that were more than pretty women in makeup. They held power.

Spies were everywhere and no one, in a sense, could be trusted; one had to rely upon one's awareness in order to seek the truth of a situation or problem that lay ahead. This, again, is understanding that Fear is the mind killer.

I found myself fascinated with the Bene Gesserit as well as the Mentats; the Bene Gesserit were seen as soothsayers, witches, concubines and overall very powerful women that appeared to be more than human yet I found their "ways" to be both a blessing and a curse. I thought of the Mentats as computer-ish with the ability to tap into anything or anywhere they wished, thanks to the Spice. Paul, born of a Bene Gesserit who later has the capabilities of a Mentat, was the birth of both "cultures" in one being - this reminded me, to a point, of Anakin Skywalker and Luke Skywalker - the ability to work both light and dark of the Force to create a "new" Jedi.

If the Harkonnen and the Atreides were "related", then did that make the Harkonnen the "dark" side and the Atreides the "light" side of the same persona? As I spoke with a friend about this, he told me to think of the film The Dark Crystal.

So many questions yet I loved how my brain was challenged with every page. This is a trademark of a damn good book.

To end this blog post, I figured I would add my all time favourite quote from this book, even though I have quoted it before:

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Hip Movie Review - An Education

I just finished watching the film An Education starring Carey Mulligan and Peter Sarsgaard and WOW, I am blown away by such a superb film!

An Education is based on the memoir of British journalist Lynn Barber during the year 1961 in London when Jenny, a young and headstrong girl who is pressured to attend Oxford by her domineering father, meets the charming and quite charismatic David, an older man who literally sweeps her off her feet. Thanks to David, Jenny is exposed to French music, culture, drinking, sex and other forms of her "education" of the real world . . . until it all comes crashing down.

The soundtrack will take you back to 1961within a few notes and leave you wanting more; in fact, I am currently listening to Juliette Greco, one of the French singers that Jenny loves to hear in the movie. Sous Le Ciel De Paris is now one of my favourite songs:

Take a look at the trailer below and then go out and see this film! It is worth "an education"!

Monday, November 18, 2013

John Gray from Timid Monster - Delightfully Weird and WONDERFUL!

So, I am still recovering from an awesome Memphis Comic and Fantasy Convention this past weekend (if you missed it, make sure to show up for it in 2014!) and I have to admit that this year's con was the best ever! So many authors, artists, musicians and other delightfully strange and unusual people.

During this past weekend, I got to not only meet the brains behind a really, really, really cool film company known as Timid Monster that is located right here in Memphis, but also purchased a copy of their short film entitled Avarice and signed up for their newsletter that included a free download of the short film John Gray - soon to be a full length feature.

After watching John Gray with my headphones on so that I could not hear my dishwasher in my kitchen, I was stunned and amazed at such a short yet very Steampunk-ish film that gave me just enough to whet my appetite.

John Gray has it all: contraptions, explosions, a never forgotten past, eccentric characters, cool Gothic costumes and above all else, hope for a better future. This short film will leave audiences wanting more and I hope we get to experience more of John Gray and his odd life very soon!

So, thank you, Timid Monster, for creating such a delightfully odd film!

I can't wait to see what else you guys come up with next!

Poem - 11 October 2006

revised thoughts
collected like rain falling from a roof

samples of words
brought to the light

afraid of nothing
more than their worth

silence is no longer and option
and yet the circle is complete

denial: a state of mind
a mind in fear of denial.

(copyright 2013 Kimberly Richardson)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Poem - Autumn's Child

Under the blanket of Autumn
apple trees flourish,
their gift to the world presented
sweet perfume, lingering, enticing the flesh of
Nature to partake of their labour.
The leaves, regal and elderly
fall like ghost soldiers to the pine-needled
ground, self sacrificed for their own
unknown cause and reason.
This sylvan space, this green
frozen and locked in its beauty
provide many an artist or poet
with inspiration and well as free insanity,
a slow evolution, one that can not
be taken lightly, refusing to acknowledge
the ever changing and polluting outside,
a fear that lies deep rooted and safe from
innocent eyes.
Is this place the whole of existence?
Should I be its messenger, a John the Baptist poetic
to warn the world of an imminent change,
a change to green, to flowers forever giving
their scent to overpower and kill,
of trees, golden and red, that whisper
through their branches, luring people away
under guises of comfort of Autumn?
This space, sacred, comes with longing
of souls, a desire to capture, and a feeling of lost.
And who am I who should care so
of this wood, this place of maddening beauty,
this Autumn tinged sanctuary?
I am of it, born from it,
dead because of it, living forever through it.
I am the autumn, leaves so golden and frail
scents with no definition and clean
eyes multicoloured and far reaching
littered with apples, the fruit of Avalon,
my soul the result of those who dared to love
too much this place; here I sit
under the blanket of Autumn.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Goth Librarian Goes 80s!

Thanks to my family, I grew up listening to all kinds of music: my grandad introduced me to the world of Jazz; my mother introduced me to Rock, Classical, R&B and Soul; my dad introduced me to the Blues; and my grandmother introduced me to Gospel. Needless to say, I have had quite a well rounded musical life.

So, it came as no surprise when, within a two hour period, I had a wonderful time listening to good ol' 80s music on the radio!

Check out the videos below and bang your head just like I did . . . in Kroger while looking at cans of soup.


The Thompson Twins - Hold Me Now

Def Leppard - Foolin'

Heart - Nothing At All

Metallica - Wherever I May Roam

Depeche Mode - World In My Eyes

The Cure - Lovesong

James Taylor - How Sweet It Is

Steve Perry - Oh Sherrie

Shakespeare Sonnet 39

If you have not already figured it out, I am a BIG fan of William Shakespeare! The Bard has and always will have a special place in my heart, even when I sometimes do not understand the deeper meaning under his words of praise, flattery, Death and redemption.

Although I love his plays tremendously, I never really had a chance to read the Sonnets. 

So, I figured today would be that day!

Here is, for your enjoyment, Sonnet 39 (my age!)

O! how thy worth with manners may I sing, When thou art all the better part of me? What can mine own praise to mine own self bring? And what is't but mine own when I praise thee? Even for this, let us divided live, And our dear love lose name of single one, That by this separation I may give That due to thee which thou deserv'st alone. O absence! what a torment wouldst thou prove, Were it not thy sour leisure gave sweet leave, To entertain the time with thoughts of love, Which time and thoughts so sweetly doth deceive,
   And that thou teachest how to make one twain,
   By praising him here who doth hence remain.