I will be taking a break from most of my social media for a while, not to fret I’ll be back soon.
The title of my post today may have given the game away, so to speak.
I have written previously of my, minor, obsession with Russian films starring a particular actor. Who my Wrimos, and friends know as GB or Gorgeous Boy. I should take the time to explain that although he really is stunning, calling him a boy is something of a misnomer. He is most certainly a man. Just barely older than me, he has accomplished more in his career than I have at all. I’d be lying if that didn’t make me feel more than a little inadequate. And most intriguing (to me at least) is that it’s not his looks that make me feel inadequate.
When I left school at 18, I had so many plans! And I have achieved so very few of them. Being a bit of a hippy, I wanted to study natural medicine, and start a small clinic. I moved to the other end of my country to make that dream come true. And wound up working full time in order to support this full time study. Then I stumbled across a new plan. Free international travel, in exchange for work – granted. I was ready to apply to Emirates, when during a check up with my GP we discovered that flying everyday for work would be a disaster for me. My ears don’t clear, and there’s no need to have my eardrums blow up unnecessarily. But, the same qualification was suitable to take me onto a cruise ship. So, all of 21, I went home, had another 21st party with my family. And took on a part time job to support myself until the summer; when I intended to ship out for up to 9 months at a time on the cruise ships.
But in the two months between my return home, and the first cruise ships pulling into port, I found out that I was pregnant. And in some ways it saved my life – for obvious reasons I stopped drinking in an instant. But the moment I saw those two pink lines, my entire identity became ‘Mother’, but more importantly it became ‘Single Mother’. We live in a society that has a place for people with these titles. When I mentioned to my mother how I felt, particularly seeing someone my age achieving so much, to my so very little, she reminded me that in someways it was worse for her.
My mother was married, so she didn’t have the stigma of being single. But the economy was strong, so she was expected to sacrifice her career, and her own dreams, to raise her children. And she did so admirably. But I don’t even know what career path she would have taken, or what her dreams were. All she would tell me was that she didn’t regret it, and that she was proud of me for not giving up on having a career – even though I’m a single mother, and that will make things very interesting with my kid.
So, after running out of funding for studying, I left university with only four papers between me and graduation, I started applying for jobs. With the intent of saving the money to pay for those last few papers. Well it’s been two years, with no paying job in sight, and I’m sick of waiting. I’m not waiting anymore. I’m making my return to the Ivory tower, and with a little creative accounting that will be possible in seven and a half months. Mum is helping by holding the cash that I’m putting by, so that I can’t spend it on things like clothes, and shoes as my kid grows.
So this is how I am taking control. I’m not going to wait around for a job that is looking increasingly unlikely. There are other things that I want to do, like travel, and I want to start a podcast. Travel does have to wait, because I have a child, when he’s older travel will be a good deal easier. But the podcast is on my to-do list. And speaking of, I want to start a podcast – reviewing books, and other content; like films, and YouTube videos. As my friend Mrs TeddyBear, insists I would also do a spot of snark, which is to say metaphorically ripping into certain pieces. – Which is what happens when I once annotated (with snark) the plot to a Jane Austen novel, we were deciding whether to use for a research project at university.
I am going to set up my Podcast – though I haven’t done the research as yet, I am hoping to call it: My Scattered Mind. It will start out with some slightly low quality audio, but if you guys like my content I’ll set up a Patreon, to get a quality mic. It would also probably only be once a month, at least at first. Please comment and let me know if there is anything in particular you would like me to review, or snark on. Please do also let me know if you would even listen to my podcast. This whole process works best when I have feedback.
We take it for granted that the actors we like, the ones that really draw us into cinemas for every new release that has their name on it, are in fact good actors. And I’m not saying otherwise – only that we take it for granted.
Ten years ago I lived in an international youth hostel, not the tourist/backpacker type, and I made friends from many different parts of the world. Occasionally we would watch films together, and as I was the minority in these groups the films were rarely in English. Though my friends were kind enough to make sure that English subtitles were available. My favourites at the time were the Bollywood films, they were so colourful and dramatic.
It’s been ten years since I lived with these people who broadened my horizons. I still have a fondness for films I will inevitably have to read to understand. But this has given me a new appreciation for the actors. Subtitles can be excellent, good, or mediocre; and I will usually figure out what they are trying to say. But it means that I rely on the actors as much as the subtitles, they really have to sell it. If there is danger, I need to look at that screen and see the fear in their eyes, I need to hear it in their voice, not just read it in the line. Films in Spanish are the easiest for me, because although I speak very little, I am familiar with it – and who doesn’t love their drama?
There are times when watch films because of one of the actors. I recently watched a small handful of French films starring Vincent Cassel, who appears in a few American productions as well. Some of these films had excellent subtitles, and others very mediocre – but between the subtitles and the truly excellent performance of the cast, I was never lost, or confused, or left feeling like I should really stick to English.
Peach and I went to see a German film at the local screening for the International Film Festival last year, and it was beautiful. As English speakers, we often joke that German is a harsh and guttural language, and it certainly feels that way in the mouth when you are learning to speak it (which is the full extent of what I remember from my year 9 German classes); but when spoken by a native-speaker, it can be soft and gentle, lilting, and indeed harsh as the situation requires… just like any other language. But again, my familiarity, the excellent subtitles, and a truly fantastic cast meant that I had no trouble following.
Today I watched a Russian film, Flight Crew. Russian is a language with which I have no familiarity, I was reliant entirely on some subtitles that were a little more bad than mediocre and the cast’s performance. It was absolutely worth it. When the characters were scared, I was scared. When the characters were happy, I was happy. When they were focused absolutely on surviving, I was right there with them. And all of this is on the actors. It was a truly exceptional piece of work.
I live in New Zealand, at the end of the world you might say. So far from everywhere that, although we are known for our friendliness, we can often make assumptions about other countries based on what we see in American films. I have learned that these assumptions are often wrong. Or at least badly out of date. I can happily say that I look forward to visiting Russia in the future.
The actors in these films really are very, very good. If they weren’t, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy them the same way. This is what makes me realise that we take actors for granted, especially when the film is in a language that we speak. I can only hope that the films in English that I enjoy are as enjoyable to people who don’t speak English, who have to rely on the subtitles and the cast’s performance to understand.
You know I see a lot of complaints about Fifty Shades of Grey. Often in reference to how it’s start in life was as a Twilight fan-fiction. But I gotta tell you, I’m watching The Thomas Crown Affair (1999) and you would not believe the cut and paste references in Fifty Shades. It’s been a great many of the 18 years since it’s release since I watched good old Thomas Crown, but I always wondered why even the brightest of 22 year old literature students (and I know a few) would use the term “foregone conclusion”, or why the imagery of the glider was so much clearer to me than it ought to be, even with the description James gives us. It’s not like I’ve seen one up close and personal. The perfectly sized wardrobe when they have a post-gliding getaway. Even the way they fight is reflected in Ana and Christian.
So I get that the movie is nearly 20 years old, but how is it that NO ONE has ever noticed this tie-in before? This little, though fairly significant, influence.
Thank goodness for Netflix or I may not have noticed, as all of our VHS tapes have gone the way of the dodo.
Intertextuality, it’s out there folks.
I definitely need to spend more time checking out this blog!
Brilliant piece, and the only thing that I would add (because I’m like that) is a quote from the Bedknobs and Broomsticks Movie: “As long as I do it with a flare!”
This morning, as I was perusing my Facebook timeline, I happened upon an article that a lovely friend shared. It was entitled “24 Things Women Should Stop Wearing After Age 30”, and it triggered Maximum Eye-Rolling from everyone who took the time out to read it.
Written by Kallie Provencher for RantChic.com, this “article” (I use the term loosely) highlighted things such as “leopard print”, “graphic tees”, and “short dresses” (because “By this age, women should know it’s always better to leave something to the imagination”). Kallie, it seems, has a number of opinions on what women over 30 should and shouldn’t be doing, having also penned “30 Things Women Over 30 Shouldn’t Own” and “20 Pictures Women Over 30 Need To Stop Posting Online”. (What is this magical post-30 land where women are suddenly not allowed to do or own so many things?!)
Motivated by Kallie’s “article”, I decided to…
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NaNoWriMo is very officially over. We’ve had our Thank Goodness It’s Over Lunch, at a great buffet in town. And now everyone is off resting before the big push to really finish up their novels. Those who made it to 50,000 but didn’t finish the story have more writing to do. Those who made it to 50,000 and completed their novels have further drafts to write, and editing to do. And those of us who didn’t make it to 50,000 have much work to do.
But, for right now, it’s coming into the holiday season. First I need to rest, and try to shake the persistent plagues – I’ve spent all day in bed with yet another plague. It would also be nice to catch up on some sleep; I’ve not been doing much of the sleeping over November. I have much work to do for Christmas, after I have helped my younger brother celebrate his birthday. I never decorate for Christmas before his birthday with them being in the same month. Sey’s Birthday is this weekend; next weekend is my Orphan’s Christmas dinner, and the weekend after is Christmas. I still have a handful of presents to organise. The most important of these is Bug’s. Most people are getting items that I have been sitting on all year, or some kind of food.
Feeding people is what I do. How to tell that you are important to me, is if I have fed you. Even and especially if I can’t really afford to, I’m fairly good at stretching a meal to feed however many I need it to. I have 10 people (at this stage) coming for my Orphan’s Christmas dinner, and the original menu will feed 4-6. In my fridge though I found some yams (the small, knotty British variety) that I will cook in honey; plus a few extra handfuls of rice. Meat might be a little thin on the ground, but no one will go hungry, and the food will all be up to my usual demanding standards.
In the meantime I mean to sleep as much as possible. The sleep of Champions as it were. I need to find a normal sleep pattern again. The other night I slept, for 6 hours straight – you wouldn’t believe how excited I was about that. So, if you don’t mind, I’m going to go and see if I can rack up a solid 8 hours.
These last few days I have been feeling my age more than a bit. I’m by no means old, but I have finally reached the age where I’m no longer as young as I used to be.
In fairness to myself, I have a school-aged child, and in addition to playing ML for my region, I have no other housemates to help with domestic tasks. We are reliant on public transport to go where we need to go. Running on five hours (or less) of sleep per night is taking a pretty serious toll on my body.
Right now it’s 10pm, I’ve just finished sprinting for the day, and I can barely keep my eyes open. Goodnight, and happy writing.
This is just a quick update, to let you know what is going on – and of course to remind you to get moving, NaNoWriMo is just around the corner! Get your story set up on NaNoWriMo.org and then on Nov 1 all you’ll have to do is write, and keep your word count updated.
I’ve had LARC implants put in my arm, because no more babies! So that’s super itchy right now, though Monday night and Tuesday morning it was also really sore. But the itchiness is a good sign – the skin is starting to heal. Unfortunately, being a good sign does not make it less annoying; but that will settle down soon.
I’m still seriously contemplating taking part in The Monthly Stitch, but that could be because September’s challenge in nightwear/lingerie – which would be a stellar challenge for me.
I’m also looking into some more NaNoWriMo options for my region, like some funding to cover printing and the candy that I throw about left, right, and centre. But of course we would have to be eligible first. As well as the possibility of a certain degree of collaboration with the City of Literature office, and/or another UNESCO City of Literature.
Fun fact: Did you know that there can only be one City of Literature per country? For New Zealand, Dunedin is it.
For those of you who come to the On Campus Write-ins, don’t forget to wear your best faces, as 39 Dunedin News will be back with their camera again. This year I’ll try to be organised, I don’t want to be stammering like I was last year.
Lots going on, and hopefully some progress.
My 30th is approaching rapidly, every time I look it seems like the month is just slipping away; and one day I’ll wake up to be smacked in the face with the realisation that I’m suddenly 30. I’m sure I’ll be sitting there wondering how that happened.
I’m off now, lots to do. But never fear, I’ll be back soon.