Saturday, February 12, 2011

Friday Pearls

Love feels no burden, thinks nothing of its trouble, attempts what is above its strength, pleads no excuse for impossibility, for it thinks all things are lawful for itself and all things are possible. 
- Thomas a Kempis, 1380-1471, German Catholic monk and probable author of The Imitation of Christ (Source: Criminal Minds, Series 6 - Devil's Night)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Dark and Distasteful

I've just finished the last page of the new book by Audrey Niffenegger, Her Fearful Symmetry.  Her debut novel, The Time Traveler's Wife, was moving, sad and ultimately engaging.

This one kept me reading from start to finish all in one big gulp.  But the end result was starkly different.  Frankly, it creeped me out.  It's billed as "dark and delicious" on the cover, but the truth is I ended up actively disliking all four main characters and feeling uncomfortably unsettled by the whole thing.  It's one thing to finish a book thinking, "it didn't have to end that way", it's another not to have any sympathy at all for anyone but a secondary, prop character. 

Now I wish I hadn't blown 11 euro on the darn thing.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Death, Be Not Proud - Emma Thompson in Wit (2001)

I've watched this movie twice in the last 24 hours. It's not funny and sweet, like I prefer my entertainment most of the time. Nor even because recent events in my life have brought home to me, again, just how fragile the people in our lives are.

But, because Emma Thompson and HBO have crafted in "Wit" (based on the Margaret Edson play), an unsparing, wrenching, true, and ultimately beautiful portrait of death and dying. I couldn't look away.

The poetry of John Donne is literally (hah!) another character in the movie. In the last scene, showed here, Emma's character recites again "Death, be not proud" in the way I will always from here on hear it in my head.

Death be not proud though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not soe,
For, those, whom thou think’st, thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill mee.
Thou’art slave to Fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell,
And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well,
And better than thy stroake; why swell’st thou then?
One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,
And death shall be no more, Death thou shalt die.
by John Donne (1572-1631)