An update and a cool poem

Hi, everyone. I hope your Sunday is considerably brighter than the drab, grey day that mine is. Just wanted to, as the title suggests, update you on how NaNo is going and share a cool spoken word poem I found on youtube.

I’ve reached the point in NaNoWriMo that I am ready to do just about anything but write any more. For instance, yesterday I drew a rendition of the cover art of the Broadway production of Anastasia. It doesn’t help that I’ve been writing incredibly tricky scenes that have a great bearing on how the story plays out. I’ve been thinking about these scenes since I started thinking about this story a few years ago and it’s hard to get them right because they’ve been in my head for so long. It’s starting to get better, though, so I just need to keep pushing through. If you’re writing for NaNo or just writing in general, keep going! We can do it!

And now, here’s the poem. Have a great week, everyone.

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Thoughts on “Silence”

Hello, everyone. We’re going to do something different on the blog today. I’m going to be talking about the film, Silence. I saw it last week and have been wanting to talk about it, but it’s taken me a while to collect my thoughts. For those of you who don’t know, Silence is a movie about two Jesuit missionaries who travel to 17th century Japan to seek out their brother priest, who appears to have gone missing.

This post is going to be something between a review and an analysis, so if you don’t want the movie to be spoiled, then don’t read any further until you’ve watched the movie. For those of you who have seen it or don’t care about being spoiled, feel free to pass go and collect your $200.

 

After trying to write a lengthy review about this movie, I decided to keep it to a bullet point list of my thoughts. Before anything else, I should define the term apostasy, since it is one I will use often. Apostasy means to reject or to turn away from a faith or belief system in favor of a different one. This has been symbolized in such ways as stepping on a rosary or a cross or, like in the film, an image of Jesus. For more information about this, click here. If you’d like me to elaborate on any of these bullet points, feel free to ask in the comments.

  • This film is so respectful of both sides, the persecuted and the persecutors, and allows both sides to explain their viewpoints on Christianity and its place in Japan. And while there is a lot of debate both within the film and externally about whether or not the apostasy committed is justified, the film offers no definitive judgement about it, letting the viewers decide for themselves if those who renounce the faith were right in doing so. While I disagree with apostasy and the idea that Christ would move anyone to apostasize (as he does so in the story with Fr. Rodrigues), it was an interesting way of portraying such a complex and difficult situation.
  • The use of color in this film is fantastic, though sparing. The only colors that are used are the reds of fire and blood, the blue of the sea where Christians are drowned, the multiple greens and muddy browns of Japan itself, and the white of the Buddhist/Shinto authorities dwellings and the fans they use. And of course, the white of the Easter lily at the end.
  • Rodrigues, played by Andrew Garfield, is an amazing character. Though not much is revealed about his past, I could tell he grew up like a lot of Catholic kids (including this one), learning the stories of the martyrs and looking up to them and not really considering what martyrdom actually looks and sounds like. And when he does see and hear the terrible truth that is martyrdom, he doesn’t like what he sees and hears. And it does cause him to question if such suffering is worth it, especially since God seems silence throughout.
  • Can we talk for a moment about Fr. Garupe, Adam Driver’s character? Holy moly, he was totally different than what I thought he was going to be. The trailer revealed him to be a questioning sort of fellow, and that’s exactly what he is. Throughout their time in Japan, he is questioning while Rodrigues is quiet, doubting where the other is faithful. Yet he does not apostasize (at least I think he doesn’t, I might be wrong about that) and dies a martyr’s death while trying to save one of the Japanese faithful. Even if he did apostasize, it still was a brave way to die and one I wouldn’t have thought his character capable of. Yet some of the greatest saints started out as people seemingly the least likely to become holy.
  • I can’t remember where this happens in the film, but at some point Fr. Rodrigues tucks the little crucifix from his rosary into the waistband of his pants. You don’t see that crucifix again until the end of the film (which was a tremendous way to end it). That really struck me because it’s an incredible visual metaphor for what he had to do after publicly denouncing the faith and agreeing to live as Japanese. Christians have been under persecution in different parts of the world since the Crucifixion and that simple action was a nod to this fact while showing that he had tucked his faith away in the most intimate part of himself.
  • I really like that, however much people aposticized and stepped on icons of Jesus, the images never got dirty, no matter how muddy people’s feet or shoes were.
  • The one character I got incredibly frustrated with was Kichijiro. He aposticized, then kept coming back to Fr. Rodrigues for confession again and again. I was so annoyed with him, especially in the middle of the movie (when he gives up Fr. Rodrigues to the officials) and I wondered why he didn’t just give up and either live the faith or leave the faith. Then I realized that I do exactly what Kichijiro does, every time I sin and turn back to God in the sacrament of confession, only to sin again. And I felt ashamed at my annoyance.
  • I was so pleased to see, before the credits started rolling, that they dedicated the film to the Japanese martyrs, with the postscript of the Jesuit’s motto, Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam, “For the greater glory of God”. It just made me think that there is no better way to honor the sacrifice of those brave people than to tell their story in such a wonderful, honest piece of art. I had also been listening to Hamilton earlier that morning and seeing this movie truly drove home the point that we “have no control who lives who dies, who tells our story.” It makes me wish that all martyrs and indeed, everyone, could have their lives told in such a beautiful way.

Have you seen Silence?  If you have, let me know what you thought about it in the comments. If you’d like a much more detailed and much better analysis than mine about the movie, watch this video. Also, if you’re looking for a good Catholic youtuber, you should watch this guy’s videos. He’s pretty great.

That’s all I have for now, everyone. Thanks for reading this ramble. Before I forget, I had another story published by the good folks at 101 Words. If you want to read it, click here. It’ll be permanently archived on my writing page, which I am planning on reformatting soon so it doesn’t look like such an eyesore. I hope you’re all having a fantastic Sunday and I will write again soon. Bye!

Ruler of Books tag

Hello, everyone! I thought we’d switch it up today by talking about books. I love books and will no doubt be talking quite a bit about them in the future. I also love Booktube, which is the section of Youtube dedicated to discussing, sharing, and just generally being enthusiastic about books. I have many favorite book Youtubers that I like to watch and they have tag videos, in which they answer different questions. One of them came out recently that I knew I wanted to do (I’ll put the original video down below). It’s the Ruler of Books tag. So here it is!

1. What book would you make everyone read?

I would have to say The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine. This isn’t my favorite book but it’s definitely one of my favorites. It’s such a beautiful story full of memorable characters that grow and change so much throughout the story. It’s also an incredible tale of courage during adversity. It’s helped me so much throughout different times in my life and I think the world would be a better place if everyone read that story.

2. What would you abolish in book construction?

Honestly, this is a difficult one. I’ve been fixing books as part of my library jobs for a year and half now and I can honestly say that there are very few elements in book construction that are not there on purpose. However, I would like to abolish the idea of putting something over the description on the back of the book. Every time I see this at a book store or a library, I internally cringe. So yeah, let’s abolish that. Freedom from the tyranny of labels!

3. What author would you commission to write you any book?

Again, this is so hard! But I’ve managed to narrow this down to three way tie between Juliet Marillier, Ruta Sepetys, and Jennifer Donnelly. These three ladies, though they write in different genres and with different styles, all have the beautiful ability to combine fascinating, round characters, beautifully described settings, and compelling plots. Though if I was forced to pick, it would be Jennifer Donnelly.

Jennifer Donnelly

This is a quote from possibly my favorite Jennifer Donnelly book, Revolution, which is about a two girls living through two revolutions and are connected through love of music. Photo attributed to:yalitquotes.tumblr.com

4. What book would you demote to the library basement to make room for new books?

Probably cook books. Not all of them, of course. While I understand that there are thousands upon thousands of types of cuisine and ways to cook said cuisine, but I just don’t understand why there need to be so many cook books. So, sorry, but they’re getting bumped. Also the House of Night series. I read up through Awakened  in that series (my friends insisted I read them). Those books aren’t that good, plain and simple. So they’re getting demoted,too.

5. What cover artist would you commission to make a mural?

Kinuko Y. Craft, who designed the fabulous cover for Juliet Marillier’s first young adult novel, Wildwood Dancing.  It’s so gorgeous and there’s so much to look at and the colors are so beautiful and OH MY GOODNESS, JUST LOOK AT THIS BEAUTY!

Wildwood.jpg

As you can probably tell from this choice, I’m a big fan of the pre-Raphaelite style, which Craft emulates here. Photo credited to: goodreads.com.

6. What characters face would you put on a coin?

I’d have to say Kaz Brekker from Six of Crows. Simply because I think he’d like that idea.

Kaz quote

One of the more interesting quotes of Kaz’s. Photo credited to: pinterest.com

7. What book would you award the “Ruler of Books” 2016 Prize to?

I would have to say Leigh Bardugo, author of the aforementioned Six of Crows. I checked Six of Crows out of the library and, though I didn’t quite understand the story at first, quickly fell in love with all the characters and the setting. I’m about halfway through the Grisha Trilogy, which she wrote before Six of Crows and am loving it. Bardugo has a gift for establishing varied settings and for creating interesting, flawed characters. I am eagerly awaiting the publication of Crooked Kingdom at the end of September. If you haven’t read anything by Leigh Bardugo, you should definitely check her out.

So I hope you enjoyed this little foray into the world of tag posts. This was fun and I’ll probably do more of these in the future. What would your answers be to these puzzling questions? Do let me know! The original video is down below. Have a wonderful day and for those of you who have already read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, I hope you enjoyed it and no spoilers!