Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Easter!

Easter, a time of new beginnings, a time of hope. The sun beams, and clouds promise rain in this water-starved landscape as we begin anew.

I wish all who read this a wonderful start on the rest of your life.

So long,

Saturday, April 4, 2015

What Gentleman?

News Item: “After leading the police on a dangerous chase in rush hour traffic, the male driver crashed, then ran off into the surrounding neighborhood. As night descended police were still searching for the gentleman.”

Gentleman? Really? I have heard many male suspects referred to as “gentlemen” by reporters on the local news.

What is “gentle” about evading the police, driving dangerously and putting innocent people’s lives in danger? What is “gentle” about beating up an 87 year old man for his wallet?

The word seems to have lost its meaning in the rush to avoid offending anyone. Its companion is “lady” which seems to have retained its meaning. A female suspect in a crime case is never referred to as “lady.”

Man, Woman. Let’s get back to precise word choices, words that reflect the object or person referred to.

Rant over!

So long,

Thursday, April 2, 2015

#Outlander Returns Soon.

I am a fan of “Outlander” both the books and the Starz series. There I’ve said it! It is historical fiction combined with magical realism and is absolutely fascinating both for the adventure and for the history that is recounted as the characters progress through their trials. I’m also a sucker for the romance of the two main characters! 

In her books, Diana Gabaldon has created realistic, interesting and vibrant characters. I especially like the female ones. They are not wishy-washy slaves to the men in their lives. These women tackle their problems head-on, not afraid to apply common sense even when it goes against the advice of the male protagonists.

Another reason I like her female characters in the books is that they are not skinny. The main one, Claire, is teased often by her lover for her ample rump. Therefore I was somewhat disappointed to see that the Starz version cast a beautiful but very thin woman (Caitriona Balfe) as Claire. All of those affectionate comments about her posterior are lost in this film version. Her lover Jamie is played by a suitably handsome Sam Heughan who captures the naïve nature of the character as Gabaldon created him.

The other characters are played by a strong ensemble cast, as we’ve come to expect in many British connected productions. (Death at a Funeral comes to mind.)

Leftbank Pictures, who produces the series for Starz, adheres closely to the books that I enjoyed so much, thanks no doubt, to the presence of Gabaldon as consultant in the series. They have done it right, taking the time to tease out the themes and present how Scottish history and myths influence the actions of the characters and drive the plot. 

After leaving us with a cliff-hanger at the end of the last episode, I am excited to see how the series continues. Starts on April 4.

Well done!

So long,
Mary Marca

#Outlander  #DianaGabaldon  #CaitronaBalfe #SamHeughan #Leftbankpictures #Starz
References provided by Wikipedia

Magical Thinking

Magical thinking. If only . . . (fill in your greatest desire here). . . then all my problems would be solved.

Do we all indulge in this phenomenon?  When I read Joan Didion’s A Year of Magical Thinking I didn’t really understand her premise. I was sad for her journey as she recovered from the death of her husband, but I didn’t understand how she could actually believe in the “magical thinking” she described.

I thought I was immune. Family, friends, career, hobbies, all fine. Nothing fabulous, but life was satisfying. I have had enough of life’s radical swings. From my teens through my forties, I  hung on for the ride and survived, scarred but with my sense of humor intact. I was content--but still with a few wishes unfulfilled.

And then illness of a beloved grandchild smashed that contentment, snapped me back onto the ride. And I started to think about solutions, a way to solve his problems. I clung to one idea—eliminate all electronic devices. That was the key to the cure, I believed. I reasoned it out carefully—inside my head, not researching nor talking with anyone. Somewhere deep inside I knew that a solution could not be that simple. If it were, one of the professionals in charge would have applied it and he’d be cured already. But I clung stubbornly to that hope for an instant cure.

And is “hope” what we are really doing when we indulge like that? When life hits us hard, we can cave in and give up, or we can hope. And that hope is what drives us forward, what gives us courage and tenacity to continue with this imperfect life. 

And hope is what drives us to still look for joy along the way.

So long,