Friday, January 19, 2018

"she leads a lonely life" or does she?

It occurred to me that I prefer to write alone.

I can stare off into the distance. I can jab accusingly at the hypnotically blinking cursor on my computer screen. I can talk to myself without getting an external response.

I'm an uncomplicated person. I have no desire to shroud myself in drama. Yet, in doing so, I miss experiencing the conflict which could potentially translate into the crux of a story. Or do I?

I see the discord around me as inspiration.

Last year, I observed a married couple—let's call them Vicky and Tim—who arrived separately, for months, at school—each picking up one son—and leaving without speaking to each other. I immediately considered the motivation behind such actions. Even if Vicky and Tim had arrived in separate cars, coming from opposite directions, they would still speak to each other at school. Wouldn't they? A disagreement would explain a few, but not all, incidents. So would leaving quickly due to after-school commitments or inclement weather. I knew the only explanation was that Vicky and Tim had separated. Before the end of the school year, Vicky bought a new house. My evidence was still circumstantial until I heard via the Social Media grapevine that Vicky was newly single.

Do you give the strangers you encounter a back story? The harried-looking woman in the grocery store with three screaming toddlers in tow. The group of young boys sitting under the tree, making obnoxious comments at the young girls—possibly classmates—walking by. The older woman walking her dog, staring blankly into the distance. Who are these people? What happened in their life? What brought them to this point?

I quietly observe.

I set myself apart. I am more comfortable standing in quiet solitude than making urbane small-talk. It is easy to mistake the state of being alone for loneliness. Think the Ace of Base song "All That She Wants" and its apt lyrics.

She leads a lonely life 
She leads a lonely life 

When she woke up late in the morning light
And the day had just begun
She opened up her eyes and thought
Oh what a morning

Loneliness is a matter of prespective. In the quiet of my mind, I have the freedom—and privilege—to create these amazing characters and the ability to tell their stories.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Five Memorable Scenes from The Princess Bride

The Princess Bride

1987 ‧ Fantasy/Romance ‧ 1h 38m

A fairy tale adventure about a beautiful young woman and her one true love. He must find her after a long separation and save her. They must battle the evils of the mythical kingdom of Florin to be reunited with each other. Based on the William Goldman novel "The Princess Bride" which earned its own loyal audience.

-- IMDb
<<sigh>> The Princess Bride. My long-time favorite movie. I discovered the movie first, then I read the book. If a movie (or TV show for that matter) is based on a book, I watch the video first. Or I read the book and completely forgo the video. Why? Hands down, every time, my imagination is better than Hollywood's interpretation. A picture paints a thousand words? Well, a word can also paint a thousand pictures.

When I read The Princess Bride, I envision Robin Wright as Buttercup and Cary Elwes as her true love Westley.

The Princess Bride is a timeless story that contains all the important elements.

"Fencing. Fighting. Torture. Revenge. Giants. Monsters. Chases. Escapes. True love. Miracles."

I have seen The Princess Bride more times than I can remember. I confess that I recite the lines along with the actors—and there are some fantastic lines—and quote parts of the movie at applicable times in my life. I even got my sons (aged seven and nine) to watch it (and enjoy it... except for the kissing part).

To complement those fantastic lines—"As you wish"—are equally epic scenes. Here are some of my favorites. In no particular order...

<<spoiler alert>>


Scene One - When Inigo Montoya fights Count Rugen. I find this scene so powerful. A son avenges his father. He confronts the man who killed his father and makes him beg for his life. At the end, in the heart-wrenching moment before he strikes the final blow, he declares all he wants is his father back.

Inigo Montoya: Hello! My name is Inigo Montoya! You killed my father! Prepare to die!

Count Rugen: Stop saying that!

Scene Two - When the grandson doesn't mind the kissing part. This scene has become more meaningful for me since I've had children. My boys love action movies—superhero stuff—with fighting and killing, and they definitely don't like the kissing parts. When they cover their eyes and boo at the screen, I smile and think that someday, like the Grandson, they won't mind so much either.

Grandfather: They rode to freedom. And as dawn arose, Westley and Buttercup knew they were safe. A wave of love swept over them. And as they reached for each other—

Grandson: What? What?

Grandfather: Naw, it's kissing again, you don't want to hear that.

Grandson: Well, I don't mind so much.

Scene Three - When the Vizzini says "inconceivable." The first time I watched this movie, I was a kid and probably didn't know what 'inconceivable' meant. I not only learned the meaning, but the spelling as well. I can't imagine anyone other than Wallace Shawn screaming "inconceivable" over and over, as if yelling a big word made him seem smarter. And, it's true, sometimes yelling "inconceivable" is the absolutely appropriate word to use.

Vizzini: Inconceivable!

Inigo Montoya: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Scene Four - When Buttercup and Westley say good-bye. The romantic in me swoons each time I hear Westley say "Here this now: I will always come for you." The whole scene is a perfect reinforcement of my belief in True Love.

Buttercup: I fear I'll never see you again.

Westley: Of course you will.

Buttercup: But what if something happens to you?

Westley: Hear this now: I will always come for you.

Buttercup: But how can you be sure?

Westley: This is True Love. You think this happens every day?

Scene Five - When Westley says "As you wish." Another Princess Bride line that my husband and I often use in real life. You know, it really means "I love you."

Buttercup: And what am I?

Dread Pirate Roberts: Faithfulness he talked of, madame, your enduring faithfulness. Now tell me truly, when you found out he was gone, did you get engaged to your prince that same hour, or did you wait a whole week out of respect for the dead?

Buttercup: You mocked me once. Never do it again! I died that day! [pause] And you can die too for all I care!

[Buttercup pushes Roberts down the hill]

Dread Pirate Roberts: <rolling> As... you... wish!

Buttercup: Oh my sweet Westley, what have I done?


The Princess Bride is an amazing movie (and book too). I highly recommend both. 5 stars. There are so many great scenes. Like when the Grandson thinks Buttercup will get eaten by the eels. Or, when Inigo and Fezzik are rhyming. Or, when the Vizzini thinks he's won the battle of wits until he falls over dead. Or, when Miracle Max says Westley is only mostly dead. Or, when Buttercup surprises Westley by surrendering to Humperdinck outside the Fire Swamp. Or, you know, the whole story!

Until next time, keep on dreaming and never underestimate the power of True Love.