birthday, books

Laugh Lines

It’s New Year’s Eve, which means bringing-in-the-new-year activities.  It also means, it’s my birthday…my 30th birthday.  And while I feel, on the whole, rather unaccomplished at this age, I am so very grateful to be alive to celebrate yet another year on this twirling ball of cosmic dust.

I am lucky.  I’m alive and I’m happy.  Food, shelter, friends, a job; I have it made.  And I feel pop culture often forgets or ignores that growing older is wonderful.  But my heart doesn’t belong to celebrities I could never pick out of a People’s magazine.  I’m captivated by books.  And authors, more than contributors to other media outlets, seem to understand.

ps i love youIn P.S. I Love You, Ahern writes that it’s a privilege to grow old with someone.  And often it’s a privilege we just arrogantly assume we’ll be granted.


In The Hunger GamesCollins’s protagonist, Katniss, is taken from her poor District 12 to the Capitol where she experiences culture shock.  Katniss explains:

The Hunger Games

They do surgery in the Capitol, to make people appear younger and thinner. In District 12, looking old is something of an achievement since so many people die early. You see an elder person, you want to congratulate them on their longevity, ask the secret of survival. A plump person is envied because they aren’t scraping by like the majority of us. But here it is different. Wrinkles aren’t desirable. A round belly isn’t a sign of success.

Veil of RosesAnd finally, in the book A Veil of Roses by Laura Fitzgerald, Tamila comes from Iran to visit her sister in the US.  She hopes to find a man to marry (although falling in love would be ideal) so she won’t have to go back to her home country.  I don’t remember much about the book, aside from crying a bit while reading it.  But one thing I can’t forget is the main character’s obsession with laugh lines.  In Iran, her sister’s face was smooth.  In the US, it has become lined from laughter.  Tamila wants love, freedom, and laugh lines.

I look in the mirror and smile.  Little lines crinkle around my eyes.  There have been many moments to smile and laugh about in my life.

Thirty years.  I’m not old, per say, but it’s new.  And the sound of the age feels funny in my mouth.  Thirty.  I’m thirty.  And when so many people are denied the chance to make it this far, I’m so very appreciative.

So, Happy 2014, world.  May your year been lined with laughter.

birthday, films, grad school

What a Wonderful World This Would Be…

While putting off writing yet another paper (does this work ever end?), I spent a while tonight talking to two old friends of mine. We spoke of dreams, meeting men (more a plan than an accomplishment), listened to Sam Cooke, and ended the night sharing information about a few Indie films…

The first film mentioned was one I saw eight days before I turned 25. This is only important insomuch as the main character has eight days until he turns 25…and is inevitably going to be killed by…a milktruck. Really, the preview of Expiration Date shows the plot much better than I could write it. And although it’s an odd movie, it is clearly the best death-by-milktruck movie ever.

The other film we spoke about I have yet to see. It’s called 500 Days of Summer. And it looks marvelous. This Swedish blog has pictures and the preview. Go ahead. Swoon. 🙂

Well, I am off to go watch Viva Cuba, a film I picked up back in December, but haven’t made the time to see.

It’s a film about two children (if the pictures didn’t give it away): Malu and Jorgito. Malu is upper-class and her mother doesn’t want her to play with Jorgito. Jorgito, his mother a socialist, is also not allowed to play with Malu. The children learn that Malu’s mother is planning on leaving Cuba, so they sneak off to the other side of the island in search for Malu’s father to convince him not to sign the paperwork allowing Malu’s mother to leave. It looks very cute (although I can’t find a preview to post that’s in English) and has won numerous film festival awards, so I’m surprised I’ve held off watching it for this long. On to the film!