Writing

New Story: A Change of City

New bit of flash fiction added to the site today! Inspired by my favourite band’s song A Change of Heart, it’s a small piece about being in the very moment of a break-up.

I could see the desperation in her eyes but her lips remained sealed. Her expression revealed everything, but she would never admit it. She would never admit when she was hurt, when I was hurting her.

Minutes dragged by as I watched her hold in tears. “Is there someone else?” Her sweet anger made me smile internally, and I was careful not to show it on my face.

“There is always someone else,” I explained, unsure how….[read more]

Film, Review

The Princess Bride (1987)

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“Death cannot stop true love. All it can do is delay it for a while.” – Westley

*Swoon*

The Princess Bride, directed by Rob Reiner is one of the greatest love stories out there, and it’s impossible to deny that without meeting a barrage of angry fans. Described by the grandad (Peter Falk) as a tale filled with “Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles…” it’s a cult classic that has rocked many people’s worlds.

One of those lucky individuals is me.

When I was a pre-teen, Mum put on a VHS tape with no more introduction other than, ‘You will love this film, it’s one of my favourites.’ As many first-time viewers also admit, I was hooked from the start. Now I’m a sucker for a princess / fantasy / fairy tale story, but this particular piece is far more than that. As we see within the film, the grandson who is hearing the story for the first time from his grandad slowly comes around to the idea of romance, action and comedy being stitched together into one masterpiece.

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It’s one of the quirkiest films I’ve ever experienced and I have never seen anything like it since. Following the beautiful character Buttercup (Robin Wright) through her love, her heartbreak, her kidnapping, her forced marriage and her rescue, the film shows us how true love conquers all and ultimately wins. We are introduced to many exciting characters, particularly the dashing Westley, (or Man in Black as he is sometimes known) played by Cary Elwes, and the wonderful Fezzik, played by the great late Andre the Giant, alongside Inigo Montoya, portrayed by Mandy Patinkin. There are many, many amazing actors who play gorgeous characters in The Princess Bride but it would become a very long review if we were to discuss each and every one.

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One of my favourite scenes is towards the end when Fezzik, Inigo and Westley are storming the castle, with Westley recovering from being ‘mostly dead’ – one of the most hilarious concepts I’ve ever heard and seen acted out. Elwes manages to carry off the floppiest body imaginable, all the while successfully staying in character and somehow saving the day (obviously; it doesn’t count as a spoiler). The whole scene depicts three men who were not originally all on good terms working together for true love and for Buttercup’s survival. We see them work together to get into the castle and then split up to follow their own causes (with the exception of Fezzik who mysteriously disappears after Westley heads for Buttercup’s suite). Everything that the film has built up to comes to fruition in this scene and it really gets your blood pumping while still retaining its element of tongue-in-cheek comedy.

We’re presented with some pretty serious themes in The Princess bride, including suicide, torture, forced marriage, death, poisoning, yet we never feel down or miserable. In fact, we find it amusing when Westley is recovering from being tortured, and he can’t even hold up his own head; and it’s hysterical when we first hear the clergyman (Peter Cook) say “Mawage!” during Buttercup’s unwilling ceremony. As well as being incredibly funny at just the right moments, it’s also an emotional roller-coaster. My heart bleeds for Inigo on his quest to avenge his father, killed by the six-fingered man, Count Rugen (Christopher Guest), when he was just a boy. Buttercup also strikes a chord with the audience when she talks about how she died the day that word came to her that Westley was dead. The grasp on true love, whether about soul mates or fathers is perfect and every viewer can relate to one relationship or another. This film draws on every aspect of love that we are capable of feeling, from grandfather and grandson, to love/hate husband and wife, to a kingdom’s love for its future queen.

“As you wish,” Westley’s famous and only line at the beginning of the film will stay with me forever. I want it printed on everything. It means ‘I love you, and I will do anything for you’. He shouts it when Buttercup has thrown him down a very steep incline to show her that it’s him: “Oh my sweet Westley!”

*Sigh* Could this film be any more perfect?

Actually, yes.

For Christmas, Mum gave me the vinyl edition of The Princess Bride soundtrack, by Mark Knopfler from Dire Straits. I’m actually listening to it right now on Spotify which is actually proving to be an intense distraction because I just want to close my eyes and open my heart to the music.

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Reiner wanted a modern twist to the music and I think it’s already stood the test of time, almost 30 years later, being the most perfect cherry on the cake to one of the most perfect films in the world. You can see the scenes in your mind’s eye when you listen to the music, as it fits so snugly with the action. Synonymous with the visuals, the music is a movie in its own right, feeding you emotions and excitement while you try to get on with daily life.

You watch the film partly through the eyes of the grandson, seeing it for the first time, relishing in the wonderment, while not necessarily agreeing with his disgust at the kissing (depending on your age of course). It adds a childlike fascination to the film, as you occasionally check in with the pair reading the book together, and you listen to Peter Falk’s voice, it entrances you and you want to know more. What happens to Buttercup among the shrieking eels? Will Humperdinck (Chris Sarandon) get his way? Tell me more!

With vast landscapes, intricate fire swamps and beautiful castles, it’s a gorgeous film to watch, just to take in the scenery. It’s colourful and bright, different and unique. It’s one of the most quoted films since it’s debut and one of the most loved, proven by the celebrations when it reached its 25th anniversary.

If you enjoy the film, I highly recommend reading Cary Elwes’ book, ‘As You Wish’, all about his experiences in making it and how he still feels about it now. It’s a film that has a special place in the heart of its creators and actors, but also sits snugly in its fans’ hearts, including mine.

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In truth, it’s one of the more difficult films to explain, as there is so much to it, but what can be explained is the emotion that you feel when watching it. It’s a film that I love showing to friends who have not seen it and allowing them to fall in love with it as well. The perfect quotes that have been born from this film will live forever and always crop up in any situation. Just last week, Mum texted me saying “Have fun storming the castle” ten minutes before I went in for an interview (turns out on this occasion I couldn’t storm the castle, but that’s another story).

In the meantime, take Prince Humperdinck’s advice and we will look forward to the 30th anniversary celebrations next year.

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Misc., Writing

What it’s like having many things to write…

It is wearing a ball gown while wading through the thickest waist-high mud for miles and miles

Needing to light a hundred feet tall candle with one little match and no ladder

A thousand bees inside a small, metal box with one coin-sized hole

Seeing the finish line before the starting gun goes off

Trying a particular lipstick and it changing into another shade by midday

Sticky notes that keep falling off the wall and disappearing between the floorboards

Your dad’s heavy denim jacket that you will never grow into

Turning the volume up as high as it will go and still straining to hear the music

Eating until you are full and still feeling like you are starving

Waiting for the knock on the door when you’re sitting in a meadow

It is reaching the other side of the bridge before you have set one foot on it to cross.

I always want to write, every minute of every day, and I always have ideas in my head. Ideas that might be big, and they might last for no longer than two seconds. They’re all still there, and they’re all very loud and blinding.

When they are small, it’s hard to justify the effort to put them onto paper.

And when they are big stories that are bouncing around in my head, that are so complicated, I would need to sit in silence for a week to even grasp them with both hands.

Sometimes there is no motivation to write anything, fictional or otherwise. Sometimes this site goes neglected and unloved for weeks at a time. And sometimes I can’t stop. Sometimes it’s unhealthy when I stay awake until the small hours, scribbling by lamplight.

All to often, the desire to write plagues me but my body refuses. Together, we make the decision not to pick up the pen and notebook. We can’t even use an app on the tablet. But the stories are there. The characters are screaming at me inside my head to let them out, but I can’t always release them.

I have never finished a project. Starting to write so young meant that my language was soft and poor. Looking at it now makes me cringe and I could never submit that anywhere, so it is added to the pile. I’m sure that pile is taller than me by now.

There is a colourful rush that comes with writing and a relief, as though eliminating a headache and making room in my head. I’ll never stop, no matter who comes along and degrades my work, because I write for me and no one else.

 

 

 

 

Books, Entertainment, Review

Book Review: One Day

As I’ve said before, I have recently become an avid reader all over again and this time I discovered a book my David book-one-dayNicholls that I 100% fell in love with. One Day, you may have read it or seen the film (which I still need to watch) and you may, like me, have fallen in love with the story.

It’s about two people across twenty years and documents what happens to their relationship when they are on good terms, bad terms or no terms at all. They both go through death, new romances, shit jobs, good jobs, health problems, anything and everything that normal people experience. And it’s a rollercoaster. But for starters, when I first started reading it, I immediately felt like I could relate to the characters. The female lead, Emma, is a hard working-just graduated-student from Leeds. Check. She finally gets close to a boy she’s liked for a long time. Check. She likes art and wants something creative in life, maybe to be an author. Check. And I was thinking, okay, this is cool. They kept coming at me, more and more things that I could relate to as I read on and to be honest, it felt kind of weird. Emma is throwing a production of Oliver! when not three weeks ago my sister was in one. They go on a holiday to Greece and I’ve very recently been looking at a lot of Greek holidays. Okay, they’re getting a little weak but you get my drift. A story about two people embarking on the adventure of life after just popping out of university. That’s where I’m at now and it really interested me, to see how these characters’ lives played out and would mine turn into anything so great?

The writing is awesome. It really drew me in; I found myself wanting to know more and more about these two people who don’t even exist and also that I was laughing and crying along with them. Crazy. Considering how less than a year ago, I’d hardly even picked up a book for a decade. What I really loved though was how long the time span of the book was – twenty years is a fair amount of time to follow two people. Sharing in their experiences was wonderful and it was really nice to see some actual character development for once.

My reviews are never that deep; I don’t want to pick a book apart page by page as if I was back at school – what’s important is how I read it and whether I would read it again and the answer is a resounding yes. Now I just have to watch the film…

Entertainment, Film

Imaginaaaation

Lately all I’ve wanted to do is write. Be it scripts, stories, paragraphs or whatever, even blog posts every now and then. But mainly fictional. It’s just that I get to the point where my fingers start itching for a pen and paper, or for my laptop and all I want to do is write constantly, literally anything that pours out of my head. But there’s one problem: finding the ideas and pinpointing them. It’s as though in my head I have all these ideas and characters and locations swimming around but they refuse to come to fruition which can get really, really frustrating, lemme tell you. I guess part of it came from a very long and interesting conversation with Sam about what we like to write and what inspires us. Might be wise to join forces.. But anyway, the upshot of it is, I’m sitting here, staring at a blank Word Document, waiting for something to appear on the page as if by magic. I think I’m just too impatient to spend the time writing…hm.