The Princess Bride: Book Vs. Film

When I was fairly young, my dad decided to rent The Princess Bride (1987). Back then, we had one of those huge, wood-encased TVs, and we lived too far out of the small town that I grew up the-princess-bride-posterin to get cable TV at our house. Instead, we had this huge satellite in our yard and a box on the TV that would turn the satellite, allowing us to get an additional two channels–bringing us to a grand total of four channels. But we had a VHS player, and there was a local video store. Fridays were “stay up late nights,” and my dad and I would rent a movie or two.

My dad’s predilection for romantic comedies with happy endings makes me think he chose the movie, but it could’ve been one of my siblings. The thing is–I don’t remember seeing it for the first time. I just remember loving it. I doubt I chose The Princess Bride the first time I watched it, but I remember choosing it many times after that.

It wasn’t until 2003, though, that I realized The Princess Bride was based on a book published The Princess Bride 30th Anniversary Edition_2in 1973. I was wandering through a bookstore, a sophomore college student hunting for summer reading, when I saw a display of the 30th anniversary edition. I think I probably let out an audible laugh as I picked it up. And I let out a lot more laughs as I read the novel. I’m hard-pressed to tell you whether I prefer the novel or the film. Though there are some key differences, they retain the same basic plot.

The Story:

Buttercup and Westley fall in love. They are parted as Wesley goes to earn his fortune; Buttercup is betrothed to Prince Humperdink after Westley fails to return for several years. Huperdink arranges for Vizzini, Fezzik, and Inigo to capture and kill her to start a war; Westley, disguised as the Dread Pirate Roberts, steals Buttercup back from the group. But Buttercup and Westley are lost in the Fire Swamp, after which they are captured by the Prince. Wesley is killed but then rescued and revived by Fezzik and Inigo; the group escapes on the night Buttercup is supposed to be married.

Film Versus Book:

PrincessBrideBookMap

Perhaps the biggest change from book-to-film is the frame story. Both frame stories involve the book being read aloud, but the frame story in the novel is more elaborate. In the novel, we are introduced to the story as an abridged version of a longer work by S. Morgenstern. We’re led to believe that Goldman bought the book for his son, not realizing that he enjoyed the story because his father read it aloud, skipping the boring parts. This is supposed to be Goldman’s abridged, only-the-good-parts version. And that makes for really good reading—we get moments that Goldman is able to satirize the publishing industry, question the literary canon, and explore just what the differences are between what kids enjoy and what adults enjoy (if there are any).

That frame is partially eliminated in the film. What we get instead is a grandfather reading a story to a sick little boy. The retention of a frame works to keep us considering the film as a text (and really, that’s one of the most important functions of the original frame story). We’re aware that it’s all made up, and every time the film stops so that the grandfather and young boy can talk, we’re thrown back into that realization.

In addition, the back-stories of the characters are mostly simplified or lost in the film. Naturally, this has to happen. Goldman’s book is a bit lengthy, with a sprawling cast of Princess Bride_3characters and events that occur over time. On film, the simplifications work to provide a cohesive visual story that works within the also simplified frame. Fezzik and Inigo are both given fuller back-stories in the novel, rendering them more fully fleshed out characters. In the film, it is enough to know that they are with Vizzini and to know that Inigo’s father was killed by the six-fingered man. The book, in addition, gives us more reason for the conflict between Florin and Guilder, as Prince Humperdink feels tricked when he discovers that his betrothed, princess of Guilder, is bald.

The love story between Buttercup and Westley is also simplified. In the novel, Buttercup realizes that she loves Westley after becoming jealous of the way the visiting Countess Rugen looks at him, and she tells him, only to have the door slammed in her face. He of course informs her soon after that he does love her but must go and make his fortune first. In the film, this is simplified to Buttercup realizing Westley’s love one day when he says “as you wish” and the two professing their love before he leaves to seek his fortune.

Vizzini’s plot to capture and kill Buttercup and Westley’s pursuit of the group are almost identical in film and book. The film has Fezzik knock Buttercup unconscious; in the novel it is Vizzini. The group notices the ship’s pursuit before Buttercup throws herself overboard in the film; in the book the group notices the ship after Buttercup is returned to the boat. The film has shrieking eels; the novel has sharks. During the sword fight, Inigo is able to wound princess-bride-westley-and-buttercup-8476325-1280-720Westley in the book, but in the film he is not able to. Vizzini’s death is much the same in both versions. And the pacing of the swamp scene is faster in the film version, the couple barreling toward Prince Humperdink.

In another large change, the book’s Zoo of Death is replaced by the Pit of Despair. In the book, one of the first things we learn about Prince Humperdink is that he’s an avid hunter. The Zoo of Death is a 5-story building full of dangerous animals; Humperdink kills one of them a day. In the novel, when Westly is caught by Prince Humperdink, he is sent into the Zoo of Death. He is tortured for a month or more before being finished off by the Machine. In the film, he is instead thrown into the Pit of Despair, attended
by the albino, is only hooked up to The Machine, and his torture only seems to last a day or two. This vastly simplifies Westley’s rescue, as Fezzik and Inigo only have to walk in to retrieve Westley rather than fight through 5 levels of creatures.

The visit with Miracle Max retains its book form, though the film makes a small change by not mentioning the 1 hour limit that the novel places upon the miracle pill. In each version, though, Westely manages to remain alive, fight Humperdink, and leave him tied up, and retrieve Inigo (who has gotten revenge on the six fingered Count who killed his father), Fezzik, and Buttercup, and the group escapes on horseback.

The Verdict:

I find it difficult to choose between the two. The nostalgia that I experience when I watch the film gives it big ups. And the quotable quotes are everywhere. Rob Reiner masterfully directed, and the film had the bonus of having the novel writer as its screen adapter. But the entertainment of Goldman as an editor in the novel’s frame story is difficult to match, and I miss the back stories of Fezzik and Inigo when we lose them in the film. So the film wins, but only by a small margin. If you haven’t I seriously suggest checking out this book—it’s well worth the time, and you’ll probably laugh out loud.

Inigo+Montoya+from+The+Princess+Bride+_5eb38f6e2f66bcfb3c178e52e0882339

*Note: This post initially appeared as a contest entry for The Artistic Christian’s Summer Blogging Challenge (And it won! :D). It gets a re-post today as part of the Princess Bride Linkup Party at WriteOnSisters.
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#WeekendCoffeeShare: In Which There’s a Party!

If we were having coffee, we’d be sitting on my big purple couch for the first time in a while today–or perhaps if it’s not too warm (though if I’m honest, it probably is), we’ll sit out on the back deck. It’s a bit quiet around here for a change, and that feels nice. Little Jedi is gone to visit his dad this weekend, and Sam is out most of the day working on finishing the rough cut of Rolling with Kings and scripting the first issue of The Chronicles of Count Carlos. Meanwhile I’m here, hosting the coffee share—and I’m also doing a few other things too, like co-hosting the Princess Bride Linkup Party with the fabulous women of WriteOnSisters and working on the posting line-up for October.

princess-bride-linkup-partyI’d tell you that I hope you’ll join us for the linkup party at WriteOnSisters and share a post about The Princes Bride, of course! It’s quite possible that you’re here while I’m actually watching the movie, which is definitely on today’s agenda. PB is a movie that I watched growing up, a favorite that I chose again and again on the weekends when we rented movies from our local video store. And it’s one of the few movies that has really stood the test of time for me, only getting better as I grew old enough to understand the nuances of the story. And old enough to read (and to enjoy) the novel, too. Tomorrow I’ll be sharing a post I wrote about it a few years ago that focuses on the book-to-movie comparison, and all weekend long I’ll be sharing and commenting on posts that are linking up. (Pssstt–If you participate, be sure to use #PrincessBrideParty to share your posts on Twitter and Facebook so we can find each other and share!)

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A Greenland shark faces off against a diver named Jonathan in Little Jedi’s shadow puppet play

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this has been another busy week, and it has also been a rather long one. It hasn’t all been bad, though. The highlight of the week was being able to pay all of the bills on time and then have enough cash left to do something fun for Little Jedi. His school was closed on Wednesday for a teacher workday, and of course Sam and I both had to work. We were going to have him stay with a friend, but the kids’ art center down the street had a day camp going to make a shadow puppet theater and shadow puppets. When I picked him up that afternoon, he and his classmates performed their short plays. Since there were only 4 of them, it seems as though they had a really good day together. This was a pretty big thing, too, because Little Jedi was nervous that he mightn’t be good at making voices for the characters or cutting out things–but what he discovered was that everyone else needed a little help too, and he enjoyed it so much that he wants to go back there again. It’s just down the street from us, and in addition to day camps when the kiddos are out of school, they also have some open studio hours each week and some summer camps. They even did a claymation camp this past summer. Lots of cool stuff happening there.

Anyway, other than that the week was mostly unremarkable–class was much smoother this week, and I don’t have grading to do this weekend, which is nice, as I’ll definitely have some to do next weekend. I had a bit of a difficult Monday, and I felt like a big ol’ mess at the end of it, but mostly that was PMS combined with some work stress, and a wonderful group of friends reminded me that we all fall down, and we get back up again. And I did. The end of the week was still busy, but at least it came to a close peacefully for me…And I know that there were those who weren’t so lucky. The news of another black citizen killed by police, of riots and unrest, are haunting.

I’ve been escaping into fiction a bit this week, finishing up The Red Queen and starting the 2nd book in the series, Glass Sword. And I picked up The Map of Bones at the library, only to realize that it’s the 2nd in a series, so I had to put The Fire Sermon on reserve at the library and go and pick it up–because you guys know how I am about reading things in sequence! Anyway, I picked up the other book, too, and I managed to pick up the last collection of Runaways. I even played a bit on Pottermore, discovering that my patronus is a Siberian cat, my wand is fir wood with a phoenix feather core, 10″ and hard flexibility, and of course I’m still a Hufflepuffin. Ahhh, distraction.

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If we were having coffee, I would say thank you—thank you so much for listening, for showing up to say hi, and to share your own coffee. It’s delightful, this little community. And I’d bid you adieu, for now, with a reminder that next week’s coffee share will be the kick off for a re-launch of this new space, starting with an October full of monstrosities, including the return of Monster Monday and some horror-themed guest posts!

Link up your coffee posts below! Just please follow our few little rules:
1. Posts should be framed as a chat over coffee or some other beverage.
2. Posts should be current (written within the week).
3. Links go on the link-up, not in the comments section.
4. Comment and share each others’ posts using #weekendcoffeeshare on Facebook and Twitter!

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#WeekendCoffeeShare: Hell Week

If we were having coffee, we’d be sitting on the big purple couch. I’d tell you how nice it is to see you on a Saturday again, and I’d thank you for how kind you were about everything last week. I’d say that I’m sorry for not having answered your comments yet, but I’ll be making my way around to it this weekend.

The week has been a bit of a roller-coaster, and I’ve really been feeling the anxiety and depression because, joy of joys, it’s the week before my period, AKA Hell Week. I’ve had a lot to do, and poor Little Jedi got violently ill one night, and for the first time ever I had to make a student leave my class, so there’s been a lot going on in addition to it being Hell Week. And I have quite a few things going on this weekend, so I’m not able to relax quite as much as I’d like. I’m helping out with an open house for the nonprofit, and I’ve also got some papers to finish grading over the weekend.

On the bright side, I’ve got some good things coming up. Next weekend is the Princess Bride Link-up Party, which I’ll be co-hosting with Write on, Sisters! Also, it’s almost payday AND the start of October, which is my favorite month because it has Halloween.🙂 I’m planning all sorts of fun posts, including….the RETURN OF MONSTER MONDAY! Rawr! I’m undecided as to whether I’ll keep it up afterward, but for all of October, Mondays will be devoted to discussing a female monster or monster archetype. For more info and to see some of the old posts (which are fantastic, as they include guests Urszula, Ariel, and Robin, who talk about Slavic, Japanese, and Hispanic monsters respectively), go here!

And because talking about October and Halloween made me think of it, I’d probably ask if you watched American Horror Story this week or if you’ve seen The Witch. We watched both this week, and I liked each of them but for quite different reasons. I enjoyed the format that AHS chose this season—it’s set up as a mockumentary with a paranormal investigation kind-of format, complete with dramatic “reenactments.” Very different from the seasons before, and so far I’m enjoying it, but I’m curious about how the show will keep its momentum throughout a whole season of that format, and I’d like to see more scares in the rest of the season. We shall see. As for The Witch…It was just pitch perfect. Lots of tension and small moments of horror mixed with big, terrible moments. An odd film, to be sure…And maybe not without its flaws…But overall a good one.

I didn’t watch much else this week, but I did manage to read a thing or two. I finished up What is Not Yours is Not Yours, a book of short stories by Helen Oyeyemi. They were good stories but puzzling, with characters that traipse through each others’ tales every now and again and lots of odd, magical twists and turns. I also started Red Queen, and although I’m only partially through the first few chapters, I am enjoying the story thus far.

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For now, I must go. I’ll stop by for a hello and answer your comments this weekend, you can be sure, as I’ll need to procrastinate the essay grading every now and again.🙂

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#WeekendCoffeeShare: Momentum

If we were having coffee, I would apologize for once again being late! And you know, maybe I’d suggest that we just move our coffee dates back to Saturday mornings. My weeks have gotten more-than-slightly hectic since I returned to teaching, and it’s been weeks since I’ve managed to write a post on-time.

Unfortunately, it’s also been weeks since I’ve really been able to sit down to write much of anything at all. The past few weeks have seen me publishing a Monday re-run from my first year or so of blogging and a weekend coffee share post and not much else. I haven’t managed to write from Comparative Geeks or Field of Letters either, though I have partial posts for both that I’ve been trying to write for some time now.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I’m not sure what the hold-up is for me on the writing. I have less time than before, but honestly l still actually have quite a bit of free time that I’ve been using to read. I haven’t even watched much television lately or listened to much music. This week I’ve read all of the current issues of Giant Days and the first collection of Paper Girls as well as a beautiful novel called The Star-Touched Queen. I enjoyed all of them immensely, but I have also got to put down the other books and write my own things, too.

And so I will! I’ve decided, in the spirit of things, to use the coming weeks to ready myself for a proper re-launch. Things will stay the same for now, but starting at the end of September, you’ll see more frequent posts from me. On the last weekend in September, I’ll be co-hosting a Princess Bride Linkup Party with Write On, Sisters! You can get the details on this FAQ page, and I do hope you’ll join us!  After that, get ready for an October full of Halloween-themed posts! I’m bringing monsters back to Part-Time Monster, with some posts of my own and some guest posts as well. The weekend coffee share will continue to run as usual, likely with its own Halloween-y posts.

And that, dear hearts, is the news for the week. There’s some other stuff from the week, like collecting my students’ first papers of the semester, or Little Jedi’s 2nd grade teacher deciding to leave the school and teacher from another class brought in to take her place, or the Kickstarter for Sam’s comic being fully funded and the first essay finished scripting, or that I decided to taper my hours at the nonprofit down and volunteer rather than work for the organization, but those things just don’t seem as important right now. The creative stuff feels more relevant at the moment, so let’s hope I can capture the momentum and get some writing done.

Until then.

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Monday Re-Run: Zombie Girl

via Wish.co.uk

Confession time: I am a zombie fanatic. I watch zombie films, I read zombie books, I keep up with The Walking Dead, and I sometimes play zombie games. Well, I play Plants Vs. Zombies anyway. I have a difficult time playing the more realistic, adult-oriented games because, as anyone who has ever tried to play a post-Super Nintendo game with me can tell you, I’m terrible at first person shooter games (I run into walls constantly and only do good things on accident.)

Several years ago, I came across this article by Chuck Klosterman. In it, Klosterman explains that one of the reasons for the recent zombie craze is that killing zombies feels much like our modern way of life-endlessly deleting e-mails, texts, and shuffling through doing-what-has-to-be-done. But this article by Steven Schlozman takes a different approach, seeing zombies as a cautionary tale about striking the balance between individuality and being a pack animal. There are, of course, a host of other things that help to account for our fascination with zombies (some of which are discussed in the aforementioned articles): fear of disease, fear of death, etc.

Culturally, we seem at once aware of the zombie as a fictional character and concerned about the plausibility of a zombie outbreak. And the result of our fascination is that zombies have become a multi-million dollar industry:

 As for me, there are three simple but terribly true reasons that I find zombie stories compelling. The first is the world that gets created when everything fails-the government, and by extension education, social welfare, prison systems, road maintenance, etc.; and modern inventions, including electricity, the Internet, GPS, running water, and telecommunications. Watching others cope with such struggles reminds me of the privilege I have now and how different life could be, not just in the event of a zombie apocalypse, but in the face of being born elsewhere in the world.

The second is the failure of modern notions of childhood, morality, and socioeconomic status to hold up under the pressures of a post apocalyptic world. In Zombieland, one of most disturbing erosions of culture is the loss of names; in The Walking Dead, it’s the loss of childhood embodied by Carl, Judith, and Carol’s decision to teach the children about knife safety and zombie killing during story-time; in 28 Days Later, it’s ownership of the female body. The list goes on, but I won’t, except to say that, again, these conversations mirror conversations that we have daily, that we rehearse in our arguments about these concepts.

And the third thing is the complexities that arise when we see something human that isn’t human. Or that we don’t think is human. In Shaun of the Dead, the undead are able to be trained to perform simple tasks. In Warm Bodies, they retain something of their prior selves and can think and feel. (TV Tropes has a handy list of all sorts of zombie stuff. You’ll get stuck.) And there is a repeated scene in which someone must kill a loved-one-turned-zombie, one that turns up in virtually every piece of zombie fiction ever.

And so I’m a zombie girl because I love thinking about these things, and because I love to be scared.

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#WeekendCoffeeShare: In Which I Need to Get My Act Together

If we were having coffee, I would apologize for being very, very late this weekend. That seems to happen a lot lately, and I’m trying to figure out how to get myself back on track. Because here’s the thing–in general, I’d rather back out of social engagement altogether than be late. I’m not sure why, but I’m sure that it has something to do with my anxiety and such. Anyway, I now lead a life that is constantly conspiring to make me late. On the upside, at least I live in a city with its own weird timetable that generally means everything is running late!

This week has been a trying one–Little Jedi, Sam, and I were all sick with a cold at various points of the week, and the cold/cough exacerbated Little Jedi’s asthma symptoms again this week. I had to pick him up from school early one afternoon, and we had to make a trip to the doctor. We had some issues getting the medication to the school, but we finally got everything sorted and the albuterol inhaler available to Little Jedi. There were a few other snags in the week, but for the most part they were just minor annoyances. Damn, those things can add up, though! I’m glad that we have a 3-day weekend for Labor Day, as I’ll be using it to whisk away the more trying parts of the week.

And speaking of–it’s time for me to do just that. I’m going to answer some comments, share some posts, watch some TV, and just generally goof around for the weekend.❤ Expect some new posts here in the coming weeks as I get my act together, and always the coffee share even when it’s a bit late!

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Monday Re-Run: Body Image, Body Compassion, and Choosing Myself

 

In the hospital after surgery. It's probably not an accident that I can't find any pictures in the swimming cap---they're all locked away at my parents' house.
In the hospital after surgery.

At 5, I had surgery on my left eardrum to repair a hole. The surgery left my eardrum permanently weakened. I had to wear ear plugs and a rubber swimming cap to protect my ears when I went swimming.

And in the South, especially when there’s a pool nearby, we spend a lot of time swimming. There was a pool in our backyard. I looked a little weird in my cap, but I didn’t think much of it until one kid called me “rubberhead” during swimming lessons. Then it became all I could think about.

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At 10, I had huge glasses, braces, and hair that was long and frizzy, because my mom had no idea what to do with curly hair. Sometimes the boy I sat next to at lunch would call me Medusa. I had scrawny legs and was just discovering that I was, in fact, awkward.

I didn’t have any curve to my body, and though a few of my friends had started developing (or at least said they had started developing) breasts, mine were nowhere to be found. I became bothered that I had hair on my legs and that most women didn’t, and I asked my mom if I could start shaving.

She was taken aback, of course. I was 10. She expected me to be younger for longer, I think. Bless her, she asked a close family member what to do, and the answer was “if she’s old enough to be self conscious about it, she’s old enough to shave.”

It was a relief to do something grown up, to have some control over my out-of-control, developing body.

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At 13, I had no braces and no glasses. I’d grown curves and gone through puberty. I learned to work with, rather than against, the texture of my hair, and for the first time in years I didn’t have hair that made me feel embarrassed.

Instead, I had the kind of hair I could hide inside of. It was long, just past my shoulders, with a deep part on the right so that my hair swung in front of my eyes.

My hair was large and wild.

Hiding inside it turned out to be a good tactic as boys (and men) started to notice my body. Hiding inside that veil of hair allowed me to look coy and flirtatious while hiding my embarrassment at the attention.

That same year, one of my teachers found a note I’d written a classmate in which I’d divulged suicidal thoughts. They called me to the principal’s office to meet with my parents, who took me home. I entered counseling for the first time.

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At 17, sitting on my parents' front porch.
At 17, sitting on my parents’ front porch.

At 17, I was tiny and insecure. I was so small, but I felt so large.

I’d been told to watch out for getting fat. In my teenage years, that translated to “you are already fat, so don’t get any fatter.” Looking back, I should’ve seen the absurdity. I was a size 8.

But I felt like I took up so much space sometimes.

People often thought I was older than I was. I carried myself with an assuredness that I didn’t feel. I retreated behind my mane of hair, into my books, and with a close group of friends who understood me.

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Just after returning to college from working at camps all summer long.
Just after returning to college.

At 19, I was a college sophomore, in love for the first time. I was engaged, though of course it didn’t last long. I’d let go of the strong religious leanings that I had in high school, and I liked to party. I was beautiful, and young, and free to

do whatever I wanted as long as I could make it to an 8:00 class the next day.

I was a ropes course instructor and a lifeguard, so I swam often. I was very, very pretty, which got me into more than a little trouble, some of my own making and some of others’. I gained friends and quickly lost them, moving from group to group and party to party.

I still hid behind my hair—it got larger over the years. I got my first tattoo, a symbol of peace and happiness.

I went into counseling again for depression and anxiety, and for the first time I was put on medication. It eased many of my symptoms, but I had a significant weight gain from the medicine. And of course, it worked erratically because I wasn’t careful about drinking while I was on the medication.

I gained about 50 pounds. I was lethargic and stopped swimming, so the partying and the new medicine added up quickly. I went to monthly check-ups, but of course I wasn’t quite honest with my doctors about the partying I did.

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At my baby shower, which turned out to be just weeks before delivery. My hands and face are obviously swollen already.
At my baby shower just weeks before delivery.

At 24, I was a master’s student with an on-and-off-again fiancee.  My body wasn’t as good as it had been in my early years of college, when I was a ropes course instructor and a lifeguard, but it was still a young, healthy, beautiful body.

I got a second tattoo, this time a phoenix rising, flanked by the words “carpe diem.” I spent a lot of time reading and writing, and the rest of my time partying. Life was challenging but relatively carefree.

And then it wasn’t.

I wasn’t sure, at first, how I felt about the pregnancy. I knew it would change everything about my life, and I hadn’t planned for that to happen quite so quickly. I knew I wouldn’t be so carefree anymore. I knew my body would change. I went to doctor’s appointments, read books on pregnancy and parenting, changed my eating habits, and researched whether I could screw up my baby by coloring my hair and paining my toenails.

But around 26 weeks of the pregnancy, I had to research new topics. I was diagnosed with Intrauterine Growth Restriction, and I had to find out more about it.

When I next returned to my OB, she determined that I was actually preeclamptic. At 32 weeks, I went directly to the hospital from her office. I’d just been at work the day before, and aside from extremely swollen feet and ankles, I felt just fine. But I wasn’t.

I couldn’t wait any longer than a day to be hooked up to a magnesium drip and two days, mostly to be given vital steroid shots to help my baby’s lungs develop, before his delivery via C-section.

I barely remember seeing my child’s face for the first time. I vaguely remember his first cry. I remember thinking that somehow I’d made my baby sick, that maybe because I wasn’t sure if I wanted him at first, we were being punished.

My brother wheeled me down to see my baby for the first time, and I could only stay for a few moments. At 2 pounds, 14 ounces and 15 1/4 inches long, he was the tiniest baby I’d ever seen. I felt paralyzed by his smallness and crippled by

Holding Little Jedi for the first time ever.
Holding Little Jedi for the first time ever.

his fragility.

I felt like it was my fault that he’d come into the world already fighting. My body couldn’t nourish him properly or give him the place he needed to grow until birth.

For a long time, I beat myself up for that. Why couldn’t my body do what it was designed to do? Could I have done something differently? Why didn’t I get to have a have a healthy baby?

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At 30, I had moved to New Orleans with my son, The Little Jedi, and my then-fiancee-now-husband, Sam.

I fell down the basement stairs on Halloween and sprained my ankle terribly. I was immobile for almost a week and on crutches for another week, and my ankle still isn’t quite the same. The walks I’d been taking with our terrier could no longer be taken—he is really energetic and needs to move quickly.

I gained quite a bit of weight again during the recovery, and I was bothered by

At 30, getting married in Vegas.
At 30, getting married in Vegas.

how long my body took to heal. A few months later, I would fall again and sprain my other ankle. And a year after that, I tore the meniscus in my right

knee.

Changes were around every corner—my own adjustment to living in New Orleans; Little Jedi adjusting to not living with my parents anymore, living with Sam for the first time, going to daycare/school for the first time, and living in a city like New Orleans after small town Mississippi; leaving school for a new career path; my husband changing jobs; a marriage.

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At 31, my body is scarred. I’m heavier than I’ve been probably ever in my life. My ankles and knee swell after high-impact exercise, and though I’ve stopped smoking, I’m still out of shape enough to be breathless after exercising in small bouts.

But I’ve come to see the value in what my body has been able to do, and I can forgive it for its shortcomings.

I’m choosing not just body acceptance, but body compassion and body love.

For me, this means holding myself accountable for what I put into my body now but not punishing myself for my past. It means that when I make a mistake (or 5 days of mistakes, like when Mardi Gras happens and then my birthday happens), I don’t beat myself up over it.

I have to re-choose body compassion every day.

My instinct is to get discouraged when I don’t meet the goals I set for myself, especially as concerns diet and exercise. But body compassion sets me up to say “oh well” and move along after a screw up. In some ways that’s more difficult for me.

But I choose body compassion.

I choose it because I need to be compassionate with my body before I can truly love my body. I choose it because I have to remember the life that my body has been through before that I can get to the life I want.

I choose body compassion. I choose me.

(This post was part of the first 1,000 Voices Speak for Compassion Link-up.)
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#WeekendCoffeeShare: Oddments

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this has been a very busy week with its share of tiny disasters, but also that all things considered, things are going alright. Our ship is beginning to right itself. Or maybe I just have better sea legs now. Probably a bit of both.

Little Jedi and I are both more thoroughly entrenched in our back-to-school phase. I’ve mostly adjusted to my own schedule, and to my surprise have realized that I like the early days because I’m home by lunchtime, and that feels quite nice. Little Jedi is feeling some stress and frustration at school because of cursive writing, and that concerns me. I don’t quite understand why it’s being taught so early, and instead of starting by tracing the alphabet and learning the individual letters, they already have homework that requires them to write full words in cursive (this is the 2nd week, mind you). So we’ve had our frustrations with that, and homework has been a bit of a challenge so far, but other than that, Little Jedi is enjoying school pretty well this year. The assistant teacher in his classroom was also the assistant teacher in his kindergarten class, and he knows most all of his classmates pretty well already from either kindergarten or 1st grade.

We did have to take a day off this week because he wasn’t feeling well, though. I hadn’t expected to be taking a day off so soon, but he was coughing and sneezing  and feeling pretty poorly, so home we stayed. That threw everything off-kilter a bit, but we’ll get it sorted.

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If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I’m still trying to find my writing motivation. I know that I still have things to say, and there are moments when I can think of a thousand different topics, all at once. But getting myself to sit down and do the difficult work of writing is proving to be a difficult task. I’m hoping, though, that once I adjust to this new schedule and we’re able to de-stress because we’ll be on a more even financial footing, I’ll be more able to focus on writing. Also, I’m feeling a bit more like writing now that I’ve been spending a lot of time talking about writing with my students, and I’m sure that will help motivate me. In the meantime, bear with me for regular coffee shares and semi-regular oddments.😀

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Link up your coffee posts below! Just please follow our few little rules:
1. Posts should be framed as a chat over coffee or some other beverage.
2. Posts should be current (written within the week).
3. Links go on the link-up, not in the comments section.
4. Comment and share each others’ posts using #weekendcoffeeshare on Facebook and Twitter!

Monday Re-Rerun: 13 Bookish Confessions

1. I have to read things in a sequence. If there’s a Book 1, then I must read it before I read Book 2. This even goes for books that could theoretically stand-alone.

2. I think you can learn a lot about a person by what they’re reading. But I think you can learn even more about a person (and what they think of others) from the books they give as presents.

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3. I also have a very difficult time not finishing a book. If I start it, I have to know what happens.

4. My favorite book when I was a wee tot was a Golden Book, Where’s Goldie.

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5. I have a really difficult time reading more than one book at a time. I have always had that problem, even when I was in school. It meant studying had to be carefully scheduled. Now it’s not so bad—I just devour one and move on to another.

6. I absolutely judge books by their covers.

7. I read every single part of a book—the dedication, epigram, introduction, copy, epilogue, acknowledgments, author bio, appendices–if it’s in there, I’m reading it. Unless it’s a reading club guide. Then probably not.

8. Books rarely make me cry or laugh aloud. That’s not to say that I don’t get emotional when I’m reading, because I do. I just don’t tend to manifest those emotions.

9. I’ve had a crush on more than one book character in my lifetime. But none of them have been Mr. Darcy or Edward Cullen.

10. If I were a dragon, I would hoard books.

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11. I’ve had to learn to like nonfiction, but I now have a serious appreciation for it. I don’t read biographies often, but I do enjoy books on culture and memoirs.

12. I think children’s literature is some of the most powerful and important literature being published.

13. I enjoyed the time I spent picking apart, analyzing, and writing about books as a grad student. I think it made both my reading and writing skills far sharper than they otherwise might’ve been. That said, I don’t miss required reading.

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#WeekendCoffeeShare: In Which I Am Tired.

If we were having coffee, I would probably be on my second or third cup. It’s been a helluva a week, and my Friday mornings now start around 5:30 a.m. again. I know that to some of you that doesn’t sound terribly early, but for someone who has mostly been getting out of bed at 9:30 or 10:00 for months now, that’s So Damn Early It’s a Shame. But if I don’t get myself going by then, I don’t get out of the house by 7:00, and if I don’t get out of the house by 7:00, then I get stuck in traffic going across the MS River Bridge (which they’re currently working on, joy of joys), and if I get stuck in traffic on the bridge then I don’t get to my 8:00 class on time. I almost didn’t make it on time the first day, actually. I got myself side-tracked because it was also Little Jedi’s first day of 2nd grade, and before I knew it the clock said 7:20 and I said “oh shit” and ran out the door, coffee and books in-hand.

Aside from that snafu–and one more in which I was late to pick up Little Jedi from school on Wednesday and felt horrible about it–the week was an ok one, though. I’m beginning to get myself into a routine, and I’ve met with all of my classes a few times now. Little Jedi is also getting back into his routine, and he likes his class so far. This year, they’ve introduced an English language class to the schedule, so he’s learning to read and write some English. (To catch up those of you who didn’t realize this–he is in a Spanish immersion program, so his instruction has been almost exclusively in Spanish for kindergarten and first grades.) Of course he can already do quite a bit of reading in English, but he’s enjoying having a school class about it.

Aside from trying to get us all settled into our new routines, we’ve mostly been trying not to feel overwhelmed by the world. There have been torrents of rain over our state, and many of the neighboring parishes are semi or entirely underwater. We’ve not been in danger here, but we have friends and friends’ families who have lost so much. The damage is just unreal. Trillions of gallons of water dropped over the state in a matter of days. Some towns got more rain in 72 hours than Los Angeles did from 2012-2016. The major news outlets might’ve been slow to cover the story, but social media wasn’t. I’ve seen a lot of amazing things this week, but I’ve also seen a lot of devastating things, too.

And so I’ve been retreating into fictional worlds a bit, too, using some of my spare time to finish up the books that I started last week. Of course, now that spare time is shorter at any rate–teaching and making sure Little Jedi gets where he needs to be when he needs to be there have kept me going, and I’ve also had several donations pick-ups and site changes to work on for the nonprofit this week. Meanwhile, we’re gearing up for tonight’s fundraising event for the upcoming comic book adaptation of a screenplay that Sam’s been working on, and he and his co-writer have decided to collect donations for flood victims at the  event, too.

On that note, it’s time for me to get myself in gear. I’ve got a lot to do today and not a lot of time to do it. The coming week should calm down, though! At least…I hope so!

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