Saturday, April 27, 2013

Experience Life Through Poetry: Random Life Observations, Parenthood, and Growing Up

   Yesterday I finished reading the second collection of Experience Life Through Poetry, Random Life Observations, Parenthood, and Growing Up. I enjoyed this one even more than the first, especially the first section. It was beautiful, conveying truths, beauties, and sorrow of life. Many were lyrical, and held a simple beauty that I truly enjoyed.

Shannon Sonneveldt

It opened up with World Class Artists, which I found lovely with its subtle, almost lyrical language. It was a nice opening into the book. And as a more Southern girl, I had a natural liking for My Cowboy poem. Heaven knows we women love our beautiful men. And Talk!Talk!Talk! certainly resonates with some of us—I think we can all honestly say we've come across someone who can talk all day but in the end, has nothing to share at all, really. I quite liked After the Fairy Tale Ended, with a good take on dysfunctional families, lost love, and fairy tale projections. Earth's Mistake I could relate to, on many levels—I regret the loss of what has been, although I still hold hope. Man is Earth's curse and blessing. It depends on our choices.
What I thought was really good, though, was Laughter. It spoke with knowing conviction of some people's tendency to laugh everything away, in pretense. Lying to one's self. It's a comedy cover up. I thought the message was well presented.
One that made me laugh was Arrogant. It spoke very plainly:

Always thinking you're
Of the
Never ending proof
To the contrary

No One was very bittersweet and lonely, and the verse about her looking at the stars reminded me of a poem I wrote for myself.
The Truth of the Matter was good, in pointing out how much truth can be misconstrued by rumor, and that we should do our own listening to what is really going on—or even better, mind our own business. Love that little piece of wisdom. Although I DO believe in defending the truth, and seeking it out when necessary.
What About Us spoke about America's growing need to care for itself. I've thought about this for quite awhile. If we drain ourselves caring for everyone else, how will we adequately tend to ourselves? In nature, the mama bear feeds herself first before feeding her cubs. For if she does not have the strength of nourishment, she cannot provide for them. That is true for any guardian. I appreciated that Shannon included this in her collection.
A Calm Cool Night I really enjoyed! It was suspenseful and creepy. I love creepy writing, especially symbolism, our fears as figures. This one, in the figure of Memory, was delightful. Lovely shivers.
I could really relate to Close Your Eyes. Just from this poem alone, I'd think the author and I must be soul sisters. We both see beauty in different ways, especially when we close our eyes and open ourselves to everything that is around us.

But when I close my eyes
I discover another world
I smell new smells
Hear things I've never heard

I'm Not Selfish was showed how much this person could give, but harshly drew the line at the heart.

Because I'm a selfish person
My pride you can't slay
My heart you can't take
And my spirit you can't break

I really liked the end verse, almost like a declaration on a battlefield.

The poems covering family were as nice as those in the first collection. Love Time Two I found really cute, about having twins, with double the fun and expectation, and blessing. I just thought it was so sweet.
Silently I Pray comes from the heart of any good mother striving to do right by her children. Thankful for them, and for the blessing of knowing some of what is good, so that it is a guide to directing children to the best.
Aruba Memories was really fun, and made me think of when my own family went on a vacation.
The Greatest Reward is the sweetest though, I think. I'll let you discover it while reading. ;)

In the third part was in the theme of children and growing up. The first was Close To The Heart, expressing the love everyone has for children's way of bringing joy just by being what they are.
Growing Up made me think of Peter Pan, talking about having tons of different dreams, and saying that if growing up means losing them, then you don't want to grow up.
Expectations really resonated, and spoke truth of what many of us, growing up, feel. The ending line, “Expectations can kill” strikes to the core. I have felt that, although I think it has also taught me great things that I would not trade away. I believe it has made me tougher, and better able to discern what is worth striving for.
I loved List of Some Days. Although not by the same title, I have a list of things I want to do in my life, and I loved reading Shannon's poem. Made me think of all I want to do.
But oh man, I LOVED The Perfect Costume, covering the subject of the idea of women and beauty in modern thinking. I loved the personal feeling and sense of regret and almost loneliness. But there also seemed to be a strength conveyed in the poem.

This collection deserves as space on my shelf, and I enjoyed reading it. I hope you guys will consider checking it out! And prepare to brew a cup of coffee and curl up to read.

You can find Shannon Sonneveldt here:


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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Real Story of Peter Pan

I finally finished reading the classic story of Peter Pan, after finding an unabridged version. I finished it by the end of the day, I enjoyed it so much. I have always had a wonder for the story of Peter Pan, through books and stories.

peter pan and hook picture

 I first became familiar with Peter Pan's story watching Hook when I was really little, and it's been a lifetime favorite. Just recently I was able to watch the 2003 version Peter Pan. Both are extremely good adaptions, true to the magic and imagination of childhood.
But reading the story, and thinking about the movies, it made me wonder—exactly what it is that makes me feel, as the reader, that it is a wonderful story? What are the elements that come together to weave this piece of precious magic? Why do we love Peter Pan? Time and again he completely wins over new devoted fans with his cocky self, the pirates, the Lost Boys, the amazing Captain Hook—the fighting to the death. And imagination! The absolute game and joy of it all. For Peter, being Pan in Neverland is being and living an incredible adventure

peter pan and wendy picture

Coming from a reader's point of view, and mixing that with a writer's more analytical (though for me, greatly instinctual) approach, I thought about it deeply. I'm a curious person, especially about the things that make me love them. For boys, at least from what I have been able to see, Peter Pan is the epitome of the “all boy”. He's confident and sure, cocky, skillful—full of life. Girls admire those characters as well, especially in real boys.

wendy heart picture
Their admiration is on a slightly different level, as well as the appreciation of another person's full adventurous spirit, same as anyone else. Even in the book, Peter Pan holds children in awe. Parents in the story only faintly remember him, if at all. (They have my pity). There is a distinct element of the effect of parents and parentage in the story though—a very tangible element. That world of the “grown-ups”, and growing up. What is Peter Pan's meaning and place in all this?

mr and mrs darling picture
Perhaps Pan symbolizes the escape we covet sometimes, as we are afraid of growing up. Some of us, we can confess, are rather mystified at their parents. They were once children. How can they not completely understand us now? (Fortunately, some hold on to their childhood understanding—something I hope to never completely lose, and what little I have I hope to regain...although I claim to be growing increasingly childish, and no one contradicts me).
Considering the theme of Peter's “dislike” of “real mothers”, I thought perhaps it is actually the fear of what they end up turning us into—adults, and therefore something we consider not ourselves—that is the real issue. Mothers have such a strange, strong power of guiding us along this mysterious road called “growing up”. And Peter is well aware of this mysterious, mystical-like quality, whether he actually realizes it in so many words. And as children, we fear becoming what our parents are, losing a piece of ourselves. But what Peter, as the everlasting child, does not see is that there can be a real blessing to it. For there is no greater Adventure than Living, growing up, falling in love, having a family—even with the sorrows that come with its joys.
But who says we must lose our sense of our inner child? That is something than can be held onto, if we choose—sometimes we have to fight for it, but it can be retained.

peter and wendy picture
But the strange thing about Peter, is that he actually needs a mother, despite his utter dislike for real ones. He needs his Wendy. He needs her to “play” taking care of him. He still has that natural desire, but he is unwilling to go the normal route. Wendy, the little mother she is, and captivated by this beautiful, mysterious Peter Pan, is more than willing. There is that innocent, natural attraction, as well as the feminine instinct to care for something that needs looking after.
robin williams peter panPersonally I think Peter Pan is a slightly tragic figure. He has so many joys, but will not allow himself to have the one joy that makes life truly worth living—to live and have a family. What greater blessing is there? But at the same time, to be what he is is to stay true to his nature, his joy. His sense of adventure. 
  This was something I liked about the movies. They present a Pan that is thoroughly in need—in need of real life. In Steven Spielburg's Hook, he falls in love with Wendy's grandchild. He has been drawn in the end by the ultimate adventure. In the course of the movie, when Peter finally remembers his childhood as Pan, he tells Tink, “I remember why I came back. [To the real world] I wanted to be a father.” And that is his Happy Thought. The fact that he is a Daddy

peter and wendy picture

In 2003's Peter Pan, Wendy is a threat to Peter in that like any normal boy, Peter is drawn to a girl. It's the classic dilemma since Adam and Eve. (And I'm not saying this because I'm a woman, I say it because it is the truth of the matter). I have found there have been two common views of womankind/girlkind—the idealized and the demeaned. But since Peter Pan is a testament of innocence and purity, the idealization and mystification towards the girl is a profound element in the story. What do Peter and the Lost Boys do for Wendy when she comes to Neverland? They build a house around her. Their “service” is almost worship, the kind any innocent boy gives. (Whether or not we girls are able to see their “services” as gifts). 
2003 Peter Pan Wendy picture

In 2003's Peter Pan, they build the house around her because their hands are too dirty to carry her. They will not touch something they see as a being of purity with their soiled hands. In life women often are, for some reason, viewed as supposed to be having the higher morality—the greater purity. It's still not something I have been able to analyze the reasons for, myself. But in what I've read, from what men have said, it is true. A lot of men hold that view of women.
In the book Peter and Wendy play parents. Wendy wants it to be real. (Personally I don't blame her. I know I want a big Pan myself). Peter, ever wary of anything real and threatening to his eternal boyishness, wants to always remain as he is, although he wants his Wendy lady to remain. In the book, he is confused at her, but wants to keep her. He wants a lady to take care of and admire him, like any normal boy/man does.
In Hook, Peter finally takes the leap years after meeting Wendy, when he falls in love with her granddaughter. His desire has won out at last, however latent it can be at times. In 2003, he desires/needs Wendy's friendship and admiration. We actually see, better than we have in other adaptions, he's actually beginning to fall in love. He is both drawn and frightened by this, and later, hurt that he is not enough for Wendy. Wendy realizes that she does want to grow up. She wants more. She can't be satisfied with a boy who, as wonderful as he is, will always remain a boy—she will need a man. But she wants Peter.

peter and wendy fairy dance  What I like about the 2003 Peter Pan was that it showed more unapologetically of children's feelings at this stage in their lives—they're beginning to become young adults, beginning to take greater notice of the other gender, beginning to become more curious of the changes they're so mysteriously going through in life, from different directions. Peter is not immune to this. In the book, and in this adaption, he will always remain the boy Peter Pan. In the end, the fact that Wendy does care for him, and still must return home, is all right. It is enough. Wendy goes to where she belongs—Pan will remain where his heart is.
(I will make a note here that I would greatly suggest you consulting the parents guide before you watch Hook or 2003's Peter Pan with your children—especially the latter. It had some content that I was displeased with and wouldn't let children see, and I feel it only right to point that out, considering appropriateness).
2003 peter pan hook picture

Now to come to Hook—that mysterious, exciting, epic figure. I absolutely adored his character as a kid. Still do. But what is he? He is a man of disappointment, of malice. I think the movies expounded better on understanding Captain Hook better than the book. Just the fact that “Peter was so cocky” was not enough for me, to believe that was the sole reason (aside from the crocodile/hand incident) that Captain Hook pursues Pan so obsessively. In the 2003 version, I found something more that I can believe in. Nothing so clear, as much as hinted at—this Captain Hook is very expressive. He understands loneliness. He understands disappointment. Exactly what from, is not known. But his jealousy of what Peter has in the movie, and in the book too—joy, cockiness, freedom of spirit, and Wendy—we get a better glimpse. Perhaps he was in love once. Perhaps he feels bound by this world, although it has incredible blessings. Perhaps he never a belonging as a child. I feel that we really got to know Hook better in this adaption, and Jason Isaacs did an awesome job. In this one, Hook is both funny and dramatic, and we can even feel some sympathy for him. And his end—well done. Go down with good form. Unlike the book, which I was really disappointed with, regarding his end. BOO. Sorry, I like my epic drama.
robin williams hook
As Peter's arch-nemesis, Hook really delivers. Aside from his exciting, dramatic appeal, Hook is everything Peter isn't. He and the pirates represent the rape of the joys of the world—the plundering of it. And they know bitterness. They cannot ever fully have satisfaction. Whereas Peter is the epitome of the lover of Living, of basking in the beauty and joy of the world, as it naturally is. He has his Eden. Captain Hook never will, because he will never let go of his obsession and disappointment, his hateful plundering. His malice. I think there is an element here that hearkens to the theme—the fear of growing up. The fear that in growing up, we will lose something of life. Something precious that is a part of ourselves, and a part of living. And there is, sadly, enormous truth in that. So many of us “grow up” in such a way we take a grayer view of life. 
jason isaacs hook picture
We let its burdens and sorrows crush parts of us that we are not the children we might once have been. I am not trying to emphasize an idealistic view of childhood—I know all too well there are so many people who have had horrible childhoods. What I'm saying here is that at its best, when we are able to hold onto the child-like aspect of ourselves, as children and later as adults, we hold a great part of our essence. Our own beauty and wonder.
  Personally, I wonder if Hook also symbolizes what we might turn into—someone so bitter with what his life has turned out to be, he is a horrible old man... “old, alone, done for”. Perhaps that is his element in the story.

  So we have parents and Hook as the archetype of grownups and the future—and to extent, Wendy is too. She is a call, maybe even the word temptation can be used, to growing up. But she too is still part of the world of childhood, along with the Lost Boys, her brothers, and most of all, Peter Pan.

peter pan and lost boys
With Peter Pan, and to a lesser extent the Lost Boys, we have that symbol of eternal play, of reveling in life. Their part in the story, while serving this archetype, points to something else in the end—the Lost Boys get adopted, because they are lured by the novelty of a mother. A real mother, and real life. Peter Pan—he is himself. The epitome of the free, wild boy in love with the world, and in love with being a boy. Even though, at the same time, he can know much of loneliness, and the desire to have a Wendy.
robin williams hook picture

So what is the story of Peter Pan? I think it is a testament to how big, adventurous, and beautiful life is, in all its different times and places. As children, we have a greater sense of that, when left alone. We make games, and see the world as it is—a wonderment. LIFE is an adventure! There is no greater blessing than to live! To experience its pure joy! To breathe, to move, to shout, to dance—to sing and play. To make friends and go on adventures together, big or little, in your backyard or far away. No matter how old you are. Could we ever ask for more? J.M.Barrie's story is a testament of LIFE.

beautiful landscape picture

It is also what I love about God's gift. It is a promise of joy. So many bad things have happened, and continue to happen, but there will always be beauty out there. It is the nature of the world to remain itself, although always effected by the choices of mankind.
  And what I LOVE about the movie Hook is that it shows the later life at its best—not a departure from childhood, but almost a return—having children of your own. Knowing that joy of life and “childhood world” that children can bring back to the parents. To me, adults are but big children. Except for those who have so completely lost that aspect of themselves. And what a loss it is. Peter Banning, a victorious older Peter Pan in the end, has found his joy. His wife, his love—and his children, his joy. He is not a disappointed old man anymore. He was close to becoming that. As Granny Wendy said in the beginning, “So, Peter—you've become a pirate.” She senses and knows far more than she says. And it is true. But Peter finds himself again. Not in staying in Neverland, but finding himself, and finding what his happiness really is. The joy of having known the best of both worlds—Eternal Childhood, and Life. He regains his love for it. 

hook family picture

Peter Pan's story is all about life, and the beautiful wonder and adventure of it all. Life's adventures are never over. 

So seize the day.

Wendy: “So your adventures are over.”
No. To live would be an awfully big adventure.”
~Peter Banning, Hook

  ~Elora C. S.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Poetry Review: Shannon Sonneveldt, "Experience Life In Poetry: Family, Friends, and Romantic Relationships"

My Goodreads friend Shannon Sonneveldt has shared with me three of her poetry books, the first being “Experience Life In Poetry: Family, Friends, and Romantic Relationships”. I enjoyed it very much of the course of the week. I will be reviewing the two others, “Experience Life in Poetry: Random Life Observations, Parenthood, and Growing Up”, and “Puppy Poetry: The Exhausting, Funny and Sweet Moments That Come With Being Owned By Puppies”. I especially look forward to reading the last. I love puppies and dogs. (Granted, I'm an animal lover all round).
Reading the first though, was calming and simple. I could easily picture someone reading it along with their child, or by herself with a nice cup of tea. Or coffee, whichever you prefer. I especially liked Sister--of course, as I am an older sister. It appealed very much to my sensibilities:


Especially that last bit. ;D

The book is divided into the different topics, and going into the Friendship poems, I was enjoying it more and more. One I found interesting was Good Friends—an interesting one about friendships in the workplace, even in unlooked for circumstances. In the last line of I'll Always, there were the words “Well I'll always be around, until you ask me to go”. Which I found very profound and true. Sometimes what a friend proves herself by stepping away, leaving. Not everyone confesses that.

Memory Scale I found very funny, something I (and I'm a ton of others) can definitely equate to! I loved the end—really made me laugh. I think it's my favorite funny one!
The Friendship We Share reminded me of the times when I'm watching best friend movies, specifically Anne of Avonlea—there is this one scene where Pauline comes back from a party and tells Anne how she and her childhood looked at all the things they used to live around, and had grown up with—talked of the things that had happened in the past. It's one of the best scenes in the movie. This poem really reminded me of it, of how I feel when I think of my own friends, and childhood. It tells of the normal things girls go through in growing up, and it was a very nice poem to make one reminisce.

The romantic ones spoke true. If You Loved Me spoke about what love really is, and knowing that love comes from both, not used as a crutch to get what you want from the other.
I liked that in Breaking Up it was pointed out that songs talk about the pain of breaking up, but not how to get through it. It points to the realism that we all must fight our own way, make a decision. Growing Love was very sweet. I love friendship to love poems, and this was simple and touching.

A Time of Love I really liked, as it spoke of those who go through the husband being away, serving his country, and returning, showing how their marriage endured through the years. It's something that I think about often. I have a great respect for those who serve our country.

But what I found the most special was The Same. By far I think this is the best poem in the book. It speaks about over the course of time standing in the other's shoes, realizing the promise they made in their vows, and the pain that goes with truly bearing the worry and care of another that you love. But the blessedness too, of knowing that now both completely understand what it is being as strong as the other needs you to be. It was very honest, and true.
Overall, this is a worthwhile book. I would certainly suggest it to you. It doesn't pretend to be great literature, with polished “mumbo jumbo”—just shows that it's an honest work of heart from another human being, with its simple words. That is something we all relate to, respect. We can take encouragement from that. So if you are interested in this book, and you like poetry that is good for sitting in the lawn chair and reading, I suggest you buy this. It is worthwhile.

If you are interested in looking at her other works, you can find Shannon Sonneveldt's work here:

Until next week!

~E. C. Shore

P.S. My discussion post on the subject of Peter Pan is still ongoing. I hope to be done with it over the next few days!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Things In Store....

  Hey guys, I just wanted to apologize. I'm late. Again. I have been very busy, but I utterly promise I am busy conjuring up something worthwhile! I am in the middle of writing a post on the universal (and mine) love for J.M. Barrie's classic, Peter Pan. It is a story that has captivated me since I was very little--Hook is one of the earliest movies I can remember. So I am doing a thorough exploration on the story, which I've just finished reading, and the adaptions that I've seen.
  Another thing I will be busy with, is my reading of three poetry books by fellow Goodreads friend, Shannon Sonneveldt. So keep your eyes out for the following review posts!


Saturday, April 6, 2013

A Moment of Clarity In Characterization

My last post was on the mystery of one's own writing, and I want to thank one of my oldest readers for their very constructive comment. Since then I have been able to get more work done on my novel, and gain some clarity. 

  As I've said before, I've been working my Alexis trilogy for the last six years. I've always written it with the point of view that my character is one that is rather awkward and temperamental. And with the all the feedback that I've been getting on the story itself, I've realized what things need to change. This rewrite is likely going to have a very different approach. 
   The most noticeable will be the actual beginning—instead of a portrayal of a beautiful, happy family and home, but of a family and home that might be lost, and was once beautiful? Things that are very real in life. But perhaps this is actually what makes her strong—not the awkward “anti-hero” as I had originally written her to be. She is already struggling. Already fighting. And perhaps it is this that is the passion that Aunninguld, the alternate dimension, really needs. Her undying resolve is to save family and home in any way she can, whereas the people of Aunninguld have bee fighting so long most have lost their former faith and passion.
While trying to work out the present scene I was writing, I realized this, and hurriedly typed out the following so as I'd always have a clear message of who—and what—my character really is, as the story of her fight for Aunninguld is told:

“This strength is also her weakness. It gives her drive, yet it slowly tears her apart. It gives her incentive, something to fight for, but the pain of nonattainment (I actually looked up that word, to be sure I had it right--still sounds off) and separation is a knife in her heart. So even as she continues to struggle to find away, all this fear and pain and determination fusing together, she is losing herself as she slowly begins to disintegrate into the movement she has become, and the place she has come to.”

  I am extremely grateful to have this clearer vision of who my character is, and what her story will be.

What are your own stories for finding out truths of your own writing? What were your moments of realizing important aspects of it?


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Our Story's Great Secret

writing quote wallpaper

As a writer who is constantly working at my stories, and ceaselessly evaluating what it needs to really give it a heartbeat, I always come back to the question we always ask. Again and again....

“What makes a good story?”

And this isn't just the typical thing, the “interesting beginning, middle, end”, with “good characters, good conflict, and resolving ending”. In whatever mode that takes. We write to write something unique—at least to some extent. It may be something simple that we are just writing for someone to past their afternoon with a good laugh, or it might be something philosophically, emotionally challenging. It could be anything. But when writing, inevitably we come to that question of what makes the story worthwhile—what is the secret of OUR story. Sometimes I think the secret is more of a mystery to the writer, than the reader.
My own primary issue when writing, especially my epic, is clearly understanding my main character. There are things that are very similar to myself about her, others that are different. Or are they? I suppose then, the question is—do I know myself?

The only ways that I have come to know my characters better over the course of the last six years is through continued revision and discovery—and things I learn in my life. About myself, about things that are important to one's life, what one must work for and defend. Things I realize are precious about those that we share our lives with—or those that have gone before us. So I guess all I can say about the discovery of the secret of my own story—which is an ongoing expedition, let's say—is that it is extremely organic. Extremely personal. But perhaps it will be the better for that in the end, as it will by that point be so infused by my own life. I would hope that makes it all the more relatable on a very personal level for the reader.

I'm writing more with the desire to see what others will have to say about their own story's “great secret”, and their own personal modes of discovery, and of understanding what to look for.

I think throughout all history all writers would say— “Heaven save us from the mystery of our own writing”.

I'd love to hear what your thoughts are, so feel free to share this, and leave our own comments below! And if you're interested in a guest post, I'd love to take a look at your own writing, and see if we can work something great out!