19
Apr 17

If It Ain’t Yours, Don’t Carry It

If it ain’t yours, don’t carry it.

Simple enough.

If it ain't yours, don't carry it.

Don’t pick it up. Don’t offer to help. Don’t open up your bag and let someone else drop it right in there.

Because if it ain’t yours to carry, you don’t need to carry it.

But what about the stuff that others can’t carry? You know — the things they’ve picked up along the way. The extras and the afflictions and the little nonconformities that make it hard for them. If you know their story, it makes it hella hard not to carry something for someone else.

Whatever it may be.

But you can’t.

You’re supposed to be here, but you’re not here to carry what’s not yours.

Pretend I’m coming at you like an angry mama who found her toddler crawling on the floor of a public restroom, and that toddler also happened to pick up several things and shove them in her mouth.

NO NO NO, I say to you.

Not yours.

Don’t pick that up. Don’t put it in your mouth. Leave it there, it’s yucky.

Because if it ain’t yours, don’t carry it.

Because if it ain't yours, don't carry it. Click To Tweet

(This is as much a reminder for me as it is for you, you know.)

(I’m sure you know.)

(If you’re here, you know.)

But what about when, you ask, brow furrowed in consternation, what about when someone leaves what’s theirs with you? Then, are you not obligated to carry it?

Hell no.

If some well meaning asshole approaches you with with what belongs to them, and drops it at your feet, that is exactly where it stays. You don’t pick that up, and you sure as hell don’t carry it. And if they look at you expectantly and wonder why you ain’t carrying it, you don’t have to explain shit, because it’s not yours.

If they come back later and ask if you’ve got it, remind them that you don’t carry it if it ain’t yours, and they can go pick it up just where they left it.

You have to take care of yourself, because sometimes the Universe is conspiring against you.

The secret is that you’ll gladly carry for some. Some truly deserve it. Those people who are inextricably linked to you by a force that pulls and magnetic coincidence — you’ll carry what belongs to them because you know they’ll carry what belongs to you.

But here’s the rub: You can’t carry theirs if you’re carrying someone else’s. And just imagine how foolish you’ll feel when you realize you’ve been schlepping what’s not yours to carry when you could’ve carried something better all along.

But that’s the thing. If it ain’t yours, don’t carry it. And if you’re going to carry it, best outline the carrier-carryee relationship upfront. And honestly, let them know your policy on carrying what’s not yours.

Oh, and make sure you uphold that policy.

Thanks for sharing!
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17
Apr 17

10 Writing Lessons I’ve Learned from The Fast and the Furious Franchise

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of all the Fast and the Furious movies. In fact, if you’re the type of person that likes to hate on these films, then this post is not for you. I’m pretty unapologetic about my love for them, and I will not entertain any detractors. Even though the movies are full of things that, according to the laws of science, are impossible, I don’t even care. These movies are 100% full-on good times.

10 Writing Lessons I've Learned from The Fast and the Furious Franchise

As a writer, I’m interested in how the movies pull that off. It’s one thing to write a bad ass action movie. It’s quite another to have it turn into the juggernaut that the Fast and the Furious films have become.

But how do the films achieve this? That’s a very good question, and I’m not sure I can answer it completely. Obviously, it took several years, a very complicated timeline, and several new and amazing characters to get there. So, while I can’t tell you how the writers got there, I can tell you what I’ve learned in watching these movies.

So settle in and pop a Corona, because I’ve got the 10 writing lessons I’ve learned from the Fast and the Furious franchise.

(Fair warning: This post is hella long, but it’s because I have hella feelings about these movies, and have learned hella things about writing.)

001: Improbability + Sincerity = Good Times

I never took physics in school, but I know the difference between things that can happen and things that can’t. That having been said, I don’t necessarily care whether or not things can happen. Some of my favorite stories take place in spaceships, and those stories never tackle how the characters’ bodies would degrade from living in that atmosphere, or how traveling at the speed of light all the time would affect the aging process. I LITERALLY DON’T CARE THOUGH. That’s the thing. If you’re telling a good story, it doesn’t matter whether or not it could actually happen. And, if the writer has done their job, they’ve set up the rules of the story world well enough that these little details shouldn’t matter.

If you're telling a good story, it doesn't matter whether or not it could actually happen. Click To Tweet

So, I have to believe that in the story world of Dominic Toretto and his crew of unruly criminals-turned-secret agents, things like jumping from cars in high-speed chases or government law enforcement agencies asking crews of thieves to help them out to catch real bad guys are totally possible. And I believe this because the story delivers all these things with the sort of sincerity that you don’t usually get from action movies. It’s not that most action movies don’t try, it’s just that they can’t achieve it. If you don’t get what I’m saying, then you need to watch any of Jean Claude Van Damme’s movies from the early 1990s, and you’ll totally see what I’m saying.

002: One-liners don’t have to be terrible and cheesy.

Alright. One of the big problems I have with comic book movies is the comic book-style one-liners. If Spider-Man is hanging from a web, I DO NOT LIKE IT WHEN HE SAYS SOMEWHERE IN THE DIALOG THAT HE’S JUST HANGING OUT. I HATE IT I HATE IT I HATE IT. So, for a number of years, I thought I just hated one-liners. However, thanks to the Fast and the Furious movies, I’ve realized I don’t. And if I’m being real, we have Tyrese to thank on that.

Tyrese plays Roman Pearce, a pretty badass dude that also serves as the comic relief of the movies. Not only is his timing perfect, but he plays off the other characters so well that there is never a point where his one-liners feel forced and cheesy. Could he say “just hanging out” in a scenario where for one reason or another he’s trussed up by the big bad villain? Yes, yes he could. And I would want to murder Peter Parker even more because Tyrese would do it so well and make Spidey look like an even bigger chode.

003: Character interaction is everything.

I would argue that the main reason people have fallen in love with the Fast and the Furious movies is the characters. Sure, there are plenty of badass men-of-few-words style tough guys, but at the end of the day, they’re family. (If you don’t know, one of the most common phrases spoken by Dominic Toretto is “I ain’t got friends. I got family.”) So, as a family, there is a fair amount of ribbing and general fun.

And let’s be real. As a part of the audience, you gotta wonder how in the world a movie full of actors, rappers, a former professional wrestler, some MMA fighters, and a Jason Statham (he belongs in his own category) would get along well enough to pull it off. And it’s such a damn delight to see all these people interacting and making it work. And the reason it works is because the characters interact in very real, emotional, and often hilarious ways. Without those interactions, the movies don’t hold the magic necessary to enchant large audiences.

004: Diversity is stupid easy to achieve.

I won’t say that this series is the most diverse film franchise to date. There are no LGBT characters, and the only disability I recall being portrayed was Jessie in the first film, who had ADD. (He was later shot.) However, I will say that this film series brings together a lot of different ethnicities, and does it in a way that never pays lip service to diversity, which tends to be an issue when Hollywood execs say “let’s get some brown folks in a movie!”

And not only are there are a lot of ethnicities represented, but they are represented doing a wide array of things. Ludacris is a computery tech guy! Michelle Rodriguez is a badass who, much like Eowyn, is no man! Gal Gadot can handle anything with a motor or a trigger! Sung Kang is a chameleon who can do whatever is needed and he eats lots of snacks! Don Omar and Tego Calderon just get work done and win all the dollars in Monte Carlo!

It’s also worth stating here that the ethnicities never come into play in a forced way. Like, Letty never has an unnecessary monolog about her abuela to let you, as the audience, know that she’s Mexican. I really appreciate that.

005: If you keep the audience happy, they won’t do the math.

If you’ve seen Fast & Furious 6, then you know that the climax of the film involves cars chasing a plane down the runway. The cars, using harpoon-like cables, hold the plane down and prevent it from taking off. They do this for like 11 minutes. I don’t know where in the world this 11-minute runway is, but I don’t even care. And I don’t care because I am having a good time. It’s like I said back in 001. It’s that sincerity that makes the improbability okay. And even more, if I’m enjoying it, I won’t do the math. In fact, I think Chris and I had seen the sixth movie like 3 times before we even noticed that this plane was taking hella long to take off.

And just like in the gif above, do you think I care that it’s pretty impossible for a car to jump from skyscraper to skyscraper? Nope. Not at all. In fact, I’m planning on trying it in Downtown OKC later this year.

006: When in doubt, add a red head.

Adding a red head works great in stories, but it’s also just good life advice. I have a red headed boyfriend and a red headed dog, and I can say that they’ve definitely enriched my existence. I like to think that’s why the filmmakers decided to add Kristofer Hivju to the the eighth film.

And side note: When we went to see The Fate of the Furious, a worker at the theater came up to me to ask if Chris was my boyfriend, because in her words, he looks just like that new bad guy in the new Fast and the Furious movie. Chris has also been told he looks just like Zach Galifianakis and the country music singer, Zac Brown. If you ask me, he looks like boyfriend material. #Heyo

007: You can write yourself out of any corner.

If you’ve seen the Fast and the Furious movies, then you know that there is no corner that can’t be written out of. Characters can come back from the dead. The story’s timeline can be completely changed to allow for a dead character to be in two more movies. The most touching tribute can be put into a movie to acknowledge the death of one of the actors, even when there are plans for the story to move forward.

Writers can basically imagineer everything, and you can imagineer your way out of any corner you’ve written yourself into. Because if we’re being real, Tokyo Drift should’ve been the corner to end all corners. But I’ll be damned if they didn’t come at us with Fast & Furious, which is the fourth film. (Screw you, article adjectives!) And like pretty much every other Fast and the Furious think piece published since 2015, I’m going to agree that the fourth film was the renaissance the film franchise needed to bring us the delights of the later films. So, if you find yourself written into a corner, think about these movies. Can you add a character? Can you change the story timeline? Are the bad guys suddenly on your side? Seriously. Watch the movies. It works.

You can write yourself out of any corner. #amwriting #F8 Click To Tweet

008: Characters will grow in the direction you make them.

In 2001, we were given a Dominic Toretto who was a bad guy. In the original movie, Dom and his crew are thieves. They highjack semi trucks so they can steal DVD players. (For the younger readers, those used to cost actual money, and you couldn’t just stream movies.) In fact, Dom has a super dark past that involves him brutally beating a man nearly to death with a wrench.

And yet, now we know him as a family man who would do anything for the people he loves. He’s a pardoned criminal who functionally saved the world from several drug dealers, a mercenary, a hacker, a warlord, and a Jason Statham. (It’s worth noting that Jason Statham evolves into a good guy in the eighth movie. Basically, friendship and goodness can all be built by driving fast cars and working together.) And the only way that we believe this is because we see the slow evolution of Dominic Toretto. We see the goodness that the other characters bring out of him. We see why he does what he does, and realize that there is no one in the world who is all good or all bad. These characters are products of their choices and their relationships, and that’s what ultimately shapes who and what they are. It’s the sort of nuance that the Star Wars prequels would kill for.

009: There IS a such thing as too many butts.

I bet you were wondering when I would address the scantily clad, faceless women who attend the street races, though they have very little to actually do with the races. Yeah. It’s problematic. It’s an unnecessary nod to the original film, a very niche movie made for people who were into street racing. I’ve never been to a street race, but considering the street racers in Oklahoma City like to drag through Bethany, the most conservative and elderly part of OKC, I can’t imagine that these booty shorts-wearing ladies actually exist.

So why do the movies continue to show these moments? I have a feeling it’s because people like me aren’t the intended audience for the Fast and the Furious. So, while I’m sure the filmmakers are aware of objections to these scenes, ultimately, I think they don’t care. So that’s a writing lesson in and of itself. As your audience expands beyond your original target, you have to be aware, as a writer, of how specific elements of your work will be perceived by the new members of your audience. And sometimes, that means taking out unnecessary butt shots.

It’s also worth noting that Michelle Rodriguez’s character, Letty, is a badass who doesn’t take shit from any man. She’s seen as an equal throughout the movie. So is Gisele. And Elena. And hell. We’ve only had Ramsey for two films, but she gives Tej and Roman as much shit as they give her, and she invented the god’s eye software macguffin from the seventh movie! And, hell. Even Charlize Theron as Cipher is like the pinnacle of hacker villains.

(For more on women in the Fast and the Furious movies, check out this post from the Ringer.)

So, while the movies give us these very capable, multiethnic women, there are still those moments that remind you, as a woman, that even if you’ve achieved some semblance of equality in your role, there is still work to be done. And I’m not saying this to shame anyone who likes to dress it hot pants. That’s a perfectly legitimate choice. The issue is more of agency. When those street race women in booty shorts are portrayed as fully formed people and not objects, that’s when it will be okay. Close-up shots of butt cheeks hanging out of hot pants definitely don’t portray or respect the agency of those women.

(And, like, I could write a dissertation on how crappy the movies are to mothers. But pretty much everyone else has already written about the treatment of Mia Toretto, and they’ve written way smarter things than I ever will. And I like to think that Helen Mirren as Jason Statham’s mom in the last film is penance for the bad treatment of Mia. And yet, don’t even get me started on what happens to Elena in the eighth movie.)

010: Just keep adding character ingredients to your story soup.

I don’t think anyone, after seeing the first Fast and the Furious movie in 2001 could predict the success this franchise would have. So, we have to look at what happened over those past 16 years to determine why the later films have so much box office success in comparison to the first one. And I have to believe it’s because of the addition of characters along the way.

I’m not saying that all the characters the Fast and the Furious introduced were great. I mean, the only character that anyone liked from Tokyo Drift was Han Seoul-Oh, and his death in that movie created the alternate timeline. But if you look at the evolution of Dom’s family, you can definitely tell that the addition of characters, and the evolution of those characters, is what keeps people coming back.

 

So, there you have it. Those are the 10 writing lessons I’ve learned from the Fast and the Furious movies. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to be busy writing a short film about Tej and Roman muttering stuff under their breath about Tego and Rico while Tego and Rico simultaneously mutter under their breath in Spanish about Tej and Roman, while they all stare each other down. THIS IS THE SHORT FILM WE DESERVE, and I’m adding it to the list of fan fiction I want to read.

The Fast and the Furious: 10 Writing Lessons I've Learned from Dom and the Gang #F8 Click To Tweet

Any lessons I left out? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for sharing!
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11
Apr 17

House Hunting for the Person You Want to Be

I mentioned on Twitter the other day that Chris and I have been doing some house hunting. We realized that we’re ready to get out of our current place and we’ve been falling in love with houses all over the city.

House hunting for the person you want to be

For Chris and I, the location of the house is more important than the house itself. I mean, don’t get me wrong. We don’t want to be living in some ramshackle shanty that happens to be in a really cool district. But we definitely don’t want to live in a dream house that’s nowhere near anything we do or like.

We know we want to stay in Norman. It’s where I work, and it’s close enough to where Chris works that it would be silly to go anywhere else. And we really love Norman. Sure, it’s boring sometimes, but it’s our city. And you really can’t beat a college town in the middle of summer. Then the city really feels like it’s ours.

(Yeah. I know. I work at the university and students are my livelihood. But you know what else students are? More traffic, 45-minute waits at restaurants, and impossibly long lines at Target. I appreciate all the tuition dollars that make their way into my paycheck. But I really savor those summer months.)

But here’s the thing: We’re struggling to figure out what kind of house it is we want. And the more we look, the more two very distinct paths emerge.

Our original intent was to purchase a home in a historical district. But all the historical districts are around the university. This would be great since I could easily walk to work. But it also sucks, because if a house is in a historical district, people get away with asking $200k for a cardboard box that’s duct taped to a milk crate. The listing will call it a “cozy fixer upper.”

I CALL IT GARBAGE.

The listing will call it a cozy fixer upper. I CALL IT GARBAGE. Click To Tweet

If you’re not familiar with the Oklahoma City metro area housing market, the majority of good, decent houses in a good, decent school districts are typically between $120k to $250k — depending on the size and the particular area. And historical houses are basically a bajillion dollars for 1,000 square feet, one bathroom, and zero closets.

Chris and I tend more toward the minimal side of things. (Though we’d gladly take this place on Main Street in a heart beat.) We don’t have a ton of tchotchkes or collections of things. Basically, everything we have means something to us. And we are well-known for taking a load of stuff to Goodwill once a week. So, we don’t need a whole lot of space. Besides, we currently reside in a house that’s just over 1,000 square feet, and it feels like a good amount of space for us.

So, our house hunting started with looking at what the historical districts had to offer. And we quickly became disenchanted with that because apparently you can ask for over a million dollars for a house that hasn’t been renovated since 1963 and is missing 30% of it’s siding. And people will pay for it.

(I have a theory that these people are rich alumni who want a place to hang during football season. They can eat my dirty socks.)

We expanded our search, and that’s when I could see two distinctive futures in front of us.

The further from the university we looked, the bigger the houses became. The more we searched the online listings, the more we kept coming back to “the dream house.” Nestled at the end of a cul-de-sac, this house was 2,200 square feet, two floors, four bedrooms and two living areas. I spent a lot of time imagining how awesome it would be to turn one of those living rooms into my library/office.

We did fall out of love with it pretty easily though. The online pictures were obviously taken by someone who knew how to manipulate the depth of field. When we saw the house in person, it was the choppiest, space-wasting floor plan I could imagine.

But there it was. On the one hand, we wanted a small historical house near the university. On the other, we wanted a huge, suburban place to keep up with the Joneses.

Chris and I had a come to Jesus sort of talk via Google Hangouts, because we’re terrible people who can really only communicate with some sort of digital interface between us. (That’s not entirely true. We are just more likely to be brazenly honest when we chat via computer rather than in person, where we will couch what we say in non-specific and overly nice terms.)

In this conversation, we really specified what it is we want in a house. Here’s our house hunting wish list:

  1. 1,600 square feet maximum: This may seem small to some, but it really is a lot of space for just the two of us. We know we want a bedroom for us, one for a guest room, and then we’ll both need some space to work when we’re at home. If that means we put some office space in the corner of a living room, or another bedroom, then that’s good. Plus, I grew up in a house about that size, and there was plenty of room for four people to avoid each other in there.
  2. Library space: Right now, my office in our current home serves as the library. I have no trouble putting my massive, messy collection of books in another bedroom in our new home. But if there’s a nook/small area in the living room for them, that would be awesome too.
  3. Two bathrooms: I feel I don’t need to justify this. When I used to live in a one-bathroom house with roommates, there was many a morning when one of us would drive to a nearby gas station to use the bathroom while the other was in the shower. I don’t want to live that life ever again.
  4. A location we love: There are a lot of fun areas in Norman, and they all tend to be around the university. We’re okay with paying a little more to be near campus and downtown, since those are the two main places we go. We have this beautiful vision of someday only owning one car, and even then, we mostly walk wherever we need to go. I don’t know if it will ever happen, but if it does, it’s going to be because we live around campus. But we’re definitely open to other neighborhoods that can offer us quiet, less traffic, and easy access to the highway for Chris.
  5. A non-galley kitchen: This is perhaps the most important thing on the list. The problem with the galley kitchen is that I’m really good at getting in Chris’s way when he’s doing something in our galley kitchen. Like, if I open the dishwasher while he’s stirring something on the stove, there is a good chance that we’ll bump into each other, or Chris will trip on dishwasher door. (Yes, just like what happened to Zach Braff’s mom in Garden State.) For the sake of our relationship, we need more space in the kitchen.
  6. Absolutely no wife-swapping: You may think that this item is a joke. It’s not. I would wager a guess that if you live in a more (but not necessarily) suburban area, you have people in your neighborhood that you suspect of wife-swapping. I’m not here to swinger-shame your groovy lifestyles, but I am saying that sort of thing isn’t for Chris and I. I think there are a lot of neighborhoods in the Oklahoma City Metro suburbs where wife-swapping, cheating on your spouse, and living a generally empty life is the norm. And that sort of things tends to stem from people earning a decent living, then coming home from work and not knowing what to do with their time. (I’m sure a level of marital dissatisfaction or a manic need for new and exciting things comes into play too.) Chris and I have side hustles, so we don’t want to get sucked into weird neighbor drama when our time off work is spent working on other things.
How wife-swappy is your neighborhood? Click To Tweet

So there you have it. House hunting in a nutshell. What do you look for in a house? What’s your house hunting wish list? How wife-swappy is your neighborhood? Are you selling a house near the University of Oklahoma? Wanna forgo realtors and sell it directly to me? Please?!

Thanks for sharing!
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03
Apr 17

Slow Living: What We Have Time for

For me, slow living is all about figuring out exactly what it is that you have time for.

As I write this, I should be grading. Hell, before I started writing this, I was walking the dog. And during the time I was walking the dog, I should’ve been grading too. I’m a college instructor. There are precious few hours in the day when I shouldn’t be grading.

Slow Living: What We Have Time For

And as a writer, there are precious few hours in the day when I shouldn’t be writing. Even if I count every idea scribbled on a Post-It, every notebook bleeding ink, Word Docs filled with rambling prose, and every last stolen minute I took to write, I still wouldn’t write enough.

But that’s the thing of it, isn’t it? Whatever we do isn’t enough, and we always feel like we’re running out of time.

Whatever we do isn't enough, and we always feel like we're running out of time. Click To Tweet

I had this thought on the dog walk, and knew I needed to get home and write it.

For me, I don’t feel like there aren’t enough days left in my life. I’m 31, which is relatively young. I do worry about the hours in the day, though. How is it already 3 PM? How did Tuesday pass me by? I swear, I need a weekend to recover from my weekend. Even though I still feel like there is plenty of time left in my life, I can easily see how it’s all slipping away, and getting me to a point where there won’t be enough time.

So I slow down. I don’t wish days away. I don’t live for deadlines or benchmarks. And even though I feel like I should be further in my career right now, I’m very content with where my life is.

I think we all see what’s possible and we want it immediately. We all see what others were able to accomplish with relatively little time, and we think we should do that too.

I definitely used to feel that way. I’ve been slowing down a lot lately. I’m obsessed with slow living, especially as I see others scrambling their way through life.

(Slow living, for those who don’t trawl the blogosphere/podcastosphere for content about how to take a chill pill, is living life at a slower pace. It’s taking a step back and enjoying life. It’s refusing to be manic, even when every other aspect of daily life would have you believe that you need to keep up. If you want to learn more, I highly recommend checking out The Art of Simple and No Sidebar.)

I’ve stepped back and realized that I’m supposed to be here. I am embracing the marathon mindset, because I know everything is a slow burn. I’m making time for picnics. I’m saying no to things I don’t need. I’m creating space to breathe when the rest of the world is underwater. I refuse to choose busy. I’m setting my own agenda. I’m living my own damn life, y’all.

This got me to thinking about the things I value, and the things I have time for. It made me realize that the only reason I want to be further in my career is because I want writing to be the day job, not the side hustle. It made me realize that I’ve been valuing that paycheck and health benefits more than I have the very thing I was meant to do with my life.

And while I can’t very well quit my day job (unless some rich benefactor wants to pay for my existence while I hole up in my house and write my butt off), I can focus more on what I have time for.

Even though I know what I want, I haven’t made time for it. I have, however, made time for Netflix, fast food, too much social media, and Tetris. I’m shocked by how much time I’ve spent zoning out while staring at the TV, or poisoning my body with garbage or just scrolling through my phone, or just rotating those little tetrominos. (That free app is killer. I’ll delete it, but add it one afternoon when I want to shut my brain off — usually after grading like a fiend. If there’s a way to completely block an app from your phone, I’d love to know because I don’t have that level of willpower.)

Even though I’m not happy I’ve spent time doing that, I know why I have. It’s easy to shut down your brain. It’s easy to zone out. It’s easy to consume. But that’s the thing about slow living. It’s hard. It’s deliberate. It’s focused.

For me, slow living is figuring out everything that is important and vital to my existence, and letting the other things fall away.

This realization is one thing, taking action is another.

So for today, I’m starting. I’m taking stock of the things I have time for.

I have time to write. I have time for Chris. I have time for family. I have time for dog walks. I have time for daydreaming. I have time for deep conversations about magic and spirituality. I have time to listen to my favorite records over and over and over. I have time to read poems in the middle of the day because that’s what I need to do. I have time to cook a meal made of real food that won’t put me in the hospital or give me a heart attack.

I’ve been taking stock of privilege lately. I have benefited immensely from the privileges I possess. And yet, I’ve operated as if everything I have will someday be taken away from me. I’ve been overly hungry. I’ve been like Smaug the Dragon laying on my hoard. I’ve been manic. I’ve believed that I needed to work myself to death. I’ve believed that I don’t have time to take care of myself. I’ve believed that I needed all the things that were being sold to me.

This is all fairly woo woo and vague. But if you’re here, then I have to believe that 1.) you know that’s who I am and what I write about, and 2.) you’re here for that.

I’m here for that too. This is what I have time for.

Slow living is what I have time for. Click To Tweet

P.S. The whole time I was writing this, Non-Stop from Hamilton was running through my head.

Have you ever stepped back and wanted to slow down? Why do you write like you’re running out of time? What do you have time for?

Thanks for sharing!
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31
Mar 17

The Real Beauty and the Beast Controversy!

Last Friday, I went to see Beauty and the Beast with my mom. We enjoyed it, but I was surprised that I didn’t hear about the real Beauty and the Beast controversy on the news.

The Real Beauty and the Beast Controversy

(Side note: James Dickson has some super great posts on his blog breaking down the story elements in the new adaptation. They are nuanced and intelligent and totally worth reading — everything this post will not be. You can check out Part I here and Part II here.)

I heard about the controversy the conservative blogosphere went bananapants over, but 1.) That wasn’t that big a part of the movie, and 2.) IF YOU HAVE A PROBLEM WITH QUEER CODED CHARACTERS YOU NEED TO NEVER WATCH DISNEY MOVIES AGAIN BECAUSE IT’S LITERALLY IN ALL OF THEM AND THEY JUST WENT ALL OUT WITH LEFOU THIS TIME AROUND.

Obviously, spoilers ahead. I mean, unless you already watched the animated movie. Because, even the little changes they made for live action don’t change the overall story. You know what happens. So maybe these aren’t technically spoilers. I don’t know. PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK OR WHATEVER.

So, as you know, there’s an enchantress who curses a prince and turns him into a beast. She does this because he’s a massive jerk and deserves to look like a buffalo for a while. (His servants don’t deserve to be turned into housewares and decor, but they are. I’m pretty sure there’s a rule against this in the enchantress code of conduct. But then again, maybe not back in 18th century France.)

I consider myself hella knowledgeable when it comes to matters of enchantment and witchcraft because I watched The Craft like a million times in the fifth grade, and a friend of mine used to hide her Wiccan accessories in my house in high school so her Bible-thumping parents wouldn’t find them.

I believe this makes me an expert in enchantments, witchcraft, and all manner of magic. (P.S. DO YOU WANT TO START A COVEN WITH ME?!)

In the new live action movie, the enchantress not only bewitches the prince into the beast, but later she gives Belle’s father a healing tea, and even hangs around to un-enchant the beast when Belle is crying over his dead body.

So here’s the real Beauty and the Beast controversy. LET ME TELL YOU.

Let me tell you the real Beauty and the Beast controversy. Click To Tweet

The great thing about possessing magic or being a witch is that you can basically adopt a “set it and forget it” mindset when it comes to spells and curses. It’s a lot like the Ronco Rotisserie oven in that way. (Tell me you don’t think there’s magic in the skin of a rotisserie chicken. It’s that good.)

Anyway, in the new live action Beauty and the Beast, the enchantress sets the curse in the beginning of the film, and at the end, she is sauntering through the ol’ castle and undoing her handiwork when she sees the beast has been loved for the beauty he possesses inside.

THIS IS SUPER BUSH LEAGUE. (And the source of the real Beauty and the Beast controversy.)

Here’s the thing enchantresses of the world all know: If you’ve done the spell correctly, then you don’t have to be around when it’s time to be undone. YOU SET THAT IN THE SPELL. Also, if you doomed a dude to be a buffalo man surrounded by talking harpsichords, crockery, and timepieces, DO YOU THINK HOMEBOY IS GONNA BE SUPER CHILL ABOUT IT WHEN HE TURNS BACK INTO A HUMAN?

No. No he’s not.

In fact, I can’t figure out why no one snuck up on Agatha the Enchantress at the end of the movie and shanked her. Surely Mrs. Potts wanted some vengeance since her little boy almost became a teacup forever. Surely Lumiere (with Ewan McGregor’s outrageous French accent) wanted the enchantress to know what it’s like to hold fire in her hands and on her head. SURELY HE WOULD TRY TO BURN HER FOR THE WITCH SHE IS.

Like, are we pretending that this poor provincial town somehow exists in a historical France that is immune to witch hunts?! BECAUSE THAT FRANCE DID NOT EXIST.

The real Beauty and the Beast controversy is that a witch didn’t set and forget her spell, and that no one was mad at her for almost dooming them to a life as inanimate objects/a beast. WITCHES HAVE BEEN BURNED FOR LESS.

WITCHES HAVE BEEN BURNED FOR LESS. Click To Tweet

To conclude:

Is this a super weird hill to die on? Yeah.

But I’m dying and this happens to be the hill I’m on.

P.S. No offense to Dan Stevens, but I’d run off with Gaston in a heartbeat. Know that this greatly influenced by decision.

Thanks for sharing!
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