Saturday, September 25, 2004

Light, Mattie Stepanek, HAMAS, Seeds of Peace, Blake, subversive literature, Harry Potter

Two posts in one day!--I know, I can't believe it either, but I was just thinking about a few things and I wanted to get them down before I forgot them.

First of all, today my copy of Light (by M. John Harrison) came in at the library, so I look forward to reading that very soon. Also, I watched an old episode of Oprah that my sister had TiVoed about Mattie Stepanek, who died this summer. And wow. At first I was just sniffing a bit, but by the end I was REALLY crying and I had a box of tissues in front of me. My god, that boy...what a hero. What a lovely boy, he was so idealistic and peace-loving and such an old-soul. Oh, it makes my heart ache.

So after that cry-fest my family and I had dinner, during which we had a very heated debate regarding the Islamic faith and various deviations off that subject. (My mom also discoursed for quite a while about our new curtain fabric.) But yes, regarding the debate, dinner conversations (and morning conversations, over the paper and coffee) tend to be quite intense because everyone in my family is quite opinionated, but in different ways. My sister is very cynical and jaded; I'm the idealist and the dreamer; my dad is logical and very emphatic; and my mom is the NICE one. We talked about HAMAS (did you know that an entire half of their organization--not the terrorist half, obviously--is devoted to very humanitarian causes, like soup kitchens and pro-education facilities? At least according to my sister, but she's generally very well informed), Salman Rushdie, er--the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld--, and finally the Seeds of Peace organization. For those of you who haven't heard of it, certainly visit that link (it's www.seedsofpeace.org, in case the link didn't connect); it's a beautiful camp that helps breed hope amongst the next generation--of leaders, writers, and peace-makers hopefully--from around the world, including Israel and Palestine, America, and many other countries.

And now I'm researching Blake for my English paper--I didn't know he had visions of meeting Milton! I loved Paradise Lost, by the way; it seems like heavy reading but it's really just a thrilling and beautifully told story once you get into it. And very compelling. Along those lines of Genesis and the "Songs of Experience" and whatnot, there is of course the contemporary author Philip Pullman and his series His Dark Materials, which includes The Golden Compass. Pullman's books are some of the most engrossing and thought-provoking I've ever read; he's first and foremost a story-teller, so you don't need to think deep thoughts while you're reading, but you realize as you progress that Lyra is Eve and Will is Adam and Mary Malone is the serpent...some passages are more blatant, but mostly the hints are very subtle. Wonderful, wonderful books, though. And much more subversive than Harry Potter (which I love) by the way--near the end of the series, God ("the Authority") dies, and when Will and Lyra fall from innocence it's a beautiful and good thing. I love it. I love Pullman.

And, speaking of Harry Potter, anyone who likes the books should be sure to go to J.K. Rowling's website she's set up. It countains notes and "deleted scenes" from the books as well as updates as to what she's up to, how Book 6 (HP and the Half-Blood Prince) is coming along, and whatnot. She actually writes all the content, though the site's updated sporadically at best. Which, I suppose, is good, because it must mean she's hard at work on the book. But oh well. Ach, I have 2% battery life left on my laptop and I still have to make all the links live. Later, guys.

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