Monthly Archives: November 2012

“I think … if it is true that there are as many minds as there are heads, then there are as many kinds of love as there are hearts.”
–Leo Tolstoy

I completely adore the way classic literature will forever be relevant.

Until the end of time, there will be new lovers, both young and old, discovering their own brand of love–figuring out how their hearts will, in time, create a love that is uniquely theirs.

No matter how strongly you felt about an old flame, no matter how perfect or how broken your relationship may have been, you will never repeat that experience. For better or worse, every relationship is a clean slate.

So stop trying to recreate what you had with someone else. You aren’t with that person for a reason (usually a multitude of reasons), so now’s the time to make new memories, have new adventures, and forge a new path. A new relationship is an incredible opportunity to create something that you will forever share with another person. Whether it works out, whether you’re with them forever or not, no one can take away what the two of you are creating.

Tolstoy said it best. No two minds will ever be the same. They cannot think the same thoughts or feel the same emotions. So why, then, should two people ever experience the same kind of love?

If only we were all more accepting of the way everyone loves differently. If only everyone realized that we’re all doing our best. Just because she doesn’t love you the way the others did doesn’t mean she isn’t loving you with everything she has. Just because he doesn’t express himself the way you’re used to doesn’t mean he isn’t trying his hardest.

Your life, your experiences, your perspectives can never be replicated, same as your head and mind and thoughts are distinctively yours. Love one another, with all the love you have. It’s your own special kind of love, because your heart will never be like anyone else’s.

(You guys. I’m a nerd. Like, big time. I miss being an English major and writing about other people’s writing and digging in to decide what it all means. I’ve been reading some awesome stuff lately, so I’ll probably do more of these. Soon.)

Your Own Kind of Love

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Book Review: The Night Circus

The first time I read Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, I’d picked up a copy from the library and carried it around with me for a few weeks, trying to find the time to actually start it.

Something else would always come up, but the story sounded so alluring, so intriguing, that I just kept the book in my bag, where it was always waiting for me to have a spare moment. Finally, one weekend, despite having to coach more than 10 games of volleyball in two days, I somehow found that spare moment, and proceeded to finish the nearly 400-page volume before the weekend was up.

I’ve found that no matter how many books I’ve read, some stories just speak to me. They beg to be read straight through, to not be put down until the very last word is finished. The compelling story within the pages of The Night Circus was an extreme example of that.

So I returned it to the library and proceeded to order my own copy on Monday night. I knew this was a book I’d want to read again and again.

From Amazon:

“The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them both, this is a game in which only one can be left standing. Despite the high stakes, Celia and Marco soon tumble headfirst into love, setting off a domino effect of dangerous consequences, and leaving the lives of everyone, from the performers to the patrons, hanging in the balance.”

The way Morgenstern sets up the plot of The Night Circus is one of my favorites. Several stories develop at once, pulling the reader into the world she has created. The plot lines don’t run concurrently, with some filling in gaps in time that others have left out. Each chapter is dated, jumping through time to weave a complicated and wondrous tale.

Her character development is also top-notch. I found myself glued to the pages, dying to know how each of the players would intersect the lives of the rest. Morgenstern weaves a beautiful story full of rich detail. Although the circus is set entirely in black and white–colorless costumes, tents, tickets, and a mysterious white-hot bonfire at the heart of it all–Morgenstern fills her circus with an intense color as she details the illusions Marco and Celia create for one another.

This is one book I’d never want turned into a movie, for it is far more beautiful and complex in my mind than I can ever imagine it being on-screen.

Despite being, at its heart, a love story, The Night Circus never feels over-the-top or sappy. The passion the main characters have for one another is evident in the work they are creating and the intensity of their interactions. Their love is forbidden by the masters of their game, and they are determined to find a way to overcome it, but Morgenstern never hits you over the head with sickeningly sweet imagery of star-crossed lovers. Her approach is much more subtle, gradually building their story to a heart-wrenching conclusion.

Perhaps my favorite characters in the entire novel are a set of twins, nicknamed Widget and Poppet, born as the circus opens on its very first night. We see them age, from curious toddlers who have free reign of the circus to talented teenagers with their own act to perform each night. Their unique abilities bring them to the forefront of the story as time passes, and the role they have to play becomes paramount.

Intertwined within the book is a story told in second person–your very own visit to the circus, which lets you see even more of the imaginative world Morgenstern has created. It leaves you with a feeling of being right there in the midst of it all, experiencing the wonder that the characters themselves feel as they explore the ever-changing circus they get to call home.

The book ends on these words: “You think, as you walk away from Le Cirque des Rêves and into the creeping dawn, that you felt more awake within the confines of the circus. You are no longer quite certain which side of the fence is the dream.” Appropriate, as finishing this novel truly feels like you are awakening from a dream.

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Grateful

Thanksgiving has come and gone, and I am officially blown away by how truly, amazingly, wonderfully blessed I am.

I got to go home and see my family, who support and love me no matter what kind of shenanigans I get myself into, who welcomed my boyfriend with open arms, and who are some of the most incredible people I have ever known.

I got to enjoy the company of my baby cousins, who (Lord help me) at 16-almost-17 and 18 aren’t exactly babies any longer. I got to cuddle my dogs, wish my momma a happy birthday in person, and laugh with my dad as he swatted my hand away from the turkey before it made it to the table.

I got to see the very best friend I could possibly ask for. I got to hug him for the first time since early September and catch up before he flies back home to Texas.

But most of all, I got to spend three incredible days introducing the man I love to the people who make my heart sing. I am so incredibly grateful that I got to bring him into my world and show him exactly why I became the woman that I am.

I’m grateful for his patience, because meeting nearly 30 members of your girlfriend’s family all at once can’t possibly be easy. I’m grateful for his willingness to look me in the eye and tell me when I’m acting crazy. I’m grateful for his kindness and his hand to hold as I look to the future, finally a bit more certain about the direction I want to go (or at least who I want standing by my side).

Yes, being thankful for the perfect world I’ve found myself dropped into should happen more often than once a year. And yes, I should spend less time rushing through life and spend more time appreciating the innumerable blessings I have.

But this weekend reminded me of all I’ve been given. Yet again, I was shocked to see how things seem to, almost magically, work themselves out. Time and again I find myself floored by the events that are constantly unfolding around me, as if I’m only along for the ride until I realize that this amazing, fabulous, ridiculous, beautiful ride is actually the life I’ve been given to live.

I am deeply and powerfully thankful. For the things I have and the people who love me.

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Puppies!

I’ve been struggling a lot lately with things to write about. Stories and words are in my head, but I can’t find the right way to get them onto the page. So here are some puppies to make up for that.

From Peace&Blessings, via Pinterest.

From The Library, via Pinterest.

From Lauren Conrad, via Pinterest.

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Have You Voted?

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Indiana thinks I count.

I don’t (and probably never will) write a lot on here about politics. I have my opinions just as you have yours, and I don’t see this space as a good place to hash out our differences.

But today is different. Today is the day when we all come together and decide the future of not only our country, but also our states and local communities. There is more to this election than Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. There are Senate and House races, gubernatorial (which is possibly my favorite word in politics, ever) races, and even races to decide who will judge our court cases and who will run our schools as superintendents.

Choosing not to vote is choosing to say “I don’t care about the people in my country, my state, or my community. What happens to them doesn’t matter to me, so they’re on their own.” It’s like giving a big “F you” to the people counting on us to make the right decisions that will affect all of our futures.

I don’t care that you are sick and tired of all the political ads and mudslinging that have accompanied this campaign season. You aren’t the only one, I promise. I know. It’s a nightmare to listen to the same ads over and over again, both at the local and national levels, and we’re all ready for it to be over. But there are two very distinct paths laid out for our country, and it’s up to all of us to decide which path we are going to follow.

Please. Just go out and vote. It doesn’t matter to me if you vote the same way I did or have entirely different views. That’s the beauty of democracy–we are all entitled to our opinions, and we have the amazing opportunity for those opinions to be heard. But you actually have to show up first.

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