Job search and All Creatures

Had a very disillusioning talk with my boss on Friday who, under the guise of being ‘supportive’ is turning into one of the least supportive bosses I have known and I feel betrayed. It makes me want to leave my current job more than ever, so I’m feverishly searching for other work. I just sent out two applications this evening. Fingers crossed something good will happen because where I’m at now is turning more and more sour. The mental stress I am feeling, especially after Friday, makes me wonder whether I should just call in sick and never go back again…

The cat has been supportive while I sent out my applications…

She’s always desperate to lie on us or, if that’s not possible, to lie against us. Yes, annoying sometimes but also very good for calming nerves when I can just turn my head and nuzzle her soft fur.

I’ve been needing some comfort watching so have finally watched the first season of the new All Creatures Great and Small

… and it sure is a lovely series! I used to watch the old one of the end 1970s and 1980s and I have read the books once a long, long time ago but I’m not that clear anymore on the particulars, it’s been too long. So, no idea whether this is true to the books but I’m really enjoying it, particularly Mrs Hall (Anna Madeley) and Sebastian Farnon (Samuel West), even though he’s a little less jolly here than I remember him from the old series. Of course, also James Herriot (Nicholas Ralph) is good, as is Tristan (Callum Woodhouse), who really has some growing up to do, and I don’t remember Helen Alderson being a farming woman but I do like this Helen (Rachel Shenton) too. The second series is airing now as we speak. It’s lovely to disappear into a different world like that. Yorkshire sure is gorgeous and I also think back fondly of our travels there a few summers ago. Looking forward to season two!

Mare and Arabella

I watched two miniseries that were on my need-to-see list recently. They have both really stayed with me and when things stay with me like that, I need to blog about them (without spoilers).

First off, Mare of Easttown with Kate Winslet and she’s really as good in this as everyone says she is! She won an Emmy for this role recently and deservedly so…

Mare is a police investigator in a small town in Pennsylvania, investigating the murder of a teenage girl. She’s divorced, lives with her two kids and her mom and, really, all she tries to do is keep her life running while investigating this murder and also dealing with some past trauma of her own. Yes, I liked the mystery aspect of this but what I loved most of all were the layered characters. No one is all good or all bad, including Mare, they are all just different people with highs and lows who make certain choices, some good, some not so good that feel very real and true to life. Life isn’t just black and white, good or bad and it has its ups and downs where little in the moment choices can occasionally have big consequences. And even when something Mare does turns out to be ‘heroic’ it’s doesn’t feel heroic in that moment, it just feels like something that needs to be done with both good and bad consequences. I love that Mare is this no-nonsense woman who just wants to get on with it but also very much cares about the people in the town. She looks like the normal, non-glamourous person next door, which I love too. Like all of us, she has to balance work and life with her family, her friends, her ex-husband and even a potential romance and it really isn’t always easy. Things get resolved at the end but, just like in our own real lives, one thing may end but there are other paths that still need to be taken and new decisions that still need to be made. Yes, this was good and felt real and I’m sure I’ll go back to this series again.

Another Emmy award went to actress and writer Michaela Coel for writing I May Destroy You and, again, deservedly so! She also played the main role.

Michaela plays a young writer, Arabella, who is trying to follow up her first besteller debut with a second book but finding it hard to do so. She goes out with friends one night, her drink gets spiked and the next morning she wakes up without any memory of what happened except for an occasional memory flash that unsettles her. As she tries to piece together what happened that night she finds out she was sexually assaulted. It turns her world upside down and she must find a way to deal with it all, not only with what happened but also with how other people react to it. In this series, just as in Mare, the characters aren’t all good or bad either, they are layered and here too the characters make small, almost innocent choices that can have detrimental effects. The lives Arabella and her friends live are so different from what my own life was and is (I have never been big at partying or having many sexual partners like these young people do) and yet, I can relate to and feel for every one of them. Not only are the characters layered and real, also the grey areas of consent and what amounts to sexual harrassment or assault are explored here and really leave you with food for thought. How do you move on from and live with something like this? The title of the series suddenly makes even more sense in the final episode, I will not spoil more than that. In addition to all this, Michaela Coel has such a fascinating face that I could never tear my eyes away from her. An excellent performance and a story based on her own life experience make this very real but sometimes also difficult to watch.

Bottom line: very real layered female characters, played by real looking actresses, and with a good story set in the real world make for gripping television. Congratulations to Michaela Coel and Kate Winslet on their deserved Emmy wins…

I want more!

Angsty teen writings

I was going through some old papers and I found a fan fiction I had handwritten when I was 20 for The Flying Doctors, an Aussie TV series that ran during the late 1980s/early 1990s that I loved. At the time I didn’t know that what I was writing was something called fan fiction – this was pre widespread internet.

In my tale, the heroine, Esther Bergman (fictional surname and Esther was 7 years older than me with an unrealistic published writer, librarianship AND film production assistant career), is someone escaping some angsty stuff in London. She has traveled to Australia where she drives through the Outback for two months on her own (it was pretty well researched, if I say so myself, with an itinerary and distances noted and small town landmarks in the New South Wales Outback mentioned). After two months Esther comes to the little town of Coopers Crossing and of course instantly becomes very good friends with pretty much the whole cast of The Flying Doctors.

Nurse Kate (Lenore Smith) and doctor Geoff (Robert Grubb) become favourites in my tale and fictional Esther strikes up a close friendship with Dr. David Ratcliffe (Brett Climo). They are, of course, supposed to become each other’s true loves.

I never got that far in my tale. David and Esther had only gotten to the hugging and an occasional cheek kiss stage. My fan fic was too caught up in details (writing in daily (!!) diary form) which made the story development very slow and mired in nonsense and in the end I guess I just gave up.

Tucked into that notebook there were also some loose sheets of paper with some teen angst poetry I had written between the ages of 16 and 20. I used to write those in my diary but at some point I also copied them onto these loose sheets of paper – the collected poetry works of Esther, if you will. I didn’t have the patience to construct sentences beautifully or even use any striking words or phrases and there was only occasional rhyming, but these poems did come from my heart and I do remember writing most of these. It was really nice going down memory lane with them, bringing back old thoughts and feelings.

The notebook was falling apart, the ink on the loose sheets of paper was fading and I must have spilled something over it as many pages had these huge greasy spots on them. So, I decided to transcribe it all. The fan fic turned out to be someting like 19.500 words long and really isn’t worth finishing, especially as I can’t remember anymore what I had in mind for David and Esther. I am more pleased that I have now also transcribed those 13 poems. Most of them are bad to iffy (the world has not lost a great poet in me) but two of them I do still quite like, so I’ve decided to share them here.

The first poem was written when I was 16, about two months after I started going to an international boarding school in The Netherlands. During the first months there, one of the pretty, popular guys wrote me a few anonymous ‘love letters’. A go-between soon told me they were from Mr. Popular and that he wanted to date me. Inside I was feeling very flattered as I really wasn’t someone to normally be noticed by the pretty boys. I had sense enough, however, to tell the go-between that if that guy really meant it, he should come talk to me. Turned out Mr. Popular had no real interest in me at all and had only been interested in making fun of me publicly had I really reciprocated. Luckily, the crush I had secretly developed was instantly cured, but it had still been a painful incident. It inspired my first poem and imagine this as the setting with a lane and there’s also a stream on the premises:

Yesterday,
as I walked down the lane,
I thought,
“Is life only a game?”

Yesterday,
as I heard the rushing stream,
I thought,
“Why is it that I can’t scream?”

Yesterday,
smelling the clear fresh air,
I thought,
“I guess this is a nightmare.”

Yesterday,
in the beautiful autumn landscape,
I thought,
“I wish I could escape.”

Yesterday,
stepping into the dirt,
I thought,
“Why does it hurt?”

Yesterday,
it is passing by.
I think…
I don’t know why.

The second poem was written half a year later when I had just turned 17 and I had fallen in love with a guy I remained in love with for the rest of my school years there (although never requited).

Swimming,
in a lake.
It is peaceful.
Going on,
with the river.
It is enjoyable.
Coming out,
to the sea.
I’m losing strength.
Suddenly,
it is an ocean.
I can’t get out!
I’m drowning
in my thoughts.
I’m thinking of you.

Yep, pretty angsty stuff! I actually remember writing that second one pretty quickly, like it was all there and ready, waiting to flow out. That’s the way I like them, quite short and sweet and with a meaning I can easily interpret. I’m not that much of a poery fan, although I do like some. Poems always need to make some sort of immediate sense to me and I don’t like puzzling over them for ages, trying to figure them out. I guess I’m more of a prose girl, which is why I never really honed the poetry craft.

So, these are what they are and it’s been fun, but now that these old writings have been documented, it’s off to better things. 🙂

Sizzling

The final season of Lucifer (season 6) will air from September 10th. There’s a trailer of sorts, which is made up of material of all previous seasons except for the very last scene. It actually is a lovely little fan video…

After I saw that little promo, I also came across this Lucifer season 5 blooper reel…

… and from that I sourced this Tom Ellis gif, which I found amusing. It pretty much says ‘thanks for your attention but please let me read.’

It somehow makes me think of this Tom Hiddleston as Loki fan video someone made years ago about Loki not wanting to be disturbed while he’s reading a book. I just love this.

I can very much relate to that sentiment because once I really get engrossed in a book, I hate putting it down and I resent everything and everyone that keeps me from reading, that includes work, family or even sleep. It really is one of the reasons I don’t read as many books as I used to – I can’t always do so uninterrupted, so it often seems wiser not to start at all and keep my attention on things I can finish in an evening.

Anyway, what I really wanted to share was this gif I sourced from that blooper reel yesterday evening (one of those things I was able to finish without interruption and study on loop as well): a very sizzling D.B. Woodside. I just adore the twitch of the eyebrows at the end and how his eyes go from playful to, well, sizzling…

This makes me go a little weak in the knees. I must remember to use it often on evenings when I am not reading.

Canadian residential schools

You may have heard it on the news this past week that the remains of 215 children were found on the grounds of a residential school in Canada. Residential schools were compulsory boarding schools run by the government and religious authorities during the 19th and 20th centuries with the aim of forcibly assimilating indigenous youth.

I knew these awful schools had existed but I thought only in Australia. It was only on Anne with an E that I realized these schools had also existed in Canada, right up into the 1970s! In season 3 of Anne with an E the character of Ka’kwet (Kiawenti:io Tarbell), a girl from the Mi’kmaq tribe, was introduced…

… and her storyline broke my heart. Hers was the story of a First Nations girl who goes to a residential school full of hope at first but then quickly gets confronted with the horrible reality of these schools. Even though she tries to, she can not escape. Someone made a video about her storyline on the show. At one point a priest says, “God willing, we kill the Indian but save the child” and that line alone just broke my heart. It is included in this video…

The story of Ka’kwet on Anne with an E ends with her being stuck in residential school, her parents camping out near the school and Anne and Matthew going home heartbroken, vowing to start a letter campaign to get her out. Fans, like me, are seeking a better ending for Ka’kwet than she got. A Mi’kma’ki woman wrote a beautiful piece in 2019 just after the show was canceled on how frustrating it is that Ka’kwet never got a real resolution due to the premature cancelation and I’m with her. Showrunner Moira Walley-Beckett has said before that it is impossible to give Ka’kwet an undamaged happy ending as that would not be realistic and she is right. Still, I feel she would have given her some sort of real resolution had the show been allowed to continue and I still really want to see that. So yes, this is another reason why Anne with an E still needs to be renewed.

Today on Twitter Corrine Koslo, who so brilliantly plays Rachel Lynde on the show, shared this…

I’ve been watching these testimonials and it is impossible for me to grasp that these schools existed in my lifetime. Vivian, one of the women giving her testimony, is my age and the effects on her life are harrowing.

In 2008 and in 2017 apologies were made to the First Nations people of Canada and some reparations have also been made. The awful news of finding the remains of these 215 children now has brought this history to the forefront all over the world and that is a good thing. It is important to know what happened (there is some good background info about Canadian residential schools on Wikipedia) and to listen. Of course, we humans do not easily learn to be more tolerant of the other (I’m thinking specifically of Uyghur camps in China right now that are aimed at indoctrinating Uyghurs and other Muslims and eradicating their culture and religion) but I still hope that from knowledge eventually healing and wisdom will come that ends these savage discriminatory practices.