Monday, June 9, 2014

Angel's Rest and The Fault in our Stars

I didn't blog yesterday, June 8, 2014,
 breaking my challenge to myself.
But it's ok.

This will be a two for one blog post!

Angel's Rest:
I spent Sunday morning fast hiking  
up Angel's Rest
with Miko, our husky.
We soaked in the view from the top.
The trail was full of weekenders
some asking me where the trail led,
where the summit was, 
how much longer to the top? 

It thrills me to see people out there,
especially children.

Miko and I jogged down.
I feel fit and ready for Uganda and Mt. Kilimanjaro,

My biggest challenge will be mental.
Usual for me.

I celebrated a friend's 50th after my Angel's Rest jaunt.
"Welcome to my decade, Linda!"

Took my son to an incoming freshman church BBQ and then...

The Fault In Our Stars:

Though I was tired 
I went to see The Fault In Our Stars
with my Baby Girl.

We got home at midnight.
I haven't read the book.

I liked the movie, 
though I found fault.
(Pun intended)

It lacked depth.
Maybe I need to read the book.

I liked glimpsing inside the minds of teens who are dying,
teens who know their lives will be short.
I liked many of the quotes.

I liked Hazel Grace's no nonsense reality
and Augustus Water's 
sense of hope and desire to live life LARGE
trying to be remembered.
They each had something the other needed.
This was sweet.

The parent's anxious protectiveness
and attempt to stay positive was spot on.
Hazel Grace's need to know her mom and dad
were going to be ok when she was gone was truthful.
Nonetheless, the parent's characters felt flat to me.

It skimmed the surface of the complicated emotions
 of each character
as they dealt with the reality of their impending death 
or loss of something,
like a leg,
ability to breathe.

I did see the shallow,
trite commenting,
guitar playing,
"literally in the Heart of Jesus" Christian
 teen support group leader as genuine.
Sad, but True.

But it's what I would expect
from a "teenie bopper" movie.
Maybe I need to read the book.

 I understood what they were trying to explore,
but it could have been so much more.
Maybe that intensity of complicated emotions
can only be reached in reality.

(Spoiler Alert)
I knew Augustus would die before Hazel Grace
 the minute he named his cancer,
 Sarcomas are relentless.

 I loved hating the author,
Van Houten
 who lost hope in life,
  was an alcoholic asshole,
relegating Hazel and Gus's lives
to nothing more than evolutionary mutations.
I've met people like this.
I pity them.

I loved hearing the Anne Frank quotes
as Hazel Grace pushed her limits climbing
the stairs and ladders of the Anne Frank House.
I found the quotes to be fitting to what
Augustus and Hazel were dealing with as dying teens.
I balked at their first kiss and the people around them clapping
as they stood in what I feel is sacred space.
Only solemnity,
heavy heartbreaking awe
should fill that place.

But what Hollywood can never get right
is the reality of death's face.
Augustus did not look like he was dying,
even with makeup.
Neither did Hazel Grace.

real death is not pretty.
 I know what dying from cancer looks like.
They were too beautiful.
My mind never accepted they were dying.

For me,
My Sister's Keeper
was a more powerful attempt to tell the story of childhood cancer,
though it too missed the mark.

In both movies,
the actors who supposedly have cancer
didn't look like the many children and teens
I've seen walking the halls of pediatric cancer clinics.
Yes, Hollywood shaves their heads,
but they never shave their eyelashes and eyebrows.
They are not believable to me.

And I found it easy and distracting as I
searched for the extras
who actually had cancer.

For me
the movie didn't touch the depth of pain cancer causes
its victims and those who love them 
nor the profound grief that arises long after the person has either
died or survived.

Hollywood just can't help romanticizing death and even cancer.

I was the oldest person sitting in that theater,
sobs of the young women around me was
kind of funny,
and yet
I worried for these young romantic hearted girls.
As I drove away last night,
I wondered...

When death and/or cancer comes into their lives
for real
will they be shocked and angry it's not like the movies?

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