A Book Only a Reader Could Write

So I wanted to publish this post yesterday, but my computer and I weren’t on the best speaking terms. We have since resolved that issue.

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And the computer has since then come along to my way of thinking. So sorry if I’m a day behind, but better late than never!

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Some books you read and you just know that there was no way this book could ever exist unless the author grew up as a huge fan of reading.

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Such as Matilda by Roald Dahl. Only someone who grew up reading could create a character that gave a voice to all us bibliophiles out there.

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Or Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. Only someone who truly loved to read could create the most dismal future, a time when books are outlawed and destroyed. The book is full of glimpses into what might actually happen, unless we take the time to read and value the thoughts and creations found between the pages.

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Well The Neverending Story, by Michael Ende, is definitely one of those books.

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The book was first published in 1979 and then translated into English in 1983. As this is it anniversary, thankfully pointed out by Google, I thought it deserved no less than a post by me.

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The story was such a big part of my childhood, with book and film.

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So the book begins with young Bastian Balthazar Bux; a shy, awkward, introvert:

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Who has been grieving over the loss of his mother and feels disconnected from his father.

Aw, man.

Aw.

He doesn’t really have any friends and is bullied at school. The one thing that Bastian does have is his books.

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With their help he is able to escape reality:

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And here is reason number one why this book is awesome and proof, author Ende must have been a reader; he just understands us so well. I mean even today I still like to escape my reality with a good book:

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Anyways, so Bastian is being chased by bullies when he runs into a bookstore owned by Carl Conrad Coreander. While hiding out, he spots the book The Neverending Story.

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Bastian just has to have the book, but the ornery shop owner doesn’t seem interested in the idea of selling, and such a book that would be far too expensive. So Bastian does something he has never done before, he steals it.

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He runs up to school, deciding to hide away in the attic, reading the story and being thrust into the world of Fantastica (Fantasia in the film).

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Fantastica is falling apart. The dark nothing is destroying it, piece by piece until it will fade away and there will be nothing left. Only one thing can save them; the childlike empress has chosen Atreyu, a native of the plains, to search throughout Fantastica to discover what can be done. As Bastian reads, he becomes more and more involved with the characters. So wrapped up in the book he stays throughout all his periods, in the cold, all the while starving.

Or class. Or lunch. Or anything!

Or class. Or lunch. Or anything!

But that’s silly. They aren’t real people.

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But yet, the characters do seem real. And it almost seems as if they know he exists and is part of the journey with them.

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When Atreyu is traveling he hears what the salvation of Fantastica is:

Born of the Word, the children of man,

Or humans, as they’re sometimes called,

Have had the gift of giving names

Ever since the worlds began,

In every age it’s they who gave

The Childlike Empress life,

For wondrous new names have the power to save.

But now for many and many a day,

No human has visited Fantastica,

For they no longer know the way.

They have forgotten how real we are,

They don’t believe in us anymore.

Oh, if only one child of man would come,

Oh, then at last the thing would be done.”

But where to find such a human child?

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Atreyu continues on his journeys, getting help from Falkor, the luck dragon.

One of the best parts of the book, at least I think so, is when Atreyu faces Gmork, the werewolf. Gmork has become an agent of the Nothing, trying to destroy Fantastica and along with it the human world. Without Fantastica, the world is filled with lies instead of truth, despair instead of hope, destruction instead of creation; pretty much containing nothing.

I love this part as it shows why stories and books are so important. They help us create, they give us hope, dreams, ideas, etc. We need stories, we need hope, we need it as much as we need life.

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And we need to start reading at a young age; so we can have the foundations to fight against all the darkness we will face as we grew older.

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So Atreyu returns to the Empress, defeated. He has no way to stop the nothing. He has failed.

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But the empress is not upset at all. In fact, she says that Atreyu has fulfilled his mission. He has brought a human child here through all his adventures. And she is talking about Bastian!

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The reader has been called into the story? And not just called, but the hero! How cool is that! And how awesome if that could happen. Can you just imagine if the characters started talking to you in the middle of your favorite story?

So cool, I want it to be true.

So cool, I want it to be true.

This is my favorite part of the book, the second half isn’t as strong (in my opinion) as the first half. But still one great book.

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The movie was just as amazing. Now they did make changes, but I thought it kept the soul and heart of the book. I used to watch it over and over.

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Even now I cannot think or say the words “Neverending Story” without singing them like in the film’s song.

I recently showed the film to my niece and realized I am not only like Bastian, but Coreander. Yes, I have the soul of an old curmudgeon who doesn’t like the youth’s fascination with technology rather than books.

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The rest of the story is just as beautiful, fascinating, adventurous, and powerful. And don’t forget the end of the film when the childlike Empress is talking right to you.  Shivers run up and down my spine, it is so good.

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I mean I feel like she is talking right to me!

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The other movies I didn’t really enjoy, but that first one was a true winner.

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So there you have it. One amazing book that I am glad existed to become a part of my childhood, in both print and on the screen.

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And you can bet your boots I will most definitely be checking out the film Sunday when they rerelease it in theaters. Don’t worry childlike Empress, Fantastic/Fantasia will always exist as long as I am alive!

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For more on The Neverending Story, go to The Neverending Story

For more anniversary posts, go to Here’s to Another Year

For more book-filled posts, go to A World of Teas

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For more Roald Dahl, go to We Shall Rule the World!

For more Ray Bradbury, go to Baby Jane Austen

For more Ernest Hemingway, go to Fiction or Reality? I Choose Fiction

For more Markus Zusak, go to Portrait of a Fangirl

For more Richard Marek, go to Crazy Book Lady

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The End: Goodbye Michael, Goodbye

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All things must come to an end. And as stated before, my relationship with Michael has ended and with that any more posts about him. It’s time to fully move on. We had the Verne Saga, the Michael Drama, and now its time to move onto something completely new.

It’s hard to fully move on as I was counting down the days until I would see him again and couldn’t wait until I was home and could spend time with him. I was totally the guy in If It Means A Lot to Youor All My Lovin“. There are some days when I do great, and others when all I can think of is what could have been, what I could be doing with him. Some days I feel very much like Shawn Spencer in the Psych episode “Right Turn or Left For Dead“.

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The hardest thing is not knowing exactly what happened that made him change his feelings for me. I keep contrasting the old Michael; (the Michael that played the piano for me, would text me cute things, the one that had to see me so much that he skyped me on his vacation, who spent all his evenings and some days with me, was waiting for the right moment to kiss me, who was excited to take me out on a “real” date, the guy who I had trouble getting him to stop talking to me on the phone); to the Michael that started ignoring me, and was so emotionally detached and standoffish. I just don’t know what happened.

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I mean I was terrified to try a long-distance relationship as I thought it wouldn’t work out, but he was so secure and sure, he made me believe it and I don’t know what made him change his mind.

I went and returned some of his stuff and asked him what happened, but he wouldn’t answer me until I harshly pressed him. He told me that 1) I wasn’t the person he wanted to marry. This really threw me as matrimony was the furthest thing from my mind. I mean we had only  been dating 5 months of which only 2 did we interact everyday with each other (the other 3 we were apart), and I think that is waaaay  too short a time to be thinking of marriage. There was still so much we needed to learn about each other. We needed time to grow our relationship and be a couple before marriage could even be thrown on the table. I mean, how could he even know with that short of time? At the beginning of our relationship I mentioned that so many of my friends were getting married and having babies and that I was no where near ready for that anytime soon. I mean if he really wanted to get married, wouldn’t he have just have not dated me? I mean we talked about HIMYM and I told him how Ted’s constant falling in love and trying to marry girls who did not want to be married constantly annoyed me, and he agreed with me.  I know I never tried to pressure him into thinking we had to get engaged. I never even tried to pressure him into saying I love you. I never asked for a promise ring or any jewelry. I really feel that this is a copout.

He also told me that 2)”we were too different”. I don’t know why he would say that, as in the summer we “were so much alike“. I tried to press him on what was different and he couldn’t give any definite answer just kept repeating “we are too different”. I don’t understand what was so different; we both are human, grew up in church, lived in the same town, have suffered from addictions, are the youngest in our families, have similar morals, beliefs, values, and political thoughts/ideologies; loved to read similar stuff, watch the same type of movies, etc. I mean I don’t drink, but that’s not like I  judge anyone who does. I don’t have tattoos, but I never said anything about his other than when I said that the process looked extremely painful. I don’t know what he thought I wouldn’t be able to understand or empathize.

 He also said 3) he was  too aloof for me, and I demanded too much of his time. All I was asking for was 20mins a week to talk or skype, some texting, and seeing him once a month when I visited home. I don’t know where he will find any girl less dependent or consuming of one’s time. I actually don’t mind spending time by myself and doing my own thing, I missed him though and wanted to be with him. Besides when I was there this summer not only did he tell me how he hated being alone (kinda cancels out being aloof) but he spent practically every day with me, and I did not force him to do that.
I feel like the song The End” by Silverstein, “you broke my heart, you promised me the moon and stars. I fell for your dreams. I fell for your lies.”
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He told me so many things and I believed him. He talked about our future, making plans, and he didn’t come through. And the worst thing of all, he knew he wanted to break up with me, but didn’t have the courage to say anything. He lead me on. He allowed me to think nothing was wrong and let me plan spending my winter break with him. I searched for a perfect Christmas present for him, and when I texted him I had it, he already knew that he had no plans to spend Christmas with me. He knew that my Grandfather died and he said nothing. Any decent person would be there for someone who was hurting, but he just ignored me and my pain. It wasn’t immediate but for a while I just wanted to slap him or hit him. The song “Blow” by Atreyu describes how I felt about him.
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But now I’ve gotten past that. I’ve forgiven him for what he did and how he hurt me. I really cared about him, and as pathetic as it might sound to some, I genuinely hope that he finds happiness, and someone to care about him as much as I did. I actually am starting to feel bad for him, as I know that I will find someone else who will treat me how I deserve, but he will have lost out on me. He’ll never find another girlfriend who didn’t care about his past, only the present and future. One who never pressed him about things in the past he didn’t want to discuss, but waited until he wanted to share. Who didn’t care that he couldn’t take her on a “real date” as she didn’t care about money but spending time with him. Who never judged or criticized him. Who always supported and encouraged him. Who sent him care packages, even though she was the one that was “away”. He will never find someone who will listen to all his hurts and insercurties and do everything in her power to make sure that she doesn’t contribute to them, but try and help him overcome them. I mean at times I felt like telling him that I had other guys very interested in me, but I knew he had previous relationships were the girls broke his trust and I didn’t want to to that. He will never, ever, ever, find a girl who when they broke up never told him about the hurt and bitterness he caused her, but tried to encourage him all the way in the end, sharing instead all the things she loved about him. Who told him that she loved him, not as a ploy to get back together or make him feel guilty, but because she did and because she honestly wished for his happiness. What can I say, I’m one in a million and he is going to miss out on me.
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It’s funny, because when we started our relationship it reminded me of Lloyd and Diane from Say Anything. Michael was Lloyd, very adorable, easygoing, friendly, impulsive, full of life experiences, etc. And I was a much nicer version of the more structured, focused, not as socially experienced, more of a loner Diane. But somewhere along the way, I became Lloyd, and Michael Diane. Just like in the film,  something happenedc to change how Michael/Diane felt about the relationship, and instead of talking about it  they decided to break it off. Like Lloyd, I did a final move, although not nearly as epic as his boombox move. I was working on a CD to tell Michael how I felt about him as I was planning on dropping the L-Bomb on our fifth anniversary. We broke up two weeks before that, and I was going to delete the playlist, but finished and dropped it off asking him to just listen to it. He told me once that he always listens to any CD given to him twice, and I hope he listens to this one as nothing could better describe how I felt about him.
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Now not everything was bad about what happened. I’ve always been afraid of commitment and allowing someone into that space of my life and with Michael I learned how to care, trust, and let down emotional walls. And except for the last three weeks of our relationship (when he started to ignore me), Michael was a pretty great boyfriend. He really made my summer special and I am so thankful for that, as it is the best summer I’ve ever had. I also found out that I am capable of long-distance relationships, as I never thought I would be able to. But I cared about him so deeply that while the distance was long and sad at times, it was worth it. And it was nice having a very intelligent, funny, attractive, sweet guy as my boyfriend, as short as it was. Plus he introduced me to some great bands. I’ve always liked all types of music (besides rap), but most of my musical knowledge ends in 1989, and he opened me up to some great stuff. I love A Day to Remember, Silverstein, Atreyu, Chiodos, Three Days Grace, My Chemical Romance, Streetlight Manifestoand Avenged Sevenfold. I found a a7x sweater in a thrift store and almost bought it, but it was white and I always ruin my white sweaters. 😦 He had been lending me his CDs to check out the music, and I  (of course) had to return them to him. I then went to the library and put holds on everything they had from these bands.

It’s been about a month since we broke up and still hurts. This describes perfectly how I feel.

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I know I’ll find someone else and I won’t settle for anything less than a Lloyd, Mr. Tilney, or  any of the amazing men in my Romance is in the Air series (or part II). I’ll be okay. The hardest thing is that there was this guy Martin who liked me when I was dating Michael, and when I let him know I had a boyfriend he backed off. As soon as he found out Michael and I broke up, he immediately upped his game. All the attention, the flirting he’s doing, etc.; hurts. It’s not coming from who I wanted it to be from. But in time I know I will heal. It won’t be easy, but I know I’ll come through this okay.

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