The Lost Thing: A Book That Will Break Your Heart

First things first, I’ll have you know that I very rarely cry while reading books. Yes, they can make me extremely sad or angry or ecstatic or confused, but it is very rare for me to come across a book that makes me shed a tear or two. Except for Bridge to Terabithia. God, that book makes me gush like a little girl. And of course, the final Harry Potter book for obvious reasons. With the exception of those two books, I have never cried while reading. Until yesterday. As I was sifting through my enormous pile of children’s books which I really should get rid of, but can’t bear to part with, I came across a very special and peculiar book – The Lost Thing by Shaun Tan.

Set in a bleak dystopian near-future, the story follows a strange, lonely boy who discovers a “lost thing” while collecting bottles on the beach – a large, freakish creature which looks like a cross between a huge pot-bellied stove and a giant squid. Having guessed that it is lost, the boy tries to find out who owns it or where it belongs, but the problem is met with indifference by everyone else, who barely notice it’s presence. Each is unhelpful in their own way; strangers, friends, parents are all unwilling to entertain this uninvited interruption to day-to-day life. In spite of his better judgement, the boy feels sorry for this hapless creature, and attempts to find out where it belongs.

For some reason, as I was sitting next to my bookshelf flicking though the beautifully-illustrated pages of this book, I found myself crying uncontrollably. Perhaps it was the idea of a world drained of colour and life; a joyless Orwellian future of uniform houses and faceless figures. Perhaps it was the idea of not belonging anywhere, of being treated with indifference. Or perhaps it was simply the idea of not noticing anymore.

In short, this book is everything a good book should be – sad, whimsical and poignant and I strongly encourage all of you to take a look at it. If you are interested at all, here is a link to the short film based on the book and narrated by Tim Minchin. Enjoy and let me know what you think about this wonderful work!

 

 

I wish my life was a musical…

A few days ago, I decided to go for a run for the first time in two months. Ugh, bad idea. Anyway, back to my point – as I was running  crawling up the hill, it occurred to me how much more bearable exercise in 30-degree heat would be if the people around me would just spontaneously start singing some motivational power ballad and erupt into perfectly-choreographed dance. Yes, there are times when I wish my life was a musical. Jazz hands and all.

Just to clarify, I’m not a fan of High School Musical, nor am I a closet Gleek; however, I sometimes catch myself wishing that my life had a soundtrack. Or even better, that my life was just one big, brassy, show-stopping musical. Not that my life is anywhere near as exciting as Velma Kelly’s or Jean Valjean’s.

I just wish that I could randomly burst into song at any given moment and would be instantly accompanied by an 80-piece orchestra and a chorus of insane vocal harmonies. I wish that I could deal with all of my issues just by singing about them. I wish that the Von Trapp children would miraculously drop out of the trees dressed in curtain-clothes singing ‘Do-Re-Mi’ and nobody would raise an eyebrow. I wish that I could solve a problem like Maria.

Unfortunately though, we don’t live in a world where happy endings, fairytale romance and Bollywood dance numbers are inevitable. Our world is much crueler and certainly not as fabulous. I don’t live on Avenue Q, nor am I the Demon Barber of Fleet Street. I don’t drive around in a Cadillac singing ‘Grease Lighting’ and Billy Flynn is not my lawyer. My best friends are not Timon and Pumba and Mufassa certainly isn’t my father. But it is fun to dream… I must resist the temptation to quote ‘I Dreamed A Dream from Les Miserables. 

I am a terrible, terrible person…

I am a terrible person…

I am a terrible person…

I am a terrible person…

I am a terrible person…

For almost the entire duration of my two-month long trip to Europe, this was the thought running through my head every time I even thought about my blog. I know I said that I would keep you updated on my adventures, but that turned out to be a BIG lie. In fact, I failed to provide even a single update for two months. TWO MONTHS. Not even one measly comment.

The funny thing is, I don’t know why I resisted writing for so long. Maybe it was because I wanted to get away from everything. I suppose for two months, I didn’t want to care what people thought of me. And even worse, I didn’t want to write. Not once did I feel the desire to write anything. No blog posts, journal entries, stories, poems, song lyrics… Nothing. Also, I didn’t speak a word of English for the entire trip which made it somewhat difficult to think in English, let alone write in it.

It is only now that I am back at home in Australia that I have come to realise how much I miss writing. So, to anybody reading this post, I’m really truly sorry for having disappointed you and this year, I want to make every effort to post regularly. Last year was very hectic and I fear that this year won’t be much better with regards to my school-workload; however, I have come to the conclusion that writing is something that one should always make time for. And that, my friends, is my New Years resolution. To write more. 

Once again, I apologise profusely for having failed to keep my promise and it won’t happen again! Now, on the brighter side, I had the most incredible trip of my life. Over the course of two months, I flew around the world and back again. I learnt how to say more than “je ne comprends pas, je suis anglais, YA HEY!’ in French, which I am ecstatic about. I ate fresh croissants in Montmartre and watched the sun rise over Paris. I climbed to the top of the Eiffel Tower for the first time in my life. Well, I didn’t really climb it – I took the elevator. Shhh! I sang at the top of my lungs in a church in Nuremberg, which I have wanted to do since I was five. I went sledding, made the world’s most hideous snowman and had the world’s greatest snowball fight all in one day. I went ice skating on a frozen lake. I experienced Berlin over New Years at the Brandenburg Gate with over a million people from all over the world. I saw the Cologne Chamber Orchestra play Albinoni’s Adagio in G Minor in Muenster. I went on a bike ride in the Black Forest. I flew all the way from Australia to Germany alone (my very first international trip on my own!). I listened to the entire Harry Potter soundtrack from the first three movies on the train to Paris because I felt like I was going to Hogwarts. I ate the spiciest food of my life in Bangkok. I went kayaking in Ko Chang – a very beautiful, remote island in Thailand. Oh, and I almost conquered my enormous to-read list. So… yeah. That is a very brief summary of my trip. Doesn’t make up for my big, fat failed promise, but at least you know what I have been up to. Not that you really care.

Adieu!