Anonymous said: Were you a child prodigy?
I was a reasonably good elementary school student (although certainly not the best in my class), and then a not-very-good middle school student, and then a poor student for much of high school. (I failed my junior English class, and had to write essays about The Bluest Eye and Twelfth Night over the summer to get a D.)
Some of this had to do with intellectual challenges: I was a bit behind the curve when it came to abstractions. Like, I could not handle the idea of the equation x + 2 = 4, because x is not a number, so how is that even possible? My struggle with abstractions was also seen in my study of literature and anything that couldn’t be, like, memorized. (I’ve always been a pretty good speller, for instance.)
Some of my troubles in school also had to do with what in retrospect were social and mental health challenges. But I was very lucky to have teachers who saw a lot of potential in me and refused to give up on me, even when I was defiant and annoying and set off fireworks outside their bedroom windows. (Do not do this. It is not cool. It is just annoying.)
That said, I think it’s an oversimplification to say that I was a “troubled child” or whatever. By college, I was engaged and interested in many of my subjects and became, as my favorite college professor once called me, “a solid B+ kind of fellow.”
I don’t think it’s fair to see some kids as merely smart and others as merely troubled, or to think that kids who are performing poorly in school are simply miscreants/stupid/whatever. (It’s also unfair to portray kids who perform well in school or who have expansive vocabularies or whatever as inherently untroubled.)
Of course, none of this should be an excuse to give up. It can be really hard to try to stay engaged in school/learning/anything, especially when you don’t have the kind of support I was lucky to enjoy. But it’s also worth it. Learning is hard, and learning how to learn is hard, and it doesn’t happen overnight. It really is something that we have to do for a lifetime—or, more optimistically, that we get to do for a lifetime.
Anonymous said: "It's a metaphor" I have no doubt that you completely understand and stand by this statement that the act of putting an unlit cigarette in Augustus Waters' mouth is in fact a metaphor. But for some folks, we don't see it asa metaphor, we see it as situational irony, or a simple statement. Please explain how it is a metaphor.
Well, a character in a novel saying that something is a metaphor is not the same thing as the author of the novel saying that it’s a metaphor. Gus’s intellectual grasp often exceeds his reach (he calls a monologue a soliloquy, and misuses quite a few of the bigger words in his vocabulary). But I do think the cigarette is a metaphor, albeit a different one for us than it is for him.
Gus’s idea is that the cigarette is a metaphor for illness, and he keeps it unlit and in his mouth as an expression of his power over illness. “You put the killing thing between your teeth but you don’t give it the power to do its killing.” Gus’s thinking here is that HE has the power. This is why he tends to use the cigarette when he’s feeling nervous or powerless. (He’s also using the most famous commercially available carcinogen to make this statement, so obviously there’s a connection there in his mind: Humans can prevent cancer by not smoking; cancer is something we can have power over; your job is not to give cancer the power to kill you; etc.)
But of course Gus is wrong about all of this, or at least almost all of it. You may have SOME control over whether you die of cancer (you can choose not to smoke), but in most cases humans don’t have control over illness. “You don’t give it the power to do its killing” imagines more agency over illness than we actually have, because in the end much of the fault is in the stars, not in ourselves. So to us, the unlit cigarette is a metaphor for our false perception of control, and our urgent need to feel in control. It’s no coincidence, then, that when Gus’s life is spiraling out of control and he finds himself powerless before fate, he tries (and fails) to buy cigarettes.
*strangled cry*NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO.But also YES.Because for me this is a pretty important part of the final battle. A lot of folks accused JKR of just wanting to kill people off, and Lupin and Tonks were one of the major “sins” in that category. But for me, one of the major themes of her books is vicious cycle of violence, and another is the ways ordinary people can break that cycle. It’s important that we know that Harry doesn’t stop all the pain, that he’s not the last war orphan. Just like the first War, parents and adults have to make choices, choices with consequences.Like James and Lily, Lupin and Tonks didn’t risk their lives to defeat Voldemort. They gave their lives for each other, because no one person should bear the weight of the sacrifice. They gave their lives for their son, who deserved a better world. They gave their lives for love, not for victory.I think it’s important to see the ways Voldemort’s evil creates these cycles, children taken from their parents and parents taken from their children, again and again. I think it’s an important sobering note in the victory—yes, this time Voldemort is really dead, but there’s another baby this time, another infant who will never know his beautiful, wonderful parents because of Voldemort and his message of hate and violence. Another child who will grow up wondering where he came from, what his parents were like, what would be different if they were alive.But it’s also beautiful that Teddy will have such a different experience. And his experience will not be different because Voldemort is “really gone.” His experience will be different because his grandmother will tell him about his brilliant mom. Because Harry will tell him about his wonderful dad. Because Harry will help him deal with his pain and loss, be a sympathetic ear who understands what it’s like to grow up without your parents. Because the Weasleys will welcome him as another grandchild, and he’ll grow up with Victoire to throw dirt at, and James as a little brother. His experience won’t be different because Harry won a war, it will be different because of love.That’s the whole story of Harry Potter. Sometimes we have to fight for what’s right, but what really makes life worth living and what really changes the world isn’t magic or power or moral superiority. It’s love.
Cas: “Dean, who’s that?”
Impala: “Hi. You can call me baby.”
Dean: “Only I can call you baby!”
Guys, I just checked and:
how many notes does this need for it to be canon?
SOMEONE TELL THE THING
I NEED THIS
I’M NOT EVEN THAT MUCH IN THIS FANDOM AND I NEED THIS!@!!
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEAEE!!!!!!
I’ll leave this here to illustrate more the idea
OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD