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Ironic Contradictions

I'm a long time reader - since way back when I was seven. That makes it over three quarters of my life that I will be a reader for. But it is worth it. When I'm not reading or wasting my time online on here or Goodreads I'll be off playing video games, studying teaching and messing around with friends and pop culture. Or reading some more.

An Update

It has been a figurative lifetime since I last wrote on this blog. In this time I have begun blogging with the blogger platform at jterrington22.blogspot.com.au, discussing my thoughts on writing, literature and also my beliefs. 

 

During this year I have lacked time for many of the pursuits of the last few years. I became a full-time provisional teacher and have been training in so many different little areas, learning not simply how to teach but how to teach more effectively. The process of correcting and editing student's work is a wonderful tool for editing my own work and philosophies.

 

I became a married man also, as of June 25th this year, with my wife settling with me in the country here in Victoria. We have recently purchased (well begun the long process of purchasing) our first home and been attending a church here where we are about to start working in the children's ministry. She has enjoyed the lifestyle here and been offered additional training which will help her career overall.

 

That's all for now, I'll chip in with another update from time to time, however if you are looking for my reviews of books or anything else please check out my blog over at jterrington22.blogspot.com.au or my goodreads profile. Or if you want some other ways to join me online I can now be found on Xbox Live under the gaming tag of Mistborn22. 

I haven't been here for ages but I just wanted to let everyone know that I got a job, got engaged and will be holding my wedding in June 25th 2016! Also I wrote the lyrics to this song that was turned into a music video at church. Have a look here if you want to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HlGZXNVWOHQ&feature=youtu.be

New Blog Post

I guess this explains my worldview at the moment. Also in other news I've been busy with my school placement and reading/buying books from time to time as I can... http://jterrington22.blogspot.com.au/2015/08/what-is-christian-to-do-in-world-that.html
I discovered the cool website that is bitly by the way for shortening urls. This above becomes: http://bit.ly/1gZuqPu

 

A Blog Post

For those of you who enjoyed my faith based blog posts in the past: http://jterrington22.blogspot.com.au/2015/07/superheroic-grace.html

As for myself I'm well and going great with faith, life and love. Ask me more in the comments below and I will respond with details :)

A New Blog Post

I was quite inspired for this post. I've been inspired in general lately and this is the fruit of that: http://jterrington22.blogspot.com.au/2015/06/for-smaller-and-greater-prize.html

Also, check out my instagram for my latest pick ups in terms of book buys, pop culture collectibles and so on. I'm not using Booklikes so much. Nor am I really super active on Goodreads aside from the reviewing every now and again. My girlfriend, church, work and a more balanced life take up too much productive time for that :) :

https://instagram.com/jonathanterrington22/

So in short, I guess that life has been good as always and I may not be checking in here for another month or so. But whenever I do, I hope someone out there will wave a friendly hand in greeting. Keep on reading, keep on living and keep on challenging yourselves! Catch you everyone :)

An Update

I've been away from here for a while. That's mainly because of my busy life, but I thought I would provide some brief update to any of my friends who moved across to this platform from Goodreads or who I met here.

In short, I'm extremely busy due to a mixture of things. The first is that I found a wonderful woman to love - she's a reader, thinker, explorer and most important of all she loves God first and foremost. Perhaps that might sound all naive and fluffy to some, but to me it's what really counts. Yes I think she's incredibly beautiful but her real beauty lies within.

So I've been pretty busy travelling the hour's journey between us routinely and introducing her to friends and family. It's nearing her birthday so I've also been trying to plan something for that but we'll see... I'm also very busy with uni given that it is my last year and God-willing I graduate with flying colours. All my essays have succeeded to this point, all I need is to have the same success with practicums...

And for those who are interested, I gave out my spiritual thoughts blog address in my second last post 'Getting A Little Closer'. I'm now starting up a second blog also using blogspot called 'Ironic Contradictions' like my site name here. You can view that blog at ironiccontradictionslit.blogspot.com and yeah I should have my first post up about the literacy of empathy later on tonight. Hope everyone else is busy enjoying life and finding true meaning in it all!

January

So far I've got my reading habits more on track. I've read two books when in December I hardly read anything... Not that I've found any books yet to blow me away :(
I'm also starting my writing on my creative fiction story that I hope to get a whole chunk done of...

2014 Has Been A Great Year

Just a link to my other blog talking about the things I have learnt this year. I hope you all have a great New Year's celebration and have had a fantastic year. Even if you haven't I hope that next year may be a distinct improvement.

A Brief Explanation

So...there is a reason why I've been more or less quiet recently on here. It's been to do with being so incredibly social. I've been out and about and rarely home with time to read. And when I have been home I've been watching films, television shows or playing some kind of sport or game. 

In short, I've recognised that there is more to life than books. Hahaha, well I always knew that anyway, it's just that I've reorganised a couple of priorities to be focusing on people. People I love and care about who need me to be there for them right now. Emphasis on the love side of things if you get what I mean. So yes, I'm kind of in love - just a touch...

Ah well...God is guiding me. I know I promised that my new blog was for those kinds of spiritual posts but it's a side of me. I'm not saying I'm stopping the reading - I will never do that, nor lose the passion for what books contain. It's just that really in the end, people are my true passion and they are why I read and do the things I do.

You understand that after all right?

New Blog Site!

So, I've decided to keep my posts here to more literary matters. Which means the usual literary philosophical ideals, book posts, occasional info about what is going on in life. It's been more hectic now that I've finished uni for the year than it was before ironically! But for spiritual ideas you can follow my blogger site I've just set up: http://jterrington22.blogspot.com.au/

I've previously posted links to my twitter and instagram if people care about that. I honestly care more about keeping in touch with people in the real world though so my twitter is very irregular. But I do like posting thoughts from time to time. 

Books and Films that Have Shaped My Life

There was a post that was doing the rounds on Facebook a while back about books that you will never forget. It fascinated me to stop and see what types of books people ended up posting about. The goal was to be quick, to just let your first thoughts propel you into making a choice about the books and really in the end it showed how the artistry of certain books had shaped the lives of my friends.

 

Interestingly, my favourite books and my favourite films (those which have shaped my life) tend to be ones which are full of mixtures of different recipes of emotion, ideologies, theology and overall beauty. There is something grand and epic within them and a deeper yearning and hope stands in the background of the story - that hope that whispers that there is something more to life than mediocrity. So here - without further ado as the Bard once wrote - are ten books which have shaped my life with a brief reason.

10. The Hunger Games: Not the best book ever written, but the book I needed to read at the time I did to be reminded of what it was I love about fiction.

 

9. The Wheel of Time: At the time I began the entire series (though I count them as one here for spanning an entire single story) I needed something new to read in terms of fantasy. I found it with this!

 

8. 1984: A book that taught me about the power of philosophy mixed with dystopian storytelling. Powerful, poetic, raw and inspiring reading. 

 

7.The Complete Edgar Allan Poe: I read this at a period when I needed to get something more literary back into my reading habit. Fortunately Poe is both elegant literature and beautiful 

 

6. Mistborn - The Final Empire: I had lost faith in the originality of fantasy until thanks to The Wheel of Time I stumbled on this book of Brandon Sanderson's and have since enjoyed everything he puts out. I love the mix of subverting tropes, discussion of religious ideas and the fantasy itself.

 

5. Dracula: One of those books that caused me to fall in love with the spooky atmosphere of the Gothic horror and the true vampire novel that portrays him as the devilish villain that he should be!

 

4. Frankenstein: Fortunately I got to study this during Year 12 or else my literature studies would have been incredibly boring to me. I very much fell in love with the marvels, philosophy and ideas within the story and it has stuck with me for the past 5 years.

 

3. The Hobbit: One of the books that got me into reading and fantasy. I loved the story of Bilbo and the idea of there being this fearsome dragon was amazing. However, The Lord of the Rings has since usurped its place as for how books have shaped my world!

 

2. The Lord of the Rings: It might feel like I'm cheating, putting in two different Tolkien books, however I must say that while The Hobbit shaped my childhood reading experience more, The Lord of the Rings is the book that remains my favourite book and has been re-read more times than any other on my shelves. I love its scope, its drama and the fact that it is almost every kind of genre at once...

 

1. The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe: While I really should include the Bible in this list I am straying from including nonfiction works. Also, note that this is not my favourite book of all, but it is the book which shaped my reading more than any other. A book through which I built a connection to a love of reading and magic. A book which connected me to my Mother and her Mother in another unique way. A book which I still love when I read it again...

And here are ten films that have shaped my life similarly. They are not necessarily my 'favourite' movies. I don't have favourites really (save for a clear top two or three), just films and books that should be on my shelves at some point:

10.  Iron Man: It's the film that kickstarted the Marvel Cinematic Universe and seeing it at last happen brought about a whole culmination of comic reading hopes... And I will always love Marvel superheroes anyway so yeah!

 

9. Pirates of the Carribean - The Curse of the Black Pearl: As a movie I still really love it despite the fact that the sequels aren't so good. But it brings back memories of when I first watched it on a summer's evening in Venus Bay while going through a bunch of more mature films as a kid.  

 

8. Gladiator: It combines my love of history with my love of film and philosophy/faith. I still love the quotes, the themes and the heart of the story. It's a powerful film I rewatch from time to time. Inspirational as well as a favourite.

 

7. The Muppets Treasure Island: My taste is very pop-culture inspired (it's all the stuff I grew up with okay!) but it's also very varied and eclectic in its own right. I do love the Muppets and this is my favourite of the films (although The Muppets is pretty great too) due to childhood memories of watching the film, possibly singing along (sorry family if I was very off key) and so on.

 

6. Ben Hur: A regularly watched film around Easter in my family and for that reason it's a film that brings back so many memories as well as being powerful and important.

 

5. Galaxy Quest: This is the film I have seen more than any other and a film that I love for how it parodies sci-fi with fun and humour. Despite having seen it so often it's still re-watchable even now.

 

4. The Princess Bride: Oh so quotable, and with an epic storyline and beautiful way of subverting the entire fantasy genre. I will always love this movie (and quote/reference it off cuff).

 

3. Star Wars: I will never forget sitting down, nice and comfy as a kid (about the same time I learnt to read) to watch A New Hope for the first time with my parents. Films for me back then, as now, are about the memories of times with friends and family and the deeper philosophical ideas as much as the story you can re-watch over and over.  

 

2. Toy Story: The Incredibles may be my favourite of the Pixar films, but there's no denying that I first fell in love with Pixar through Toy Story. It's a film that is so universally loved and it's not hard to see why - it's near perfect.

 

1. The Return of the King: To see a book that I love be adapted into so powerful a film? Well that is something special and impacted me as a 12 year old deeply. Andy Serkis as Gollum is amazing - as is Viggo Mortenson as the king returning in Aragorn. I'm still confused as to why 19 critics (according to Rotten Tomatoes) hated it and called it shallow...

The Lighthouse of Mythology

Here is another poem I just wrote. It's raw so feel free to criticize, but there is a main point I'm trying to convey with this one again.

A legend goes forth
This a message in a bottle.
A genie trapped, imprisoned
Sailing ‘cross a sea of solidarity
Forever to face no fate
But the fate of desperation.

In the end, we desperate men.
Are bound to the vessel’s helm
Strapped to the current of time.
Yet very now and then,
Our voyages collide
At an intersection of hope.

So as these words so depart,
I pray that they shall find a mark.
Where at once a kinder soul
Shall rise with the blazing sun
And though burn in pyrrhic victory,
Will fly as the phoenix might.

Reborn again upon the wind,
In the light of newer day.
Shall they see an ocean gleam
As a pool, a scattered bay?
So misery is lighter then,
And treachery, oh, cannot stay.

And so, with burning wings,
I phase away the siren mist!
I melt away the guilty past!
I defy the demons in you!
Be at peace oh troubled one,
Set to rest your aged myths.

No man is an island -
A world of tortured thoughts -
Where banished Calypsos wander
And harpies scream and roam.
No sorceress, no Cyclops shall,
Make your mind their home.


So I ask: oh, leave the sea,
Those waves which sink and steal,
Put behind you now.
Be in truth the people I love,
With that sorrow lost,
And your hope refound.
So that I may turn and see,
That which I long to be:
A monument of eternal joy,
A lighthouse of shining peace.

Whose Body Is It Anyway?

I am always fascinated by those who say things like 'it's my life I do what I want.' Or 'it's my body, my choice' etc. The second one interests me, but not in the whole way that people normally use it to defy rape culture or talk about abortion. It interests me more when it's used in a broader context, as part of a global idea that we truly have control over our lives. I'm not talking about fate or such but as a Christian I do believe that some things are meant to happen in a way.

Either way my little reflection now is on the question: do we really have control over our lives? Are our bodies really our own? Put it aside from any ethical idea - this is more philosophical. And my argument is no, our bodies really aren't our own. It's a Christian idea of course but it's one I believe can be validated somewhat rationally. I would argue my point along these lines:

Question 1: Did you choose to be born?
Question 2: Did you choose to be born into the country you were?
Question 3: Did you choose your family?
Question 4: Did your parents even choose you?
Question 5: Did you choose to be born into the body you are?

For myself I can say that the answer to all those questions is no. And I believe most people would agree. We don't choose the hour of our birth, we don't choose our family (most of the time) and we don't choose how our bodies are born. If we could choose, then most of us would be walking around as the sexiest, hottest individuals on the planet. So here is my argument: it's not my body, it's not really my life to do with fully as I choose. At least in the sense of me choosing the circumstances that brought me into reality.

However, it is my body and life in terms of having a life which I need to make choices for: what haircut do I get, what clothes do I wear, what job do I choose, who do I choose to romantically get tangled up with, what do I choose to read or watch or listen to: essentially what path do I choose to follow with all the options before me? 

To quote Gandalf "all we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." So essentially my point boils down to this: we have more of a custodianship of our lives than anything else and the claims of 'control' over our own lives seem to be vapid and empty. The point to me is to make the right decisions for your life and let things unfold from there. Bumps and tears will come no matter what, you can't really decide if one of your friends abandon you when you need it most or if someone close to you dies, but you can choose how you respond to anything in life.

Control: we don't really have it. But we do have choices to make as to how we respond to everything that happens.

A Gift That Keeps on Giving

The Poet's Manual And Rhyming Dictionary - Frances Stillman

Early on Sunday morning, I was going about life as usual. Or rather, I was up earlier than usual and preparing to walk out the door to head off to Church for set-up. At that point, my mother stopped me and broke the news that her mother, my grandmother, had passed away earlier that morning. I was stunned, taken aback. I wasn't ready for that news. Even though I knew she had been sick and I knew in the previous weeks that the news could come at any time, I hadn't been ready in that moment.

I've spent the days since going about life as usual, but also reflecting on her life and on the memories I had with her. When you lose someone it's interesting the memories that are brought to life. For instance when thinking about my father's father, I remember the smell of tobacco fondly, though I hate tobacco. But it always stained his clothes and his skin with a smell that smelled like...his warm, friendly nature. So too have I been looking through the books and emails that I shared with my grandmother. She was a woman I was always close with, someone who could talk literature with me. She was a woman who believed in equality, and passed that on to me (though I don't believe in 'labels' and hence don't consider myself egalitarian or feminist for that reasoning).

On the Monday morning, I picked up this book. It was her last gift to me, some three months ago, via one of my uncles. I hadn't had a proper look at the book, though I know how useful and precious it is. On the opening page she had written an inscription: 'To Jonathan, with my love and an expression of admiration and a hope for your future.' The tears started streaming again, and there's nothing wrong with there being any time for grieving. It's a strength as a man or woman to be in touch with your emotions, as much as it is to be masculine or feminine (I think society has twisted those concepts far too much but that's another discussion).

You see what this book stands for now, rather than just being any other book about poetry (though it is that too), is a representation of a life of spiritual faith and love. My grandmother, even as she began to get sicker and weaker, was thinking of the family she would leave behind - the great grandchildren she would never see, the future careers of her grandchildren etc. - and she expressed her hope, her desire, that we might all have great futures. That was her legacy to me, and I hope as I become a teacher that I might be a great man to honor the legacy of my family. Not great in terms of how we judge greatness, but great in terms of the impact left behind. And one day I hope to have children of my own to whom I can tell about their great grandmother, one of the strongest people I have ever known.

To Read A Life:

I read a book, just yesterday:
A tome of love I do say.
Inscribed with worldly experience
Fleshed nuance – subtlety – innocence.
Every chapter, a single soul:
People dying to be whole.

I felt the tears run down my face
Over any single lack of grace.
Plot of romance - plot of pain.
So much loss, So much gain.

And no genre definition
Binds this work’s condition:
Romance, adventure, fantasy
All combined in ecstasy.

When at last I reach the end,
See the resolutions bend,
To unbeknownst solution
Amidst all the convolution,
Will I see the truth at last
Of present, future, in the past?

This book which I did read
Bound here, now, by solemn creed
Is the tale of all time,
Hidden, dark, moral crime.
‘Tis the tale of it all
Reaching now beyond the Fall
Written in the stars above
Writ now a law of love -
Where people running here and there
Are pages turning everywhere


So this is a poem I just wrote. Would love to hear what you think as it probably no doubt needs some editing work. I mean I can hear the song and the rhythm in the words as I sounded them out and read them but I would love more feedback...

Opinions...we all have them

I stumbled on this earlier today: http://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/topic/58919-am-i-missing-something-about-mistborn-im-really-not-seeing-where-all-this-praise-is-coming-from/

It amuses me because on this fan site for G.R.R Martin's books his fans are giving the exact thoughts I think about his books. Middling, not exactly the revolution for fantasy that people say, bland characterisation etc.etc.  Also anyone bringing Cormac Mccarthy in for literature discussion turns me away - the man might be aiming for poetry but it's a poetry with less lyricism than people acclaim. It feels stilted. But that's how I feel about it. Plenty of his fans think opposite. Are we both right? Both wrong? What?

Where am I running with this? People have differing opinions. I guess it's worth considering other opinions when making your own statements about your opinions...