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Monday, March 12, 2012

things i watched, things i read

I recently watched the kite runner, I had read the book a few years ago and then I read it again fewer years ago. It’s a sad story, a story of pain and love, a story of betrayal, mistrust and carelessness and perhaps most painfully it’s a story of redemption. It’s strange but when I hate somebody and then come around to understand them and seek ways of forgiving them because they can’t seem to find a way of forgiving themselves at that point in a movie or a book when I see someone try to make it right and unabashedly try, try when there’s no other way out. Try when all the actions are ultimately symbols of hollowness of the emptiness within it touches me.

The movie had subtitles in Norwegian which was ok except when they spoke in Dari which is the Afghanistan native language. At those points I would read the Norwegian subtitles and try to pick up what I had learned in class. The simple pronouns, simple acts that i already knew. You, me, marriage, work tomorrow. Language class is an endless exercise in humility, sitting back and parroting what the teacher says and then getting nuts even when you know you did wrong, veldig bra she says to every half reached attempt at Norwegian.(favourite thing thus far about Norge is that I can say bra whenever I want, its good literally.)But when I sat there and read the Norwegian subtitles and could make out what they were saying it i did feel bra.

Anyway it was nice to watch the movie without the intrusion of a screenwriter’s vision (even though David Benioff is the shit wrote Troy and is one of the guys at work on Game of Thrones.) still not being able to follow exactly what was happening in the movie and have to fill in the blank spaces with pages of white , black code and memory, a script from the recesses of my mind made the experience more touching. I was watching the book come to life. I wasn’t always sure what was happening on screen but there were times, certain scenes that corresponded to the book so much I knew exactly what was happening. I would see Amir write a story and hear it in my mind. I could see scenes coming up and fill in the internal dialogue that books can give us, see his reasons for doing what he did. Know that in time he would be redeemed but still be angry at him, oh so angry.

Sometimes I think I really liked this book because it was the first father and son book I ever read. The first exploration of what that relationship means and contains that i had ever read. The relationship of the characters in the book was not universal, it was anything but it carried within it aspects that I recognised, things my friends who read the book agreed they felt with their fathers, to their fathers. The constant burden that sometimes the son places on himself to try to be superhuman, the misdrawn disapproval that comes of living in two generations that communicate love and acceptance in such different ways that we can go through life thinking we never felt it. It was a book set in a time of change and we all always live in a time of change and so it felt right.

And it showed me one major difference between men and women MAJOR SPOILER ALERT IN THIS PARAGRAPH Amir’s father sleeps with his servant’s wife, a beautiful woman. A woman of the kind that breaks men and leaves them by the wayside not giving them a second glance. She gives birth to Hassan, the poor object of so much betrayal and latent hate we can’t help but saint him. The woman's husband is sterile so we know that this could not be his child. Most men will agree that the adultery happened because of beauty and lust, while women will attach honour and friendship to it. They say it was because he didn’t want his servant not to have an heir, because of the pain that he saw not having a son caused his friend that Baba slept with his friend's wife.  I can see why, he’s saintly and good, almost takes a bullet for a stranger and has a halo surrounding him most of the time. But guys can see that even in there lies a capacity for betrayal, for weakness, for lust and to fall. I saw that betrayal mirrored in the relationship between his sons which was why it came as such as a shock. Admittedly this is very limited research and it may not hold true applying to only the women i have asked about it. And the scene in the end nearly broke my heart all over. after all the eyepopping, suicide inducing parts of the afghanistan-pakistan trip when there is nothing holding Amir to his nephew except a betrayal that seems to stretch back three generations and a carelessness that's appaling, in that scene when like the beginning there are kites being flown and cut. when the last kite of the book is cut and amir turns to look at his nephew before he runs for it and says for you a thousand times over just like his brother would say to him, the hope in that sentence, the memory in that scene, the pain in that hope always gets to me.

Away from the kite runner, I began reading this blog recommended by a friend. It’s sad, beautiful and wistful, it’s a woman looking out of the window as it rains biting her lips and thinking about life because in each raindrop she sees love but all the drops fall to the ground and splatter.

I couldn’t stop reading it and it struck me how weird it is to read a blog, everything gets upended, most of us don’t read a blog from the first day its put up, we come to it later by way of reference, curiosity or almighty Google. When it’s a chronicle of a life we catch the life halfway and never really see it full. We watch the movie from the last scene as it were.

You begin with the most recent entry and go back, you read about December then November then September. There’s a backward chronology to the act that becomes suspenseful in a way. Sometimes there’s a lot of self-reference in a blog, when someone says for example “the person from that time” and you’re new. The first time you’re hearing about this character is when they are being assumed known and then you wonder about them. There’s so much mystery that surrounds it so many gaping holes as you keep peeling the onion from the inside out.

You go lower and you see the person change. You see their lives rewind you see them hope for something that you know will not come to pass; you can read in their words from earlier a fear of an event and know that it’s going to happen or that it will blow over. Its the ultimate testament to its not as bad as you think. And you see them grow young again. You see them say goodbye to somebody before you read about the hello. The ugly ending is put before the beautiful beginning and in between there’s the evolution, the backwards evolution a slow march to where it all started.

Then maybe you come to gaping holes that you will never fill out. You find deleted posts and their shadows waiting for you, just waiting to mock your suspense. You find links that are not open anymore, the internet hiding something from you that your frustration and proficiency with Google will not reveal. And ever backward you rush, sands back into the top of the hourglass and then maybe you come to the first post, the first foray into the whole thing. The purity that was before stats and comments and an audience or lack thereof.

There’s that old scientific maxim about the very act of observing something being enough to change it. I want to know if being read changed her as much as it changed me. If the obsession with page views and comments, the need to get the people who read you last time changed her writing. I want to know if I can read the point in the blog where she spent more time looking at stats than she did writing new posts. But I also want to hope that this never happened to her. I want to hope that it stayed just self-expression that the pressures of having an audience had no visible effect on her writing. I hope for this but I would be envious at the same time.

I get over my insecurities by telling myself I don’t own them all alone that everyone is like me. That though we all like the sound of our own voice we are not as enamoured of it when its recorded and played back. I don’t want to think that I was the only one who looked at his stats and where they came from and even went as far as to wonder why more people with opera access the blog than people with Mozilla. I don’t want to be the only one who looks at the countries that it was accessed from and treat it as more than just a passing curiosity. I don’t want to be the only one who gets tired of engaging just myself in these tirades and seeks ways of engaging others of promoting dialogue by direct addressing. I don’t want to be the only one who isn’t sure his writing hasn’t stagnated and maybe even fallen backwards, who feels he isn’t as funny or good as he wants to be and even worse as he once was.

I guess in life I just don’t ever want to be the only one.


  1. 'You, me, marriage, work, tomorrow.' That has to be my favourite line in this entire post.

    I like your observation about a miscommunication of love and affection. I'm one of those who's spent 30 years thinking I never got [from my parents] what I received every day of my life =)I wonder if those broken bridges ever get fully mended. I'm glad they've started for me.

    As for you not wanting to be the only one, don't worry, you're not. Blogging gives writers something the shakespeares of the world didn't have - the power to see exactly who is [or isn't] reading. It's not always a good thing =)

    So go ahead and dwell on the stats. We all do. And inevitably, it WILL influence your writing. But as long as it doesn't STOP you writing, then you're doing okay =)

    1. those four words seem to hold the everything of life, or at least of language, and i sincerely believe in the fact that its miscommunication that has people feeling unloved and not actual absence of love.

      yeah dwelling on stats its the other addiction noone tells you about till you have whiffed so much of it you can't stop

  2. A Thousand Splendid Suns moved me more than The Kite Runner. Probably because it was feminist, yet written by a man. Because it was a different kind of love. We all know of the pained, yearning, poignant parent-child relationship. Hell, it's the story of my life. But this kind of love was different. Not the slobbery Mexican-telenovella kind of love which is like the sneeze that leaves a sour smell in the air. Sneezes do not always leave sour smells in the air, if done artfully. And that's what Khaled did there. He also revealed another kind of love. A feminist woman-woman love. Sacrifice for something bigger than the self.

    1. i read a thousand splendid suns and i thougth it was a great book but it couldn't touch the kite runner, not for me anyway, then a lot of girls liked it much more while guys liked the kite runner, and i think this has to do with being more able to relate with the relationship in question or wanting to strive to achieve it. the way it turned out for the father and son, drinking beer in america is something most guys want to have

  3. This particular post has been on my mind for days.... love it love it love it!!