on The First Blog of 2019
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The Real Little Mermaid Kills Herself
Slowly but surely, I’m learning the importance of titles, and how they’re the initial hook for your story. This title is a spoiler. But if you didn’t know the original ending to “The Little Mermaid,” first published in 1831,that’s on you. Most original Disney movies are based on old fairy tales, that are usually extremely fucked up.
In “The Little Mermaid,” when she breaks the surface for the first time (much like the cartoon), she falls in love with a prince. Mermaids live for 300 years, however, humans (she’s told) die but have souls that live on forever… mermaids turn into sea foam. The prince almost drowns in a storm and she saves him. She makes a deal with the evil sea witch to exchange not only her voice for legs, but also, walking on her legs would cause shooting pains constantly. The Prince is bewitched by her beauty when they meet, but then falls in love with another, abandoning the now walking (though in perpetual physical pain) mermaid. Her sisters present her with a knife to kill the prince to become a creature of the sea again. But upon seeing the Prince laying with his new bride and found love, she kills herself instead (ahhh, true romance). The “happy” ending is that because she sacrificed herself in altruism, her soul would live on. So the moral of that story is….. errrr… don’t fall in love because it will cause you eternal sorrow?? I’m not sure.
If you’re like me, Disney+ is equal parts a godsend and a curse. First of all, ‘The Mandalorian’ is amazing, and no, I’m not just saying that as a Star Wars fan. The writing and characters on that show are unbelievable, and at any sight of Baby Yoda, I go, “be still, my beating heart.” Plus, having every episode of The Simpsons, ever, may be the end of my social life for 2020.
One of the first things I put on when upon receiving my sister’s Disney+ password was ‘Fantasia,’ a revered sort of cult classic of famous orchestral pieces accompanied with animated art. If it were up to me, they’d make a new ‘Fantasia’ every year. It’s so stunning to me, both the classical pieces and the concept art work dancing to it. Up front, the narrator (Deems Taylor) says; “Now, there are three kinds of music on this Fantasia program. First, there’s the kind that tells a definite story. Then there’s the kind, that while it has no specific plot, does paint a series of more or less definite pictures. Then there’s a third kind, music that exists simply for its own sake. Now, the number that opens our Fantasia program, the Toccata and Fugue, is music of this third kind, what we call absolute music. Even the title has no meaning beyond a description of the form of the music.”
I think I’m drawn to this idea of not only the abstract and subconscious portrait you’re going to paint over any art you consume—be it music, film, comedy—but also that much of the “stories” within our actual lives don’t fit the two or three act structure of the rules of story writing. Much of our lives are filled with moments and meetings that have no arc, they are just contained memories, some magical, some morose. Our lives are full of strung together “sketches,” so to speak. The only real closure being our deaths. We are existing for existence sake. No grander meaning. No meaning at all, really, unless you paint a meaning yourself over the score that is life itself.
I’m not really big on New Year’s resolutions. In a way, I think they’re healthy in the sense that if you are disappointed in your actions, you can draw a line from the past into the future and go confidently into a direction of your choosing. Goals are always important. The goals I main to obtain are as follows:
- Read and write as much as possible – a big one for me, since these are two things of my hearts desire, a combination of constantly learning and growing that I both enjoy and gives life meaning
- Explore new regions – ah, yes, keep the pirate hearted youth spirit alive, very important. The world today is complicated, indeed, but even a broke (American) peasant such as myself can afford (no frills) travel and there’s never been traveling in my life that I regret spending my money on
- Defy yourself – one of life’s sad truths is that most people aren’t going to prove the ever cynical (and competent) person wrong, people will (especially those you love) let you down again and again, though this is often not about you at all… so instead, prove yourself wrong, really go for something you’re afraid of, because even failure in the face of defying fear has fulfillment
- Stay in touch with those who revisit your memory – we’ll all be dead soon enough and then opportunity is lost, so if there are people who, like ghosts, keep haunting your mind, you should reach out to them, reconnect, forgive, laugh, hang out, live the reward of connection, before it slips away
- Perhaps the one thing I struggle most with is enjoying the present – those moments that may never turn into stories, meetings with kindred souls that don’t extend to arcs, dreams that never fully come to fruition, yet have invaluable experiences in the journey… These seemingly random happenings are what makes life, life, and are worth treasuring. The more you spend time “in the present,” the more you’ll remember them going forward, the more you’ll be capable of experiencing life to the fullest when time comes to just enjoy it. Like the words of my wise five year old nephew says, “enjoy… just enjoy.” Fantasia means; a musical composition with a free form and often an improvisatory style. Such as life, such as life.
What does it mean to you?