My Journey to Wonderland

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Alice enjoys Wonderland

I’ve recently read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There by literary magician Lewis Carrol. These two masterpieces are a testament to the power and beauty of the imagination. They transported me to an exciting world of dreams, filled with the magic of endearing nonsense and youthful frivolity. As I read through these works, images of sun-drenched meadows and fields, and forests, and gardens flooded my mind. I dreamt that I was frolicking about in them, basking in the glory of the sunshine, or enjoying laughter-filled picnics and (Mad) Tea Parties with my companions. I imagined myself as the protaganist of an epic ballad or poem of yore, as a knight or warrior slaying horrifying creatures such as  the Jabberwock, or as a traveller embarking on an adventure through a wood, meeting all manner of interesting characters along the way. Page after page, these books brought a smile to my face and reminded me to take time to indulge in the silly puzzles, riddles, games, the marvellous fancy of childhood. They compelled me, as did Amèlie, to enjoy life’s simple pleasures, and to never forego that child-like sense of wonder and enchantment. They inspired me to continue dreaming and to have many of my own magical adventures in Wonderland.

A boat beneath a sunny sky,
Lingering onward dreamily
In an evening of July

Ever drifting down the stream
Lingering in the golden gleam
Life, what is it but a dream?


Good Bye Lenin, Hello Inspiration

Saturday, 07 March 2009

Good Bye Lenin

I recently viewed a marvellous film named Good Bye Lenin!. Set in turbulent nineteen eighty-nine, it revolves around the changing world of Alexander Kerner, a restless young man who lives with his small close-knit family in East Berlin. After his staunchly Socialist mother falls into a coma (brought about by her viewing of Alex’s arrest at a protest march), and reawakens eight months later, in a changing Germany, he attempts to prevent her from having another heart-attack by recreating her beloved Fatherland. He implements many schemes in order to carry out his plans including fabricating news reports and searching far and wide for socialist products. It is out of his love for her that he conceives and maintains this fanciful East Germany, more akin to his and her ideal vision of the nation than the austere reality.

This is just the background of the film, for at its core it is a story about the all-consuming power of love. It is about the lengths to which one will go in order to protect those who mean the most. Alexander stops at nothing to keep his mother oblivious to the turmoil of reality, to keep her blissful. And in the process he makes a wonderful friend, who helps him in his endeavors, and even finds love, in the form of his mother’s nurse. It is a story about the strength of family and the raw tenacity of the human spirit. 

This wonderful tale of love and beauty inspired me immensely. It made brought a smile to my lips, as well as tears to my cheeks and its beautiful poignance conjured within me many dreams. I dream of sitting on roof-tops laughing and watching fireworks light up the sky, celebrating Europe’s overcast days, being a part of a political movement towards freedom, waking up on a sunny balcony in the arms of my love, taking road-trips in the autumn, all the while laughing and singing along to Russian songs, spending time with loved ones at week-end cabins, sharing memories, savouring the laughter, revelling in the beauty of friendship, and enjoying life. As I watched the film, and afterwards as I listened to its emotionally stirring music (composed by none other than the awe-inspiring Yann Tiersen), all of these dreams floated about my head. And as I watched the rain fall gently to the ground, I made a silent wish that they would all come true.

This film has also taught me a few very important lessons. I have learnt to appreciate what I have, to live life to the fullest and to live as if everyday were my last. It has taught me to explore the world around me, to find beauty in the simplest things, and to savour all the special moments I encounter along the way. But most importantly, it has taught me to love. It has taught me to love with all my heart and in all my capacity to do so. And I know that this wonderfully touching film will rest in my heart forever and continue to inspire me to dream, and to love.

Good Bye Lenin, two

Summer 78
Yann Tiersen
Good Bye Lenin! Original Soundtrack

Comptine d’un autre été: L’après-midi
Yann Tiersen
Amélie Original Soundtrack
 (also featured in Good Bye Lenin)

Dreaming of Emancipation

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Wintry Gaol

‘Twas a bright, sunny day, as was natural in the Land of Sunshine and Laughter. But on this particular day, the beauty of the Great Star seemed to be overshadowed by an air of sadness. On this day, a young Prince was to leave this wonderful land. He had been taken prisoner, and was to be exiled to a cold, wintry dungeon far away. The young Prince was overcome by despondency and shed many tears: for the beauty of his country, for his friends, for his felicity. Like rivers flooding their banks they streamed down his face, and slowly drowned his spirit. They flooded him with memories. Memories of sunny days spent frolicking under the trees, discussing the finer points of life with his marvellous friends, of lazy afternoons sipping tea, spinning under the clouds, and absorbing the astounding natural beauty, of living in a state of whimsical frivolity laughing and dancing; memories of celebrating life.

Now, as the Prince lies in his dark cell, weak and lonely, he relives all of the wonderful memories, and continues to dream of his homeland. He dreams of the Great Star, and his family of wondrous friends, and the warmth, and the laughter. He dreams of one day returning home, and once again celebrating life.

Through Windows to the Heavens

Friday, 26 September 2008

View from Aeroplane

through windows to the heavens
the brightness beckons.
blinding beauty,
illuminating reveries of reconnexion.
oh, how I wish to fly on the wings of dreams.

Laughter, Intelligent Conversation, Tea, and Opulence

Sunday, 24 August 2008

The anniversary of the date of my birth occured last week. Inspired by the magical scenes of Marie-Antoinette, and the picnics of old, I decided to commemorate this sixteenth anniversary with a picnic. The theme was Opulent Aristocracy and everyone was asked to dress in the clothing of yore. The day started off magically, just a group of children, all dressed as if they had stepped out of a Romantic novel, sitting on a blanket in a park. In case you are wondering, yes, we did get many stares and glances, but being who we are, we obviously did not pay attention to them. We sipped our tea, with our fingers popped, of course, enjoyed intelligent conversation and most of all, laughed until our sides hurt.

I donned a crown, and dubbed myself Son Altesse Royale, le Prince Héritier Esmé Étienne Francisque Gaël Hugues Hubert Vivien (His Royal Highness, the Crown Prince Esmé Étienne Francisque Gaël Hugues Hubert Vivien :), and everyone else had to don a title as well. We had a countess, a duchess, a court jester, Charlotte Corday, the French aristocrat who murdered Marat, Shakespeare, a Russian courtier, a General of l’Armée Francaise, and a Royal, exotic, Serbian sex-slave, er, friend of the court. As you can most probably tell by now, we are not a, so-to-speak, ‘normal’ group of children; in fact I am convinced we all suffer from a psychological disorder wherein a group of people are together detached from the real world. We all believe we should have been born a few hundred years earlier, into a royal court of course, and we would all love to spend our days listening to orchestral music, eating cake, sipping tea, having intelligent conversation, and laughing. To us, fantasy is so much better than reality.

At one point, the exotic Serbian sex-slave and I got onto a moped, and proceeded to act out the end scenes of Amélie, where she and Nico ride through the streets of Paris. I would say we succeeded, and we added to the je ne sais quoi of that splendid day. At other times, the countess, duchess, and I span around in circles and then lay down staring at the magnificent clouds. The whole day was a magical experience, an ambience of frivolous, whimsical joviality filled with spinning, dancing, near death-experiences on Amélie-esque mopeds, randomness, staring at the clouds, sipping tea, enjoying intelligent conversation, basking in the sunny opulence, and of course, sending (noble) roars of laughter into the air around us. It was one of the most marvelous days of my life as it made me realise how blessed I am to be surrounded by lovely friends, and I shall not soon forget it!

(more photographs: 1.2.)

Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain

Saturday, 09 August 2008


I just watched one of the sweetest films ever-made. It goes by the name of Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain, or Amélie for short, and deals with the life of a naïve, young Parisienne of the same name. From her rather peculiar childhood, through to her adult life, Amélie lives in isolation from others, her only respite from loneliness being her wild, and vivid imagination. She escapes into it as often as possible, and conjures up wild dreams and stories. Her life is forever changed, however, the day she stumbles upon a box of memories, left in her apartment by a boy many years before. She decides to make it her mission to find the boy and return his lost treasures. If it makes him happy, then she will dedicate herself to bringing joy and happiness to others. She does eventually find him, and this starts a chain of anonymous good deeds, done for the benefit of those around her. It is by doing one of these deeds, that she stumbles upon the love of her life, and that is where the story really unfolds.

I can’t say which scene is my favourite, for the whole movie seems to warm my heart. But I am especially touched when Amélie helps the blind man across the street, and describes everything she sees to him. She renews his spirit, and mine, by showing him beauty. And the last scene, where she and Nino are riding on a moped through the streets of Paris, completely besotted with each other and basking in the resulting euphoria, takes my breath away entirely. It transports me to a cloud of hope and love, a place where dreams come true and life is glorious. All-in-all, Amélie is a beautiful and charming movie. The captivating scenes from around Paris, especially the enchanting and romantic Montmartre, combined with the splendid and uniquely French compositions of Yann Tierssen, make this film a delight to both ears and eyes. But the youthful naïveté, kind disposition, and whimsical charm of Amélie herself, make this film a delight to the soul. She makes her way into your heart and dances there, making you want to jump with joy. Her infectious smile jumps off the screen, and manifests itself on your lips, just as her eye’s sparkle becomes your own. She teaches you that love is everywhere, and that even the simplest things in life can bring great joy. She inspires you to dream, and most of all, to love.

Because of this movie, I am itching to get to Paris and wander around, to take walks in the park, take photos, meet strangers, skip stones on canals, dance in the street, and most of all, to fall in love. I want to ride around La Ville-lumière with that special someone, throw my arms in the air, and revel in the glory that is live.

“Sans toi, les émotions d’aujourd’hui ne seraient que la peau morte des émotions d’autrefois.”


La Valse d’Amélie
Yann Tiersen
Amélie Original Soundtrack

La Noyée 
Yann Tiersen
Amélie Original Soundtrack  Amélie Soundtrack

Soir de fête    
Yann Tiersen  
Amélie Original Soundtrack

Write, Compose, Act, Dance, and Change the World

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

I have been doing some thinking lately, and it dawned on me that I ought to start thinking about my future. Although I’ve heard many a time that ‘the future is closer than you think’ and blah-blah-blah, I am a procrastinator and have put off thinking about it thoroughly. At one point I was dead-set on becoming a screen (television, films, et cetera) actor, but this year has opened my eyes, given me new perspective, and made me consider other options.

Writing, for instance, has become really important to me. After learning about and reading some of the works of great writers (Shakespeare, Chaucer, Austen, Hugo, and so forth) I have been encouraged to consider becoming one. Their ability to inspire me to dream and laugh and live and love is so magnificent. I want to become a novelist, or playwright, or poet whose works will bring joy to generation after generation and encourage them to do the same. I adore the world of the Bohemian writers who believed in the principles of freedom, beauty, truth, and above all, love (yes, I did get that from Moulin Rouge :), and I think that taking people to knew worlds, and aiding them in navigating through life and discovering themselves is a highly desirable life choice.

But my whole view point changes when I immerse myself in the magic of music. As I explained before, music inspires me, and captivates my heart and soul, sending it to nirvana. And it is this amazing ability which music possesses, which encourages me to become a musician. I want to give that hope and inspiration which I receive from music to other people, as well as help myself learn about life. I want to escape and help others escape into the harmonious euphoria which is music.

Probably because of my addiction to fashion, the world of fashion design has always interested me. The theatrical ensembles, the mystical atmosphere, and the chic world of Europe’s fashion capitals have begun to draw my eye. But the more I learn about the industry, and the horrible truths thereof, the more I seem to want to steer clear of it. I don’t think I am ready for two hours of sleep, ego-centric models, and the dog-eat-dog nature of it, nor will I ever be. So I suppose I will have to be content watching the shows, and maybe designing my own flamboyant attire.

But don’t think that I have forgotten about my love and passion for acting. I have just refocused my attention to stage acting. I believe that stage acting takes much more skill and determination than screen acting, and therefore gives a bigger thrill and sense of accomplishment. I also believe that theatre is poetry in motion, and like poetry, and music for that matter, it can captivate and inspire. And besides all of that, getting up on stage, telling a story, and bringing joy to others is one of my greatest loves. As I stated earlier, performing provides me with a thrill, and sense of accomplishment and joy gained from little else in this world. I enjoy it thoroughly and would love to one day make the stage my second home.

And on the personal front I would love to become a dancer. Almost like my relationship with fashion, although dancing inspires me immensely, I do not think that I would like to make it my profession. Dancing is extremely beautiful and I would so much like to be a part of that beauty. Between the slow and sensuous waltz, and fun and lively samba there’s a dance for every mood. But the one dance which I have to learn is the tango. It is so beautiful, romantic, and passionate, and as I heard on a dance-themed film, ‘it’s like sex on hardwood.’ It really is magnificent and I have made it a goal in my life to learn to dance.

Travelling is also high on my agenda of things to do. I love broadening my horizons and learning about new cultures and people. And what better way to do that than travelling? I have decided that I must travel extensively in Europe, and Argentina, where dancing is a way of life, is a definite must. I have also made it a goal of mine to learn French, Dutch, Spanish, and maybe Italian fluently, and one day, I am most certainly going to live in France or the Netherlands.

So as you can most likely already tell, I am confused to say the least. I have all these ideas, dreams, and aspirations floating around in my head, and I just can not decide which one to choose. I suppose the time will come when I will make a choice, or a combination of choices, and I will be content. And I also know that by choosing one career, I am not locking out the others. I am simply putting them on hold until I have time later to pursue them. There is one thing I do know for sure, however. I know that whatever I end up choosing to do with my life, I must apply the Jewish principle of Tikkun Olam. Although I am not Jewish, I identify so much with this principle of hope for the future. The way I understand it, it motivates me to leave the world a better place than I found it. This has subconsciously always been an idea of mine; I have just now made it a goal in my life. No matter what career I choose, I know now that I must apply this principle and leave the world a better place for future generations.

And although I ought to stop procrastinating, I realise that one is only a teenager once, and that after these years are gone, one can never get them back. Therefore I have decided to keep all my career possibilities, as well as my little humanitarian dream, at the back of my mind. But my priority now is to enjoy my life, and live it to the fullest!

February. Take Ink and Weep.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

As ye probably know by now, I absolutely adore Regina Spektor and her lovely music. The first time I heard Après Moi, I was actually blown away. I loved the combination of the powerful diapasons and the equally powerful lyrics. But the part which peaked my interest the most, was definitely the bridge where she sings in Russian. The harsh phonetics of the Russian tongue, sung with such passion over the beautiful piano echoed throughout my mind for days. It gave rise to an insatiable desire to know the fervent words sung so beautifully. So I went forth and found out that what Regina was singing was actually a poem by the famous Russian author and poet, Boris Pasternak. It is entitled February. Take ink and weep. and it is superb.

February. Take ink and weep.
Write of it, sob your heart out, sing,
While torrential slush that roars
Burns in the blackness of the spring.

Go hire a buggy. For six grivnas,
Race through the noice of bells and wheels
To where the ink and all you grieving
Are muffled when the rainshower falls.

To where, like pears burnt black as charcoal,
A myriad rooks, plucked from the trees,
Fall down into the puddles, hurl
Dry sadness deep into the eyes.

Below, the wet black earth shows through,
With sudden cries the wind is pitted,
The more haphazard, the more true
The poetry that sobs its heart out.

The visual imagery of darkness in time thought to be filled with hope and new beginnings is astounding. One sees the spring in a different light, or rather a lack thereof, which makes me ponder upon life and its many unexpected twists and turns. Rain to me, however, is not cold and depressing, but rather pure and cleansing. And the first two lines carve within my mind a picture of relinquishing troubles and cleansing the soul with a shower of tears and a heart-felt song. Whether one looks at it as a description of the world’s perpetual darkness, or as a message of hope and light, this poem is eye-opening and indescribably beautiful. I admire Regina’s creativity in using these magnificent words in her delightful song, and am looking forward to the next rainy spring day.

 (Other translations, different but both just as sweet: 1, 2)

Après Moi
Regina Spektor
Begin to Hope

The Magic of Music, and Regina Spektor

Monday, 14 July 2008

I believe that music is not just something one does or listens to. I believe it is a way of life. In my opinion it is a magical, universal force with the power to give hope, uplift, bring about change, and amplify euphoria. And it is this belief in the marvellousness of music which forces me to not merely listen to music, but rather to live in it. By living in the music, the melodic sorrow becomes my struggle and the tuneful joy becomes my hope. I become one with the piece of music, it integrates with my soul and I keep it deep within me for the days when my fire of inspiration needs to be reignited.

This outlook on one of the most splendid of endowments came about because of music which changed my world and my life. And one of the artist’s who brought about this change, was without-a-doubt a pretty, red-haired, Moscovite-born New Yorker by the name of Regina Spektor. Her music inspires me tremendously. It inspires me to live, to dream, to hope, and to love.

Après Moi, for instance, takes me directly to Regina’s pain and anguish. It takes me on a trip down the river of her struggles and helps me identify with the waterfall which is her hopelessness. And even though February. Take ink and weep., the poem by Boris Pasternak which is sung as the bridge, is indescribably beautiful, the harsh phonetics of the Russian language fit perfectly with the song’s melody, and messages. At the end of the five glorious minutes, I am left heeding her tuneful warning and feeling hopeful that I will go on standing.

But if I am feeling jubilant, or wish to feel so, all I have to do is put on Fidelity, or On the Radio, and send my spirit soaring toward the heavens. The infectious tunes and wonderfully insightful lyrics immediately send my soul searching for love and take me to ecstasy. These two songs bring about images of sunny days, frolicking in a field, dreaming, staring at the sky, and, of course, falling in love. They are ineffably heart-warming and play the strings of my heart like a violin.


She has something for everyone and though I haven’t listened to her previous work yet – Soviet Kitsch, Songs, and 11:11 – I am sure that I will fall in love the minute I hear it. Her music takes me to new worlds and sets me free. And I am certain that she and her beautiful music will always have a place in my hea-hea-hea-heart.


Begin to Hope
Regina Spektor

My Field of Dreams

Friday, 11 July 2008

This photograph inspires me immensely. My mind comes alive with this image and that feeling of inspiration when I listen to the songs Fidelity and On the Radio by Regina Spektor. The sweet sounds of these songs send my heart floating to this whimsical purlieu, where the fine line between reality and fantasy disappears and you are left inspirited. I can just imagine myself spending the whole day in this field running and frolicking about. I could stare up at the sky, ponder upon life, and love, and just lose myself in this magical place. I would be dancing, and singing, and enjoying the serene beauty. If I was with friends or that special someone, we would play as if we were children once again and spend the day together talking, and soaking up the splendid ambience. Love encompasses all here and this unconditional love would surround us and lift our souls to heaven. In this place my dreams would become tangible and I would live through dreaming and dream through living. I hope to one day find this glorious field, so that I can sing the sweet songs of my heart and dance to the rhythm of love.


Regina Spektor
Begin to Hope

On the Radio
Regina Spektor
Begin to Hope