August 12th, 2014

bilbo

(no subject)

Like most of you, I heard the the sad news about Robin Williams tonight. Probably unlike most of you, I'm feeling strangely unmoved by it. I actually wish I was sadder than I was, I feel like I ought to be for some reason and I certainly don't fault those people who are. I guess I'm just a little too young for his best movies to have been central to my life the way they are for some people. That seems to matter.

All lives, of course, are valuable. But I suppose I'm talking about when losses affect us personally, when this doesn't just feel like the tragic death of someone we didn't know well. According to the NIMH (via this advocacy site), bipolar disorder (which Robin Williams had) shaves about nine years off your life expectancy and as many as one in five die by suicide. It's not a rare thing. Distressingly so, actually.

The one thing I'm really struck by with all of this is that people tend to think (certainly the ones I know in RL) it's the gloomy folks who are at risk for suicide, but it seems to me it's the ones who have their happy faces screwed on so tightly that are really probably the saddest of all, in their way. i really don't think I'm at risk for suiciding, but I know a thing or two about masks. I know how I feel this compulsion to seem cheery and upbeat so people won't peer too closely behind and maybe see how broken I really feel sometimes. Or how mad, or sad, or generally not together. There are a lot of reasons for that, which probably vary from person to person, and that's a topic too big to go into right now. I do think it's a good reminder: that those people who smile the brightest are sometimes trying to cover up a very bruised heart.

Mr. Williams' death has me thinking about a particularly favorite Doctor Who line which has lightened the load a bit when faced with sad news. I'm not sure it works entirely as a description of what he clearly fought against, but maybe it will give some of you some comfort. My thoughts are with everyone affected by this man's death, in whatever way.

granada holmes

(no subject)

I'm feeling a good bit better today. Still sick, still congested and a bit loopy and disoriented, but manageably sick rather than properly miserable as I was this weekend. I don't know whether it's the antibiotics or if it's simply the acetaminophen (yes, I really am hardly fit to claim the label "adult" some days; it never occurred to me that the same medicines that could fix sore muscles and aching heads would also work on scratchy throats.) I'm not 100% and still am taking it easy, but for the first time in a while there may be hope on the horizon this ickiness will actually go away.

As I'm stuck in bed, I thought I'd try to catch up on some of the sherlock60 stories I'm behind on. So I spent the better part of the day (between frequent naps and a bit of Tumblring) making my way through "The Man with the Twisted Lip. I'm positive I'd read it before – I'd read all of the Doyle Sherlock Holmes stories as a teenager, with the exception of two of the novellas, one of which ("The Sign of the Four") I've now read and the other ("The Valley of Fear") I still need to read – but for whatever reason I completely couldn't remember the ending. So I was really pleased with myself that I figured it out before Holmes did, though he thought he was the biggest fool in Europe to make that mistake so perhaps I shouldn't be too self-satisfied. There are lots of very human moments, you get a more tender Holmes in a lot of ways, and there's also a lovely image of Doyle!Mary Morstan being a kind of neighborhood den mother who has this great heart that just draws everyone toward her.

As a BBC fan it was really nice reading about the canonical Isa (Isaac) Whitney and comparing it to the opening of His Last Vow. Also to the way the John/Mary relationship is portrayed. And at the risk of giving the ending away, there's an interesting parallel between what Doyle is doing with the shame of professional begging, and what the BBC is doing with the shame of drug addiction. I'm not entirely sure it's intentional, and I certainly don't have the brainpower to work it out today, but I did notice it and thought it may be worth further thought.

I know I haven't been talking very much about Tolkien lately, but I have been getting a bit back into it, it by bit. Mostly it's been over at Tumblr, though – there's a readlong of the Silmarillion I think I mentioned, and a lot of people have been doing some interesting Silm-based fanart and cosplay associated with that. You can find all of the Tolkien-based stuff I share over at Tumblr here, but I'm a bit hesitant to repost it because I'm never quite sure what the standards are for sharing art in particular on a different site. Anyway, I did want to point out that the BBC has an interesting piece up about how World War I effected the writing of Lord of the Rings, here. Again, I'm bumping up against the "brain not quite functioning" thing because I can't quite work out what I agree and disagree with it. But there were a lot of claims I hadn't come across before, and it's pretty interesting so my fellow Tolkienophiles might want to check it out.