Filtering by Tag: The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock Heart

Commercials and Life

I really don't care how hipster Instagram is. I love using it. There's something irresistibly charming about seeing the world through a phone. Little moments on the go. I look forward to sharing fragments from my life, as well as seeing what my friends are up to in their travels. And I've discovered that an old college buddy of mine is rocking Instagram. Meet Colby.

I'm really proud to say we're friends. In college, we lived down the hall from each other in the dorms. I remember stepping into her dimly-lit dorm room - one of the few dorms in the building that smelled nice. More than nice. Colby was always using a strong, cakey sweet perfume. I'd sit on her bed, admiring her Marilyn Monroe / Michael Jackson / Abraham Lincoln posters as she went through her beauty regimen. I'd always been interested in the past, but I think spending time with Colby strengthened that desire to immerse myself in all things vintage and research my favorite time periods. She also made me think about female role models.

Before college, I can't say I really had any. Except for maybe the heroines in the books I read. But along came Colby with her intense love for Marilyn Monroe. For our senior projects, Colby gave a riveting hour-long presentation about how different biographers have portrayed MM over the years (while my presentation had been on mermaids in folklore, using Vladimir Propp's version of structuralism - turning fairy tales into equations. So. Much. Fun).

MM wasn't quite for me, though. I looked at other Old Hollywood starlets. Who won? Mary Pickford, of course. Jeez, she was wonderful.

But Audrey Hepburn came in second. I love how she carries herself, a confidence that I've rarely seen. There's something mysterious about her as well. So far, I've seen Breakfast at Tiffany's and My Fair Lady. Though both films are classics, I can't say I like either that much. That's the weird part. I'm not too thrilled with the films (or even the prospects of watching the other ones), but I love the woman herself. I get the shivers every time I hear the lines from Sky Sailing's "Sailboats" song:

Once in 1964
An actress ran on the shore
And though you'll never return,
I love you Audrey Hepburn
Sometimes I can see your face in the crowd

And when I saw the brand-new commercial that Dove Chocolate released, I was in awe:

The best part? Audrey is actually CGI. It's a lot easier to notice that on the computer, but she certainly looked real to me on my plain old television. I had just assumed a lookalike actress or model was playing her. Wow. This is such a cute commercial. I get the chills (the good kind) every time I rewatch it. 

Speaking of role models, I'm guilty of periodically searching Nicoletta Ceccoli to see if she's created anything new. I'm fidgety and EXTREMELY RESTLESS because it's going to be forever (or never) until Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart film makes it to America. Please, just give me subtitles and a way to buy it. 

I loved the book and author Mathias Malzieu's soundtrack (he's a brilliant musician, so you know...). And Nicoletta Ceccoli worked on the film. The character designs are modeled after her style. I'm dying, guys. Dying. To tide me over, I found a little commercial that she had worked on:

Lice-prevention has never been cuter. If you think about it, this was a good fairy tale for Paranix to choose. Having hair that drags all over the place because it's so long must not be very hygienic. A perfect home for lice. But luckily we have princes that ride stick horses and peddle Paranix.

Writing has been going well. I always gain more momentum when I pass the halfway point in a manuscript. At 64k, I'm almost done with We Could Fall in Love. Just. A. Few. More. Scenes.

The main thing I'm keeping in mind at this point is keeping the plot tight. No flabby scenes. No fluffy exchanges of dialogue. No boring.

Which makes watching this commercial highly appropriate if you ignore the car part:

I have no shame in saying that I've been singing this song around the house as my brain recovers from mad-typing. I may be an adult, but I still find Muppet humor just as funny as it was when I was a kid. I'm probably hyper aware of Jim Henson everything these days, since participating in The Dark Crystal Author Quest contest (sorry folks, I didn't make it). 

Still, the Muppets continue to put a smile on my face. I'm considering seeing the new movie, because I can't sit through those trailers without laughing. Even if I see the same trailer 15+ times in one night. 

So what commercials have you seen these past few months that seem to be speaking to you? What a crowded month March is turning out to be already :)

Tidbits: October Edition

Picture / Photo Find

Something I Did

Haha, that's a good one. For the past few days, I've been either chained to a couch or desk, slowly engulfed by papers of dubious origins. I know that, these days, paper anything is considered to be delicate and pretty. Paper planes, paper hearts, paper toilet bowls. You name it. And I'm usually of that mindset. Bring on the paper! But when it comes in the form of stories to revise and / or papers to grade, suddenly I find myself checking my fingers for paper cuts (which are, by anyone's standards, not cute).

My prediction is that by the end of the week, I'll create a patch of time where the paper doesn't haunt me with its pointy corners and angry ink. I suppose this will be Sunday night, in particular, since TCM is playing Buster Keaton movies all month and I'm determined to watch him without multitasking. I'll let you know how it goes.

Aww, he's blushing! So am I.

Quote from a Book I Love

I just finished this book called The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock Heart by Mathias Malzieu and it really has stuck with me. I breezed through it, eating up the slim volume as quickly as possible to discover what the ending held in store. And even after finishing it, I still pondered over what I read; the story and its characters continued to echo long after I shelved it. Since the novel is directly translated from French, some of the phrasing tends to come off as strange or childish. However, the story is worth any sentence-bumps along the way.

The novel is told from the perspective of a boy named Jack who was born on the coldest day on Earth and could have died because of it - but Dr. Madeleine saves him by placing a cuckoo-clock in his chest. The clock keeps him alive, but it's a delicate thing; if Jack were to ever fall in love, his clock - and heart - would surely break. Of course, Jack does fall in love - but will he survive it?

"Each beat of your heart is a small miracle, you know, so don't get carried away. It's a fragile, makeshift repair. Things should get better as you grow up, but you'll have to be patient."

"How many times will the big hand have to go round?"

"A few... a few. I want your heart to become a bit more robust before I let you out into nature."

There's no denying that my clock causes me a worry or two. It's the most sensitive part of my body. I can't bear to let anyone touch it, apart from Madeleine. She winds me up every morning using a small key. When I catch a cold, the coughing hurts my gears. It feels as if they're about to poke out through my skin. And I hate the sound of broken crockery they make.

A Writer Thing

Okay. It's official: as if September 30th, 2011, I finished writing my first draft of my novel Birdcage Girl. Woah. It's a strange kind of feeling that comes with finishing something that has been a part of my life for almost a year now. I'll no longer wake up in the middle of the night to jot down a better scene. I won't sneak away to my laptop between classes to write a chapter or two. I suspect my peaked interest in all things birds and cages will greatly decrease... at least until I start writing the next book, haha. My good writing friend Anande Sjoden interviewed me on her blog where I talk a little bit more about how it felt to finally write the last word... and about cardigans, sprained knees, and Apollo busts.

But finishing a novel manuscript isn't the end - at least, when you're me and can hardly wait to start revision. Every writer is different, but I'm not of the school of writers who like to put their MS's away for months or even years before revising; I'm impatient, for one, and I don't feel like being that distanced from my writing will help improve it. I like to put on the surgical gloves right away and make repairs to flabby sentences! So these past few days have been filled with scrolling through the endless pages of my MS, trolling for obvious errors (both grammatical and syntax). After tonight, though, I'll have to sit on my hands for a few weeks while I wait for some trusted friends to read it. Of course, Birdcage Girl still on Figment as it is; I'll be applying revisions to it as soon as I get my final wave of feedback.

This stage of the writing process is, well, less glamorous. There's sweat - all the time - and make up is running and light bulbs are breaking and the coffee in the break room is cold. But it's still an adventure. That's probably the best part.

Video I Watched Too Many Times / Song I Can't Stop Repeating

Mathias Malzieu is not only the author of The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock Heart, but also the lead singer of a French band called Dionysos. The book itself is based off of an album he composed titled La Mécanique du Cœur (The Mechanics of the Heart). I listened to the album after reading the book, and I must say that it is an excellent collection of songs. Each song seems to reflect a certain mood or even plot point in the mood and, overall, complements the novel well.

The song I chose to feature (and perhaps the one I've listened to the most) is called "Tais-toi mon coeur." Malzieu's voice is engaging and the range of musical instruments used in the song creates such an interesting melody. A music video had been made to go with it, so here it is! I'm so happy to share it with you - I must have unhealthily refreshed the video page too many times, haha.

Photos from tumblr / TCM