Sunday, November 18, 2018

of baymax and kdramas // autumn stories

via pixabay
We need a Baymax today.

Baymax, for the uninitiated like myself, is a rubbery, marshmallowy robot who acts as a personal healthcare assistant. I first encountered Baymax in Big Hero 6 last month, when I visited a beautifully creaky house in Minnesota. We curled up on the couch in the dark. An empty plate holding the crumbs of pizza rolls rested next to the laptop. And I cried. Only Baymax could infuse warmth into an automated voice as he tends to a little boy wrestling with grief.

After a lingering cold that has never quite left since the end of October, I am ready for a marshmallowy, personal health care assistant to assess not only the physical lack but also the dreariness of stolen energy and creativity. There are only so many Facebook articles and YouTube videos one can stand while resting, and taking several weeks off blogging leaves a slightly panicked feeling in its wake.

Even though blogging has not been plentiful, stories have continued finding their way to my heart and laptop screen. Later that night in Minnesota, I snuggled up on the couch and pulled up
While You Were Sleeping on Viki. (Content advisory for language and intense injury scenes). While You Were Sleeping is a kdrama, acted in Korean with English subtitles, and it captured my heart from the beginning. Not only did it have three best friends, which I love (Han Woo-Tak has the cutest happy smile I've ever seen in my life, and I don't mean that in a crush way) but it also has a couple who are a powerful force for tackling life's problems together. Nam Hong-Joo starts the series waking up in the mornings with frightening dreams about what's going to happen in her future. When young prosecutor Jeong Jae-Chan has a dream of his own and rescues her from impending tragedy, they realize they've been given a terrible gift--advance warning--and have to work together to prevent these tragedies from occurring. Through the conflicts that follow--antagonists, time limits, and their own inner conflicts--the story develops in a rich, dramatic, and sweet way. It's intense, digging into the small choices that can change major events, but also taking time to be funny at the characters' expense in work or social settings.

All good things though, even kdramas, come to an end. Since then, we are grateful for friends who give us chili and our grandma who drops off chicken noodle soup and medicine. Homework grading goes on, but at night when I tuck in under my puffy gray comforter, I reach for Ian Doescher's The Force Doth Awaken--Star Wars Episode VII told in Shakespeare style. Katherine Forster (you should go check out her site) told me about it originally, and it's brilliant fun. Han Solo's Crispin's Day Speech, Poe Dameron's cheeky lines, and Chewie's tragic lament over his master's death bring the tale to life in stage play form. You can find out how Doescher worked off of Shakespeare's original texts in the free reading guide. But if you don't know much Shakespeare, like me, you can still enjoy it anyway.

Yesterday, weary of feeling stale and cooped up, I escaped to our tiny library to pick up a couple more books. I can't recommend them yet, because I haven't read them. But I am part of a book club and they're reading The Scorpio Races this month, so I slipped the maroon-covered hardcover off the Teen Fiction shelves. I already appreciate Maggie Stiefvater's descriptions of sibling life, though The Scorpio Races bears warning notes of not being an easy tale. (FYI, I've heard there's some language in this one as well.) 

Books help amidst the scraped-raw feeling of partly-functional life. Our favorite bookstore had a one day sale, and I felt well enough to go out to it and keep germs contained. My magic touch for finagling deals didn't extend to two beautiful series I wanted to take home. But I did pick up a copy of Ann Voskamp's The Greatest Gift--her Christmas devotional centered around the Jesse tree. I first wanted this book two years ago, when a friend and I sat in the parking lot of a Biggby's coffee at 10:00pm and she showed me some of the questions inside. In the midst of recovering devotions after travel and sickness, I thought it might be worth trying this Christmas season.

A couple of months from now, I hope, we will look back at this and probably shudder, and also sigh with relief that it is over. In the meantime, life settles down to taking medicine as needed and turning pages, listening to "Never Give Up" by King and Country, and discovering new stories.
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