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A Shot, a Take, and a Cut: My writing, Music, and Movies

“You is kind. You is smart. You is important.” -Aibileen – The Help (movie)

Have you heard of the Omelas?

A few days ago, I received a review from MJ (thank you!) on Strands of Time. My novel reminded him of the short story 'The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas' by Ursula LeGuin, and it made me wonder. Who are the Omelas? Googling the Omelas brought me to the BTS song ‘Spring Day’ inspired by the Omelas.

I was even more intrigued!

After some digging, I finally got hold of Ursula LeGuin’s short story published in the Unreal and the Real: The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas. (You can find it related on youtube here ).


It is a short 3k story about a utopian society whose happiness depends on a single child's misery, fear, and loneliness.

“They all know it is there, all the people of Omelas. Some of them have come to see it, others are content merely to know it is there. They all know that it has to be there. Some of them understand why, and some do not, but they all understand that their happiness, the beauty of their city, the tenderness of their friendships, the health of their children, the wisdom of their scholars, the skill of their makers, even the abundance of their harvest and the kindly weathers of their skies, depend wholly on this child’s abominable misery.”


The story is quite vague, and no explanation is given as to why this child must suffer.


"Those are the terms. To exchange all the goodness and grace of every life in Omelas for that single, small improvement: to throw away the happiness of thousands for the chance of the happiness of one: that would be to let guilt within the walls indeed."


In fact, one thing that is definitely missing in Omelas is guilt.


It is a mind-boggling story, and I pondered over it one whole afternoon. That’s why the story is called philosophical!

The Omelas who visit the child experience feelings of disgust, anger, outrage, and pity….and then they go on to celebrate life. But then there are those who just walk away….the choice they made to walk away from happiness.


Should we stay, or should we go? It is a thought-provoking story, and it made me think of all the children who work in sweatshops or assemble our phones. And those who are oppressed by tyrants and dictators.


To watch refugees leave their homes is heartbreaking. I think about my home and feel relieved that I am safe and then think that safety is so flimsy. War and its aftermath could happen to all of us. It’s all up to those in power (including corporations, not only politicians).


I finally came to a conclusion: the reality is that there will be suffering, and there will be inequality. What we need is empathy, compassion, and mindfulness. Simply acknowledging the suffering of people around us is the first step toward change.


What would you do? Did you read anything inspiring lately? Let me know at contact@krisruhler.com

Music

Lots of authors talk about the music they write to. Some give a whole playlist of what to listen to while reading their books. Stephanie Meyer, for example, introduced me to the Muse band.

My music taste is very eclectic, and it changes every few months. But some are timeless. My favorite bands are Iron Maiden and Aerosmith. I listen to Sting and Scorpions – maybe you’ve never heard of them. Aerosmith’s ‘Dream On’ and Iron Maiden’s ‘Journeyman’ sing to my soul.

And these pieces have meaning too. Paschendale is a song about war, Wind of Change is about the destruction of the Berlin Wall, and Iron Maiden’s Hallowed be Thy name is about execution. The lyrics are profound.

I listened to Sting recently. ‘Shape of My heart’ and ‘Book of My Life’ are my favorites:

It’s the book of my days; it’s the book of my life
And it’s cut like a fruit on the blade of a knife
And it’s all there to see as the section reveals
There’s some sorrow in every life
There are promises broken and promises kept
Angry words that were spoken, when I should have wept
There’s a chapter of secrets, and words to confess
If I lose everything that I possess
There’s a chapter on loss and a ghost who won’t die
There’s a chapter on love where the ink’s never dry
There are sentences served in a prison I built out of lies.

There are tales of good fortune that couldn’t be planned
There’s a chapter on god that I don’t understand
There’s a promise of Heaven and Hell, but I’m damned if I see
Now the daylight’s returning
And if one sentence is true
All these pages are burning
And all that’s left is you

How moving are those lyrics!

I recently discovered a new song by Sting, one I’ve never heard before. The violin is fantastic! Check out ‘What could have been” here.

I am the monster you created

Why don’t you love who I am?

While ‘Book of My life’ is about regret, this song is about both regret and revenge. A lovely combination that sings to my soul!

The song is at the end of Arcane: League of legends. What an ending! Frustrating, pointless…. but any emotion is better than nothing at all!

If you know any group or song or just want to share the music that inspires you the most, I’d love to know.

Do also send any movie that you’ll want to recommend.

A year ago, I watched my first K-drama, ‘The Uncanny Counter’ with my kids and absolutely loved it. Then we went on to watch Crash Landing on You (CLOY). K dramas are my go-to to unwind.

They aren’t everybody’s cup of joe. K dramas are far from perfect. At times, the melodrama is too much. The constant reference to women unable to function after drinking is irritating (okay, I’m one of those ones, don’t rub in the salt).

At times, I think this is too much of a coincidence, as in characters being related to each other somehow. But, hey, sometimes life is a set of patterns. I do believe in some kind of order in this chaos we call life.

The intricate plotting and powerful dialogues are absolutely amazing. More incredible in the K dramas –which are pretty lengthy 16 episodes with one and half hour for each episode—is how well orchestrated the characters are. If you have a somewhat ‘psycho’ selfish character with a lack of feelings, then she is matched to a character who is a selfless ward caretaker.
I’ll be posting K-dramas updates on my Instagram.

It takes me about 4-6 weeks to finish a K-drama. If you are a fan and have comments, shoot me an email. Send me your comments/views on anything you watched lately. I’d love to hear from you.

Till next time, readers!

Below is a snippet of MJ's review.

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