Call Me By Your Name – Read or Watch?

‘Did I want him to act? Or would I prefer a lifetime of longing provided we both kept this little Ping-Pong game going: not knowing, not-not knowing, not-not-not knowing? Just be quiet, say nothing, and if you can’t say “yes,” don’t say “no,” say “later.” Is this why people say “maybe” when they mean “yes”, but hope you’ll think it’s “no” when all they really mean is, Please, just ask me once more, and once more after that?’
 Call Me By Your Name, Andre Aciman, pg18

To me that is beautiful. Beautiful writing, beautiful thoughts.

It reminds me of the pace I loved within Virginia Woolf’s modernist writing, during which commas are usually the preferred punctuation, and Full stops are almost constantly null and void, because who needs to take a breath when reading a paragraph…

This pace ensures that these thoughts are read with honesty, realism, and such a genuine urge to have questions answered.

This is the first Andre Aciman novel that I have read. With Call Me By Your Name now on screens as well as bookshelves, I thought I’d have a look.

It was so intimate. So blunt, and so real.

There were moments throughout the book that felt uncomfortable to read. For example a bizarre sexual encounter with a peach and an awkwardly personal sharing moment in a hotel toilet. But I believe it was the intention for me to feel strangely invasive reading these chapters.

The relationship that wanted to exist and sometimes did throughout this book of recollective writing is deeply personal, as relationships should be. There are moments in any and all relationships that exist only between yourself and that significant other, that you do not want to be shared or discussed on a wider scale or regaled for larger audiences. Andre Aciman wrote these moments, and by placing them throughout the novel, the reader then became the imposing third party.

The film focuses on the innocence of the younger character, which I think is fantastic. During the book these same moments are narrated through the eyes of someone who has experienced them and who has gone on to experience more beyond that. The voice of the novel knows, whereas the eyes of the film do not.

For that reason I believe that neither is better or worse than the other. Instead they read and view as the same story existing through different tenses, times and levels of maturity. Both can be wrong or both can be right in their interpretation of life and the events of that summer. The film is a set of young eyes before they gain the experience that leads to the book narration, but regardless, both are those same eyes. Innocent, then knowledgeable.

Call Me By Your Name by [Aciman, Andre]

If anything James Ivory and Luca Guadagnino took a beautiful, reflective, honest novel and stripped it right back to the innocent romantic internal struggle.

I will be reading more by Andre Aciman.


The Elderly Tear Removal Service

Moved to Tears

I can’t imagine not finding the act of death sad, or at the very least be put on the verge of outward emotional displays at the thought of it. Especially if it were to be someone close to me. A parent, partner, child, friend. Thinking of it now, I feel as though the death of any of these current or future individuals would linger and constantly cut into the life that I carried on living. This would bring tears.

Then I had a conversation. One that was very macabre from the beginning.

Socialising within the charity organisation I am a part of, I was placed on a table with five women with ages beginning at 72 and ending at 98.

The 98 year old woman began telling me how both her and her husband came on the trips that the charity organises. Then he died. This would be her first one without him.

However, she didn’t tell me this with tears in her eyes.

She carried on elaborating to me whilst the others began to discuss a recent funeral. She told me how she had never been to his grave. That her parents had a plot just a few over from his.

She didn’t seem sad even though the topic was morbid. It was a conversation like any other.

Her father passed first, and her mother, on her deathbed, told her daughter never to come to the cemetery. To never visit her grave or her fathers. She told her daughter that she didn’t want the grass around the gravestone trimmed, that she didn’t want flowers. That she didn’t want her daughter there.

And her daughter, now sat to my right and 98 years old, had never visited the grave of her father, the grave of her mother or the grave of her husband.

I asked her whether she wanted to or whether she ever would.

She looked at me as if I’d asked the most absurd question and replied with a confident ‘no, never’.

To me that is tragic and sad. To her it was fact and choice.

Upon her mother’s request it is likely that she cried. But not anymore. She admired, responded respectfully and fulfilled her mother’s wishes. That in itself is beautiful.

Thinking of it, even as I type, the morbid beauty of her act hits something inward and robs me of breath. But not to her as she spoke about it.

Does age dry up the tears?

Do the tears stop moving once life is thoroughly experienced?

Gene Wilder’s Good Deed

It Builds Character

I remember watching Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as a child and being completely absorbed by the character of Willy Wonka. From reading the book, I then saw Gene Wilder’s interpretation and realised that he was exactly how my youthful mind had imagined.

Then he delivered that one line.

“So shines a good deed in a weary world”

I was moved. All throughout, Mr Wonka was conveyed as comically unbalanced to the point of madness, depth only being found within his passion. But then, reaching out for Charlie’s Ever-Lasting Gobstopper, Gene Wilder said those nine words. Suddenly I saw a character with so much more depth. Willy Wonka was given an intelligent sadness, which could be voiced through phrases that, even in context, could be deemed completely irrelevant.

Throughout life individuals have given speeches that have shaken the world and filled books with potentially moving quotations. These words, either spoken or written, can give strength and inspire.

Now a single line from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory might not meet that standard but, for me, it was the most moving part of the entire movie. Not the Oompa Loompas, not Mike TV or Veruca Salt, not even the lifetime supply of chocolate. Instead that one scene in the half office.

Gene Wilder showed me, even from a young age, that levels of character analysis and depth of emotion can be altered drastically from just one scene and one sentence.

This has followed me through almost every essay I’ve written, as I was constantly reprimanded in my college and university days for focusing on one phrase or one stanza, rather than on the piece in it’s entirety.

“So Shines a Good Deed in a Weary World”

What Would You Do – Meeting an ex-Friend


What do you do when you come face to face with a person that once was a friend, but now simply isn’t? I’m not talking about bumping into someone that you simply lost contact with, I mean bumping into someone who hurt you. What would you do?

I’ll set the scene for you.

I was visiting my mum in hospital, only to discover that this ex-friend was working there as a care-giver. We were very close in our teens, doing stupid things, singing badly on trains… Teeny- things really.

Setting the scene a bit more… with a bit of history…

I developed Epilepsy at around fifteen. Back then the seizure frequency wasn’t that bad, but nevertheless I could still have one whenever, wherever. Then came the boy – as always does in these situations. A very protective boyfriend wandered into her life. Then one birthday, can’t remember which but know it was late late teens, we had arranged to go to the cinema or something to celebrate, and she stood me up. After weeks of ignored phone calls, unreturned text messages – I finally got in contact with her. She told me that it was completely my own fault, that she didn’t feel comfortable around me, that the boyfriend wasn’t even sure it was safe, and then generally repeated the phrase that’s stuck in my head all these years ‘It’s your own fault’.

I felt crushed. She was one of the people I could talk to about anything, and as my seizures were getting more frequent and generally worse I needed someone like that in my life. Instead she kicked me when I was down and pretty much told me she didn’t want to be associated with me.

Back to the Hospital

She was walking around the ward my mum was on. As happens in badly written teen movies visiting times seemed to run parallel to her shift. Every time I saw her I just felt ANGRY. How can this girl, that rejected me because of a medical condition, now be caring for people… for my mum! I kept thinking ‘what should I say if she speaks to me’, ‘should I just let it go’, ‘should I be nasty’, ‘should I give her a dirty look’, ‘should I blank her’. It was endless.

And then to top it off – making the whole scenario worse. I had a seizure during the visit, right in front of the Nurse’s Station, whilst all the staff (including HER) were being briefed. Apparently she legged it. It made me feel so weak, as though I had justified her reason for rejecting me.

It is different to seeing an ex-bully, because rather than having had a relationship based on cruelty, we were genuinely close.

Which begs the question – What would you have done?

Why Start a Blog?

I read something interesting online, something that for once I agreed with. Written by a woman who had lived with and through extreme eating disorders, she said something like ‘judgement of our bodies, or the whole I’m-Fat depression is usually brought on by something completely outside of the mirror’.

I found that interesting. I am over-weight. I know this. At 5ft 6, even with the stereotypical hour glass shape, sixteen and a bit stone does not look good. But at the same time, almost confirming this lady’s statements, there is a lot more going on in my life than my size.

Just like so many bloggers who write keenly about their weight, I do not eat badly and I do not eat a lot. I genuinely believe that some people are meant to be big and others are meant to be small. But at the same time, the big people of the world should know it’s unhealthy to transform from ‘big’ to ‘huge’, whilst the small others shouldn’t move from ‘small’ to ‘miniscule’.

But that doesn’t answer my own question.

Sometimes I don’t judge the way I look, sometimes I go for weeks without looking into a mirror and feeling pure disgust. And then suddenly that will change. It will be the main thing I focus on and slide into a depression because of it.

Further on in this interesting woman’s post was advice on how to overcome the ‘I’m-Fat-Depression’. Of course we’ve heard the technique before – a sheet of paper with two columns with the negatives on one and the positives on the other. So I thought why do it on a rubbish sheet of blank paper that will just get shoved in a drawer? Lets do it here.

This blog will be blunt and honest, both positive and negative, happy and sad – and completely me. Hopefully you can relate in some way.