back contents next January 31, 2000

The Magic Mirror Gate

It snowed last night. Everything this morning was covered with a new blanket of it. It also rained a bit, so the snow was pock-marked and looked like white cheese. The sky this morning was fantastic. The grey clouds pushed off to the north as blue sky filled the south-facing picture windows.

I didn't go to work today, giving myself one more day to recuperate. I woke up early, determined to spend some time before breakfast working on a cross-stitch project I started last week for my grandmother. When I went to the Philippines, she gave me several cross-stitches that she worked on and I promised that I would work on one in return. It's very large and will probably take me a few months of work. It's refreshing work: it has been a few years since I've cross-stitched anything seriously and I've forgotten how much I enjoy counting the stitches for the pattern and looking at my finished work. There's something wonderful in making something with my bare hands that isn't digital. I look at the work I do on the web as etherial and untangible. I can't hold my creations in my hands like I could do with the cross-stitch. I enjoy feeling the bumps of stitches with my fingertips. Feeling the cloth respond to my thread. The very physical act of creation is missing when I play digitally. I've missed it and I'm enjoying my rediscovery.

Lately, I've been watching tapes of Monty Python's Flying Circus, a large boxed set that Mike received for Christmas as I worked, but I decided this morning that I would search my old tape collection for something different that I haven't seen in a while. Since my eyes are mostly keyed to the cross-stitch, I can't watch anything foreign because I would need to read the translations. Last night, I got two french films, thinking that I could work with occasional glances to the screen. I ended up watching French Twist twice since I couldn't really follow it the first time while I was working.

I, Claudius? Nah.

Around the World in Eighty Days? Watching Michael Palin is inviting, but I wanted something completely different (too much Python recently). Something inspired by the day.

My copy of The Neverending Story caught my eye. I looked up from the shelf, out the large windows of the sunroom and thought it was the perfect choice for the day. Nature gave her approval for my selection. I pulled the tape off the shelf, walked to the living room, and popped it in.

I settled into my seat, intending only to listen to it, but the minute Limahl's theme song started, I looked up from my work and was hooked. The film took me to my childhood and the joy that I took from watching the movie and reading the book later. I love the concept of the book/film, where someone gets to step into the world in a book. I sympathise with the character of Bastian because I read books to be immersed in them. I replay the action in the book in my head. Reading as a form of escapism. Fantasia has no boundries because it is the realm of human imagination.

I love that.

In the film, I never thought the Gmork, the wolf-like servant of the Nothing, was a particularly scary entity. For some reason, its threats weren't immediate and the confrontation between the Gmork and Atreu was short and inconsequential in my mind. The scariest part was the magic mirror gate, when Atreu looks into it and sees Bastian reading The Neverending Story. I've dreamed of being in situations like this: I am either Bastian or Atreu. Looking up from reading a book to see the faint image of someone staring back at me, or looking through the mirror to see my true nature. They both frighten me.

I think because that is when the lines are blurred. When one loses reality in what is real and what is illusion. Am I what's real? Or is what I see in the mirror the reality and I am the fantasy? It makes me doubt myself and I find that scary. Every day there is a time when I doubt myself: that I can't do something or that something's not going to turn out the way I hoped because of something I did... but that doubt isn't the type that gets to my core. I know who I am (I think... heh), where I'm coming from. I'm still discovering me, but I'm fairly confident I know myself. I understand what's around me and the natural laws that they follow. Blurring the lines of reality and fantasy destroys a lot of mental framework that I've built describing how the world works. It throws me off and I would probably go mad. One of the victims to come out screaming from the magic mirror gate. I've done it in my dreams -- I've gone mad looking at my true nature. I wake shockingly, trying to distance myself from the nightmare. When I try to remember what I see, my mind is blank. All I remember is I was terrified.


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© Copyright 2000 Eileene Coscolluela