Tag Archives: Star Wars

How to Survive Christmas

It hit me the other day that Christmas this year is going to be bloody awful to survive. And yesterday, I was hit by another thing which almost made it unnecessary to survive anything else as it nearly killed me: a tome of André’s collected short stories. It fell on me from a high shelf while I was reaching for other books. I suppose a fitting end to someone like me who lives for books, but Lady Fate decided that it was not my time to go yet. So I still have some surviving to do next month…
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André always maintained that he was not a short story writer, but in fact he started off as one. Short stories are a fine way to “cut your teeth”, as a friend who visited today remarked when I told her about it. Indeed. Back in the day, it was also a way to earn some serious pocket money, and so to support himself in his student days André wrote short stories for magazines in the 1950s (he was barely twenty years old at the time – sigh! – some writers were born with a pen in their beautiful little chubby hands). He collected the individual magazine copies and had them bound into big leather tomes. I estimate there should be just over a hundred stories. Early André Brinks. How exciting is that! I knew about the collected tomes as they are stored in the little André Brink Library next to my study. But until recently I did not feel confident enough in my grasp of Afrikaans to attempt reading them. However, I do now!

When Christmas revealed itself as the nightmare that it is going to be this year, I started compiling a list of survival strategies. Since travelling is a bit of an issue, I can’t go to my family in Austria or Poland. And anyway, being away from home this year is simply impossible to imagine. So, Christmas in Cape Town it is going to be.

Karina’s How to Survive Christmas this Year List:

One: Watching all Sissi movies (for the hundredth time – hey, anything to survive!).
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Two: Star Wars (whoever planned the release date for the latest Star Wars movie can pick up a really passionate kiss of gratitude from me, anytime – all yours, whoever you are!)
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Three: Throwing the Christmas Party of the Year for my friends, divine Polish Christmas dishes and fireworks included.
Four hit me on the head: Reading all of André’s early short stories (some were written especially for Christmas!).
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Five was added this morning: I was invited and accepted to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with my other family, the families of dear friends.

If I won’t be killed by falling books in December, I might be around for 2016! Pray for me.

Of Treks, Wars and Stars

HeirToTheEmpireI still don’t really understand how it happened, but when I was about seven or eight years old and still living in the then Communist Poland, our school went to see Star Wars: Return of the Jedi in the cinema. The film made an enormous impression on me, at that stage not necessarily a good one. I was too young to digest the violence, especially when perpetrated against the cuddly, cute Ewoks. The scene where one of the Ewoks realises that their friend is not moving and will not get up again haunted my childhood dreams for many months to come. Despite this heartache and trauma, there was something about the Star Wars Universe that captured my imagination. When a few years later, I had the opportunity to see the entire original Star Wars trilogy, I was hooked for life. I cannot count how many times I have watched these movies, and how many more times I still will. I don’t seem to ever tire of them. I have also read some of the accompanying books, of which Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn Trilogy is my absolute favourite.

I am not a huge fan of the recent Star Wars film trilogy, although I love the way it portrays Anakin’s path to the Dark Side. And, obviously, I am counting the days until the first film in the latest Disney trilogy is released next year. I hope I can go and see it with Krystian, my brother, who is just as much a fan as I am. The fact that the original actor trio: Carrie Fisher (whom I also adore as an author), Harrison Ford, and Mark Hamill are going to be starring in the trilogy is fantastic. I have followed their careers with great interest for many years (I saw another all-time favourite for the first time – The ‘Burbs – just because Carrie Fisher starred in it).

Fisher Ford HamillTo see them reunited on a film project makes my heart sing. When I was thirteen and had a terrible crush on Luke Skywalker, I promised myself that one day when I am old enough, I am going to travel to Hollywood, declare my love to him, and we will live happily ever after, travelling through the Universe and defending it from all Evil (at that stage, I didn’t differentiate much between an actor and his role…). Then I grew up (and found out that Mark Hamill was one of the few people in Hollywood who actually seemed happily married and not looking to go on quests to rescue the Universe with some crazy Jedi wannabe).

imagesR77R8SAFAt some stage, while I was still at high school, my friend Thomas suggested that as a Star Wars fan I might enjoy watching Star Trek which he did religiously. I had accidently seen a few scenes from the series when zapping through TV channels but hadn’t found anything appealing in them. But then, Thomas asked me to just watch one full episode before passing final judgement. To humour him, I agreed, and that very afternoon settled down after to school to watch. I am not sure that I recall that first episode I saw correctly, but I know it blew my mind. That is how I became a Trekkie. Since them, I have also seen everything that there was to watch connected with the franchise, including the first seasons of Star Trek from the 60s. I was amazed how watchable they still were. A year or so ago, one of our channels available in South Africa repeated all the Star Trek feature films. I’ve always enjoy seeing those, too. What I like about them most is their subtle or not so subtle commentary on contemporary socio-political developments. J.J. Abrams’ latest Star Trek: Into Darkness’s take on ‘the hunt for a dangerous war criminal’ is not exactly subtle but brilliant nevertheless. It just shows you that real baddies are not always easy to identify.

Whether trekking or warring, these movies/series make one think beyond their special effects (no matter how spectacular), and that is what I treasure about them most. That, and the humour, the values, and the friendships they portray (Spock and Kirk, or Data and Geordie, or Luke and Han).

wishfuldrinkingI like the fact that the first Star Wars movie was born the same year I was.

My brother and I greet each other like Vulcans.

Once I tried wearing my hair like Princess Leia but my friend Jeremy pointed out that it rather looked like Chewie’s.

I drink Earl Grey tea when I write, a habit inspired by Jean-Luc Picard. Too bad I can’t order it from a replicator. Well, at least not yet…

I like reaching for the stars.

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May the Force be with you!

And a belated happy birthday to George Lucas!