Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Knight In Battered Armor - Honorary Member Profile, September 2010 - Anakin Skywalker

*info for this profile is gathered from the films only

When I first got the idea for featuring honorary members each month for the Knights In Battered Armor, one of the first ones I came up with was Anakin Skywalker.  He may not be an ideal model, but for some reason I’ve looked forward to writing his profile.  I’ve talked some with other people about this profile, and already gotten differing views on his ‘qualifications.’  Chances are that some of you have your own ideas about him, and won’t change them after reading this, and that’s fine.  I’m offering a different viewpoint on a character that’s been around for more than 30 years.

Anakin’s early life is hardly what any of us would call spectacular, or even normal.  Born into slavery and raised by a single parent, Anakin made the best of his situation.  He was able to make friends and have some semblance of a decent childhood.  It wasn’t until he was nine years old that his life changed forever.

In the course of only a few days, Anakin met Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn, won a podrace, and was freed from slavery.  He accompanied the Jedi Master to Coruscant and later Naboo.  He went before the Jedi Council to determine if he would be trained as a Jedi.  He participated in the space battle above the planet and struck the blow that crippled the Trade Federation’s battle droid army.  He later became apprentice to Obi-Wan Kenobi.

I can’t imagine the sort of things that went through Anakin’s mind up to this point.  Living one’s entire life knowing nothing but sand and slavery, then going through a whirlwind of experiences that could only be imagined in dreams.  Two low points I believe figure prominently are that Anakin had to leave his mother behind on Tatooine, as her freedom was not obtained, and that the Jedi Council initially denied Qui-Gon’s request that Anakin be trained as a Jedi, despite Qui-Gon’s belief that Anakin was the Chosen One that would bring balance to the Force.

We don’t see Anakin again for ten years.  Taller than his master, Anakin still bears the standard Jedi Padawan braid.  He and Obi-Wan are assigned as extra security for the Naboo senator, Padme Amidala.  After foiling an assassination attempt, Anakin escorts Padme as she goes into hiding, while Obi-Wan conducts an investigation into who was behind the assassination.

This sparks a lot of inner turmoil with Anakin.  On the one hand, he’s got his Jedi duties and responsibilities to follow.  On the other hand, he has harbored a secret love for Padme ever since they met on Tatooine, and having to be in such close proximity to the senator takes its toll on him.  During this time, Anakin has a vision of his mother suffering and goes to Tatooine with Padme.  He learns that she was kidnapped by Tusken Raiders and successfully infiltrates the camp where she is held, but the injuries she’s sustained are too serious, and she dies shortly after Anakin arrives.  Anakin, completely overcome by grief and anger, slaughters every Tusken Raider in the camp.

Have you ever been so angry you feel like you might just lose it and go berserk?  Well, Anakin did.  He suffered a terrible loss, and in his anger, he killed an entire camp of men, women and children.  Anakin would carry feelings of loss, grief and anger with him for a long, long time, and those feelings are influential in his eventual fall to the dark side.  This also caused him to lose confidence in himself, and when he learned of Obi-Wan’s capture on the planet Geonosis, he chose to respect Jedi Master Mace Windu’s order for him to remain on Tatooine with Padme, even though he knew Obi-Wan needed him.

Despite the restrictions placed on them by their respective duties, Anakin and Padme begin a secret relationship.  They do their best to keep it hidden from the people around them, but there are times when things come dangerously close to revealing the truth.

One such time is during the battle on Geonosis, when Anakin, Obi-Wan and Padme are in pursuit of Count Dooku.  Their ship is attacked from behind and Padme falls to the ground below.  Anakin is adamant about going back to help her, but reluctantly backs down after an impassioned plea (as well as threat of expulsion from the Jedi Order) from Obi-Wan.

I can only imagine how Anakin must have felt at this point in time – being torn between his duty and commitment to the Jedi, and wanting to go save the person who means most to him.  And then later, when he and Obi-Wan catch up to Count Dooku, Anakin is overcome by anger and charges in, heedless of Obi-Wan’s warning.  As a result, he is incapacitated by Dooku’s force lightning attack.

I will admit that Anakin is still very much headstrong here.  Despite getting up and saving Obi-Wan’s life, he is outmatched against Count Dooku by himself, and ends up losing his right arm above the elbow after a short duel.  Yoda arrives and is able to hold off Dooku, who distracts the small Jedi Master by causing a large metal column to fall towards Obi-Wan and Anakin and then escapes.

It’s a given that Anakin is in a tremendous amount of pain.  He gets fitted with a mechanical arm, and later on Naboo, he marries Padme even though it means breaking the Jedi Code.  However, the two would struggle to keep their illicit relationship a secret.

Fast-forward three years.  The Clone Wars rage on, Anakin has become a full Jedi Knight, and his marriage to Padme still remains a secret.

Anakin steps closer to the dark side when he executes Count Dooku.  He knows that he shouldn’t kill an unarmed opponent, but at the urging of Chancellor Palpatine, he does it anyway.  He shows remorse at what he did, but for one moment, he slipped up and allowed his anger to come through.  On the flip side of things, when Palpatine tells Anakin to leave Obi-Wan, Anakin shows loyalty to his former master and refuses to leave him to die.

Later, down on Coruscant, Anakin meets with his wife Padme and learns that she is pregnant.  Anakin is overjoyed, but Padme worries that their secret will eventually be found out.  Soon after this, Anakin begins having dreams of Padme dying in childbirth, and vows to not let that happen.

It’s at this point Anakin begins to struggle within himself on multiple fronts: (1) his vow to keep Padme from dying in childbirth; (2) being asked to be Palpatine’s personal representative on the Jedi Council after being told about the Chancellor’s fear and distrust of the Jedi Masters; (3) conversely, Anakin is essentially asked to spy on the Chancellor, reporting on his dealings, etc.

I can only imagine what Anakin is feeling or thinking at this point.  He has to be torn between what he should do; what the right thing to do is.  But there’s also his wife and unborn child to think of, as well as his dream of Padme dying.  A turning point in this struggle comes when Anakin meets with Palpatine at an opera performance.  Palpatine tells Anakin a story about a Sith Lord named Darth Plageuis The Wise, who was so powerful that he could use the Force to create life, as well as keep others from dying.  That last part is what gets Anakin’s attention and when he asks if it’s possible to learn that power, Palpatine remarks “Not from a Jedi.”

When Obi-Wan is later ordered to the Utapau system to confront General Grievous, Anakin accompanies him to his transport.  At the boarding ramp, Anakin apologizes for his attitude and behavior, and for his frustration with the Council.  The two exchange farewells, not knowing this is the final time they will meet as friends.  And for now, things seem to have calmed down for Anakin.

But that’s just the calm before the storm.  Anakin later goes to Chancellor Palpatine, and their conversation quickly turns to Palpatine’s knowledge of the Force.  Here is where Palpatine reveals himself to be Darth Sidious, prompting Anakin to ignite his lightsaber and threaten to kill Palpatine.  However, Anakin decides to expose Palpatine’s identity to the Jedi Council, as he is still concerned with saving his wife and believes that Palpatine’s knowledge (learned from Darth Plageuis) will ensure that he is successful.

Anakin’s inner turmoil only worsens, when, after delivering his information to Mace Windu, he is ordered to remain at the Jedi Temple while Masters Windu, Fisto, Kolar, and Tiin board a gunship at go to arrest the Chancellor/Sith Lord.  Anakin initially obeys the order to stay, and sits in the Council Chamber, but he eventually succumbs to the fear that if Palpatine is killed, he will lose any hope of saving Padme from death.

When Anakin arrives at the Chancellor’s office, his worst fears seem to be realized: Mace Windu is standing over a defenseless Palpatine, with his lightsaber pointed at the Chancellor.  Windu argues that Palpatine is too dangerous to be left alive, but Anakin argues that Palpatine must stand trial.  Windu considers it, but decides to kill Palpatine, and raises his lightsaber to deliver the killing blow.  Finally forced to choose between the Jedi and Padme, Anakin snaps, and in a rush of emotion, he draws his own lightsaber and cuts off Mace Windu’s sword-hand.  Palpatine quickly unleashes a barrage of Force lightning that throws Windu out the window to his death.

You’ve probably heard someone talk about how they’ll just go berserk is just one more thing goes wrong, or if such-and-such happens, they’ll snap.  Well, Anakin did.  He is horrified at what he has just done, but knows there is no turning back.  He pledges allegiance to Palpatine/Sidious in exchange for the power to save Padme from dying.

Every one of us at some point has done something we regret.  Sometimes we feel like we can never be forgiven for whatever it was we did.  Anakin is desperate to save Padme, and I understand that.  That doesn’t excuse the atrocities he later commits.  I’m speaking primarily of Anakin leading a legion of clone troopers to the Jedi Temple and slaughtering everyone inside.  Probably the most heartbreaking of this instance is Anakin finding a group of children hiding in the Council Chamber and killing each one.  Another incident is murdering the Separatist Leaders on the planet Mustafar.

Padme meets Anakin on Mustafar, saying that Obi-Wan had told her that Anakin was responsible for leading the slaughter but didn’t want to believe it.  She pleads with Anakin to come away with her, but when Anakin says he’s brought peace to the Republic, and can overthrow Palpatine so that the two of them can rule the galaxy, she realizes how much he’s changed and begs for him to stop and turn back.

When Anakin sees Obi-Wan emerge from Padme’s ship, he assumes Padme was lying and only brought Obi-Wan here to kill him.  In his anger, he Force chokes Padme, letting go only when she has fallen unconscious.

Anakin/Darth Vader accuses Obi-Wan of turning Padme against him, stating that he’s brought “peace, justice, and freedom to my new Empire.”  He offers Obi-Wan a chance to step aside, but Obi-Wan refuses, and the two engage in a fierce duel that takes them through the Separatist stronghold, up and down a river of lava, and comes to its conclusion on a riverbank.  Obi-Wan gains the advantage, but Anakin/Darth Vader at this point is extremely enraged and bloodthirsty, and foolishly attempts to leap over his old master.  Obi-Wan performs a lightning fast maneuver, severing Anakin’s left arm and both legs.

Anakin is later rescued by Palpatine and a squad of clone troopers.  He gets taken to a special medical facility, where he is fitted with that iconic black armor we all are familiar with.  After this, things calm down somewhat, or get less conflicting…call it whatever you want.

We don’t run into Anakin/Darth Vader for almost 20 years (film timeline-wise).  I don’t think many significant events occur that directly involve him until the end of the trilogy.  In “A New Hope,” there’s torturing Leia, and also the duel between him and Obi-Wan on the Death Star.  In “The Empire Strikes Back,” the torture of Han, Leia and Chewbacca, as well as freezing Han in carbonite.  In “Return of the Jedi,” nothing happens until close to the end, when Darth Vader brings Luke to the Emperor on board the incomplete Death Star II.

After bringing Luke before the Emperor, Darth Vader watches as Palpatine attempts to lure Luke to the dark side by tormenting him with thoughts of the death of his friends and the defeat and destruction of the Rebel Alliance.  Luke snaps and attempts to kill the Emperor, but Darth Vader intervenes and the two begin to duel.  During this though, Darth Vader seems to be reluctant to kill his son, as evidenced by his continued efforts to turn Luke to the dark side.  When Darth Vader discovers that Luke has a twin sister and threatens to turn her to the dark side, Luke attacks his father with anger and hatred.  Darth Vader is pushed back, and when he falls against a railing, Luke strikes and cuts off his father’s hand.

Anakin/Darth Vader lays helpless, but Luke resists the Emperor’s goading to strike the killing blow.  Enraged, the Emperor attacks Luke with Force lightning, while Darth Vader struggles to his feet and stands by his master.  As Luke cries out in pain for his father’s help, something inside Darth Vader changes; love for his son and the desire to protect him breaks through, and he turns on the Emperor.  It is in this moment that Anakin Skywalker is reborn and Darth Vader is no more.

In a final act of self-sacrifice, Anakin lifts the Emperor over his head, carries him to the Death Star’s reactor shaft, and throws him to his death.  As he did so, the Emperor’s Force lightning attack focused in on Vader, destroying his suit’s life support system and mortally wounding him.

Luke drags Anakin to a shuttle bay in an attempt to save his life, but Anakin stops him, knowing he is going to die whether or not Luke gets him on a ship.  As he nears death, Anakin asks Luke to remove his mask so that he can see his son with his own eyes.  As father and son gazed at each other, Anakin told Luke that he was right when he said there was still good in him; and to tell his sister the same.  And with those last words, Anakin Skywalker died and became one with the Force.

Luke escaped the Death Star with his father’s armor and artificial remains, which he later cremated on Endor in a traditional Jedi funeral.  Later, at the Rebel’s victory celebration, Anakin’s Force ghost appear to Luke, alongside the Force ghosts of Obi-Wan and Yoda.

* * * * *

When I first thought about making Anakin Skywalker an Honorary Member, I figured I would get a lot of flak and opposition.  Surprisingly, I’ve gotten almost none at all.

To me, when others think of Anakin Skywalker, they immediately think of someone who became Darth Vader and committed terrible crimes.  But he’s so much more than that.  Yes, he did terrible things as Darth Vader, but when I sit down and think about it, I come to the conclusion that Anakin Skywalker is a victim, in a way.  From the beginning of the Star Wars saga in The Phantom Menace to his fall in Revenge of the Sith, Anakin is carefully manipulated and lied to by Chancellor Palpatine/Darth Sidious.  Events in Anakin’s life are caused (directly and indirectly) by the Sith Lord; even some assignments of Anakin’s before and during the Clone Wars are influenced as well.

So when someone talks about Anakin’s fall to the dark side like it was all his fault, I respectfully disagree.  Anakin’s fall was a carefully orchestrated web of lies and deception perpetrated by a man who is evil to his very core.

Then there’s my second point in my case for including Anakin Skywalker in the Honorary Member ranks of KIBA: granted, he fell to the dark side and committed terrible crimes and deeds.  But at the end of it all, when Luke was being tortured by Emperor Palpatine, Anakin was able to throw off the yoke of evil he had embraced, and return to the light, even though it cost him his life to do so.

Think about it in terms of someone coming to Christ.  If someone who has spent 40 years or so not following Christ and living life however they want (like a ‘do what feels right’ mentality), repents of their ways and gives their life to God, would you not be happy for them?  Why then should we not celebrate Anakin’s return to the light?

Anakin’s armor (both hypothetical and physical) is most definitely battered, beaten and scarred.  He fell, as all of us have or will do at some point.  He was able to rise up and stand against what he had become, even though it cost him his life.

Welcome to KIBA, Anakin.

Knight In Battered Armor - Honorary Member Profile, August 2010 - Luke Skywalker

*this profile is based off of information gathered from theStar Wars films only.

We first meet Luke when he is a young man working on his uncle Owen's moisture farm on the desert planet of Tatooine.  He yearns for a life away fromTatooine, dreaming of one day being able to attend the Imperial Academy.  His uncle does his best to keep Luke atthe farm, secretly afraid that Luke would follow in his father's footsteps.

Luke's life takes a dramatic turn when his uncle purchases two droids from passing Jawas.  He discovers a secret message to Obi-Wan Kenobi hidden in the astromech droid R2-D2.  Luke eventually meets Obi-Wan and learns that his father was not a navigator on a freighter as his uncle told him, but was in fact a Jedi Knight.

It's hard to imagine what's going through Luke's mind at this point.  Having spent his entire life believing one thing, only to have it turned upside down and inside out when he least expected it has to be shocking, to say the least. Later, Luke and Obi-Wan come across a group of slaughtered Jawas, which Luke recognizes as the ones that sold Threepio and Artoo to his uncle Owen.  He realizes that the Imperial troops that killed the Jawas would have learned who they sold the droids to and rushes home only to find the homestead burning and his aunt and uncle murdered.

What makes me curious at this point is how long Luke took to return to Obi-Wan and the droids. I also wonder at the incredible amount of turmoil and agony Luke has to be feeling at this point: being told who his father had been after spending his entire life believing that he was something else, and now returning home to find the only family he had ever known was brutally killed.  It makes one wonder what happened between that discovery, and when he finally returned to the others.

However Luke dealt with all that happened is unknown.  After this, Luke, Obi-Wan and the droids traveled to Mos Eisley where they met Han Solo and Chewbacca the Wookiee, and arranged for passage to Alderaan. Despite being attacked by stormtroopers and being pursued by Imperial Star Destroyers, they were able to make the jump to hyperspace and travel to Alderaan.

It was during this leg of the journey that Luke was first instructed in the ways of the Force. Upon reaching the Alderaan system, the group learned of the planet's destruction and were subsequently captured by the Death Star when they attempted to intercept a patrolling TIE fighter.

Here is where I feel Luke begins to show some real courage.  After Ben leaves the group to disable the station's tractor beam, Artoo discovers that Princess Leia Organa is being held in a detention block on the station.  Luke devises a plan to break her out,and things go smoothly getting into the detention block, but before Luke and the others can make it out, a squad of stormtroopers arrive and cut off their only escape.

Despite taking a detour through a garbage masher, and getting separated from Han and Chewbacca while trying to make it back to the Millennium Falcon, Luke keeps his head and he and Leia eventually meet up with Han and Chewbacca at the hangar where the ship is being held.

Now comes a third major blow to Luke.  When the stormtroopers guarding the Millennium Falcon rush towards one end of the hangar, he and the others make a break for the ship, but Luke pulls up short as he sees what attracted the stormtroopers attention: Obi-Wan Kenobi is locked in a lightsaber duel with Darth Vader.  Luke witnesses Obi-Wan sacrifice himself.  He immediately begins firing upon the stormtroopers, and only runs to the ship when he hears Obi-Wan's voice urging him to go.

At this point, Luke has had three life-altering events happen to him: the first is finding out his father was a Jedi Knight that had fought in the Clone Wars; the second was discovering his aunt and uncle were murdered; and the third was witnessing the death of Obi-Wan Kenobi.  To have just one life-changing event like those occur and yet still trudge on shows bravery and courage.  To do so after three takes much more than I could imagine.

And to top it off, Luke later takes part in a battle against the Death Star, flying a small X-Wing fighter.  He demonstrates tremendous courage, as well as strong leadership, when, after the majority of Rebel fighters are destroyed, he leads an attack run on the Death Star's exhaust port.  Despite fellow pilot (and childhood friend) Biggs Darklighter being killed, and fellow pilot Wedge Antilles being hit (not critically, but enough to make him pull out of the attack run), and with the timely arrival of the Millennium Falcon, Luke is able to fire a pair of proton torpedoes directly into the exhaust port, which begins a chain reaction that destroys the Death Star.

Up to this point, Luke has demonstrated an extraordinary amount of courage, bravery and strength. He lost four people that were dear to him; he learned that his father was a Jedi Knight and not a navigator on a freighter as he had been led to believe; he came face to face with many difficult situations and chose to take the hard path – he did that which was worth doing.

Fast forward now approximately three years.  The Rebels have established a hidden base on the ice planet of Hoth. Luke witnesses a meteor strike while out on patrol and is attacked by a wampa before he can investigate it.  He later escapes the creature's lair, but quickly succumbs to the frigid temperatures.  Shortly before losing consciousness, the ghostly form of his former teacher Obi-Wan Kenobi appears before him, urging Luke to seek out Jedi Master Yoda on the planet Dagobah.

Luke is soon rescued and taken back to the base, where he spends time in a bacta tank to heal his injuries, but he has almost no time to recover as the Empire has discovered the Rebels' location and begun their assault.  Luke leads a squad of snowspeeder fighters in a counterattack against the Empire's AT-AT walkers.

Here, Luke shows bravery and courage, when, after his ship is shot down, he single-handedly brings down one of the attacking walkers.  He later escapes the planet on his X-Wing fighter and goes to Dagobah in search of Yoda.

Here, in my opinion, is where one of the toughest parts of his journey/his life takes place. Luke crash lands on the planet, makes camp and meets a small, strange creature that seems to know more about Luke and why he's there than Luke himself does.  Luke eventually learns that the small creature is none other than Yoda, but gets frustrated when Yoda initially refuses to train Luke.  It is only after the voice of Obi-Wan intervenes that Yoda changes his mind, but things don't get any easier from here.

There were many different obstacles for Luke to overcome, and not all of them were external. He had to overcome certain qualities about himself, such as his stubbornness, impatience, impulsiveness and recklessness, and even those were not completely defeated, as evidenced in his test in the cave, where he fought an apparition of Vader, but saw his own face beneath the mask.  Later on, these failings became more evident when Luke had a vision of his friends suffering and he cut his training short to go rescue them, despite the warnings of both Yoda and Obi-Wan.

This turned out to be one of the poorest decisions we see Luke make throughout the entire trilogy. Luke is unable to rescue Leia, Chewbacca and Han, and when he faces Darth Vader in a duel, he ultimately loses his right hand and his lightsaber.  Not only did he have that pain to deal with, but this is also where it is revealed that Darth Vader is really Luke's father Anakin.  The shock Luke feels proves to be too much to deal with, and he allows himself to fall down a large shaft, eventually coming out and landing on a weather vane beneath the city.  Luke, unable to hold on for long, calls out to Leia in the Force.  She, along with Chewbacca, Lando Calrissian, and the droids, rescue him in the Millennium Falcon and reunite with the Rebel fleet, where Luke is fitted with a mechanical hand to replace the one he lost.

Fast forward now about one year.  Luke has returned to Tatooine and successfully infiltrates the palace of Jabba the Hutt. After being brought before the crime lord, he uses the Force to call a blaster to his hand and attempts to shoot Jabba, but the Hutt activates a trapdoor beneath Luke that drops him into a pit with a rancor.  Luke manages to kill the rancor by closing a large door on top of its head. Outraged, Jabba orders Luke to be executed, along with Han and Chewbacca.

At the Pit of Carkoon, Luke executes an elaborate escape plan, which culminates in the death of Jabba and the destruction of his sailbarge.  Luke and the others return to their ships: Luke to his X-Wing, and Han, Chewbacca, Leia, and Lando to the Millennium Falcon.  They parts ways for a short while, as Luke intends to follow through on a promise he made to an old friend.

Luke returns to Dagobah and reunites with Yoda.  However, the Jedi Master has become frail and sickly.  Luke professes his desire to complete his training, but Yoda states that Luke doesn't need anymore training.  He adds further that there is still one thing left to do before Luke will truly be a Jedi: Luke must confront Vader one last time. Luke asks Yoda if Darth Vader really is his father, but Yoda turns away, reluctant to answer.  Luke poses the question again, and Yoda admits that Vader is indeed Luke's father and would have eventually revealed it to Luke had he not rushed off before his training was complete.  With his dying breath, Yoda reveals to Luke that there is another Skywalker, but before Luke can find out who it is, Yoda's body disappears into the Force.

Luke has had a long and difficult journey up to this point.  He has shown incredible bravery and courage.  He has also made mistakes that had terrible consequences, most notable of which was rushing off to Cloud City in the middle of his training and losing his hand to Darth Vader.  Through all his experiences since working on his uncle's farm on Tatooine, he has become stronger and more mature.

Obi-Wan's spirit appears to Luke again, outside of Yoda'shut.  He encourages Luke, saying that he (Obi-Wan) and Yoda will always be with him (Luke).  Luke is initially angry, believing Obi-Wan lied when he had said that Vader betrayed and murdered Luke's father.  Obi-Wan explains that when Anakin turned to the dark side of the Force, the good person he had been was destroyed, making what Obi-Wan said years ago true, from a certain point of view.  When Luke asks what Yoda meant by 'there is another', Obi-Wan says the 'other' is Luke's twin sister, and Luke realizes that his twin sister is Leia.

After Luke rejoins the Rebellion in the Sullust system, he accompanies Han, Chewbacca, and Leia to the forest moon of Endor, where they plan to destroy the shield generator that protects the second Death Star.  The group is captured by the indigenous Ewoks, but after a little display of the Force from Luke, they are released.  One evening, Luke questions Leia about memories of her real mother.  He reveals that Darth Vader is his father.  He also reveals that the Force is very strong in his family, saying that his father and he has it, and also his sister.  Leia is taken aback by this news.  Luke tells her of his plan to attempt to bring Vader back from the dark side of the Force, believing that there is still good in him.

Out of all the decisions that Luke has had to make, I feel that this is the hardest one of them all. It would take a lot of guts to willingly face an enemy that had beaten you once before, but in Luke's case, allowing himself to be captured and taken to Vader, then taken to Palpatine himself, he shows an amazing amount of bravery in being willing to come face to face with two of his most powerful foes.

After being goaded by the Emperor, Luke attempts to strike Palpatine down, but his lightsaber is blocked by Vader, and the two engage in a heated battle.  Luke's resolve is tested, and reaches its breaking point when Vader learns that Luke has a sister and threatens to turn her to the dark side.  Luke unleashes his fury at this, fighting Darth Vader back and eventually disarms the Sith Lord by cutting off his right hand.  Luke pauses before delivering the killing blow, realizing just how close he is to becoming like his father.  When Palpatine urges Luke on, he refuses and tosses his lightsaber to the ground.  Palpatine then electrocutes Luke with Force lightning, and as Vader watches from Palpatine's side, something inside him changes, and he throws Palpatine down a large shaft to his death.

Luke helps his father to a shuttle, but collapses just short of the boarding ramp.  At his father's request, Luke removes the helmet and looks upon his father for thefirst time.  Anakin asks to be left there, but Luke refuses, saying he (Luke) has to save him (Anakin).  Anakin says that Luke has already done that, and requests that Luke tell his sister that he (Luke) was right about him (Anakin).  Luke watches as his father passes away.

Luke gets his father on board the shuttle and takes off just moments before the Death Star explodes. He returns to Endor and burns his father's armor in a traditional Jedi funeral, then rejoins his friends to celebrate their victory over the Empire.

* * * * *

There are varying degrees of bravery, courage, heroism,etc.  When I think of Luke Skywalker, I think of a person (albeit a fictional one) who has gone through so much, suffered some devastating blows, and yet kept on going, even when the outcome was in doubt.

In 'A New Hope,' Luke lost four people that meant a lot to him: his uncle Owen and aunt Beru (killed by Imperial stormtroopers), Obi-Wan Kenobi (killed by Darth Vader in a duel on the Death Star), and his friend Biggs Darklighter (shot down above the Death Star's surface by Darth Vader).  On the opposite end of the spectrum, there were times when he stepped up above what was expected: choosing to rescue Princess Leia from the detention center on the Death Star, and leading an attack run on the Death Star's exhaust port after nearly all of the Rebellion's fighters were destroyed.

In 'The Empire Strikes Back,' I feel that Luke hits a lower point than the other two movies, referring to his decision to break off from his training on Dagobah in order to rescue Han and Leia.  His impatience and stubbornness ended up doing more harm than good: he was unable to save Han and Leia, fought Darth Vader and lost his hand in the process, and ended up having to be rescued by those he was trying to save.  Now, I'm not saying Luke didn't have his good moments.  He fought bravely during the battle on Hoth, single-handedly bringing down an AT-AT walker.  He went through training with Yoda, even though it wasn't easy.

In 'Return of the Jedi,' Luke has come a long way from the brash young farmboy he was in the first film.  With the help of his friends, he was able to rescue Han Solo from Jabba the Hutt.  He fulfilled his promise to Yoda to return to Dagobah and complete his training, although Yoda tells Luke he doesn't require anymore training, saying he must confront Darth Vader before he becomes a Jedi. The toughest decision (I think) that Luke makes is to surrender to Imperial troops on Endor and allow himself to be taken to Darth Vader and eventually Emperor Palpatine.  Luke came dangerously close to falling to the dark side during his duel with Vader, but was able to resist the urgings of Palpatine to kill Vader as he lay helpless.

Luke Skywalker has exhibited many of the traits of a Knight in Battered Armor.  He chose to stand and fight, and even though he suffered hits and losses,  he chose to get back up and keep going.  He fought for his friends and brothers in arms.  He chose to do what he thought was right; what he believed was necessary in order to bring his father back from the dark side. While I don't know if Luke was willing to sacrifice himself in order to save his father, I'd like to think that he would do so if he believed it was necessary.

Welcome to KIBA, Luke.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Double Poem Post

The Silence Between Us

Sometimes I’ll wish upon a star, I will hope and dream,
That I would stop being afraid, that I would stop pretending everything’s ok.
I’ve been hurt too many times to believe that things could ever be different.
Why shouldn’t I just sit and be silent while things just pass me by?
It’s what I’m good at. I don’t like it but it’s true.
As much as I want things to be different, I can’t bear the guilt and shame
Of knowing I did something that caused you pain and grief.
I’m simply too afraid.
So I will just sit here in my empty silence and quietly hope
That you could see the way I wish things were.
Subtlety has never been my strong point,
So I keep my thoughts to myself.
My past experiences have taught me to expect things to not work out;
That eventually something will happen that causes irreparable damage,
And that it will be my fault.
I’ve been down this rod so many times that it’s all I know.

Here in my empty silence, I hide myself behind a variety of masks.
I hide my face, I hide my pain,
I hide my hopes and I hide my fears.
I hide the truth of what I’m really thinking,
Because how could you understand?
How could you ever feel about me the way I feel about you?
Would I even mean as much to you as you do to me?
It’s too much for me to hope for, sometimes.
I’ve taught myself to believe that I don’t deserve it;
That I’ve made too many mistakes for it to ever happen to me.

It’s the sparkles in your eyes, it’s the smile on your face,
And it’s the sound of your laughter that I just can’t turn away from.
I can’t explain how or why,
But there is something about them that captivates my attention.
I want to be the reason your eyes sparkle,
I want to be the one who puts a smile on your face,
And I want to be the one who makes you laugh.
I want to be the man you deserve to have and be with.
But I sit here and do nothing, and eventually you walk away,
And another opportunity quietly slips away.

I have only myself to blame. And I do.
I blame myself for all the hurt and pain I feel.
I tell myself that it’s my fault; that it’s always been
And always will be my fault.
Because I’m afraid.
Afraid of repeating a past mistake,
Afraid of feeling hurt, broken and alone.
Afraid of doing something to cause you pain.

If I broke my silence, what would I say?
How would I start and what would I do?
What would you say, and what would you do?
Would you be accepting of who I am and what I’ve done,
Or would you throw it all in my face and laugh
While I feel myself shatter into a thousand pieces?
Would you see the kind of person I’m trying to be?
I know I’m not perfect by any means.
I’m beaten, battered and scarred.

And what about you?
I wonder about that too.
Do you catch me stealing glances in your direction?
I don’t mean to stare.
Do you see me making an excuse to ‘run into you’ a lot?
I’m trying to be inconspicuous about it.
Do you look at me when I turn away,
And wish I would talk to you already?
I’m just trying to find the right words to say.
And when you leave, does it hurt you to walk away,
As much as it hurts me to see you go?

There are so many things we leave unsaid,
So many things we’re afraid to voice.
We’re all afraid of being hurt; afraid of being alone;
Afraid of the pain that comes with a broken heart.
We’re afraid of not being loved by someone
Even though they know the worst thing about us,
The thing we’re most ashamed of.
We hide so many things from each other so often,
That soon all we can hear is the sound of the silence between us.

* * * * *

I Want To Let You Know

I’ve spent so much of my time building up my defenses,
protecting and guarding my heart.
I’ve tried to cover up the wounds, from all the times I’ve been hurt.
I’ve tried to conceal the truth, of the mistakes I’ve made.
I’ve avoided speaking out, about the pain I’ve caused.

I’ve spent so much of my time hiding behind a variety of masks,
keeping the truth of my thoughts and emotions deep inside.
I cannot look into your eyes, because I am afraid.
I cannot let my guard down, because I am scared.
I cannot let you know, because I am frightened.

I’ve spent so much of my time trying not to repeat my mistakes,
so that no one would be hurt because of me.
By doing so, I hurt you anyway.
By doing so, I make myself suffer.
By doing so, I cause the very thing I try to avoid.

I spend so much time trying to understand what I feel,
that I miss the opportunities to speak up and tell you.
I want to tell you, but maybe it’s not the right time.
I want to speak up, but maybe I won’t be able to find the words I want to say.
I want to let you know, but maybe you don’t feel the same way.

I want to break down these walls I’ve built, and let you inside.
I want to stop this charade, and show you who I really am.
I want to stop focusing on the past, and not be afraid to take a risk.
I want it to not be too late to speak my mind, even if my voice shakes.
I want to let you know, but I’m just not used to saying what I feel.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Knight In Battered Armor - Honorary Member Profile, July 2010: Bruce Wayne/Batman

We first see Bruce Wayne as a young child living on his parents’ estate in Gotham City. He developed a fear of bats at a young age when one day, while playing on his family’s property with his friend Rachel Dawes, Bruce fell down a dried-up well, breaking his arm. As he waited for help to come, a colony of bats flew out of a nearby tunnel. In the enclosed area, there was little Bruce could do to avoid the creatures, except cover his face with his arms.

Some time after this occurred, Bruce and his parents attended an opera. One scene featured a number of performers dressed as bats. This caused Bruce’s fear to surface and he asked his father if they could leave. Bruce and his parents left the opera and began walking down a dimly lit street. They did not get far before being confronted by bum named Joe Chill. Raising a small pistol, Joe Chill forced Bruce’s father to give up his wallet, and then demanded that the pearls Bruce’s mother was wearing also be given to him. Bruce’s mother refused, and in the ensuing scuffle, Joe Chill shot both of Bruce’s parents, killing them. As his parents’ murderer fled the scene, Bruce stood over his parents’ body, crying.

Years later, Bruce, now an adult, returned to Gotham City from Princeton University to find that his parents’ killer, Joe Chill, was going to receive a suspended sentence in exchange for testifying against crime boss Carmine Falcone. Bruce was intent on murdering Chill after the hearing, however, one of Falcone’s assassins killed Chill before Bruce could do anything. After a brief meeting with Falcone later that evening, Bruce decided to travel around the world and learn the ways of the criminal underworld, eventually becoming a criminal himself and getting arrested.

One day, after a brawl with several inmates, Bruce was taken to a cell where he was met by a man calling himself ‘Ducard.’ Ducard offers Bruce a chance to escape the life of a criminal. If he’s interested, he (Bruce) must find a specific blue flower and bring it to the top of a nearby mountain. The next day, Bruce is released from prison, finds the flower, and makes the long trek up the mountain to where Ducard is waiting. There, he enters into training to join a secret organization called The League of Shadows, led by a man named Ra’s Al Ghul.

Upon completion of his training, Bruce is given a task: to lead the League to Gotham City and destroy it. Ra’s and Ducard believe that Gotham is beyond saving, but Bruce believes otherwise. In the ensuing battle, Ra’s is killed, and Bruce escapes with an unconscious Ducard.

Bruce returns to Gotham City, where he finds that Falcone’s crime syndicate has practically taken over the city. He enlists the help of Lucius Fox, a former board member of Wayne Enterprises, and Sergeant Jim Gordon, one of the few honest police officers in the city, in his effort to fight back. Lucius helps Bruce to acquire a prototype armored car and an armored suit to take on the identity of Batman. Learning of an impending drug shipment that night, Bruce intercepts it and captures crime boss Carmine Falcone. Later, he saves Rachel Dawes, his childhood friend and assistant DA, from an attempted assassination and provides her with evidence capable of indicting Falcone.

While investigating an apartment that had been used as a staging point for processing the smuggled drugs, Batman runs into Crane, who does him with a powerful hallucinogenic toxin. Batman is soon rescued by Alfred, butler at Wayne Manor, who enlists Fox’s help in developing an anti-toxin.

Soon after this, Crane summons Rachel Dawes to Arkham, where he shows her that the fear-inducing toxin (same that he used on Falcone and Batman) has been introduced into Gotham’s water supply for weeks, and then infects her as she tries to escape. Batman rescues her and takes her to the Batcave, where he treats her with the anti-toxin. He gives her two vials of the anti-toxin to take with her: one for Jim Gordon, the other for mass production.

That same night, at Bruce’s birthday celebration, he is confronted by Ducard, who reveals his true identity as the real Ra’s Al Ghul and announces that he has arrived to personally oversee the destruction of Gotham City, conspiring with Crane to infect Gotham’s water supply with the toxin, later vaporizing it with a device stolen from Wayne Enterprises.

Bruce gets his guests to leave by acting drunk and belligerent, then fights Ra’s while the League of Shadows sets fire to Wayne Manor. At the same time, Ra’s men release the inmates of Arkham Asylum and release the toxin into the air.

After escaping the blaze at Wayne Manor with help from Alfred, Bruce makes his way to Arkham Asylum, where the released inmates are causing mayhem and chaos, amplified by the toxin in the air. He rescues Rachel Dawes, who delivered the antidote to Gordon and also managed to ward off Crane, now calling himself the “Scarecrow”, with a taser, and reveals his identity before going after Ra’s.

Batman has Gordon drive the Batmobile to Wayne Tower, the central hub of both the subway and the water supply for the entire city. Ra’s boards the train, has the stolen water vaporizer loaded on, and sends it traveling to Wayne Tower, where it will vaporize the city’s entire water supply and infect every citizen with the deadly toxin. As Batman battles Ra’s on board the train, Gordon reaches Wayne Tower and destroys the subway line. Batman manages to jam the train’s controls and escapes the train, leaving Ra’s to die as the train drives off the track and crash into Wayne Tower.

After this, Batman becomes a public hero. Bruce gains control of his company, fires Mr. Earle, the former CEO, and replaces him with Lucius Fox. Gordon, promoted to Lieutenant, reveals a Bat-signal, and mentions a newly surfaced criminal who leaves Joker playing cards at various crime scenes. Batman promises to look into it, and then disappears into the night.

Fast forward about 6-9 months.

Batman and Lieutenant Gordon are investigating a recent bank robbery committed by the Joker. They discuss including the new district attorney, Harvey Dent, into their plans to eradicate the mob. Wayne is not sure if Dent can be trusted, but when he later runs into Dent and Rachel Dawes at a restaurant, and after talking with Dent, he realizes Dent’s sincerity and offers to throw Dent a fundraiser.

Soon after, local mob bosses Sal Maroni, Gambol, and the Chechen meet with other gangsters to discuss Batman and Harvey Dent, who have been effectively targeting and shutting down the mob’s various operations. Lau, a Chinese mafia accountant, informs the group via videoconference that in an effort to preempt Gordon’s seizure of the mob’s funds and evade Dent’s jurisdiction, he has taken their money and fled to Hong Kong. The Joker crashes the meeting and offers to eliminate Batman in exchange for half of the mob’s money, but is flatly refused. Gambol places a bounty on the Joker’s head, and not long after, the Joker kills Gambol and takes control of his men.

Batman travels to Hong Kong and captures Lau using a skyhook. He returns Lau to the Gotham police, where Lau makes a deal to testify against the mob. Using the information given by Lau, Gordon and Dent arrest the mob. The Joker retaliates by issuing an ultimatum to the citizens of Gotham City: unless Batman reveals his identity, people will die each day.

When Commissioner Loeb and Judge Surillo are murdered, the public blames Batman, leading to Wayne to decide to reveal his identity. At Loeb’s funeral, Gordon is shot and apparently killed when he foils an assassination attempt by the Joker on Mayor Garcia.

Before Bruce can reveal his identity as Batman, Dent holds a press conference in which he unsuccessfully attempts to persuade the public to not sell out Batman just because of a single terrorist. Accepting the public’s decision, Dent announces that he is Batman and is promptly arrested in an elaborate plan to draw the Joker out of hiding. The Joker ambushes the convoy, but Batman and Gordon (in disguise, having faked his own death at Loeb’s funeral) intervene and capture the Joker.

Later that evening, Harvey Dent and Rachel Dawes disappear. Batman interrogates the Joker and discovers that Dent’s and Dawes’ police escorts were corrupt and have place the two in separate warehouses on opposite sides of the city(far enough that only one can be saved), each one rigged with explosives. While Batman goes off to save Rachel, and Gordon off to save Dent, the Joker uses a smuggled bomb to escape police custody with Lau.

Batman arrives at his destination and finds not Rachel Dawes, but Harvey Dent. He successfully pulls Dent out of the building before the bomb goes off, but the ensuing explosion severely disfigures Dent’s face. Gordon arrives at Dawes’ location just as the bomb timer reaches zero and detonates.

At the same time, Coleman Reese, a lawyer working as a consultant to Wayne Enterprises, deduces Batman’s identity and, after failing to blackmail the company, chooses to go public with his discovery. The Joker realizes that he defines himself through his struggle with Batman, and changes his mind about revealing Batman’s identity. He issues Gotham and ultimatum: Coleman Reese must die in one hour or a hospital will be blown up. After various attempts on Reese’s life are foiled, the Joker goes to Gotham General Hospital, where Dent is being treated, and convinces him to exact revenge of the people whose corruption led to Rachel’s death. The Joker destroys the building on his way out and escapes on a hijacked bus full of patients.

While Dent, now calling himself Two-Face, confronts Maroni and the corrupt cops one by one, flipping a coin to decide their fates, Batman searches for the Joker. The Joker, now in complete control of the mob in Gotham, announces to Gotham that anyone left within the city at nightfall will be subject to his rule. While roads out of the city are backed up, authorities begin evacuating people out by ferry, unaware that the Joker has placed explosives on two of the ferries: one with civilians, the other with convicts who were evacuated in order to prevent the Joker from releasing them. While the ferries cross the river, the engines suddenly stop and the bombs are discovered. The Joker announces to the people on both ferries that the only way to get themselves out of their predicament is to use trigger the bomb on the other ferry, otherwise both will be detonated at midnight.

Using sonar-based technology and cell phones throughout the city, Batman locates the Joker and the hostages from the hospital. Discovering that the hostages are disguised as the Joker’s men and vice versa, Batman is forced to attack both the Joker’s men and Gordon’s SWAT team in order to keep the real hostages safe.

Batman finds the Joker, and after a short fight, captures him, preventing him from destroying both ferries, whose occupants ultimately chose not to destroy each other. The Joker concedes that Batman is incorruptible, but notes that Dent was not, revealing that he has unleashed Dent upon an unsuspecting Gotham. Batman leaves the Joker for Gordon’s SWAT team and goes off in search of Dent.

At the remains of the building where Rachel was killed, Batman finds Dent holding Gordon and his family at gunpoint. Dent, using his signature coin, decides to judge the innocence of himself, Batman, and Gordon’s son, through three coin flips. First is Batman, who is shot in the stomach. Next is himself – heads up. But before the boy’s fate is determined, Batman, whose armor protected him from the bullet, tackles Dent and knocks them both over the side of the building. Gordon’s son is saved, but Batman and Dent fall to the ground below.

Batman, knowing that the citizens of Gotham will lose hope and morale if Dent’s murderous rampage was made public, convinces Gordon to hold him responsible for the killings that Dent committed, thereby protecting Dent’s “white knight” image and keeping the public’s faith in him intact. Batman flees the scene while Gordon and his son watch. We later see Gordon delivering Dent’s eulogy and smashing the Bat-signal on top of the MCU.

* * * * *

This ended up being much more detailed than I originally planned. I went through and tried to edit it down, but quickly realized that if I took anything out, then some things that Bruce Wayne/Batman did would not be adequately explained, and some people who read this would go “Well, how did such-and-such happen?” or “How did he know so-and-so between these two times?” or something like that.

Bruce Wayne took on the persona of Batman in order to fight the crime and corruption in Gotham City. He kept it up, even when things looked grim and despair threatened to creep in. After the Joker entered the scene things got more dangerous, both for the people in general and also Bruce personally. Case in point for that is when he was forced to choose to save either Harvey Dent or Rachel Dawes from a warehouse rigged with explosives, and went to what he thought was Rachel’s location, but found Dent there instead.

The next difficult choice to make was when Bruce discovered that the Joker’s men and the hostages from the hospital were disguised as each other and was forced to fight both the Joker’s men and Gordon’s SWAT team, the latter of which was unaware of the hostages’ unique situation.

Finally, Bruce’s third difficult decision was the choice to take upon himself the blame for the murder’s committed by Harvey Dent after being released from Gotham General Hospital by the Joker.

I chose Bruce Wayne/Batman for this month’s Honorary Member profile for a number of reasons. Mostly because of all the difficult choices he has been forced to make, most prominent of which is the decision to take the blame for the murders that were committed by Harvey Dent. There were times when the public was inspired by Batman, and there were times when they were scared and wanted him to reveal his identity. Choosing to keep up the fight through all of that had to have taken a great amount of courage. While some may not have completely understood his decisions, Bruce did what he felt was necessary; what he felt was right. Even when that meant being blamed for something that was not his fault.

Welcome to our ranks, Bruce. I salute you.

*AUTHOR'S NOTE: all information in this profile was taken from the films "Batman Begins" and "The Dark Knight". I chose to do this because I believe that very few of us, if any, have read any significant number of comic books and watched any of the many cartoon shows based on this character. Also, there is just way too much information to go through if I based this profile off of the comics and shows. Finally, most of us have seen the two most recent Batman films, and that is what we are familiar with.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Knight In Battered Armor - Honorary Member Profile, June 2010: Boromir

In the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Boromir is the son of Denethor, the current Steward of Gondor. Boromir is first seen in Rivendell in The Fellowship of the Ring, prior to/during the Council of Elrond (movie/book).

During the Council of Elrond, Boromir tried to convince the council members to send the One Ring to Minas Tirith, where he believed that it could be used as a weapon against the forces of Sauron. The council believed otherwise, believing that Sauron would be able to detect the Ring's presence there.

Soon thereafter, Boromir joined the Fellowship of the Ring in their quest to destroy the One Ring. During the Fellowship's journey to the Misty Mountains and the Mines of Moria, Boromir did what he could to help and protect the others in the Fellowship: digging a path through the snow while on the slopes of Caradhras and fighting the nameless terror at the entrance of the Gates of Moria.

Inside Moria, Boromir fought against the various goblins that had overtaken the realm of Moria. One of the most notable fights was in Balin's Tomb. Soon thereafter, Boromir and the others were forced to flee as Gandalf fell in battle with the Balrog.

After escaping Moria, Boromir and the Fellowship made their way to Lothlorien, where Boromir was disturbed by Galadriel's testing of his mind. While we don't know exactly what went on in his mind at this meeting, we know that he was distracted and at times preoccupied by bringing the Ring to Gondor.

Things came to a head at Parth Galen, near the Falls of Rauros. Here, Boromir finally succumbed to the temptation to take the Ring for himself. "True-hearted Men, they will not be corrupted. We of Minas Tirith have been staunch through long years of trial. We do not desire the power of wizard-lords, only strength to defend ourselves, strength in a just cause. And behold! In our need chance brings to light the Ring of Power. It is a gift, I say; a gift to the foes of Mordor. It is mad not to use it, to use the power of the Enemy against him. The fearless, the ruthless, these alone will achieve victory. What could not a warrior do in this hour, a great leader? What could not Aragorn do? Or if he refuses, why not Boromir? The Ring would give me power of Command. How I would drive the hosts of Mordor, and all men would flock to my banner!"

After seeing that Frodo remained unconvinced, Boromir commanded Frodo to relinquish the Ring. When Frodo refused, Boromir attempted to take the Ring by force. Frodo put on the Ring and fled. Boromir, realizing what had just happened, repented of his actions and wept, calling for Frodo's forgiveness.

Boromir returned to camp, and when asked about what had happened, he explained that he and Frodo had an argument, after which Frodo walked off and he (Boromir) had wandered the forest for a time. Not entirely believing all Boromir had related, the Fellowship split up and searched the forest for Frodo.

During this search, the Fellowship was ambushed by orcs and Uruk-Hai from Isengard. Boromir valiantly attemped to protect Merry and Pippin from the Uruk-Hai, but after receiving many arrow wounds (three in the film version of FotR), Boromir could fight no longer and the hobbits were taken.

Aragorn, having heard the blast of Boromir's horn, attempted to come to Boromir's aid, but came too late to prevent the hobbit's capture. As Boromir lay dying, he urged Aragorn to save Minas Tirith, believing that he himself had failed in that task. Aragorn reassured him that he had not failed, that "few have gained such a victory". Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas placed Boromir's body in one of the Elven boats, along with his sword, belt, cloak, broken horn, and the weapons of his slain foes. They set the boat adrift in the river toward the Falls of Rauros, and sang a "Lament of the Winds" as his funeral song.

"Through Rohan over fen and field where the long grass grows, The West wind comes walking, and about the walls it goes. 'What news from the west, O wandering wind, do you bring to me tonight? Have you seen Boromir the Tall by moon or by starlight? 'I saw him ride over seven streams, over waters wide and grey; I saw him walk in empty lands, until he passed away, Into the shadows of the North. I saw him then no more. The North Wind may have heard the horn of the son of Denethor.' 'O Boromir! From the high walls westward I looked afar, But you come not from the empty lands where no men are."

* * * * *

Boromir is a perfect example of a Knight In Battered Armor. He fights for his friends and comrades in arms. The 'battered' part comes from when he tried to force Frodo to give up the One Ring, and then attempted to steal it when Frodo refused to hand it over. He later redeemed himself by fighting the Uruk-Hai that ambushed Merry and Pippin. And even though he was wounded by arrows, he continued to fight until there was no more fight in him. He tooks hit; he was wounded, yet still fought on regardless of the outcome. He chose to fight despite overwhelming odds.

Truly, he is a Knight In Battered Armor.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Little White Butterflies

The sun is shining, the birds are singing,
And there you all are, just fluttering around.
Flying up, flying down, and going every which way,
It's like you're saying "Hello, it's good to see you."

Flitter flutter, flitter flutter,
I'm just standing here watching you fly.
I could go and come back,
And you would still be here.

Are you flying or are you dancing now,
Or are they both the same to you?
Doing the things you do, with nary a sigh.
It feels good to watch you, my little white butterflies.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Absent but not forgotten...

I've not forgotten about this blog.  I just haven't had much material or updates or anything to talk about.  Also went through bad storms and flooding in the Nashville area a couple of weeks ago.  My roommates and I got off light compared to a lot of other people.  There have been a lot of factors lately contributing to my lack of writing, trying to write, etc, but most are past now.  The only one I can think of right now that remains is proper sleep, which should not be a problem, but somehow blindsides me every now again.  Slips past, or something.


Yeah, I'm still here.  Had a lot of other things on my mind lately.  I'm prioritizing the various writing ideas/projects I got going on/floating around in my head.  Something productive will happen soon.  I promise.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Knight In Battered Armor

I am the one who will stand and fight for you.
I will put your well being before my own.
I will stand up for what's right, even if it means that I stand alone.
I will fight for what I believe in.
I will stand my ground, even though I may be outnumbered.
I will takes hits and fall, and still rise to fight.
I will protect you, even from myself, if necessary.
I will do anything and everything I can to keep you safe from harm.

I will do all I can to keep the promises I make.
I will defend your honor with every ounce of strength in me.
I will sacrifice my dreams before being the reason tears fall from your eyes.
I will respect your choices, even if it means being apart from you.
I will break my own heart before letting any harm come to yours.
I will love you until my last breath takes me away.

I am the one who fights for those I care about with no thought of reward.
I have my share of victories and defeats.
I am damaged, scarred, worn, and pierced from my battles.
There may be times when I fail in my duty, but I will accept the consequences of my failure.
And I will choose to stand tall, and continue to fight.
I am a knight in battered armor.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

If You Don't Write It Down, It Never Happened

The title for this post was taken from a quote in the book "The Sum of All Fears" by Tom Clancy. It was said by Cathy Ryan during a scene at John Hopkins, and later said again by her husband Jack, when he was trying to help figure out how to fix the stock market mess.

That line isn't true in every case. I remember one night in Mesa, Arizona, when I took a walk down to a local supermarket and back. Just a quick, get-out-of-the-house walk. On the way to the supermarket, I came up with a poem. I just started talking to myself, one line at a time. However, on my way back, I realized that I had completely forgotten the entire poem. I couldn't remember a single line that I had come up with, and I was very disappointed, because it was one of my better poems. To this day, I still can't remember anything from that poem, but I know it happened.

Now I usually take some form of writing pad and pen with me everywhere I go. I don't always write anything, but if I suddenly think of a name for a character, a line for a poem, a phrase that stands out to me, etc, I immediately write it down. The downside to my doing this is that I've currently got three or four different notebooks and multiple sheets of paper with ideas, names, phrases, scene snippets, and there is no organization to them at all. I really should go through them and try to organize things. I don't know how that will work, but it's worth a shot. It would cut down on the clutter on the floor around my bed.

So give it a try. Take a small notepad and pen with you when you go out. If/when you have a small flash of inspiration, write it down. Expand on it later.

On a different note, it has occurred to me that using a Gaelic phrase for the title of this blog may not have been such a good idea, as I have no idea how to pronounce it. I just happen to really like the language (hope to learn to speak/read it someday), and it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Still writing...

You want to know something depressing? Or feel it? Keep telling a bunch of people you know that you're gonna write something and you'll post a bit for them to look at. An excerpt, a poem...something. Then the next thing to do is actually write something. Then you post it.

And then you watch while no one notices. Thanks a lot world. I finally produce something, and no one notices or acknowledges it. Really makes me feel bad.