Madeleine L’Engle

Tattoos, Mothers, and Twitter

My friend and I were talking about tattoos. We both want one, but what if our mothers find out? We may not fear God, but we both fear the wrath of our mothers. My mother keeps me more grounded than religion ever could. There are some decisions I don’t dare to make because of my mother, such as permanently inking my skin. There’s also the issue of marriage. It’s not that I don’t want to get married, because I do. But how much of that wanting to get married is because I personally want to, or because my mother wants me to?

She asked me what kind of tattoo I want to get. For a while now, I’ve wanted to ink the sentence “the enemy’s gate is down” from Ender’s Game across my collar bones. I imagine it will hurt badly, so let’s reconsider the placement of the tattoo later. Not to mention it would be very big and visible there. But I want those words on my skin. It’ll be an homage to my favorite book. It’ll also be a reminder of optimism, strategy, and victory.

All of a sudden, I thought of another tattoo I want to get. A tesseract tattoo. Or ‘warping’ for Trekkies. Check this out:

An excerpt from Madeleine L'Engle's "A Wrinkle in Time" regarding tesseract.

An excerpt from Madeleine L’Engle’s “A Wrinkle in Time” regarding tesseract.

I want a tattoo of an ant, tesseracting from my forearm to my bicep. The tattoo won’t have to be big. I can have a small ant on top of a thin line or a small dot on my forearm. Then the end of the line or the other small dot would be on my bicep. To show the ant tesseracting, I just have to fold my arm and voila! Damn it, now I want that tattoo badly.

It’ll be another homage to my favorite book ♥ and at the same time, it’ll say a lot about me, summarized in a group of tiny pictures. It’ll tell my love for SFF, my muse of and neverending hope in science, and my faith that we’ll travel the stars one day. That we will reach far beyond our eyes can see. It’ll be great to pair it up with the Ender’s Game tattoo.

As for my friend, she wants a tattoo of a cage and a bird. I joked about it being a bird out of its cage and she got mad lol the interesting part is, she wants a silhoutte of a bird as a symbol for many things. I didn’t expect one of them to be Twitter.

I think all millenials would agree that Twitter has not only changed our lives, but it has become a part of our lives. I can’t imagine not having a Twitter. I have retired most of my Twitter accounts, but I don’t delete them. Twitter is a part of my identity, and it’s one of my streams of self-expression. It doesn’t show a full picture of me, but it still shows a lot. It is there where I make and interact with a lot of friends. It’s my number one source of lightning news update. It’s a constant pool of discussion and debates. And you get to share your piece with the rest of the world, through different communities. Twitter is a social magic. It is how we connect these days. It also serves as a micro diary as well as a personal announcement platform. Out of all of my social media accounts, Twitter is the only one I have consistently maintained. It’s not an overstatement to say that it has shaped me into the person I am today, and I believe I’ll still be using it in decades to come.

My future biographer would have a hell lot of material from my Twitter alone.

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Dragons in the Waters by Madeleine L’Engle


First published in 1976

Plot-wise, chronologically, Dragons in the Waters is the 6th book in the Kairos series by Madeleine L’Engle. I’ve reviewed the 5th book the other day and continued to this one immediately. The story is still related to the O’Keefe-Murry family of course, but this time, the story is told through many perspectives, but mainly the perspective of Simon Renier.

The story is revolved around a precious, antique painting of an American historical war figure. Simon’s aunt sold the family heirloom in need of the money, and Simon accompanied the buyer, still a distant relative of the family, to Venezuela, in order to deliver the painting to a local museum. In the ship is where Simon met other people, including the O’Keefe: Calvin, Poly, and Charles. Being the only children on the ship, Simon became fast friends with Poly and Charles, and together they got involved with the mystery of the painting, especially when later, it leads to a murder and a theft. Through a bird’s eye view, everyone in the ship seems to have a motive, and so the investigation begins.

Just like The Arms of the Starfish, this story is less scientific than A Wrinkle in Time. Well, it’s practically a crime fiction, the one that involves fraud, smuggling, and a tribe of indigenous people in Venezuela. The only ‘scifi’ aspect of the story is Charles has special kind of dreams that goes through space and time, and it adds to the investigation. Yeah, a bit too paranormal for my taste.

The history lesson bored me and the action part is not as exciting as L’Engle did in The Arm of the Starfish. I found nothing special from the book, really. I’ve been wondering how the book would look like through the eyes of a 13-year-old, then I realized that it seems like I’ve lost the ability to empathize with the early teenage readers. Or maybe the book is just that boring.

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The Arm of the Starfish by Madeleine L’Engle


First published in 1965

It’s a continuation of A Wrinkle in Time, published after that very book actually, making it the second book in the series. But later, when all of the books had been published, it became the 5th book, creating a sub-series for the second generation of the O’Keefe-Murray family.

This time, the adventure is led by Adam Eddington. He’s hired for an internship with the famous biologist, Calvin O’Keefe, in which his job would be to assist O’Keefe in his research regarding the regeneration ability of a starfish. The story starts with Eddington waiting for his plane to Lisbon in New York. Then he was approached by a very attractive girl, Kali Cutter, that warned him about O’Keefe and his companions, that they’re bad guys and Eddington should be careful. After that, Eddington quickly plunges into a series of adventure, where he meets a bunch of people from the O’Keefe and Cutter sides, and he doesn’t know which one to believe. He doesn’t even know which guy is on whose side. Ultimately, he has to make his own decision of which side he is on.

As I finished the first chapter, I hypothesized that this must be the most action packed story of L’Engle’s just yet. And it amazed me that the fantasy is minimum in this book. In fact, it’s more action than science fiction. The whole science fiction thing is just a backdrop. Eddington is so caught up in the middle of this fight that he doesn’t know anything about, flying from country to country, meeting people who are ambiguous at best. He needs sleep. He can’t focused. He’s confused. Are these people for real? Or are they just in his head? Or at least that’s what I thought as I was reading it. Good lord his adventure is so trippy.

I was expecting the book to be theological considering the author’s Christian background, cos the rest of her books are that way. So I was surprised that she took this turn of a mindfuckery in The Arm of the Starfish. But then I quickly got to the end of the book and… it turned out to end just how I expected it would be, with Eddington making a decision and helping people even if they were the bad guys. Something about taking care of the sparrow, I’m not familiar with the biblical reference.

So when I got to the last page and closed the book, I looked into myself and decided that… I didn’t get it.

The whole journey has been so trippy and I think I knew what L’Engle was trying to say, but I couldn’t quite grasp it cos I couldn’t understand why the story got to the point it did. I think maybe because I was expecting something else. I wouldn’t say it’s a bad book, no. On the contrary, I think it’s the most thrilling of her books I’ve read so far. And I do understand why the story got to that point, because I’m familiar with her religious background. I just think that the story could take a whole different perspective and make it better.

Images were conjured in my head, page by page, and I swear it would make one hell of a movie. But the director has to take that brave direction of wrapping the story in an ambiguous kind of surrounding. Something like A Beautiful Mind perhaps. It would be really mindboggling to see and try to figure out which of these people are real, and which are only in Eddington’s head.

Recommended for the young adults, but only because there’s something to learn about writing a non-bloody action.

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Should Have Hit The Jackpot

Good morning! Yesterday was a really great Sunday and obviously you could see it from my tweets. I have decided to start collecting everything Ender’s Game, starting with the books. Yes, I’ve read the e-books, but there’s nothing like holding a physical book at the tip of your fingers. And I’ve been meaning to reread the series anyway. I must have the paper experience.

So I ordered the first 4 books through Periplus, my favorite local importing bookstore. They offered the quartet set for 396,000 IDR. A bit pricey, but for 4 imported books, I think they’re not bad. They said the books would arrive in 12-20 working days, so I marked my calendar for Nov 20 and Dec 2.

But no, my friends. I got my surprise of the month when the security told me that my books had arrived yesterday. Oh my god.

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I’m collecting Ender’s Game. I can feel it. I can’t wait to reread everything! But I’m gonna wait until I’m done collecting the complete series so I can read them in a linear sequence. I still got 9 novels and many comics of the title to order. Not to mention the upcoming novel that will be released in April next year. Oh my god I’m so happy ;~~~~;

In the evening, I went to Periplus again to get my favorite magazine, Discover: Science for the Curious. Periplus is the only store that sells it. I really recommend Periplus to everyone cos it’s the only store I know that actively encourages people to read. Their collection is relatively cheap, consists of many titles (I mean, many), and ordering imported books are so easy. You can pay with your credit card or bank transfer. And they also have many programs that offer discounts or vouchers if you’re a member. I am, and I have no complaints so far :D

Anyway, I also checked out Kinokuniya, cos no matter how awesome Periplus is, often I find Kinokuniya has more books on their shelves than Periplus. I haven’t tried Kinokinuniya order system though, so I can’t compare.

As I browsed through the store, guess what I found on one of the shelves. Book 5, 6, and 7 of Madeleine L’Engle’s Kairos series. Ask Rudi, I almost screamed in the middle of the store.

You have to understand. A Wrinkle In Time and Ender’s Game are my most favorite, favorite books! They’re both so awesome I can’t even decide which one tops the other. They’re both number one on my list! Getting imported books used to be so hard in Jakarta. I had to ask my friend to buy me Kairos series in the past and even then I only got 5 books out of 8. And yesterday I found the remaining 3! What’s more exciting is, I haven’t read these 3 at all! These books are so rare, I can’t even find the e-books online.

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Now it’s complete. Oh my god.

I still have the Chronos series to import so that my collection would be mega complete. I can’t wait to start reading it. ♥

Now I’m waiting for payday so that I can immediately order the next Ender’s Game books. I just found out that Book Depository offers free shipping worldwide and they have the Shadow series omnibus that is cheaper than what Periplus offers. And they claim to ship faster than Periplus! I’m gonna check them out.

If only I found another great book yesterday, I would’ve hit the jackpot.

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Favorite Book

Day 30 of the 30-day book challenge
Last one!

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Duh! Shouldn’t be a surprise, no?

This sci-fi classic will always be at the top of my list. It was published in the 60s, but will be forever relevant. The first place is actually kinda tied with Ender’s Game, but I figure I wouldn’t have read Ender’s Game without A Wrinkle In Time.

Everyone, please do read it. It’s a very heartwarming tale about a brother and sister looking for their missing father, and about a boy looking for a home, in which monotony and conformity are the foes, and realizing how important it is to be yourself.

As George Benson said it, “Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all.” ♥

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