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The Natural Verve Has Moved!

I’ve had so much fun getting to know you all on this blog. Alas, all good things must come to an end…thankfully, The Natural Verve is not one of them!

I hope you’ll all follow me to my new blog home which can be found here!

There’s lots of exciting things to come on our brand new website. Make sure to enter your email and subscribe so you don’t miss a beat!

You can also find me on Instagram and Twitter! Be sure to follow me: @naturalverve

I can’t wait to start this new chapter with you all.

Lots of love,

Kristen

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The “Me Before You” Controversy

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So I’m sure by now, you’ve all been hearing about the amazingness that is Me Before You. What started as an incredible book, has become a highly anticipated movie that finally hit the box office this past weekend. Despite my love and adoration for the book, though, a disgusting barrage of germs and sickness has kept me homebound and unable to experience the film for myself quite yet. Take that as a PSA and keep in mind that this post may be slightly uninformed. But anyways…here we go.

I have a huge distaste for spoilers, so no worries; this post will not give anything away. Suffice it to say, however, the male lead in this book/film pairing is a wheelchair-bound quadriplegic who has a very negative point of view on his injury. This has been striking a lot nerves amongst wheelchair users and other disabled individuals. They’re concern over the book’s message is that it seems to say that this group of people can’t possibly live happy, fulfilling lives. That an injury, such as the one suffered by the man in the story, leaves you with nothing to look forward to.

Being that I can look at the situation with a touch of personal experience, I thought I’d offer up my own perspective.

This July will be almost eight years since my husband was paralyzed from the waist down. While his injury was not as bad as the one in the book, it still changed our lives forever. Our day to day experiences are now riddled with concerns over steps, elevators, tight spaces, ground material, and an array of other issues. But does this make our life any better or worse than another person’s? I don’t think so.

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With a little finesse and creativity, we have managed to fine-tune our way of life to a point where pretty much any obstacle is easily overcome. You should see the way we’ve worked a friend’s second floor apartment or managed to take a Christmas tree off the roof of our SUV. While things are not always easy, we are way too proud to ask for help (though, not always a good thing) and make it work no matter work.

Our life post-accident has been full of amazing adventures, wonderful opportunities, and happy memories. It’s a life I would not trade for the world. Ryan and I have chosen to view the positive side of his so-called “disability.” If it weren’t for that accident, our life would have been completely different, but would it have been more beautiful than it is now? We’ll never know so why choose to dwell on it.

Ryan is optimistic, brave, and has an overwhelming need and want to persevere. This personality and lifestyle is what the negative critics of the movie are fighting for. But just because the majority of us have accepted the hand we’ve been dealt and turned it into something great, that doesn’t mean everyone else feels the same way.

We have personally known so many men and women in situations similar to Ryan’s that have chosen a path of negativity and regret. They have a hard time coming to terms with their situation and can’t seem to find the light at the end of the tunnel. While this may not be something we would want for ourselves, and we would love to offer them any support they need to overcome their disappointments, it doesn’t mean we can wish it away and make those individuals feel and be anything different than what they are.

In terms of putting these stories onto page and screen, I’m of the mindset that everyone deserves something to relate to, something that might help them. That includes the harder side of things. We deal with things like addiction, abuse, and grief amongst many others in the media…why not the harsh realities that some disabled people suffer with?

That being said, however, the same goes for the happier, more optimistic side of disability. Though different than what’s often considered normal, I think our relationship and life is just as picturesque as other happy families and couples…let’s write a story about that. What do you say, Hollywood? Publishing companies? Can’t you offer something up for the rest of us?’

What do you guys think of this whole thing? Have you read/seen Me Before You, yet?

In the Name of Ransom

Two of my greatest passions in life are books and art. So when one man decided to combine the two and create a brilliant world for us to play in…my head just about exploded! A collector of old photographs, Ransom Riggs has developed quite the inventory of unique and unusual pictures from days past. For some of you that may not remember, there was a time not so long ago, when Photoshop did not exist. While there were still ways of manipulating an image, the technology was a far cry from that which we know today. Alas, this post is not a lecture on the overuse of photo editing techniques…this is merely an introduction to images like these:

Kind of weird, eh? These are not just photos, however, they’re the book covers for Mr. Riggs’ Peculiar Children trilogy. This extraordinary man has intertwined the worlds of prose and photography to create a delightfully, creepy set of stories. His characters and plot lines come directly from the pictures he’s collected over the years. Despite a wide array of miscellaneous themes, he’s woven an intricate web that ebbs and flows from one page to another in perfect melody and transition.

Set within a series of “time loops” that take the reader from one year, decade, and generation to another, his words take on the same gothic styling as the photos he’s chosen to use. The peculiar children that provide the series its namesake are unusual, disturbing and lovable all at once.

While I have to admit that the third and final novel in the series, Library of Souls, did not capture my interest in the same manner as its predecessors, the trilogy as a whole provides a whimsical escape from everyday normalcy. Where else will you find a little girl with a serious case of back mouth (just wait and read!) or a boy that houses bees inside of his mouth?

Despite the unusual perfection that Ransom Riggs has created, however, it would appear that these books are about to receive a less than par Hollywood revision. While I hate to speak ill of the great Tim Burton, he has been tasked with bringing the first novel, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, to the big screen and seems to have given Riggs’ dark and twisted world a candy-coated treatment. The trailer’s been released and offers little credit to the original feel that makes the books so spectacular. The colors are too bright, the characters too cheesy, and everyone’s peculiarities seem to have been switched around. I have to hope that Mr. Burton has a plan, but at first glance, it looks like we’ve got another bad book to movie experience on our hands.

Check out the movie trailer for yourself and let me know what you think! Oh, and if you haven’t read the books, be a dear and head directly to your nearest bookstore…or you know, just power up your Kindle!