Tuesday, July 27, 2010
But, in the immortal words of John Lennon “life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”
And so, beautiful boys (and girls), the time has come when my personal life must encroach upon my creative psyche. I found out a few weeks ago that my mother’s long battle with cancer will be ending soon. We won’t call it a loss, she fought too hard for that. We’re going to call this one a tie. Tie or no tie, nonetheless, this is clearly devastating news. I haven’t been much of a blogger as a result, opting instead to share my feelings with the world through the emerging art of text messaging.
But, ars longa, vitae brevis est. I had a recent affirmation of that, and in my faith in the power of storytelling. I hate to hear people refer to books and movies as “entertainment.” They are this, no doubt; however, I think the stories we tell ourselves and each other become a part of our cultural identity. Just as the Greeks are remembered for (among many other things) the beauty and intricacy of their mythology and epic poems, I think we will be remembered partially for our stories.
This is a scary concept, I know. I really would not want to be a member of the generation remembered for bringing The Hot Chick into our canon. But, that said, I would be proud to be part of the generation that contributed A Prayer for Owen Meany, The United States of Leland, Flight, True Blood, Braveheart and many others.
Here’s why I feel so strongly that movies are crucial: Because whether it is to make a point (like The Life of David Gale, even though I don’t agree with the point), or expose a new facet of our world to those who would not otherwise see it (Slumdog Millionaire) or simply to create a world that will allow us to marvel (bless you Harry Potter), at the end of the day all of these help us to see a world outside of our own little lives.
This weekend I had the unique and delightful opportunity to enter a world that made me forget my own. Honestly, for over a month I have had little else on my mind then my mom. It’s nearly impossible to focus on anything. And so, when I went to the movies on Saturday and sat through the entire film and realized, as I left, that I had been so completely immersed that I had gained two hours of freedom from my own thoughts, I was ecstatic.
The film, ladies and gentlemen, is Inception. The graphics and effects and cool concept will pull you in. Astoundingly good writing coupled with simply flawless acting will keep you there. When I left the theater, it felt odd to find myself simply in a parking lot looking for my car. I had so become part of this world, and been so enthralled by the story that re-entering my life startled me.
I don’t want to go too much into the plot because it is hard to explain without actually seeing it. The whole point is to experience it. Stories are what help us understand, cope, and even escape from our lives. I will be eternally grateful to this filmmaking team for helping me have two marvelous hours on Saturday. This film is what the “entertainment” industry should strive for. This is a film that, I hope, will help to define us not because it makes any bold proclamations or advances any special issues, but because it is an example of how an excellent story can hold you, keep you, and impact you.
And FYI, I am officially adding Joseph Gordon Levitt to the dreamy men list. He can chill with Ben Barnes, Brendan Frasier, Jonathan Brandis, Ryan Buell, and Robert Pattinson there for a while :0)
Monday, July 12, 2010
Here’s what I believe: life has to be about finding little joy.
Here’s what I mean: I think it is natural to want the big thing—the great love, the perfect job, the white picket fence life. But, that just isn’t the way it works out for all of us, and you have to take the little bits of joy where you can get them.
Sometimes you have to believe that life is more than the sum of its parts, kiddo.
The last couple of weeks have been tough, but what it has reinforced to me over and over is that it is the ability to look at all of the parts—the good parts—and know that they add up to something better than what you see on the surface.
Today is a day when I am thinking about my favorite things. A free night to watch a silly movie (which is what I am doing now—God bless you AVP Requiem), or that best friend who just knows what to say and what not to say.
There are the places that make me happy, or make me feel comfortable, or at home. These are places like Gambrill State Park, the rocks over looking Harpers Ferry, the Court of Two Sisters in New Orleans. There are comfort foods that somehow make things feel OK—an Ultimate Roll from Chiyo, Spinach and Prosciutto Risotto from Joe Squared, Spicy Croquettes from Tapas Teatro. Then, the songs that I listen to over and over when I am sad to feel better, all of which are guilty pleasure songs- Shattered by OAR, Somewhere Only We Know by Keane, or Everlong by the Foo Fighters.
All of these little pleasures add up—moments of happiness that build life to be something more than the sum of its parts.
Really, no point to this rambling. Just things I have been thinking as life gets a little harder.