Archive for September, 2013

I see what you’re saying

Monday, September 30th, 2013

gestureOn the way to work the other day, I saw a couple conversing.  They had had a fight.  They were sorry they hadn’t resolved it before having to part ways for the day.  But they still loved each other and would text later.  They stood a good 10 meters apart and I didn’t hear a word of it because there wasn’t a word to hear.  Everything was conveyed through the body, especially the hands.  All in all, it was a lovely conversation to witness.  Which put me in mind of books and writing, and how, as much as I love both, they’re not very good at capturing the nuances of body language.  People are forever nodding, gesturing, throwing up their hands in frustration, but just try writing a body that says “I’m sorry” or “I love you” without invoking either of those words.  In some cases, motions speak louder.

You Can’t Make Me!

Monday, September 16th, 2013

I love getting book recommendations.  Getting the books themselves?  Not so much (to be more precise, getting unsolicited Kid-Refusing-to-Eatbooks, not so much).  The former is like looking at the menu of an eclectic restaurant with wonderful, personalized descriptions of the dinner choices.  The latter is like having someone else pick from the menu for you.  That someone might not know your taste, or, even if they did, not know whether you’re carbo-loading on crime fiction or craving the protein of the classics.  And, yes, yes, you might end up with a tasty morsel (or even a whole meal) you would never have considered, but I’m not convinced that makes up for feeling pressured to choke down 300 plus pages of sauceless pabulum because the loaner went to the trouble of, well, loaning you the book.  This is not to say, of course, that once having perused what was on offer, I’d object to having my choice made readily available to me…

Life imitating art imitating life

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

I recently saw Before Midnight, the third part of a trilogy over almost two decades.  I disliked big chunks of it while viewing it life imitating artand upon reflection, disliked it even more.  To its credit, it’s a film that made me reflect but my main takeaway was to wonder about the nature of clichés.  At first I thought it was just art imitating some watered-down, clichéd version of life but I fear it’s far more circular and self-reinforcing than that.  It is art imitating a watered-down, clichéd version of life, but that life is in part clichéd because it’s been imitating bad, clichéd art.  To be specific, in this movie – which was written by the actors and the director –  men are preoccupied with their penises, women are fly-off-the-handle irrational, and old people are wise (old men are also curmudgeons) with some insight into the true nature of love.  Sigh.  The best art gives us insight into ourselves and those selves I like to think are far more interesting and complex than the two dimensional characters we all seem eager to imitate.