Stories, Life and Choices

As we settle into a place of our own, the short time I have with the girls becomes at once fuller (we do more, we do less but do it together, the combination of more and less makes the experience richer) and simultaneously…lonelier. Transitions are hard, and we all do the best we can. Last week was Valentines day, so we went out to (as my friend told me her son says) a place where you can ask a woman named trisha to “please bring me a refill of water”, In other words, someplace where you can sit down and share the gift of time with each other. Other highlights of the weekend included finishing our book (The Line Tender, by Kate Allen. It was amazing), watching the last half-season of Kipo in the age of the Wonderbeasts (another an amazing show about adventure and emotional maturity) baking cupcakes and bread, a trip to the science center and experiencing a portion of Forest Park that we hadn’t explored before. I love sitting at the edge of the playground as the girls play. I watch and draw the other parents, strolling behind younger kids as they gambol about, or pushing swings, or checking messages on their phones. It’s a great opportunity to  Observe, Think, and Draw… paying attention to what makes that person who they are.

There’s one of those meme posts floating around Facebook lately, asking what five shows you would tell somebody to watch to give them a good sense of who you are. I love the idea of looking at top five lists through that lens. I could have a favorite for no reason other than I love it, and it might not give a true sense of my emotional stance, or who I am. But framing it this way… So the girls and I talked about that this weekend. I love that Nailed It was one of Olive’s picks. Both of them agreed on She-ra and the Princesses of Power. We expanded it to movies as well so we each had two lists of five. All of their picks were well thought, and fitting. I wish I could remember them all, and regret not writing them down in real time. 

My shows were:
1.Avatar the Last Airbender 2.Over the Garden Wall 3.Adventure Time 4. Fraggle Rock 5.The Good Place

The last slot is always the hardest to fill, and It’s important to note that these are just my most current touch points of shows that I see my world through. Not necessarily my favorites or ones that molded my mental landscape.

Movies were fun too:
1.Stranger Than Fiction 2.The Last Starfighter 3.The Goonies 4.From Up on Poppy Hill 5.The Neverending Story

I don’t know whether I ever really thought about how all these movies and shows are about love, loneliness, and emotional growth…

This weekend, Kelly and I watched “Waiting to Exhale”, “Stranger than Fiction” and we saw a live performance of “Rent”, which was amazing. I cried, like you do. 

The one that’s on my mind to talk about right now though is “Stranger than Fiction”, because it’s number one on my list, I’ve seen it several times…and as we watched the trailers I found myself worried that it wouldn’t be as good as I remembered it. (good news, it was. Smile)

Stranger than Fiction, is a movie about what happens in the space between our storyline. The movie…reminds me of a scene in the show “Northern Exposure” where Marilynn, a, soft spoken, Innuit local is explaining music to one of the guys on the show. she says “the space between the notes, is just as important as the notes themselves.” The movie, follows the end of the life of Harold Crick, an IRS auditor who discovers that he’s a character in a book when he begins to hear the author narrating his life. 

In the space between narration. As the author tries to find a way to poetically end Harold’s life, and thus touch and change the life of the reader in some small way, Harold accepts the inevitability of his imminent death, decides to stop numbing his experience in the world with work and numbers, and begins to live his life. He stops obsessing with counting, measuring and comparing to the rules. He finds companionship in friends. He finds a hobby. He falls in love. Harold…grows. All of this is beautiful to watch, and is beautiful storytelling. The narrative changes to reflect this, but doesn’t change his destiny. The in between things though…the things that the author didn’t write It’s those things that make him real. A real person that is allowed to read his story, and have a say in how it ends.

Harold doesn’t want to die. Honestly, he never did, but he didn’t really have a reason to live before either. 

  “Anyways,  we would have to participate in these study sessions – my classmates  and I, sometimes all night long, and so I baked, so no one would go  hungry while we worked. Sometimes I would bake all afternoon in the  kitchen in the dorm, and then I’d bring my little treats to the study  groups and people loved them. I made Oatmeal Cookies, Peanut Butter  Bars, Dark Chocolate Macadamia Nut Wedges, and everyone would eat and  stay happy and study harder and do better in the tests – and then more  and more people started coming to the study groups and I’d bring more  snacks and I was always looking for better and better recipes until soon  it was Ricotta Cheese and Apricot Croissants, and Mocha Bars with an  Almond Glaze, and Lemon Chiffon Cake with Zesty Peach Icing. At the end  of the semester, I had 27 study partners, 8 Mead journals filled with  recipes… and a D average. So I dropped out of Harvard Law. I just  figured if I was going to make the world a better place, I would do it  with cookies.”  
 ―        Ana Pascal – Stranger than Fiction

“Stranger than Fiction” Is a love story. A fairy tale. It reminds me that love exists and is real. It reminds me that the world can be a better place and we have a choice in that. It’s not a story about how a watch changed a mans life. It’s a story about a watch seeing a life worth changing. 

  “It’s a book about a man who doesn’t know he’s about to die and then dies. But if the man does know  he’s going to die and dies anyway, dies willingly, knowing he could stop  it, then isn’t that the type of man you want to keep alive?”  
– Karen Eiffel – Stranger than Fiction

I hope you have a fantastic week full of stories, life, and choices. Until next time, take care and be good.

Your friend,

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