Thursday, September 25, 2008

Embracing Age

Sometimes I feel like my youth is lost. My best times are behind me and I am just going to go downhill from here. Then I see something like this thing on Yahoo and am reminded of how so many women - as they find themselves, as they grow as individuals, as they learn to love themselves - improve with age. I mean, these are movie stars... but most of them look BETTER as older women. I realize I'm not a guy and all that... but not only would I rather have a conversation with the mature version of these women, I think their mature selves are more physically attractive.

I've always thought that age and experience make people more interesting. Other people. It's harder to apply this to one's self. But my face was soft and without character when I was younger and now, very very slowly, it is developing more character, my bone structure is becoming more pronounced, my countenance is less child-like. I may actually be improving.

Admittedly, I didn't look like Diane Lane when I was 20. So I won't look like her when I'm 40. But I still think these photos bode well for all of us.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Late Night Thinking

Life is strange. Obvious, right? I probably spend far too much time thinking about it. I find the paths our lives take fascinating, although I believe very strongly in the control we have over those paths. I don't think things are meant to happen or in destiny in the way many people do. I think you make the life you want while working with the circumstances you are given. When you make a choice, you open new doors and you close other ones. And you'll never know which life you might have lived, what you've given up or what you might have missed if you hadn't chosen this door. I also believe that disasters and forced change are like the universe's sometimes horrific way of creating. Not everything that comes of a disaster or a personal tragedy is bad. There are usually strange places that difficult times take you that add to your life or change who you are in important ways.

I can say this. I have survived plenty. I have lived through all manner of personal horrors. I have learned to embrace change. It's the only thing you can count on. Whether life is wonderful or terrible, it's all temporary. It will all change and eventually we will all be dead so there's nothing to do but accept it and make it work for you.

Sometimes I feel like I live within the eye of a storm. A whirlwind of change. Change that happens to me and change that I create. Chaos and reason in constant cycles and struggles.

I'm working on the particulars for a wedding. A very important wedding. It was less than two months ago that I called off my own nuptials and right now I am sitting in my living room staring at a little statue of a bride and groom. I am making the cake topper for my best friend's wedding which is only a month away. Sometimes I feel like I am living a very strange stream-of-consciousness film. It would take a tremendous editor to try to explain the point to all this. The ups and downs. The people that come and go and come back again...

And how I ended up here, painting tiny roses on the side of a little wedding gown.

Life is so very, very strange.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

10 Items or Less

I love Brad Silberling. He wrote and directed Moonlight Mile and 10 Items or Less. Moonlight Mile wrecks me. Using a similarly senseless and sudden loss in his own life as his inspiration, Siberling weaves this tapestry of grief and the human condition. His characters are all experiencing and expressing and coping with grief in ways that are almost difficult to watch because it is all so real. The illogical things you do. The way you get lost and don't remember why you walked into that room. The strangeness you feel when you learn you can still laugh or when you laugh at all the wrong times. The anger, the absurdity, the oddity of acknowledging the horrific thing that has happened right there in the midst of your world. And most shattering of all, the way life keeps moving on and stores keep opening and the mail gets delivered and new people come into your life and this horrible thing happened... yet nothing stops. And somehow in the midst of all of this - the film is hopeful.

It's clever, warm and strikingly spot on.

It's not at all what I wanted to write about tonight.

10 Items or Less I saw more recently. Morgan Freeman plays a sucessful older actor who hasn't worked in a few years. He's considering a role in a small independent film as the manager of a grocery store - so he gets dropped off at an out of the way supermarket to do research. Watch the locals. Get into the mindset of the store manager (this leads to a brilliant scene in which Morgan Freeman follows the diminutive, older Indian character actor Kumar Pallana around the store, mimicking his every move - HILARIOUS AND AWESOME). At the register Freeman (listed in the film's credits only as "Him") meets Paz Vega's character, Scarlett. She runs the ten items or less line. A frustrating, thankless job. She's too smart to be stuck doing this work but is struggling to find the self-confidence to get out.

Basically, they both have problems. Like we all do. And some of those problems are the ones it's just hard to see clearly on your own. So when they get stuck spending the day together (Freeman gets stranded at the shop and Vega begrudgingly offers him a ride) they both need some outside perspective. They spend one day together. Doing the most mundane things you can think of. The set up is so gloriously ordinary. The veteran actor raving about how amazing Target is. Gorgeous Paz Vega pulling a sandwich from a rumpled paper Arby's bag. And it's wonderful and strange. In the midst of it they are talking and learning about each other and helping each other do things. And eventually you are left feeling that just MAYBE they have changed each others lives.

In the midst of their day running around fixing problems and talking about everything, there is this one conversation in particular that they have that I just loved. Vega says that everyone wants more than ten items. No one is happy with ten. No one wants to give anything up. They talk about what they would get rid of if they could remove ten things from their lives. Then, more telling, they talk about the ten best things in their lives. What they would keep if they could only keep ten things. It's a wonderful scene. The "things" aren't just things. They are parts of life, moments, things you do, parts of their worlds. The ten best things. The things that, if everything else was gone, would be enough.

I loved that.

Ten things to rid yourself of is easy. But only keeping ten. Ten things. A simple life made up of it's ten best parts. What would you choose? What would that life be?

It's an intimate list and it's difficult to be honest and I think it's probably one of those conversations it would be easier to have with a stranger. Someone not invested in your world. Someone you could just TELL - give that truth to and then walk away and not have to admit to the rest of the world what really matters to you. Deep down. When it comes right down to it.

I have been working on my list in my head. Things. Places. The way certain things feel. People I couldn't live without. Ten items. Or less.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008


I live in a college town. And it's that time of year again.

So today I heard the following conversation near campus:

guy: "So, yeah. I started drinking at like 7pm Friday and didn't stop until 3am Monday."

girl: "Do you feel okay?"

guy: "oh, yeah. I'm fine... but by Sunday I was physically incapable of getting drunk."

girl: (without a trace of irony) "...But you tried, right???"


Fall just wouldn't be the same without the annual influx of brilliant teenagers.