Monday, February 14, 2011

Opening Out

A View from the Brave New World

I started this post before dinner. After dinner, I stayed in my chair and watched Rachel, Rachel on TCM -- a movie that I have long wanted to see, and one that did not disappoint. Newman proves himself a skillful director, the script is lovely, Woodward delivers as usual.

There are individual lines that I would love to use as titles for posts, they resonate so powerfully:

How can I be out of danger if I'm not dead?


I can't keep you alive. That's not up to me. It never was.

It would give the wrong impression to say that I "identified" with Rachel, the details of her life are just too dissimilar from mine, and her dream of life is more tangible and physical than mine: she wants a child. But there are powerful parallels that can be drawn, and I don't find this unusual. I think most everyone experiences the stage of life that Rachel finds herself in, sooner or later. Some later than most.


I'm so glad that I didn't let my father and his wife talk me into buying the first house that we looked at. True, it would have been more affordable; but I would not have been happy there, and if I had been forced to trade out my old life for a life in a tiny little crackerbox like that, I would not have been happy. And that would have been a dangerous thing for a lot of people, me included. The thought of my sister getting everything that she wanted (i.e., money), while I was forced into drastically depleted living conditions would have angered me and darkened me to an extent that I don't even want to think about.

True, it had three bedrooms -- but those bedrooms were slightly larger than some of the closets in the old house. The dining room probably would not have been able to contain the dining room table. The living room was just a strip across the front. Both the dining and living rooms were covered with a deep shag carpet of an oppressive green that I would have had to rip up.

It was a constrictive atmosphere. The whole time we were there I was physically aware of its smallness. And that was without any furniture.

My father's point was that it wasn't permanent. It would be a launching stage from which I could go anywhere. But that was not what I needed. I'm not a fan of impermanence. I needed to land somewhere not with a bounce, but with comforting sense of settlement. I am starting from ground zero. I needed a place that was conducive to growing a new life from within.

I keep hearing people say that the new house is so big. For me, it's just the right size. Much smaller than the old house, but not so small that it doesn't possess the kind of openness that I need. I will have a study, and a studio. I have a library, and a Halloween Room, and a toy and game room. I will have a room for every time of the day, and every mood of my life. It is organized with a specific intent: to allow me the space to discover the person that I am going to become.

As I type this, my little Honey is sitting on my lap, her head rested on my left arm, purring contentedly. We have crossed through some rough terrain! But it's going to be all right.


And now a little shout out to FlickChick: funny what you were saying about Casablanca today! Right after Rachel, Rachel -- surprise surprise! There it is.

-- Freder.


  1. Don't you think I KNEW they'd run it yet AGAIN??? I am very disappointed in TCM - no imagination whatsoever! I say put the damnable thing in a drawer for a year and then trot it out.

  2. I'd take just the reverse position -- I think we need a CASABLANCA cable channel that runs the movie non-stop, 365 days a year. Because we need great, _entertaining_ movies like CASABLANCA out there, playing where today's "All-New, All-Now" generation can maybe stumble across them and maybe stop and check it out, and maybe get hooked, and maybe realize there's more to motion pictures than CGI-filled, 3-D animated, present-day twaddle like TWILIGHT or IRON MAN 2 or RANGO or whatever other brain-dead, soulless concoctions they're being fed by the bucket-load. The vast majority will never look, and will never know -- but every thirty-something, twenty-something, and teen we can hook increases the chances of what John D. MacDonald would call The Good Old Stuff keeping a presence in the generations to come. Could be that's a longshot; if so, so be it. My cinematic heroes taught me that even when the odds are against you, you press on -- because sometimes, longshots pay off.

    I don't say I'm right and anyone else with opposing thoughts is wrong -- everyone's entitled to call it as they see it. But I _am_ saying I'll sing "La Marseillaise" alongside Laslo every chance I get ...


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