Thursday, December 20, 2007

more raves about some recent faves

don't know if it's my catholic upbringing but i find that the whole ritual of threes creeps up in my life from time to time. most recently i've being going through a bit of a sad spell and have sought solace in three sources of entertainment, all of which have hit that emotional sweet spot i was looking for.

the first was my last entry about lars and the real girl (the part where he takes his new girl to his favourite spots and reveals his hidden talents...loved!). the second was re-watching eternal sunshine of a spotless mind. again, lost souls colliding with awkward and poignantly lovely results. the third is a novel given to me by a friend that she'd heard good things about-three day road.

the novel is about a couple of native men from Moose Factory and their experiences in world war one. apparently it's loosely based on a true story. the protagonist is a quiet guy who translates his hunting skills into being an incredible sniper. his counterfoil is a childhood friend with a flair for storytelling and killing the enemy. while both are side by side during decisive victories, only the louder of the two gets the credit. the pairing of the evils of war and the character's personal journeys are beautifully crafted and intimate. as an extrovert, i appreciate any opportunity i get to get into the mind of someone who feels deeply but says little. was also surprised by how much i loved all of the war related aspects of the story. have never really gravitated to war stories before.

so there you have it. three recommendations for those who like to dwell a little in their funks before they move on to the brighter side of life. also recommended for anyone who just enjoys good writing, be it on the screen or on the page.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

lars is so real, you forget the girl

every year around this time i do a little research and start seeing all of the films that are receiving oscar and golden globe buzz. i figure if my entertainment chat shows are going to be referencing them all of the time, i need to know where i stand.

first on my list was lars and the real girl. i loved ryan gosling in half nelson and tried to get tickets for it at the film festival this year but was unsuccessful.

was pleased that the film lived up to my expectations that it would be muted and introspective. looks like it was filmed in southern ontario. immediately recognized the landscape and many of the extras. one of them lived in my residence at university!

ryan's character is incredibly complex. he's chosen to play him in a quiet way with quirks that aren't distracting. he doesn't speak much in the film but his eyes speak volumes. you can read the backstory he's developed in them, fill in the blanks of his silences on your own, so clear are his gestures.

the film speaks to loneliness and emotional neglect beautifully and honestly. it's absolutely heartbreaking to watch.

hope he's recognized this time around. can't imagine how draining it must have been to film. really seemed to embody the character fully.

go and see it if you can, just be prepared to sit with it emotionally a little while afterward!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

art imitates life

don't you love it when there's nothing on tv and you flip throught the channels and land on something on a whim and it turns out to be the most riveting thing you've seen in months?

just got home and the office was a repeat so i turned to tvo thinking there might be a decent documentary on. i was rewarded in spades.

to my sheer delight, they were showing a film called forever which documented random people visiting pere lachaise cemetary in paris. having spent innumerable hours in cemetaries myself in my visits to paris i was instantly intrigued that mine was a common obsession.

the director would focus on a tombstone that someone was maintaining or stopping to visit and we would learn about their personal connection to the person whose tomb it was. it was fantastic! most were artists' tombs. it was incredible to see how a piece of art (song or painting or film or poem) touched people so deeply that they felt a need to come and honour the creator. amazing how a shared idea can bring people close, connect us in such a powerful way.

i loved hearing the stories, witnessing the reverence and value of ideas and of beauty. loved, too, the way that local women with no connection to the deceased made it their personal responsibility to maintain the graves. thank god there's a little bit of old school reverance still humming in our communities. such an important role to play.

am always struck by this when i go to paris. the historic coincides with the present. it has an equal place in the esthetic of the place. it's all around you, breathing still. am also perplexed by the two faces of the coin this inevitably reveals, the bloody past and the beautiful exteriors. how can a society that was merciless and murderous also produce exquisite objects of art? are the two intertwined by necessity?

as always, was mesmerized by the people in the film and their stories, equally as compelling as those of the people they held in such high esteem. so great to see the graves of the common man acknowledged and explored. found myself drawn to these tombs as well. the little ones hidden in the corners, names almost indiscernable. like the people in the film, my experience in the cemetaries of paris was peaceful and positive. rejuvinating even. felt more spiritually fulfilled there than i did sitting in either sacre coeur or notre dame. feel as though you are dwelling in the paris of your romantic imagination in a visceral way.

funny how something i thought was unique to me and my sensibility was directed back at me through another's lens. incredible to see such a private experience the subject of a film. can't help but feel like i've been winked at by a secret society of sorts.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

variations on a far too popular theme...

and for a moment,

the breath went deep

and stirred



instantly animated and tinged with tingles

here was hope

a crazy cousin, sweeping through town on a bender.

she hummed and sang and unpacked a few things

ruffling a few feathers along the way.

"too loud", "too soon", cried the neighbours.

hadn't she received an invitation?

wrong again, apparently...

Sunday, December 2, 2007

in the zone

i am many things but an enthusiastic housekeeper is not one of them. in my mind, weekends are for sleeping, not sweeping. after a crazily paced week where i am picking up after 29 ten year olds all day, the idea of coming home and rolling up my sleeves to give the floors a good scrub is just not one that lingers too long on the radar.

of course i do laundry bi-weekly (though i have stretched that time frame by buying some extra socks and undies on occasion...) and keep on top of dishes but the big stuff, the hands and knees, get into the corners and dust the knick knacks happens when i've created a situation where it would be socially unseemly not to have floors that you could eat off of. i call it, the christmas party.

it's the one time where people will literally be hanging out in every square inch of my apartment, where they may sit on the floor, where they will likely use the bathroom, where new found friends are getting their first glimpse of what my nest looks like.

aside from the cleaning factor, the party allows me to look forward to picking up a new piece or two for the apartment. gives me an excuse to change my bedding, to buy that curtain or serving bowl that i've had my eye on but couldn't possibly rationalize spending money on at any other time of the year.

having given myself carte blanche to indulge today rubbed off on all of my errands as i galivanted about town. in one store i found four christmas gifts that were perfectly suited to their recipients! everything i found was in my price range and matched my vision. very rewarding. hard to explain to someone who dreads's like a zone that you can only tap into once in a blue moon. typically, the moment you get a sense of what you want or need it somehow magically disappears from the shelves.

all told i got six christmas presents, two curtains, two serving plates, fantastic decorations for my fireplace and half of the food for my party this weekend!

so thrilled was i by my retail successes that i rushed home and hung the curtains and three pictures i've been meaning to get around to, wrapped some gifts and put away the groceries.

and on a sunday no less!!

it's been a good day, this. a good day.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

baby boom

ironic, my last entry was about death and this, about life...

don't know if it's me but there seems to be a baby boom going on. everyone around me seems to be sporting a baby on the hip. incredible to see my friends become mothers. to watch them find their way. amazing that despite the sleep deprivation not a one is snarky or crusty. not one has cloistered herself up in her bedroom.

once again i am awed by how amazing women are. how strong, how hard working. am so inspired by the open, let's just take it as it comes kind of attitude. amazing, too to see in the most concrete of concrete ways, that a living human being sprang from their loins. biology is truly incredible. so crazy that a piece of them will literally be walking the earth after they have passed on. pieces of their personalities and mannerisms will spring forth in another.

am encouraged by the role the men in their lives are also playing in this crazy ride. very hands on and openly affectionate. informed and involved they too have bonded with these micro versions of themselves.

am so not there yet. am tired for them. feel the weight of the responsibility whenever i am around them. see the way that time and energy almost dissolves in their presence. hope that i will be as strong, as brave some day.