Happy Monday, blog peeps...
Thanks again for all of your kind words last week, and for giving me all those great ‘B’ suggestions for today’s topic. I’m still running pretty slow since my outing over a week ago, but am finally feeling a bit stronger. I’ve moved from holding on by my fingernails to having a decent grip on the railing, and I can’t tell you how much good it does for me to see even little improvements.
It also does me good when life hands out little gifts… like the fact that, when I was unable to do anything but lay still and do breathing treatments this weekend, my cable company had a free HBO movie preview weekend!!! Ahhh… there is a God! And He likes me!
It also fit in perfectly with one of your ‘B’ suggestions:
For B, I think it should be books and blockbusters.
So, books and blockbusters it is!
Back when I was an English major, I knew upon walking into my first class that I was not going to fit the stereotype very well. I was a showered, make-up wearing, clothes picked-out girl with a Mountain Dew in hand… walking into a room with two options. One side had an array of grunge, black outfits and crazy piercings, while the other side was doing their best to look like they didn’t care about the insignificance of college life… they were far too busy making sure not to speak unless each word was at least five syllables long. Oh, how they tried to be existential and above it all.
Yes, my peppy post-cheerleading self was totally out of place. And I loved it… partially because the people were as interesting as the books, and partially because, like the books, it opened my world to entirely new experiences.
The point of me “not fitting in” is a way to explain why I am the worst person to ask about my favorite things. Favorite books and blockbusters? Favorite style? Favorite music? The truth is, I just don’t really fit the categories… I’m a hodge-podge of likes, the definition of the term eclectic. More than I like any style, I like what a style does for me.
What do books and blockbusters do for me? They totally get me lost.
I remember riding in the car once when I was little, absorbed in some book or another, when I screamed aloud and nearly scared my mom off the road. I had forgotten where I was, what we were doing… the scene in the book was so vivid in my mind, and the emotions of the characters had so completely taken over my being, that the surprise in the plot surprised me right into a scream. And that’s why I love a good book.
I like my brain to be challenged. I love Patricia Cornwell’s series about Kay Scarpetta using forensics to solve crimes. I love figuring out who did what and why. I love it even more if they can surprise me. I love action and adventure… both in books and in movies. I love a fast pace that takes me from moment to moment, not allowing me enough time to daydream back to my own reality.
I love fantastical stories that could never happen, but seem so possible you expect to wake up the next day in a totally different reality. I love the fact that some of my nieces and nephews went to bed the night before their 11th birthday expecting an invitation to Hogwart’s Academy just like Harry Potter. I would have thought it possible at that age, too. If it could happen in a book, if I could see it in my mind and feel it in my spirit… then somewhere out there I thought it just might be true.
Which probably sums up why I don’t do horror or scary movies/books. Mysteries and suspense? Oh, yes. Being terrified… no thank you. I’ve never seen Silence of the Lambs, but the preview where he said, “Clarice…” was enough to send shivers through me for days. I already know crazy exists, I don’t need to feel it deep within!
My two favorite courses in college were ones with heavy reading. In my Literature and Psychoanalysis class, we took anything from Shakespeare to Faulkner to Hawthorne and psychoanalyzed the characters using Freud and Nietzsche. I was so in over my head, but it helped me learn to read in an entirely different way. Whether a classic or a romance novel, I suddenly found myself more involved, more lost in the world of the characters, lost in the “why” of everything.
The second class that sticks in my mind was an entire semester dedicated to Milton’s Paradise Lost. I can state unequivocally that I love Milton because my professor loved Milton. She was so difficult. An ‘A’ on a paper from her pretty much made your college career worthwhile. I could go into other classes having not even finished a book and talk my way through a relevant discussion, but in her class I could bring my A-game and leave having to start over from scratch. I loved the challenge.
As much as I loved those classics… loved prose and mythology and words that melted like butter when read with the right tongue… I am so not a book snob. My favorite reads are still the ones that lose me into an alternate reality. I love a good Nicholas Sparks, Danielle Steele, James Patterson. I couldn't care less if they are the same story over and over again, as long as you take me on a journey that keeps me turning the page. I find the pace, the flow of the words, the imagery that’s conjured is so much more important than a critics lofty opinion. I’m no critic… when I read, I am purely a fan.
Blockbusters are the same. I love a classic. I love action, adventure, romantic comedy, drama. I love the clothes and the speech and the way people decorate their homes. I want to live Meg Ryan’s life in You’ve Got Mail… opening my children’s book store everyday after walking by rows of flower shops and buying a bagel from a street vendor. I want to be as plucky as Kyra Sedgwick in Something To Talk About when she defends Julia Roberts as only a sister can. When Meryl Streep opens the movie Out of Africa by saying, “I had a farm in Africa at the foot of the Ngong Hills,” I’m suddenly on an adventure that has swept me to a foreign place. I don’t think I watch movies as much as I put myself into their lives and pretend for an hour and half that anything is possible.
I just want to be entertained. I want to not be in my world for however long they can keep me in theirs.
***** ***** ***** ***** *****
Ok, people… time to earn your keep. Go to the comment section and hit me with your best ‘C’ topic idea for next week!