bunt sign

Saturday, February 10, 2001

Sometimes I'm amazed at how little it takes to put a smile on my face. As I was driving home yesterday, I heard a song on the radio that seemed new to me. And I couldn't stop grinning, and singing along. It was Goin' Back to Georgia, by Nanci Griffith and Adam Duritz. It's been so long since I heard this song that I'd forgotten it existed (it's on her album Flyer, which I have on vinyl, somewhere).

Then last night I watched Crooklyn on the Independent Film Channel. As much as I admire Do The Right Thing, as much as I respect that movie, Crooklyn is my favorite Spike Lee film. (I mean joint.) That stands to reason, though, doesn't it? It's about family, and so am I.

I'm currently reading Pay It Forward, by Catherine Ryan Hyde. I never got around to seeing the movie, but I don't see any characters so far who remotely resemble Bruce Willis. I didn't like the book at first, because of the writing style. The short, jerky sentences and obscure pseudo-poetic references ... well, they remind me way too much of the worst of my own writing. But the idealism at the heart of the novel is something I can embrace.

Music, movies and books are all tickets out of the real world, and I guess that's what I need just now. Sometimes I just want things to happen to me, without my having to take an active role. That's not a good attitude for all the time, and it's a seductive trap I could easily slide into. It fits in with my dream job in quality control at the bakery. You know. The donut taster.

I don't want to be disillusioned. I don't want to face cold, harsh reality, if that means losing faith in people. I want to believe that people can care about each other, and make the world better. All the evidence you can show me will never convince me that, given a real choice, a person wouldn't prefer good over bad, life over death, love over hate. I mean, if he didn't have the love beaten out of him. If she weren't taught to hate.

That doesn't mean I have to believe literally in the premise of Pay It Forward, or any other work of fantasy and imagination. I don't believe we'll ever achieve the unity and harmony of the Star Trek universe, either, but I love to get lost in that world, where respect and acceptance are common values. When you see this kind of relationship portrayed among humans (and others), it gets easier to project it into your own world.

a touch of spring

When I need a lift, I have some options. I can put on Paul Simon's Graceland CD. I can watch Searching for Bobby Fischer, or an episode of The West Wing. I can reread The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. All of these are always good for a smile or a tear, or both.

But that doesn't mean there's no place for edgier, more challenging works. Didn't I mention that I think Do The Right Thing is a great movie? I've read Virginia Woolf and James Joyce (although not for relaxation). I do have to admit that my music collection doesn't include anything more demanding than Tom Waits and Tori Amos (not anything that I actually listen to, anyway).

Sometimes I need to be reminded that there are gentle people in the world, people who are genuine and caring. I can even find it in the news section of the paper, if I look closely enough. Some of what's going on in Washington will bring out the best in people of conscience and concern.

But right now I think I'm going to put on some James Taylor and watch the birds in my garden for awhile.

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