I’ve been thinking a lot about this number lately. It is the age I will be in June this year. I’ve had nearly 46 years on Earth and I’m still like a wide-eyed child about its workings, in some respects. I like this. I like that there is so much in the world that still amazes me. It encourages me to seek, to learn, to experience and grow.
What I don’t like is the myriad ways we turn can against each other. We seem so far removed from the days when we lived in the shadows of savagery, burning fires at night to keep the unknown at bay and fighting every day just to survive. While we may seem to be far removed, I look at some of the worst we do to each other and it looks as though we’re only ever one step away from reverting to those savage ways. You only have to read about how some behave when there is a blackout, for instance, to realise this.
If I had been born a thousand years ago, I might be considered an old man by this age. But as it is, I still have the feeling I’m not even a grown up, that the ‘eternal teenager’ tag my mother gave me many years ago has actually changed me somehow and while my body slows down and stiffens up, my mind is racing around like I’ve had far too much red cordial.
Maybe I’m mad. Actually, there is no doubt about it. Just ask my wife. She thinks I'm nuttier than a fruitcake but she loves me anyway. In fact, she loves me BECAUSE I'm not the average garden-variety, misogynistic, middle-aged bloke. And I wouldn't want to be any other way. Besides, I believe we’re all mad, to a greater or lesser extent. I don’t mind thinking I’m mad. While it might absolve me from some of my behavioural tics, it also allows me to be able to experience the rawness of my emotions, to be uninhibited creatively and to leave myself open to all experiences, much as I did when I was a child. Much as we all did when we were children. Before we were told to ‘grow up’, ‘act our age’ and ‘stop being silly’.
I was watching a great movie recently called ‘What About Me’, a moving documentary that, according to one review, “gives a fascinating insight into universal issues and our collective insanity: how we are ego-driven, insatiable in desire, wounded by childhood and unable to stop thinking” (as good a description as any I might have written).
One of the interviewees postulates the idea that those of us who accept that we are essentially mad and therefore primarily flawed are actually happier, healthier and generally more at ease with the world around us. I don’t know if this is right but it struck a chord that is still ringing in my mind.
While I don’t have any problem accepting my insanity, my biggest problem at the moment is motivation. I’ve been writing a lot, but I don’t feel motivated enough to finish or post anything. I’m also playing a lot of guitar and enjoying music but not enough to knuckle down and record anything. Although I’ve been motivated enough to get myself to the gym 5 or 6 times a week (and enjoying every minute of it, by the way) my creative endeavors, those activities I love so much, just aren’t doing for me at the moment.
I know it sounds like I’m being a little tough on myself. I probably am, if truth be known. It is summer, I have been particularly busy at work and by the time I get home, after going to the gym, all I want to do is put my feet up and hang with my wife. I should cut myself a break but I can’t help feeling somewhat disappointed in my efforts.
Movies and Mediocrity...
Speaking of movies, we went and saw the Clint Eastwood soon-to-be-classic ‘Grand Torino’ last weekend. It is one of the very few movies I’ve seen in recent history that stirred me so much I had tears in my eyes. Why are there not more movies like this, movies willing to take a risk, ignore the stifling political correctness so pervasive in our society and really say something? It is absolutely superb in every sense of the word; acting, direction, story, script, cinematography, editing, costuming etc. When you compare this to some of the mediocre big-budget crap recently produced, it is a winner, even if it doesn't receive a single award.
I was surprised to see shorts for another movie while at the cinema. The surprise is because I can’t believe Hollywood decided to turn this particular book into a movie. The book and movie in question is ‘Angels & Demons, by Mr. Da Vinci Code himself, Dan Brown.
Now, let me clarify: I read ‘The Da Vinci Code’ and thought it was alright, a decent enough read with some interesting interpretations of the beginnings of Catholicism, in particular. I rated it about as much as I’d rate any pop fiction novel. In other words, I thought it was an enjoyable read and not disappointing. But then came the hype. Book sales went stratospheric and it looked as though a lot of people were taking the whole thing far too seriously.
Then came the movie. Again, it wasn’t badly acted, it followed the novel well and it didn’t make me regret spending the time to watch it. On the strength of all this, both my wife and I tried to read ‘Angels & Demons’ (don’t get me started on the use of the ampersand in the title – I’ll save that for another time).
In short, this book is absolute crap. It is badly written and filled with flaws so wide, you could sail an aircraft carrier through them. I’m not trying to be deliberately nasty either. It really is a dreadful novel. And now it is being made into a movie. I hope whoever wrote the script is okay because I’m sure if they hadn’t been sick from reading the book, they would have been constantly doubled over in laughter at the appalling writing. I don’t understand how it even got published in the first place. But somehow, it did and then it got through to the movie industry. This is yet another example of the celebration of mediocrity at its finest.
I’m all for positive change, for moving forward through development of the physical, intellectual and spiritual facets of my life. My wife and I are looking forward to spending the next few decades living the way we want to live (baring anything unforeseen). We’re looking forward to moving to the tropics and setting up a new life for ourselves. We’re looking forward to leaving the city and all its dramas and violence behind. Are we a little scared? You bet we are. But isn’t life about taking risks, learning, growing and staying in motion, not becoming stagnant, glued to the couch and being under-stimulated?
Am I mad? You bet I am. And I’m loving it.