Monday, December 24, 2007

Monster was just as amazing as I remembered. Theron's courage lies in showing the monster that resides in all of us, the monster that just needs love, like in Beauty and the Beast. In the fairy tale, the monster receives the love he so desperately needs and is transformed; in real life, the movie says, that doesn't happen. The monster goes beserk from lack of love, from abuse, and is destroyed.

Theron's blonde hair, made to look thin and blow-dried in bar bathrooms, even gives her a bit the look of a lion, a lion in captivity, a tortured deformed lion. The eagerness shining out from her damaged face is almost unbearable.

After the feature we watched the interview with the director Patty Jenkins and were both astonished at how young she is, and how confident and powerful. Then, dweeb that I am, I went on line to learn about the real Aileen Wuornos and discovered how many people were upset that the film depicted most of her victims as johns. Especially the families of the dead men.

I could easily put myself in their shoes as well; imagine if one of my brothers had stopped late at night to pick up a lone female hitchhiker because he felt sorry for her, or concerned for her safety. Imagine that she killed him and that then a movie was made of her life in which his motives were called into question and his life negated, while hers was portrayed with compassion.

But no two-hour movie is large enough to tell everyone's story in full...

These questions are especially poignant for me now as I wrestle with the ending of the Alan essay. Of course there is no ending in life, but essays, plays, poems and novels need to have endings. My sister and my father were both very excited about what the draft that they read, as much for personal reasons as for literary ones. They knew Alan, his generosity and his eccentricities and his difficult parts. Emily said what I had done was balanced and she appreciated what a tightrope it was. Actually, what she said was,"How did you do that?" Then she said she didn't know whether it was right to publish it. I don't know either. Of course I would change the names, but what about Alan's widow and their daughter, what about his mother and brothers? What about him, who can no longer speak for himself?

I keep coming back to: my job is to write about life, in all its weird and wonderful permutations, with as much honesty and compassion--and hopefully, beauty--as I can. Back to that one again. I repeat it like a mantra. It's my only justification, if you can even call it that. Because, as Lucille Clifton says in one of my favorite poems, I am Adam and his mother and these failures are my job.

As I type this, C is downstairs, playing his heart out on the grand piano. We have the house to ourselves--wonderful luxury!! I am so glad he is playing. I need to get up and walk. Dizziness persists, despite me drinking as much water as I can stand. A friend emailed me and said she had experienced the same thing, as a result of a virus, and her husband also. I hope this passes quickly, this black spinning; it's not fun.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

thanks for being such a great writer; you have inspired me. i will be taking a class from you in awhile and will be glad to meet you in person. and, of course, learn more about the nitty gritty of good writing.

i hope the dizziness clears; i can relate as i've suffered with that one.

all best in the upcoming year!