Run, don't walk, to go see Winter's Bone, if it is playing anywhere near you. Spare. Haunting. Bleak. Human. Humbling. The physical world, the hills and woods of rural Missouri are a brooding presence in this film. And the characters stayed with me long after the movie was done.
It's about--among other things--poverty in backwoods America, the kind we don't usually see. The hidden-away poverty of white people. Shooting squirrels to eat them. Frying potatoes in lard. Women all wearing the same beat-up jeans and flannel shirts. You can practically smell them. Bad home dye jobs. Bad teeth. Heavy women who can fork hay and split kindling and use a power saw and dodge a punch.
Their world is lodged in my gut right now like a piece of undigested squirrel pie. I don't know what to do with it. The fine bony faces, like Abraham Lincoln's. That's C's bone structure. Long thin hands fingering a guitar or a banjo, sitting on a woodpile. My people are urban, sociable, chatty, soft. These people are flinty and taciturn, full of hidden depths. I don't know the code, but I can see that there is one.
It reminds me of the month I spent living on an Indian reservation a lifetime ago, when I got thoroughly laughed at for my citified ways. When I learned to split kindling and build a fire in a wood stove, and haul water from a creek. A month of that and I was through. No books, no magazines. There was a peace there that remains in my memory. And the people, especially the women; tough, vulnerable, wounded. They scared me a little. They move me.
My computer is in the shop and I'm trying out C's Mac to see if I would prefer to get one of those rather than the PC's I have always had. I've been working obsessively on the poetry manuscript for a few days and now it's time to turn back to the play. If anyone has an opinion about Macs vs. PC's I'd be happy to hear it.