It was Monday already (February 15) and I had no idea what Encore was going to be about yet. Usually, my drill is to have it ready by a Sunday – sometimes even sending it in on the Sunday especially if I know I have a hectic week ahead or, if I am 90-odd percent satisfied with it by then. Otherwise I mull it over overnight, have another read on the Monday, do a tweak if necessary and then submit. My deadline is only on a Tuesday though, so I would have another day just in case I ponder or stumble on an interesting thought overnight that I might want to insert the following day.
Looking for interesting things has become part of me, like an appendage: observing and listening to everything and everyone absorbedly so that I might find my topic(s) for the week to write about.
Sometimes I get close to deadline day and I have very little to write about, but the minute I am at the computer, the “very little” soon becomes enough, and pretty soon the latter becomes too much, and I have to cut it to size…and I love this process…week after week. It reminds me of my life: just when you think there is little to look forward to, life happens…in abundance!
I start by jotting down some points and before I know it, points become lucid and disjointed ideas become meaningful connections between dots. Like I said: much like life – sometimes the very little we have left to give, sparks off a series of gifts that just keep on giving. And, sometimes within the very bedlam, order is created. This is the case this week…
Am I fast-forwarding or rewinding? Actually neither. I am right where I need to be. A re-watching of ‘Scent of a Woman’ refers. It is the scene where Al Pacino’s character defends Chris O’ Donnell’s character at a school hearing, and he speaks (in pure Pacino style) about snitches and integrity and about his soul not being up for sale, and about how there are no prosthetics for the soul as there are for body parts etc etc. Elementary, my dear Watson. But that very night I also opened a birthday gift that was given to me two years ago.
I know…I am a terrible human being – only opening the gift now. It was a DVD copy of ‘Black Swan’ – a beautiful film that explores that strange relationship between compassion and cruelty that live so effortlessly side-by-side in one heart. How souls struggle within, to just have a sense of who they really are. So many people think that it is the most profound advice to give to others (especially to younger folk) when they say: “Just be yourself.” How does one “be yourself” if you have no idea who the hell you are? We are too often so many different versions of ourselves. And when we are no longer around someone remembers some version of who they thought you were…like a fading polaroid.
The story of the black and the white swan and what they represent in the life of the protagonist, and of how art imitates life and vice versa are personified in an absolutely riveting film. Before seeing it I was consistently warned about its “eeriness” and its “darkness”. And yes, it is dark and eerie, but the film is about so much more than that. And yes, there are the obvious differences between the black and the white swans and what they represent, but I always maintained that perspective is what will determine how one responds to things, especially art. And perspective is often founded on the “baggage” or history we bring to the context.
How does one, for example, understand “light” if one cannot open oneself to understanding “darkness”? And, I have also always maintained that you only get to know your true self if you are prepared to spend real quality time with said self and bare your honest thoughts and feelings.
And I don’t mean taking that long bath with candles as prescribed by shrewd marketing on the shopping network, trying to sell you some or other bathroom products. I mean alone, introspective time. You would be surprised at the muck that accumulates (and lurks) under the floorboards of the soul.
Sometimes that relentless, even ruthless quest for happiness that often eludes us is not all it is cracked up to be, and said pursuit is not all that life is about. Once found, it can be quite ephemeral.
We need filters. After all, desire without filters can be a most unattractive, even dangerous thing.