Monday, February 10, 2014

Try to empty your mind!

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I am not writing well today. Every sentence comes out like I'm mumbling cliches. I don't know why. I wanted to write about our weekend, which contained two "I finished my book" celebrations, a series of nature art projects installed throughout the yard, a snow fort, sledding, and a living-room yoga session. There, I've written about it. (That's probably my ten minutes up.)

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Friday afternoon: I sketched a map and a family tree for my book, and scanned them, and sent them to my US editor. I can't draw, and apparently I can't design a family tree or print legibly, but I tried. It was oddly satisfying to map out the location of the story, which has been so clear in my head. This looks just like it! I found myself saying, like I was drawing something from memory, not from imagination.

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Friday evening: Kevin and I decided, rather late into the evening, to duck out for a drink. I've got greasy hair, I argued, and it's so late, and this is not a going-out ensemble (yoga pants and comfy shirt; which I'm actually wearing again today, I see). But he thought we should celebrate. So I changed into jeans, ignored the hair, and we walked uptown. Why is it always so cold? It's always so cold! At the bar, we were seated quickly but ignored entirely. At last, I declared, Two more minutes, and we're giving up and going home; which is when a waitress turned up with heartfelt apologies. The manager turned up too, to comp our drinks (we hadn't complained, being ever so Canadian, so this was an especially nice surprise). Thus, my "finished-my-book" celebration was sponsored by the good people of Beertown.

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Saturday day: Fooey and Kevin worked on a snow fort, while AppleApple worked on nature art. "This is the best school project ever!" she declared. We ended the afternoon by lighting the "snow volcanoes and snow chimney" (see the photo at the top of the post). It was pretty awesome. Kev also took the little kids sledding for the first time this winter, while the older kids played with friends, and I fell asleep on the couch (likely in payment for Beertown's sponsorship the night before).

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Saturday night: Pizza ordered for the kids. Kevin and I went out for dinner and a movie, as originally planned (the extra night of celebration was a last-minute addition). We've seen three movies this year already, which is two more than we saw last year, total. Philomena has been my favourite, far and away. I was underwhelmed by Inside Llewellyn Davis, in which a folksinger drowns in his own self-pity (tell me that isn't a tedious concept!). And I didn't much like Her -- our Saturday movie -- which couldn't decide if it was ironic or aiming for some deeper, more meaningful message; however, the dialogue, when it aimed for deep and meaningful, was truly terrible; also, it featured another self-pitying main character, on whose face the camera fixated for excruciatingly long spells (I suppose that's a necessary complication of a movie about a man in love with his operating system). The best thing about the movie were the pants that all the men wore in this slightly futuristic time and place. I'm dead serious. The pants are hilarious.

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I like going out to the movies. I've realized, though, that I've lost my patience for movies a) in which the characters are very sorry for themselves and/or b) the women play entirely token roles and/or c) love is too mysterious to be understood. Please. Love is not too mysterious to be understood. It's the stuff of living, not the stuff of pondering. Or maybe I'm just grumpy these days.

It is really cold. It just keeps snowing.

I would like to a see a movie in which the girls and women talk to each other, and pursue interests that do not relate to romance or motherhood (we can throw some of that in too, but it doesn't have to be the full meal deal). Y'know? Am I missing those movies? Are they out there?

Sunday day: morning run to kick out my restlessness, outside even though it was snowing and really cold; soccer game in Mississauga; late-afternoon tasks and organizing, while Kevin made pad thai.

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Sunday evening: yoga in our living-room, led by AppleApple.

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Actual dialogue, overheard during savasana:

AppleApple [soothing tones]: Try to empty your mind.

CJ: This is so BORING!

AppleApple [soothing tones]: Lie still. Try to empty your mind. [pause] [tones becoming less soothing] Lie still! [pause] I can see what you're doing! Try to EMPTY YOUR MIND!

9 comments:

  1. There are surprisingly few such movies, unfortunately. Kids' movies are even worse about portraying women and girls as either props, or damsels to be rescued, as I keep pointing out to Zoe. Have you ever come across the Bechdel Test?

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    1. A friend just posted a link to that on FB. It makes a lot of sense, actually. As we were watching the trailers (which I usually love), I couldn't help but notice that all of the movies being advertised, even the new Wes Anderson, were seriously lacking in women, or stories being told about women or from the perspective of a woman. It's almost bizarre once you start noticing it, it's so obvious.

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    2. It is bizarre. And upsetting, the more I think about it.

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    3. It is upsetting, actually, isn't it. Makes me wish I made films! It doesn't seem like it should be a radical concept to make movies in which women do interesting things and lead complex lives.

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  2. It's so annoying and frustrating. Almost all the movies we watch are kids' movies, and I'm *constantly* pointing this out to the boys. The other day they said I was obsessed with girls because I am a girl. I said that women are 50% of the population and I think it only makes sense for women to be 50% in movies and toys (we were playing LEGO at the time). Atticus then pointed out that it's 51% and that I had a point.

    I'd love to watch a movie about women who weren't obsessed with marriage or babies (Bridesmaids wasn't as good as I wanted it to be because of this). I think that's why television is such a draw--real roles for women.

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    1. I wonder if that's because in television series there's more time to develop characters, while films rely on visual shorthand. Maybe complicated female characters don't fit into the accepted tropes, so it doesn't seem like there's time to develop a story around them. What if the main character in Her had been a woman? It's almost like we're asked to accept that a male character is universal, while a female character, if she's the focus, would be "special." Like it would all get too complicated, and the meaning would be changed or spoiled. (Don't get me started on how racially undiverse movies are either.)

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    2. I think you are spot on. We watched Up recently and while I loved the film, it made me so angry that one of the two "women" characters died off near the beginning, and the other one was a bird named Kevin. C'mon! Not even one of those stupid dogs had female voices! And *any* of those characters could have quite easily been a woman/girl.

      The (white) male as universal is so deeply entrenched in our consciousness, it's maddening. Think of Little Bear or Franklin--mostly boys--and they're freaking animals!

      I also think that in addition the fine points you mentioned, TV is considered an inferior medium to movies by the industry, so having interesting, fully developed women characters isn't as difficult to realize.

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  3. Have you seen IN A WORLD? It had one of the strongest (and funniest) female characters I've seen in a while. And the movie is hilarious, too!

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    1. It's on my list of want-to-watch, but I keep forgetting the title! Thanks for the recommendation.

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