It’s been a fair month since I blogged last. NaNoWriMo overwhelmed me (I still have some final words to share on that front: like many things in the present, they’re presently forthcoming) and I started a new medication in November that knocked me out entirely. I held onto the end of my first semester in grad school by a thread, and I’ve been using the time since for some much-needed recovery.
No, “recovery” is a bad word. There was nothing to recover from, but I needed to relax.
I had a pendulum of posts swinging through my mind this whole time, but they came and went and I rose and slept and nothing came to fruition. But hardly more than a week ago I pulled up outside a theater with my friend for Star Wars VII and that has been a moment that has stayed with me more than anything.
Don’t worry, there’ll be no spoilers here, but maybe something deeper.
Some things we can’t choose–our skin color, our parents, our aptitude for eyesight and how soon we need glasses, or perhaps how soon we lose our hair, or perhaps how long it takes us to remember what we were doing before we completely forget it. But some things we can choose–what we consume, how we spend our time, what we study.
This isn’t a list about choices. This is a list about all those things chosen for me–things that maybe I would’ve done differently had I the foresight to know better, the insight into my own destiny as the world shaped it for me.
Being in college is awesome. Not only do you learn a lot of cool things, you also get a lot of free stuff: Free food. Free transportation. Free t-shirts. Free reusable plastic cups. Free frisbees. Free computer labs, library resources, and wi-fi. Free clubs and free leadership training.
Free. Free. Free.
(Okay, so I know it’s not really free–that’s what your tuition and fees go toward–but since I’m not paying out of pocket each time they toss something in my general direction, it feels free. That’s good enough.)
One of the best things, though, hasn’t been free at all: the Campus Cinema. Over the past month, for less than I would’ve spent to see one new release at any other theater, I’ve seen four films–and they’ve all been so great collectively, I’d like to share my experiences with you.
It begins with a fairytale, and in the end, everybody dies.
Imagine you’re sitting at the premier of the biggest blockbuster hit all summer and suddenly the tear gas and the gunfire that was on the screen a moment ago is now four feet away with the barrel in your face. It sounds horrific, like the fodder of another Hollywood hit, but this morning, it was far too real for the twelve now dead and at least another fifty who were injured in the shooting in Aurora, Colorado.
It’s amazing how a tragedy can transform the country in a matter of hours and have repercussions that echo across the world at the speed of light. A red-carpet Paris premier of the movie was cancelled in the wake of the shooting and both Presidential candidates have put a silencer on their doomsday rhetoric. The country stands again as one–one victim, one survivor, a single body supporting its own flailing limbs–united in a way only death can unite us.
It’s all so simple in theory: Take an idea and put it on paper. Or jazz it up a bit and put it into pixels. The computer screen has never been so well read. Yet in practice it’s much harder. These ideas don’t come to me as a collection of words–that transcription happens later. In fact, oftentimes, when ideas are their freshest, words only get in the way.
Have I ever told you I never wanted to be a writer?
There’s such a thing as irony, and when we lack it, we’re anemic (and that’s a thing called paronomasia, or punning, or wordplay). But no matter what we call it, what’s at the heart of my personal irony today is the movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I have never seen it. But I have read parts of it, and I have read parts about it.
It began the second or third day of my Creative Writing class. We were covering screenplays and we were reading an example, and this was the movie my teacher decided to bring in. We read the opening of the script. We watched a couple clips on YouTube. We–rather, the people who had seen it–talked a bit about it. And then I ran to the library, checked the stock, and saw we didn’t have it. Ergo, I did not watch it.
It’s been nearly a year to the day since I wrote my very first post about the Pirkei Avot, and I refer anyone new to the series to that post. It’s a good start, and I promise you, it’s the only one I think you should read to get introduced to the whole thing (although my last one is also well worth the word court).
So here I am again. I was in services this morning for our teacher’s appreciation Shabbat and since I was there a few minutes early, I decided I’d read ahead. Obviously you can see it’s now past midnight, so I’ve had plenty of time to let this story steep. And the truth is, I’ve needed every minute of it. And probably then some, too.
So without any further ado… Press the button below to follow me on this next (and I assure you, rather exciting) step on my journey through the so-called Ethics of the Fathers.