Ten Things to Beat the Winter Blues, Number Four: Artsy Stuff

pennypaint 014I wanted to get some photos of the ice coating the tree branches reflecting the sun.  The sky was that heart stopping-ly blue, blue, blue, the kind  that makes peoples of northern climes simultaneously chime with awe and shiver with cold.

Alas my camera is not the best.  I tip my hat to the brave photographers who climb over ice and snow to get photographs. In truth it is the photographer in this case who really is limited.  I love winter vistas but only when looking out at them from the warmth of a 21st century home equipped with thermal windows, central heating and electricity…

Speaking of which, our little disaster here in Scarberia with the lack of power and heat ended far more quickly than the more painful lack of internet and television!  For the news I had my 92 year old mother, her radio still had working batteries. With her head phones on she would give me updates.  “Still cold, still without heat and power in many homes…”  🙂

Sometimes making a big deal about New Years it is not very helpful to people with the blues.  I think that is the subject of another post.   I went to dinner and a movie with friends and was in bed before midnight, it was just enough to be lovely.  Resolutions?  NO!

I had a few projects to work on once the power came back.  Here is a photo of me working on “Penny”.  You can see I feel pretty good about it.

pennypaint 007

Early Morning Ponderings…

I love the first few minutes upon waking when I am languid in the soup of ideas and thoughts and images.

I woke up this morning and this is the thought: I wonder if this is how evil geniouses feel when they first wake up?

I mean, before he even knows where he is or what his name is, does he just feel like a baby or a kitten? Perhaps he gradually remembers, “oh yeah, Evil Tuesday.” and turns more evil as he drinks his first coffee and by the third cup he can’t remember any ambiguity at all.

I mean a muffin with the coffee might make a difference…evil_genius_drevil

Reflections on Motherhood in Two Movies.

I watched the movie “Brave” a pixar/disney film. I didn’t like any of the characters. I hated the story which is the old “princess has to marry a dweeb and rebels instead”. Except she doesn’t rebel, she turns her mother into a bear, regrets it and then turns her back, just in time.

There was nothing brave about any of the character’s actions except perhaps the mother who, as a bear, fights another bear. There was almost nothing about this movie that didn’t make me uncomfortable. At a time when we can be so visually stunning to waste all that on a stupid story with stupid characters is, well, stupid. Remember the Siamese cats in the Lady and the Tramp how scary it was to see them behave that way? That is how all the children in this movie made me feel.

Then I watched: “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” based on the 1943 novel by Betty Smith. It is black and white. The characters are a bit pat, and the story is predictable. It does show how much our attitudes about family, and children in particular have changed, at least in movies. I don’t suppose this was a movie meant for children which is weird too. I would rather protect my children from watching children acting like brats than to avoid a movie about birth, old age, sickness and death. There is growth on the part of the mother and daughter, and while there is a recognition of a desire to rebel on the part of the daughter there is no rebellion, just as there is an understanding on the part of the mother that she is “being hard” and yet she doesn’t waver from what she has to do and what she expects the daughter to do.

The two movies almost seem like they are from two different species. They both depend on glaring simplifications, it is the nature of the beast called entertainment, but while the threads get drawn together in time for the end in each of them, I felt nauscous after “Brave” like I had eaten too much theatre popcorn where as I felt like could have an optimistic little dream after “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn”.

We can tell stories that appeal to our better natures rather than piling on cring-worthy disasters that end with meaningless resolutions. When we do it well, we don’t need colourful animation.

I drank a beer and watched Slaughterhouse Five and wrote this.

 I get drunk on one beer.

Vonnegut. Kurt Vonnegut. He wrote a book called Slaughterhouse Five. But I seem to remember reading that he thought of calling it “The Children’s War” because that was what they were, children, all of them, when they went off to war…

Kurt Vonnegut taught me how to be a human being without having my heart break.

I think it is possible that he is dead. He might have died long ago. I don’t keep track of these things. It’s funny because when I talk about Kurt Vonnegut I always want to say, “he told me…” rather than “I read in his book” or “he wrote in his book”. I know I never met him but I also know something else. This is what I know:

I remember a lover once said to me , “…It’s just as possible that all that hair you find on your clothes is not coming off the cat, but actually is on the way to the cat, that a cat is actually a small contained quantum irregularity.”, I laughed. It still makes me laugh. It will always make me laugh.

In the end the disappointments don’t matter. In the end we all get to be Billy Pilgrim. “Hello, Fare well, Hello, Fare Well…”