My friend's brother once thought that that was the lyric in the theme song for The Golden Girls. Always makes me laugh.
This morning I came to the conclusion that the objects I most desire in life are marketed to the elderly. Back pillows, circulation boosting machines, chairlifts. . .
Okay, I only want a chairlift because of that scene in Gremlins, so that doesn't really count. Anyway, my point is that I'm not feeling very youthful as of late. The lines around my eyes are telling. They're telling me that I need more sleep, or that I need to stop spending so much time in front of mirrors.
As I type this, a heated neck pillow rests awkwardly on my shoulders, and I realize the Golden Girls appear more vivacious than I do in most photographs.
Growing up, The Golden Girls was one of my favourite shows and, honestly, it still is. The only difference is that I feel like I can relate to them more so now than ever. Also, I think I've morphed from Blanche into Dorothy. Another off-putting Golden Girls fact: only one of them (Betty White) is still alive!
Ageing is weird. All of my idols are dying and my current favourite athletes are all younger than me. Dwelling on that thought is particularly off-putting. I actually refer to athletes as "kids." That's when you know your age is sinking in. I'm not old, but maaaaaaaaan do I feel old sometimes. I actually find myself shaking my head at certain football players, and catch myself saying things like, "That's a dangerous play. It's not worth it, kid."
What is happening to me?!
At least I haven't lost my energy when it comes to sports. I still yell, throw things and threaten those around me. Only now, when my mom tells me I'm going to have a heart attack, I actually consider it.
Alysson Paradis in 2007's Inside (A'L'interieur)
Julien Maury and Alexandre Bastillo's brilliant film, Inside, coincides with the New French Extremity of cinema (a delightful blend of arthouse and horror), and is an example of what happens when almost nothing is left to the imagination. In this instance, however, the fear remains. The film is well-crafted, with strong characters and a captivating story. It also happens to contain one of the bloodiest scenes I've ever witnessed.
Why the contrast? I just find it interesting how there are so many ways to successfully tell a horrifying tale. On one hand, you can credit your audience as the sadistic bastards they are, and allow them to create their own version of hell or, alternatively, you can do it for them. While both methods sound like a great time, I would argue that the prospect of tricking people into scaring themselves is super exciting!
Climbing inside a viewer's mind and tapping into their fears is an awesome concept, for sure, but what about the artistic element of gore? Last night, I revisited Stanley Kubricks' masterpiece, The Shining, and was once again reminded that there is artistic merit in the horror genre. Big time.
To end things I will say that, while I don't have a definite preference either way in terms of the presence or absence of gore, I tend to be most freaked out by films that require the use of my imagination. Whether that says more about those films or my mind, I'm not so sure. One thing is for sure, and that is the fact that I continue to be impressed by The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, and its ability to retain such elite status as a horror giant while omitting the gruesome carnage, amidst a genre thats popularity often relies on gore factor.
I am no slave to pain (for the most part). Recently, I came to the conclusion that I am, however, a slave to painkillers. I'm addicted, and have been for years. I was finally able to admit this yesterday, after the startling realization that I rarely go a day without them.
I guess it didn't feel like an addiction because there are no recognizable physical symptoms; I don't feel that tension in my wrists and ankles, or the nausea that often accompanied some of my past addictions.
Everyone who knows me well knows that I am never without pills--blue ones, red ones, white ones. I am a non-stop rider of the multicoloured horse. When someone has a headache, they ask me for a cure. I often reply with, "which ones do you want?" I've been an unconscious drug pusher, until now.
Thinking about the possible, and probable, damage that's been done to my liver and other organs makes me feel scared. If Advil hammers the final nail into my coffin, I will be extremely disappointed. That's so lame! If a drug is going to do me in, it should be something more glamorous. I'm like the soccer mom of drug addicts.
Today I will attempt to go without any painkillers. It will be tough as I get migraines in the summer, and have some muscle tension in my back. Part of me wonders whether those feelings are real, or whether my addicted mind created the sensations so that I continue to pump my body full of drugs.
That thought makes me feel weak. I'm an intelligent person. Why didn't I see the signs? I do now. I'm starting to feel my body tense up. It reminds me of that scene in A Nightmare on Elm St III when Freddy confronts that junkie. I think it's time to move away from the computer, and do some breathing exercises. Maybe go for a walk. Maybe I'll empty my purse and rid it of pills, if I can bring myself to do so.
Back to the topic of beginnings and endings, I thought I'd leave you with some of the best, in my opinion. Beginnings and endings are my favourite things to write. There's something satisfying about laying out the bread, buttering it up, and figuring out how it holds the insides together.
I will begin by giving you an example from one of the masters of short fiction, and my personal favourite, Raymond Carver. This excerpt is from one of his best, "Tell the Women We're Going." Carver was an incredible writer; he had a way of showing so much in few words. You can find this story in its entirety in various anthologies. It was originally published in What We Talk About When We Talk About Love--an absolute must-read. You can also see it in Robert Altman's fantastic film, Short Cuts, which is an adaptation of some of Carver's short stories.
Beginning: Bill Jamison had always been best friends with Jerry Roberts. The two grew up in the south area, near the old fairgrounds, went through grade school and junior high together, and then on to Eisenhower, where they took as many of the same teachers as they could manage, wore each other's shirts and sweaters and pegged pants, and dated and banged the same girls--whichever came up as a matter of course.
Ending: He never knew what Jerry wanted. But it started and ended with a rock. Jerry used the same rock on both girls, first on the girl called Sharon and then on the one that was supposed to be Bill's.
A chilling ending. That story gives me goosebumps.
Next, I will show you an example from a novel that blew my mind. I wrote the final essay of my literature degree on William Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury. It devoured me--the book, and the process of writing the paper. I felt like I wasn't myself at that time. I was some sort of mad scientist locked inside a lab (the library). This was a cool assignment because, for the first time, I was asked not to use sources. Although scary at first, this was the perfect novel for which to rely only on my mind--my ideas--particularly because the book made me lose sleep. I would wake up in the middle of the night to underline passages that I had to know more about. It was a great opportunity to exploit my craziness to its full potential.
Beginning: Through the fence, between the curling flower spaces, I could see them hitting. They were coming toward where the flag was and I went along the fence. Luster was hunting in the grass by the flower tree. They took the flag out, and they were hitting. They put the flag back and they went to the table, and he hit and the other hit. Then they went on, and I went along the fence. Luster came away from the flower tree and we went along the fence and they stopped and we stopped and I looked through the fence while Luster was hunting in the grass.
If you haven't read the book, I'm sure that was fairly confusing. I read several passages from that book over and over. It's not an easy read, but it is an incredible novel that continues to seep into my mind from time to time. Actually, the topic of beginnings and endings is interesting in terms of The Sound and the Fury, because the whole story is preoccupied with time and the past. It's difficult for both the reader and the characters to determine what is actually happening, and when.
Last, I will give you a snippet from one of the big guns--a novel that everyone should read because it really is as good as you've heard. I had the pleasure of studying F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby in university and had not read the book until that time. Gatsby instantly became one of my favourites. If Faulkner didn't steal me away with his brilliance, I would have written my final essay for American Lit on Gatsby's Nick Carraway, who is probably my all-time-favourite narrator. I will now shut up, and leave you with this:
Ending: So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.
Okay, that just has to be the best last line of a novel. Ever. It is so concise, yet is the perfect ending to the story.
I would give more examples, but I can't follow that with anything. The above photo will give you an idea of some of my favourites.
I have attached the essay I wrote on The Sound and the Fury for those interested in reading. It probably won't make sense if you haven't read the novel and, even if you have, it still may not. Be kind, though. And, remember, I received an A on the paper. ;)
Mind the formatting. For whatever reason, there's a blank page after the title page. Like I've said before, I'm a gumshoe when it comes to technology.
I'm finally doing it--pulling my insides out and splattering them around for all to see. Here we go!