I like movies that are an experience, that take you to a different emotional realm, whether through visuals or narrative. I’m not into reality. In fact, I don’t consider “realism” a valid criticism unless I’m making a documentary. But I don’t make documentaries. I write stories.
When I was a friendless kid with an abusive stepfather and being teased relentlessly at school, I didn’t want to live in reality because it was unbearable. There was not a waking moment in which I wasn’t reading (even if it was the back of an aspirin bottle), watching a movie, or creating my own intricate movie in my head. Books, movies, and daydreaming saved my life. If it sounds melodramatic, then you don’t remember what it was like to be a kid. Children lack all perspective because they’re experiencing everything for the first time. So, yes, childhood experiences are truly intense and over the top. This is why you have to be so very tender with kids; every experience they have is magnified times ten.
Lately, Zooey Deschanel has gotten a lot of flak for being girlishly cute or “adorkable”. Some have even nominated her as the reigning queen bee of all Manic Pixie Dream Girls, a term that Nathan Rabin defined as a madcap film heroine who serves to inspire the hero to shake himself out of his funk, embrace life’s mysteries and get on with his life. She is a wacky, enchanting gossamer creature and figures such as Katharine Hepburn in “Bringing Up Baby” and Ruth Gordon in “Harold and Maude” have been pegged as such. The MPDG is accused of being a passive agent of the hero’s desire, a plot device more than a character, a tendency that has earned it general scorn. (What female archetype in mainstream movies isn’t, though?) She plays at being a pretty, wacky, free spirit solely to attract male attention. Worst of all, she is accused of blunting her power by being forever child-like, even infantile.
Last Friday, the last Brother typewriter manufactured in the UK rolled off the assembly line, thus marking the end of an era.
I remember the thrill of getting my first typewriter. My grandmother took me to a dusty store near the Plaza Bolívar and bought me a manual model that sported an ñ, a ¿, and an ¡. I can’t remember the manufacturer, but I do remember typing a lot of my term papers on it. I lived dangerously, waiting until the last day before the deadline and then I’d dedicate the entire night to writing them. The clackety-clack of the keys hitting the paper was hypnotic and released all of my ideas, while the annoyance of correcting errors — having to roll the paper up a few inches and getting just the right amount of white-out on the little brush so that it would dry quickly and not leave an ugly gob on the page –, kept me focused. Some years later my stepfather bought me an electric model which, thankfully, was not altogether silent. The rhythm shaped my sentences, giving them a hard-boiled musicality that made me feel a little like Hammett. Of course, with time I graduated to the computer keyboard, but I still missed the musicality of typed prose.
I have climbed Mount Kilimanjaro while listening to Miles’ Filles du Kilimanjaro, swam in the Ganges with dolphins (this was rough — they kept complaining that all those ancestors’ ashes clogged up their blowholes), apprenticed with shamans and gurus (even set them up against each other just for fun which is how I got kicked out of seventh heaven), and once accidentally scaled U2 having mistaken it for K2. I have also astral traveled, but stopped when they refused to redeem my psychic air miles.
I will try anything once. Except for gluten, red meat, alcohol, dairy products, carbs… Actually, email me and I’ll send you a list. But other than that? Anything. Just remember I only give it one shot, so make sure the timing is right.