He can make me love something just by showing me the energy with which he loves it.
Archive for June, 2009
By chance, I got free tickets to go see a sneak preview of “500 Days of Summer” which I have been trying to see in theaters since late April. It comes out in wide release on July 17th, and is a must see! The movie stars Zooey Deschanel (the girl in Elf) and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (the son in the 90s tv show Third Rock From the Sun, but this time with short hair). I had heard great things about it even before watching, and knew the basic premise of the film, but was still pleasantly surprised.
Be careful: spoilers ahead!
The movie is put together so nicely. There’s a storyline you can understand right from the start: Tom recounts the 500 days he spent with a girl named Summer, trying to figure out, in the process, what went wrong in the end. So right from the beginning, we know things don’t work out.
He works for a greeting card company, coming up with clever lines to package what people want to say to each other, and Summer is hired as his boss’ assistant. This line of work is perfect for some of the messages of the movie.
Summer is someone who doesn’t believe in “love” and is more about the casual dating, while Tom can’t help but get pulled into her, eventually unable to distance himself despite her warning. He believes in the best, that, for them to have shared so much together, there must be something there. But you slowly see the relationship fall apart as Summer starts to pull away and get almost bored with him.
She leaves the office and moves away; and after a pleasant chance meeting at a former co-worker’s wedding, Tom discovers that she has gotten engaged. And while Tom has started to lose faith in “love” and “fate” and things that are “meant to be,” Summer has slowly come to believe in them. (I can’t quite ruin the punch line at the very last second of the movie – it’ s just too good, you’ll have to go see it.)
There’s this great monologue/tirade by Tom during an exec meeting of all the greeting card writers in his office. He accuses their company for standing in the way of people trying to speak for themselves, to say the things they should be able to say (to the people they want to say them to) on their own without the ingenuity of things like Hallmark. His lifelong passion has been architecture, and it is, ultimately, Summer who gives him the courage to be true to himself in this respect.
But beyond just the concept of fate, the movie tells us that though there may be forces out there that put us in the right places at the right times, everything is ultimately in our control: we are the ones who must be open-minded, open-eyed, and open-hearted.
This is from the letter that Henry has written Clare to be read after his death. I’ve picked the parts that I like the best and roughly pieced them together, so it’s not the complete passage.
…If you are reading this, I am probably dead. (I say probably because you never know what circumstances may arise; it seems foolish and self-important to just declare one’s own death as an out-and-out-fact.) About this death of mine – I hope it was simple and clean and unambiguous. I hope it didn’t create too much fuss. I’m sorry….But you know: you know that if I could have stayed, if I could have gone on, that I would have clutched every second: whatever it was, this death, you know that it came and took me….
…Clare, I want to tell you, again, I love you. Our love has been the thread through the labyrinth, the net under the high-wire walker, the only real thing in this strange life of mine that I could ever trust. Tonight I feel that my love for you has more destiny in the world than I do, myself: as though it could linger on after me and you, keep you, hold you.
I hate to think of you waiting. I know that you have been for me all your life, always uncertain of how long this patch of waiting would be. Ten minutes, ten days. A month. What an uncertain husband I have been, Clare, like a sailor, Odysseus along and buffeted by tall waves, sometimes wily and sometimes just a plaything of the gods. Please, Clare. When I’m dead. Stop waiting and be free. Of me–put me deep inside you and then go out in the world and live. Love the world and yourself in it, move through it as though it offers no resistance, as though the world is your natural element. I have given you a life of suspended animation. I don’t mean to say that you have done nothing. You have created beauty, and meaning, in your art, and Alba, who is so amazing, and for me: for me you have been everything.
After my mom died she ate my father up completely. She would have hated it. Every minute of his life since then has been marked by her absence, every action has lacked dimension because she is not there to measure against. And when I was young, I didn’t understand, but now, I know, how absence can be present, like a damaged nerve, like a dark bird. If I had to live on without you I know I could not do it. But I hope, I have this vision of you walking unencumbered, with your shining hair in the sun. I have not seen this with my eyes, but only with my imagination, that makes pictures, that always wanted to paint you, shining; but I hope that this vision will be true, anyway.
Clare, there is one last thing, and I have hesitated to tell you, because I’m superstitiously afraid that telling you might cause it to not happen (I know: silly) and also because I have just been going on about not waiting and this might cause you to wait longer than you have ever waited before. But I will tell you in case you need something, after.
Last summer, I was sitting in Kendrick’s waiting room when I suddenly found myself in a dark hallway in a house I don’t know. I was sort of tangled up in a bunch of galoshes, and it smelled like rain. At the end of the hall I could see a rim of light around a door, and so I went very slowly and very quietly to the door and looked in. The room was white, and intensely lit with morning sun. At the window, with her back to me, sat a woman, wearing a coral-colored cardigan sweater, with long white hair all down her back. She had a cup of tea beside her, on a table. I must have made some little noise, or she sensed me behind her…she turned and saw me, and I saw her, and it was you, Clare, this was you as an old woman, in the future. It was sweet, Clare, it was sweet beyond telling, to come as though from death to hold you, and to see the years all present in your face. I won’t tell you any more, so you can imagine it, so you can have it unrehearsed when the time comes, as it will, as it does come. We will see each other again, Clare. Until then, live, fully, present in the world, which is so beautiful.
It’s dark now, and I am very tired. I love you, always. Time is nothing.
Hilary Swank has a knack for playing really inspirational characters in really heavy/moving films. Check out the trailer for her latest here.
Whoo, first book of the summer – check! I was motivated to read this after watching the trailer of the movie over and over again – it was slightly less intriguinging in the beginning since I knew the premise of the storyline already, but the second half of the book got really good.
Again, the gist: Henry has a genetic disorder that causes him to time travel. When this happens, he just disappears from the moment he’s in into another time period, generally in the past. He can’t take anything with him when he does this, so he’ll show up naked, with no ID, and no money, so actually it’s a very dangerous thing. Time traveling does have its perks though – he meets his future wife, Clare, when she’s only six years old, and can come into the past with much knowledge about what will happen in the future, which adds a lot of dimensions to the love story.
This is the gorgeous movie poster, after which I will talk spoilers 🙂
The book is broken into three segments, the second being the longest, since it’s about the portion of their lives that they spend knowing each other in the “present.” It’s a bit confusing to have to keep track of which Henry is talking, whether it’s the one in the now or the one from a different time, and I didn’t pay too much attention to the author’s designations at the start of each chapter/segment. The story also flips back between Henry’s voice and Clare’s, and there are moments when you get the same scene in their lives told from two perspectives.
Besides the fact that Clare and Henry spend much of their time apart, when he has to time travel, there are other wrinkles in the plot that I didn’t anticipate.
1) Clare and Henry both have relationships with people other than each other. Clare actually ends up having a history with one of their family friends that both her and Henry are close. Henry often even visits one of his lovers from the past.
2) Henry and Clare try to solve the mystery of his time traveling. There’s even reference to circadian rhythm genes that I learned about in MCB 186, haha, when they consult a research doctor about the (fake) genetic disorder. Their relationship with the doctor, Kendrick, is also tense in moments when they try to think of ways to give Henry gene therapy or some form of treatment.
3) The couple has a daughter named Alba, who also is a time traveler.She is conceived after more than six attempts to have a child that all ended in miscarriages. (The amazing thing is that after these series of miscarriages, Henry decides to get a vasectomy. BUT, it’s the Henry from a different time who is actually responsible for Alba’s conception….crazy.) There are some great moments in the book when they meet each other at different stages of their lives. The issue that isn’t quite resolved is whether or not Kendrick should be able to help Alba with the condition.
4) Henry’s death – I hadn’t even considered this as a major part of the story, but of course he has to die. There are several references to his death before it actually happens, as snippets of it come out in Henry’s time travel. He does die out of consequences of his time travel, and there’s actually quite a big twist on that sequence of events.
Again, I was a bit confused by the actual details of the time traveling, and whether or not there are multiple versions of Henry floating around in space and they just relocate to different time points.
There was a beautiful passage from the book that was a letter written to Clare by Henry, to be read after his death. It summed up the themes in the book really well, and I’ll post that when I have the text with me. There were a few themes that you can imagine would be obvious in this story:
Fate: is everything really determined already, and, knowing that, can we really change what will happen to us? I’ve always wondered this in futuristic/sci-fi stories (like the movie Minority Report, which I LOVE) – say you knew something was supposed to happen to you in the next 5 minutes…would you knowing that be part of your fate, and would the actions you took to change that actually lead to what is supposed to happen? (that’s really confusing, but whatever). There are several scenes in the book are moments when Clare realizes that Henry knows what will happen in the future, and Henry will refuse to tell her, for fear that it will change the course of things.
Love and waiting: of course, Clare spends much of her life waiting – waiting for Henry to come into her future/now, waiting for Henry to come back after he disappears. If you watch the trailer for the movie, that’s also a theme that’s evident in those two minutes of previews. This is when the love story comes out in the novel, when you realize how much love and faith Clare has put into Henry and their relationship to give up a lot of opportunities in her youth, just for the sake of waiting for him. Even at the end of the book, after Henry has passed away, she stays with him, waiting for the moment when he will come to her when she is older. It’s amazing when you realize that she has always, for her whole life, been waiting, and that is only evidence or the strength of their relationship.
I’m interested to see what the film is like. It comes out August 14th. If anything, Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams are very, very beautiful people, and really good actors (who knew Eric Bana was Australian? that’s hot…), so go see it!
Slow down and enjoy life. It’s not only the scenery you miss by going too fast – you also miss the sense of where you are going and why.
Article I got through Lifehacker on why it is we zone out….apparently it isn’t just because we’re bored. We spend 13% of our time zoning out.
The gist of the report from Discovery Magazine is this: there are two networks that characterize how we use our mental power – the executive control system and the default network. The executive control system dominates when we are performing specific tasks and goals at hand, whereas the default network is activated when we are more idle and reflective. While people often equate zoning out to lack of use of mental energy, the researchers think that it’s actually when our brains are thinking more longterm and abstractly about our future goals and the “bigger picture.” Of course, the article points out that zoning out all the time is not good, nor is it safe, since we’re often prone to make mistakes when we zone out.
But the concept that we’re biologically wired to be reflective, think about the future, and think in more abstract terms is really cool.
I found this awesome post from The Stimulist titled “She’s Just Not That Into You” (the title is a play on words of the movie that came out earlier this year) that paints a harsh-reality picture for a relationship where the guy actually becomes the one that’s strung along (I’ve only really heard of situations that are the other way around, but it gives good perspective).
If you haven’t seen the movie He’s Just Not That Into You, you should. I’ve heard complaints and worries that it’s too depressing for women but I wouldn’t say that’s the case at all – there are several different stories lines in the movie, each with its own ups and downs that are all very believable.
This article is a great read – it’s written in sort of a mocking and sarcastic tone, but it sheds light on the insensitivities, miscommunications, and assumptions that happen all too often.
This post is actually info about the last two films and where the split will happen between parts I and II of the last book.
Still waiting for July 17th to come!!
My new obsession! Their whole album is download-able (for free!) here.
My second most favorite track is Everything.
“Somewhere between nothing and something is everything…”