Dear Zemanta, Know that problem you said you fixed? You didn’t. No image. Again. Believe me, I am sorrier than you. HELP. Thank you.
I thought I knew her
like the softness of my glove.
This bitter cactus.
Eighteen pounds just lost
Still image of a fat girl
Bloated, in the glass
Daughter flies out fast
not looking back, just forward
She was once my girl.
Baby being born
A first look, like a painting
Time can not erase
A kitten’s first blink
Flying paws swatting the air
She scampers and sleeps
Puppy rules the house
Licks my cheeks with sloppy sauce
Snuggles in my hand
Fresh bright red poppies
Sprung from a lawn of lush green
Embracing the sun
What does Jurassic Park, LSD and The Discovery Channel have in common? They’re pretty much all in the movie called The Tree Of Life. I know, some people are oohing and ahhing over this film like it’s the second coming of The Sound of Music but frankly, it is not. It’s one weird ass long film and even though the effete intellectual snobs are calling it magnificent, I must disagree. A little. I have to say that part of it is magnificent in a visceral way.
Yes, the images and photography are fabulous but there are so many of them one after another, you get lost. And after about an hour I was looking at my watch which is NEVER a good sign. The movie opens with chanting in the background or angels singing or music you might hear in church. Don’t get me wrong, it’s melodic and beautiful and with it come quick images of molecules and lava, sperm and egg, church windows and creation of life images. They are amazing to look at and even though the movie is really long, part of me wanted to watch it in slow motion to savor each image but that would have taken the entire day and night.
Images of brothers, butterflies, baseball and bubble baths abound. The story takes place in the 1950’s in the Midwest where Brad Pitt stars as the stern, mean father. Jessica Chastain is the nurturing mother and of all characters, I would have liked to see her character developed. I never did see Jessica Chastain before this movie but I’m impressed. Where has she been all our lives? With her beautiful red hair and her ivory skin she is amazing. I think now that this movie is out she has catapulted into stardom. One might say that there is no more character development for a mom in the 50’s but you want to know more about her other than that she is the fun parent, dancing, whirling and nurturing her children. She will go far, if she hasn’t gone far already.
Was I supposed to know that the big dinosaur beating down on the little dinosaur was supposed to portray the father beating down emotionally (physically too?) on his son(s). Was I to infer that the people on the beach (or wherever they were) in the end was meaningful and significant in a clear-cut kind of way? Heck no.Where exactly were they? The beach, heaven, Honolulu? It’s one (pretty) question mark after the other with very little dialogue and not much character development.
Yes, it’s pretty. It’s beautiful to watch ( for the most part.) Not always easy to understand. Pretty does not a magnificent film make. I’ve heard stories of people leaving the movie theaters during the movie and demanding their money back and I’ve heard of people who think this is the best movie ever made, that it was brilliant in every way. I would put it right in the middle.
In my audience, an artsy theater with plush red seats, no one said anything. When the lights were back on people looked at each other with question marks on their faces. The last person out of the theater was a middle-aged couple; the woman turned to her husband and asked “what did you think?” He said “good!” She turned back to him, laughed, and said “You really didn’t understand a thing, did you?” He guffawed and admitted he did not; luckily she did not either.
That sums up the film in so many ways. It’s beautiful, confusing, long, magnificent, boring and asks but does not answer questions about the creation of life or death. It creates questions that are never answered. Too many things about the family are left out. A line from the movie was: “the way of nature, the way of grace, you have to choose.”If you understand that, great. If you don’t, join the club.
I wake up each night every two hours. I fall asleep quickly but two hours later these horrible mind games occur. I wake up, not groggy, but alert as if an alarm inside me has gone off like a very loud siren. Last night the ghost of anxiety past, present and future filled my brain so much that I felt confused and uncertain. My mind was a mixture of headlines and dark thoughts twisted together like a tree with very weak limbs. If there was a blast of wind I know the tree would ultimately go down, lying decrepit and lost by the side of the snow-covered road.
Why were there two teenagers admitted to the ICU with blood clots in an arm and in the brain. They are from the same town and know each other. What are the chances of that happening, and why? The messages that terrorists are likely to attack again, soon frighten me. I see the images of their faces in the newspapers and on television, over and over again. I felt uneasy rereading the thirty-seven pages I read of The Bell Jar for my son. The Methotrexate drug I take haunts me and hates me, as I do it. The intense images of my daughter’s presentation on Haiti sticks in my mind, mud and blood, and half-dead children, with red gauze across their eyes, mothers reaching out for their dead children, crying. Grandmothers and fathers stretching their arms out to pray while tears are flowing down their cheeks. I also dream about evil rats, dorm rooms and multiplying green and black snakes. Nothing is too silly to taunt me.
Every two hours I rise from my bed to try to shake the demons away but they will not go, they stick to me like honey and burrs and laugh when I try to shake them off. I am so tired that I try to stay awake during the day but sometimes I cannot. I don’t feel well physically, my stomach hurts, my body aches, my energy is at an all time low. I think about going back to the guru Dr. in the city and I feel like I am a failure. My body is slow but my mind is racing, on over- drive. I cannot adjust the two to be synchronized. I wish I could. My legs are jumpy and my body cold, I trek to the bathroom back and forth as if I was pacing for a baby to be born, except there is no joy.
I have tried everything from deep breathing, telling myself an imaginary story, drugs, walking around, having a cookie, but nothing seems to work. I lie in bed awake and tense, I try to pull my fluffy pink blanket close by just to finger its texture but that doesn’t work either. I find myself turning over and over, asking myself questions that I don’t know the answer to. I am too tired to go downstairs and watch TV and our house is too small for me to wander around without waking someone up. For the first time in a long time, along with these physical maladies is fear; and I don’t know where that is coming from.
I am not even sure of what I am afraid of. If I knew, I could sort it out and try to solve it. Except I am afraid that this pattern will continue and my lack of sleep will only ravage me further. I tried to sleep with the moon on my face last night but that gave me no sense of comfort either. I think I am going backwards in my physical health and that in itself is a nightmare.
I write now with a cup of coffee that I gulped down, fast enough that I don’t remember the flavor or the taste. I need to write but nothing comes to mind. Nothing but the puzzle pieces of my brain that are not fitting together. I ask for help in my silent plea to my deceased father but nothing comes and then I am left with pure longing. I cringe because I am forgetting what my father’s voice used to sound like and that makes me terribly unhappy and lost.
I am feeling a bit disoriented. Where is my peace? Why can’t I find my gratitude guide? Why is everything scary and troubling and unlike the nightmares, I am wide awake enough to continue to feel these emotions. I am scared of nothing and everything, I feel sad and anxious and confused. I want to destroy these night-time monsters but they are indestructible. I am not Max of the Wild Things, I cannot make these evenings an adventure. they are in control of me and I surrender because I have no strength left to fight. I try to talk to myself but I cannot listen.