That naughty word

I’m not even sure how to begin this post. In fact, I don’t want to write it. But I’ve had to face this issue the past few weeks months. And my guess is that quite a few people have been hearing it all their lives, and perhaps they feel like me when they hear a certain word.

It’s a word I don’t like.

“Deserve.”

As a single woman, I often hear that I deserve a better man than the one I’m currently interested in. Just an example!

Why do I deserve better? I honestly can’t think of a reason. Now I might want or need better, but deserve him? No….

And that is the advertising play built to attract our egos. You deserve a better school, life, more money, better job, something, anything.

But according to the definition of that naughty little word that has caused so much trouble, we must have done something worthy of meriting what we deserve.

That’s why it’s so tricky in relationships. If we had to do a certain amount of work to get a certain type of person, we’d hardly be affectionate toward him or her. We’d be reminding them of our earnings!

The other material things, I’ve seen them come and go. Often they went to people who I thought didn’t work to secure money or position. But if we got what we actually deserve, well, who’s setting the boundary for how hard we have to work to earn everything?

I just don’t want to use that kind of language, given the implications.
Let me choose, make good choices, and out of those choices may come rewards—or not.

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Lucy (2014 film), Snowpiercer, and life

I have a friend who thought I’d enjoy the film Snowpiercer, partly because she knows I love dystopian dramas. Basically, I’m a closet pessimist. I suspect this is because I was raised on 60’s and 70’s science fiction….the doom generation writings. I grew up in the 70’s- 80’s, and life was colored by the ideas of the two previous decades. The bomb. Apocalyptic wastelands. What ifs that seem not as crazy as they used to after wars and rapid technological advances.

Back to the movie: I did enjoy it. It was far more violent than most movies I’ve watched. Fortunately, there seemed to be enough warning for when something nasty was about to happen. (Picture two grown women covering their faces and saying “this is gonna be BAD.”)

Snowpiercer is oddly fascinating. In part it’s the brilliant performance of Tilda Swinton as the minister of Wilfred the Benevolent, who saved the remnants of mankind in his weirdly religious train. Even while doling out terrible punishments, she is so laughable! Someone who isn’t merely evil, but so mad they can’t see any humor in their pomposity. She was great.

spoiler alert—skip the next paragraph if you don’t want to know!

Wilfred (Ed Harris) wanted Curtis (Chris Evans) to become the new engineer when Wilfred passed on. Actually, I had wondered about that all through the movie…who’s next? Skipping the boring part of the movie (train represents classes and society), this part got my attention. Especially when the audience had been with Curtis as a revolutionary leader and then it’s revealed that he was willing to do whatever it took to survive…up to cannibalism, but he couldn’t sacrifice himself for the people. Though he redeemed himself by causing a train wreck, he could have stepped into the Engineer role. In my opinion, Curtis was the perfect hero/antihero character.

Interesting that he caused a lot more losses than the train “system” in the end! Hmmm. I really don’t read too much into the political statement, just enjoyed the characters and cinematography.

Fueled by a new sci-fi movie addiction, I went to “Lucy” the next week. Scarlett Johansson isn’t my favorite actress, and though there were a few times I sympathized with the character, I’d like to see this same story told in a different way–where the actress is not a lovely within the realm of male fantasy.

Of course, seeing the cast, I didn’t expect a “person off the street” film. I expected to see some hot Asian men. No disappointments there! And I expected to see Scarlett keep a perfect hairdo and Morgan Freeman be a very professorial professor. Not a gritty film by any means, even with the limited gore.

Whether or not we use only 10 percent of our brains is up for debate. The movie assumes that we do, and that a drug could make us reach computer-godlike potential. I thought this movie had it backwards…

SPOILER

If our brain is the organic version of a computer, would knowledge annihilate the body? Would we become something omnipresent if we reached a particular level? “You shall be as gods.”–Genesis. Isn’t it working backwards to say that something organic would become a machine if rightly programmed? If anything, the organic material would still be there, just transmuted, IMO.

End spoiler—

There were a few times the character of Lucy resonated with me. Under the influence of the drug, she says, “I can feel everything.” I’ve always had times when I felt similarly (with no outside stimulants). Sometimes your brain seems to get into a mode where you can feel old memories in a tactile way.

Also, she asserts that “learning is a painful process.” Indeed. “There is much sorrow in much knowledge” Solomon said.

Do we know all the secrets of the brain? Will we ever know?

My favorite part of the movie was the scene where Lucy pushes aside the communication strings rising from the planet in order to track conversations. It made me think of string theory and quantum mechanics.

Two sci-fi flicks that could have been more amazing…but each ignored some interesting questions. (Why didn’t Lucy go crazy like the first guy they tested did, for example. What if Curtis had accepted the position?) Maybe spin off films could answer….


Crystal Bridges Photos

Just a few photos from Crystal Bridges. I was excited that they allowed cameras (no flash photography, of course). The butterfly clinging to the glass seemed a work of art in itself!

photo 1 (1) photo 2 (1) photo 3 photo 4 (2)

I took several more photos, but these were some of my favorites. From the realism of the Indian and Lily painting to the abstraction of Diego Rivera’s work, to the amazing and unusual architecture—this place has it all. I’m definitely visiting again as soon as I can.


Who would have thought it?

 

Quite recently, I took a trip to the Crystal Bridges Museum at Bentonville, AR, where I stumbled across a conversation and a painting that sparked some interesting ideas.

My friends and I were in a hallway next to a gallery that was being updated. As we walked along, looking at the pictures in the hall, a museum employee pointed out a painting by Jamie Wyeth titled “Seven Deadly Sins.” Later I found that this is one of a series painted by Wyeth.

This isn’t a pleasant painting, nor was it one that made me feel comfortable. The canvas showed a distressed seagull streaking across the sky, and the bird was on fire.

The guide asked us: “The bird is screaming from hell. Will you save it?”

The strangeness of the moment wasn’t lost on me. But my friends and I observed it differently. One thought that he was taking a moment to witness to God and grace–“Will you save the bird?”

My view was that it was a little like an omen, “Don’t end up like this bird.”

But really, great art often has the power to shock, disturb, and be–as in this case–highly interpretable. (I made a new word, I think!)

But perhaps–who would have thought it–I’ve gained inspiration for a few stories.

Writers can find material at any time, any place. And sometimes in the strangest pictures and conversations!

 

 

 


Two new paintings: dragon and horse

So, I’ve been in a highly creative mood lately. Which is great because I’ve also been on vacation for nine whole days! Due to economy issues after my move to a different town, I decided to take a mini road trip to Crystal Bridges museum in Bentonville, AR.

Although I’m nowhere near getting my work curated and displayed, the museum inspired me. I’ll post pictures from the trip this week.

So here’s what I’ve been working on lately: creating a new version of the Dragon’s Rook cover, and adding a sketch of my “Horse of a Different Colour” idea that I’m just having fun with!

dragon_eye_greengold.sumo9                                                                      horse


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