Wednesday, June 24, 2009

No Sex-but a really good tomato

Oh, my.


Yesterday, I bought some summer sausage for the first time in years.

I brought it home and sliced a piece. I had on the counter a single Porter (cherry) tomato picked ripe off my DIL's plant a week ago. It was red then. It had been, I guess, ripening further the last week. I put the slice of summer sausage on a Wheatsworth cracker (no substitute: it is my absolute favorite), popped the perfecly ripe tomato in my mouth, and bit down on the summer sausage and cracker.
And my taste buds screamed, "Alleluia!!!"

Nothing I can remember ever tasted that good.

So I chewed slowly and savored.

I know there have been other really good things to eat. I can remember a number of them. Just not right now, with this intensity.

Sometimes, really good music does it for me. Or ballet. Music: I love classical, but the last music I felt real exhileration for was the original recording of "Classical Gas" and Manheim Steamrollers'"Joy to the World" (both, play at extreme volume.) Or almost always, voices of those I love.

Smell? A whole store full of star lillies. or a New Mexico desert after the rain. or any mountain full of balsam, pine and fir. Today, I smelled wet earth and green after a surprise shower on a really hot day. The earth smelled so good.

Best sight? too many to say. I remember daffodils, and understand Wordsworth, though daffodils last only a couple of weeks. I remember fervently a patch of clover with drops of dew on it in the sun. I remember the spring when wildflowers bloomed and bloomed and bloomed for weeks, and I said, "So this is what it is like to be rich."

Other intense joys: Seeing a family member or close friend get a fiercely happy outcome.

I remember the touch and my response to a lover I really cared for.

And then there's contentment. Which could fill a book.

I'm having a good interlude in life. Maybe as much because of my attitude about what is going on around me.

I am fated to have some really gnarly future stuff, simply because life is not static. No life is problem free. Neither is life free of joy unless I am a complete ass. Life is good. Yeah.

I stand in the sunlight and beam it back. Belly laugh. Huge, ear-splittng grin. Because oh, that tomato and the sausage and the cracker....

Life is good.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Good writing WILL survive

I blush to read that I said a cartoon had emotional depth, as I did in my last post. On the other hand, I can't remember a movie I've seen in the last couple of years that made me care that much about the characters.

I mentioned the tears to a friend who is a long-retired cartoon animator. His eyebrows went up. "You cried?" he asked, "At a cartoon?"
He thought, then said, "It must be a well-written story."

That sentence has reasonated with me since. He's right. It is well-written, and that is really different. Since everyone can write, the current fashion is to bypass paying for really good writing.

When I worked in public affairs at the University of North Texas, I had to manage and produce brochures. Now, we had some very good professional designers and writers. We didn't have Ph.D.s, true, but we were experts in our own field. And we were tough. We had to be, to wrestle a major department chairman to the ground and make him or her acquiesce to giving us at least SOME quality control over the product. Sometimes, actually often, we won 100 percent of the way. After all, the brochure was just one more thing that had to get done. We won often because of their desperation to get it done with the least possible effort on their parts.

We took the prose they submitted and rewrote the substance. And we rewrote it considerably better, and undeniably more briefly. It was kind of funny how amazed they often were when they saw the draft after we had done our jobs. It actually was better, more attractive, a better product to promote their program or department, than what they had wanted to insist we do. I didn't particularly like writing brochures. I liked writing about science, etc., for our university publications, because that was really fun. With the right attitude, however, writing brochures could be, and was, creative.

My granddaughter writes very well. Apparently that's a pity. Because unless she is very, very determined, writing well and a dollar will buy her a soft drink. Well, probably more than a dollar in the future. Fortunately, she has many other strengths and skills.

Journalism graduates this year have very few places they can go for work.And yes, I am genuinely sad about that. I think retirees have pretty much sewed up the vacancies as Walmart greeters.

I do love good writing.

Somehow, some way, I realize it will survive. As institutions disappear and laws become more illogical and the life I live changes in so many bewildering ways week by week--it is good to focus on constants. Landmarks to move toward, so to speak.

That's why I write a great deal about the mundane. The pinto bean, the satisfying cartoon, the ripening tomatoes--the people we love. These survive.

And, I am happy to hope, so will good writing.

Monday, June 8, 2009

3D AND emotional depth in one movie

Took the granddaughters to see UP last Friday. I had missed the reviews, only knew it was age appropriate and something we would enjoy.

The night before, my son said his best friend, also late 30s, had seen it and reported he cried three times. Huh? I thought. A cartoon? Well, I decided, I wouldn't cry in a cartoon movie.

And then we went. I have some extenuating circumstances I could mention, but that also would give away part of the movie. And sure enough, I fought sobs about 10 minutes in. Didn't sob. But I couldn't describe the scene afterwards without tearing up. It is a good movie. Multigenerational. Not many of those around. The kids really enjoyed it. The adults laughed in different places than the kids, and sometimes in the same places. Wow.

We got the 3D glasses, which did me no good since I have mono, not binnocular, vision. We turned the glasses back in. The kids enjoyed the 3D, but weren't that impressed, and since I couldn't see it, I wonder if our next movie --and a bunch more are coming--may be just regular 2D.

The parts that were really sad weren't so much for kids. It was a good story, and a fine afternoon.

Have to repeat one part. The old man is walking along with the Cub Scout, who is, naturally, talking,talking,talking. Ever spent time with a 6 or 7-year-old? Finally, the old man says, "Let's play a game." The kid says, "Oh, yes, I love games."
The old man says, "Let's see how long we can go until one of us talks."

The kid says, "Oh, the Silence game! I know that game! My mother loves it!"

That's an approximation of the dialogue, but it seemed like every adult in the audience laughed. Definitely including me.

Afterwards, my newly 7 grandaughter asked me, "Grandma, why did you laugh when he said that?"

And I laughed again.

I hope I gave her a good answer, but I don't remember.

We had a good day. Less memorable for them than for me, probably. The movie was part of it, but it was only a part. The rest of it was laughing, and loving, and being together.

For those of you with grandkids, I give a thumbs up. And I am glad I have them, so I had an immediate excuse to go.

Now need to go see "Star Trek" alone. Sigh. I don't mind eating alone, but I like movies with someone else, which probably explains somewhat my low TV usage. But I will go. Just not this week.