There is a reason I named this blog “Book Ends and Odds.” Sometimes I will just post random odds and ends: about movies, books, blog posts, life, things that make me think. Here we go….
The Tree of Life
It rained all day yesterday so I made popcorn and watched “The Tree of Life.” This is a movie that critics either rhapsodized about or hated.
The subject matter is compelling: the day-to-day life of a family in the 1950s, the death of a son, another son’s attempt – as an adult – to reconcile with his father and make sense of it all. Themes include loss, grief, regret, and shame.
But the movie is experimental. There are amazing scenes, gorgeous filmography, suggesting how the world began and a scene at the end that seems to depict an after-life where we reunite with our loved ones on a beach. There is not that much dialogue. Instead, there is a lot of whispering and interior monologue and a sound track grounded in religious music.
But this is what inspired me the most: I have never seen such realistic scenes, such patient scenes that show the roller-coaster of emotions that children experience. They are depicted in this film by the brilliant Terrence Malick not with dialogue, for the most part, but through the smallest, the tenderest of gestures and nuanced facial expressions.
As I watched, I thought how miraculous it would be to write scenes like those contained in the film and create the same kind of emotional impact but with words. A central character in my novel in progress is an 8-year-old boy who has lost people he loves. As I continue to revise, I plan to envision those scenes with the young brothers in The Tree of Life and see if I can capture some of that screen magic.
My favorite blog post of the week:
I love Justine Musk’s blog not only because it is always incredibly informative and well-written, but because she is so passionate about art and life. Her latest post was just what I needed. In it, she relates what Joyce Carol Oates said when asked at a conference what she would do today if she had to launch her writing career all over again.
She said, “I would blog.” She went on to say, “I would blog before I wrote a book.”
Justine then discusses how important blogging is to developing a voice, a voice that an audience can connect to, and how each blog post is another chance for the writer to practice, another opportunity for feedback.
Love a post that makes me feel inspired.
What post inspired you this week? Did a movie give you an idea for developing your story?