There’s a Patton Oswalt tweet making the rounds: This whole country is about to be Tom Hanks in the last scene of Captain Phillips.
For those who didn’t see it, Hanks plays a ship captain who ably protects his crew and passengers from Somalian pirates only to fall apart when they are finally safe. The movie is meh–even problematic in part–but Hanks’ breakdown is so thoroughly affecting that it validates the film’s overall existence. More than that, it haunts you. It isn’t just Hank’s extraordinary acting. It is the emotional accuracy. Continue Reading →
I turn 50 next Tuesday and though normally I’m proud of my age, I’m dreading this birthday. I keep having humiliating dreams that I’m a backup dancer for Beyoncé until she finds out my age. Or that I am an assistant for Tracee Ellis Ross until she learns we’re contemporaries. Or that–I shit you not–my adult sons Eric and Donald Jr Trump give me a back-breaking purse of chain mail and human skin to celebrate the occasion. Bone-chilling stuff.
As we move through this first week of a new year and await the results of the pivotal senate races in Georgia and Trump’s last-ditch coup attempt, I’m reminded that even when change feels too slow—or nonexistent!—it’s unfolding as it should.
In fact, change is the only true constant, and what we’re doing is impactful even when we feel isolated, ill, ineffective—thoroughly thoroughly irritated. All we ever have to do is our best, and sometimes all our best entails is breathing in, breathing out. As my teacher, the wonderful beat writer Hettie Jones, used to say: “Are you breathing, are you lucky enough?”
Sometimes breathing is miracle enough.
I don’t think I’d be feeling so sanguine if I hadn’t stumbled upon this exchange after I posted yesterday. Sanguine is actually a terrible pun, for it’s from Only Lovers Left Alive, Jim Jarmusch’s wondrous 2014 meditation on science, art, and time masquerading as a vampire film, of all things. In it, Tilda Swinton counsels depressive spouse Tom Hiddleston, who’s considering offing himself after centuries of ennui:
How can you have lived for so long and still not get it? This self-obsession is a waste of living. It could be spent surviving things, appreciating nature, nurturing kindness and friendship, and dancing.