The pain started on last Thursday and has been taking a number of twists and turns through the weekend. I went in for oral surgery on Friday, expecting that I’d experience the usual pain/relief cycle as my jaw healed. Instead, it’s been days of ups and downs—sleeping on an icepack when the weather outside is in the teens. I’d give anything to be “even” just about now.

Along the way I’ve been watching movies, and particularly enjoyed Guinevere, an interesting update on the old “life lessons” Scorsese plot arc. But it makes me wonder about the horrible cliché that artist must be emotionally stunted people who use their partners while offering some sort of fast track to creativity for the uninitiated. Part of the P.R. package, I suppose. Romantic instability is a prerequisite for producing moving art? Upon closer inspection, the traditional Hollywood/potboiler novel trope hardly seems accurate, or even all that interesting to me as I get older. Sheesh. But the increased complexity of the social circle in Guinevere puts it ahead of Scorsese’s simplistic depiction of the dynamic, at least in my opinion.

*Update, via the Chronicle:

Surely all this happiness can’t be for real. How can so many people be happy in the midst of all the problems that beset our globe — not only the collective and apocalyptic ills but also those particular irritations that bedevil our everyday existences, those money issues and marital spats, those stifling vocations and lonely dawns? Are we to believe that four out of every five Americans can be content amid the general woe? Are some people lying, or are they simply afraid to be honest in a culture in which the status quo is nothing short of manic bliss? Aren’t we suspicious of this statistic? Aren’t we further troubled by our culture’s overemphasis on happiness? Don’t we fear that this rabid focus on exuberance leads to half-lives, to bland existences, to wastelands of mechanistic behavior?

I’m more suspicious of the bland celebration of melancholy in the face of deeper, more incurable suffering and insoluble crises. Perhaps creativity and happiness/stability are simply unrelated and of no real importance to each other.

3 thoughts on “Even”

  1. That movie made me a fan of Sarah Polley when I saw it in 2000 or so. Although that scene with the teeth is just gross.

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