25 November 2008

I'm Open!

So many meanings, that little exclamation. In the game, ready for any move needed, receptive, allowing for alternatives, even vulnerable. Living online the way I have been coming to do has thrown open some kind of floodgate in my concepts of identity and how good other people out there are but there are exceptions, there are other elements to be aware of, too. I know full well I am also making myself more Googlable, for better or for worse. And I can't help it: it makes me nervous.

What doesn't make me nervous is going to my writing group. I have gotten a good sense of where people are, and where I am. I try to bring in work I'm happy with, but I always get pulled up just right. I'm always surprised and impressed by their insights about my work. This week I brought in a piece that is still mostly a rant, but I got just the criticism I needed to revise it into something that has meaning and value, instead of just leaving it to stew in its own juices.

I keep wondering why it is that I think back on the film Slumdog Millionaire with such affection and it's in part the children, as I said in my Movie Habit review. Although they are forced by their circumstances to try to survive, having been orphaned by a Muslim-hating mob, all their naïve, energetic striving proves inspiring. I also admire the energy and verve of the lead character, Jamal (Dev Patel). It does take a lot for a boy in the slums to become a chai-walla at a call center, and Jamal's face and his entire stance reveal the chasm between these worlds. He persists, despite the hopelessness entailed in coming from the slums of one of the world's megacities, a much more damning fate in India than it is here, incidentally. There's something eternally optimistic about the colors themselves: the blue of plastic tarps setting off a rich palette of yellows, browns, and reds throughout, the film organizing a kaleidoscope of color out of the chaos. I returned to this because of Opal Dream, the film we're screening for our block kids' movie night, which is dark but not too dark. It's definitely not as fluffy and effervescent as Ella Enchanted, or Enchanted or any of the Disney films (although Bambi's pretty darned tragic), but it's a good and provocative story. It's not about people who are being good all the time, probably the downfall of a lot of potentially interesting tales that come out of Hollywood these days. It's about people who are forced to deal with circumstances outside their ken. It's like I said to my friend the other day: even if you don't agree with it, it puts a draft out there to edit, gives you a place to start thinking about some issues.

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