I’ve been reading F. Scott Fitzgerald’s first novel, This Side of Paradise, and feeling ferociously nostalgic.
Lately I feel as though I’m perpetually in motion, not bound to any one destination. Currently, I’m at my parents’ home in Saskatchewan. And I’m constantly taken by the solitary beauty of this place as I peer out into the endless fields and flat terrain. The skies are infinite, often cloudless and you can see for miles. If I had my way, I’d abolish all the gas-guzzling cars, enormous houses, and gigantic supermarkets and live like the nomad I am.
This type of beauty still exists, in its own, revised way. My mother’s vegetable garden and beautiful flowers ignite the senses and feed the soul. The children I spotted today on my way to work with their homemade lemonade stand further established the exquisiteness in the everyday. Such things remind me of the preciousness of my youth. I had a beautiful, innocent childhood, or at least that’s how I choose to remember it. I vividly recall playing in our garden, running off whenever I was called to help. And sitting for hours at my red table in the kitchen, filling up notebook after notebook with illustrations and obtuse sentences. In reality, I was troubled by many things. My sister, Stephanie later told me how I’d scream in my sleep, ridden with night terrors, haunted by the unexplained. She was convinced I was possessed by demons. This is only one of the things I had long since wiped from my memory. Often we choose comfort over neurosis, even though there tends to be an inkling of absurdity in all of us. Our society seems to be discontent with being discontent and therefore, we do everything in our power to constantly feel at ease.
The world can be an ugly place. We’ve witnessed that with the recent Batman shooting, which killed twelve people in Aurora, Colorado. I read today that the youngest victim was a 13 month old. What compels someone to viciously shoot a theatre full of people? Such brutality is often dismissed as insanity. Every syndrome and disorder under the sun is neatly categorized and defined by psychologists. Not only must we explain each disorder, we do so eagerly. We’re intrigued by disaster, disorder and chaos. The grotesque, in both theatre and in real life, perplexes and moves us. My twitter feed was flooded with #theatershooting #colorado #darkknight #killing this morning as the news broke out worldwide. Journalists from BBC, CNN, CTV and The Globe and Mail each made particular contributions which added to the story. I know I’m constantly interested in the unconventional and the unusual. I prefer films without happy endings, or with endings so unclear, so undefined, they might as well be despondent. RomComs certainly have their place, but psychological thrillers, tragic film festival winners, and terribly bleak films starring Ryan Gosling appeal to me on a whole different level. Perhaps they remind us that it’s okay to fail, it’s okay to be flawed, for even the beautiful are damned.