Tuesday, January 20, 2009

As I was saying

yesterday, I have had the privilege of seeing three possible masterpieces on the silver screen in the last week or so. Yesterday it was The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, with Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, and Tilda Swinton, and Taraji Henson--and other actors as well, all of whom amazing.

What I was trying to say is that the movie really hit home for me, and it was a little painful, actually. At the most obvious level, I recall two different references in the movie to characters who were nearing the age of fifty and didn't have anything to show for it. And of course, I could fall into that category myself. On the other hand, I think it's pretty clear I did the best I could with what I had. Sometimes I made bad choices, sometimes I made good choices--no more of either than the average person, really. But I think where I fell short in the decades that have gone by is in always living other people's lives (the life other people wanted me to live, or the life I envied in other people) rather than following the call I heard, very low but still audible, deep down inside.

And of course, there's the message about time slipping away. That's a message that's hard to avoid in a movie about time. I don't know if I'm especially susceptible to the message because I'm pushing fifty, or because I'm trying to write this novel on a (self-imposed) deadline, or because of the deaths that have happened in the last year, or because it's Inauguration Day, or what...

But the fact is, our time is short, and growing shorter with every second. And so we have to live the lives that we're supposed to live, that we are destined to live, starting right now. And if we're supposed to be writing, then write, damn it, write. Right now.

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