Last night I watched the last episode of a TV series that ended with the guy not getting the girl. I’ve been feeling a vague dissatisfaction, a kind of disquiet since. Happy endings don’t happen in our lives. When the guy gets the girl (or she gets him) their lives don’t finalize with that onscreen kiss. It goes on to whatever lies ahead for them. In real life it happens that serial killers reenact their crimes many time over before they are apprehended, if ever. And, sorry to say, good guys go to prison for crimes they haven’t committed.
So in fiction, at least, I want justice for all, bad guys and gals to get their just deserts and for Clint Eastwood to disappear over the horizon in a glowing sunset to continue to pursue horse thieves until he dies a geezer.
Now especially, after the natural and unnatural disasters that seem abundant lately, I want a place of refuge to rest my psyche and my heart. Give me stories that are real enough for me to sink into as I watch or read, and fictional enough to provide me with diversion. I want music that captures me and visual art that brightens my days.
And what about sadness? I appreciate music and movies and stories that awaken feelings of sorrow. Women (and many of the men I have known) will voluntarily choose to experience gloom in a book, movie or whatever. What is that about? My guess is that we all carry some of that within us and keep it at bay. Letting it surface sometimes in certain situations provides the comfort that weeping can bring. In the ancient plays I read at school there were choruses of mourners to accompany the tragedies on stage. They cried for us or with us.
So sad or glad, I want the unreal. I have a hard time dealing with every day’s news. There was a time that I gave up newspapers and newscasts but after a while that seemed irresponsible. One does need to be part of the big picture, to take it all in and deal with it because otherwise you get too disconnected from what everyone else is thinking and talking about. But we need time out; art, be it the written word, color on canvas, or the lovely form of a bowl can provide the respite, if only for a moment.
Art is the only way to run away without leaving home. ~Twyla Tharp, American dancer
The is image above is Fare Thee Well, ©1996, Acrylic paint on paper mounted on canvas, 44” x 17”.