Haven’t written diddly since what seems like two weeks ago, who knows, but I have been reading. Mary Gatskill’s Because We Wanted To is knocking my socks off. Her writing—I am learning and learning. I am immersed. She is baptizing me.
I know now that I know almost nothing about writing fiction. What I know can be fit into the tiny tip of the tiniest thimble so silver what the fairy wears when she darns all the socks gone missing from all of us poor sockless slobs in this feckless world. What I know is next to the next door neighbor of nothing.
It is good to be humbled. And puzzled. And challenged.
I read Psalms for Monday’s EFM class. I read pretty much all of them once I realized that not all of them are boring. But I did think they were boring at first, like Jane Eyre, who got in deep trouble for saying she didn’t like the Psalms because they are not interesting. Out of all of them, Psalm 18 is the one to go check out. Not all of it is good, but God as dragon, God as fire-breather, God as burner, God as hot coals. Well, that’s everything a good God should be. And whoever wrote Psalm 18 worshipped a most worthy God.
Here’s a thing to ponder--
“A film critic for The Washington Post argued that we should simply get used to the idea that films pretending to represent history are going to contain falsities—and that we can then discuss why the director made these choices. But how are we to know? Is every kid who’s misled by Selma going to take a seminar on it? Our history belongs to all of us, and major events shouldn’t be the playthings of moviemakers to boost their box-office earnings. They are no more entitled to falsify such important history than anyone is to paint the Washington Monument orange.”
--Elizabeth Drew, “Selma vs History” New York Review of Books
The orange bit is inexplicable, but the statement as a whole is interesting. I’m not sure what I think. Because history is written by people who care about study read explore history and have the access and the skills and the opportunities to do so, we have to consider that most students, certainly the ones in my classes, know little of history and really have no interest in learning it, and the only place they are likely to learn history is in films like Selma, just as the only places they are likely to learn about current events is on social media. Yes, the fact that the makers of a film would falsify certain events, important events, is inexplicable to me. The fact that so many young people will get their history of these events from this film is very sad. It’s also sad that much of my “history” has come from films and, god forbid, historical romances. The fact that I don’t verify facts very often is very sad. But if we expect filmmakers to remain true to historical fact in a film such as Selma, does that mean that they should also remain true to the facts in a film such as The Imitation Game, a film that plays very fast and loose with the facts?
Drew’s article is really quite fine. If you can get access. You should read it.
Well, for someone who isn’t written, I have been blogging for the last three hours. Check out “My Bipolar Life” today. I wrote a long piece, a consideration of happiness, disease, and art.