locked in.

imagesthe divine bell and the butterfly.
after seeing that many of us had not seen the film in class on monday, barry just happened to have a copy with him.
yet again, i had no idea what i was getting into (kind of like in bruges).
it is a story told from a unique perspective, seeing the story from the writer’s one good eye, through his memory and in his imagination.

and as a stroke victim, jean-do bauby is left paralyzed and unable to speak…unable to communicate at all.
but he tries.
he tries to talk to the doctors when he first wakes up from being in a coma for 3 weeks.
he tries to communicate his feelings, his thoughts, his desires, his wants.
…and does to us, the audience, who is in his mind, in a sense.
and he finally learns to do so through the painful task of blinking every letter of every word to those patient enough to “translate.”
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but as i watched it, i wondered what it would be like…
what would it be like to be locked inside yourself?
what would it be like to look in the mirror, showing you what you are now and what you can no longer do?
what would it be like to be left with only your memory and imagination as your sole means of escape?
what would it be like to be locked in your body…or in your own home?
what would it be like to know certain people, people whom you deeply care about, could not come see you “in that condition”?
what would it be like to think of believing in miracles as “risky business”?
what would it be like to mistake singing for uttering your last breathe?
what would it be like to view your life “like a sailor watching the shore fade away, i watch my past recede and the memories burning”?
what would it be like to live until your story is fully told?

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a lie.

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amy, the t.a. for my class, spoke about theology of the body in class today.
interesting discussion, really.

she began by sharing her story, her history.
part of it, founding beauty from within (from which the image above comes).
think the image is a great representation of what most women struggle with, but i am not sure most reach this same conclusion.

…throughout my life, i have been given standards that are impossible to live up to. but i am learning that it’s all a lie! a lie! i have seen beautiful and she looks more like me than i ever thought possible. ~beauty from within.

dreams.

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the fact that we’re standing here tonight, the fact that we’re able to hold this, it’s just to prove no matter how far out your dreams are, it’s possible. And, you know, fair play to those who dare to dream and don’t give up. And this song was written from a perspective of hope, and hope at the end of the day connects us all, no matter how different we are.
~marketa irglova, her acceptance speech at the oscars for original song from the film once.

no more moving part could have been seen at the oscars, at least in my opinion…a humble acceptance of the power of dreams and their capacity to come true. and come true they did.

When we were kids, we used to watch the Oscars every year and talked about what people were wearing….It’s amazing to be here tonight. ~stated glen hansard after his win at the oscars for the same award.

these dreams, so it seems, paid off for the two young artists.
now occupying a space they never imagined, yet somehow dreamed of.

following the oscars, i was reading an article in an older sports illustrated on lsu winning the bcs championship. when senior jacob hester, lsu’s all-around back, was asked about his favorite song, he responded with a rather obscure elvis tune, if i can dream, which states:

as long as a man
has the strength to dream,
he can redeem his soul and fly.

seems rather apropos just days before the championship game was to be played.
seems rather apropos for this same jacob hester,p1_lsu2

a one-time noseguard who had to beg for the chance to carry the ball in high school, then rushed for 200 yards in his first start at fullback. *

t1_dorseybcstitle seems rather apropos for senior glenn dorsey, lsu’s defensive tackle, who

spent a year as a toddler with braces on his legs to correct his severely pigeon-toed feet.*

you don’t think young glenn dorsey had a dream while he was sitting on the porch watching his friends play-hide-and-seek?
you don’t think the high school jacob hester had a dream, knowing he could make the catch if just given the opportunity?
you don’t think glen hansard had a dream of one day–maybe one day–being one of those people talked about what he had on as the camera zoomed in on him at the red carpet?
you don’t think marketa irglova ever thought her dreams were so far out–even beyond imagining?

seems like dreams might just pay off…
you just never know which.

reminds me of a quote a 15-year-old girl in my youth group had over her doorway so she had to look at it numerous times everyday:

dreams come a size too big so that we can grow into them.
~i credit it to ashely williams whose life has encouraged me to dream XL dreams.

*quotes taken from austin murphy’s article “two timing tigers” in sports illustrated, 7 january 2008, page38.

obsession.

confession.
i have this obsession…or maybe it is an addiction.

here is it…my blog.
take last night for instance. i haven’t had much time just to sit down and be forced to do nothing–well nothing except watch the oscars while hanging out with my friends, then the barbara walters special afterwards by myself–so i caught up on blogging. i have all of these ideas swirling around in my head that i am processing or are beckoning me to reflect on further. so blog i did, 6 in fact (5 new and 1 where i simply posted a paper previously written).

obsession?
addiction?
problem?
no, not necessarily because it doesn’t dictate my schedule or my life,
nor must i write a post daily,
nor does it cause me to isolate myself from others, only spending time blogging.

for me, though, it is totally therapeutic.
it is a way for me to get outside my own mind.
it is a way for me to process what i am thinking, what i am feeling, what i am experiencing.
it is a way for me to make connections in life–connections in my theology, in my relationship with god, in my relationships with others, in my work, in my leisure, in my….
in my world.

and a way for me to invite others to join in.
to read…and to read me,
to process, whether alone or together,
to comment,
and to reply.

obsession, hardly?
personal sanity, definitely.

week two reflection.

this week’s reflection (from class) actually has a tie-in with the oscars, namely the film michael clayton which we viewed in class last week.

week two reflection
The final scene of Michael Clayton shows Clayton flagging a taxi saying, “Give me $50 worth. Just drive.” As I watched him and his reactions to the previous scenes being played out in his mind (or I assume that is what was reeling in his mind), I thought about how therapeutic driving is. I pondered over what makes it so—why it was so beneficial for Clayton and how it often is the same for us. It involves a change of scenery, gaining a new perspective, being alone, relishing in the solitude. I am not sure I have seen this quest for solitude, for quietness, for peace depicted in similar fashion in a film. It seems that most popular films are wracked with intense action, where the characters never take a break…or never allude to doing so. This scene reminded me of time I spend in solitude to regain perspective, change my outlook, commune with God, and escape the noise that invades my life. A time that we all need, whether we are on the verge of our own breaking point, whether the intense action of our lives has come to a climax, or whether the silence of our lives is driving us to an unhealthy state.

The discussion after the film posed reflective insights—many of which I did not notice on my own—including connections that I failed to make on my own. It reminds me of why community is so vital. For me, this experience enabled me to see the bigger picture and life outside of my perceptions, my observations, and myself. The systematic evil of corporate greed that Arthur, and then Clayton, war against is manifest throughout the world surrounding us and has plagued corporations from Enron and its stockholders to local churches and their leaders. And just as we, as humanitarians in this world of which we are a part, must address these issues, so we, as Christians of the church who espouses to follow Christ, must address these issues, corporately in business, in economics, and in church. I appreciate that films such as Michael Clayton address such moral issues, challenging my response to corporate greed and my previous view (up until a few years ago) that film, as well as other elements of pop culture, stands in opposition to the morality of Christ. Increasingly, my eyes are being opened to the morality that exists within popular culture and how it actually illuminates the ways of Christ, rather than silencing it.

I have varied reactions to the talk and images of Alison Jackson. I actually found some of her images offensive, although I am not sure why. It seems it was the sexual and nude images that I had a hard time with…and I have been asking myself why. Although I know that it is natural to find some things offensive, I wonder the reason behind my reaction. Is it because I do not agree with these or what the images communicate? It is the result of being raised in a culture where the topic of sex and sexual images (and even those involving nudity) are taboo? I think being challenged by these photos and the questions they illicit come at an apropos time as I have begun to re-think my concept of sexuality—reading the Bible to see what God says about sex and how I should view it and even that of nudity.

I did, however, find Jackson’s work enlightening in the issues it raises to the viewer. Often as viewers, we readily accept images as truth, not often thinking they are more than what they seem. Just like Jackson said, her images remind you that “you cannot rely on your own perception…what you think is real is not necessarily real.” This experience bade me to be more skeptical of what I see, not drawing conclusions or perceptions from what I deem to be truth. Somewhere in my reading of late, I came across the question, “does the media create the story or does the story create the media?” which poses much opposition to the way in which I commonly view media. After thinking about this, especially in light of Jackson’s work, I would have to say that often the media does create the story. Any why? It is all just a moneymaking venture…or is some of it similar to Jackson’s plight to “make the viewer aware of their own voyeurism?”

the oscars.

i had a new experience tonight…or maybe several.
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1. i actually watched the oscars.
ok, so i wanted to watch the oscars and i invited people over to watch the awards.

2. i actually had seen several of the movies nominated for various awards.
michael clayton
atonement
once
across the universe (in a pre-release)
transformers
lars and the real girl (love this movie)

3. i actually have wanted to see several others nominated.
juno
american gangster
into the wild
gone baby gone
the kite runner

4. i actually knew several actors/actresses giving awards, receiving awards, or caught on camera as it panned the audience.

new experiences.
ones i am sure are the result of having friends who have invited me into their affinity and appreciation for film,
ones i am sure are the result of living in LA and being surrounded by “the industry”,
ones i am sure are the result of me embracing the surrounding culture.

in bruges.

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i saw the film, in bruges, after barry said it was a depiction of hell.
interesting, i thought as the movie opened up, how can this depict hell when it is about real life?
i would soon find out.

the movie was intense…never knowing what lies around the corner, literally.
it was one in which i am not sure i would see again but one riddled with meaning…
and the meaning of hell.

is hell a sequence of events from which you cannot escape?
is hell a present situation of escape from the unfortunate sequence of events?
is hell living with the memory of the events?
is hell living with the consequences of the events?
or

maybe that’s what hell is, an entire eternity spent in Bruges.
~ray, at the close of in bruges.