I'm most recently a writer. In the six plus decades of my life, I've been a wife, mother, grandmother, Jill of all trades though mistress of but a few, and most of the time pretty content with my lot. As a much younger person, I believed I was called to write, but life and living distracted me for most of those decades. An unwilling transplant from the South, twenty years ago I unintentionally landed in the geographical center of the US. Writing came about in part due to the unwillingness, I expect. When caring for family, gardening, and renovating a century-old house failed to provide sufficient creative outlets, I turned to the one thing I always intended to do. Eight titles later, I'm grateful I found myself while Lost in the Plains!
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Guilty Pleasures--Who'll Go First?
We all have them. Foods, shopping binges, naughty novels, bad '80's bands. I confess mine stem from a need, as basic as breathing, to get outside myself, to laugh or cry or sometimes both. They take the form of music, books, movies and British sitcoms. I gravitate towards the time-tested guaranteed-to-work variety, returning to those which have worked well for me in the past. I'm always happy to discover a new guilty pleasure, but there's something comforting about the melody you've committed to memory or the scene where you can't resist saying to no one in particular "Here it comes, watch this. . .!"
Recently I indulged in yet another viewing of "The Way We Were." After I'd staunched my tears and shaken off my disillusionment, I remarked to my husband that Arthur Laurentz had made me cry again. We had the honor of sort of meeting Arthur when he was honored at the William Inge Theater Festival here in Independence several years ago, and now whenever I watch that movie, I picture him writing what he confessed to be the personally inspired screenplay, and I wish he knew how devastating that thing has been to me, over and over and over again. The thing that I can't understand is why. I'm not Jewish or a political activist, I've never been in love with or lost a man who looked anything like Robert Redford, and yet when Hubbell backs away from that final embrace, from me, my heart breaks right there on the streets of Manhattan every time. It's qualifies as a guilty pleasure, I guess, letting myself be so taken in by the story that I morph completely into both of the characters every time I watch even a portion of that film.
That's the weepy variety of guilty pleasure, but I have a real penchant for the comedic variety also. The best place to go for guaranteed belly-laughs for this sober, southern grandmother is PBS on a Saturday night. It's sort of an emetic for me, a dosing of much needed comic relief at the close of each week. Over the years, I'm sure I've watched Mr. Humphries and Hyacinth Bucket do their thing several hundred times. At the show's opening scene, I can recognize the episode and predict the laughs. I never resist the opportunity to indulge because this is therapy, a defense against the nightly news and the daily budget. John Cleese and the Fawlty Towers gang, and before that the incomparable Monty Python's Flying Circus carried me to heights (or depths depending on your cultural scale) of release from my real life woes no pharmaceutical or counseling session could hope to match. Why deny myself something which makes me feel so good, just because there's the chance someone (with a familial connection and the power to have me committed) will worry I've gone 'round the bend?
If I were to analyse my guilty pleasures, I'd probably admit to being too tightly buttoned up, too reserved to either laugh or cry often enough. If I cried as often as necessary, I'd be one of those weepy old ladies who makes everyone else uncomfortable. And if I let out the kind of unladylike guffaw that feels strangely natural, I'd embarrass my family for sure. I prefer to indulge in tears while listening to the music of John Rutter or--and here's an admission--Josh Groban, who make me tear up even in anticipation. A few hours reading P.G. Wodehouse, and I might as well have taken a month's worth of anti-depressants. In order to rebalance my internal scale after too much reality, I'm willing to stick to the tried and true.
What are your guilty pleasures? Come on, now, you know you have some! Share them here and see who can top you!