Roots

Paraphrase: “No matter how big the world gets; (we) still want/need to return home”

NaBloPoMo 2020 – Today’s Lesson

I love my Chinese and Asian heritage.

Do you have Netflix?  What did you get it for?  Daughter wanted it for “Avatar: The Last Air Bender” after we watched the first season on Amazon Prime.  Son wanted it just to have more access to movies.  I resisted.  I finally got it to watch “The Social Dilemma,” as if I could not be an informed citizen without it.  Now we (benefit) from everything on the site. *sigh*

I got into Avatar, not against my will, but not on purpose.  And I’m happy about it.  The voices are all American, but the animation and ethos are Asian.  I’m told the ‘bending’ styles of the four elemental tribes (earth, water, air, fire) are each inspired by a different form of martial art.  The movements of the characters reminded me of old kung fu movies from childhood.  The philosophical expressions also rang familiar.  It was all rather comforting, I bonded with Daughter, and I was sad when it ended.

Then we watched “A Silent Voice”.  I learned that in Asian films dubbed into English, the spoken and subtitled words are different.  Interesting.  Both kids already knew.

Now we’re into “It’s OK to Not Be OK”, which is Korean.  We read the subtitles.  I love seeing people who look like me, even though I don’t understand their language.  There’s only one season.  We will watch a classical Chinese drama next, “Eternal Love”.  That will surely take me back to “Chu Liu Xiang”, my favorite kung fu soap opera ever, whose lead actor at one time (think Dr. Who) shared my last name, 鄭.

Joy Luck Club, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Crazy Rich Asians… How joyous to rediscover some roots, and share them with the kids, too.

Feeeel Your Feelings…In Songs!

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Wow, 31st day!  I guess I really love this writing practice…

My kids introduced me to “Mamma Mia!” the movie a couple months ago.  Oh my gosh SO FUN!  The cast, the scenery, the music!!  ABBA!!!  And the epilogue scene of them all singing “Waterloo” is one of my favorite musical numbers, ever!  I intend to convene a group of friends to reenact the singing/dancing scenes someday, what a great workout that would be, and to such great music!

I just love when the kids and I watch our favorite movies together—Harry Potter, Avengers, and now some musicals.  Driving to Target today, after watching the second “Mamma Mia!” movie, I realized why I like these two films so much.  It wasn’t just watching how much fun the actors obviously had making it, and oh my gosh CHER (I can still picture on the cover of my dad’s Half Breed album), and the cute story.  It was the emotions.  In both of these movies, the characters all feel their emotions freely.  There is no repressing, numbing (well, maybe some–cake, anyone?), offloading, or prolonged rationalization.  The sadness, loneliness, regret, anger, and longing, the fear and the lust, as well as the love, loyalty, devotion, grief, forgiveness, and hope—the characters display them all without shame or self-judgment.  And even better, they reach out to each other for support and show up for one another in compassion and solidarity.

We also watched “While You Were Sleeping” today (it’s rainy outside and we are movie people), also a perennial favorite for me.  My daughter says she doesn’t like it because of the lying.  It’s stressful to keep secrets and maintain false appearances.  Even watching it makes some of us uncomfortable—and now that I think about it some more, I recognize the visceral anxiety of seeing it on screen.  There are many ways to create tension and conflict in a story.  The “Mamma Mia!” movies do it in a lighthearted way that feels more fun than most.

In these days of widespread deception, false pretense, mistrust, evasiveness, and broken relationships, musicals like this uplift my family and me.  What a cheer for all that is good about humanity, what a vote of confidence for our silly species!  So grateful.  We will continue to watch repeatedly, I guarantee it.

Kevin Kline, POTUS, and Death

NaBloPoMo 2018:  What I’m Learning

***NO, I do not wish death on the president.***

Have you seen Dave, the movie about the temp agency owner kidnapped by the Secret Service to impersonate the president, and then forced to prolong the charade after the president dies unexpectedly?  It’s one of my favorite movies, and I love Kevin Kline, who plays Dave/POTUS.  There is just something so genuine and relatable about him and his character in this film.

I just finished listening to “Have a Nice Day,” an Audible* Original, written by Billy Crystal and Quinton Peoples.  It was recorded in front of a live audience, and once again Kevin Kline plays POTUS.  He brings the same lovable qualities to this role as he did to “Dave.”  Annette Benning plays FLOTUS, and Billy Crystal plays the angel of death with an anxiety disorder.  With more than a couple fun plot twists and the familiar voices of performers we know and love, I give it an enthusiastic thumbs up!

I appreciate humor more and more.  No other genre can tackle the hardest things about life and help us laugh about them, hold them a little more lightly, and continue with a slightly lighter heart.  Thinking about the immediacy and permanence of death can be frightening and acutely uncomfortable.  But it also often puts things in clear perspective, and it liberates.

It’s been both a dense and unproductive holiday weekend, relative to my lofty expectations.  Inspiration both overflows and stalls, thus no post last night.  Consider this to be the make-up assignment.  I have learned that true to my #1 trait as defined by the Gallup Strengths Finder 2.0 nine years ago, I have been inputting disproportionately and not leaving enough time to process, integrate, and synthesize.  But that’s okay, because little plays like “Have a Nice Day” help me reset.  I can forgive myself for falling off the NaBloPoMo wagon for a day.  Now I can regroup and catch up.  I’m so excited to share my learnings here!

My goal was to sit down, write, and publish this post before I started feeling cold from sitting in sweaty, post workout clothes.  Almost there!  If you have about 75 minutes, I highly recommend listening to this short, endearing little play.  Let me know what you think!

 

*I have no financial interests in any people, companies, or products mentioned here.