Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Thinking in Video Metaphors

I find that I am developing a disturbing tendency to think, to identify feelings and situations, in terms of scenes from movies. Like the Tamarians in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Darmok" (whose sole form of language consisted in references to shared historical contexts), I connect a whole thought process and emotional context to a specific scene. It has its perks. If the person or people you are addressing are familiar with the scene, and infer from it all the information and emotion that you do, you communicate a LOT without having to say much. On the other hand, it could mean that my own ability to articulate experience has atrophied.

A favorite is the scene from classic Christmas special, "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer." Who does not know exactly how he felt when Clarice told Rudolph she thinks he's cute, and he took off into the air, shouting nasally (his nose still had the black cover on it), "I'm cute! I'm cute! She thinks I'm cute!" It's flying even higher than Liza Doolittle after the ball, when she sang "I Could Have Danced All Night" (which I have been known to sing, to my friends' chagrin).

The Rudolph-flying scene is how I have described feeling when one of my poems was accepted for publication, when another was chosen to be used in a class discussion, and definitely, yes, definitely, when it suddenly seemed one dream might not be so hopeless after all.

In the past year, no, past couple of years, I have been working to get to the root of the big issues in my life, the choices I have made or failed to make, allowing problems to grow and feeling like a victim. It is a long slow process to become more aware and accountable, to actively choose your circumstances. The correlative scene is from the first Superman movie, after Lois is killed, when Superman begins to fly around the earth, and things slowly stop then reverse. Remember that? The sense of everything grinding to a halt, then slowly moving again but in a different direction. Life for some time has been the slowing down of chaos, a stasis and then a slow restart. My hope is that I am hovering now on the verge of moving in the right direction with a little more momentum, with a sense of time being restored.

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