Saturday, April 4, 2009

It's The Strangest Thing

About four or five years back I told a story on my blog (when it was Yahoo! 360) in a series of flashbacks and flashforwards in the years of the life of my mother. A crystal ball, Windexed and rubbed free of paper towel dust.

I'm trying that again tonight.

Growing up my imagination was somewhat gray, with occasional sparks in science. I read a whole lot as a kid, but nothing provacative until I was about 14 or 15, and that was a biography of Clark Gable, probably unauthorized, sneaked from the grown-ups' section of the Bryan Public Library, top floor. Art was photography by Ansel Adams or other picture books. Writing was poems, written in the tradition of Shel Silverstein, with goofs. I bordered on some sort of weird cusp in my senior year when my journalism instructor put me on independent study with Dorothy Parker's work, but she seemed dark, lost. People in Northwest Ohio don't know who Dorothy Parker is. I don't know how gauge miles just by looking up the road, but people in Northwest Ohio know how to do that. Folks from the plains can do that.

My mother understood something about me that no one else has ever grasped--I have times of quiet and staring into a story in my head. I hit on weird and back off. I watch art films and don't share them with friends because I don't know what the level of weird threshold is.

Tonight I revisited that slice of weird. Not that I enjoy the lifestyle that I saw tonight in an independent film, but the movie was so well-written, that I'm glad I didn't miss it. And I don't know how to endorse it without readers saying, "What is WRONG with you?"

The movie was "Fur," starring Nicole Kidman and Robert Downey, Jr. It is a fictional biography of a portion of the photographer Diane Arbus's life. I saw a journalistic piece on Arbus not too long ago on CBS Sunday Morning, and added this movie to the Netflix que when I found out that there was a movie with stars of this caliber. Keep in mind that I didn't see this movie because I enjoy Arbus's subjects, which, in case you aren't familiar with her work, consists of portraits of dwarfs, amputees, sexual performers of all kinds, and the cast-offs of society. They are good pictures but they aren't my cup of tea...they tend to creep me a little, which from the film I'm guessing was Arbus's point.

But I'm not judging Arbus.

I've been to my own brand of weird, Diane, and I understand being alone.

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