Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Perchance to Think

I have this thing, or tendency, you might say, to watch the same movie over and over again. Really, it's an almost obsessive tendency. For an entire year I was stuck on episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (no laughing, it was a cool show, darn it). I owned some of the DVD sets, but operated mostly from re-runs that I taped from television. For three months, I couldn't go to sleep unless "Hush" was playing (the Emmy-nominated episode where nobody speaks for, like, 40 minutes?).

As far as I can tell, it started when I was about 11. I had to watch The Princess Bride before I could sleep at night. I stayed up until midnight and snuck back into the den when my dad went to bed. That is, until he caught me. I slept badly for a week, then got over it. When I wasn't watching it, I replayed it in my mind, especially when I was bored at school. Then I was obsessed with The Committments, then A Room With a View, then Lady Jane, then The Neverending Story, on and on, ad nauseum, ad infinitum.

I can safely say that I've seen these movies and many others at least thirty times. So, I've been doing this for almost fifteen years, and I often wonder why. What do these films have in common? Mostly, they're set in another country, another era, or a fantasy world.

At first, I think my obsession was a diversion from an unhappy home. I mean, let's psych 101 this. I began thirsting for fantasy worlds when my mom moved out of the house. Then, as an escape from school. Now, I think I do it to keep my mind off the fact that my husband lives in a different country. When we're together, I don't watch the same movie again and again.

Despite the slightly manic quality this habit contributes to my personality, I think it also feeds back into my need to tell stories. Sometimes the movies aren't enough, and I have to make my own worlds. I'm compelled to do so. "Use the force, Luke." No, really. That's how I feel when I write fiction or poetry. If you've ever felt a surge of inspiration you know what I mean. I could just crawl inside my own world and never come out.

Maybe it is just a coping tool, but is that wrong? I remove myself to a better place, a creative place. I've built a cathedral inside my own mind. Somewhere I read that people in concentration camps and refugees often do the same thing. Not that my life is that bad, I'm just a refugee from reality. But who says my highly-developed inner-life isn't real? If I make something from it, something beautiful, or touching, or thought-provoking, doesn't that contribute to what we, as a collective, cognitive race would call "reality?" Well, Descartes might agree with me. I don't know about anyone else, but that won't really stop me. I'll just continue to think and therefore be.

1 comment:

lunger said...

Your husband is a very lucky, not to mention handsome, man