Sunday, June 25, 2006

Disembodied Musings and Embodied Readings

In recent months, it feels as though I've lived half my life in a world of pseudo-reality online. I don't frequent chat-rooms or strike up relationships with strangers, but nevertheless, I have a sort of double identity – that of my everyday interactions in the “real” world, and the self that I assume when I'm in front of this computer screen. Somehow, when I'm typing, my physicality fades away, as do my experiences. I realize that the entries I write are about my experiences, but they have become detached from this body and this mind, and become events and situations that have happened to vivacemusica, whoever that is.... All of my thoughts and descriptions of the happenings in my life have taken on a more “pure” form, floating freely and completely disembodied.

Things that I've learned about myself recently from my online activities:

  • I live in a world that doesn't exist in the minds of others: The scourge of having internet at home is the temptation to purchase everything, useful and otherwise. I had put an order for cat supplies through, and to my dismay, received several e-mails telling me that my order could not be processed because of my incomplete address. Apparently, Northwest Territories is not a real place – they had wanted me to fill in my “province,” -- and the cats who live here are just going to have to suffer.
  • As much as I like litzines (particularly Dogmatika and 3 am), I've grown to dislike readers who write in nasty comments accusing the editors of selling out and going too “mainstream.” What does that mean? One reader was upset that Virginia Woolf was mentioned in a blog entry. Virginia Woolf is widely-read, yes, but her ideas had been landmarks in feminist literary theory. Since when is that “mainstream”? I used to be (and, admittedly, still am) a bit of an inward snob when it came to books and films that I consumed. I still regularly skip the big blockbusters and bestsellers in favour of something that no one has ever heard of. Now, I've come to realize that obscurity does not mean brilliance. At best, brilliance is subjective anyway. The books and films that I have liked best are those that have, in some capacity, captured the spirit of the times, or an internal spirit within me. Even as I felt manipulated by the flourishes of Dickens's stories, I somehow allowed myself to be moved – hence, Great Expectations remains a perennial favourite of mine. I will always feel an affinity to young Pip and his yearnings. However, The Notebook (the film – I've never read the book) just annoyed me to no end with its blatant tugs of the heartstrings. I guess what it comes down to is a readiness or a reluctance to be swept away. Once I have allowed or forbidden myself to be taken on that journey, there is no going back. Back to the point: I may still avoid “mainstream” films and books, but I'll acknowledge that my like or dislike for something has to do not as much with any superior sensibility on my part, but to that certain magical intersection of time, place, and spirit which makes or breaks one's experience of taking in a story.

1 comment:

  1. I had to chuckle about your comment about "The Notebook". I am notorious for picking rotten movies. Someday I will learn not to make suggestions when my husband and I are picking out a DVD to rent or buy, because the ones I choose invariably wind up being a disappointment. "The Notebook" was one such disappointment. We bought it, but never even watched the entire movie. I just did not connect with the characters. I wanted to see more of the old couple and a lot less of the young hear THEIR story (though probably the young couple's story WAS their story?)...guess I will never know since I didn't have the heart or attention span to weather the full movie. We shut it off at my request(!) and my husband traded it in with some other "non-keeper" DVDs a few days later for something he wanted (probably some Jackie Chan movie...I don't remember for sure!).

    Anyway, I am glad to hear someone else didn't like "The Notebook" either!