Monday, March 21, 2005

Existential detective work

We watched I[heart]Huckabees this weekend, which I enjoyed immensely, even though we'd picked it up half-heartedly. Why did I think it was a screwball comedy about an extended family, the Huckabees? Why do they plaster "laugh-out-loud funny" on the DVD cover — do they not realize how meaningless that is? Or is that part of the joke? Had somebody actually said to me the words "existential detectives" in relation to this movie, I'd've seen it long ago.

To paraphrase some of the film's mood:
Nobody asks the big questions when they're feeling up. It's alway when they're depressed, or bad shit is happening.
There is no remainder in the mathematics of infinity.

Can we say there is a grand tradition of existential detectives?
Douglas Adams' Dirk Gently.
Paul Auster's Mr Blue.
Kinky Friedman's Kinky Friedman.

OK, maybe not a grand tradition, but one day...

I feel I ought to call in some of these pros to work on my own case.

See Mental Multivitamin's nightstand for further — and I think related — thoughts on various kinds of enlightenment. I particularly like the bit quoted from Rilke's Letters to a Young Poet:
Search into the depths of Things: there, irony never descends — and when you arrive at the edge of greatness, find out whether this way of perceiving the world arises from a necessity of your being.

I've been having a crisis of motherhood. Helena was home 2 days last week, and it was hard. Hard. I can no longer imagine looking after her on a full-time basis. I know that, in part, I'm simply out of practice. When faced with any reality: you gotta do what you gotta do. But sometimes it just seems so hard.

We'd dropped Helena to stay with her grandmother this weekend. She threw up in the car on the way. Yet we left her there. See what a horrible mother I am? True, it was probably better to let her rest there for a while than subject her to another long car ride home, but I still feel guilty about it. (No other signs of illness since.)

J-F and I went shopping for new glasses and ordered some. I suspect this will go a long way toward my not waking up every morning with a headache. No wonder I've been foul-mooded, I finally realized — I've been waking up every morning with a headache.

I feel blocked, for lack of a better word. All sorts of thoughts and emotions have been swirling around, and I've been storing them up till such time as I could sort through them and organize them clearly, here. Not gonna happen.

I finished reading Jasper Fforde's Something Rotten, which was good fun. I enjoyed it more than the 2nd and 3rd books in the series, but I think this has more to do with time and place, and perhaps my familiarity with Hamlet, than with objective factors. This book was not nearly so inventive as the others in exploring bookworld and the fictitious characters that inhabit it. There were fewer literary jokes. I found it charming that Thursday Next's toddler son spoke Lorem Ipsum rather than regular babble. I kept waiting for a connection to be made between the villain Yorrick and the skull Hamlet carries around, but there was none.

Need a poem? Answer a few questions, win a poem to match your mood. For my existential crisis, here's the poem to help me through my long dark night of the soul:

Fire and Ice
SOME say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favour fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To know that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
— Robert Frost (1874 — 1963)

2 comments:

Ben said...

Great movie, great book, great poem (well, an okay book at least). You're on a roll!

Kimberly said...

Did you know that today is World Poetry Day? Nice, if rather dark, poem. I put something up from my high-school graduation present.