One. I just need to share the current view from my couch outside my bay windows: my across the street 4th floor neighbor salsa dancing solo while Christmas decorating. So wonderful. Had to share.
Two. Onto the reading. I finished The Emperor's Children last week and have been drafting a post ever since then, trying to figure out exactly what I wanted to say about it. I'm not sure I know what that it, but I'm going to attempt. My apologies if its scattered and not well written.
Moving On. It is the story of three almost-thirtys in New York City and the people who step into their respective lives relationally. I was looking for rich characters; people I'd like to join for dinner and talk about what it's like to live in New York past the post-college years and laugh. The sad news is that I was mostly disappointed in them. (Note: this is not to say this isn't a well written look into pre and post 9/11 in the city that makes people question and think.) Somehow all of their problems seemed shallow and I couldn't garner any empathy whatsoever.
This could have been purposeful, though. The title references one of the character's books in which she studies the cultural value and lack thereof in dressing children. The "emperor" is an allusion to "The Emperor's New Clothes." Perhaps these thirty-somethings are the emperor's children: completely unaware of their shallow lives...inevitably until 9/11 happens.
I guess the question is whether we allow our lives to be permanently changed when we are faced by heartbreaking realities, or do we wait around for a while until we can embrace life as normal again? I've decided I hate un-change, while I confess that I fall prey to it all too often: I read, see, experience something inspiring and two days later I'm spending my time watching mindless (though hilariously satiric! ha.) episodes of Gossip Girl.
I realized that as I hated the characters' elitist, entitled and self absorbed attitudes, that I harbor my own versions. As I wanted to scream at them to get their acts together, I had to laugh at myself. I've realized over the past two years that "getting my act together" is a near impossible feat. Whereas I do think it is possible to be purposeful, loving and intentional, I think it is impossible to have a life where I make every right choice at every opportunity, or use all of my free time to be "productive."
So maybe there's a balance? Realizing it's ok to have mindless outlets while attempting to grow in truth? Having grace with oneself and in turn with others? Laughing. Reading. Crying. Dancing. Hurting. Running.
I guess for me it comes back to being authentic: to just say out loud that we (I...) are a mess? I feel that for years I had this misconception that it was possible to miss the messes in life...I could carefully clean up and walk in a straight line and everything would be fine. The problem was that "everything" is a very broad term and careful living isn't preventative, productive, or necessarily good.
But one day I will figure out this mess! All will make sense! Ha. I think it is the mess that keeps me thinking, and without it I might get lost. Aye.