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Jun 24, 2011

Midnight in Paris

Work is very quiet today. My boss is elusive as to his whereabouts and I'm caught up on my other work. So I snuck out to see a movie at the theatre next door for a long lunch.

Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris.

It's as if Woody wrote it just for me, for all of us romantic nostalgics.

It’s wistful and witty and charming and beautiful. I’m a Woody Allen fan, but this movie is special.

Maybe because of its magical shots of Paris from dawn to dusk, dark streets and perfectly imagined alcoves and park benches and alleyways filmed in the rain and the soft glow of street lamps and morning light. Maybe because of the characters’ zest for life and unapologetic acknowledgement of their whimsies and neurotic creativities. Maybe because of story’s unabashed bend toward romance and melancholy. Maybe because of the pull the past has on me, the heartstrings nostalgia tugs in me.

And maybe because it was full of artistry. I’ve always wished I were creative, to be an artist of some kind. I’ve always wanted to move people by something I create, by words or painting or music. I don’t have those gifts, though. I’m a competent writer, but I’m not prolific. I’m not life-changing or paradigm-shifting or incredibly discerning or intelligent. In the same vein, I’m a competent singer, but again, nothing extraordinary. And God knows I have zero artistic talent for any medium, whether it be paints or sculpture or drawing.

Maybe that’s why this movie is so flawless to me. To listen to Kathy Bate’s character opine on Picasso’s painting or on Gil’s book – I’ve always wished those kinds of insights could come from me so organically, so openly. To express yourself in such a creative way, even just during the course of a conversation, must be so satisfying.

The perceptions and wisdom and gifts with which God blesses some people can take me over the edge of sincere appreciation and down into the dark green depths of envy at times. My friend Jen’s paintings or my friend Chip’s prose can do that to me. While they can both be self-deprecating, I assume every true artist is - nothing is ever good enough when you’re striving for the perfect brushstroke or sentiment. But whether they see it or not, the things they create are relevant and beautiful to us, to us seeing and touching Jen’s paintings or reading Chip’s words.

I appreciate that.

I sometimes envy that.

I always value that.

That is what Woody Allen stirred up in me today.

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