I don’t know if I’ll have the wherewithal to do this on a regular basis, but as often as I can I’d like to share some of the cool stuff I find which brings me amusement and/or inspiration. A good amount of the ideas for my poems stem from whatever I’ve been watching, reading, listening to, etc. and I’m a firm believer in the notion that if you feed your brain with stimulating, thought-provoking stuff, you’re bound to produce the same kind of thing. So from me to you, here’s the stuff I’ve been digging.
Song: Obvious Bicycle – Vampire Weekend
This song is like a soothing balm, tinged with a little encouraging sarcasm, for the young working class. Career stuff can really get you down, and sometimes doing all the right things, taking out loans and getting a degree and perfecting your resume, isn’t enough anymore. You can spend your whole life playing the system, or you can “spare your face the razor, because no one’s gonna spare the time for you.” For those of us forever questioning our career paths, this is a nice little pat on the back and a nudge out the door.
Poem: Fight Night by Jason Bredle
Originally published at Diagram Magazine (which is really freaking cool and I so desperately want to write something of the caliber worthy to be published there) I just kinda stumbled on this poem which hit my funny bone just so exactly. At once denouncing consumerism, crowd mentality, and the general state of the world symbolized by bandanas worn around the neck, it’s complex and simple and really well done and I’m just so stinkin’ jealous.
I was pleasantly surprised with this 2009 independent film found on Netflix with an interesting premise: an implant which counts down to the exact day you’ll meet your soul mate. Scientific impossibilities aside, this movie provides a thorough exploration of many of our society’s assumptions about love- whether there really is someone for everyone and whether knowing when love will arrive would change the experience of waiting for it. The movie follows Oona, whose timer is blank because her soul mate hasn’t gotten an implant yet, her sister Steph whose timer says she won’t meet her soul mate until she’s 43, grocery-bag clerk Mikey who doesn’t believe in the need for timers, widower Dan who refuses the timer in order to honor his late wife, and nervous teenager Jesse who at 15 has met his timer-approved soul mate and doesn’t know how to handle it. It’s a fascinating ride as these characters mirror all-too-familiar attitudes about love and come to encouraging conclusions. I won’t spoil it, but I will say that it left me in awe and gratitude of the universal justice to be found in not being able to know.
Quote: “That man’s got a lot of get up and go,” said Anita.
“He fills me full of lie down and die,” said Paul.
– Kurt Vonnegut, Player Piano
I’d never read any of Vonnegut’s work, but I was delighted by the satiric humor in Player Piano. The above quote socked me right in the gut, so much so that the four guys sitting with me in the coffee shop had to be included in the joke and also got a good chuckle out of it, even without the context behind it. I would, however, recommend the book to anyone with a similar love of satire, snark, or a dystopian premise. In a world where society has become so advanced that the efficiency of machines have made humans almost completely obsolete, who serves who?
Book: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce
Beautifully illustrated and simple in its allegorical advocacy for the wonder of books, this is one of those stories which is short on words but big on powerful truths. As Morris Lessmore’s life is destroyed by natural forces, it is renewed and made fulfilling by the joy of reading. It’s a story for all those who hold in their hearts a special appreciation for the written word and for those who dedicate their lives and care to its cause. It reminds me how immensely proud I am to be a librarian and a lover of books.
It was also made into an Academy Award-winning short film, and yes, I was bawling like a baby by the end of it.
Got any cool stuff to share? Leave a comment below!