As the stars are there


I saw the film Nebraska last week.  It was superb, beautifully shot in grainy black and white, with wonderful acting and a plaintive score by Mark Orton.

What’s it about?  An elderly man, who receives one of those Readers Digest type letters telling him he is in the running for a $ million prize, decides to walk to Lincoln, Nebraska to claim it.

What else is it about? Family, memory, decay, treachery, driving, drinking, hope, America,  responsibility, the impossibility of knowing our parents.  And of course, the film simply ‘is’, a thing of beauty and poignancy without necessarily being about anything.

It’s also a haunting meditation on yearning.  As someone who likes the idea of self-help, I’ve read numerous guides to reaching one’s goals, ten steps to creativity and so on.  But one of the wisest things I read on yearning  was in one of Darian Leader’s books in which he described how unfulfilled desires serve an important function.  (And as an aside, I have a constant desire to be more systematic in how I record my reading so I could remember in which books I read such wise things).

So, I’m thinking about the film and thinking about my blog which has the premise of a thought inspired by, or informed by, a poem.  And the poem I’m thinking about is What We Want by Linda Pastan.  I wonder then whether I’ve mentioned her before here – she’s a poet I much admire.

And I discover not only that I mentioned her, but I blogged on that same poem on 31st October 2012.  And, coincidentally or not, I was also thinking about a film back then – although if you asked me, I’d have said that I’d seen Ruby Sparks six months or so ago, not fifteen …

So what’s this blog post about then?  Some unarticulated desire bubbling up?  An interest in story at the moment, especially the five act structure?  Or, just me forgetting what I’ve read, what I’ve written but always haunted by the same poems?  And life seeming like a random road trip simultaneously into our past and future, prizes or otherwise, an irrelevance.