I Googled the term "post pointlessness" to see if it was already a literary critical or post-postmodern philosophical movement...but just saw a lot of posts on pointless posts on pointlessness, some in the Huffington Post, and so on, but I imagine it should be a movement, just not one that would get very far...in a pontoon.
Yesterday was the most beautiful day of the summer so far, and my book group did talk about Noah's Compass, by Anne Tyler, on a pontoon boat on a beautiful placid lake. Herons, a few fishing boats, no mosquitoes, plenty of wine and chocolate.
I asked Susan about her preference for books with happy endings, and about how Anne Tyler fits into her reading pleasure, since things don't always lead to happy endings in her books. Susan likes Tyler because there is hope and authenticity in her stories, even if things do not always turn out the way a reader or a central character might wish.
And that's what I want to ask you, too. If you prefer happy endings, do the happy endings help you live your life? Aim toward a similar happy ending? Keep you optimistic and cheerful and goal-oriented?
Or are happy-ending books an escape from the way life usually turns out, a sort of wish fulfillment?
Pam mentioned Romeo and Juliet, just the kind of random coincidence I love, since I had just seen the play, saying she never wants to see/read that one, as the tragedy is so depressing. You know it's not going to work out for them, there's nothing you can do to prevent the disaster or help them out, so why sit through it?
I was happy to sit through Part One of Romeo and Juliet at the Illinois Shakespeare Festival the other night, and see the delightful falling-in-love part, butterfly wings, and pink high-tops with glitter, plus a wonderfully traditional balcony scene, but I agree that Part Two (post intermission) was harder. Juliet suddenly grew up, the speeches lacked the glittering clarity of the first half, and death and doom were inevitable.
Here, by the way, is Julie Kistler's review. And the traditional balcony scene above is by Ford Maddox Brown. And here are Clare Danes and Leonardo DiCaprio.
Anyhoo, I escape pointlessness by seeking out the other way of seeing it. If a happy ending is unlikely, where is the joy or hope or meaning in the moment at hand?
Yes, the one he's kissing!
And the question answers itself.
Oh. Apparently I originated this movement. Postpointlessness. In 1988. I knew I had seen the term somewhere....
"You must change your life," said Rilke. So that's what I keep doing. I worked as an actor and director in Chicago, wrote for an encyclopedia, edited two poetry journals, shelved and retrieved materials in several libraries, walked beans, and was an assistant professor of English. Now I serve as Poetry Editor and Editor at Large for Escape Into Life, an online arts magazine, write & edit as a freelancer, blog "eight days a week," study the random, tend perennials, and listen to birdsong.