Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Post Pontoon

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 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.


Moments later:

Oh. Apparently I originated this movement. Postpointlessness. In 1988. I knew I had seen the term somewhere....


Julie Kistler said...

Scott and I drove over to Champaign to see the new Woody Allen movie, "Midnight in Paris," last night. Some of its dialogue and the issues Woody was grappling with in his screenplay follow your blog post nicely. He had Gertrude Stein say something like, "The artist's job is not to succumb to despair, but to find an antidote for the vast emptiness of existence." Loved the movie, by the way.

Kathleen said...

Ah, if only I could see it at midnight in Paris!

Kathleen said...

To see denim in Paris, go to The Sartorialist today!

Anonymous said...

Cute post!!
Love your blog so much.)))

I need your help...
In August I depart to Greece on two weeks. I don't want to sit there on one place, I want to look at all most beautiful places.
You were sometime in Greece? If yes, that there it is necessary to look and where it is possible to make beautiful photos?

Thanks for earlier.)

Collagemama said...

I can't even think of a happy ending book I've read recently outside of the preschool classroom. Your post brings to mind not just R&J, but Tosca, an opera where you sense from the beginning it is going to turn out badly for everyone, but I would watch and listen to it again and again. So I'm wondering if tragic endings keep us optimistic. Rats, must go to work.

Kathleen said...

I've not seen Tosca performed but will seek out some music from it!

Kathleen said...

Mary, I have not been to Greece, but maybe some others have who will comment and guide you.