Demystification Guru

Just because we don't understand something, doesn't mean it isn't understandable.

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Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Friday, August 26, 2005

on themes

I just read Gus Van Sant’s bio thingy on Allmovie dot com. The things that writers (movie makers) explore are often themes. His are the themes of gay and family and love. Woody Allen of course has themes that run through his work over and over (neuroticism, et al). And so do many others. So what are my themes?

I just finished watching “Mulan” for the first time. Even though it’s animated, the scenes where her horse risks its life for her choke me up. That sounds stupid. But horses always make me cry. But my experience with horses is so limited compared to those who have had real experiences with them. I rode a horse once or twice when I was 7 or 8. Then I rode once a week for two years when I was 15 to 17. Then, when I was suffering from undiagnosed depression, I rode horses when I was about 35, for a year (which saved my life I am sure). But not exactly growing up on a farm.

I empathize with horses - I’m not sure what I mean by that. They are very large prey animals and I am a small omnivore. But I do seem to have a rapport with them. I was thinking about writing down the goal “I want to spend significant time with horses”, but what does that mean and what does that entail? It obviously wasn’t such a burning desire in my first 47 years that I made it happen, like my coaches and owners of the last riding stable I belonged to. They made it happen.

So now I have to try to make sense of it all. Could I actually write an entire story about horses? And what about those other things in my life that I had a passion for but never realized? Medicine for example. Or dogs of course. If you combine medicine and dogs and horses you get veterinary work! But that’s not it either. [Update and edit: Of course, I realize that "horses" is a subject, not a theme! That's what you get when you write something just before bedtime and after watching something that made you sentimental.]

We all have themes. Mine could be “stranger in a strange land” about being an army brat. That was certainly a huge formative influence on me. I have often thought that having no significant roots could be (was) a very important thing for me, as a philosopher-sort. That book I referred to earlier about Identity was very good. It’s by Amin Maalouf, a displaced Lebanese Christian living in France. And even my immediate family is sparse. So that is a theme - something about belonging. Which is identity. Maybe I should explore for myself the idea of belonging, since I don’t belong. And not belonging hasn’t hurt me at all, has in fact made me strong. I think. Hmmm, maybe when I explore it I will uncover angst! Ha! I doubt it. That would have reared its ugly head a long time ago.

So it’s something to think about.


Anonymous Norah said...

I totally understand your "...since I don't belong" emotion. I haven't figured out if it's good or bad either. I suppose some days it's good and some days it's bad.

1:31 p.m., August 29, 2005  
Blogger JuliaR said...

I suppose it's like belonging too! That can be good or bad, depending. And a lot is personal perspective, glass half full kind of thing.

2:20 p.m., August 29, 2005  

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