vincent

Reviewers and critics around the world told me not to love Vincent.

He’s overdrawn. Even hysterical. In key parts of his story, he drags and deflects and assaults those around him. He’s too creative. People don’t understand what he’s all about.

Great artists are not peaceful souls. – from the movie Loving Vincent

Critics said such things about Vincent van Gogh in his day. Why should Loving Vincentthe first fully painted movie about his death, escape such harsh judgment?

Humans haven’t changed much since Van Gogh’s day, have they? Nobody appreciated Vincent’s talent when he was alive. In less than a decade, he produced 826 paintings.

He only sold one during his short life.

And so it goes with the most creative movie I’ve seen in recent memory.

When I landed in Los Angeles for my soul-feeding time with Debra Fetterly, one of the first things I said was, “I want to see Loving Vincent. It’s playing in Pasadena.”

Debra, one of my most adventurous friends, was a little underwhelmed at first. “I’ve read a lot of mixed things about that movie. A lot of people don’t like it.”

In the end, we decided to experience it for ourselves. Because you know what?

We let others draw too many lines around our experiences today.

Instead of getting out and forming our own opinions about things, we let ratings and reviews and critics tell us how we should experience life. And in the process, WE MISS SO MUCH WORTHY LIVING.

Debra and I were glued to the riotous screen for almost two hours. When the movie finished, we sat through the credits. Our mouths were still open as the lights came up. Once we were home, we googled information on how the film makers oil-painted an entire movie. We gobbled up information about featured characters from his paintings. The next day, we were STILL discussing Loving Vincent.

I’m SO GLAD I chose to experience something that underwhelmed others. Time after time, I find when I ignore internet noise, discarded treasures smash the boundaries of my life.

WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU EXPERIENCED SOMETHING OTHERS PANNED?

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smartphone

Last week, I read an interesting article in The Guardian about tech industry founders who are stepping back from social media and the smartphone. Many of them claim constant connectivity is rotting our brains.

Read “Our Minds Can Be Hijacked: The Tech Insiders Who Fear Smartphone Dystopia.

I BELIEVE THEM. The pressure to stay constantly connected, to respond to every comment, to acknowledge every message, to interact faster and wittier than anyone……well, it’s crushing.

I do nothing well.

So over the weekend, I pretended it was 2005. Social media didn’t exist. I spent a weekend without the computer or multiple devices.

It. Was. Hard.

But here’s what I did with my time instead of surfing and scrolling and staring.

1. Slept in.
2. Had sex.
3. Attended two separate yoga classes totaling 3 hours because zen.
4. Ate tater tots at Mercantile and Mash with MTM because yoga.
5. Shopped at Costco because the cupboards were bare.
6. Admitted to buying a rose gold sequin skirt I didn’t need and hiding it from MTM. Wondered whether it still fits because of tater tots.
7. Finished The Templars by Dan Jones because I had two hours uninterrupted to read.
8. Worked a word puzzle in the NY Times because I wanted to beat MTM to it.
9. Ate 2 brunches with MTM because he made quiche.
10. Cooked 2 dinners at home with MTM because we had so much food.
11. Cleaned those neglected things in the kitchen because I slowed down enough to notice them.
12. Went to buy vegetables at the Lowcountry Food Bus.
13. Had drinks at Harold’s Cabin because they had a new sofa.
14. Took a nap because I could.

Do you hate me yet?

15. Read the Sunday NY Times with MTM over coffee because we used to spend most Sundays sharing the paper and coffee.
16. Folded laundry.
17. Locked the Roomba in our bedroom because the floor was filthy.
18. Dusted.
19. Ate chocolate.
20. Saw Blade Runner 2049 with MTM because Harrison Ford.
21. Discussed Blade Runner 2049 with MTM.
22. Researched flights to Kazakhstan, the closest I got to working.
23. Actually found myself bored.
24. Looked up recipes for red beans and rice because I had a craving.

As a result of taking it easy, I’ve already tackled my entire to do list for the week and have more clarity and energy than I’ve had on a Monday in ages. I’m grateful for my old fashioned, memory-making weekend, because it gave me a great shot of positivity!!

What about you? How do you give yourself a break from constant connectivity?

It started online. That’s how so many affairs happen these days, right? We connect with strangers in cyberspace. The veil of molecular ether makes us bolder. Maybe even flirtier.

I happened upon him chatting with several of his cyber-friends. “You’re going to see that movie? I totally want to go.”

“What about MTM?”

(Because EVERYONE in cyberland knows about MTM…….)

“Forget MTM. I’ve GOT to see this movie with YOU.”

So.

My date with another man was set for yesterday. Thirty minutes past noon. My mate was crippled, after all. A broken collarbone is what he gets for thinking a 50-year-old man can still qualify for the Tour de France. (He will want me to tell you he picked up his bike and finished the day, just like the twenty-somethings on the Tour.)

Anyway.

Back to me.

And my illicit date.

I stood outside the IMAX, nursing popcorn and butterflies. Decided maybe I should go in and get the best seats available. From my perch dead-center, I tweeted him.

Because cyber is the language we’ve used to discuss our panting over the debut of Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar FOR WEEKS. AND WEEKS. AND WEEKS.

Through pretzels and popcorn and deafening bass, we sat together in the dark for almost three hours. Never once did I think about dragging out my phone to tweet a “what do you think?” or “can I have a bite of your pretzel?”

I guess I was a very bad date.

Because, at the end, Kenneth Andrews and I left with our respective partners. MTM and Krista accompanied us on our Date With Geekery.

And I’d do it all again.

🙂

********

Notes:

1. Interstellar isn’t Inception. It’s a visual spectacle, but it doesn’t make me think like Inception or Memento did.

2. MTM broke his collar bone at the ACL joint on Saturday when an ear-budded pedestrian stepped in front of him. He wrecked to keep from mowing her down, flipped over his handlebars and landed on his helmeted head and right shoulder. We find out today or tomorrow whether his injury requires surgery…….and whether his Nurse Ratchet will be able to endure whatever prognosis he receives. Please keep MTM in your thoughts and prayers, if that’s your thing.

3. If you are prone to wear earbuds in public spaces, PLEASE turn your music down and pay attention to your surroundings. (NOT YOUR SCREENS.) Expensive injuries (to yourselves or to others) aren’t worth that extra text or tweet or song or whatever.

4. We are very lucky MTM wears his helmet when he rides. We’re also lucky he was going uphill. He could’ve broken his neck at faster speeds.