I’ll Never Write The World’s Greatest Novel, Allen Boudreaux
I just got home from watching Revenge of the Sith, the first showing at 12:01 on Thursday. It was, like all five Star Wars movies before it, better than the sum of its parts -- only mediocre in some respects but nevertheless an amazing movie overall. much better than I and II, no doubt. there's a great deal of satisfaction in the completion of the circle alone -- all the ends tied neatly together -- it was like finally seeing on the screen a story that i've known for most of my going-on-thirty years. in that sense, i can't help feeling it's an end to an era. and ends of eras make me kind of sad. I'm no fanboy at this point -- the first two movies made sure of that -- but when a friend of mine called at 9 p.m. and offered me an extra ticket she had, I definitely couldn't resist. When I got there, the atmosphere was just electric, and the crowd was amazing. The people who go to the opening nights of Star Wars movies are a unique bunch, but startlingly diverse, if that makes sense, from total high school sci-fi geeks with elaborate costumes and lightsabers to frat boys, football players, doctors and lawyers with elaborate costumes and lightsabers. all walks of life. and i have to admit i was more than comfortable there myself, despite not having dressed the part.
One of my favorite books about New Orleans, and probably one of my favorite books period -- Walker Percy's The Moviegoer -- talks a lot about "repetitions" in life -- a term I think he got from Kierkegaard. for me, seeing the last Star Wars movie last night at age 29 was just that kind of repetition, a bookend of sorts to a hazy memory of watching the first movie sometime in the late seventies as a little kid. and that bookend kind of parcels off the time in between, gives me an opportunity to look back at all those years and reflect on how i've changed so much in so many ways in that time (and not so much in others) while Darth Vader and R2D2 have stayed the same.
I didn't fit in very well then, and maybe i still don't quite, but i've certainly come to terms with myself over that time. i'm comfortable with who i am, realized that i'll never write the world's greatest novel, realized that i'm happier as a graphic designer than as a lawyer, and that there's a whole world of people out there like me, and they all go to indie rock shows and Star Wars openings.
It's weird, though -- sometimes I think I cultivate my eccentricities just to be (more) different. I mean, why do I collect akira kurosawa movies or copies of alice in wonderland? yes, I really love kurosawa's visual style and carroll's wordplay, but why do I collect those things when most people don't even know about them? Why do I spend my time and money seeking out the obscure movies, the indie bands, when I don't really have a lot of friends who are into those things to share them with? well, mostly i tell myself it's because it's good quality stuff, and I'm a better person for having broader horizons and such. but sometimes I feel like I'm doing it to define myself, so that i and other people can see just how different i am. I'm comfortable with myself, with my quirks and foibles and (and plus I just wanted to use the word "foible" in print) but i feel like i'm always trying to find something i haven't found yet, or make myself into something i'm not. I'm sure Freud would have a good bit to say about all this.
i guess the best we can really do in life is to know who we were, and try to figure out who we are now, and guess at the future. I just always thought that by the time i was 30, i'd have more than that figured out. I think that's a good part of why i write this weblog -- it lets me chart my progress, put my thoughts down so i can look at them, make them concrete, and then figure out who i really am.