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Friedrich’s Antithesis

October 12, 2006


Tuesday is two for a toonie night at Holly’s video-DVD shop in Cowichan Bay. I chose Auerbach’s film Dear Frankie (2004) featuring child actor Jack McElhone as Frankie and Gerard Butler as his Dad-for-a-day. I knew Dave had too much work to spare anytime to watch a DVD on a Wednesday evening, so I chose one that I thought I would enjoy. (He’s taking his students out stargazing tonight and he found an amazing site that makes star mapping easier to comprehend. I hope his students appreciate the passion he puts into his work! Since I am unable to work right now, I am trying to help him by setting up his own del.cio.us and wordpress.com accounts to keep track of the great teaching resources available on the internet. Apparently I am also driving some students on his outing to see the endangered historical Kinsol Trestle.)Shahla is lending me a wedding outfit suitable for the mother-of-the-groom. After I selected my favourite she and I walked to one of her oceanside spots, a small unfriendly but beautiful marina in walking distance of her home. It’s another angle on Genoa Bay and Saltspring Island. I’ll look it up and link it to Google.

I really miss my ancient Kodak DC210 Zoom. Between the time we first began our lease-to-purchase it in the spring of May2000, until its last brave attempt at the top of Old Baldy Mountain at digitizing dull details of my everyday life, it faithfully provided us with thousands of photos. It does seem odd that our TV, the VCR and the Kodak all conked out in the same two week period. Anyhow beached technologies propelled me to start playing with freebies on the internet – which is still working for now. So I am writing again after months of a major writing block. It doesn’t matter if it’s nonlinear, disjointed and in every direction at the same time.

Friedrich's Antithesis When I am playing with these blogging tools, I know it’s deceptive, even contradictory but I feel like I’m all alone looking out over some virtual Escher-like panorama. The zenith above, nadir below and multiplicity of vanishing points all around me. I played with Friedrich’s Romantic hero overwhelmed by the sublimity of nature in his Wanderer Overlooking the Sea of Fog (1818). (Thanks to Wikipedia’s use of the digitial Commons it’s available in high resolution and thanks to the Kunsthalle Museum locating Friedrich’s work in the 21st century as Good Art, or at least Art with a Buzz after decades of being Bad Art.) And since the tools for the blogosphere are so agile at finding strands of thought I can wander in all directions and still locate myself. It’s like a rhizomic archives of memories. And it’s free.
Anyhow I want to remember that I really enjoyed Dear Frankie. It was more than the cinematography imitating the light andnuanced colours of 19th century painting. It was something deeper. It illustrated how an abundance of grandmother-mother-love can help a child absorb the battering of everyday life experienced by the most vulnerable amongst us. There was something elusive yet powerfully touching in the way that Gerard Butler played the complex role of the stranger-father-for-a-day that stayed with me. Perhaps it resonated with the way my own father had that same silent but loving presence in my childhood. Perhaps it has something to do with the proximity of the ocean. Perhaps I saw in him, those qualities I admire in Dave and our adult sons.Dave took me to the Malahat again with our after school Tim’s take-out. I’ve begun to sketch the topography. Mount Baker, the Sisters and Vancouver were clearly visible as were the ferries winding their way through the Gulf Islands channels. I think I can distinguish San Juan Island, US from the others now.Fayzdeh called as soon as we got in the door. She drove me to our gym where I was able to spin for 45 minutes while she did her yoga class.

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