Waking At Midnight In Paris
Saturday night I saw Midnight in Paris. I was transported and entranced by Woody Allen’s whimsical, nostalgic vision, and I loved it. I loved Gertrude Stein telling the main character that he really has something there; giving him confidence he couldn’t have gotten so powerfully from anywhere else. I like the magic of going back to a more colorful time, at least what Allen or I or we might at first imagine it to be. I love the views and the mood and the music. And the romance. In truth I adored this film. I allowed myself to get lost in it, and found myself creatively interacting with it as well.
At one point, I entered my own parallel movie…I’m walking the streets of Manhattan late one evening, perhaps downtown. I’m sad and bereft, and sit down on a curb. A la Midnight In Paris, a very handsome couple in evening clothes comes strolling up the street, and it’s my mother and my father, come alive again and each offering me their hand. They pull me up, and they take me walking. They tell me they’ve been watching me…all these years…and tell me to please stop being so sad, that I needlessly burden myself with suffering in the form of discontent or melancholy or wistful nostalgia, that this was not what they gave birth to me for. That they want to see me happy. Happy like they once were. Happy like they sometimes had seen me be. They tell me that they love me and that life is so short and mine will be over before I know it, and to stop all this nonsense because just being alive is sweet, and that they miss it themselves. And don’t want to see me miss it while I’m alive. Life, and the life they gave me, are just too precious.
And then they’re gone again.
And I’m back in Woody’s film, where someone (I don’t want to give away who) is talking about making love to a woman being a man’s way to take a stab at immortality. And yes, later this same night, I come to believe climaxing with Shelley is about as close as I will ever get.
My story may be way more than half over, but what a long, luscious story it’s been! And all here on these two islands. Walking, it seems, every last one of these streets, savoring these times we were thrown into, loving who lies behind every face I’ve known. I made a pact with spirit long ago to record it — somewhere inside — all of it, and to love it all. To let nothing pass through without notice or a nod. I have seen it all, and have lost and forgotten none of it.
Everything changes all the time, I know. But I never really wanted this to happen, never wanted to allow the rising tide of the river to sweep me away with all the rest. I’ve scurried up the riverbank as far as I can, and survey with pleasure all I’ve been through, and peer upstream at all the beautiful bye-byes to come.