Sunday, February 2, 2014

Martha's Burden

I do not get excited about most western movies.  If Jimmy Stewart or Henry Fonda isn’t in it, I probably will not enjoy it.  I chose to watch Dead Man’s Burden (written and directed by Jared Moshe) because Clare Bowen (Scarlett on ABC’s Nashville) is one of my favorite actresses.  I began with the attitude that I enjoy Bowen’s work enough to tolerate a western.  Little did I know that I would watch this movie twice in one weekend. 

Moshe’s western has all of the “shoot em up” and acts of revenge you would expect from a western, but it is much more complex.  It is not immediately evident that Bowen’s character, Martha Kirkland, is the protagonist.  At first it seems like a typical conflict between “good guy” Wade McCurry (played by Barlow Jacobs) and Heck Kirkland (played by David Call).  Moshe downplays the star role to emphasize the insignificance of women who lived on the barren western front.  He demonstrates the psychological desperation of women doomed to this dirty, hungry, and barren life through Martha.  The landscape itself screams of dirt and oppression.  Even when the film seems to move a little too slowly, Moshe is demonstrating the psychological effect of living in this environment. 

We have seen many western heroines.  Maureen O’Hara uses humor to portray an overbearing, but loveable, wife opposite John Wayne in Andrew McLaglen’s McLintock.  Katharine Hepburn plays a tough woman opposite John Wayne in Stuart Millar’s Rooster Cogburn.  While these grand ladies entertain us, we do not have a true sense of the typical life for women during these times.  Bowen’s character has a different kind of strength – one born out of oppression.   Her character is believable.  The film might be titled Dead Man’s Burden, but the burden is clearly upon Martha Kirkland.    

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Journey to the Isle of Freedom

The Journals of Captain Cooke chronicle a long and sometimes incredulous journey. The seas were not always calm. The people who inhabited the islands he documents were not always friendly. Early in his travels, Cooke thought he was saving the savages by bringing civilization to their lands. Later he was torn with conflicting thoughts because he could see that civilization brought disease, death, and corrupted the natives. If he had been less intrusive or able to supervise the movement to civilization, it might have been different. His intentions were good, but the results were questionable.

I made a similar decision on my journey to freedom from the Nicodemon. I quit smoking several years ago. Smoking cessation is clearly a positive change. I had introduced a different way of living. I was diligent in this lifestyle change in the beginning. After a while, though, I forgot to nurture the journey. I thought it was over. After 5 years and 23 days, I started smoking again. I was depressed and stressed and thought “just one” would calm my nerves. It did not. I know now that this type of lifestyle change needs continuous supervision and nurturing.

My journey has been fraught with stormy seas for the last 25 months. I became even more depressed because I could not quit smoking. As a result, I smoked more. I can see a clearing on the horizon now. And there, just ahead, is a new island – The Isle of Freedom. I will reach The Isle of Freedom on January 24. I anticipated a rocky landing. My ship may be damaged in the landing. I will not let these little problems stop me from assimilating to the lifestyle of the island. I will find the darkest cave where the Nicodemon lives and slay that beast.

This is a positive decision! This is a positive lifestyle change, and there will be no regrets this time. This journey will end on calm seas!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Learning to Ride in Sand

Learning to ride a bike is not the easiest task for a youngster, but I don’t remember that part of it. I was never a graceful child and still lack grace as an adult.   I am sure that I had a few skinned knees and elbows, but I do not remember them.  I do remember my banana seat bike and the tassels on the handlebars.   The supporting metal for the seat made a perfect handle for Daddy’s hand to hold me steady as I learned to ride.  I never even knew that he let go of me when I first rode on my own.  We lived on a sandy road, so it was difficult for a little girl to pedal.  I guess it was difficult for adults, too, because Daddy flew over the handlebars when he tried to show me to how to get around a curve in the sand.  I did learn to manage the sand and spent many hours “exploring” on my bike. 
I have tried many times to stop smoking, but it is a little like riding in the sand.  I am still learning and not very good at it.  I took a five year ride before I fell and scraped my knees pretty badly.  It has taken me over 2 years to get up the courage to try to ride again.  I am there now and have set a date.  January 24 I will once again go smoke free.  In the meantime, I will prepare myself.  Part of that preparation will be blogging. 
I am going to ride my bike through the sand and slay the Nicodemon forever this time!