Monday, June 25, 2007

Life is Beautiful

This weekend I retreated from the busyness that is the city, and relaxed with my books in the small town of Winnipeg Beach. I don't know about everyone else, but when I allow myself to slow down and enjoy each moment, I often experience seemingly simple, yet wonderfully beautiful things about this life. And at the end of the day, this is what inspires me most.

I experienced three rather poignant things this weekend, and I feel I must share. Perhaps having a blog is just an excuse to keep a public diary of sorts, but I was so encouraged by what I experienced, I feel it wrong of me to keep all to myself. :)

Experience 1 - The delightful old man, his hair all askew

On Saturday Tams and I were in the little store at Winnipeg Beach with her grandma [who lives there] and we were looking over the fresh meats.

A kindly-looking older man, who obviously spent more time using a hammer than a comb, stopped us and held out a package of meat. He leaned towards us and said, "Excuse me, can I cook this in the fry pan?"

I, being the non-cooker of the pack, [I am much more creative outside of the kitchen!], stepped back and let them field this question. I didn't realize how much his answer would impact me.

They reassured him he could cook that quite fine in a fry pan, to which he replied, smiling in spite of himself,
"You know, I should have paid more attention to my wife when she cooked. I just built houses and never noticed, and then she up and got sick and was gone just like that."

He looked away smiling as if to remember her fondly, as he placed the meat into his cart and kept on shopping. I couldn't help but notice how awkward he looked trying to buy his own groceries. Much like myself going to buy a drill in a hardware store.

It just reminded me... everyone around us is leading such drastically different lives, yet it's so easy to ignore people. And despite his scattered exterior; his wiry hair sticking out everywhere and his mussed shorts and t-shirt, he was one of the most beautiful characters I think I have ever met. Even though I told myself I was going to take a sketch-break this weekend, as soon as we came back home, I had to sketch him. It was my way of never forgetting him.

Experience 2 - Snow Cake, surprisingly warm for the heart

We picked up a couple rentals to watch this weekend, one of which was Snow Cake. I have to confess, we decided to rent this solely because of the three main actors whom I adore - Alan Rickman [a la Harry Potter - I would sit if he read me the dictionary], Sigourney Weaver [love the experienced actresses] and Carrie-Ann Moss [of Matrix fame].

This is perhaps one of the best films I have ever seen. It was refreshing, poignant, insightful, touching, exhilaratingly honest, beautifully made, sensitive without being cheesy, indie-feeling without being annoyingly confusing.... incredible writing, amazing acting, heartfelt yet real-to-life story. It dealt with adult autism, death and loss.... but with such compassion and profound humor, it was a joy to get lost in it for a couple of hours. Especially Sigourney Weaver's character was quite wonderful to admire.

I wasn't even ready to hear a story of such amazing capacity... and it sincerely reminded me why I wanted to even get into this ol' film industry. It's films like this that remind you why this medium is so important. Perhaps humanity itself is probably the best plot theme of all. Special effects, schmecial effects.

I normally don't use this blog for reviews, but I felt this one was a definite must-see. Of course, there is always the obligatory scene that it could have done without... but I honestly feel that everyone's life would be better if they watched this film.

And to top this cake off with some incredibly satisfying icing - they mention Winnipeg like 8 times! It's actually set in Wawa, Ontario, but Alan Rickman's character is on his way to Winnipeg. That's worth the price of admission right there.

So what are you waiting for, get to your nearest Blockbuster!

Experience 3 - Great books are underrated

I am currently enjoying three books, all of which are delicious in their own way. One, an Agatha Christie mystery [I am determined to discover for myself what my mom's been raving about all these years], two, Chuck Amuck, Chuck Jones' own story of his animated experiences [such an amazing book I shall reserve for its' own post later on], and three, the above new book by a fav author of mine, Max Lucado.

Sure, the cover is [intended to be] cheesy, but what's inside is surely not. I'm about halfway through this incredibly appealing read, and already I want to re-read it so as not to forget anything.

I don't care whatcha believe in, or how you want to live your life, I think we can all agree that we'd like more help in sincerely enjoying every day of our lives to the fullest. Well, I think ol' Max here has put into sentences most things I have wondered about and have wanted to ask. Just some plain old encouragement on enjoying life. And who doesn't want that? I know I do. :) I am grateful for people like him who have the gift to publish things like this.

And with that I say, life is beautiful.


Brad said...

I'm so glad you took time to sketch that guy and share a bit of his story. It has inspired me to try and write a song influenced by this guy's story for this neat little riff I've been saving up. Maybe for once I can finish a song!!!!

Stacey Chomiak said...

Rock on with da inspirato!

Sounds like a coolio plan, Stan.

Tammy said...

Excellent reviews, Stace! I must rent this movie. It has foreign languages on the cover, so - hello?? - it must be good.

Pete Emslie said...

That's a very sweet anecdote about the old man, Stacey. That's the sort of thing you want to file away in your memory on the chance it may inspire something later on in your filmmaking or artwork.

Judging by your impression of the film, "Snow Cake", it occurs to me that you might enjoy a favourite film of mine too. It's an Italian film from 1988 entitled "Cinema Paradiso", and it is as poignant and wonderful a film as you could ever hope to see. Since it's a foreign language film, it sounds like it might already have Tammy's approval! Check it out on IMDB or Amazon.


Stacey Chomiak said...

Hmm, that sounds great, Pete!

I should definitely plan to rent that movie... I love to hear about great finds, as there are so many films out there but so few GREAT ones!

Speaking of GREAT finds... one more sleep til Ratatouille!!! [I have high hopes :) ]