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Monday, 10.24.05:  Door In The Floor

Friday night we watched Door in the Floor (2004), with Jeff Bridges and Kim Basinger. It's about the disintegration of a marriage after a couple's two sons die -- an adaptation based on the novel Widow for One Year by John Irving. It combines the unspeakably tragic with the ridiculous as only John Irving can. Remember The World According to Garp? Or The Cider House Rules?

The action takes place several years after the accident, as things finally hit bottom for the couple, and is told through the eyes of a young writer's assistant Eddie O'Hare (Jon Foster), who is apprenticing with them over the summer. He is an innocent -- witnessing life's grand drama for the first time.

The Eddie O'Hare character reminded me of Stingo in Sophie's Choice or Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby. He's a young man with ambitions, excited to enter a world populated with fascinating larger-than-his-life characters. But he walks into the middle of adult world he's not equipped for. The youth is naive, maybe thinks he can join in or somehow help, but slowly the enormity of the situation is revealed.

I guess there are plenty of coming of age stories. But I can't think of many where the narrator comes of age by bearing witness to someone else's grown-up heartbreak. Think about Holden Caulfield in Catcher In The Rye or the hero in Bright Lights, Big City: the usual coming-of-age hero (or antihero) is totally absorbed in his own inner drama or busy making some terrible mistakes of his own to pay much attention to what others are enduring.

Why does this observation seem so important to me at the moment?

Maybe I'm just a post-modern chick...

As I try to get my mind into a writer's place I face my usual issue: who's story am I telling? I try to write a history but it always winds up being about me. Maybe I'm just a post-modern chick who realizes that there is no such thing as objectivity. I can't tell an objective story.

Oh, enough for today...

 

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