For instance (unpopular Catholic blog opinion time), I loved, loved, loved, loved Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Ring series. We watched it over and over again. We watched it with the extended versions and in some cases, with elvish subtitles. Now, I found myself distracted, some how unable to quite see why I found it so engrossing except I remember enjoying soaking in all the beauty and detail and music and everything. Maybe because I already knew it, it no longer felt as rich, my eyes weren’t drawn everywhere.
This week, we watched the Godfather series and again, I remember being drawn in deeply, loving the detail. Perhaps because I’ve watched countless Food Network and Top Chef scenes with Italy that gave that same sensory overload without the bullets or knives going into people every other moment, I found myself not interersted. Movies I once loved, I found I couldn’t. Perhaps it was the pandemic, the fatigue of movies remaining forever stapled on the small screen, but films needed to work harder to hold my heart and mind. I noticed it with musicals, recogonizing the racism in some classic musicals that hurt my capacity to enjoy them. Had I simply lost interest in movies that were sagas, had Netflix ruined my capacity to immerse in a mere three or nine hour series? No, I’d watched all the marvel movies in a row over the course of a week. I knew how to marathon read, marathon watch, marathon play, marathon write, the only marathons I don’t do are actual marathons because I don’t run.
So what changed?
Well, I think it’s rather like editing a book. I can be very invested in a topic and want to write volumes but when I get to the editing, I hate my topic and wonder why in heavens name I decided to try doing this in the first place.
Editing my current book, I love the quotes, I love the Doctors of the Church, but I despise the reality that everyone quotes the doctors of the church, nobody cites them. One would think with the internet, all things would be easily found. The reality is, I can find the quotes, a million pinterests pins of the quotes, but I can’t find where –other than the internet, the quotes come from exactly. People take liberty with quotes, editing them here and there, making the phrases written from a different time in a different tongue. The result, I look at quotes, look at quotes, scan through pdfs, and finally decide how I will cite the quote, I worry that where an army of one hunting through the writings of 36 Doctors for 365 quotes might err, the internet army that does not love anyone, will reveal all errors but without mercy within moments.
It’s rather like raising teens. They reveal my errors on a regular basis. I love my children, I’m very invested in their long term success and want to help in all the volumes of ways that a mom wants. No one wants to hear any quotes I might have to say, much less cite them. They’re much more interested in explaining to me how all my thoughts, new and otherwise, are outmoded and unuseful. As they grow and stretch and push against adulthood, I wince because what once entertained them, now bores –where it used to fascinate, and I wonder if I’m now like the movies.
Maybe one day, some of these films will enchant again, and the internet will include links to the works from which the words come as people become more sophisticated about their own use of citations/quotes. Who knows, maybe I won’t appear to my kiddos to be either the Rankin Bass Version of The Hobbit or Peter Jackson’s three film epic disaster.
Maybe they’ll remember the music and attention to detail and the swelling of epic moments that made the films we loved an escape into somewhere else, and remember that mom and dad, we did that too with meals and holidays and trips and games, ordinary things and games, gardens and stories. This is the Easter season when “Behold, I make all things new,” and I hope one day, that’s true for how the kids will see us. I suspect it will be when they take on new roles, our roles, for someone else.