“Poor Soames!”

This is cross-posted on Blogcritics

Yes, I recorded it. Of Course! I’ll be watching it all week. The Forsytes are a complicated family, and stand up to repeat examination. Old Jolyon, Young Jolyon and Soames Forsyte are the men of note. Little June grows up before our eyes and Winifred scandalizes everyone, but harmlessly. Mostly. The Aunts tut tut over every little thing. There seems to be such importance placed on the smallest detail of propriety. And they all take such pride in the “Forsyte’s good name.”

The Victorian age was a tough time for people to figure out. With the Industrial era setting in, people who had no formal expectation of rising socially found themselves filthy rich and wanting to be upper class. England’s class system of nobility couldn’t hold all the worthy contenders.

Since nobility was not as easy to achieve as wealth, they had to settle on a different measure of what was upper class. Money, naturally, was easy to decide on. But there was that other part of nobility…nobility of character… that was implied (in complete disregard of evidence of such in their ranks) to the noble classes. Respectability was prized. If you were rich, but were vulgar or not respectable, all the other people, so desperately clawing for status, could look down upon you. You can see how the slightest impropriety would be pounced on as grounds for derision and exclusion.

Yes, the Victorians were prudish. And extremely money conscious. The Forsyte series makes that immediately evident.

But the Victorians were not without heart. Anyone who has read the Bronte Sisters knows the kind of high-flown passion the Victorians held dear. Jane Eyre and Heathcliff and all of them, falling so deeply in love, like falling off a cliff. They had nothing to orient them, and no handhold to grasp. Except respectability, which Jane had and Heathcliff did not.

So the Forsyte, and the rest of the Victorians, followed the rules to stay on track. There were so many rules, so so many, that it would keep them occupied past their moments of passion.

Young Jolyon, the artist, was able to recognize his passion. He knew enough to see the pearl of great price and give up what he had to in order to take it. He had the capacity for great love. It is easy for the viewer to recognize that—he is the artist after all.

But for poor Soames, to encounter the passion of his life and have nothing preparing him for it, the situation is agonizing. He was impeccable, always doing the right thing at the right time. Nothing but that, and always that, the right thing. He is the one who pushes the other Forsytes to harden their hearts against the members of their clan who trespass. Soames expresses the harsh opinion of “people” without a word, merely maintaining the hardness of his features.

It is chilling and wonderful.

But when he meets Irenie, he is lost. He is helpless in the face of his love, admiration and passion for her. There are so many men who are capable of falling so hard in love, but might be like Soames, having absolutely no idea what to do with their feeling.

Soames blunders it. He knows how to be respectable, but he doesn’t know how to enjoy life. Irene does, but he will not learn from her. He expects her to meet him on his terms. It is not hard to see how this will turn out.

I am mesmerized by Soames, even more than Irene or Young Jolyon. He is so controlled, that when he finally says “You are charming beyond words,” it is as if the words were formed in flame.

I can’t wait to see the rest of the series.

Check your local listings. I think many places repeat the first episode, and the rest is still coming.

And if you don’t “do” TV, then by all means read the books. They are as good, maybe better.

forsyte saga

It has beautiful dresses and restrained passion. And ENGLISH ACCENTS!

It’s a chick show. It’s wonderful

The Forsyte sage began tonight on Masterpiece theater. I have been looking forward to it for weeks now. I had the chance to read the series years ago, before I really understood anything about anything. I’ve only seen the first part of the series, and I’m already finding it much richer than I remembered it.

It’s worth watching. The series captures the late-Victorian middle class’s obsession with money and propriety.

And then love. Where DOES love fit into a well-regulated household?

Soames is marvelous, he behaves like a stalker. It’s great! He’s so beside himself. And he’s so bad!

All of the characters are fabulous. I will be watching.

creativity

I’ve blogged before about creativity; I consider creative thought and expression to be of high value and usefulness. It is something I want to foster with my life and habits, and to encourage those I know to pursue their own creative endeavors.

I’ve described creativity very loosely, as any type of artistic expression. Drawing, Music, writing, sewing, dance—all these are easily identifiable as creative expression.

But as I thought about it, I realize that those ART categories are not the only way people are creative. I have known a lot of folks who considered their computer programs as a creative expression, and I can agree with them. Computer science, Mathematics, chemistry, and other sciences can be a framework to express creative minds.

In fact, many of these sciences rely on the creativity of their practitioners to directly improve the products and services used every day.

So, maybe creativity is not what I really mean.

If I use a pattern from Butterick, and create a poodle skirt for a Halloween costume, that is being creative. But I didn’t really create anything new.

And if I play a popular song on my piano, I haven’t really created anything new.

Not really. A little bit, I guess. Because I took an old favorite and made it my own. But I didn’t add much.

But if I sat at my piano and wrote a whole new song, that would be quite creative. That would be original.

I think that originality is the highest pursuit of creativity.

It is SO exciting to come upon an original idea. I know that one of the things I love so much about going to school was encountering new ideas. Even when they are not original, they are new to ME.

I never learned to play it cool in the classroom..I am the girl sitting in the front row that raises her hand and makes the point the teacher was just about to make before he can make it.

The teacher is droning …”And so, this leads to the 2nd law of thermodynamics, which says…”

Me: “You mean everything in the universe is tending towards entropy?”

Pause

Teacher: “Why yes, thank you…”

Sometimes, I would connect the dots long before the teacher got to them. I would have figured out what he was about to teach, maybe a week in advance. I would be all excited, thinking I had understood something in a new way that no one had ever seen before.

But then we would get to that part of the chapter, and I would discover that my incredible new theory about the universe was already fully articulated by the ancient Greeks.

It sort of let the air out of the balloon. I was thinking I was brilliant and original, possibly a hidden genius for my great idea! But everyone else in the world already knew it.

What can you do?

I would often go to talk to my teachers about some idea I had, and they would always say, “Have you read this particular book? The author talks about that theory you are discussing.”

It makes me wonder if I have any original ideas at all. Apparently, all the licenses on original thought are sold.

But it also doesn’t take very much originality to go very very far. If one person comes up with a new idea, a TON of people are right there to copy it in a million different ways.

I mean, look at fashion. The fashions always seem to be regurgitations of the previous fashions from a respectful distance in the past.

Some major designer comes out with his or her expensivoso designs, based on older designs by some previous expensivoso. Then those are instantly snapped up by all the knock-off designers who make clothes for Target and Wal-Mart and K-Mart and all the other places.

There maybe have been, like, 5 grams of creativity in the entire fall clothing lines of the entire United States of America. Do you see what I mean? A little creativity goes a long way.

Also, creativity doesn’t usually happen in large amounts. I don’t know why, maybe it just doesn’t work like that. But most original ideas are simply a rearrangement of ideas already lying around.

The printing press, that boost-us-out-of-the-dark-ages device, was really thrown together out of ideas that had been used for the whole darn dark ages anyway.

But it did open people’s minds. Rearranging what has been there all along, and juxtapositioning things that had never been together before is enlightening.

Kind of like the fashion of the 70’s, which we seem to be reliving…free your mind:
Red and Pink CAN go together!
NOW ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!

Baby steps, my friends…Our minds open slowly.

Very slowly. We don’t move even incrementally towards new ideas. I think it’s more like fractions of increments towards new ideas.

Some though, have minds set to be open. The really creative ones, they have their minds ajar, as it were.

That’s how I would like to be. Always open to new ideas.

At the same time, there is the fear, a real fear…At what point does the mind’s door become unhinged?

It’s well known that genius is close kin to madness.

Daily life rewards routine and patterns. Step outside of the pattern, and people will be bothered by the asymmetry.

But maybe some, maybe just enough, would be delighted.

CAT FIGHT!

I am inadvertently in the middle of a cat fight here at work. My job deals a lot with Administrators, Receptionists and Secretaries.
Maybe this place is sexist…They all seem to be women.

Anyway, some woman told another woman that something was cancelled, and the second woman told the first woman that she had no right to cancel anything, and then SHE told HER that MURPHY said to, so there!

Whoops.

It was all a silly misunderstanding, but now these women are threatening to not speak to one another.

Goodness.

Some people here, certainly none of them my direct superiors, are under the impression that I am important. Therefore, when such an important person as myself says something, IT IS TO BE OBEYED.

I am still curious where they are getting that “important” vibe. I don’t feel important. Right now, I just feel busy.

Is that what being important feels like? Maybe I’m more important than I thought.

DOCK STRIKE

There is a Dock strike in LA.

My sweet boyfriend, known for his unfailing foresight, asked me if I’d heard about it.

I had.

NPR was talking about how it was affecting truckers, and I was thinking about my friend Karen’s dad, who is a trucker. But Chris said, “You’d better do your Christmas shopping early this year.”

“Really? Why?”

“All those cheap christmas gifts come from Asia. And we’re going to run out of cheap stuff from Asia or it’s going to get really expensive really quick if this strike lasts any length of time.”

Good point. Now all you readers can be prepared.

But this makes me feel sad, too. China has such a terrible human rights and labor rights record. I can just picture all the little child workers, making assembly line Santa Clauses for Americans, and they don’t even have enough money to buy themselves decent toys, let alone get presents for Christmas.

It’s just wrong.

It’s October, and frankly, I don’t feel like it.

It’s October, and frankly, I don’t feel like it.

“Like what?” you might ask.

Anything.

I would like to be effortlessly fabulous. Profound, beautiful, gracious, yet keenly witty.
It’s not happening. I am dull, rumpled, cranky and can only grunt.

unh.

Furthermore, I have no motivation to go out and “Make it happen!” so that I could become all those fabulous things I just said.
Richard Simmons would disapprove, I know.

I wish I had had the forethought to pre-record everything I have to do today so that I could press “play” and go back to bed.