margaret lafleur

"Who are we, who is each of us, if not a combinatoria of experiences, information, books we have read, things imagined? Each life is an encyclopedia, a library, an inventory of objects, a series of styles, and everything can be constantly shuffled and reordered in every way conceivable." (Italo Calvino)
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Not pictured: The Friday night in the ER or the way I broke down when a familiar, third-time-is-not-the-charm rejection came in, or the moments when grief felt overwhelming, or the dirty apartment that we’d be sure to clean next weekend. Also not pictured: the syllabus I’ve been shoring up before the semester starts, or the weekly box full of bright and green vegetables, or the nights we woke up to summer thunderstorms rolling overhead, or the way I feel reluctant to always follow up the horrible and sad with these small happy notes because it doesn’t always work, you know? Sometimes it doesn’t take the edge off, sometimes it doesn’t cushion the blow or soften the landing. But reluctance doesn’t win and this is always where I end up at the end of the month: here are the beautiful moments (a few of them, anyway).

Some Recommended Reading from August:

Gladys’s death was The Leftovers at its most (violently) harrowing. Nora’s conference was The Leftovers at its most (creepy) normal. Episode nine was The Leftovers at its (maybe not actual) best.

In a call back to the first episode, this week opened with The Chief running through the neighborhood. Or perhaps I should call him Kevin during this recap, since we learn as we watch him smoke an illicit cigarette and catch sight of a deer in the woods that this is not exactly the Chief we know. This is Kevin Garvey, running home to a larger, modern home and saying hello to his wife Laurie who is chatting (yes! Speaking!) on the phone as he comes in. His father, Mapleton’s Man of the Year, is still in charge, fully aware of his the so-called surprise party his son is planning and cutting him no breaks as Kevin slumps like an angry teenager in uniform.

More at The Stake!

Other Tidbits From This Week

  • I officially have zero interest in why the Departure happened. It’s probably the least interesting question they could answer at this point, and for that reason alone I’m going to emerge from the first season A Fan.
  • Ok, maybe I care about 5% because I am intrigued by the car of people who stopped in front a smoking Kevin to ask if he was ready, then claimed they thought he was someone else. Future GR members? Did they think the smoking was a sign!?
  • The imagery and the rhyming action on this show is so good. I actually think the writing on the show is better than the writing in the book, which is so interesting. Someone talk to me about this!
  • We even know about Neil, now!
  • But don’t forget about the present. What the GR planning? My theory: dressing up those dolls in outfits of Departed family members and sneaking them into homes (or schools/work/public), because they are that cruel.

If the philosophy of The Leftovers is that every mystery will be answered except for the big one, I think it is a philosophy I can live with. In “Cairo” and eight episodes into the first season, it’s clear that the show creators and writers may have learned from the frustration viewers felt at the end of Lost or the first season of True Detective.

Now we know what happened to the Chief’s white shirts. We know the truth about Gladys. Aimee’s given a little more depth, and the Guilty Remnant, by way of a tied up Patti, finally speaks. I’d hesitate to say any of these answers were satisfying, but isn’t that the way?

More at The Stake!

Other Tidbits From This Week:

  • Patti recites a W.B. Yeats poem, in her speech to the Chief.
  • I always end up leaving out much from the recaps. But there was even more beautiful mirror imagery, as Jill cuts loose the dog and the Chief cuts loose Patti.
  • There is a brief scene with Matt’s wife, who is paralyzed and seemingly brain damaged. But she moves a bit and is played by Janel Maloney, so I’m guessing she, at least, is going to “wake up” in some capacity before too long.
  • When Patti asked “What else is there to live for?” I wanted to argue with her. She knows what there is to live for, as we’ve seen her indulge in breakfast foods and childish pranks and take pleasure throwing barbs at the Chief. But the GR sees what they want to see, except they think that makes them holy somehow.
But even for women who realize they still have a lot of things to figure out, around age 30 a sense of acceptance begins to settle in. It’s when many of us experience our first big career payoffs, and allow ourselves to exhale a little because for once it doesn’t feel like we’re building our lives from scratch. On the cusp of 30 — in stark contrast with prior milestones like college graduation — you’re set up to finally start living your best life, or at least a realistic approximation of it. You realize you’ll never be a wunderkind, and you’re okay with that. In general, you give way fewer fucks.

The Power of 29: An Ode to Being Almost 30 - (via annfriedman)

This is comforting to read, now that I’m a month and a half from this particular milestone.