Thursday, November 26, 2009

Sometimes it doesn't have to make sense

That's a line from a movie I just watched, Grand Canyon. One of the great movies. It even mentions Thanksgiving in it, so there. It seemed appropriate to me to watch it tonight, I don't know why. My son wanted to watch his Babylon 5 DVDs, and I suggested we watch the last episode of season 5, which he told me was supposed to sum up the series but which we never saw. So he pulled it out and we watched the last two episodes, in which various characters go off and do their various things. I was never a big fan of the series, I always thought it was both too preachy and poorly acted, or written, or something. Every episode seemed like half the dialog was busy recapping the action of previous episodes, when it wasn't being monological and preachy.

But the last episode did somehow inspire me to watch Grand Canyon, a movie I always get more out of every time I watch it, even if it's only to figure out where I've seen that actor before. This time I see that the failure of Davis to learn from th opportunity life handed him is due to his excessive rationality. The whole point is that, I don't know, 'rationality is a subset.' Reason is a great way to get from here to there but not a great way to pick a there to go to. The greater part of life is faith, and trust. There was a philosopher who wrote years ago on the importance of trust, that we live every day, trusting that other people aren't going to do us harm. That we take so much on faith because we don't know barely anything, much less everything. Everybody needs faith, and everybody has faith. Not necessarily A Faith, mind you, and in fact I'm distrustful of Faiths with a capital F simply because I think they take the place of a more natural faith that a person can and should come up with on his own. I see no reason to take seriously a Faith that's so simplistic it can be turned without serious revision into a fantasy novel.

As a writer I know this very well. I create the stories but even I don't know what's going to happen next, a lot of the time. I can get my characters going down the forest path, but that's a pretty boring story and they have to get off the forest path PDQ, but how will that happen? I don't know, until I'm driving down the road or doing some shopping and an idea pops into my head. My stories are about faith, all stories are, or should be, but I know that they'll never be complete and they'll never be true. By writing them, I put some elements of my own faith into words and thereby change them. It is my hope that someone reading my stories will see that and perhaps have his own faith changed thereby.

But I'll never know, and they may not either.

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