Archive for October, 2012


Clouds over Crater Lake

Movie reviews set us up to believe that Cloud Atlas is unique in the way it zips us back and forth through time and shows us how people and events connect from era to era, but Jim Broadbent’s character, sitting at his typewriter, gives us a clue—this movie is the equivalent of literary fiction in structure; it uses “tricksy” devices, flashbacks, foreshadows, repetition and such to make a point that, in the end, is not all that profound: everything is connected.

Most interesting is the question the movie poses: How much leeway do we have to change the natural order of things? What can and should be changed and what should be left alone? (more…)


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The argument between science and spirit is an old one. In writers’ group we analyzed E.M.Forster’s short story The Other Side of the Hedge where a man strides a dusty road toward an unknown goal. He tires of the effort and monotony of his journey, sits down, and feels the breath of fresh air blowing gently through a hedge alongside the road. Curious, he crawls through the hedge and discovers what we might call a parallel universe (and some would call Eden or heaven) on the other side where time stands still and people live joyfully in the moment. Perplexed, he says:

Give me life with its struggles and victories, with its failures and hatreds, with its deep moral meaning and its unknown goal.

Our conversation focused on the degree to which striving makes us human. We acknowledged that an unknown end discourages us; I would add especially as we get closer to it.


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