Sunday, February 10, 2013

William Styron

It is February. The weather is cold and grey. The wind is blowing and there is nowhere to go, all day. This reminds the old man of his favorite movie, Ground Hog Day with Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell and Chris Elliott.

The old man went to the movies with his wife to see Jude Law and Rooney Mara in Side Effects - wife's choice, not his.

Let's face it, the old man is not into depressing movies, even if they are well acted and well written. Movies should entertain. And life is depressing enough, especially in February when the air is cold and the wind blows.

There is a mention of William Styron in the movie. Let's see if I can remember. "It’s like a fog moving in over the intellect," I think, ...which is a quote from George Plimpton's 1999 interview with Styron, William Styron, The Art of Fiction No. 156 for the Paris Review. No, that can't be quite right, for it must have come from one of his books. Oh wait, here is the movie line - Emily, the disturbed patient, tells Banks, her psychiatrist, she exists within “a poisonous fog bank.”

The line comes from William Styron’s personal memoir about depression, Darkness Visible.

So, one thing leads to another. Or does it? Isn't that one of the features of a depressed mind? It is not always rational, at least in a conventional sense. Depression always leads one into an abysmal sense of loss, a fog bank, in Styron's words. As for Styron's books, haven't read them, don't recommend them. Why choose depression when one can choose life. Isn't an  attitude just a way to think.

Since the movie Side Effects deals with the potentially devastating effects of pills on the brain, why not dispense with the pills? Ever notice that when a commercial comes on the television talking about depression, it plays depressing music and shows depressed people. If you didn't feel down and out before the commercial, you will afterwards.

Interviewed by George Plimpton in a Paris cafe for the Paris Review, Styron reiterates life's sense of despair. On writing, he explains:


Do you enjoy writing?


I certainly don’t. I get a fine, warm feeling when I’m doing well, but that pleasure is pretty much negated by the pain of getting started each day.

Let’s face it, writing is hell.
Bummer, but true.

If you made it this far into the article, maybe you will want to see the movie Side Effects. If so, here is a teaser. Warning, someone gets hurt in the movie.

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