Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sharing more than thoughts . . .

"Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly."

Bangers and Mash with a pint in an English Pub

There is a variety of ways to share food: giving to a food bank, taking a dish to a pot luck, asking friends over for a meal, and vice versa. The most intimate sharing however is when you say "this is really good," and pass to me a bite straight from your plate . . . on your own fork. . . and wait for me to take it to my mouth and render my own opinion. This is sharing yourself, as well as your bacteria, etc.

Now it should be no surprise that Barbara and I share bites of food all the time. I have a (pathological?) aversion to ordering the same thing as her (she?) when we go out to eat, since if I order the same thing we only get to sample that one dish, but if I order something different, the variety in our dining experience is doubled!

The other evening we were out with friends. (Yes we have a few.) Among the 4 of us we had 2 wines, 3 starters, 4 entrees and one desert, and each of us tasted most of these. The one desert was delivered, as we requested, with 4 forks. It wasn't quite a group of pacific islanders sitting around eating with our hands from a common bowl, but it wasn't far removed either. As we shared the food, we also shared experiences, thoughts, feelings, and plans. It all seemed natural, right, and pleasurable, and left us with warm feelings at the end of the evening.

Most friends seem eager to share an especially nice dish, some share with a little encouragement, and some just are not into sharing their food that way. One can usually tell if friends are the "sharing" types or not, and not sharing one's dinner makes them no less a friend.

Sharing . . . something we should have learned as children . . . can be a tremendous enrichment to this life, and that includes lunchtime.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Books into Movies

A number of years ago, I had more or less given up on going to movies of a good book I had already read. Even Remains of the Day, as good as Hopkins was, left me disappointed when the full power of the book just wasn't quite there for me. Then, several years ago, I decided to see The Shipping News, mainly because I'm such a Judi Dench fan, even though I could not conceive of how this Pulitzer-winning novel could possibly be transferred to the screen. I was most pleasantly surprised, and these days I have to keep open the possibility that a screenwriter and a director might have successfully transformed a good book into a just-as-good movie.

This week I have seen the ads for an upcoming movie "No Country for Old Men," and again I am mystified as to how it would be possible to bring Cormac McCarthy's book of the same name to the screen. Cormac is a good writer about a bad world. From Blood Meridian to The Road, the dark, depraved, bad (evil?) side of humankind dominates and overwhelms his writings, though the protagonist are, for the most part, good men. No Country is no different, and scene after scene of depraved violence fills the pages. Here, the worlds of evil and good are perhaps more crystal clear than in his other works, and maybe that is why we now will have the movie. Sheriff Bell is a quiet Christian (Presbyterian judging by his predestinationist philosophy), looking for the good while living with the bad, and contemplating regularly over his good fortune to meet and marry Emma, his wife of several decades. McCarthy emphaticlly separates these positive thoughts into completely separate, short chapters, printed entirely in italics. As the title of the book suggest, there is an alienation of this older man from much of current socitey, maybe that's what drew me into the book to begin with.

I find Cormac McCarthy books cannot be read in sequence, but need some space (years?) between them. There are brief moments of salvation in the perdition through which his stories wind, but you pay dearly to catch those glimpses. No Country for Old Men is not considered one of Cormac's top works, and is just a few pages beyond a short story (thus ideal for a movie script). Knowing the penchance of the movie-makers for overdoing graphical violence, I don't know if I will see this movie even out of curiosity.