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pressed flowers

4 January 2009

this weekend i ran into one of the DU cross country boys who lived in wallace hall last year. felt a little pang of missing students and the random interactions that working/living in a building full of them can bring. [not getting too nostalgic, though. 3:00 a.m. fire alarms? alcohol incidents? mysterious smells? those I don’t miss.] I asked how he was doing, and if he was still running. His response:
“oh you know it!  cold weather doesn’t stop me!”
Oh, it stops me, I told him, sad to admit that I haven’t done any quality running since the week after my race. Another reason to look forward to spring…

I ran into this student on my way into the movie DOUBT, which just might be my favorite so far this year. Well shot, well acted, thought-provoking, complicated.

And Philip Seymour Hoffman. He makes everything better.

I don’t want to say much more about it and give anything away, but I will give you one quote: “doubt can be a bond as powerful and sustaining as certainty.” PSH says this in a sermon early in the film, assuring the parishioners that even when they suffer they are never alone.

The last six months for me have been filled with uncertainty. I draw them out in particular because tomorrow is my six-month birthday [no gifts, please :) ], and that means six months ago I was in Venice. My birthday in Italy was one of those too-good-to-be-true days. An early morning walking the streets of Venice by myself, finding an Italian bookshop, later having my first cappuccino with my friends, wandering outside to the Peggy Guggenheim museum where we saw Pollock, Ernst, Magritte, Duchamp…all those art history class names in one place, ate gelato on the Rialto bridge, had dinner at a little place the boys picked out, and met Oscar, our chatty and delightful waiter whose anecdotes and animated personality became a highlight of the trip. I remember sitting at the restaurant window, finishing the my huge tiramisu [so perfect. all other tiramisu wishes to be this tiramisu.], and just feeling so lucky. So satisfied.
“Amabile,” Oscar had taught us, means “sweet.”


A lot about my life has changed in those six months, and quite a bit has not gone as expected or planned. I don’t bring up my trip in order to bitch about “real life” in comparison with a European vacation… It’s more that I just want to celebrate that those kind of moments do happen. Remind myself that life can be amabile all the time.

The feeling of uncertainty, though, isn’t exclusive to the last six months. A feeling of being a little unsure of where my life is headed has been pervasive throughout my 20s. […because i’m 25, and far enough in now to make statements like that. gross. oops, 25 and a half. even worse…]

As the credits were rolling, and I was sitting in the dark [wiping some tears. i’ll admit it!], I remembered one of my favorite quotations from Anne Lamott, from one of my favorite books: Bird by Bird:

“E.L Doctorow once said that ‘writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.’ You don’t have to see where you’re going, you don’t have to see your destination or everything you will pass along the way. You just have to see two or three feet ahead of you. This is right up there with the best advice about writing, or life, I have ever heard.”

So what’s my point? :)
The weather in DOUBT, and subject matter, are both grey and gloomy.
I think it’s not too much of a spoiler to tell you that Priest PSH keeps pressed flowers in his Bible, which he explains are there to remind him of spring.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. 5 January 2009 3:52 pm

    Sarah – your RSS feed is no longer a full feed. I hope you’ll restore it to full feed so I can most easily keep up with your thoughts and ideas.

  2. 5 January 2009 9:42 pm

    In the past 6 months you have met me and I have made your life more amabile with all my cheesecake and such.
    Probably not what you mean by this entry.
    Ah well.
    If I had money I would go see Doubt, but I will probably wait until the dollar theatre/TV/Red box. It is on my list of “to see”s however.
    Also on my list of “to see”s would be you and all my Skinny friends. Luckily this will be accomplished on Friday.

  3. kris permalink
    6 January 2009 4:55 pm

    Can’t wait to see it. Good line from sermon this week: faith is not about getting answers, but about asking questions. Seems to go well with a doubt theme to me.

  4. 7 January 2009 2:23 pm

    have you seen slumdog? Its good too. I wish I was in Europe 6 months ago! I want so badly to go on a little vacay and remember that there is life outside of this grayish skied Springfield


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