Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Life may imitate art, but often great art reminds us of life




One of my favorite movies is "You've Got Mail" with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks. At one point, Meg Ryan's character asks why is it that instead of something in a book reminding her of life that it's the other way around. So much of what she sees reminds her of a book.

I love that line. Because I often find myself comparing things that happen to a book I've read. Not that that's hard to do since I read about two to three books a week. Sometimes I even wish I could live in a book. Or at least that story world.

Which reminds me of another favorite movie, "Sleepless in Seattle". Rosie O'Donnell's character tells Meg Ryan's character that she doesn't want to be in love. She wants to be in love in a movie.


Wouldn't we all want to fall in love in a movie or romance novel? Things are so heightened and passionate. They're larger than life. And we can plan on our happy ending coming, even if we have to go through the dark moment first.

I think part of the reason the relationships on "The Bachelor" don't last much beyond the show is because the reality can't compete with the over the top dates, bigger than life vacations and fantasy suites. There's a big difference between fighting over the bills and travelling to Costa Rica. But we the viewers continue to tune in to the show because we want to believe the fantasy. We want to believe that a man can find true love on television. The show hasn't been on seventeen seasons for no reason.


So do we hold on to the fantasy of art or the reality of life? Can't we have both? Sometimes we need one more than the other. I know that when life gets too stressful, I tend to read more romance novels. When life becomes predictable, I read mysteries. I let my life influence my art.

And isn't that what a great life should do?

12 comments:

  1. Wow, the Bachelor's been on TV for seventeen seasons!
    I've never seen it.
    You mentioned two of my all-time favorite movies, though. I use You've Got Mail in one of my workshop.
    Great post. I love romance.

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    1. I could watch those movies every day and find something new each time. Great stories and great characters.

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  3. I adore every movie you mentioned, Syndi... and The Bachelor! Your post is terrific. It reminded me just how important that fantasy is- that we do need to escape our daily lives and imagine the what ifs of romance :) You also picked some of my all time favorite movie quotes and thank you for sharing them! Plus, I think movies and books like this inspire us to raise our expectations on love and how we should be romanced by our men. A card on 2/14 does not cut it- especially when the gift inside is tickets to a Yankees game. (Okay, I actually love baseball- but still..) I want wine, flowers and candlelight- not a braying hot dog vendor, an overflowing solo cup of beer and blaring midday sun. At least not when I want to feel romantic. Thanks for sharing this great blog post with us, Syndi!

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    1. Oh, Karen, I love baseball too! If I'd been a guy, I'd have wanted to be a pro baseball (Atlanta Brave the Bobby Cox years) player. As it was, I played 'C' ball until I slid into third base and damaged six verbebra. I'd take tickets on my birthday. My hubby still needs work on the Now-This-Is-Romantic scale. So, tickets would be an improvement LOL

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    2. I think these movies do play out our ideas of what romance is. We want to feel that rush of falling in love. And these movies definitely help us feel that :)

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  4. Syndi, love those movies. I only ever watched the first bachelor program and there was a lot of bad press about the program being scripted to make him choose the woman people who watched the program had sympathy for and that really they didn't like each other much. Just the other day I saw on TV that only 2 of the seasons resulted in the couple actually getting married. So I don't know about fantasy working out. It takes so much more than smoke and mirrors to make a solid, long-lasting marriage. Love that sticks through the ups and downs needs a rock-solid foundation I think. And I believe that's really what romance stories are about.

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    1. The Bachelor definitely likes to play up the fantasy side of romance, but very little of it is "reality". That said, I do enjoy watching the show. And trying to figure out which woman he will pick.

      Good romance novels are the ones that have a mix of both the fantasy and the reality of romance. There should still be the sense of magic though. That's what hooks me.

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  5. Syndi - apparently you picked the two movies we ALL adore. I can still watch either one yet one more time and enjoy it completely because it's all about yearning and the hero and heroine being held apart until we can't stand it one more minute! Like Pam, I've never seen The Bachelor - to each his own, and that program has certainly tapped into something the audience relates to or it wouldn't have lasted seventeen season. But I confess to just not getting it - it's so manufactured and unbelievable. But that's just me. My husband is an artist - or was until the neuropathy - and our home is filled with paintings of the riverfront where we've walked together with the children and a long line of dogs since we moved here 36 years ago. My heroes are always a composite of men I admire, and Ron's always at my hero's heart. So, art imitates life at our house. Good thoughts, Syndi and everybody!

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    1. Awww, that's so sweet, Muriel. Ron must be a special guy.

      Like I said, I think the reason most of the relationships don't last is because of what you said: it's manufactured. I'll see something and ask my husband if he thinks the producer told the bachelor to say or do something. But I still love the show. This season, the bachelor is a true gentleman with good looks and a genuine heart. I'm enjoying it because I think he is trying to be real among the fake. He reminds me of the heroes we try to write.

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  6. What a great post, Syndi! It's interesting to think about the interaction between art and life and how each seems to inspire the other.

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    1. Laura, I have to admit that some of what happens in my stories is inspired by real events with my family/friends as well as things I've seen or read with a twist. But that's a post for next week ;)

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