I recently watched The Road and I was an emotional wreck afterwards. The Road is an amazingly sad movie, but I don’t think I’ve cried after a movie before. I’ve had watery eyes many times, but not a full-on blubber like post-Road. I was useless for the rest of the night.
I did the same sort of thing after finishing the Cormac McCarthy’s novel The Road, but even that wasn’t as intense as what happened after the movie. I get emotional from time to time after finishing novels. After finishing The God of Small Things between classes on the U of U campus, I was in tears as I took my tray of cafeteria food up to the cashier. I was happy to get out of there without anyone asking me what was wrong. Literature appeals to me so much because it reminds me I have feelings, and that I’m not dead inside, which is more easily forgotten for me than you might think. Movies, though, not so much. I guess a couple hours of film isn’t enough time to dig all the way in to where my heart becomes tender. Until now, apparently.
A few days after watching The Road, I watched a TV episode where two characters get married (I won’t mention the show, lest I spoil it). Being made happy by fiction isn’t weird, but I was happy for each character’s emotional well-being, which seems like an important distinction. I was happy that these fictional people finally found someone to spend a fictional life with like they were my real friends. It felt like I was bordering some creepy line where one forgets that what one’s watching is fake. I felt like Brandon in Galaxy Quest.
Later, I decided to put Les Misérables on while doing some chores around the house. I lost it again during Anne Hathaway’s Oscar-winning performance. It was at this point I started wondering what in the world was happening to me. This recent emotional state isn’t just limited to media. I’m super happy and super sad for people out in the real world too. I haven’t felt like myself—my empathy has shot through the roof over the past few months. I sound like a jerk saying I haven’t felt like myself because I’ve been feeling empathetic. Perhaps I’m a little jerkish, but mostly I just get over a lot of stuff very quickly, whether it’s sad or happy. I would be a little worried that something was wrong with me, like a chemical imbalance or something, if I didn’t already know the answer.
Or think I do, anyway.
My personal writing is going very well. I spend a portion of most days writing a group of characters I love very much. I didn’t realize it until recently, but it’s the first time I’ve created characters I actually love. Turns out, until now, I’ve just put up with my characters because they’re necessary to tell the story. I feel like I’ve had some sort of emotional breakthrough with this current story. I know that loving your characters is an obvious tip, I just didn’t realize how I felt about past characters until I compared them to the group in this current project. It’s like thinking about ex-girlfriends now that I’m married. Nothing puts my past in perspective quite like my wife. Although I’m still sad those past stories didn’t work out and might go back to them, unlike said exes.
I have a cast of characters I love spending time with, but it’s been emotionally taxing. It takes a long time to get to a point where I want to share my hobby with people (if ever), and even when I get to that point, it will mean they have to commit hours to reading it, which shrinks the list of people that will actually read what I’ve been working on. I can’t just post it to Instagram for people to look at. Chelsea doesn’t even know what’s up with this story, because I don’t want to enlist her help until I have an ending.
Which is a long way off.
This story has caused me to wonder, ponder, and emote a lot. I’m keeping it all to myself and my feelings are exploding out of me any chance they get. Having all these emotions is alright for the most part. It’s nice to be reminded I have a soul, and that I’m not like Dennis Reynolds (see hyperlink below). I’m not sure if this is me getting in touch with my feelings, and I’m not sure I even prefer it. It’s kind of inconvenient. I really enjoy being able to just move on from things. These emotional outbursts are starting to annoy me, especially when they stop me from doing the dishes. I don’t feel any more mentally healthy or stable now, either. If anything, I feel more unstable since beginning to write this story, but I’m willing to sacrifice a few sanity points, if that’s the cost of being on this journey.
Dennis Reynolds and Feelings
This clip from The Road is the end of the movie. If you haven’t seen it and think you might, don’t watch. Also, you’re going to have to turn the volume all the way up to hear it well. Make sure you turn it back down before playing the next clip. My ears are still ringing.
Galaxy Quest – Brandon?