Posted by: ableanna | October 31, 2008

The plastic bag effect

Remember American Beauty? Well, lately I feel like I’m the guy watching the plastic bag.

I’m not sure if it’s a measure of being a parent or turning 30, but cynicism and apathy no longer creep in like they did before; they’re still there, but they weigh much less.

Years ago I visited an Episcopalian church with my parents; my step-father is a lighting designer and I believe we went so he could study the architecture of the building and potentially light the church.

We were the only white people there. Instead of an organ there were drums, electric & bass guitar, and a gospel choir. I wish I was a better writer to describe how static the electricity was in that room and how palpable the passion was for God. I have never witnessed a love for God that was so entirely personal. When I stood watching, the congregation behaved as though god was in the air itself…brushing and waving at him … as they walked through the aisles singing and wailing. What’s more, the relationships here exhibited no fear. Most importantly to me, it was the singing. It was like having 500 Aretha Franklins singing “Ain’t No Way” over and over and over. (Don’t ever get into a car with me and that song.)

Rigid and white, my family and I stood and swayed to the music in the hopeful effort of camouflaging ourselves. Regardless of that insecurity, I remember feeling incredibly overwhelmed. My eyes stung, my throat hurt and my bottom lip quivered for quite some time. And then I just started to cry. First surreptitiously, by wiping away a few tears, but eventually I had to sit down on the pew. And I just cried and cried and cried.

This was not a religious revelation. My point is that it was a moment where that internal/external criticism, cynicism, adolescence and fear were trampled by the integrity of something more profound, and that I allowed that to happen.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve enjoyed a wealth of these moments in all arenas of my life and… I want more. There’s nothing like feeling inspired. Not necessarily to do one specific thing, but rather to relish, enjoy, admire and feel open to the possibility of anything. It feels exciting. I want to read the biography of everybody! So I’m starting a list of links on all this inspiring stuff: it could be a person, a thing, a favorite film clip, a song, image, a place… and I would love it if you shared yours. With me.

Finally, I leave you with one of my favorite cinematic moments from the movie “A Room with a View”. Everyone should see this movie just for the performance Daniel-Day Lewis gives (who is not in the video). And I will forever love Helena Bonham Carter and Maggie Smith because of this movie. Also, I love Opera. Opera and fields of long grass looking onto the city of Florence while you’re being kissed by Julian Sands. Yes.



  1. Amelie never fails to reduce to me tears.
    I’m writing a response post.

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