Thursday, May 21, 2015

Meditations On Fury...

...Road, that is.

I saw the new Mad Max movie over the weekend. I recommend it. It's great fun if you catch a matinee and it's the sort of film you're better off seeing big and loud than on, say, your tablet while on the bus.

There's a tendency, at least in writing circles, amongst a generation who grew up watching big budget films such as this one, to conflate writing and cinema. I do it all the time.

I talk in scenes and beats (technically, that one's from play-writing). I mention staging and tend to describe things with an eye like a camera. The angle swoops in, tight closeup, etc.

Hell, I've even used "noir" to describe something that's actually "hardboiled" on occasion. Can't help it. I'm weak.

Anyway. Mad Max really drives home the difference between the two forms of art. You couldn't do a film like this in novel format. The heart of it's just the glorious spectacle of it. It's a seriously beautiful film, a 70's sci-fi novel painted cover come to life for two hours.

It's just one hundred and twenty minutes of solid WTF weird. I believe Quentin Tarantino said it best about exploitation films that the key attraction is that moment where you sit down in the theater with a bag of popcorn and you're like "wait, did that just happen? Did they just film that? What am I looking at?"

Mad Max has that in spades.

It would be very hard to do as a book. You'd either get something grindingly macho, or worse yet, one of those insufferable genre novels which Try Too Hard. You know the type, Mieville gone wrong sort of thing. The film relies on a heavy integration between the style of the cinematography and gut-level characterization, punchy little beats of visual characterization which do more to bring a world to life than a dozen wordy pages. Shiny.

Enough of that.

It's safe to say my experiment in half hour meditation before work is well and truly dead. Did that for two months and it was interesting and enlightening but...it was exhausting. There is a world of difference, apparently, between waking up at 5:30 in the morning and 5:45. It's almost like a three mile cliff arrayed at the 5:40 mark, painted with mile high red letters saying "DON'T DO THIS."

Meditating a half hour every morning required me to get up at 5:30, because my bed time is as early as it can get without completely divorcing me from a social life and...my job is my job.

I did that for a couple of months...and I was exhausted all the time. I dropped it back down to 15 and, yes, I noticed the difference in lack of meditative practice, but...that extra fifteen minutes sleeping in made a world of difference in my fatigue levels. Very weird, right? You'd think a quarter hour wouldn't make a dent, but it does. I usually wake up at 5:40, even.

Perhaps if I ever get a job with more flexible hours, I'll go back for longer spells of meditation. Not so much now, though.

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