Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Space of Pain

This entry has nothing to do with our screenwriting challenge. Or perhaps it does.

On Monday I was suddenly paralyzed by a deep sense of grief. A missing. I was deleting some junk mail and I got to one that said "A Reminder for Father's Day." This happens to be my first Father's Day without a Father. My Dad died last June 16 of an aggressive cancer. We had found out less than a week before that he had a brain tumor. I flew out immediately and was present at his side when he drew his last breath.

I lost it when I saw that e-mail. That well of pain erupted into heaving sobs. Luckily Baby was near to comfort me. To remind me to breathe and let it go. After a while the tears subsided and that heaviness one gets in the chest and head after such a cry left me completely spent. I decided to forget everything I "needed" to do that day and just be sad. I curled up on the couch by Ken's side and stayed that way, drifting in and out of sleep for several hours.

I wasn't feeling sorry for myself, I wasn't wallowing, I wasn't angry. I was just sad. I was reminded strangely enough of a Simpson's episode, one of my favourites, where Lisa Simpson gets the blues. She starts expressing her pain through her saxophone. When Marge asks her what's wrong she says she's "sad."

I liked that. Just being sad. Just feeling the feeling of sadness. To me it means being alive and in love with the world. Being so in love with the world that it hurts. I feel that way sometimes when I hear a particularly beautiful or meaningful song or view a certain piece of art. I remember feeling that way and crying the first time I saw Van Gogh's Starry Night. I cry every time I hear Badly Drawn Boy's song The Shining:

Faith pours from your walls, drowning your calls
I've tried to hear, you're not near
Remembering when I saw your face
Shining my way, pure timing
Now I've fallen in deep, slow silent sleep
It's killing me, I'm dying

To put a little bit of sunshine in your life

Soleil all over you, warm sun pours over me
Soleil all over you
Warm sun

Now this slick fallen rift came like a gift
Your body moves ever nearer
And you will dry this tear
Now that we're here, and grieve for me, not history
But now I'm dry of thoughts, wait for the rain
Then it's replaced, sun setting

And suddenly you're in love with everything

Soleil all over you, warm sun pours over me
Soleil all over you
Warm sun

I love the juxtaposition of beauty and sadness, holding them together. Life is like that. Painful and beautiful all at once. And I think that's where art comes from.

I don't think being sad is bad or wrong and I don't think if someone is sad they need fixing. I'm not saying sit around and mope all day. I'm not saying let it invade your life and to spiral into a deep depression. I'm just saying when it comes, feel it like you're a living being. Then use it later when you want to write something real.


Frank Parker said...

Having gone through much sadness my self these past few months I have to agree with your assessment, Danika, it's okay to be sad. Many cultures have social mechanisms to release and express sadness. Seems ours does not which isn't a surprise. I think it's good when someone stands up and says, Hey, this sucks! Bless you in all of your grief and joys.

OpenChannel said...

And you, in yours.

And thanks for finding me here after all these years! It's amazing how the internet can help us stay connected.