(because what year would be complete without a best / most / favourite list?)
2008'S BEST CRIES
Most tender cry
The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
(whose website has been under construction for quite some time)
Years ago my friend Barbara recommended this book and the title stuck in my mind. I finally bought it last Jan with a bookstore gift certificate someone had given me, and even then it sat on my shelf for months. Just before summer, curled up on the couch for a weekend, I cried my way through Henry and Clare's romance. I love how the story's sadness and foreboding is peppered with the humour that comes when two people are so comfortably one, destined and resigned to that destiny of constant heartache. A heartache as beautiful as is is tragic.
Most stunning cry (sudden and unforseen)
Fierce Light - Where Spirit Meets Action
a documentary by Velcrow Ripper
Last October I attended my friend Sue's wedding. This friend had a chronic kidney condition and during the ceremony I could tell she was exhausted. Part way through the reception dinner, my husband and I realized that the entire wedding party was gone. Word came around that Sue had fallen ill and had to be taken to the hospital. She went into a coma and died that evening.
I was in shock, it was unreal that one could attend a friend's wedding and then the friend could vanish from this earth. Sue was all light and heart and spirit, but she also had a flair for the dramatic. We all agreed that her exit was beautiful... how many other people get a reception line of all their friends and family at the end of their lives?
A friend at Sue's wedding recommended a movie to me. She had specifically thought of me after watching it. She said Fierce Light was an inspiring documentary about people coming together for good, for peace, for action. That sounded about right. In the midst of a crazy work week, just a few days after Sue's death, I ducked out for a few hours to see the film at Vancouver Film Festival. It was sold out. I sat in the front row, swallowed by the screen.
In the opening sequence, the director Velcrow Ripper shows the story of Brad Will, an anarchist and video journalist, through his final film footage. Brad was shot and killed (by police) in 2006 during the teacher's strike in Oaxaca, Mexico, which he had traveled down to document. He basically filmed his own murder. The footage was gut-wrenching.
My heart burst open... it was too much. I had known Brad. I knew he had been killed, but I hadn't expected to see the footage on full screen in colour.
I had met Brad at Naropa University. My two fondest memories of him were when he and I spent an afternoon trying to create the perfect intoxicating tea and attending his mock gay wedding held outside the Promise Keeper's convention. Brad was one of a kind. A generous coyote trickster with a heart for justice.
I'm pretty sure I cried through the entire film, and not just for Sue and Brad, for all the wonderful, beautiful people out there with fierce light and spirit. Brad died doing what he had to do. Sue died in the arms of love. I don't know if there is any more appropriate way for them to leave us.
LINK to story about Brad that appeared in Rolling Stone