I am so completely happy to know that my favorite show is coming back in 2 weeks. This clip came on as I was watching Airplane TV, but the stewardess was yammering through it and she pre-empted the sound . . . something about oxygen masks . . . whatever. Anyway -- yay:
Here's a superbly over-the-top outtake that illustrates so much of what I love about this show.
It was on tv the other night, and I couldn't resist. I remember falling in love with the characters when I was 13 or 14 and I totally, totally couldn't wait to be them.
I dug out my teen diaries to see if I wrote about it but I haven't found anything yet. I do remember how much I loved those girls. Ally Sheedy was so pretty in her pearls and lace and big sweaters and big skirts and big boots. Mare Winningham was the character I identified with most strongly at the time -- in the sense that she was kinda frumpy and plain -- and I aspired to be beloved and trusted by all, as she seemed to be. Demi Moore's character seemed kinda scary, but now she seems the most funny and real of the bunch. (That is, if "real" means doing coke in a hotel room with a bunch of Saudi Arabian playboys. But still, she was the quickest of the lot.)
I found other things in the diaries, though, which led me to new realizations:
1. I did a LOT of babysitting. I adored those kids.
2. I was depressed and dissociated much of the time, and my mom and sister were very moody, with some kind of special static between them.
3. I was prone to fits of righteous anger.
4. I watched too much television. (Should have picked up guitar - duh.)
5. My parents invested unbelievable amounts of time in their children -- running the household, going to work, running me back and forth to work, driving us around to visit colleges, doing epic amounts of food shopping, and so much more that I can't fully fathom at this moment.
My point of view in the diaries is basically dulled and distant, or when talking about my pack of girlfriends, slightly buzzed with giddiness. It's odd. The teen years are famous for oceanic depths of feeling; but for the most part, I was skimming.
Which brings me back to St. Elmo. As we know from Billy's big speech -- the intellectual high point in the film, judging by the other quotables -- the fire in question is no fire atall. It's just a phenomenon in nature. Furthermore, contrary even to Billy, sailors did not guide their journeys by St. Elmo's Fire. It just was what it was.
In a way, St. Elmo's was my St. Elmo's. (Billy version.) I couldn't wait to be young, hip, and fabulous, just like them. They didn't quite guide my journey, but they planted the seeds of an illusion.
What do you do when your illusions die?
Illusion is tricky: Necessary for the energy to continue in art, in the sense that you feel a surge of wholeness and importance when in fact only an assemblage of raw materials exist. Paint on canvas. Notes hanging in the air.
Illusion makes love possible. You don't just see your lover, you see yourself and your lover in some kind of paradigm of beautifulness.
Illusion easily becomes lethal to the soul. When enough illusions have been shattered, one can become Blance Dubois, frantically cobbling together new illusions out of shards.
Perhaps the question really is, how do you live without illusions? Is that what people mean when they say that someone Just Gave Up?