Saturday, August 28, 2004

Garden State v. Rilke, the battle royale

A quote from a friend's profile:

"If your daily life seems poor, do not blame it; blame yourself that you are not enough of a poet to call forth its riches; for the Creator, there is no poverty and no poor, indifferent place."
-Rainer Maria Rilke

As a suburban kid who thinks intellectual thoughts and tries to write fiction once in a while, Rilke's words struck me. I've written stories about death sending announcements in the mail beforehand, jaws falling from peoples' faces, debates about whether it would be cooler to be Santa Claus or a hitman. When I saw the movie Garden State, about the Jersey suburbs, it reminded me of the impulses I had in my fiction to write about quirky, fantastic, surreal events. Undoubtedly, moments in the movie were powerfully poetic, but the story itself, the characters that populate it, were craaazy.

So, did Zach Braff take a shortcut to poetry by leaving reality behind? Braff could not call for the riches of suburban life without presenting a suburban experience that few would recognize. Granted, I know next to nothing about Rilke. I think he was French, or something. He may or may not have been a romantic. But I like his sentiment, and I recognize how difficult a task it can be. Anyway. An ideal to struggle towards?


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