Went out and did a little shopping today. Working in a mall, when the end of the workday comes, going shopping isn't so appealing. Online shopping, good. Small stores, good. But still a few things were needed so off I went. The Tar-Jay wasn't crowded, although the lot appeared pretty full. The shoppers were moderately jolly, and there were visible groups of men shopping together, urging each other to stay on task. Most of the families were pretty relaxed. Here and there Tar-Jay staff were kidding around over walkie-talkies while restocking and sifting through shelves. The register folks were pretty darn mellow too, so I count it all good.
Grocery store: busier, with very intent shoppers. Carts full of eggnog, chips and platters. Line at the butchers' counter waiting for big roasts to appear with one's name on it to be called. Fancy Schmancy crown roasts to be had in the cases too. People called out holiday greetings from one check-out aisle to the next.
All in all a good outing. All it needed was a few flakes of snow to give it that extra mid-winter festival feel.
There are people who sneer at even the possibility of being sucked into a tear-jerker of a movie, or sobbing over a book, or feeling verklempf, let alone nostalgic over a song lyric.Well I'm here to say -- phooey to them -- and here's why: I'd rather be transported to a place of tears while watching "It's a Wonderful Life" or to know that feeling of worry over a book's character or to feel that little knot of hope and everything else over a song, than to NOT feel those things.
The delightful Suzette recently posted lyrics to a John Denver song. That's right, a John Denver song. I can hear the snorts and derision and you over there - just cut it out. The lyrics are simple and the message is both simple and basic. So why did this grab her? And why did it grab me too? Why do people still listen? Because the message rings true. The ideas posed are those thought about for generations. Poems, books, songs have been written about them.
When I read the lyrics I thought about them. I thought about the words but I also thought about how they affected me and I realized that I enjoyed responding to them. Simple words, universal message, beautiful tune, feelings of hope and the great feeling of recognition - yes, I know that feeling. I believe that can be. I want it to be so, just like you. We share that.
I've been reading Good Poems for Hard Times the second volume of poems edited by Garrison Keillor. You over there, the snorting one - you can leave now. Many of the poems are about everyday life, situations and feelings we all share or witness. Poem after poem made me stop as something big came down to this small moment, these few words.
Isn't that what a creative act, art, whatever you want to call it is? To hold that universal idea for just a moment so we can react? To give us that "oh!" moment over something we are pretty familar with?