Imperfect Body. Perfect Soul.

In a letter penned to Nathaniel Hawthorne, Melville wrote, "But, now and then as you read, you understood the pervading thought that impelled the book -- and that you praised. Was it not so? You were archangel enough to despise the imperfect body, and embrace the soul." He was referring to Moby Dick. I loved this quote more than the book. A sentence about a thousand page book dramatically deepened my appreciation for it.

My heroes have imperfect bodies. The work of Woody Allen and Aaron Sorkin is deeply flawed, misses the mark often, and fails consistently. But I am in love with the soul of their work. They speak in voices I understand, ones that put their hand on my shoulder and remind me that I'm not alone. I have no interest in defending them, nor am I concerned whether anyone else feels the same. When someone rattles off reasons why a film/band/artist isn't very good, I can usually agree on every point. Most criticism is spot on. And while I can recognize the flaws, they do nothing to detract from my enjoyment. No pencil can erase a perfect soul.  

You can either be caught up in the machinery of a film, complain about continuity, exposition, or plot devices, or give yourself over to the creative team and let them take you to a place, their little place. You might be surprised how beautiful it is, even if the ride there is bumpy and inelegant. 

And, it turns out that I feel the same way about people. 

No comments :

Post a Comment