poetry • art • marriage • momhood • faith

Rolling with it & Les Mis

Marius is singing “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables.”

Though the stage show is much better, the recent movie production of  Les Miserables is good enough that I am happy to play the DVD over and over again. My biggest criticism (other than the fact that I really wish they would have found a better Javert than Russell Crowe) is the director’s over-use of close up shots. In the theater it was even worse. I mean, they are some good looking actors, but people make some weird faces when they’re crying. And there’s a lot of crying in Les Miserables. And seeing those screwed up faces so much larger than life distracted my focus from the emotion of the scenes, particularly the loneliness.


One of the reasons I love stage shows is you get to watch what you want to watch. Sure, when Eponine is singing “On My Own” we watch her… but not up close. When she’s on stage, we get to see her loneliness… because she’s alone on the stage, more or less. In the movie, who knows how many people are hanging around her, since the director has the focus cropped in so tight.


Sometimes, the characters are lonely in crowds. Take Fantine in the midst of “Lovely Ladies.” She is surrounded by people. And oh, so alone. Her loneliness is emphasized by the people around her, and how different she is from the rest of them. I think the director missed some of the magic of the stage show when he avoided the wide shot over and over again. Being up in a character’s face doesn’t make the scene more intimate. It makes it uncomfortable, and somewhat unrealistic. I mean, really, with a story like this, we play the part of voyeurs. Why then should we be so close to the vocalist that we can count his dental fillings or nose hairs?


What does this have to do with anything? Nothing I suppose. Except that these are the thoughts that roll through my head as I sit trying to get myself to catch up on work. Focus has been an endangered species in my world this past…. year really. But especially since September, since losing Alexander.


He was due on January 29th, so in just 9 days now. I’ve never gotten that close to a due date. Probably never will. Even my first baby, my only full-term pregnancy was born 11 days before his due date. I guess I’m “lucky” in that I’ve never been “overdue.” I know that brings challenges and risks of it’s own.


But you know that’s not where my head is now.


I am tired. Mostly of being so preoccupied with the “noise” in my head. I guess you could say I’m tired of grieving.


I don’t think either of my boys in heaven want me to be in this place. So I don’t “want” to put so much energy into digging my pit of grief. But I don’t know how to climb out. I’ve been encouraged to write, so here I am, trying to use my words as a ladder.  I don’t know what wall to put it against. And the rungs are wobbly prose.


One step at a time though. This is a journey.

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torch bearing quietly

I will not act out, will not
yell or curse or slam doors,
will not make a scene -- you
do not deserve such a chance
to make an example out of me
to be proven right since you
are not. Instead, I'll stand
at this street corner, raise
my hand high and clench that
light which yet remains. It
will burn brightly, quietly,
fiercely before fading as I.

Then I'll be gone but found.

©JAC 2005

Poetry by Julie Ann Cook!

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Love Like Weeds
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