Does Good Writing Move You?

It does me. And I think I may be a bit weird with that. And not just in books, but TV shows and movies, songs, books, the writing in some ofthat can literally have a profound affect on me. So much so that it seems like that is the only thing I can concentrate on for weeks. I recently had an experience like that with the TV show, The Leftovers. Before I get into that, here are some of the other words that have consumed me.   

From my favorite childhood book, Where the Wild Things Are, I've always loved the part: "And Max, the king of all the wild things, was lonely and wanted to be where someone loved him best of all." I've had that memorized all of my adult life. I think about it often when I feel lonely or depressed. It means so much, but says so little. There are all sorts of metaphors that you could ponder over with that sentence, to me, it just makes me feel better. It's like those simple words can take me back to my little bed and my mom softly reading them to me.

Hunter S. Thompson's quote: "Who is the happier man, he who braved the storm of life and lived, or he who stayed on the shore and merely existed?" Anytime I'm thinking about doing something like writing a book, going on a hike, getting married, (haha a month away!) I think of Mr. Thompson smoking a cigarette, doing a line of cocaine, and sitting down to write with a glass of scotch. I don't think there is anything deep to this, it's just inspiring to me.

Without question the song lyrics by Mumford and Sons in Awake My Soul: "Where you invest your love, you invest your life," are the most moving song lyrics I've ever heard. That simple line has pushed me and my thought process so much since I've heard them three years ago. It seems so simple, but its so damn true. I'm a music guy. I'm listening to music right now, I do any time I write, and I like all kinds of music. But those nine words have moved me more than any other song has ever come close to.

Eric Greitens's book, The Heart and the Fist, had about ten lines that I copied down and put up on my bathroom mirror for several years. Most of them are about doing the right thing and being a warrior, but two of his sentences have always stuck with me. One time he was describing going through Navy Seal training, (BUDS) and they were running on a beach and passed some girls. One of the Navy Seal Instructors said, "If you are a real man, anytime a woman leaves your side, she'll feel better about herself." I've tried to apply that to any relationship I've been in since I read his book six years ago, and hopefully will spend the rest of my life making Christina feel better about herself. The other thing that stuck with me from his book was when he writes, "If you want to love something, you must begin with acceptance." Anytime I'm thinking about a family member, or good friend who does something that I don't agree with or even like, I think of those words. That line comes in handy during political discussions, trust me.

I could go on and on, but those pieces of writing have always stuck with me. Some since childhood. I imagine they always will. And a few months ago I came across a new piece of writing that just blew what little hair I have back.

The Leftovers. What a weird show that turned out to be. It was only three seasons long, and I don't think it could have got any stranger. I liked it, it was just weird and I had to watch each episode twice to understand it. The basic premise of the show is 140 million people depart from this world suddenly with no explanation or evidence of where they went. Not the Rapture, but something like it. Ten percent of the worlds population just vanishes. The show picks up several years after the sudden departure following a group of characters in a small town in New York. There are lots of religious references in the show, and one of the main characters is a reverend. I could probably write ten blog posts about the show. It was definitely a program that made me think.

Toward the end of the last season the reverend, Matt, is on a ferry in Australia trying to find the main character, Kevin because he believes Kevin is the second coming of Jesus. I know, weird. To make it weirder, they are on a ferry where a group of swingers are celebrating Frazier the Lion who fathered thirty five cubs at 19 years old, the human equivalent of 90 years old. Don't worry it gets weirder. Matt, who is struggling with his faith throughout the entire series because he was a good Christian and wasn't taken with the other 140 million people, ends up meeting a man who says he's God. The episode ends with Matt having a showdown with God. Matt, understandably has lots of questions for God, and kidnaps him.

During the dialogue between Matt and God, God says, "Everything you've done, you've done because you thought I was watching. You thought I was judging. But I wasn't. And I'm not. You've never done anything for me. You've done it all for yourself."

I know I'm a weirdo but that writing just blew me away. How many people go to church on Sunday because they think they are going to be judged? How many people believe in a specific religion because they think God is watching, and judging? How many people subscribe to a particular religion not because they worship Jesus, Mohammad, God, or Buddha, but because they believe that Jesus, God, Mohammad or Buddha is watching them? How many people worship them not because they were amazing people, but they worship them because it serves their own purpose?  

How much religion is based on being judged at the end of our lives? Was it always like that? Is that just how I feel because I struggle so much with my faith? What if there is a God and he really isn't watching? What if there is a God and not only is he not watching, what have I done to worship him?

Those are just some of the questions that I've pondered since that show. And that to me, is amazing writing. I doubt I'll save the quote and I'm not necessarily inspired by it. But, it definitely was thought provoking.

The end of the show has God being eaten by a lion, one of Frazier's decedents. Amazing writing.

I've been lazy with my writing career and trying to get stuff done lately. Vacation, a marriage, all that stuff is getting in the way. But this blog post reminded me of something. I don't want to stay on the shore and merely exist. I need to get moving. Hopefully I'll have something out soon.