Can You Smell It?

February 9, 2010

In one of my many trysts on the Internet, I cam across a brilliant compilation of quotes from young children about their interpretations of the meaning of love, which are phenomenal in their simplicity.

“When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You know that your name is safe in their mouth.” — Billy – age 4

“Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.” — Karl – age 5

“Love is what makes you smile when you’re tired.” — Terri – age 4

“Love is hugging, Love is kissing, Love is saying no” — Patty – age 8

“Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday.” — Noelle – age 7

“Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well.” — Tommy – age 6

“Love cards like Valentine’s cards say stuff on them that we’d like to say ourselves, but we wouldn’t be caught dead saying.” — Mike – age 8

What is it about love that is so difficult to discuss, let alone write about? Despite the romance novels and the sappy television pairing that we cling to, we have yet to attempt to pinpoint what it is that makes us so enthralled. We outwardly seek romantic pairings to coo over and sigh dramatically, yet ask someone to describe the actual feeling and you will receive an uncomfortable, shifting stare.

So despite the media obsession with romance, it takes a certain skill to really acknowledge, let alone describe the feeling itself, rather than just the outcomes. Myself, I’ve always been a cynic. My view of the process of love, or falling into it was almost scientific. A combination of social factors, hormonal shifts, primal urges and often the aide of alcohol created a feeling of togetherness that with luck would stick around two people for an undetermined amount of time.

This is not to make me sound like a complete love-hater. I’ve always thought myself to fall in love faster than most, and with most people. My friends, my roommates, passer-by’s with interesting life-stories to share (hey, I’m a writer), it’s never taken much. I’m also like most females (and some males) I know who have been planning their “perfect” wedding since they were children, down to ridiculous detail. So allow me to classify in my own strange way – a spit between love, the affection and closeness you can share with family and friends, and this ethereal unknown that will drive even the most rational, absolutely insane. And there we have it, the exact reason why we avoid trying to qualify true love – it’s closest equivalent is madness, which isn’t exactly socially acceptable.

I don’t claim to have found a way to describe it, particularly in the written word. The best I’ve found myself doing is detailing experiences, moments in time that trigger emotion. It’s a close second, and something people can easily relate to in the written form. That is fine and dandy, but comfort has never been my interest; it’s to provoke, to probe, to make things real on the verge of uncomfortable. So this is something I ask to be considered, in a deeper understanding than we give it credit for. What is this feeling, this emotion that drives so much of the population on the brink of insanity, or even to the point of committing acts of insanity? Are we that scared that if we can successfully find a universal way to qualify it that love would lose it’s splendor? If this feeling is so powerful that it can overwhelm all bases in reality, trip our feet and give premature arrhythmia on occasion, simply putting it into words could never make it lose it’s appeal. Rather, (from my very well hidden logical brain) it might just bring some ease, some understanding to those like me that were so eager to hide from the thought of an instant where we might not be in control.

Would it scare you to think that maybe that love that drives us to lovely madness could really be as simple as a bunch of first-graders were able to acknowledge? It certainly irks me, in that disgruntled ‘I should have known’ sort of way. In our constantly moving world, could we be making it all too complicated?

For anyone that remembers being a child, has at least one, or has ever seen one, you would know that when a child wants something, it is life-or-death. Whether a new toy, a piece of candy or just their bedtime, everything is urgent and pressing to the point of tantrum. Maybe love isn’t that different. Of course in situations of danger, everything is life-or-death, and we will often look for our loved-ones safety before our own. But in times of calm, love can make you feel like everything is still in great peril. As adult human beings we constantly fight to be in control, and love it out of control. It is radical, extreme, frightening and delicious in its simplicity.

In truth, there is absolutely nothing wrong with losing control for a little part of your life, a slice of reality where you can be removed, be wild and irrational and just enjoy life with a child-like reverence for yet another thing we cannot explain.

On the Grave of Dollhouse

February 2, 2010

So after watching the final episode of Dollhouse on and being plagued with zombie-dreams (for the first time, and never again), I figured I’d give my two cents on the series.

The idea behind this show was brilliant, but that was to be expected from Joss Whedon’s credits in Buffy, Firefly, and Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, among other works. As with most of his work you know that is was carefully planned for years before it aired. But as always, his work is plagued by a selective fan audience that most definitely is not on Fox.

My own fan-girl crush on Joss Whedon aside, I can’t help but feel like both Fox and the creator himself are at fault for the disastrous ending of this series. With Sci-Fi and Firefly, I can come up with several explanations of the show getting cut, if for no other reason than to make myself feel better. At least with that show, the plot was more complicated and the idea more specific for even some science fiction fans. But Dollhouse, while well-executed was simple, and made sense to even those who weren’t hard-core fans of science-fiction. The idea of the dolls, being imprinted, losing 5 years of your life to serve other people’s fantasies and pleasures with the helpful aid of technology is chilling and terribly compelling.

How in the world Fox decided to pick this up is beyond me, and how Joss would be okay with it is another question entirely. With a fan base like he has (myself included. Did I mention that already?), he could have easily waited for the right opportunity and the right channel to make this a success from beginning to end. But instead, what started strong and could have lasted an easy 6 seasons burned up and died a horrible death by way of –zombie apocalypse?

This is what gave me weird nightmares last night, and it doesn’t make sense, unless I was subconsciously that distraught by the ending of the show. It might have something to do with the fact that Epitaph 2 makes no sense without Epitaph 1, which was never aired. So while it does make me all the more inclined to go out and by Season 1 on DVD, I don’t think I could get myself to buy Season 2 because the ending was positively awful.

The TV world is crazy business, and I don’t claim to understand all its intricacies (yet. I’m getting there), but it saddens me to see writers cop out on projects because they feel backed into a corner by the station. As a writer I could see more than a couple ways to end that story without the happily-ever-after solution, with Adelle leading the sheep into the light, Topher going out of his mind and Paul dying an unromantic, uneventful death (let’s face it, the only person that really liked him was Echo, and a fat lot of good that did her).

So lets raise our glasses to when TV goes terribly wrong. I only hope Fox learns how not to put it’s foot in its mouth and Joss learns to give his work the credit it deserves. Rumors about talking to another station? Perhaps Dollhouse could make a comeback, or he’s already 5 years ahead of us on another project. I’ve got to love Joss for his mad ingenuity but I will not be watching the episode of Glee he writes.

Next up: Lost is back tonight. I feel positively, well, lost.