Thursday, September 8, 2016

Throwback Thursday: The arc of the art and of life

At the end of each day, I check the overview that Google provides of traffic on my blog to see what my visitors have been reading. I'm often surprised at what it shows me. 

Most of the time, of course, the post that gets the most looks is the one I've posted that day or perhaps another recent one, but sometimes a post from years ago will pop to the forefront and get a lot of traffic. That is what has happened with the post that I'm featuring for Throwback Thursday this week.

I wrote this post just over six years ago and it got average attention at the time, but for some reason, over the past couple of weeks, it has shown up in my statistics every day as something that a number of my readers are turning to. Why now? I have no idea. If you figure it out, let me know.

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010


The arc of the art and of life

Listening to the morning news programs on NPR over the weekend, I was interested to hear two separate interviews with the actor Robert Duvall. Duvall, who is 79, has a new movie coming out called "Get Low." In it, he plays a hermit, Felix Bush, who has lived the life of a misunderstood exile in a cabin in the woods for some forty years. Now he has come out of the woods to contact the local funeral director, played by Bill Murray, to plan his own "funeral party". The film is actually based on a real-life story of a hermit in Tennessee. The events took place in 1938.

In both of the interviews that I heard, Duvall made the point that there is a direct arc between his first role in the movies, Boo Radley in "To Kill a Mockingbird," and that of the hermit Felix Bush. Boo Radley was a shy, sensitive, emotionally fragile man who was not able to deal with society. Felix Bush is, apparently, almost an older version of that man - a loner, a man who cannot be at ease in the company of others. It started me thinking about the arc of my own life.

I can certainly trace my beginnings as an only and sometimes lonely child on a poor hill farm to the person that I am today. I see the very same insecurities and faults in myself today as I can recognize in that child that I was. In some ways, I see the same strengths as well. It just makes me wonder if anyone ever truly escapes the arc on which one's life is set early in that life. I wonder if that child that was isn't always there, tugging us back to the predetermined path, even if we try to escape and set our feet in some other direction. And if one is forever the captive of the child that was, what of free will? Do we ever really have the power to make our own decisions and choose our own roads, or are we forever guided by, perhaps ruled by, our pasts? 

I wonder what made Boo Radley so afraid of contact with others. What happened to him to make him such a man? Would he ever have become an extravert bon vivant life-of-the-party type? Or would he have forever lived his life alone in the shadows and become Felix Bush in the end? Can we choose our own destiny or are we forever bound to the past in a continual arc?

Maybe Freud had it right, after all.

4 comments:

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    1. Something to contemplate when one is navel-gazing.

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  2. I have had the same thoughts as I get older and look back. As far as why people find our blog posts years later and sometimes in bunches, I often ponder that as well. My conclusion is that if it isn't scammers, it is some Google search that brings up the post. As to what people are searching for who knows. Even my stat counter site often cannot pinpoint where the hit came from. It is fun to think about though. The post with the highest number of hits on my blog is my 2010 review of A Wreath for Udomo. 1062! They mostly come from Kenya.

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    1. It is fascinating to speculate on why certain blog posts keep turning up in the daily stats. My all-time most popular post is a review I did of C.J. Box's book Open Season with 6544 views and counting. Why? I've no idea. A close second is a post I did about the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon called "Fifty shades of bad writing." Maybe some day "The arc of the art and of life" will join them on that list.

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