I have been known to believe many unusual things. I once believed that there was a possibility I could learn to dance. I believed that my best friend and I, at the tender age of seven, could publish a hand-drawn comic book. I believed teachers were always right. I believed that great friends couldn’t be separated by petty details, that people who wound up alone never minded, and that emotions were simple: good or bad.
Now I am older. I realize that dancing is most likely not in my future, that I can’t even draw the simplest comic fodder, such as a pizza, that there’s rarely such a thing as bffs, that even the best people have too many mysterious itches to play Statues on top of a pedestal forever. That people have a lot of unfulfilled wishes. And that the complexity of emotions is overwhelming. This I believe: that emotion is the only worthwhile pursuit.
In the rigorous and truly international college preparatory program some like to call International Baccalaureate, scarcely a day goes by when you don’t hear IB kids talking about their outside reading assignments or their summer reading assignments or their class reading assignments. Throughout all these literary works, as memorable as symbolism and conceits happen to be, the part that remains with me is the emotion they evoke, and this is the quality I hope to incorporate in my own writing. Every emotion I experience I store inside myself for the day I’ll be able to share it with a clean white sheet of paper and laugh…or cry. Or feel completely awkward.
Life would be awesome if everyone saw emotion as something to be savored like that expensive sparkling grape juice I always crave at eleven pm. The movies, books, songs that tend to be my favorites are those that cause strong emotional reactions. I look forward to the time I spend in my car driving with my favorite songs playing, singing along loudly (making sure the windows are rolled up to avoid embarrassing myself, one of my least favorite emotions). And not just to the happy tunes on my “Zip!” playlist, but the pain-choked strains of self-loathing guitars on my “Emo” playlist, or the dreamy “Mellow” playlist, or the assorted other angry, awkward, silly, paradoxical songs I need five or six key changes just to emote to.
I’ve heard recently that film critics and the general moviegoer are becoming more split in their preferences. The average audience member wants entertaining fluff, nothing they have to consider later on, nothing they have to feel bad over or wonder about, while the film critic looks for open endings and deeper, more thought-provoking material. I hate that more “negative” emotions get overlooked – they have a purpose, they have value. When people criticize a movie as “too depressing,” it causes me great pain. But you’ll be happy, I hope, to know that I take full advantage of my pain, as is my wont.