Tuesday, October 21, 2008

There's Nothing Like A Nice, Extended Mid-Life Crisis

"I had to find out where I went wrong. The years I've spent trying to get all the things I was told were important. That I was told to want. Things, not people or meaning, just things."
Rock Hudson, Seconds

I've been lying fallow for close to a year now, and I'm beginning to understand why. The popular term is "mid-life crisis" although I prefer the bland, non-melodramatic sounding "mid-life re-assessment." However, it's not bland to live through. I've been solidly parked in creative paralysis, spurred by the ongoing question "why bother continuing to write, when I still haven't made any money from it?" And there's been part of me, way down deep inside, that has .been reacting to this time in my life quite like the character Arthur Hamilton (played by Rock Hudson) reacts here, in the closing scenes from the ultra-disturbing Seconds. In the film, the 51-year- old Hamilton, a deeply bored businessman, is offered an extreme makeover - not only will he physically change, but "The Company" will set him up with a new life, kind of like the witness-protection program on steroids. Your death is faked, your psyche is probed so your dreams can be fulfilled, and you'll be happy.

Except it doesn't work for our hero. Here, Hamilton (now named "Wilson") has returned to The Company (Yup, that's Grandpa Walton, playing the founder) to get a new identity, after he failed to find self-actualization in Malibu. He's promised a chance to move onto the "next stage." But that promise comes with a horrifying price - and he tries everything in his power to avoid payment.

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