Have you ever wanted to live in a different era? You know, like in Midnight in Paris*, where (spoiler alert!) a twentieth century man believed he was born too late, that he should have lived during the 1920s when Picasso, Fitzgerald, and Hemingway were in their prominence. He loves the idea mostly because he is a writer (struggling) and they are his heroes. Then he steps back in time and meets “Adriana,”a tres magnifique character who really is from the 1920s but would rather have lived during the 1800s “…the sensibilities, the street lamps, the kiosks, the horse and carriages….”
I wonder about this for two reasons. One, not too long ago my daughter told me I should have been a hippy. I mean, I dig the idea of peace, love, and happiness, which also happens to be my never-changing Christmas wish. And I know the music of the time, “For everything (turn, turn, turn, turn.) There is a season (turn, turn, turn….”) You know, back when you could understand the lyrics Bob Dylan sang.
But if I, like Gil Pender, had a preference, I would choose the Jazz Age. And I think I would have fit in rather nicely. I adore the fashion. The shoes were fantastic. I love the dancing (nothing beats the Charleston). And a younger version of me would have smoked a cigarette using a fabulous ebony holder. And I may have been brave enough to sneak into a speakeasy too. There were no worries. Life was to be lived and everything was about being carefree and having fun. I could see myself as a writer trying to get my first break. I might have gotten some wonderful advice from Gertrude Stein or Dorothy Parker. And if all was ideal, I would have been invited to every one of Robert Redford’s…uh, Jay Gatsby’s marvelous parties. Oh, the romance of it all.
What I’ve Learned:
Luckily, wishes don’t always come true. Sure times were fun but there was a lot of hardship to follow. Best to leave wishing alone and make the best of it.
And now a few famous quotes:
“The best way to keep children home is to make the home atmosphere pleasant–and let the air out of the tires.” -Dorothy Parker
“A serious writer is not to be confused with a solemn writer. A serious writer may be a hawk or a buzzard or even a popinjay, but a solemn writer is always a bloody owl.”
“Like a welcome summer rain, humor may suddenly cleanse and cool the earth, the air and you. –Langston Hughes
“I am thankful for laughter, except when milk comes out of my nose.” –Woody Allen
*Midnight in Paris is not a novel. It is a screenplay written and directed by Woody Allen.