Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Art Of Recommending

This is serious stuff. Asking a friend to commit to three or four hundred pages carries a risk of rupudiation or indifference. It is a piece of ourselves we are sending out of a wish to share our experience.

I'm in the habit of recommending books and movies when they knock my un-matched socks off. I can't help it. I get up on the metaphorical rooftop and shout out the good news certain that everyone will be similarly zapped. It is rarely the case.

A few weeks ago we watched a British documentary, "Of Time And The City." The film is a meditation on the city of Liverpool. Peggy and I were both overwhelmed by the images and narration written and recited by Terence Davies. It is made all the richer by passages chosen from Eliot and Yeats. We felt it transcended its subject and rose to the level of an auditory and visual poem on memory and loss. Two friends agreed, one did not at all.

I was reminded of other times when I've heaped lavish praise on a book and been let down. Or conversely when good friends have touted their recent enthusiasm and I've had to oblige under silent protest.

Could it be the expectation itself that kills the joy? Think of the hyperbolic reviews of a movie that set up disappointment. Or might the uncertain reception speak to the multitudes within us all? Just when we're sure of perfect fit an unknown aspect of another person pops up which we didn't prepare for.

This is akin to the matter of friends in general. As a kid I had two or three "best friends" at various times.....none of whom were very fond of each other.

Every embrace or rejection of a shared moment is another layer of the onion peeled and revealed. What's it all about if not the continuing discovery of who we are , our reach and our limits. And when we find that resonance in another person it knocks our socks off a second time.

1 comment:

  1. I have some strong opinions on this. Strong letter to follow.