Theme of the Month: Postcards from the Edge
Star of the Month: Christopher Lee
I prefer January to February because January’s essentially a buffer month, a period during which
we’re able to blame much of our desperate stabs at milked lackadaisicality purely on regrouping. As the month stands, at least for the college crowd, as the first back from a long-winded winter break and as an extended syllabus week that insists that the goings really haven’t gotten all too rough yet, January makes for a welcome opportunity to adjust oneself into the skin of the person they’re hoping to be for the rest of the year.
Problem is is that things begin to feel real in February. The new year finally seems to be an official time and not the animal celebrity mourning 2016ers craved. Deadlines suddenly come with a hell of a lot more stakes and ambitions are slowly but surely losing their coating of save-until-later nonchalantness. Now that I’m taking the development course to ensure employment at the UW’s newspaper, The Daily, now that I’m taking my first majors only class, and now that the day to sign up for my last classes of the year is approaching, it’s starting to hit me just how fast this school year has gone by, and
how much, setting aside the currently nightmarish political situation, my life has changed for the better.
Everything is moving in the direction that I want everything to move in, and yet I find myself consistently anxiety ridden since there’s always an irrational fear creeping about that something could come out of nowhere and derail everything. Such won’t happen if I’m careful and continue to take my personal, professional, and academic standings seriously, but there’s an incessant feeling that I should be tiptoeing, that I should be prepared for unexpected revelations and/or epiphanies that could have lasting results.
And that feeling, weirdly, reminds me of Postcards from the Edge, the Carrie Fisher memoir turned Meryl Streep/Shirley MacLaine vehicle. Not the material of Postcards of the Edge itself but simply the title, as it causes me to see a version of myself spewing out verbal postcards to acquaintances relaying that everything’s dandy when
everything, in actuality, is dandy, just with plenty of dashes of self-doubt and an irritating lack of conviction when confronted by the unknown. The edge rests on merely being 19 and almost 20, both of which are ages that seem much too old to a naïve me and yet simultaneously seem much too young when I realize just how many more years of my life there are and how much living I still have yet to do.
Because I lack the self-assuredness necessary for someone who’d like to be unhesitantly daring (I’m daring, sure, but I’m not daring daring), I generally idolize people who can push forward and challenge themselves without looking back, with chameleonesque performers David Bowie and PJ Harvey lining up at the forefront of my mind. Thinking cinematically, an obvious choice for this month’s star would be Daniel Day-Lewis or Christian Bale, perhaps – they’ve made careers off refusing the personality driven guises of John Wayne or Elvis Presley.
But being such a randy horror film fan, Christopher Lee, the snake eyed menace who played Dracula for almost two decades starting with 1958’s Horror of Dracula, Saruman throughout the The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-2003), and Count Dooku in Star Wars prequel films Attack of the Clones (2002) and Revenge of the Sith (2005), continued to stick out in the back of my head. Not necessarily because he’s automatically an actor you associate with stripping himself of his reputation and looks for a part but because he knew what he wanted out of his career early on and never stopped testing his talents. Acting for nearly 60 years and taking part in more than 200 films (with many of them produced by countries wherein he didn’t speak the language), Lee serves as an artist who reminds me that it’s important to never take your years of hard work nor your skillset for granted – with enough sweat and tears, you can get far and make a historical mark in the process.
An unconventional month February will be, but I’m thrilled to cover new terrain, especially the terrain of films released last year that I didn’t get the chance to experience in the theaters. Here’s to a great 28 days. Happy watching and happy reading!