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Walking after midnight

August 11, 2012
By Cindy Votruba , Marshall Independent

I actually got the chance to sit down and watch a movie all the way through for the first time in months on Monday night. The flick of choice was Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris," something I've been wanting to see for some time now (and not just because it has Owen Wilson in it).

It's mainly about an engaged couple, Gil, a Hollywood screenwriter who wants to become a serious novelist, and his fiancee, Inez. The two are in Paris, tagging along with Inez's parents as her father is doing some business deal there. Gil is struggling to write his first novel, which is about a man who runs a nostalgic shop. Gil is also fascinated with the 1920s era of Paris, when the writers and artists, like Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Picasso lived and worked in the city.

To escape the problems he's having with Inez and to get some inspiration for his novel, Gil starts walking the streets of Paris at night. Around midnight, a car drives up and transports him back to the 1920s, where he "meets" his literary and artistic heroes. Gertrude Stein, portrayed by Kathy Bates, even agrees to look at his novel-in-progress. All in all, it was a fascinating concept, albeit a little far-fetched.

Which led me to think that if I had the chance to talk to an author or artist I admired, who would I choose? Admittedly, I haven't read any of Hemingway's or Fitzgerald's work, never had to read their books for a high school English class. I have seriously thought about tackling one of Papa's books after reading "The Paris Wife," a fictionalized novel about Hemingway's first wife, Hadley. Living out here, I would have to definitely go with Laura Ingalls Wilder back before she even thought about writing books. We'd go to the barn dances, meet nice farmers, try to survive long winters and get name cards made up. I would ask her how she coped with her family's hardships, from Mary's blindness to the grasshopper plague. And of course, her rivalry with Nellie Oleson.

As for artists, I've always been drawn to the Impressionists, especially Claude Monet. So I would have to take my own midnight walk around Paris in order to meet him. I would love to learn about how he and other impressionists, like Edouard Manet, came up with the style, what motivated him and why so many paintings of water lilies? (not that I don't like them, it's currently my computer's background).

Other authors I wouldn't mind getting to know include Charlotte Bronte, Paula Danziger (who died in 2004, one of my young adult favorites), Louisa May Alcott, and J.R.R. Tolkein. There's others I'm sure, but then I realize that I haven't read too many of the "classics." Just another thing to add to the list.

I've also been delving into some more television on DVD, including "Game of Thrones," which everyone seems to want to watch (I don't blame them, it's a well-made show in my opinion), "Rizzoli and Isles," (an engrossing crime drama with its humorous moments) and now I've picked up "Downton Abbey" (gotta see what the excitement's about).



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