Listening To: Little Pink Houses by John Mellancamp
Quote I can't stop thinking about: "Now I'll be bold as well as strong. And use my head alongside my heart. So tame my flesh and fix my eyes. A tethered mind freed from the lies." - Mumford & Sons
All week, I've been looking forward to this weekend. Mostly, I've been excited about the following events:
1. Watching Danica Patrick win the Daytona 500. And ...
2. Watching a PBS production I recorded a while back called Shakespeare Uncovered: The Tempest.
Does this make me a well rounded redneck?
Also, there's some crossover fiction in there somewhere, right? "A NASCAR retelling of Shakespeare's The Tempest..." I can't believe that hasn't been done. (sarcasm)
Pondering Shakespeare and NASCAR has me thinking about one of my college lit classes. We had to write three-part papers after each reading assignment, and one part had to be a tie-in. We had pick the central theme, or character motivation, or pretty much any aspect of the story we wanted, and tie it in with a random element in some other field of study. I mostly stuck with visual art and psychology, because that seemed like a scholarly thing to do. But once, in a rush to finish writing my paper, I compared some unassuming British man's moody poem about a restless, heartsick yearning for change to ... the John Mellancamp song "Little Pink Houses". Surprisingly, I got an A. (Even though my professor scribbled a note in the margins about how she'd never interpreted "Little Pink Houses" to be a song about restlessness, but more about the comfort you find in the place that always feels like "home" to you - the place that, through it's unchanging-ness, gives you a sense of stability. An anchoring place. She interpreted that kind of sameness as a comfort, whereas I interpreted it as bored stiff. However. when I listen to the song now, I would say she's definitely right. It's about the home you want to go back to; maybe a longing for a season in life when you felt most peaceful, more settled. I didn't get that at 22. Probably because I so bad wanted to launch and go and do. Crazy how familiar songs sound different as you get older, isn't it?)
John Cougar ... was pushing it. I don't know how my professor would have reacted if I tried to compare Will Shakespeare to NASCAR.
But I think Will would consider Danica Patrick a worthy heroine.
I watched her interviewed this afternoon, and she talked about how, for her, being a woman racing in the Daytona 500 wasn't necessarily as important a legacy as this (I'm paraphrasing):
"If you have a talent, don't be afraid to follow through with it."
Even if it seems impossible.
Even though it takes years and years of hard work to be deemed an overnight success.
Even though criticism is fierce.
Even though the risk is great, and only gets greater.
Even though the odds are stacked against you.
Even then ...
Start your engine. Follow through with your talent. Because talent by itself isn't enough to sustain much long term.
She went on to say all sorts of other cool things, but I really liked that initial quote. Honestly, I'm not much of a NASCAR fan. I'm pretty neutral over most sports. (But Tennessee people: do you remember when the Knoxville corn maize was in the shape of Trevor Bayne's head?)
But I do think it's a little bit fantastic that Danica Patrick is racing the Daytona 500. And I really, really love that she's inspiring other girls to aspire toward careers that might be more traditionally held by men. That's a pretty darn awesome legacy as well.
This year, at Halloween, I hope lime green racing jumpsuits become as popular for girls as princess costumes. Or I home some really industrious kid combines the two.
Because who needs a white horse and a sparkly coach when you can drive your own race car?
What are y'all into this weekend? Are you watching the Oscars? Or the Daytona 500? I actually do have one other goal and that's to find some Girl Scout Cookies. Because they've been out for weeks, apparently, and I still have none. HOW did that happen?
Happy Weekending to you ;)