‘What is it to be human … what is it to ache?’ Charlie Kaufman’s latest cinematic offering – Anomolisa – encapsulates existential angst and human fallibility in excruciating close-up. An anti-love story with its lens focused on an empty shell protagonist, seeking to fill his inner void by imputing value on mere infatuation.
The conceit – where Lisa’s voice is the only one not narrated by Tom Noonan – is artfully executed; its significance only fully appreciated when Michael’s ego boundaries snap firmly back into place. As quickly as it manifested, an expansive world view implodes and the prison bars of conventionality entrap him, at least until the next one-night-stand of opportunity presents itself.
It was painful to watch – causing me to reflect on the human propensity to approach people and things from the dissatisfied vantage point of unfulfilled need. For me, one of the few advantages of ageing has been getting to know and like myself because and not despite of my idiosyncrasies. Instead of berating myself for past misdemeanours, I try to celebrate how far I have come in understanding my modus operandi.
To be honest, it isn’t that complex. If you have the luxury of time to fully examine yourself … what is revealed is frightening in its simplicity. We are creatures of habit and it’s only so long before we climb back into the hamster wheel of our very own passion play. One of my habitual tenancies is the compulsion to organise – combating the vicissitudes of an uncertain existence by surrounding myself with clean lines and order.
Not the usual segway into your latest make but it is my propensity to wax lyrical. The Deer and Doe Chardon Skirt hooked me in with the promise of a structured form – the perfect vehicle to give shape to some striped denim I’d foraged from the kilo bins at Abakhan. It’s my second foray with this pattern – the first having been fashioned from some 1950s barkcloth. Construction was somewhat hampered by the fabric’s pattern and the imperfect marriage of gently contoured box pleats with the inflexibility of a stripe.
In the interests of mental health preservation and sustaining a life long relationship with sewing, I’ve downgraded my baseline of acceptability from perfect to good enough. Initial attempts at pleating did not make the grade and were hastily disassembled. I redrew the pleats in an attempt to meld them with the unforgiving line of the fabric and the results just about pass muster. At first I wasn’t sure if the striped denim suited my style but I took it out on a photo spree and I’m most pleased with the results. I’m even toying with the idea of a third in a much stiffer fabric, taking the box pleats to their absolute limits.
Whilst I’ve grown to accept my predilection for order as a coping mechanism for uncertainty, I’m mindful of the inherent flaw in this strategy – life cannot be controlled. I’ve partnered myself with a human whose spirit pervades space like vapour – his fluidity a welcome counterbalance to my rigidity. With ego boundaries in place, I’m surrounded by straight lines in a fortress of my own making. In relationship with a complementary other, I have the freedom to explore beyond self-imposed limits and adventure beyond the linear.