It’s been a rough week, and that’s the easiest way of saying that it was emotionally tumultuous for many of us, readers of TYF and the staff as well. When I find myself in moments of stress or heartbreak, I return always to what I love the most be it friends and family, writing or movies. Ideally, a combination of all three. Our support systems are there, and self-care is integral to becoming your best self and to be able to fight another day, in whatever way that you can.
Today marks the ten year anniversary of the emotionally poignant film Stranger Than Fiction, starring Emma Thompson, Will Ferrell and Dustin Hoffman. Following Ferrell’s Harold, who finds himself as the lead character in an author’s book who is destined to die, he finds safety in someone else pulling the strings of his life, allowing him moments of clarity and self-discovery that had eluded him for so long in his life. Directed by Marc Forster the film’s main goal is to present an image of human decency. It’s humorous, yes, and a little romantic with twinges of drama played in, but the real crux of this film is the connection individuals make between themselves and how one man’s act of personal heroism can change the lives around him.
Rather than get into the full meat of the film, I wanted to leave you all with the ending, one of my favorite moments in cinema based on its structural simplicity but also the enormity of the words being spoken.
To suggest that simply doing what you love will fix the potential (and likely) strife facing us is naive. There is much to be done, said and written in the upcoming weeks too. There will be struggle ahead of us, no doubt, and no, it’s not so quickly wiped away by enforced optimism, but in moments of darkness it’s integral to yourself to find the thing that brings you a small sense of joy, be it a beloved pet, a favorite movie from your youth or a phone call with a long distance friend. Being your best self, your healthiest self, can only allow you to help others. Belief in the power of the little moments won’t clear up the storm clouds, but they’ll allow the sun to peak through.
Watch the clip below (if you’ve seen the film or don’t care about spoilers) and read the quote in full.
Remember the little moments before tackling the monumental.
“Sometimes, when we lose ourselves in fear and despair, in routine and constancy, in hopelessness and tragedy, we can thank God for Bavarian sugar cookies. And, fortunately, when there aren’t any cookies, we can still find reassurance in a familiar hand on our skin, or a kind and loving gesture, or subtle encouragement, or a loving embrace, or an offer of comfort, not to mention hospital gurneys and nose plugs, an uneaten Danish, soft-spoken secrets, and Fender Stratocasters, and maybe the occasional piece of fiction. And we must remember that all these things, the nuances, the anomalies, the subtleties, which we assume only accessorize our days, are effective for a much larger and nobler cause. They are here to save our lives. I know the idea seems strange, but I also know that it just so happens to be true.”