Do you watch The Following? I love me some Kevin Bacon, so tuned in for the first few weeks and loved it. Then it started to feel too violent. Sometimes unnecessarily violent. And then it felt like while I was watching and snacking on a bowl of popcorn some psychopath in the US was also watching with more sinister intentions. As the show continued it just seemed like the life of sadistic killers was becoming too sexy and exciting. But, I kept watching.
Then Sandy Hook happened and I told Matt I just couldn't watch anything violent and we just needed to turn off the tv for a while. And then the bombs went off in Boston. It was all so terrible and heavy and made me realize how vulnerable each of us are as we go about our daily lives. I haven't watched The Following since. It's scary to realize the fragility of life, which is the single most frightening aspect of being a parent. The Following made me feel like anyone could be a target, but I was able to remind myself it was a tv show. The shootings and bombings were suddenly real life. You can't escape reality (well, you can, but I'm not really into psychedelics).
We can't stop leaving the house and taking our kids to school and going to the grocery store, I know this. So, I wonder if this is our new reality... Are tragedies like Sandy Hook and attacks like the Boston bombings just part of life? I don't want to admit that could be the truth.
While reading A Constellation of Vital Phenomenon I was reminded of the charmed life most Americans live compared to the majority of the world. I had to keep reminding myself that much of the book took place in 2004 in Chechnya. In 2004!!! As in when I was living the care-free existence of a 20-something in the city. Yet one of the main characters in the book was likely the same age and returned to her ravaged homeland after the start of a promising medical career in London. Fear of landmines, living in a seemingly lawless land, and the devastation that surrounded them was a reality... The fragility of life an actual concern every moment, not just something on television or the news.
I'm still not planning to watch The Following anymore. I'm sorry, Kevin Bacon, I love you and your skinny ties, but the world doesn't need any more ideas on how to hurt each other.
This post was inspired by the novel A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra. In a war torn Chechnya, a young fatherless girl, a family friend, and a hardened doctor struggle with love and loss. Join From Left to Write on May 20 as we discuss Anthony Marra's debut novel. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.