Monday, January 24, 2011

This Morning In A Morning Voice

to beat the froggiest
of morning voices,
my son gets out of bed
and takes a lumpish song
along—a little lyric
learned in kindergarten,
something about a
boat. He’s found it in
the bog of his throat
before his feet have hit
the ground, follows
its wonky melody down
the hall and into the loo
as if it were the most
natural thing for a little
boy to do, and lets it
loose awhile in there
to a tinkling sound while
I lie still in bed, alive
like I’ve never been, in
love again with life,
afraid they’ll find me
drowned here, drowned
in more than my fair
share of joy.

- Tod Boss

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

In Treatment

I don't watch much TV but these past few days I've been riveted by a series on HBO called In Treatment. I'm sure most people know about it but I came to it only recently and with little expectation only to be completely stunned. The series centers around a therapist, Paul Weston (Gabriel Byrne) and his sessions with a group of five patients as well as his own therapy with a former mentor, Gina (Dianne Wiest) to repair a faltering marriage. Both Gabriel Byrne and Dianne Wiest are seasoned, spectacular actors but what I've really enjoyed are the narrative arcs of the therapy sessions and the individual portrayals of the patients. Because the whole episode is based in a room and is centered pretty much just around two people talking, dialogue and the enactment of a character are what drives the show and the performers have done a great job fleshing each individual out. I particularly enjoyed watching Mia Wasikowski as Sophie and the relationship that is sculpted over the course of the series as she and Paul spend time trying to help her. There's a tenderness that plays over Paul's face as he interacts with Sophie that echoes something very human and Gabriel Byrne brings this out so well. I don't want to gush all over this page but watch the series if you get a chance. Most of prime time television is choked with entertainment contrived to make us laugh at its gags or be shocked by the antics of individuals who bear no relationship to our lives, people we cannot really relate to being paid to do things that almost never happen in real life. In Treatment is exceptional because it brings alive the potential of human connection by making us watch ordinary people talk to each other. The prospect that mere words, and a kind, compassionate ear, can help repair broken lives is almost too much to resist.

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