There are legions of people who drink a lot and many others who take drugs regularly. But more and more I am finding women who integrate healthier ways to calm themselves in this ever-increasingly crazy world. Many of my aging friends are taking up new sports, learning to swim, biking, kayaking, walking, playing racquet sports, using Yoga and meditation; all of which have a calming effect. Now will I ever give up my little orange pills? No. I need them to fly. But considering I take a half-pill on average every three months, I doubt I’m an abuser.
However, my favorite tool to cure what ails me is watching a movie. I don’t know what it is about me that allows my brain to so easily become a bit part in a movie. I love all kinds of films; action and adventure and sci-fi are among my favorites. But most of all I like period pieces. Anything by Merchant and Ivory (I think I own most of what they’ve made) puts me in a different world. Even TV stuff like the new Turn, with all its historical references and constant death threats, takes my mind off what’s wrong around me. It’s made-for-TV, I know, but I like seeing life, even as hard as it was at this turning point in our nation’s history, lived simply. I sense those people slept better than we do now.
If music is involved, which is the case in most films, then a period piece can be incredibly calming. The Cider House Rules music can take me from near hysteria to near REM sleep in minutes. The movie itself just makes me cry. But, and here finally is my point, there has never been a movie that could turn my mood quicker than To Kill a Mockingbird. From the credits at the beginning, with that old box filled with childhood keepsakes and Scout, or was it Jem?, humming over the recurring melody, I am at peace. I begin to gently roll with the marble. The movie says everything I would ever want to tell the world, if only it would listen.
In 2006, the British librarians rated Harper Lee’s novel ahead of the Bible as the book “every adult should read before they die.” Many here in America wanted the book banned from our schools. But whatever you feel about this book, or the movie, this is my drug of choice, and will remain so forever. Listen HERE.