Comfortable Old Friend

Comfortable Old Friend

Hi everyone. As most of you who read my posts might already know, I watch a lot of TV and movies. It is one of my addictions (along with pizza) and reading JAFF stories. Can’t get enough.

Today I want to talk about a movie I really love. It is called The Magic of Belle Isle. It is a great movie with Morgan Freeman  (one of my favorite actors) and Virginia Madsen.

The reason I am talking about this movie is that it can hit home for those of us who write stories. Morgan Freeman plays Monty,  a widower who is wheelchair bound author who has lost his desire to write. He has also given up on life, preferring to drown his sorrows in a bottle (or many bottles).

Monty’s nephew brings Monty to stay the summer at a house that was on loan to him. The house is next door to Virginia and her three daughters. Virginia’s character is going through a divorce and attempting to raise her daughters, the eldest of which doesn’t want to be there.

The middle daughter, Fin,  is filled with imagination and, when she learns who Monty is, decides she wants Monty to teach her how to tell a story. So she offers Monty her life’s savings  ($34.19) to teach her about telling a story and using imagination. The lessons are humorous and enlightening. The contact with the neighbors starts to bring Monty out of the tower he had built around his heart.

One of the best moments in the movie was when Fin is talking about the main character of Monty’s books, Jubal.  Monty explains that “All the things I couldn’t do in the real world, Jubal let me down on the pages.”

I can understand that sentiment. I cannot go back in time to the Regency period in England. I cannot meet Jane Austen or her characters to ask them questions. But using her characters allows me to transport through time and space, making it possible for me to be part of Darcy and Elizabeth and their lives. I can mold them and shape them, using different circumstances. And I can visit places with them, such as the continent and locations all over the United Kingdom.  There is so much to learn about the world and the Era, how people behaved and customs that were distinct between classes. It is fascinating to discover so much information.

Another comment that was made in the movie was by Virginia’s character. She said “I always thought of a book as a friend.”  I agree with that statement. Why else would we want more and more of our favorite characters?  Why would JAFF continue to grow, if people didn’t love the characters so much?  And we don’t just have them in the same locations and time frame. We have modern adaptations, paranormal versions, serious tales, and comedic takes.  We have futuristic and even time travel.  Some of the stories have similar storyline to the original, giving characters different names.

So, tell us what you would like to do in a book, that you could never do in real life. Is there something specific, a time, a place or a person you would love to share a story with, yet would never be able to experience.

And of all the books in the world (and I am shocked to learn there are other books besides JAFF. Who knew?), what books (or books) would be your old friend(s)? What would be your idea of “comfortable” or adventurous in a way that would be something in which you could picture yourself?  I have several I love as dear old friends, depending on the mood I am in that day.


11 Responses to Comfortable Old Friend

  1. This sounds so good! I am always looking for a good movie. They are more and more difficult to find these days. Morgan Freeman is SO fantastic. Thanks for the recommend, Melanie!

  2. I’ve not seen, or even heard of this film, Melanie, but it sounds fascinating. Morgan Freeman and Virginia Madsen are always good value as actors, so I’ll have to keep an eye out for it on TV here in the UK. When it comes to books that I regard as “keepers”, it’d have to be all of my Jane Austen books, all of Anne and Todd McCaffrey’s Pern series and J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of The Rings. As to what I’d like to do in a book that I can’t do in real life? Travel in the TARDIS with The Doctor – anywhere in space and time would be open to me then, provided we didn’t bump into the Daleks or the Weeping Angels!

  3. What would I like to do in a book? Well, I love reading Dick Francis’ mystery books, but what I love the most about his books and ‘The Black Stallion Series’ are the horse races. I would love to ride a race horse and win. Never happen except in my imagination, and that’s all right, but perhaps that’s the best place for it (a little safer than reality.) I loved including a horse race in ‘Lord Brookton.’ I still get excited when I read about it.

    As to writing about Elizabeth and Darcy, I feel as you do . I love tweaking their personalities a little and changing up their circumstances. And, I imagine, all my future P&P’s will not be canon. I’ve enjoyed your books especially because they were different. Keep up the good writing and ‘thank you’ for this interesting post. 🙂

  4. I read a book many years ago that totally stayed with me. It was called Dreams of other Days and it was set in Ireland during the Famine years. I cried buckets reading it. One of the best books I ever read. I loaned it to a friend who never returned it so I hunted it down on the net and bought it. Now nothing unusual about this but for the fact I know I’ll never read it again. I just couldn’t go through all that heartbreak now yet I still have to have it on my shelf. Well no one ever said book lovers are totally sane :):)

  5. You’re right, I do have books I read over and over. A lot of them, actually. Anne McCaffrey’s Pern books, David Eddings’ Belgariad, Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising, the original Dragonlance Trilogy . . . to name a few. For me, I think the books had to hit at a certain time in my life. I don’t pick new books to read over and over. No matter how good they are or how much I enjoy them, I just read them once. With movies I’m much more silly. I like to watch Princess Bride, Clueless and True Lies over and over, Clueless being the only thing in my repeat pile that actually relates to Jane Austen 🙂 It is a dream of mine, as a writer, to someday manage to write something amazing enough that other people will read it more than once 🙂

  6. My Emilie Loring books are my old friends, along with Jane. When we sold the majority of our possessions last summer I sold over 400 books but I kept about 100 that I love so much I couldn’t bear to part with them. They are truly part of my soul. The places I love to go are numerous, but (this may be sensitive subject matter here) my mother and I have always had difficulty bearing each others company so some of my favorites are those with loving and close mother/daughter relationships or time travel because I would love to visit so many times/places but I wouldn’t want to stay. I need plumbing, good hygiene and vegan food. LOL I am not big on TV or movies so I’ve never seen this one. But I’ll look for it!

  7. Under the category of “Wow, That’s a Coincidence” I love that movie, too. The Magic of Belle Isle is a permanent keeper on my DVR and I’ve watched it many times because it’s such a beautiful story. Some of my “old friends” are Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, Poirot Investigates, and How Green was My Valley. All fiction, but set in different periods of history. In each novel the author created such a convincing micro-world; when I read them for the first time, I wanted to be an orphan, dance at an assembly, rent a London flat, and mine for coal (that last ambition only lasted until I remembered how much I hate small, dark places).

  8. I cannot think of a particular book I would call “an old friend.” I have several I kept for sentimental value after my mother’s death. She devoured books. However, often when I am asked the question of who would I invite to a dinner party (other than Austen), I say I would like to have taken the acquaintance of Ernest Hemingway, Thomas Jefferson, and George Custer. Read into that what you may. LOL!

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