Monday, October 22, 2007

An Admirable Woman

For over two months I have had "The Prizewinner of Defiance, Ohio" to watch. I believe that to fully appreciate some movies and books, you must be ready for them. Not to say that "The Prizewinner of Defiance, Ohio" is a hard movie to watch, in fact it's tone is fun and spunky even when dealing with harsh realities because Evelyn Ryan, the woman Julianne Moore (one of my favorite current actresses) portrays in the film, was like that. What I mean is that I tried watching this film nearly a year ago at a friend's house and it did not work out (cable problems) and I have a feeling I was meant to wait to see the film when I was more receptive of just what an amazing woman Evelyn Ryan was.

I should mention I had heard an interview with Terry "Tuff" Ryan, the daughter of Evelyn Ryan who wrote the memoir, The Prizewinner of Definance, Ohio: How My Mother Raised 10 Kids on 25 Words or Less on The Diane Rehm Show years before (probably around 2001 when the memoir was released. Sadly, Terry Ryan died of cancer earlier this year) and was struck by how remarkable Evelyn Ryan seemed. I think Julianne Moore described what was so admirable about Evelyn Ryan best in her commentary of the film (I am paraphrasing at the moment): She refused to be defeated by the shortcomings in her life--she dealt with her life with strength, resolve and an amazing positive mood and lived without bitterness or regrets. She was someone who appreciated what she had rather than dwell on what she did not. She also defused others' anger with laughter and did not allow it to faze her. Additionally, she was clever, resourceful and bursting with life and love. I plan on finding the memoir and reading it in between all the other things I read (starting Love in the Time of Cholera, various magazines & cookbooks and about 12 step programs to name a few things--do you ever feel like you are bursting with all you could do and wish to do?).

I have no idea how Evelyn Ryan remained so unruffled by the negative in her life (including an alcoholic husband that drank much of his earnings), but maybe the memoir will help me to find out and emulate such an attitude. I realize that I waste too much energy on anger, which only perpetuates the worst, rather than best in others and me. I want to cultivate laughter, growth, creativity, friendship, connection, warmth and understanding....

1 comment:

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