Recently a friend told me she’d been to the cinema for the first time in ages, having avoided theaters for a while due to covid.
(This was before we had a second wave raging furiously here in Spain, when things were slightly better. Right now, all non-essentials are closed after 6pm in Andalucía until at least the 10th of December).
One thing she said has stuck with me for the last few weeks: ‘It’s the first time anything up on the screen is less scary or crazy than what’s going on in the real world.’
I couldn’t agree more. Roller coaster ride can hardly begin to describe life right now. Things feel almost ‘normal’ again one moment, then everything feels haywire again the next. Nevertheless, we get on with life as best we can despite the circumstances.
I imagine I’m not the only one to turn to fiction as a way to coax my mind into thinking about something else.
Books, shows, music. A place to escape to, a world painted into existence by the imagination. They also capture our experiences and reflect them back at us.
We can relate, knowing we’re not the first nor the last to feel a certain way.
They can also teach us. They share stories different from our own that also need to be heard.
So, very briefly, here’s a round-up of a few things I’ve enjoyed and learnt from lately:
The book Hija del camino by Lucía Asué Mbomio Rubio. One for the Spanish speakers in the room. Written by Spanish journalist and writer Lucía Mbomio, it tells a story about race, identity, belonging and finding one’s place in the world. Moving through settings in Madrid, London or Malabo, this was a book that was both easy and hard to read. Easy, because Mbomio tells the story in a way that is simple yet captivating and hard, because she expounds a tough reality around race in Spain. We need to learn from stories and experiences like these and do better.
The TV series I may destroy you, created, written, co-directed and produced by Michaela Coel. This drama explores the trauma of sexual abuse and its consecuences. I can’t praise it enough but I don’t have to. It has been critically acclaimed and is said to be the best TV show of 2020. Real, relevant and timely, I would definitely recommend it.
The Unlocking Us podcast hosted by Brené Brown. It was only June or so this year that I first heard about Brené Brown. Someone recommended her Netflix special The call to courage and, as often happens, she then seemed to pop up everywhere I looked. I read her book Braving the Wilderness in October and more recently have started enjoying the interviews on her podcast. The episode on burnout and completing the stress cycle was particularly illuminating.
What have you seen, read or heard lately that you have loved or learnt from?