Lessons In A Lockdown

Sunday, May 24, 2020

As a reasonably-informed and well-read American, it’s shocking to discover for myself some celebrated, talented artists beyond those known already to me. If being confined in-house for weeks on end has an upside, for me it’s the excitement of discovering individuals doing excellent work in the arts, who otherwise I’d never have found. I’ll share with you a couple of them.

Tired of clicking on and being disappointed in Netflix’s popular offerings, and following an obscure review, I searched Hulu for a streaming movie entitled, “Wild Rose”. The review caught my attention because the movie’s co-star is Julie Walters, a fine British actress and one of my favorites. She was the only actor that I recognized ahead of streaming the movie.

The film itself is a lightweight, typical story about a talented young woman with lots of personal baggage. She’s a Scot who’s always lived in Glasgow and has dreams of going to Nashville. She’s determined in that way to become a country music singing star. The movie’s lead character, an Irish actress named Jessie Buckley, is an amazing talent. Buckley’s performance owns this film in every way, from her expressive face and movements to her fine singing voice. A viewer can ignore much of the script and flow, but can’t get enough of Jessie Buckley. A role that balances Buckley’s energy is that of Walters as the disapproving mother.

A little research shows that Jessie Buckley is a well-known actor/singer in Europe. Well, where have I been? And surprises keep coming.

Simultaneously my newest reading choice, “The Stone Building and Other Places” by Asli Erdogan, has landed a new shock for not already knowing this talented writer. Erdogan (no relation to the Turkish President) is a Turk who holds a PhD in physics. She worked in technical fields before evolving into a human rights activist and becoming a columnist, and at one time, a political prisoner. She’s written several novels and won literary prizes. Her last two novels were translated into English. One, I’m reading.

I learned about Erdogan while hearing an actress on YouTube reading aloud, in French, one of Erdogan’s books. No telling how I happened to be tuned into that YouTube channel. I didn’t understand a single word of the French, but the sounds had a compelling rhythm that caught my ear. I needed myself to see what those pages said.

Where was I prior to this closed-in period? How little about film and writing do I know? Until recently, never having been forced to explore ways to widen a world of self-isolation, have I been sitting on my hands?

Anyway, it’s appropriate to self-forgive previous blindnesses. What’s essential is to keep moving on trying to learn. Increased global awareness is a benefit, a gift, from searches to distract us from nagging worries about our collective future: changed worldwide societies, international public health issues, and unstable global economics.

Dear Readers: Please share your new discoveries among internationally-known artists. Diana

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