To tightly stitch together our world

Hello, friends! We hope 2013 has been a delight so far. This week, Lisa writes about choosing, watching and cherishing films.

Over the course of our holiday staycation, my husband and I watched quite a few movies from the glow of a laptop screen. We’d get all settled on the couch, feet propped on the coffee table, pooch sprawled across our laps, and then came the inevitable question: “So... whaddaya wanna watch?”

It can be quite a challenge, taking into consideration two different film viewers’ histories and preferences and moods, to finally settle on just the right thing. Even when we can agree on a genre—usually documentaries or foreign films—we still grapple over subgenres. Historical quest or inspirational profile? Epic journey or spiritual awakening? Comedy or tragicomedy?

There’s a lot of back-and-forth and screening reviews and watching trailers. We’ll practically spend as much time searching for the perfect movie as we do watching it. But when we finally land on our selection for the evening, we just know. After all that hemming and hawing, a brief title catches both sets of eyes, and it’s decided within seconds. Not too long, not too short, not too sad, not too scary. It’s like Goldilocks at the movie theater.

The good ones leave you with a warm glow after the closing credits, then disappear back into the ether. The best ones linger with you for days or fasten themselves to your consciousness forever. I still can’t get over The Buena Vista Social Club, an unexpected gem we watched almost two years ago, and I can’t wait to see what new worlds we’ll stumble across next. — Lisa


Last week's dispatch asked, What three things would you take with you to your cabin in the woods?

Daniel wrote:

In February, I'm running off to a cabin in Idaho for 8 days. Everything I'm taking can be boiled down to three things: People, heavy with worth. Too much food, to fill the people. And lastly, too much whiskey, to fuel the conversation. When it comes down to it, all you really need are good people, good food, and good whiskey.

Marius wrote:

For my three things (I guess the top priority "good company", doesn't count as a thing?) I would bring:

Josh wrote:

My family, art supplies and a paper Bible... I'm assuming the cabin would already have things like candles, a stove, and a way to hunt. :)

Asad wrote:

Blank pages, a sharp pencil and lots of chocolate for eating and melting purposes.

Andrew wrote:

Three things I'd take with me to my cabin:

Erin wrote:

To the cabin in the woods, I would take the following goods:

These, of course, are in addition to my two companions (the husband and the dog).

Kyle wrote:

I would take the following 3 items to a cabin (if the obvious survival items were included; family, food, water, bedding, etc.):

Lisa wrote:

I would bring a notebook, a pen, and The Oxford Book of American Poetry.

Sanjana wrote:

I would take my favorite letterhead, a black ink pen and red roses from my garden to write sincere thank you notes to all the people who nourish my soul with their love.

Joseph wrote:

Three things I'd take with me to a cabin in the woods:

Nicholas wrote:

Everything I could think of seemed so trite. (My music collection, certain books or photos, etc.) Or might already be there. (A good knife, a nice fleece blanket, binoculars.) As I closed my eyes and pictured the "things" that I would want in that cabin with me, the people in the room were what stood out.

Then I realized that I just had this for the last week over Christmas. We had all gathered at my father's house in Richmond to celebrate Christmas, the first without the light that was my mother during her favorite time of year (she liked the anticipation of it all). We decorated the house and followed all our old traditions. Chinese takeout on Christmas eve, shish kabob's over the fire on Christmas day, painfully slow present opening, ambrosia, singing Happy Birthday to Jesus. Then on Friday, we gathered with 100+ family and friends to celebrate the life of my mother.

And here on New Year's Day, recovering from all that and a flu that saw me in bed with a fever of nearly 103, I long for a day in a cabin in the woods (Walden-style). The only thing I'd take, and the one thing I'd hope to find, would be myself.

Grant wrote:

Bible, notebook, pen.

Susan wrote:

Firewood, a cozy blanket, and my current knitting project.

Laurence wrote:

My family starting with my wife and my two young boys. I'm an only child so I grew up with a lot of 'me' time. As I've grown older and started my own family, the space between me time and we time has shrunk.  I find it hard to have a truly great time without my immediate family. And the more family (e.g., cousins, nieces nephews, aunts/uncles, etc), the merrier.

At least one (or 3) of dozens of books I've wanted to read. My reading goes in fits and starts. I'm in a fit phase. There are many books I want to get to but haven't made the time to do so. A few days/weeks away gives me the time to sit and read more of the stuff that doesn't deal with the day-to-day success of my company but generally expands the mind. The breadth ultimately creates a more interesting me and helps me solve problems more creatively.

Diversity of food. We're a foodie family and love exploring locales through cooking. I'd love to cook something from another continent each day. Maybe Chinese coconut buns and Vietnamese Pho for lunch one day; ackee and salt fish with boiled dumplings for breakfast another day; Jolof, Ewo and Chicken stew for dinner another day. Boscotti di Prato and Mexican hot chocolate for dessert!

Adam wrote:

The three things I'd take, barring people/dogs. :)

Colin wrote:

A cabin in the woods. . . Part of me wants to say I would want to take nothing and just savor the experience and the slow for what it is, but the other part of me thinks I would regret that.

If there's no limit to what I can take and my desire for adventure is a given, I'd likely take I would include:

Mona wrote:

The 3 things I would take to a cabin in the woods (presumably it had no internet) would be a knitting project, all the pre-selected New Yorker magazine articles that my husband carefully curated for me, and my kind husband.

Brad wrote:

The three things I’d take with me to my cabin in the woods, assuming my cabin was already outfitted by me and thus had blankets, a wood-burning stove, hot chocolate, scotch, etc.:

Tu wrote:

A Moleskine, for ever since I was 21 I keep jotting and sketching everyday. It keeps me alive; The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand; a box of pancakes made by my mom.

Amanda wrote:

I'd take my guitar, my paints and my journal. Time and space to create seem to be at a premium these days, and that sounds like the perfect place to do it.

Uncommon reads

Skipping Steps by Wayne Curtis, on lessons from walking tours of New Orleans:

What do we lose by walking less, and breaking up our walks into Halloween-candy sized missions? We lose that opportunity to tightly stitch together our world.

Your turn

What movie do you wish everyone would see?