The Road is easily my favorite book that I've read this year and I wanted to share a scene from the book that pertains to all artistic realms. If you haven't read it, it's about a father and son walking along a road in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. They're destination in the coast and refuge. A lot of people said it was a depressing book before I read it; but, after reading it, I thought it wasn't only depressing, it's designed to make you feel every emotion.
The first half of the book is very real and made me feel the real state of the Father and Son on the road, but at a certain point there's a shift and the story becomes almost like a fairy-tale. And I say fairy-tale with the original idea of a fairy-tale being a dark and depressing story meant to teach a moral lesson.
This transformation happens when they meet an old man on the road who is very mysterious and doesn't even give them his real name. He's described as about 90 years old, 100 lbs, and very frail. Of course, I was thinking, "How is this old guy not dead yet in this world," a thought shared by the Father. The old man explains that he doesn't even really know how he's alive. The beauty of their interaction is what I think the point of fiction and all art is. It's to provide moments that make you think without questioning: a suspension of disbelief. The world becomes a place where a mysterious old man can walk forever down the road. The Boy encourages the Father to give the old man some food and then they part ways and the old man disappears on the road. As the reader, he'll always be walking down the road and that's the power of story-telling.
When I look at painting that moves me or I watch a Miyazaki movies, it spins me into a world where incredible things can happen without disturbance. It becomes a window into that world that the author, painter, or film-maker molds builds. The artist is the world builder.
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