I use the film 10 Items or Less in my writing classes for a couple of reasons. First, it’s a damn fine film that I like sell by saying is “82 minutes of joy,” and it is. The students love it because it’s chock full of cursing, which is something they can relate to. But it also has some valuable lessons about life, acting, and even writing, which it shows through the meta-lens. Craft-based lessons ring so true to everyday life precisely because life is art. Or art is life. Or maybe there is no difference. At least that’s the conclusion I came to years ago with my poetry. It’s not just about the words; it’s also about the moment. Poetry happens in front of our eyes every single day, but a sort of lens is required to reveal it to us.
Anyway, I’m meandering way off topic. At one point in the film, Morgan Freeman asks Scarlet (played by Paz Vega) to name the parts of her life she’d like to keep, keeping the list to 10 items or less. She can only name seven. He names eleven. There’s a lesson even in that. But because my life sucks so bad right now (I won’t bore you with the details) and will for a little while longer, I find myself trying to keep perspective by creating my own list, 10 items or less, of keepers. Here’s mine:
My new (used) washer and dryer, which I bought with my bonus. Hooray for no laundromats!
My Comp I class–would that I could keep this crew together forever. They flourish and delight in writing in this group.
My teeth. My horrifyingly large, extremely buck teeth turned into a pretty and toothy smile once subjected to braces’ straightening force. My teeth hurt because I have 18 cavities, but with no insurance of any kind, the cost of fixing them is beyond me. Still, I’d like to hang on to them as long as possible. They’re still pretty in the front.
My car, which I received as a wedding gift, which is pretty astounding in and of itself. The fact that I don’t have to worry about it breaking down takes a lot of worry off my plate.
My laptop. which was paid for partially by funds raised here on this blog. It’s a reminder to me that my voice is heard, and there are still generous people with an agenda of justice.
Season three of Dexter: I get one gratuitous item, right? Right now, that’s it. It rocks my world (also very meta, ftr)
Finally, last but not least, my Mom, who is my rock and role model. She got me started in feminist thinking, even though she’d never read a feminist treatise in her life. But she knew to avoid taking shit, and that’s just what she taught me. I can’t tolerate half of the shit that women put up with day in and day out because of her.
What about you? Got 10 items or less? Keepers, anyone?