A Ghost Story
Ash watched a movie, had a meltdown and wrote this essay.
I recently rewatched the movie ‘A Ghost Story’ and forgot how harrowing it is. I find myself understanding what haunting means more & more with each rewatch. I find myself at a dead-end realisation. The realisation that death is the biggest part of life. It is a movie that throws you into the thick of grief and makes zero attempts to make it cinematic or exciting. Long shot after long shot it is showing you the pain in real-time. Long shot after long shot it is showing you the weight of a moment. The one of few certainties in life is that we will leave here. That departure is definite. But we don’t know how we will go and we don’t know when.
Although that can seem scary on the surface, we can also take this opportunity to unlock the opportunist in us. A Ghost Story takes a sudden death to focus on how the world still revolves. It doesn’t slow or stutter and when the definition of time seems altered for us, it ticks on all the same. You still get hungry, you still have to sleep and the most agonising of all, you still have to live. It is devastating, to say the least. Bleak at its very best. But beautiful also.
The guarantee that everything is temporary means it is high time we grab this mother fucker by the horns. Stop telling yourself that you will one-day skydive. Save your buckaroos and get in the air. Go to the party. Go and do all of the things you are scared to do because if when we leave we have the chance to look back, none of us should look back at a half-lived life. Go on more dates. With your partner and yourself. Find a busker and pay them to sing your favourite song. And when the time comes to rest, rest good. Watch that movie you’ve been debating watching. Listen to your favourite album front to back and then back to front.
We are told our lives need to be grand but I have had the biggest laughs in the most mundane of places. I have had the best of times during the worst. How we live is not the concern, we should just be living. As children, we made daisy chains and drew on the pavement in chalk. We threw acorns at tin cans and ran across open fields with our shoelaces untied just to see who could make it the furthest. And every time I reminisce all I feel is elation and I feel so goddamn lucky for how easy I had it and how simple it was to find a good time.
And when I go, like I most certainly will I just hope I can look back and feel the same. If the chance comes I want to look at the time I had here and know I did what I could with it. That even though we were broke that one summer we found an open woodland and threw twigs off a bridge and you got so competitive we had to have a ‘calm down five’. And it was winter but we went swimming in the wild but the laughter kept us from freezing.
There is so much more to unpack with this movie but I am focussing on the obvious message. ‘A Ghost Story’ is a screaming reminder that we can go at any given moment and we can quiver and try and forget that fact or we can take every second we have here and set it on fire. We can get rid of the excuses and just start doing. Stop thinking everything needs to be spectacular to be spectacular. From a movie with little dialogue that features a lady eating a pie for nearly five minutes, trust me, unspectacular things are pretty spectacular sometimes. We are all going to go. Let’s put on a show that is going to be near impossible to follow.
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This is like a trailer as a music video. This song is a center element of the movie and it is such a good piece of music. It gets me right in the feels every time.
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