WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE? My girls, Emma Grace and Ella, will often say that when my brother or my brother-in-law come through the door. It drives me nuts because it’s not said with a friendly sound of delight. Rather, it sounds somewhat rude to me when these little kids are questioning an adult. In thinking about this, I have discovered something new about language and the importance of how the proper tone usage in our everyday conversations can make all the difference in the world . It’s really not tone usage that is new to me. It’s the understanding of how tone can be missed used or abused. I remember growing up as a child hearing my grandmother say, “Don’t you use that tone with me boy! I brought you into this world and I can take you out.” That was grandma’s way of saying don’t be disrespectful and I was headed for a good old fashion spanking. Grandma, known as Miss Annie, raised me with all the love a mother could give and then some. I learned from her that you are always to respect your elders whether they were relate to you or not. You were always to be respectful and raising your voice as a child to an adult was a BIG No, No.
As a young boy growing up in the inner city of Rochester New York, I loved going to the movies. I remember when downtown Rochester was booming with business. Movie theaters, with their marquees, were a spectacle of lights. Back then, there was no such thing as multiplex theaters. Instead, we had the Capital Theater on E. Main Street and the Coronet Theater on Thurston Road. On the weekend, for two dollars, you could watch two or three movies. A brief intermission between them gave you just enough time to go get refreshments. What a deal!
It is funny and amazing how a person’s childhood can shape their adulthood. I still love to watch movies, just ask my wife, Amy. If Amy and I are grocery shopping at Wegmans, you’ll find me at the Redbox machine checking out the new arrival. If we happen to be out shopping at Wal-Mart, look for me near their electronics. Even my daughters know that’s where they can find dad, rummaging through Wal-Mart’s five dollar movie bin hoping to find an inexpensive DVD. Oh! And did I mention Netflixs?
Well, my newest find is the public library. Our local library has a good movie selection and it’s free! I recently I checked out a movie, titled The Words. Amy and I really enjoyed this movie and our conversation about it the days that followed is what spurred this post.
The Words is a great movie about a young, aspiring writer named Roy Jensen and his girlfriend Dora. Roy has not been able to get any of his work published and as a result has been bankrolled by his father. Eventually Roy’s dad tells him that he’s getting his last check. He needs to be realistic and get a job to support himself. His dad even offers Roy a job working for him but Roy declines because writing is his passion … his dream. He wants so much for his words to matter.
Roy and his girlfriend marry and take a vacation in Paris to get away. While shopping at an antique shop Dora sees an old dusty black attaché case and buys it for Roy.
Over time Roy discovers a manuscript inside one of the compartments in the case. Unbeknownst to Roy, the novel he found was written and lost by a soldier who was stationed in France during the war. He, too, aspired to be a writer. Late one night Roy started to read the novel. Its words seemed to jumped right off the pages. The words were so captivating Roy couldn’t put the novel down and he stays up all night reading it.