This self-proclaimed movie nerd has an admission.
I had never seen Dead Poets Society until this week. Lo and very much behold, it was a very good film–aside from Robin Williams doing his schtick every now and then.
People may consider this another coming of age movie, where William’s teacher character encourages his young students to find their passion and individuality in a society that wants conformity.
But being a writer, this is how it affected me.
It reiterated how words have the power to shape our dreams, help us realize our dreams, and help us deal with a world that doesn’t always look kindly on dreamers and poets.
When I was kid, I was terribly shy. I mean SHY. But through my writing of stories, essays and poetry, I could get out of my shyness. I could create new worlds. Tell new stories. I could be bold on paper.
I saw my first Shakespeare play in junior high and was struck by the perverbial lightning bolt of words and poetry. It took me out of my seat in Pueblo, Colorado, to a wider world.
When my father died, I was not there and was distressed that I did not get to say good-bye to him. Later I wrote a novel in which a young woman says good-bye to her dying father and I felt healed. I got to write what I wanted to say.
Words have power.
The young men in the Dead Poets Society discovered that words written by a bunch of long passed poets still had something to say to them, still expressed how they felt and what they wanted to feel. They stood on their desk and saw the world from a different view. They showed their support for the man who taught them the power of words and poetry. They basked in their individuality.
Maybe next time when I am going through a rough time as a writer, I will think about that movie. I will stand up on my desk and proclaims Carpe diem. Then I will sit back down at my desk and go back to writing.