All of us have our favorite pieces of art, music, film, and literature. All of us remember certain times when we first discovered those favorites. They become a part of us and stand the test of time without wearing our their welcomes as we get older.
I don't why that article suddenly sparked this thought in me, but it did. Here are a few favorites and when I discovered them.
Since Jane Eyre was the reason for this post, I'll start with it...
My freshman year was a year of great exposure to wonderful things. It was also the year I heard Les Miserables and The Phantom of the Opera for the first time. They were both incredibly popoular. Phantom's story is pretty basic, and easy to follow from just listening to the soundtrack, but Les Miserables is not. Because my roommate was gone so much, I became especially close to the girls across the hall. One of them, Gail, who is still a close friend, came over with her cassette (CDs were very, very new.) Over the course of 2-3 hours we listened to the entire thing, pausing between songs for her to tell me the story and preface what I was about to hear. I was awestruck at the power and beauty of the music. About a year later we saw it onstage in Salt Lake City. It remains one of my favorites.
If you know me well, then you know the name of my favorite film. Singin' in the Rain put itself in the top spot as soon as I saw it. I was in grade school when I watched it on TV at my grandparents' house. I'm guessing it dethroned The Sound of Music because of my age, but it remains at the top, just as Gene Kelly remains my favorite actor. (One of my greatest regrets is missing an opportunity to meet him in person because of a wedding my family had to attend.) Although Singin' in the Rain is not a complex story, like some of my other favorite films, I love it for its seamless and unfailing buoyancy. It is my permanent remedy for a really bad day (fortunately I haven't had one of those in a very long time) and it succeeds upon every single viewing. And, there is something about this film that makes it feel like its mine, maybe because it has been a favorite for so long.
I try not to get more cynical as I get older, but the world can be a horrendous place. One way I balance my own sanity with the garbage the media throws at us is to hold on to the fact that beautiful things do exist if we look for them. They aren't the mainstream or the most popular, but they are much more enduring and uplifting. They're out there. Go find them.