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Sunday night we watched "An Unfinished Life" with Robert Redford and Morgan Freeman.
The two men play sad characters, but — like I sometimes do — I felt a twinge of envy for their isolated lives in the near-wilderness of Wyoming, days completely their own (even if they did choose to spend them feeling depressed and sorry for themselves).
But then I thought, "Hey, wait! That is my life!" Not the hangdog part but the near-wilderness part, with days to spend as I choose. I don't have the mountain ridges of Wyoming out my window, but I do have woods and, behind the strip mall, glacier-etched mini-canyons and trout streams.
A lovely life.
But I still like an audience. I still have that working woman's lust for approval.
I worked for countless hours last week on "The Adventures of Maddie Malone." Brought it to cartoon class last night. Being way out on Rancho Susita, I had no idea how the teacher would respond. (My only feedback had been from Jim, who — while a formidable art connoisseur — does share Rancho Susita with me.)
The teacher's eyes widened when he saw my elaborately pencilled production, then he started laughing. Laughing! "This is really funny," he said. I'm not known for my hilarity, but — since he had once worked in a local psych unit — he appreciated the irony.
He told me it was by far the best work ever submitted to him by "an adult student." "Adult student" is a kind way of saying "amateur" as opposed to "real" students in a design-school professional track. Cool enough. I'll accept the compliment for what it is and for who I am. You learn to love the life you have lived instead of all the alternative lives that might have been. Would I trade Rancho Susita for a dorm room at the local design college? No way. But I'm basking in my teacher's laugh today.
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