Way back in 1986 a really cool movie came out about a high-school kid who decided to take the day off. He talked his girlfriend and his best friend into joining him and together the three had a wild and crazy day. Sound familiar? I sure hope so. If not than you are missing out on one of the greatest movies ever told.
What I loved about Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is how it reminded us to put on the breaks and take a look around. In fact I believe it went something like this:
Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.
Thank you Ferris. Music to my ears.
But how many of us really do it? How many times have you had a free day? Now I’m not saying you need to steal your friend’s dad’s fancy car and race it all over town but imagine taking a day, just you and a friend or two and doing whatever you please. Tempting isn’t it? But for many, impossible.
Or is it?
The other day I was at the kitchen table writing a scene to novel number two. My eyes were getting blurry, my mind a tad frustrated and my creative juices riding on fumes. I took a thirty second break and glanced out the window.
Outside I noticed my cats trying and failing to intimidate the neighborhood squirrel. I smiled as they chased the squirrel from fence to tree and back again. In that moment it occurred to me that I hadn’t been outside for days. True, February in Western Oregon isn’t the best of days. But still…was life passing me by?
So I did the impossible – I put novel number two on hold, grabbed a jacket and stepped outside. At first a rush of guilt rushed through my veins. I could hear my characters ordering me to get back to work but I kept walking until soon their complaints were lost in the wind.
For a tiny moment I was Ferris. True, I was only gone an hour and I wasn’t ditching school, but it was spontaneous and fun and refreshing. Minus the sports car….sadly.
I walked down the street and said hello to our 95 year old neighbor, Virginia, who walks a mile a day. I walked past an old cat sleeping on top of a rusty mail box, I said hello to the man who collects chickens and finally I spied the squirrel who was messing with my cats.
Most of all my one hour escape cleared my head and reminded me that life does move pretty fast and sometimes it’s easy to miss things.
You and I get caught up in our daily routine. We outline, we write, we delete and we start over. A writer’s mind never stops creating but that doesn’t mean it can’t create while we’re enjoying the world around us.
I plan on making a habit of this. My little sneak away was actually a lot of fun. I had no idea my neighbor’s chicken’s all had names nor did I realize Virginia walks five miles a day not one. She quickly corrected my error, by the way.
My next stop is the University of Oregon. Imagine Ferris taking a trip to that part of town. John Hughes would have had a blast with that scene.
I’ll leave you with a quote from Ben Stein.
He said it best. Not only about the film but about life.
“…the most life-affirming movie possibly of the entire post-war period. This is to comedies what Gone with the Wind (1939) is to epics. It will never die, because it responds to, and calls forth such human emotions.”
“It isn’t dirty. There’s nothing mean-spirited about it. There’s nothing sneering or sniggering about it. It’s just wholesome. We want to be free. We want to have a good time. We know we’re not going to be able to all our lives.”
“We know we’re going to have to buckle down and work. We know we’re going to have to eventually become family men and women, and have responsibilities and pay our bills. But just give us a couple of good days that we can look back on.”
You’re a poet, Mister Stein.
Have a great day, everyone!