Susan Boyle.** If you haven't seen her sing yet, please click on her name. I'll wait. You'll be so glad you did!
OK, now, tell me - why did *you* feel all warm and fuzzy after that video? There are lots of good answers - triumph of the underdog, Susan's indomitable spirit, the sheer beauty of the song... but after some heart searching myself, the real reason I get so happy whenever I see that... and I hate to tell you this... is that it makes Simon Cowell smile. A real smile - no smirk - no cheekiness. A pure smile.
It's true. And it makes me smile.
I was watching the results show yesterday on fast forward, as I usually do, and then I stopped. Woah! What was that, rewind! Simon smiled! Something caught inside me. I had to find out what made him smile. But the real question, is why do I care?
I haven't even really liked Simon this season. He was kind of mean about kicking Megan off (DH interjects that Megan was terrible. I suppose good people can disagree. Except that I'm right and he's wrong in this case). I hated how he and Paula's antics have kept Allison Iraheto from getting a decent critique. I've basically felt like the judges have all been acting like 12 year olds all season.
But clearly, I still love Simon, because he smiles... and I feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
Figuring out this sort of stuff is why I write - and largely why I read fiction. It's why I keep looking for that perfect book. That book that makes some character come alive, and shows me something new about people. It's why I reread The Great Gatsby year after year.
I read that you will always feel you know a character better than you know a person, even your family. The reason is that characters, even layered, complex characters, are fundamentally composed of just a few traits. And the job of the book is to highlight those traits, play with them, put the character in positions where those traits are tested, tried, broken.
Aslan is put on the altar.
Darcy is rejected by a woman.
Heathcliff thinks he hears that Catherine doesn't love him.
Those are gut wrenching moments because they go against type. Aslan is the king. Darcy does not get rejected. Catherine is Heathcliff's own self. What will they do?
Simon is cynical. Confronted with beauty, he smiles.
I think part of his appeal is that in this era of self-esteem and relativity and "your truth/my truth" - Simon's praise means something. It isn't cheap.
He had this to say about it:
"I thought this audition was going to last three seconds. So did the audience...Then she started to sing and I've never ever felt anything like it in my life. The whole place just turned. And it was just the most astonishing feeling at the time."
You could see it on his face.
**Thanks to Janet Reid for the link. I wouldn't have seen it if she hadn't posted it.
How To Be Both by Ali Smith
2 days ago