Léna is also a Regional Manager for Writopia Lab whose mission is to foster joy, literacy, and critical thinking in kids and teens from all backgrounds through creative writing.

"Well, the question is, what do you want to believe? Do you want to live in a world where things are possible, or in one where they aren't?" Cin, Edges.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Tooth Fairy and other 'What if's'

Yesterday I took my kids to see hunky Dwayne Johnson as The Tooth Fairy - wait! Don't navigate yourself away from this page!

I can see you cringing. She's not really going to write about The Tooth Fairy movie, is she? I think I'll go visit another blog, thank you very much.

Actually, I am, because I made a commitment that I would "blog" every other day, and I haven't "blogged" since Monday, and the kids are out of school on winter break, so this is what I have to write about. I will try to be interesting.

(Although that wasn't part of the promise, I don't have that much chutzpah, besides, what's interesting to me might only be interesting to another couple of people, so I'm writing this for YOU, you couple of people!)

Let's couch this then in terms of STORY. We are all story-tellers, right? In this I'll show-you-mine if you-show-me-yours world, we all know something about spin, and perspective, and variances on that ubiquitous word, TRUTH.

Let me start again - I took my kids to see said movie - and my expectations were so low, that I was pleasantly surprised. Besides the fact that Dwayne Johnson is easy on the eyes and that Stephen Merchant (from Ricky Gervais' EXTRAS) is hilarious as the fairy case worker, it played with my favorite philosophical question: how do we choose to perceive the world?

Is there room for dreaming, imagination, growth? Dwayne Johnson's character Derek is a nice guy, but quite literal minded. He thinks that dreams are bad, that believing in anything other than the literal world is unfair. He is summoned to fairy land for tooth fairy duty kicking and screaming. His crime is being a crusher of dreams. Derek's vision of himself and the world is so narrow, we are subjected to many scenes of slapstickery (I know, not a real word), but we know what is coming. As his girlfriend (played by Ashley Judd) confronts him before his predictable change of heart, she tearfully accuses him of not being able to ask the question "what if."

I loved that. That's what we do as story-tellers, we ask the question, "what if," we revere the world of imagination. We all know and love people who are afraid of the "what if's," and I don't blame them. The "what if's" are scary, because there are no guarantees, and they can be negative as well as positive. What if I can't do it? What if I can? What if the moon was really made out of green cheese? What if I change my perspective from the glass being half empty, to the glass being half full? What if I could actually find my own voice?

I have struggled all of my life with issues of faith, what to believe and what not to believe. My grandmother, the writer, taught me that the impossible sometimes is actually possible. My father, Alan W. Jones, the Episcopalian priest, generously encouraged me to find my own belief system.

The "what if's". What if Santa Claus is real? What if I really matter? What if you really matter? Belief in the fantastical is FUN. Belief in love and the resilience of the human spirit is REAL.

"What if we get married?" Derek asks his girlfriend at the end of the movie. What if indeed!


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