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Uneasy and Planning at the Threshold

So I’m patching my Star Wars hole. Or preparing to, anyway.

All zealous ecclesiastics of the gospel of Joseph Campbell know what’s supposed to happen next. Having answered the call, I now must cross the threshold into the other-world.

Except I’m too old simply to rush from the house without my pocket handkerchief.

These days, some planning is required.

Yes, I’ve become a planner. I do this in lieu of smoking cigarettes--a healthier if more mundane prophylactic against severe executive dysfunction. Lately I’m bullet-journaling. Nothing Instagrammable, but I’m on time more often than not.

So come plan with me.

First, there’s the matter of boon companions to sort out. I can’t go alone, which has more to do with the basic social aspect of being a nerd than with any cyclical pattern of the collective unconscious. Luckily, I’ve got a friend. She long ago mastered the subject and is willing to take me under wing as a sort of apprentice, to train me in the mystical ways of this particular energy.

So there are schedules to coordinate.

Good thing my future log is current.

Which brings us to the business of crossing over. Except, having access to Disney+, I find this particular threshold conspicuously undefended. I can cross right over, on-demand.

But that means there’s nothing to prove myself upon, nothing establishing my worthiness to proceed.

There used to be a more precise correlation between the value of an experience and the time we invested in its pursuit. My brother once taped over Krull, his then-favorite movie, to record A New Hope and part of Empire from cable the weekend my parents “borrowed” HBO. (The mechanics are hazy now, but a yellow plastic clothespin jammed inside a splitter played some crucial role).

Possibly he still has that tape. But getting a VHS player might be trickier--at the very least necessitating a discrete journal spread on which to work out all the complex logistics. I’d better stick with Disney+, then utilize my journal’s color-coded tracker to help me manage this feeling that the whole quest is too unencumbered. Too easy.

And ease makes me nervous.

It was not easy, for example, in the autumn of 1991, when I was 13, that compelled me to stay up all night following the Ring Fellowship to its elegiac breaking at the River Anduin. It was not ease that later shaped my preference for the flawed eccentrics in Wes Anderson films. It was not ease that drove me toward the refuge of smoke-filled diners and long discussions about the relative merits of Kurosawa and Sergio Leone, about whether reading Moby Dick was strictly necessary since we’d seen Wrath of Kahn, about how (or even if) we could ever really manage our disappointment over that final season of Lost.

Of all the hero’s thousand faces, uneasiness is the one I see most clearly.

Perhaps the threshold is more fiercely guarded than I first suspected.

I’ll get back to you once I’ve planned my next move.

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1 Comment

Megan Kelly
Megan Kelly
Oct 27, 2021

I recently patched this same gap by watching all of the Star Wars movies in order of release. I'd seen a few of them, mostly too long ago to remember, none more than once. My husband is the type of nerd to have most of the original trilogy memorized since childhood, so he was delighted to sign on as my guide. Most surprising takeaway: I remember how much people hated The Phantom Menace in 1999, yet still managed to be astonished at just how bad it is. Don't let that dissuade you, though. All in all, it was a worthwhile journey.

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