Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Bryan 'fesses up ...

... Time to Cry.

I found myself crying at the end of A.S. Byatt's Possession. I can also remember crying a the end of Robert Louis Stevenson's Travels with a Donkey - which I read when I was a teenager. I cry at movies, too. What man could see Lonely Are the Brave and not be moved to tears at the end?

My colleague Carrie Rickey had a relevant blog post of her own about this recently: Tell Me Why You Cry.


  1. Anonymous4:10 PM

    I'm sorry but this mania for revealing that one cries is stomach turning. I take a shit regularly. It seems unlikely that it should be of any interest to anyone.

  2. Well, because that is how you feel, it doesn't follow that that is how everyone feels. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Anonymous6:31 PM

    I know my reaction is a bit crude, but to clarify a little; I have of couurse no problem with the natural and profound reaction to some moving stimulus by crying. The telling of others of this crying, however, I find personally hard to equate with anything but a cheapening of deeply personal moments...this casting of our most personal moments into the anonymous public arena as if they were things of nothing and public property. Granted that's my personal feeling, but it seems a lack of respect towards our own selves.

  4. Well, Timothy, I thought Bryan's posts were to a certain extent tongue-in-cheek rather than really heart-on-sleeve. I actually share your view to a large extent and, God Knows, there are those who use their emotions in all sorts of exploitative ways. But I also think it's useful to challenge the cliche that all men are emotionally constipated. It is interesting how, in the old epics - the Iliad, for instance, or The Song of Roland - the tough guy heroes are also very emotionally open. Then there's the further question of genuine sentiment versus mere sentimentality. The best definition I've heard of sentimentality is "an emotional response to a situation out of proportion to what is called for." What are you thoughts?

  5. Anonymous7:33 PM

    Much common ground, but in terms of the Iliad, and their emotional, psychological nakedness: the outpouring of emotions should lead to a healthy, untraumatised soul. I'd qualify this though with the idea that I doubt Achilles and Odysseus would tell each other, "You know, I had a really good cry earlier over such and such" to parody a little.
    There's an interesting idea too about energy. There's your constipation notion where the unreleased energy turns against oneself, but there's something subtly but very deeply different- and no doubt, not appealing to the idiot materialists amongst us- that by telling others of such crying that we are giving away something powerful. I'm only struggling with this idea as I write so apologies. That we gain a short-term comfort of the group experience, our ties with the group is strengthened and we remain well-adjusted but not so much profound individual beings. There's a certain type though who experiences the depths of life all the more, but through a deeper faith allows these depths to work on his inner being in time & silence. Perhaps the typical introvert artist figure who is misunderstood in his reservedness or apparent cynicism, for example John Lennon comes to mind, but who then releases such intense, beautiful personal art as Julia about his dead mother, for the very reason that he has not given away his depths in return for comfortable well-adjustment, not to imply that this is anything like a conscious process.

  6. I have to say I find the idea of Achilles telling someone he had a good cry over something priceless. But I think you also touch on something important: There may be times when it's a good idea to let your feelings out, but you should also take care not to squander them. I am not myself known for displays of emotion. And while I may cry at a film, one reason I feel easy doing that is that it is dark in the theater. The same with crying over something I have read: reading tends to be done in private. In any public situation I prefer to keep my emotions properly in check. And, as you suggest re Lennon, one good reason for that is that they are there when you need them for something - like a song or a poem or a story - in which you wish to express something that has emotional depth.