OK, I admit it. I am insanely jealous.
I would like to be as beautiful and tall and slim as Julia Roberts. I would like to have that long hair of hers with its brilliant highlights. I would like to have the same flowing and varied wardrobe that she managed to jam into her duffle bag so that I, too, could wear a different outfit each day for a year and look elegant and exotic every moment.
I would like to be as beautiful as Elizabeth Gilbert. I would like to have had a successful career as a travel writer so that I would have years of experience in negotiating new environments. I would like to have someone hand me a $200,000 advance so that I could make use of the aforesaid experience by traveling the world for a year, and I would like said travels to result in a bestseller of epic proportions.
I would like to sit in a lotus position and meditate on my deck in Bali.
And I would like for everyone to believe that, as a consequence of all of the above, I am a deeply spiritual person, full of the wisdom gleaned from learning (preferably on Bali, but India will do) that "God is in me." Or something like that.
But . . . alas.
I am short and round, my clothes come from local and chain stores and are decidedly humdrum, I am stymied in much of my work, and I pray erratically and ineffectively in various locales in the middle of North America.
I am, in fact, on a Great Spiritual Journey, as are we all. But it takes place mostly in my home and neighborhood, and is not going so well. I look at my beautiful and gifted friends with whom I went to the movies and I think, I cannot even manage the most basic of conversations in the lobby of a theatre.
I was intolerably bored by the movie, which did not help my conversational efforts. I won't even say what I think of the book.
A couple of weeks ago, my son and I went to see Winter's Bone. A magnificently filmed movie, limited entirely in its geography to the Ozarks and in its characters to a small interrelated group of folks largely doomed by poverty and drugs, it follows the story of a young woman's efforts to seek justice in the face of intractable kin loyalties and to hold together the little family for which she is entirely responsible in the aftermath of her father's disappearance.
Winter's Bone is the story Elizabeth Gilbert wishes, or perhaps believes, she has lived. A story of unflinching courage and willingness to tackle impossible odds. A journey of love and generosity reflected in determined sacrifice and tenacity.
I was mesmerized.
Never mind what I said about Elizabeth Gilbert and Julia Roberts. What I want are the guts and selflessness of Ree Dolly.