Saturday, January 10, 2009

I've Been Tagged for the Meme of Tears

     Kaye Barley, who joins my blogroll today, has tagged me for the Meme of Tears. Kaye is a fellow DorothyLer, like me a reader of mystery stories, and lives in North Carolina. Later this year, I'll be a guest blogger on her blog, which is a scary thought given some of the other guests she's lined up. Here's the meme:
What's hit you on an emotional level and made you cry? An event, a book, a movie, a TV show - any or all of these?

     It's not really that hard to move me to tears. My father, in one of his more printable salty sayings, used to tell me, "Your bladder is too close to your eyeballs."  My daughters tease me about my propensity to choke up at movies, at church, or while reading or telling a story. Sometimes I can't even fully explain what it is that touches me, though I hope it has something to do with empathy.

     I'm surprised that the list of examples didn't include music, the surest way to make me cry.  It can be just the sound, or something in the words of a song, or the memories the song evokes, that trigger the tear ducts. I'm a sucker for cherub choirs, bands playing patriotic music (a severe handicap when I was in the Women's Army Corps!), and a lot of other music. Most recently, I was moved to tears (virtually outright sobbing!) when I heard a recording of my daughter Sisterfilms singing Koppången.  I've blogged about this song before [December 4, 2007] and it's definitely a favorite, but normally I can hear it sung without crying. Sisterfilms had sung it in church on the first Sunday of Advent (while I was still 1500 miles away) and with one thing and another I didn't get to hear the recording till after Christmas. Sisterfilms' voice ranges from tenor to mezzo-soprano, but she sang this squarely in the alto voice. I happen to feel that the alto and baritone voices carry more emotion than the soprano and tenor, and perhaps that's why I prefer them. Sisterfilms is also particularly good at conveying emotion in her singing, and she really outdid herself with this one.  If I had been present for the live performance, I don't think I would have wept as much or even at all, since I would have been nervous for her, but I heard that several people in church were also moved to tears that day.

Books often move me.  Even after many readings both silent and aloud, I cannot read the two episodes of the death of Jack the bulldog in the Laura Ingalls Wilder books without crying. (The first time they only think he is dead; his return turns on the waterworks too). The book that most recently choked me up is Naomi Novik's His Majesty's Dragon (or Temeraire in some editions).  The first in the Temeraire series, it's set during the Napoleonic Wars, much like Patrick O'Brian's sea stories, except that in this world, there are dragons who have been domesticated and form Aerial Corps for the warring countries. The dragons can speak, and form close attachments with their handlers/captains, and usually vice versa. But the hero, Will, and his dragon, Temeraire, discover one dragon who is sadly neglected by his unworthy handler. The scene of the neglected dragon's death, when Will forces the handler to visit his dying dragon, and the depiction of the dragon's pitiful gladness at some attention from the handler whom he loves despite all, had me reaching for my handkerchief. (One cannot use tissues whilst reading this type of book).

I'll stop there, although I could certainly come up with a movie, an event, or even a TV show that has caused me to weep. If you would like to reflect on this meme, consider yourself tagged, and let me know in comments if you play. And don't forget to check out Meanderings and Muses!


Vicki Lane said...

Oh, my! That was a beautiful scene in TEMERAIRE! I'm loving Novik's books -- am on the third right now.

And you're so right about music being a catalyst for tears -- or, at the very least, severe choking up. John Phillip Sousa --absolutely! Though why what is meant as martial music should have that effect, I don't understand.

Kaye Barley said...

Laws, we've got us a whole lot of crying going on here, don't we?!! we're a mess. but it is a very nice mess,indeed.

Thanks for responding so perfectly to this tag, Nikki. And thanks for tip of your lovely hat (i stole that line from Linda Richards; idn't it great?!) You and Vicki are absolutely right - how come, I wonder, music wasn't included in the original meme? It can certainly touch us deeply - as did your story about your reaction to it and to your daughter (which I want to know more about, please).

And I love love LOVE your dad's saying about your eyeballs!! Have you already done a blog about his sayings? If I've missed that could you let me know where to find it 'cause I'm betting he had some great ones.