One of the other movies that I watched this past weekend was Grosse Pointe Blank, perhaps my favorite Gen X movie of all time. I know some people get a confused look on their face when I dubbed it a GenX movie, but I think I can give a plethora of reason to support this claim. I’m not going to right now, but trust me, the movie drips with Xer ethos, and not just because it stars John Cusack, who is about as GenX as they come.
Anyhoo… I was watching it again tonight. And I started thinking about this idea of walking away from one’s life, just up and going, disappearing without a word, which is the main character, Martin Blank did ten years previous to the current action of the movie. I’m wondering if there is something particularly Generation X about this notion or impulse or even the thought of it?
Longing to get on with his life, Miles Cheshire nevertheless can’t stop searching for his troubled twin brother, Hayden, who has been missing for ten years. Hayden has covered his tracks skillfully, moving stealthily from place to place, managing along the way to hold down various jobs and seem, to the people he meets, entirely normal. But some version of the truth is always concealed.
A few days after graduating from high school, Lucy Lattimore sneaks away from the small town of Pompey, Ohio, with her charismatic former history teacher. They arrive in Nebraska, in the middle of nowhere, at a long-deserted motel next to a dried-up reservoir, to figure out the next move on their path to a new life. But soon Lucy begins to feel quietly uneasy.
My whole life is a lie, thinks Ryan Schuyler, who has recently learned some shocking news. In response, he walks off the Northwestern University campus, hops on a bus, and breaks loose from his existence, which suddenly seems abstract and tenuous. Presumed dead, Ryan decides to remake himself–through unconventional and precarious means.
My guess is Mr. Chaon does not think of himself as a Generation X writer. But he was born in 1964. And I think if you examine his other works, short stories and a previous novel, you could make a reasonable argument for him qualifying as a GenX author. Anyway, that’s my take on it. Although it wasn’t initially. Not until I watched Grosse Pointe Blank again. And recalling coming across Joshua Ferris’ new novel on amazon — The Unnamed. Check out the descrip of this new novel:
Tim Farnsworth is a handsome, healthy man, aging with the grace of a matinee idol. His wife Jane still loves him, and for all its quiet trials, their marriage is still stronger than most. Despite long hours at the office, he remains passionate about his work, and his partnership at a prestigious Manhattan law firm means that the work he does is important. And, even as his daughter Becka retreats behind her guitar, her dreadlocks and her puppy fat, he offers her every one of a father’s honest lies about her being the most beautiful girl in the world.
He loves his wife, his family, his work, his home. He loves his kitchen. And then one day he stands up and walks out. And keeps walking.
In addition to that, I thought about a stories that I’ve heard about people, GenXers, who just up and walked away from their lives one day. Not necessarily disappearing, but still walking away.
I considered too that this has been a recurring theme in my own writing, characters that just walk away suddenly and disappear. I never thought much about it until now. Why does t his interest me? Is there something it beyond my own fascination?
And so I’m wondering if this is a GenX thing, for lack of a better description. is this a commonly held experience or idea or hidden impulse within Generation X? Or am I just imaging things, as I am want to do from time to time? I don’t know. You tell me.