[Day 2 of my 30 days of essays. – Owen]
My wife sometimes likes to read books or watch TV shows or movies that she describes as “fluff”.
“Not really anything to them,” she’ll say.
This is something I can totally appreciate. Among the choices that the entertainment world has to offer, I have a great fondness for all things fluffy.
Bubblegum pop music. Young adult novels of the genre variety. 1940’s westerns. Old “B” movies of all kinds. Colorful designs. Situation comedies. Children’s mystery stories. Dated science fiction. I’ve spent wonderful times with each of these.
Fluff does not mean lack of craftsmanship, nor should we derogate it’s practitioners or audience. It has a different goal in mind, is all.
Fluff may not demand great mental exertion, but neither does running through a sprinkler — it’s just fun.
Years ago, when I first read “The Sound and The Fury” (which is as unfluffy as a novel gets) I struggled with the narrative style, and had to reread long bits before I got it. As a coincidence, the day I finished reading it, I saw Romancing The Stone with a date. That required no thought whatsoever, it was just a good time.
Very unlike the date itself was, now that I think of it.
(Although at that age, I had the “no thought whatsoever” part DOWN. But I digress.)
A steady diet of nothing but fluff can be problematic. Everyone is different, though: our stuff-to-fluff ratios will vary, as will our judgments as to what belongs in which category. One person’s fluff can be another one’s stuff.
As I write this, I stop to listen to the dialogue of the TV series my wife is watching. I peek into the next room, where she sits. She doesn’t see me. She works hard, all day and many nights, tending to other people, and this silly show, with its shallow intrigues and byzantine dalliances, eases her mind, and makes her happy. So I love it.
Because I love her.
And there’s nothing fluffy about that.