What a fabulous fourth meeting!! Esteemed Members who could not attend were surely missed, as this special evening was exactly what we started the Dolce Vita di Libro book club for -- interesting and insightful conversation, great food and wine, lovely decorations, and fun!!!!
Thanks must go to Jennifer and Hunter Johnson for use of the hall. Having a gathering in one's home can sometimes feel invasive, but the gracious Hunter and Jennifer are incredibly welcoming.
The effervescent Lois Granziano was outstanding (as usual) in tirelessly helping manage the event. She's a real trouper. Legendary local artist, Peggy Vermeer (who has a work of art on permanent display at the Palm Springs Art Museum) provided much of the wine and more-than-some show-stopping laughs throughout the evening. She's definitely the life of the party!
The whole of the Esteemed Membership is to be praised for reading a somewhat challenging book through the busy holiday season and showing up with superb food. The attention to detail and care that goes into making the food is amazing. Not only were Esteemed Members polite and tidy and showed up on time (for the most part), they were a well-groomed bunch who obviously understands the importance of dressing appropriately for such a prestigious occasion. From sharing heart-felt personal stories to actively listening -- the discussion was adult, open, honest and relaxed.
The suggestions that were made over the last months to improve the book club experience were noted and implemented, to the betterment of the group, and it showed. I, for one, am very proud of what we have accomplished and look forward to the next meeting with excited anticipation! Thank you all so very much!
People love a "safe thrill". As part of the biological human need to survive, the psychology of acting out scenerios in which a "hero" (as stand-in for the average person) can resolve life-threatening issues is in the same manner children play house, play doctor, or play war to work out psychically -- in their limited experiences -- the anxieties of life as they mature.People are social animals.
Horror stories, with their various exaggerated monstrocities, would, therefore, be an acting out scenerio of the audiences' fear of "The Other", the threat of a stranger, or addressing a deeply-rooted fear of deformity (another kind of threat to survival -- a mutation which may harm the gene pool). "The Monster" is the repulsion within one's self, the opposite of attraction, and may be sexual in nature. If "Dracula" is about repressive Victorian seduction and "Frankenstien" is about Alpha male territory anxieties (including that of acting as God), why the "murder mystery"? What is entertaining about murder?
Perhaps the answer is in the development of the plots within the genre itself. Since one is satistically murdered by someone known (not a stranger), the fear of intimacy may be part of the audiences' emotional connection to the stories. Ultimately, in a "survival of the fittest" mode, who is to be trusted? To have the highest survival rate, one must remain an independant adaptable individual within a group where set rules of engagement are spelled out and expectations met. To kill someone is to love them, to care what they say, do and are, because ambivilance isn't a motivating force for anything.
Secondly, a parental figure -- a detective usually -- is involved in the resolution, someone who is smarter than the rest. This character's job is to reassure the audience of their trust in authority and assure the gene pool is safe. When children died of disease in the past, it left confusion to the surviving children and murder mysteries may be a way of making sense of the "randomness" of death.
Another aspect might well be that the "cupcake murder mysteries" genre is about a "mother" anxiety, using food as a symbolic gesture of reassurance, sensory recall (oral developmental stage), and reward. Is the culinary art murder mystery really about sibling rivalry, fighting over and murdering over food and needing "mommy" to rescue the situation?
As adults, the need to seek out these kind of mythic stories -- as pure fiction -- must have some underlying real-life reward or people simply wouldn't do it. From the primitive cavemen's fireside story-telling to the computerized Information Age inter-active games, the story hasn't changed all that much. The ultimate fear is of death, which, of course, is really about living. Dolce Vita di Libro has represented itself as not only a book club centering discussions on death, but in the promotion of living life to the fullest through lifestyle choices. The ironic juxtaposition of a "sweet life" in contrast to ugly murder and mayhem is the drama that Shakespear speaks of: all the world's a stage...After all, if you can't act out murder plots with friends, what's the point?