Juxtapose [on Merely A Thought Monday]

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I come to this eve of the new year holding two images, two art experiences juxtaposed. One is a review of the past. The other a resolution. Together they resonate.

The first, the review of things past that influence things to come, is Peter Jackson’s World War I documentary film, And They Shall Not Grow Old. It is a miracle of film making (stay to see the segment about how it was made that rolls after the credits. You will shake your head with wonderment). It takes you into the trenches and horrors of war.  We left the theatre both wowed by the film-making and shocked by the utter senselessness of war. Wowed by the human capacity to innovate and despairing at our capacity to willingly destroy ourselves for imagined gains. Both are technical achievements.

The morning after seeing the film I opened Brain Pickings and, given the film, I was smacked by a photograph of Earth taken from The Voyager spacecraft in the mid 1990’s. The Pale Blue Dot. It brought instant perspective to war – and everything else we imagine to be so important. Within the vast expanse of space, “a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.” I had to look twice to see the speck that is Earth. Our imagined importance is out of perspective with the realities of our circumstance. The fragility (the miracle) of our existence is generally lost in our daily myopia.

Two images.  Juxtaposed.

 

read Kerri’s blog post on THE NEW YEAR

 

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Give Yourself Some Advice

Horatio as a young man

Horatio as a young man

A few days ago I received an email from Horatio. He is an amazing filmmaker and gifted visual artist. We’ve wiled hours and days away talking about art and acting. He’s a treasure. His email was advice that he wrote to himself, the artist (what a great idea!) and with his permission, over the next three days, I will share it in segments. If you are impatient and want to read ahead, visit his blog or take a gander at his work at www.fidalgofilms.com. Here’s his email with the first portion of his Advice To Myself:

The evening after screening The Bath at Taos Shortz Film Festival in March, 2014, a very adept interviewer with the wonderful name Tamara Stackpoole (straight from Downton Abbey or Jane Austen?) asked if I had any advice to emerging filmmakers. My answer, as I recall:

“Let your teachers go. Just tell your own truth. Learn the craft – setup and payoff, three-act structure, and so on – and learn it well. But then let it go and tell your own truth, your vision. You’ll know it when you see it.”

When I woke the next morning, I realized that I had a lot more to say, and that it amounted to advice to myself. It follows:

You only can control yourself, which means your choices. You cannot control anything else.

Choose ethically, you will regret anything else.

The foundation of ethics is to respect others. Treat others as you wish to be treated. Be humble. Pride is the foundation of all the deadly sins, according to Dante and his mentor Virgil.

Your work is the essential ingredient of your life, an expression of your choices, your ethics. 

Connection to others is the essential mechanism of ethics.

A reciprocal connection of human to human (parent/child, student/teacher, artist/audience, friend/friend, or lover/lover) is the basic means to give yourself to others and to receive from them, to further yourself and others.

You will always be learning and practicing that kind of connection. You will never be finished. 

[to be continued]

Prompted by Horatio’s inspiration, I’ve started writing my version of Advice To Myself. It’s a great exercise and amounts to yanking the blankets on what matters to you. It begs the question: what will be your legacy? What might you write to yourself?

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