With his son Zack. I just love the look in his eyes.
With his son Zack. I just love the look in his eyes.
I’m not interested in expansive thinking today. Nor am I interested in self improvement right now. I’m barely in the mood to write this, but here I am – writing. It’s summer. It’s July. I currently live where the weather is summer all year round, making the summer months just another season and not the magical thing it can be if you suffer through winter’s brittle clutch first. Yet, I don’t care if I can’t enjoy it the way I used to – the way it used to be when I was a child and could do whatever the hell I wanted for two months.
Nope. For now, I want to go to the pool. I want to go to the water. I want to smell classic Coppertone suntan oil (yes…oil) and tan until the hairs on my forearm turn blonde like they use to when I was a little girl. Like they used to when I used to have hair on my forearms. (Where did they go?) I want to wake up in the morning and eat a bowl of cornflakes and watch television without guilt. I want to go to the library and find books I’d like to read for the summer. I’d like to watch the sun hit the walls of our living room and listen to the clock play Westminster chimes at the top of the hour. I want to watch repeats of Emergency after playing pretend with the neighborhood boys, wearing cut off jeans, tee-shirt and converse sneakers as the daylight dims and the Good Humor truck bells start jangling and come nearer and nearer as we each run home to quickly grab change.
I don’t want to think about the future today. I don’t want to hit my personal goal marks. I don’t want to try and write that Spec Script or even work on the book I’ve put aside for the past few months because my brain is void of ideas and concepts. I don’t want to beat myself up for not having a productive day today or maybe even tomorrow. I don’t care about what my next turn will be and where I’m going or how little money I have when I want so much more.
I don’t care if I counted “I” over 30 times in this blog post, making “I, Me, Mine” seem so “I, Me…” narcissistic. I don’t care if nobody reads this. I don’t care if the Mets lose. I don’t care if ‘Rectify’ didn’t get nominated for an Emmy. I don’t care if nobody doesn’t care. I don’t care if that phone call didn’t come yet, or that email wasn’t sent yet. Or movers and address changes and New York and dog parks and Zipcars and trip to Bear Mountain with my California hound and how he will react to his first taste of snow. I don’t care now. I don’t care. Yet.
I’m letting it all go. I’m thinking of light and peace and the sky and the planets above. I’m thinking of summertime and autumn. I’m letting the feelings go. I’m letting all thoughts go.
Moi. Letting go.
(I wrote this post this morning on MarieForleo.com in reply to a discussion about the importance of art in our lives. This comment felt like a blog post. I’d like to share it here. I hope you find some good in its message.)
Art is essential in allowing humanity to connect spiritually.
I use art to motivate my writing and the writing of others. Each facet of art, especially painting and sculpture (for me), can ignite a bevvy of stories for the world to see. It can inspires other and can change lives. It can shift a mind.
Music is also a profound inspiration. Artists who write life affirming and soul searching lyrics have made me the writer I am today. They connect feelings into words. Music and art makes us feel less alone in this world.
I think the one piece of art that changed my life (other than music), was Georges Seurat’s painting “Sunday on the Island of Grande Jatte” and the musical play it inspired. James Lapine wrote the book for “Sunday in the Park with George” and Stephen Sondheim created the most glorious, heart wrenching, moving score to reflect the concept of how a painting can tell a story. How each visage, each person painted were really humans with beating hearts and broken lives painted in dabs of light. The way the painting comes to life with humanity and the love story woven in – showed me how art can be a powerful reflection of our lives. In fact, the entire show has specific lyrics that support this entire theme.
Add the wonderful musical ‘Fun Home’ – which shows painful, universal themes in a beautiful, touching way – and we have continued proof that the arts tell the story of our lives.
Don’t let anybody, or any negative voice in your head tell you otherwise. We need more art. We need creation.
As good ol’ Steve wrote in “Sunday…”
“Look at what you want,
Not at where you are,
Not at what you’ll be-
Look at all the things you’ve done for me
Opened up my eyes,
Taught me how to see,
Notice every tree…”
Just keep moving on. 🙂
I was sitting on a plane from New York JFK to Los Angeles a few weeks ago. We were at the gate, and passengers were still boarding. There was a slight stand still in the line while people waited for those ahead of them to stow away their bags. A woman who was in waiting mode, said to the flight attendant, “Ahh, it will be good to be back in civilization again!”. The flight attendant said, “Why, do you not like New York?” The lady said, “I’m a recovering New Yorker. It’s crazy here. Just too much chaos.” The flight attendant concurred, “Well, I guess I know what you mean. I almost got run over by a truck on 5th avenue the other day.”
Funny that chaos and potential street accidents were brought up about New York. My dog and I were almost run down crossing (with a pedestrian sign giving the okay) on 3rd street in LA a few months ago. And I have a list of of incidents like this since moving to the land of La La.
What makes a city “civilized”? When someone says they want to go back to “civilization”, you figure this person just spent a solitary holiday on a beach resort or floating on a cruise to Bermuda.
When I think of New York City, I think of it as the epitome of civilization. LA – the same but with better weather.
Civilization and being civilized human beings are two different things. We human beings make civilization civilized. Civilization was created in the minds and hearts of ancient humanity to create infrastructure and laws. Being civilized is living up to the standard within those lines.
Civilization should also contain individuals who contribute kindness, consideration and aid to others. Humanity.
As Nora Ephron wrote above, when you leave New York, things change. The city is now harsh. You are an outsider who has to pay your way in. When you are a resident of New York, you don’t mind the crowds because that’s what you signed up for. You have the best restaurants on your speed dial. You know when to brace yourself on the 6 train when the hard turn after 42nd street pitches the subway into a hard jolt. You know what time taxis go on their break (5:00pm), and where they come into the city (east 59th street).
And you know – New York isn’t an easy place. Look deeper into Los Angeles, and you’ll find it just as difficult, except the sun always shines, drivers don’t use their turn signals, don’t stop at stop signs and don’t understand the right of way.
When I was sitting in that Jet Blue seat getting ready to head back to Los Angeles, I felt as thought I was leaving civilization to return to another one. But this time, unlike the “Recovering New Yorker”, I was willing to fall off the wagon and stay.
Time is man made. We float in space and live in these bodies to experience the human condition. Our souls forever learning and confined in self imposed measurements of space. I love this post from Chris Nichols.
Time is just an agreed upon construct. We have taken distance (one rotation of the earth, and one orbit of the sun) divided it up into segments, then given those segments labels.
Before man decided to differentiate between the periods when the sun had risen, and when the moon had taken its place, there was no such thing as time. Before days, hours, and minutes ever existed there were merely rotations of the earth that brought about phases of light, and periods of darkness. But our quest for intellectual enlightenment, coupled with human curiosity urged mankind to quantify and label the earth’s rotations.
Early Egyptians divided the day into two twelve hour periods, erecting huge obelisks that rose into the sky, allowing them to use shadows to track the sun’s movements. The Greeks and Persians used water clocks called clepsydra. And Plato even went as far as to develop…
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David Bowie once said that the best place for a creative person to be is in the in-between. Floating between safety and peril, that lovely bouncing sense of nothing where your heart is in your throat, but your eyes are firmly set on the horizon. When you walk out in to the water’s edge until your feet barely touch the ground. That’s the perfect place to be.
Sometimes being creative means to be brave. Being creative can mean producing word, art and performance. But it can also mean delving into a new depth of life. It can be about not letting fear get in your way. Bravery is breaking through convention and routine to build a scary road toward a life where you’re honoring your gift.
The best place to be is in the scary. Writing is scary. Creating a life you want rather the one you settle for conjures fear.
Isn’t it nice to know you can embrace fear?
Just embrace it. Let your failures be proof that you tried. Then get up and do it again.
And if you look around at your chaotic life where everything seems to be going wrong, don’t dwell on why. Understand how it happened. How the choices you made brought you here. Don’t dwell. Hash out the plans to get you out of it.
Remember, “The choice may have been mistaken, the choosing was not. You have to move on.”
Much like the glorious work of Rebecca Rebouche, whose delicate, surreal artwork (whose work you can find here), lends so much toward writing inspiration. Her work allows you to move away from the river’s edge until you feel the scary in-between.
In the Broadway hit “Sunday in the Park with George”, Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine captured the essence of Georges Seurat’s painting “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte”by telling a story behind the painting.
When you look at the canvas, filled with dots and color that create light, it’s not hard to think about the lives of the people wandering around the lake transfixed by the beauty of a summer day.
In 2012, author Tracy Chevalier gave a TedTalk about her fascination with the story behind the Vermeer painting, “Girl with the Pearl Earring”. Much like an investigator, she took various elements of the painting – the texture of her clothes, the look in her eyes, the parting of her mouth, the scant history of Veneer himself – and began to develop a sensual story that became her novel of the same name.
Paintings, and what a view extracts from them, can maketh the storyteller. It’s a great form of inspiration that can ignite the imagination. Go to a museum or search artwork on the internet, and let your mind flow.
Chevalier’s TedTalk is here in the link above.
Happy Friday! Enjoy!