life

“Don’t ever count yourself out”

Just watched a gripping documentary on BBC about Gene Cernan, astronaut.  If you’re in the UK, and pay a TV licence you can view it at:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0b3gd8g/the-last-man-on-the-moon

“Don’t ever count yourself out.  You’ll never know how good you are, unless you try.  Dream the impossible and then go out and make it happen.

I walked on the moon, what can’t you do?”

(more…)

Advertisements
W B Yeats, W H Auden, memorial, poetry

Poetry lives on

W H Auden reads his poem about the death of W B Yeats (anniversary today) – not only the passing of the man, but the way poetry lives on in the world after the death of its writer.

Interesting to bear in mind that we are listening to the spoken words of a poet who has been dead for over 40 years (died September 1973). Powerful to hear them read by the writer.

This poem is in fact one of 3 parts.  In the 2nd, he memorably sums up W B Yeats as “Mad Ireland hurt you into poetry” and in the 3rd it winds up the set by a simple four line verse:

“In the deserts of the heart

Let the healing fountain start

In the prison of his days

Teach the free man how to praise.”

The full poem is found in Auden’s writings 1939-1947.

Rhythm of time – editing film/video

Youtube channel Every Frame a Painting (Tony Zhou) has featured on this blog before, illustrating action gags on film by Buster Keaton.  Today, I got caught up in another of his masterful short 10 minute videos “How does an Editor think and feel” – about finding rhythm in film/video editing.  However, as I listen, I hear it as more than that, it’s about finding rhythm in poetry, in speaking, in life – and the importance of time for thought process, belief and experience.

People aren’t machines – we need time to feel the emotion – and if the movie doesn’t give it to us, we don’t believe it – Every Frame a Picture

(more…)

writing notebooks

Never too old to begin writing career

ad7200b354d79092e4643422b1f03784

Josephine Corcoran

Read this and share it with anyone who thinks they’ve left it too late to be a published writer.  It’s not!  Never!  Write what is in you to write.

Click on link below to read an entire article by Josephine Corcoran, bursting with stories of writers who began a serious career later, mostly in their 50s – and who are still writing and developing further as writers, today.  There’s a sense of beginning, not ending.

via My started late, stop-start writing “career”

Making art from a wheelchair

Chuck Close, in conversation,  describes his working process.  His interviewer is a particularly excellent interviewer and art commentator (and Artistic Director of the Royal Academy of Arts) – the knowledgeable and always watchable Tim Marlow.

Chuck is known for his immense scale portraits, his work has sold internationally for decades.  Mid-career, he suffered a sudden catastrophic paralyzing physical event – but continues to work from his wheelchair, very successfully, in his seventies.

“Virtually everything I’ve done has been driven by my learning disabilities.”

Chuck Close

This is a quote from a note to his younger self, in a 5 minute CBS special video.

 

Creative Takeaways

  • “Inspiration is for amateurs, the rest of us just show up and get to work”
  • “Every great idea I’ve ever had, grew out of work itself”
  • “Sign on to a process and see where it takes you”
  • “No one gets anywhere without help.  Mentors – including your parents – can make you feel special even when you are failing in other areas. Everyone needs to feel special”
  • “The absolute worst thing in life can happen and you will get over it, you will be happy again….”
  • “Losing my father at a tender age was extremely important in being able to accept what happened to me later, when I became a quadriplegic”
  • “If you’re overwhelmed by the size of a problem, break it down into bite-sized pieces.”
  • “There is always someone worse off than you”

 

 

“Weather the Storm” Short Musical Animation

“Weather the Storm” by Trunk & Radish Pictures is just exquisite animation short set to  a song, examining a difficult time – in this case, bereavement, in under 5 minutes.  Unsurprisingly, it won an award in the 2016 British Animation Awards.

I heard the most wonderful quote recently from a TV presenter, Sandi Toksvig, almost a throwaway line as she chatted with a contestant on the Great British Bake Off: “Marriage is everything and nothing” meaning it’s made up of the seemingly insignificant daily stuff and yet it’s an important relationship which colours our life.  This video contemplates loss through a tiny part of daily life (toothpaste and toothbrushes) – gently observed and ultimately positive.

Screen-Shot-2016-04-05-at-09.11.54

Director Peter Baynton received 2016 British Award Animation for Public Choice Best Music Video

The song on the soundtrack is “Weather the Storm” by Benjamin Scheuer, from the album “The Lion”.  More about his work on his website here.

Director: Peter Baynton for Radish Pictures.

Producer: Daniel Negret

Exec producer: Richard Barnett

both at Trunk.

I love the gentle watercolour like textures and way it conveys the central figure as struggling to go forward despite a strong headwind against him, while other characters nonchalently and speedily bounce by, often in the opposite direction, through simple landscapes.  In this one still, shown below, you can see the contrast: the main character holding onto a bench arm for grim life, just to stay still in the storm of emotions, while another person sits nonchalently on the bench, reading a newspaper, chomping on a sandwich and drinking a cuppa.

Screen shot 2017-09-20 at 12.15.04

still from the film “Weather the Storm”

Calming words

Writer Anne Lamott before her 61st birthday sat down and wrote all the truths she absolutely knew.  They include the importance of radical self-care

“Being full of affection for one’s goofy, self-centred, cranky, annoying self is home; it’s where world peace begins.”

“Every writer you know writes really terrible first drafts – but they keep their butt in the chair… they do it by prearrangement with themselves, they do it as a debt of honour.”

“if people want you to write more warmly about them – they should have behaved better” (round of applause from the audience)

“Grace is spiritual WD40 or waterwings”

These are words specifically written for people feeling overwhelmed by complicated politics in their country, by rapidly changing world events.  Above all, they are humane and hopeful, positive and spiritual.