A Pearl S. Buck Quote

Alexander Calder in his studio
Alexander Calder in his studio.

The truly creative mind in any field is no more than this: A human creature born abnormally, inhumanly sensitive. To him…a touch is a blow, a sound is a noise, a misfortune is a tragedy, a joy is an ecstasy, a friend is a lover, a lover is a god, and failure is death. Add to this cruelly delicate organism the overpowering necessity to create, create, and create – so that without the creating of music or poetry or books or buildings or something of meaning, his very breath is cut off from him. He must create, must pour out creation. By some strange, unknown, inward urgency he is not really alive unless he is creating.

 Pearl S. Buck

Here’s an article about the “inhuman sensitivity”  Buck is talking about, Why So Many Artists Are Highly Sensitive People by Carolyn Gregoire.

Thanks to Meagan Patrick for bringing this to my attention.

A Present for You

VCCA Corn Crib interior
VCCA Corn Crib interior

Here’s a present from me to you — me playing Heitor Villa-Lobos‘ Prelude No. 2 for Guitar,  recorded in the corn crib at VCCA on a very rainy day.

Please excuse the misplayed notes, the notes that didn’t get played, and squeaky notes escaping my cranky guitar which was not digging the variable weather.

A personal note about this tune: I always feel challenged by it and midway through the final section I always feels like I hit the 20th mile of a marathon. Not that I’ve ever run a marathon…

I hope you like it.

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More Villa-Lobos here.

For more guitar music recorded at VCCA, here’s a Bach prelude (recorded in the silo) and a Purcell minuet (recorded in the field).

Here’s a playlist of me playing  classical guitar music.

 

Guest Post: Poems Inspired by VCCA by Beverly Sky

I’m just back from three weeks plus residency at my home away from home: the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.  I’ve written before about residencies and I’m sure I mentioned that one of the best things about them are the people. You meet amazing people at these places. This stint was no exception.

I’d like to share some poems written by Beverly Sky. Beverly Sky, Fiber Artist (and wannabe everything else) has a studio at the Boston Center for the Arts. A fellow at VCCA, her morning walks on the way to her studio in the Virginia woods have engendered a few poems.

She shared them with me and  we were both tickled that her poems complement my photos and my photos complement her poems. I asked if I could share them here and she generously gave me her permission. So here then are poems by Beverly Sky with photos by me.

Poem 1, Day 6

Walking Through The Unknown Woods In December

Brown leaves
trimmed with
hoar frost’s crystalline ice,
crisp in the early morning
as I start out
on the poorly blazed trail
to the pond.

Bare trees stand silent
against the blue sky
sentinel witnesses to time passing,
the crunch of fallen branches
under my footsteps,
flash of a Cardinal,
red in the bushes.

I hear the Geese call
and look up to see the
gaggle, all crowded together
along the water’s freeze line…

and then, the bench by the shore…

awaits.

The trail,
now camouflaged.
The blazes, bits of shredded ribbon,
tied to occasional branches are
weather-beaten and scant…

I have no compass.

Then, the small wooden arched bridge
over the brook
in the near distance
beckons,
and I follow.

For a time,
I watch the sparkling stream
flowing through its
well defined path.

Up the hill
the narrow trail
of delicately flattened leaves,
is barely visible
and then,
the bright green moss mound
parted down the center.

A sign,
as I pass through,
that others have tread here too.

I hear the call of a Crow
And then
a train passing
in the far away.

Thoughts pile up
like kindling twigs
set aside for winter.

Further up the hill,
the way is blocked with bramble,
violet Raspberry branches
thorny, twisted and arching,
and the Bittersweet berries,
catch my coat and tangle my hair,
I stumble on the dead logs.

And then,
a ray of sunlight
the clearing ahead is illuminated.

I push my way through
and out to the meadow,
the sunny morning meadow.

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Poem 2, Day 7

The Next Day

Past the great Nordmann Fir
ferns still splay their emerald fronds
on the leafy brown earth.

The geese are gone this morning.
It’s Monday, off to work, I guess.
I pick up a verdigris lichen covered piece of bark
to take back to the studio
so I can remember the moment.

Passing the clear stream
riffling along it’s banks,
light sparkling the surface.

New moon last night
brought out all the heavenly stars.
Shining bright ! Pleiades, Orion, Cassiopia
twinkling, dancing, celebrating
the darkest night of the year.

Walking up the steep hill
takes  my breath away
and clears my mind,
yet, I miss the subtle signs
and find myself in a bramble of bushes.
I have lost the way.
I stand still.

Turning back
to find the path,
a blue Jay flies by.
In the distance,
the call of it’s mate,
and then,
the tattered orange blaze
hanging on a slender branch
appears
and
I am out of the woods.

 

Poem 5, Day 8

4:30PM

On my way to dinner
through the woods
here and there
a tired cricket chirps.

Pink lenticular clouds
float against a pale blue sky.
The abandoned shed,
part lean-to with faded
celadon green siding,
is filled with broken tools and memories.

The cook told me
there is a secret garden nearby.
I find the opening
between the high Boxwoods.
Three cracked, mossy stone steps,
overgrown with Ivy,
lead into a grassy circle
centered
with a small octagonal stone pool.

Five Goldfish, (actually, deep Orange-fish)
slumber under the black water’s surface.

To the side,
an ornately carved, round
cast iron table,
is covered with pine needles
and leaves.
Two matching chairs,
all tilting in the wet ground,
waiting for company.

Small clearings
are home to sculptures.
Totems made from rock, ropes,
concrete and iron,
they too, wait for company.

Out into the parking lot,
the blue Shenandoah Mountains
rise over the rosy horizon.

The 5:25 train clickety clacks by,
Whooooooo, whoooooooo!
A bumper sticker on a fender asks:
“What would Walt Whitman do?”

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Poem 6

9.12.15

9:20AM

No poem today.

Foggy outside,
Foggy inside.

Beverly Sky
©copyright 12.7.15

 

Riding the Star Wars Frenzy: I Am the Envy of George Lucas

Why am I the envy of George Lucas? Here’s a quote from GL explaining why he doesn’t want to make another Star Wars film, or any big budget feature for that matter.

Han Solo in carbonite

You go to make a movie and all you do is get criticized, and people try to make decisions about what you’re going to do before you do it.

Y’know, it’s not much fun, and you can’t experiment; you can’t do anything. You have to do it a certain way. I don’t like that, I never did. I started out in experimental films, and I want to go back to experimental films, but of course no one wants to see experimental films.

Like many folks, I’ve spent so much of my life answering to people and things other than myself; it’s nice to have  a little corner of my world, i.e., this film and the writing, where I don’t answer to anyone but me. Mostly, anyway.

snoopy-banksyGeorge, you didn’t ask for it, but here’s my advice. Make your experimental films. People will want to see your experimental films. They might confuse people, critics might think you’ve lost your mind, Hollywood might think you’ve lost your mind.  Are you concerned that they will tarnish your reputation? Are you concerned that no one will want you to make another big budget film? Are you still looking for some kind of validation?

I say, screw it, George. You are in a unique position to bring the idea of “experimental film” into the mainstream. Go for it. What do you really have to lose?

A Gospel Christmas Song Playlist – Listen and enjoy!

It’s that time of year, Dear Reader, and to help you get in the holiday spirit I offer you this playlist of old school gospel Christmas songs. Yes, they are definitely, unapologetically Christmas songs, and not holidays songs. But they are more than that, too. They are lovely songs beautifully interpreted. Enjoy them on whatever level you like.

Many of the songs in this playlist were cited in Robert Darden’s Top 10 Gospel Christmas Songs and Bob Marovich’s The Twelve Classic Gospel Songs of Christmas (not all of their choices were online), with a few others thrown in for good measure.

What’s A Life’s Work about? It’s a documentary in post production. You can find out more on this page.

We are in the home stretch and are raising money for post-production: specifically, to pay for archival footage rights, animation, sound mixing, color correction, E&O insurance and a bunch of smaller things. When that’s done, the film is done! It’s really very VERY close!

So here’s how you can help get this film out to the world. It’s very simple: click here, then click the “make a tax-deductible donation now” button, enter the amount you want to contribute (as little as $5, as much as $50,000) and the other specifics. That’s it. No login or registration required. Your contribution does not line my pocket; because the film is fiscally sponsored by the New York Foundation for the Arts, all money given this way is overseen by them and is guaranteed to go toward the completion of this film. Being fiscally sponsored also means that your contribution is tax-deductible. So why not do it? The amount doesn’t matter as much as the fact that you’re helping to bring a work of art into the world. And that, I think, is really exciting!

More than $1,700 has been given to the film so far, and that without really trying or the big hyped-up push of crowdfunding. Oh, how nice it would be for everyone if A Life’s Work didn’t have to crowdfund!

In addition to monetary help, there are many other ways you can support A Life’s Work. Why not consider being a part of the film’s growing community?

Questions? Email me at d a v i d ( aT } b l o o d o r a n g e f i l m s {d o t] c o m

Thanks 2015

Einstein_Thanksgiving_FloatIt’s a Thanksgiving tradition dating all the way back to 2009! If we’ve interacted about the film or my other work or if you inspired me in some way, chances are  you were thanked. Want to find out for sure? Just put your name in the search field.

This year I’d like to thank:

Xinyang (Amy) Hong,  Mallory McMahon, Landon Lee, Getty Images, Margo Stipe, Kristel Nielsen, The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, Stephan Chodorov, Nancy Hadley, the American Institute of Architects, Sebi Vitale, Ana Fiore, Rusha Rahman, Chris Robertson, Claire Carter, Meredith Miller, Caroline Wright, John Copenhaver, Samuel Leader, Kathryn Armstrong, Prilla Smith Brackett, Ramona DeFelice Long, Barbara Frank, Ron Maclean, Suzanne Zweizig, Jahae Kim, Alan Brown, Lori Horvitz, Robert Gatto, Forest Lehrman, Jocelyn Kelly, Helen: A Literary Magazine, Bennett Beckenstein, Cal Vornberger, Patricia Chao, Urban Associates, Maud MacStoker, Curtis Mark, Susan Robinson, Compass Magazine, Robert Branch, Julian Lage, John Lehmann-Haupt, Elizabeth Oakley, Christine Kakoulas, Marsha Linehan, Diane Paradiso, Yesika Montoya, Kevin E. Smith D.D.S., Margaret Smithglass, Julianne Metzdorf Benisch, David S. Mayne, Murray Smith, Melody Serafino, Jonathan Rowe,  Madrone Studios, Olivier Sherman, The CVS on West End Avenue and 70th Street, NYC,  Ed Kelle, Bob Pegram, Alexandre Frenette, and Sara Brown.

Continued thanks to these people (2014),  these people (2013), these people (2012), these people (2011), these people (2010), and these people (2009).

Drone Pilot at Arcosanti: Guest Post by Cinematographer Andy Bowley

Today’s post was written by cinematographer Andy Bowley.

i can’t remember if we drank a lot of beer that night.

but i do remember parting ways with david, after a nice meal on the upper west side of new york, saying yes! drone! arcosanti!

or something like that.

a few days later, he wrote to let me know he really wanted to do it.

really?

i had a few weeks to prepare, so i bought a syma x1 quadcopter (about $35) and flew it all around my apartment.  my tweedy green chair became landing pad #1,  my other tweedy green chair became landing pad #2, and a pillow on the leather couch became landing pad #3.

lil uav, aka Mr. Droney

i practiced everyday i could and crashed and crashed and crashed.  and after a couple of weeks, found i could wing the little thing around — landing and taking off from pads 1-3 in nimble succession.  i knew i was ready for arcosanti when i could actually fly without sticking my tongue out of my mouth.

days later, i found myself standing in front of a whirring DJI phantom in the arizona desert. and now, the playground was vast.
instead of gliding from pillow to pillow, i was doing 1500′ runs thru canyons, over cliffs, and over top of paolo soleri’s glorious creation.

i couldn’t wipe the smile off my face.  which meant i pretty much kept my tongue in my mouth too.

 Andy may have been able to keep his tongue in his mouth at Arcosanti, but I was unable to lift my jaw off the floor after seeing the footage. Here’s one of the strafing shots he took of Arcosanti.
YouTube Preview Image
==
Andy Bowley is a NYC-based cinematographer whose projects have won many national Emmys and one Peabody. He can be found here and there on this blog. Other posts by this generous man:

E-mail Andy: a b o w l e y at  e a r t h l i n k d o t n e t

What’s A Life’s Work about? It’s a documentary in post production. You can find out more on this page.

We are in the home stretch and are raising money for post-production: specifically, to pay for archival footage rights, animation, sound mixing, color correction, E&O insurance and a bunch of smaller things. When that’s done, the film is done! It’s really very VERY close!

So here’s how you can help get this film out to the world. It’s very simple: click here, then click the “make a tax-deductible donation now” button, enter the amount you want to contribute (as little as $5, as much as $50,000) and the other specifics. That’s it. No login or registration required.  Your contribution does not line my pocket; because the film is fiscally sponsored by the New York Foundation for the Arts, all money given this way is overseen by them and is guaranteed to go toward the completion of this film. Being fiscally sponsored also means that your contribution is tax-deductible. So why not do it? The amount doesn’t matter as much as the fact that you’re helping to bring a work of art into the world. And that, I think, is really exciting!

More than $1,600 has been given to the film so far, and that without really trying or the big hyped-up push of crowdfunding. Oh, how nice it would be for everyone if A Life’s Work didn’t have to crowdfund!

In addition to monetary help, there are many other ways you can support A Life’s Work. Why not consider being a part of  the film’s growing community?

Questions? Email me at d a v i d ( aT } b l o o d o r a n g e f i l m s {d o t] c o m

A documentary about people engaged with projects they may not complete in their lifetimes.