The Visual Manna of Tarkovsky’s “The Mirror”

Russians may find profundity in the story and themes of Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1975 film The Mirror, but for the rest of us it’s the images, the visuals.

A woman runs. Screenshot (132)A barn burns. Screenshot (127)A bird lands on a boy’s cap. Screenshot (128)A dog leaves a cabin. Screenshot (129)A boy looks back at himself. Screenshot (131)The music plays. And we reflect. Screenshot (130)We know something about who we are, as if a light glowed behind us, as if this was not so much a movie as a dream that we had somehow conceived together.

Henry Miller: Our Shell-Shocked Souls

A new world is being born, a new type of man is in the bud. The great mass of men, destined now to suffer more cruelly perhaps than man has ever suffered before, have become paralyzed with fear, have withdrawn into their own shell-shocked souls. Nassau2We neither hear, see nor feel, except in relation to the daily needs of the body. The body, which was once a temple, has become a living tomb.

Monster, robot, slave, accursed one – it makes little difference which term one uses to convey the picture of our dehumanized condition. Never was mankind as a whole in a more ignoble condition than ours. 20150925_001433We are all bound to one another in a disgraceful master-slave relationship; we are all caught in the same vicious circle of judge and be judged; we aim to destroy one another if we cannot have our way. 20160806_224416Instead of respect, toleration, kindness and consideration, to say nothing of love, we view one another with fear, suspicion and rivalry.*

(From Henry Miller’s On Writing)

How to Write: The Essential Thing

The mantra for wanna-be writers is always the same: write every day. every dayJames Bond creator Ian Fleming is said to have written every morning, after which he headed off to the beach followed by an evening of cocktails. Writing_Secrets_From_Ian_FlemingI tried that once. Didn’t work out so well. IMAG2436How-to-author James Altucher offered this: “If you can average 1,000 words a day, seven days a week, you can write four to eight books a year.” 20150314_172514Uh…what?

Mystery writer Raymond Chandler said that he sat down at his desk each and every day just to concentrate. chandlerFor me, the key to writing is not bullshitting yourself. It doesn’t matter what you tell everyone else. It’s only you that matters. You spend all day, from the moment you wake, and into your dreams, always in your head. IMG_0610You need to focus. You need to research. You need characters and action. You need to do all of that. You don’t need bullshit. Just do the work. And never let yourself off the hook.Screenshot (95)Okay, maybe once in a while.

Death and You and Me

What was it you said about me? I remember that. I’m not that smart. I’m not. But I’m not that stupid. And I don’t forget.Cape Breton 035We weren’t a loving family. We did what we were supposed to do. We’re not like that anymore. I try to care, as complicated (selfish) as I know I am. I want to do what is right.20160205_132939I want to understand. And yet not like that. Not in the deep dark waters. Not in the room of death. How are you? How am I? I am dying. I know that. I accept that. DSCN0317As much as I accept anything else. As much as I accept this li(f)e.


Logger Mike’s Credo from “The Curve of Time”

Logger Mike’s Credo:

Look well of today – for it is the life of life. In its brief course lie all the variations and realities of your life – the bliss of growth, the glory of action, the splendor of beauty. P1010305For yesterday is but a dream and tomorrow a vision. For time is but a scene in the eternal drama. So look well of today and let that be your resolution as you awake each morning and salute the new dawn.

(*From Muriel Wylie Blanchet’s The Curve of Time)

Ice Friday: Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury

William Faulkner’s The Sound and The Fury is more exhausting than a 7-hour hike in the rain and wind of the Scottish Highlands, even with his moments of clarity, akin to coming out of the clouds at the highest ridge:

As I descended the light dwindled slowly, yet at the same time without altering its quality, as if I and not the light were changing, decreasing…20150708_130624He grasped at the hatchet, feeling no shock but knowing that he was falling, thinking So this is how it’ll end, and he believed that he was about to die and when something crashed against the back of his head he thought, How did he hit me there? Only maybe he hit me a long time ago, he thought. And I just now felt it, and he thought, Hurry. Hurry. Get it over with, and then a furious desire not to die seized him and he struggled, hearing the old man wailing and cursing in his cracked voice.

This Too Will Be Gone: Forgetting.

This moment matters. This moment right now. I am writing. You are reading. This is it. 20151031_123404Maybe more than that. Moments of truth. Never forget. 20140703_060401And yet we do just that. A constant. 20140915_114422People are killed. Wars are wages. On to the next thing. Syria 214So right. And then it’s the next thing – what is it now?Eroll (3)None of us will remember what it was were not supposed to forget.