Archive

for March, 2010

March 24, 2010

what you loved when you were nine or ten

There’s a beautiful passage early in the book The Conversations (a long rambling interview between film/sound editor Walter Murch and writer Michael Ondaatje), where Murch is talking about how intoxicating it was to play with sound when he was nine or ten. He got a cassette tape recorder when they were very new, and would make strange noises by dragging the mic over surfaces, and by recording sounds from out of his (NYC) window. Then he realized he could chop the tape and reassemble it.

“I’ve found that your chances for happiness are increased if you wind up doing something that is a reflection of what you loved most when you were somewhere between nine and eleven years old. At that age, you know enough of the world to have opinions about things, but you’re not old enough yet to be overly influenced by the crowd or by what other people are doing or what you think you “should” be doing. If what you do later on ties into that reservoir in some way, then you are nurturing some essential part of yourself.” [pg. 8-10]

What I remember of that age is that I loved reading, lying, and making things. The lying wasn’t petty, it was rather of the fish stories and tall tales variety. I met a woman recently who I had known for just a couple of years at that age. Her clearest memories of me had to do with the lies, the elaborate and pleasurably accepted storytelling.

Happiness as a byproduct of genuine passion, genuineness measured as a relationship to the unmediated passions of childhood.

What did you love when you were nine or ten–how is it reflected (or not) in what you do now?

March 2, 2010

What are you afraid of?

My ITP students went out on the street and asked (on video) about 40 people the question, “What are you afraid of?” It was remarkable how many of the respondents gave thoughtful, vulnerable answers.

Most common:

1. Failure. Most of the people who said they were afraid of failure were young. Also, one older man said if you’d asked him 10 years ago he would have said failure.

2. The future

3. Being alone/loneliness

4. Death/getting old

5. Things that are out of my control

6. Nothing. This was mostly older people, one of whom said, “I’m not even afraid of the Devil.”

Most esoteric:

1. Clowns (in a serious way)

2. Aliens (in a serious way)

3. Embarrassment

4. The dark (“you can’t see what’s around you”)

5. Torture/pain

6. Buried alive, blinded, falsely imprisoned (same respondent)

Flippant answers: snakes, spiders, rats, people.