Poem: The Art of Capture

This is a piece I wrote a while back inspired be the issues that I touch on in my last post.

The Art of Capture

Quick.

Click.
Snap and trap it.
Once the shutter falls,
There’s no need to fear
That the shapes and colors of this flash in time–
This one-hundred-twenty-fifth of a second–
This hour–
This day–
Will ever fade
Or fall away.

Write.
Every sight and sound–
Even though you don’t have a pen
Or laptop or tablet on you just now–
Let the paragraphs form in your brain.
Never mind if the composition
Takes you far away.
At least you’ll know you caught
Today.

Wind tight the reel of celluloid
As the word rolls by in real life
Sadly not in slow motion,
So you might want to hurry up.

Hold the canvas still with one hand
As it teeters on the edge of time,
And dip a brush in the paint you’re bound to spill.

Now stand still.

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Immortalizing vs. Inhabiting: 2014 Blog Re-Vamp

writing

Hi all! Welcome back to my little web world.

So I’ve decided that I’m done apologizing for blogging absences. Nobody follows Nine to Phive closely enough that they are devastated or even put out when I go a little while without posting–okay, nobody except maybe my mom and second cousin. Anyway, I’m back! Rejoice with me!

I hinted awhile back that I was thinking of quitting blogging altogether, the reason being that I didn’t like what it had turned me into. I had slowly become more interested in “living life” in hopes of getting a good blog post out of it than just for the sake of living. Sounds scary, I know, but I think many media-makers, especially journalists and other social storytellers, struggle with this same feeling. There’s an ongoing tension between experiencing one’s life and “capturing” it. Weddings are a prime example. We’re all too busy immortalizing the moment via photos and videos to actually inhabit that moment with our minds, bodies, and emotions. I did not like these qualities in myself.

However, I’ve realized since taking a break from the blog that it turned me into something else as well–a writer.

Well, at least it was trying to. The creative discipline required to make constant contributions to a literary publication curated only by oneself is both invigorating and challenging. It is a very healthy way to get into the habit of simply putting aside time to write. Of course, I didn’t always put aside time to write. That’s why towards the start of my most recent hiatus I was posting a lot of photos, videos, podcasts, links to other sites, and Awkward & Awesome Thursdays. So many Awkward & Awesome Thursdays . . .

I want to tell you about two of my many resolutions in this 22nd year of my life (this last Wednesday was my birthday. I accept your congratulations gleefully!) The first is to be more present. I’ve been working on this since taking a break from blogging in the fall and getting a demanding full-time job around the same time. Both of these things have helped me realize how precious my time is and how I don’t want to miss out. The second is to write more quality content. I want to write well, and I want to write often. I no longer care about views, comments, followers and the other mires in which today’s social storytellers can get entrapped.

I care about making good art.

I’ve realized that I need to keep a blog for me. Not to delight the populace of the interwebs. Not even for my family and friends to keep tabs on my life. I need to do it because I am a writer, and doggoneit, writers write! (Shoutout to fellow storyteller Rachel Henderson for reminding me of this, even if you didn’t realize it.)

What This Means:

You can definitely expect some changes from the Nine to Phive norm.

  • Less posts about me and Josh (and our cats), but seriously, it’s hard to be a writer and completely ignore what’s going on in your own life. We’ll still be around.
  • Not quite so many photos. Josh and I still love photography, but I’m thinking that maybe Nine to Phive is no longer the place for that particular passion. Maybe I’ll start a Tumblr!
  • More words. Sorry in advance to your brain, it just has to be this way 😉
  • Diverse content. Some of the same old, but a whole lot of new. Film, gender identity, food, social justice, comics, travel, experimental performance art, folk culture, mental health, fashion, pop culture controversies, commentary on the works of other storytellers . . . heck, I might even take requests!

I’d like to end this post with a challenge to my fellow bloggers. I know many of you who read N2P regularly are already doing this, as you are among the people who have helped inspire me to make this change, but to the rest of you–

Ask yourself why you keep a blog. If the answer reveals something about you that you don’t like, change it. Commit to saying something that people need to hear.

God bless you, your new year, and all of your creative pursuits! Thanks for reading.

Awkward and Awesome Thursday: Brewing Business

Today I had the great opportunity to chat with a filmmaker friend named Michael about helping with a promo video for his indiegogo campaign for a documentary he is planning. I’m super excited to broaden my video freelancing experience and am super grateful to Michael for letting me work with him.

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These are the fancy digs where we had our meeting. If you recognize this as the locally famous Boulder Coffee Co. on Park Ave, let that knowledge just serve you as a little preview of the documentary awesomeness that is to follow.

Awkward:

  • Google Maps currently only knows about one Boulder Coffee Co. in Rochester . . . and it’s not the one I needed to get to . . .
  • How much mockery you get for the (totally legit) excuse for missing early morning appointments, “My cats kept me up all night.”
  • Also, my cats keeping me up all night.
  • How much one of my kitties reeks.
  • How many of my uber-talented friends are now living in New York . . . like the city. Actually, that’s just plain awesome.
  • On a serious note: I got a rejection letter from my dream job at Roberts Wesleyan. Wonder what God’s plans are from here? Well, I guess this means more time for freelancing.

Awesome:

  • Getting to finally check out Boulder.
  • My “meeting” with Michael. It was great chatting about projects and planning . . . and South Park and stuff . . .
  • Jamaican Me Crazy coffee.
  • Signing up with FutureTweets. I will master this social media thing!
  • Kitty kisses.
  • Kefir. Drinkable yogurt, dudes! Bring on the probiotics.
  • Got another interview coming up.

 

 

 

 

Also, scroll down.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keep scrolling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Josh got a sales job with a company that he loves! God is so good, and that’s the awesomest thing ever!

For Your Inspiration: Creative Commentaries

Hi all!

Sorry for the absence. I have been darting back and forth between my home in Rochester and the beautiful city of Canandiagua in order to spend time with my extended family who have traveled up from Georgia and Pennsylvania to vacation for the week.There were beaches, boating, cookouts, amusement parks, and only the teensiest sunburn.

I have also had my hands full with two feline bundles of joy who don’t quite sleep through the night. (Apologies to those of you who were offended or otherwise put out by my “baby” joke. I found it humorous.)

Then there’s the whole job-hunting situation. Interviews, meetings, and query-letter-typing have a way of feeling like they have consumed your whole day no matter how long they actually take.

Anyway, excuses aside, I thought that rather than stress myself out with writing a new post for the blog I would link you to some of the best creative fodder I have bumped into online recently.

What is the Shortest Poem?Screen shot 2013-07-08 at 1.21.27 PM

If you have not yet discovered the YouTube channel Vsauce yet, you haven’t lived. Michael may be my  favorite human being on the planet. Watching just a few of his videos will make it clear to you that he possesses one of the most well-rounded brains on the planet. Math, science, art, and the humanities are all one mass of intellectual musing to him. This video is about poetry and artistic brevity.

Everything I Ever Needed to Know I Learned in Theatremusic-man

A sweet love letter to the theatre from the blog of a personal friend I have had the pleasure of both acting with and directing in the past.

ginabrillion Gina Brillon – First Latina Comedian Wins NBC Stand-Up Deal

I discovered this gal on a channel-flipping encounter with The View. This routine never gets old. I could listen to her do her South Bronx Puerto-Rican accent all day. I’m holding out to see if she has any Spanish language material. I wish this funny girl lots of success.

visualstorytelling13Visual Storytelling: New Language for the Information Age

Maria Popova at Brainpickings is pure brilliance, but this article is more informational and inspiring than anything I have even seen her compose in the past. I especially love the inforgraphics about how to make movies.

kutcher_jobsTrailer for Ashton Kutcher’s Steve Jobs Film

Saw this at the beginning of Now You See Me (which was great). Artsy indie film and technology moguls? I don’t know if it’s Josh or me who is more excited!

6 Films About the Artist in You

Whether it’s inspiration or encouragement you need today, these are six contemporary films from a variety of genres and styles that will feed, challenge, and change the artist in you.

I’ve added a few words about what I personally got out of these motion pictures. You know, because I’m good with words and stuff 🙂 It’s what I do, haha.

5

Midnight in Paris

This quirky Owen Wilson drama with a little humor thrown in (I mean, it’s Owen Wilson) is an Art and Lit major love fest. Seeing names like Pablo Picasso, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and my personal film inspiration Luis Buñuel (the movie features quirky inside jokes about his works that made me feel very smart indeed) just sets me squirming with glee.

The powerful message of this film is demonstrated in the first line of the book Wilson’s character is writing:

“Out Of The Past was the name of the store, and its products consisted of memories: what was prosaic and even vulgar to one generation had been transmuted by the mere passing of years to a status at once magical and also camp.”

This statement about the past not merely about vintage trinkets. It is about the temptation for artists to think that nothing new can be done in the era in which they live–that everything they and their contemporaries create is dull, average, and uninspired while the works of those who came before are the only true innovations. As the film makes plain, in the future, artists may look back on today and wish that they lived in this inspired bygone age.

Define your era. Don’t let it define you.

2

The Vow 

I know. I know. Sappy though this romantic film may be, it has two very powerful messages about the life of the artist.

The first is that it is important to know why you want to be an artist. It doesn’t so much matter why Rachel McAdams’ character Paige has decided to attend art school. What is important is the very personal journey she takes to discover why she fell in love with art (and Channing Tatum) in the first place.

The second is to not be afraid to be impractical. I think most people who have decided to be “professional” artist have already overcome this step, but it’s nice to know that others are making the same crazy life decisions you are. Misery loves company!

3

The Dead Poets Society

There has never been a film that more successfully demonstrates the profound impact that literature can have in the life of an average young person than The Dead Poets Society.

I think even the partly biographical Freedom Writers (not a personal favorite, great story but not-so-great movie) comes up short in comparison to Dead Poets.

From standing on their desks and quoting “Walt Whitman” to closing their eyes and blurting out whatever they see, Dead Poets is all about the students at a repressive prep school learning to let down their inhibitions and just create. While not all of them are or want to be artists in the orthodox sense, they all have something to gain from learning the lessons of eccentric Professor Keating (a surprisingly serious Robin Williams). Art and literature has the power to set them free.

Mr. Hollands OpusMr. Holland’s Opus

When Richard Dreyfuss’s character, Mr. Holland, gets a job teaching music at a public high school, he is tasked with the weighty feat of making a roomful of teenagers care about his deepest love–music.

It could just be the soft spot in my heart for the Deaf community, but I found this movie to be absolutely precious. The moment when Mr. Holland signs “Beautiful Boy” by John Lennon to his Deaf son Cole–bridging the gap between his language of music and Cole’s language of ASL–just makes me cry every time. And the final scene when his symphony is played by his former students who call themselves his “real symphony?” So many tears.

The lesson to be taken from this film?

Taking a day job doesn’t mean giving up your dreams of being an artist; it means embracing new ways of pursuing those dreams and encountering brand new ones in the process.

6P.S. I Love You

“My business is to create.”

I may have left out Freedom Writers, but Hilary Swank made it onto the list anyway. Also a very sappy movie, P.S. I Love You is unique in the sense that one of the film’s main characters is dead for 90% of the film.

I will come out and say it, this is not a good love story. It is, however, a good art story. The main theme of the movie is to stop making excuses for not doing what you were made to do. If your business is to create, don’t let any obstacle (no matter how devastating) keep you from creating.

I also love that this movie is about an uncommon and unorthodox art form. Shoemaking! How unique is that?

4

The Artist

I believe that Rick Groen of The Globe and Mail perfectly sums up the poignant focus of Best-Picture-Oscar-winning film The Artist.

He writes that this French-made picture “uses old technology to dazzling effect to illustrate the insistent conquest of a new technology.”

This “love letter to cinema” so dubbed by the film’s director Michael Hazanavicius. Is all about the balance between satisfying an audience and satisfying oneself in the changing worlds of art and media. The ultimate message of the (silent and black-and-white) picture is all about art for the sake of art.

I hope that curling up to watch one of these films will give you the courage to continuing pursuing your dreams as an artist.

Always remember: If you believe you are an artist but can’t afford to pursue your art “full time,” that part of your identity does not go away from 9 to 5. Stoke it. Bring it to life in every possible moment.

Spider-Man 2 Filming in Rochester

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An image taken today by the local newspaper, the Democrat and Chronicle

I’m ashamed that I haven’t posted about this sooner, but my humble hometown of Rochester, NY has been graced by the presence of film crews from Marvel’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

While I received an audition to be an extra (eeeep!!!) I ultimately wasn’t able to participate since the filming happened right in the middle of finals week. Insert heavy sigh. An opportunity that will likely never reoccur in my life just happens to land during the one week when I can’t jump up to answer it.

My boss at my internship was actually offered a crew position, believe it or not. Even more amazingly, he made the excruciating decision to turn the offer down. His pastor at the church where he is employed as head of videography needed him for the day, and he “chose God over man.” Now that is dedication.

Since today is the last day of filming, I’m kind of saying goodbye to this exciting era for Rochester as well as to the chapter of my life where I neglect my adult responsibilities to chase impractical projects with the slightest hint of a possibility of fame on the other side . . . ’cause yeah . . . I tend to do that. With graduation a mere two days away, it’s time for me to pair my dreams and my somewhat fantastical passions with a means of helping to support my family.

I may need to say “no” to some of my own interests, but hopefully doing that will mean that I never have to say “no” to wonderful opportunities for my family.

Thanks for the life lesson, Spider-Man! I hope Rochester looks great onscreen and is everything you are hoping for.