Category: Week 6 Journal (Page 1 of 4)
An adaptation of comic book that i wrote as part of a short film anthology.
Paul lights his cigarette
though smoking seems awkward and forced
thinks he’s so cool like he knows something we all just happen to miss
but he’s just a baby, only 21
on the threshold of manhood
cute, not quite handsome
perfect smooth complexion you can almost feel
Paul has this air of confidence and poise
he fills whatever room he enters
he owns the space, even if he’s not in frame
Madeline is very clearly charmed by him
but she’s too cool to swoon over some boy
he can tell from her smile and the way she tousles her hair
that he’s inches away from having her wrapped around his finger
Like Paul and his unfitting habit of smoking, Madeline shrouds her youth beneath casual illusions
simple tricks of the hand to distract those who watch
so as not to be truly seen
but to portray an ideal image of oneself
In a way, that’s sort of what youth is all about
it’s a game you’re just learning how to play
a magic show
a social experiment
take it all in and examine
look in the mirror
manipulate tweak scratch cut smoke
Try something new
try to get laid
and once you think you have it all figured out
the game changes
when it all comes down to it, there are no rules
He’s a bad boy intellectual
She’s a talented beauty with a hypnotic smile
but it doesn’t really matter
since we’re all just playing pretend
or maybe it does…
When I was very young, I hung out with Pajama Sam. There were three different disks that I would feed into the clunky desktop throughout the day. One disks held the entire world of “You are what you eat” (2000). There was also “No need to hide when it’s dark outside” (1996), and of course, my all time favorite, “Thunder and Lightning aren’t so frightening.” (1998) It was in this last installment in the Pajama Sam series that I met the Y-pipe.
Pajama Sam was my introduction into the world of computer games. I would lead the little animated kid with blue hair around these fictional animated worlds, trying to solve a global crisis of some kind. The Y-pipe is a very important piece. He is one of the four missing pieces that are needed to fix the world’s weather machine. The weather has gone haywire. Where did I find him? Stuck in the vending machine.
I will always remember the Y-pipe. He is the only piece that does not help you help him! He sits in the vending machine, watching you struggle to get him out. Other pieces talk to you, they tell you about how you could get them out of their predicaments. Not the Y-pipe. He just sits there, smiling, responding to everything you ask with “why?” He drove me crazy. I was too young to look on the internet for a walkthrough, that wasn’t exactly a thing in 2002. I would spend hours starring at this confounded animated piece of metal in the vending machine, pondering how to get him out and fix the weather. He just kept asking me “why?”
I eventually got him out, although I can’t remember how. I put him in place with all the other pieces and the worlds weather improves drastically. Pajama Sam has done it again. Almost in tribute to the devilish Y-pipe, I would mock my dad. “Why?” Anything he said was countered with, “Yeah dad but like, why?” And then he would explain whatever it was. This never really stopped happening. Anytime he would say, “Shall we?” I would quote from ‘You are what you eat’ (2000), pretending I was Pajama Sam sitting on his talking donut, and retort; “Let’s shall.”
Writing Prompt: Directions
Listen to the sound of my voice, try to hear the words but at the same time– feel them. Breathe in, breathe out. Close your eyes and focus on the top of your head. There is an energy there, a pressure. Maybe it’s your job. Maybe it’s your marriage. Maybe it’s the second mortgage or student loans. Now take that energy, that pressure, and, are your eyes still closed? Push it down. Not with your hands, but with your mind. Breathe in, breathe out. All that stress is moving down, down, down. It is liquid. YOU are liquid. Let that water drip to the ground below. Listen to the sound of my voice. Are you hearing the words? Do you feel them? Okay, now we may begin. This is how to assemble your new Ikea bookshelf.
Yasujiro Ozu’s Tokyo Story was striking to me in that it gracefully and accurately portrayed a universal human condition while also achieving striking visuals and an engaging story. It isn’t often that a film both feels true to life, is superbly engaging, and visually interesting. Intentional cinematography and shot composition is something I watch closely for in films. Ozu showed that even with limited resources a filmmaker can create effective cinematography. He used a 50mm lens (one of my favorites), minimal camera movement, and often used the same angle multiple times. Ozu masterfully took advantage of his sets and locations, using landscape and architecture to frame his shots and guide the viewer through his scenes.
I love a film that is slow, quiet, and engaging. Too often filmmakers rely on quick cuts and heavy action to engage the viewer. This is something I would like to work on in my filmmaking. I often feel it is too risky to leave a shot for more than, say, five seconds. This is an inhibition I will work to overcome.
In my film this quarter I am striving to tell a simple, personal story through interesting visuals and locations, something that Ozu has clearly mastered.
Sorry it’s a day late!
I think it’s always important to point out the parallels that occur in our life, especially those that occur in different stages, for sometimes opposite reason, but yet have the same basic feeling. For example, when I met my now ex-lover last spring I experienced a shockwave of emotions that were quite foreign to me at the time, though I can say that after ten months of knowing her these emotions have persisted to the point that, at times, it feels like I might not be able to experience or feeling anything more or less than what I have felt in the presence of her. The feelings consisted of acute anxiety and nervousness whenever she appeared in my mind or in person (which was most every waking second in one way or another) coupled with something that I cannot describe as anything other than a surreal sense of the world, a happiness that exists without context or logic, where it’s only grounding is certain to come from her, or at least how I view her to be. While these feelings were always with me, and still are now, there were three very specific moments when life seemed to shift, in the way that I viewed the world, the way that I looked at my surroundings, the way that my chest felt both like is was ascending towards something grandiose as well as being tightly wound by some unseen force from within. What intrigues me is that these feelings are felt during the most positive moment, in the most heartbreaking moment and in the most melancholic moment of my relationship with this woman who has (had?) captured my heart with the most exhilarating and terrifying intensity that I could have ever imagined possible.
I was riding in the backseat of a green Volvo station wagon, driving along the old highway between Discovery Bay and Sequim.
It was a gorgeous day. The sun was bright and the water was blue and looking out the window gave me one of the happiest feelings you could have. I was breathless and blown away.
Maybe I was nine. Maybe ten.
The muffler in the car was broken and it roared down the road. There was a Heron in one of the tide flats.
My family spent the day in Sequim, or some of the day. I held onto that feeling I’d had in the car earlier that day. When we got home, I wrote it down.
It was the first time I’d ever written anything down for the purpose of writing it down. Writing had up to that point been a sort of side function. Something that went along with drawing, or posters, or maybe a school assignment or an odd little badly scrawled story in a sloppily kept, fifty cent notebook.
But this time when I sat down in front of an old Gateway laptop that had been my dad’s before mine – it had absorbed his recalcitrant personality, and would eventually become a royal pain in the ass as it died a slow and painful death – it was for the specific purpose of writing something. I was using an old version of Word Perfect, a program that I would become very attached to over the next few years before it finally became too out of date to run on moderately new computers.
I tried to recapture that feeling I’d had that morning as I wrote. I didn’t pay attention to punctuation or paragraphs. At the time I didn’t even understand the concept of paragraphs. It confused me so much because when it was explained to me, I thought the indent was on the right hand side of the page, and I couldn’t figure out how you perfectly place your words to make an indent on the right hand of the page. I figured I could put in the punctuation later.
My typing didn’t include things like periods or capitalizations or the enter key. So I just wrote. I wrote a block of text. I remember it being almost a half a page of solid text, but I haven’t looked back at it in years. Who knows how long it really was.
I think I set out to write a poem about that feeling, I don’t think it was supposed to be a story. But even if it wasn’t the intention, it was certainly the result. At least some form of poem.
I probably showed it to my parents before I did anything else to the block of text. I don’t remember their reactions, probably good.
Later, when I was finished writing, the same day or a few later maybe, I went back to put in the punctuation, or maybe just to read it.
It was an incredibly painful experience, trying to figure out what I had been trying to say from a solid block of text with no punctuation, no capitalized letters, no indication of anything except letters and words that hopefully were all spelled right, in the right order, and not missing any odd words.
Except they weren’t all spelled right, in the right order, and there were definitely words missing.
Little by little, the block of text was separated out by lines, by periods and comas, by capital letters and whatever form grammar takes in my mind that lets it come out alright in the end.
I was proud of that poem. My first one. My first intentional writing, I think. It was weird and not quite perfect and I was proud of it.
Every moment I was trying to make it make sense, I was promising myself that I would never again write without taking the time to punctuate the sentences, or hit enter. It was too annoying, too painful to ignore it on the first go round.
I cried a lot when I was little. Like, really a lot. I mean, that in itself I could write a whole journal entry on (and it would be pretty long), but instead I’m going to focus on one particular incident.
The school I went to was a Montessori school, and the head of the school, Leslie, was big on tough love and forcing us kids to be independent. I skipped kindergarten and got put in first grade at my teacher’s insistence, which meant leaving my friends behind in primary while I moved to elementary. So that summer, there was a camping trip with the elementary kids, and my parents figured it would be a good way to bond with my new classmates. They were a little worried because I had a lot of separation anxiety, but I had already gone on a short camping trip before and it had gone fine, so they figured this should be okay. Even so, they told Leslie to call them if I was having a hard time, and they would pick me up. (I didn’t know this part until years later. Maybe if I had things would’ve gone differently.)
I’m sure you can see where this is going. I was a little kid who already had a history of crying a huge amount at the slightest provocation, around completely new people, without my parents. I am really not exaggerating when I tell you that I spent those entire five days crying. Like, through meals, activities, boating trips. I think the only time I stopped was when I was asleep, but then I’d wake up early the next morning and start right up again.
The main reason this trip is memorable requires a bit of backstory. I grew up in an almost completely non religious Jewish family. We celebrated the major holidays, but religion wasn’t a part of the day-to-day in our house. I had certainly never prayed before. I don’t even know how I knew what praying was at that point. Also, at this time, I was in the middle of a several years long obsession with Greek mythology. I just loved it, and I knew all of the stories from my (children’s) books about Greek myths.
So, what happened was, I was so desperate to go home that every night before bedtime I would sneak off behind the Port-a-Potty and pray to the gods (Hera, Zeus, Athena, etc…) to take me home. Like, just picture it: a little five year old Jewish girl, who has never prayed in her entire life, praying to the Greek gods to reunite her with her parents, while sitting behind a Port-a-Potty, all while still crying. That might actually have been the lowest point in my life so far.
Whether or not my prayers were heard, I did eventually go home. And while the camping trip was a fairly traumatic moment in my childhood, the story of me praying to the gods has become a favorite of my family’s. So maybe in the end it was worth it, because now I will have this story to tell for the rest of my life, a story that will hopefully bring laughter and at least a moment of joy to the people I share it with.
Oh, screw it. It totally wasn’t worth it.