“I saw Twilight—my granddaughter made me watch it, she said it was the greatest vampire film ever. After the ‘film’ was over I wanted to smack her across her head with my shoe, but I do not want a (tell-all) book called Grannie Dearest written on me when I die. So instead I gave her a DVD of Murnau’s 1922 masterpiece Nosferatu and told her, ‘Now that’s a vampire film!’ And that goes for all of you! Watch Nosferatu instead!”—Lauren Bacall (via jenmyers)
Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring,
Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish,
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle ever renew’d,
Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me,
Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined,
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?
That you are here—that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.
RIP Robin Williams. I am forever grateful for the verses you gave us. You will be sorely missed.
Having been on many marketing teams, I can attest this is true. I’ve come up with a lot of dumb things myself. Dumb things are much easier to get approved. Dumb things are much easier to put on a slide to show someone else that you’re doing something.
I worked in advertising for a decade and the very worst thing about it was seeing all the brilliant ideas the creative teams came up with shot down in favor of the lowest common denominator. Breaks the heart.
My mother once told me that trauma is like Lord of the Rings. You go through this crazy, life-altering thing that almost kills you (like say having to drop the one ring into Mount Doom), and that thing by definition cannot possibly be understood by someone who hasn’t gone through it. They can sympathize sure, but they’ll never really know, and more than likely they’ll expect you to move on from the thing fairly quickly. And they can’t be blamed, people are just like that, but that’s not how it works.
Some lucky people are like Sam. They can go straight home, get married, have a whole bunch of curly headed Hobbit babies and pick up their gardening right where they left off, content to forget the whole thing and live out their days in peace. Lots of people however, are like Frodo, and they don’t come home the same person they were when they left, and everything is more horrible and more hard then it ever was before. The old wounds sting and the ghost of the weight of the one ring still weighs heavy on their minds, and they don’t fit in at home anymore, so they get on boats go sailing away to the Undying West to look for the sort of peace that can only come from within. Frodos can’t cope, and most of us are Frodos when we start out.
But if we move past the urge to hide or lash out, my mother always told me, we can become Pippin and Merry. They never ignored what had happened to them, but they were malleable and receptive to change. They became civic leaders and great storytellers; they we able to turn all that fear and anger and grief into narratives that others could delight in and learn from, and they used the skills they had learned in battle to protect their homeland. They were fortified by what had happened to them, they wore it like armor and used it to their advantage.
It is our trauma that turns us into guardians, my mother told me, it is suffering that strengthens our skin and softens our hearts, and if we learn to live with the ghosts of what had been done to us, we just may be able to save others from the same fate.
My sister is not the biggest fan of her job. She doesn’t hate it, but she doesn’t love it either. She stayed because they offered her not only 3 months fully paid maternity leave, they also gave an additional 3 months at half pay. She got SIX MONTHS paid maternity leave, so she stayed. Wouldn’t you?
To mark the centenary of WWI, the German government has digitized and made freely available 700,000 documents related to the war on the website of the Federal Archive. The material includes audio recordings, films, and photos in addition to an array of personal and governmental documents. Records of politicians, military and civilian authorities, propaganda films, and even personal letters from the front are all part of the newly accessible treasure trove.
I woke up this morning in a fog thick as soup, an extended version of that final stage of sleep where dreams still have more clarity than whatever reality you’re facing. Some part of my conscious mind had latched onto a key phrase that seemed very important, and I had to memorialize it immediately.
I reached over to my computer still open on the floor next to my bed, and I hit ⌘V on the keyboard, fully expecting it to paste my thoughts directly onto the screen.
Nothing happened. I was confused for more than a second until it dawned on me that even if the technology did somehow exist to bridge a direct neural link to my MacBook Pro, I had forgotten to hit ⌘C first.
I quickly typed out the phrase that was floating in my head, one that dissolved into the ether in the very moment I wrote it. Satisfied, but still not quite awake, I rolled out of bed and began my morning routine.
When I came back to my computer freshly scrubbed and fogless, I looked down to find the cursor still blinking at the end of my dream sentence:
Diagram the gem of the eternal tides.
Yeah. I have no idea what it means either. The only thing I remember is that it felt terribly significant at the time. Still, I dig it. It’s as though I received a mysterious order from my subconscious.
I love that just over an hour ago, I existed in a state where the command to “diagram the gem of the eternal tides” made perfect logical sense as part of some grander dreamscape narrative, and in that unconscious pastiche of people and places that promptly receded into the depths of some black and unrecoverable trench, one tiny little sentence managed to crystalize and become solid, the words dropping like fresh die-cast metal into my waking life, still glowing red from their transition.
I love that every night a whole other hidden world flashes its momentary existence through our synapses. I love that it’s a part of us, but it’s somehow not ours to keep. I love that we occasionally catch glimpses and fragments, and while most of the time they may mean absolutely nothing, every once in a while it can still feel like they’re dripping with magic.