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Posts Tagged ‘inspiration’

A few weeks ago was the annual film festival I’ve been attending for years. http://filmadelphia.org/festival/

As I do every year, I scheduled the week off from work so I could give as much time as needed. What was different this year was I finally bought a pass which gave me full access to all movies (instead of having to buy tickets to any of them, scheduling them, etc.). It may be more expensive but I am more than comfortable with donating to the Philadelphia Film Society, the organization that runs the film fest as well as films all year long. I’ve been a member for years and remember the time in the past when the film fest was in financial trouble. I remember them struggling for a year or two, then acquiring a historic Philadelphia film theater and turning it into their headquarters.

Now, they have acquired another theater with the size, location, and presence to positively match up with any other in the city. Formerly named the Prince, it is now named the Philadelphia Film Center and is located at Broad & Chestnut Streets in the heart of Philly’s center-city district. The non-profit, member and volunteer-run organization has come a long way and I’m proud to be a member of it.

Having the pass this year enabled me to just show up every day at the beginning of the movie times, and pick a movie. I usually try to keep it spontaneous by day, since I’m on vacation and don’t like to be so dependent on a schedule. Doing it this way for the past few years has given me a different perspective on what films I’m drawn to and also has opened my eyes to films I may not have seen otherwise.

I set out each day with a trip to a cafe near the theaters in Philadelphia’s Olde City section, an area I’ve always loved to walk around. Writing has surpassed reading as an activity that I immediately associate with being in a cafe sometime in the last ten years. 🙂 As such, I began each day with breakfast in the cafe and writing in my journal (longhand). I write whatever is on my mind and in whatever voice comes to me. I cover the films I’m seeing or are about to see, what I’m looking for from them, the setting around me, what I want to write next, what writing of mine needs revisiting, etc.

During each film, the PFS representatives (film programming, etc.) talk a little (thanking the members, volunteers, turn your phone off, etc.) before introducing each film. A lot of their introduction I’ve heard hundreds of times over the years so I usually tune out until the start of the film. In previous years, I’ve gone over the film program book to read the summaries of other movies. This year, for the first time, I brought out my writing journal and continued where I left off in the cafe. I found this an amazing experience, especially as I occasionally continued to write while the film was on and the theater was dark.

There was one film that I was really starting to dislike, and it turned around for me. I can’t say for certain that my narrating it longhand had this effect, though it is likely that my writing about why I didn’t like it seemed to slow my reaction down. The music for this film was amazing and I needed to note that. Maybe it made me more patient to see what else the film would offer. I ended up loving the film and I think writing about it is worth noting. Reading about it afterward was interesting and should be in the future as well as the lines of my writing wavered on the page during the filming.

I was sorry to see the time come to an end as I had settled into the daily film routine quite comfortably. Going to old city cafes, seeing films, reading, and writing is a routine I can do forever. Now I’m reviewing the filmfest program book to see what movies have made distribution so I can acquire the ones I didn’t get a chance to see in the theater. These movies are unique and in my opinion are better than the mainstream movies. Feel free to visit the site above and look through the movies. I believe you won’t be disappointed.

 

 

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In my last post (Artful Surroundings), I was about halfway through my quest to find art for my home.

I had collected a number of web sites for me to browse through which took time. After I had finished, I had to make a decision on where I was willing to commit the most money because art can be costly. Many of the sites were looking for bids, which wasn’t for me. I am comfortable with the decision to pay for art (of any medium) if there is some personal contact to be made with the artist. All of this is bound by finances, of course. There were a number of artists whose art I would have loved to buy but they were just too expensive, including some that I’d been admiring for some time.

There was one photographer whose work I’d seen before in an article on the BBC several years ago. At the time, I’d noted down his name (David Derueda) thinking that one day I’d be in a situation to get some of his prints. I had some correspondence with him via email and I ended up choosing 2 prints to be framed and sent to me (from Europe).

After this, the rest of my purchasing was of a more generic variety, as I needed to bring the cost down. During my search, I concentrated the most on what would influence my own creativity and/or reflect something about me or just what I like. I found this reflection changing the more art I browsed, at one point wondering if maybe the art was just a reflection of where I wanted to visit in the world (duly noted, need to plan a trip next year). I also found out something about my tastes, after viewing hundreds of prints.

As of now, the majority of the art is at my house and in frames. I’m still waiting on a few more frames/prints to arrive, and I also have one print being custom framed. After all this, there will be the process of finding where the best location in my house is for everything. I think overall, the hunt for the art (including that which I cannot have) was the most fulfilling part of the whole process.

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One project that I had been looking to start since I bought my house was that of finding new art to put on my walls. The stars and planets align favorably for this project (my budget is good right now) so I have begun. I’ve been telling a friend of mine for several years that I would buy her photos when I got a house and now the time has come to do that.

These particular photos are of animals at the Philadelphia Zoo, and it just so happens that some of these animals figure largely in the novel I am still developing. I don’t know the future of this novel manuscript; my advice varies from splitting it into two novels to downgrading the age of the main characters (overhaul). Regardless of what I do, seeing the animals on my wall will always have an influence on me. They will remind me of what I thought the characters saw once upon a time when they were wide-eyed and imaginative, and then later after they saw and experienced.

It’s not the first time I’ve regarded the path of the characters with that of my own as a writer, and I’m sure it won’t be the last.

The rest of my art finding will take some time as I am still learning where the best places are to buy art online and which artists/galleries/sites sell high quality images or the frames themselves, etc. I think any selection needs to influence my own creativity, add something I like to look at on my walls, and maybe even inspire someone else’s imagination.

Lastly, these artful surroundings are a reflection of me. When people come to my house and see the art I have on my walls it may spur conversation about it. Some of those conversations are bound to yield fruitful art observations. 🙂

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