Thursday, October 13, 2005

The Song of a Weary Sherman Oaks Resident

"The Love Song of Joe College Student" revisited as "The Song of a Weary Sherman Oaks Resident"

(after T.S. Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock")

Come with me, dear lady mine,

When the night is fixed on the demon's eye,

Like a small boy enchanted with ancient fables;

Let us wander down paths of decadence,

To question their intents

Of restless wand'rings in sordid, base affairs

And crumbling sidewalks with stories to share:

Sidewalks that drop off like the ebbing sea

And dreams that kill men like me

To lead you to a doubtful depth . . .

Asking now for us to prove it,

We take our faith and quick remove it.

On the street the girls come and go

Talking of Aaron Spelling shows.

The nicotine stench that flows up into our aging veins,

The skunky nicotine stench that flows numbingly over our pains,

Lapped its tongue into the bowl of thirsty water,

Lingered within the backed up sewer mains,

Let swirl into its soul the alcoholic fog,

Tripped by the balcony just jumped,

And knowing that the spring is done,

Wound itself tightly around the apartments, slouched and slumped.

And sure there'll be some time

For the nicotine smoke that rises from the street,

Numbing our pained vessels;

There will be time, there will be time

To remove yourself from your studies to study the self that you see;

There will be a time to break up and to date

And plenty of time to do your studies

To lift your essays high to find your fate;

Time for us and time for we,

And time of course for hesitations,

And for endless altercations,

Before the falling of our innocent tree.

--Nathan MacFarland Rodgers

Sunday, October 9, 2005

On Strange Coincidences

during a lecture in a college film theory class, the professor challenged us with a new idea. as we attempted to make sense of a bizarre experimental film by asking ourselves what each scene meant, our prof told us:

"when it comes to film, and art in general, it has never been about 'what does it mean?' . . . it's about 'what does it do?'"

meaning: what does it do to you, the viewer? how does it make you feel? often times art is not meant to convey a specific message, but it is meant to convey an emotion or feeling or a new perspective on life -- something that can't be articulated in words -- which is precisely why film or photography or painting or sculpture or song was the medium of choice. if what the artist was trying to communicate could easily be expressed in ordinary prose, they probably would have just written it in their journal!

artists save these unusual, inexpressable notions for their particular medium.

when strange coincidences happen to me in life -- when i meet people who are good friends with my good friends from back in pennsylvania, when i wind up on an airplane flight next to a complete stranger who grew up with people i take classes with, when people from my hometown pop up on the other side of the world, when i run into people i know from penn state and north carolina in hollywood on half a dozen different occasions, when people i know show up at diners, starbucks', runyon canyon, the egyptian theater, venice beach, gordon biersch, quizno's on sunset blvd . . . the temptation is to ask "why did this happen? what are you trying to say? what does this mean? everything happens for a reason, right?"

but when i ask myself "what does this do?" the answer is clear: these situations give me a vague notion that the world is small. they remind me that God is always in charge, that nothing is left to chance, and that, although i am far, far away from my home, God will never allow me to be completely alone -- the great Artist's love is woven into the fabric of His masterwork; us.
we are His medium; we are the screens upon which He projects His love. and we are also His audience.

God is an avant garde artist. when life is strange, don't ask what it means -- ask yourself what God is trying to do to you. how is He trying to change you? how is He trying to make you a better person?

and we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.
--Romans 8:28

Saturday, October 1, 2005

My Poor Brain

there are important thoughts rattling around in my head all day; cool ideas, new concepts, fresh ways to perceive the world; epiphanies. most of the time, they are silenced quickly, pushed aside by bigger thoughts -- the ones that seem more "real" and urgent -- the ones that deal directly with work or career or money or food or the promise of a fun night out with pretty girls.
even now as i write this, all the brilliant musings i was going to type are being pushed aside, as i am being i.m.'ed by a couple friends -- what the hell are they doing up this late anyway?

the point i was eventually going to make was that i used to have beautiful thoughts -- and i had the ability to write most of them out and share them with people, and i totally think i've lost that talent. and things that used to inspire me to write and be creative simply don't anymore. maybe i'm just out of practice, maybe i'm all caught up with my "worldly worries" more now than ever, or maybe i'm just getting old.

whatever the reason -- it makes me sad -- as many things do these days...