Saturday, May 12, 2012

note from a rogue film maker

Dear Very Bored Person :

     My film is about the people who stopped me from killing myself.  It is 3ish minutes long.  The ish isn’t me being cute---It’s me saying I don’t know how long my film is because it isn’t finished yet.  Some of the people who stopped me from killing myself are dead.  Audrey Hepburn died of cancer in 1993.  Picasso died sometime before then. 

     Most are alive, though.  Bob Dylan is in my film.  So are Werner Herzog and Jack Nicholson and Morrissey.  So am I.

     So is Sherilyn Fenn, the actress with the beauty mark on Twin Peaks, a TV series written by David Lynch, who is old and will die soon.   My film is mostly about how the people who stopped me from killing myself are old and will die soon---if they’re not already dead.  For the first 2ish minutes the person holding the camera, which is me except when it's not, mopes.   He, she, it—the child, I’m certain it’s a child holding the camera—sees suburban houses as fancy tombs.  The neighborhood is husked in silence, but the child hears atomic blasts everywhere: Ka-boom the wind through the clotheslines.   Ka-boom the sun-glint of windshields.  Ka-boom the book on the windowsill (Americana by Don Delillo, who is old and will die soon).

     When I realized that even artists must, at some point, die, the feeling was like the blast from an atom bomb, but cold, somehow, as if the smoke were blue: A negative film.  An inverted winter.   Shell-shocked, the child wonders in winter.  Lies down.  Waits for a plastic bag to blow over her face and kill her.  Kill him.  Kill it.  Kill our Post-Gender Hero.

     It doesn’t, though.  The child realizes it’s not that easy. Nothing ends.  Nothing ever ends.  A million Hitlers couldn’t end things.   Neither could a million atom bombs.  Life stampedes over the bones of a million Audrey Hepburns, flushes the lyrics of a million forgotten Dylans into the sea.  

     Waiting to die won’t stop a six-lane highway.  It won’t stop computers.  And it certainly won’t bring the dead back to life.  You might as well get the hell up; After all, isn’t that what the people who stopped you from killing yourself did?  They got the hell up and got the hell out.  Made things.  

     The people who validated the child’s existence are gone. Wielding their memories like magic cameras, the child must validate existence its way

     The film is unfinished because the child, who is me, doesn’t know how to validate existence my way.  I didn’t even use the word “validate until this year.  I’m not completely sure I know what it means.  Because I took Latin in high school, I know it has the same root as “vitality”, which means life.   Validate, I think, is the verb: To life

     In the wasteland outside Pittsburgh where I grew up, kids spray paint train tunnels with wacky pictures.  Once I saw a worm eating a piece of cake.   Scribbled above the worm’s head was the phrase:


     These 6 words are brilliant.  They are my mantra as I validate my existence, which I do by making things that, because they are mostly pictures, I call Art.  Making Art is a slow process, like a really fat person getting up from a chair.  I cling to the vitality this process gives me.  Slow motion better than no motion.

     The music in my film is by Lana Del Rey and Jeff Mangum, neither of whom stopped me from killing myself.  I like their songs “Summertime sadness” and “In An Aeroplane Over The Sea" anyway.  You should listen to the songs by themselves, without my film.  They’re hip tunes.

     Walking back to my room from the library, I saw a boy playing a guitar.  I saw a seagull eating a sandwich on the roof of a car.  I saw a shiny, silver banner tapped to a door that said HAPPY BIRTHDAY.

     And these things are important.  I would not have seen them if I had a bag over my head.


    Rogue Film Maker

P.S. Because I am a rogue film maker, or a cheap one, I did not use a pretty camera.  I did not set out to make a pretty film.  Just one that made sense to me.  Filming was done with a potato.  When this failed I used a loaf or bread.  To be honest, I even stole some footage from other movies and screen-tests.  How else was I going to get footage of dead people?

P.S. There's nothing after the white noise except the memory of something beautiful we thought we saw once.

But that's okay.

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