“If you figure a way to live without serving a master, any master, then let the rest of us know, will you? For you’d be the first person in the history of the world.”
Paul Thomas Anderson, the director of The Master, is my favorite character director. What I mean by ‘character director’ is that each of his films creates a universe that lives to serve one character. Punch-Drunk Love puts you into the mind of a psychologically abused brother in a family of sisters. There Will Be Blood allows you to accept the suave selfishness of Daniel Plainview. And The Master puts you inside the unsettling and uneasy state of mind of Freddie Quell, a World War II veteran dealing with PTSD and substance abuse.
I should say, I really didn’t like The Master. The film is brilliant, without a doubt it is one of the most important films Paul Thomas Anderson has written and directed. As for me, it went too deep for me to handle, surpassing my threshold of relatability. That being said, the message of the film is clear. We all serve a master. In one way or another, through vices, temptations, servitude, or commitment; we all serve a master.
Despite my frustration while watching this film, I really appreciated the character of Lancaster Dodd. To me, Lancaster Dodd serves as a point fo relatability throughout the plot-lacking story of The Master. I don’t mean to say I relate with him as a person, nor would anyone else watching. I mean to say his character serves as a familiar metaphor of those things we gravitate towards on a search for identity. In a scene from the film, Lancaster Dodd sits with Freddie Quell, hammering him with questions attempting to pull out honesty. This scene shows the break through of Freddie Quell who has now gotten a taste of his identity even if it is littered with things he abhors.
Angel is a dark subversive piece that has its roots in Jamaican soul, ambient trip hop, and something else that could only be described as Massive Attackesque. the song provides an atmosphere that is complex but easily recognizable. from start to finish this song is a bank robbery, or a heist gone right, or a silent stalking through dark alleys. it builds on itself with tight and stressed snares and a boding bass line that dominates every corner. it’s ambient but choppy leaving behind a sense of safety amongst chaos. this is what music should do. music, no matter what the mood or the presence of the song is, needs to say something. it needs to be something definable and if not definable it should leave you wondering why it was captivating. Angel, as an opener for the album Mezzanine, sets the tone of the whole album. to me, Angel is the best example of an opener setting the appropriate tone of any album i’ve come across.
it’s not even cold in here it’s bereavement to a widow fourth over something placid and refined my body aches like the wood in the antique desk she lent to me before he died does she know it’s here baking in the sun where the arguments of petty rivalries outlast the peace of pestilence
to start this off let me explain one of my favorite, and shortest, poems from 2017. around this time i was dating my now wife, Tanya. our relationship was tough and under the natural strain of distance. because of this, a lot of my writing in 2017 comes from a place of regret and longing. it was difficult for me to see where the relationship was going because of so many miscommunications and missed opportunities that come with dating over distance and my writing sort of took on that emotion.
/i would tear out a page of my past and relive the cold morning/
if life is a book i wanted to go back to the pages where things made sense and were more clear. that place in time was before i decided to leave for my home country leaving Tanya behind. ‘the cold morning’ is a reference to cold winter mornings. i wanted to relate the feeling of waiting for the sun to rise on a cold winter morning to the feeling of waiting for things to kind of get better.
/i would retrieve the figments i abandoned. i would dive into you/
‘figments’ is the stand out word in this poem. it’s the strongest. the feeling of our relationship at this time was that it was and it wasn’t. it was real but impossible to grasp. in a distance relationship the most important thing to manage is to hold onto the reality of two worlds in the same place. when i struggled to hold them, and would let go of them, i would wish i could hold onto them again. ‘i would dive into you’ is the strongest way i can say i would completely commit to this relationship if i could get past all of these feelings.
here are some of my favorite photos from Italian photographer, Franco Fontana:
franco fontana turns landscape shots into something that feels more like a matte painting with vibrant oily pastels and he does this by utilizing what he calls the concept of line. basically he has posited that the relationship of geometry and color is the basis for good color photography. moreover vibrant color and strict geometrical shapes brings out the best in natural rules for beauty. like an extreme taken extremely. the colors in his photos are what you would assume are the most basic form of each color. a yellow is at it’s most yellow and it should be accompanied by it’s complimentary blue.
i like this, i especially appreciate the concept of aggressive adherence to the rules of geometry and color. in my own photo i wanted to bring out the earthiness of certain yellows and blues while also maintaining their complementary nature. a little brown in the yellow adds to a little white in the blue. the green in my photo serves as a less harsh line between them softening the line of the horizon.
i decided to call my photo pomeriggio sulle colline which means ‘afternoon on the hills’.
Michiko Chiyoda is a force that i look to as a near perfect example of the honesty needed for pure expressionism. her most recent collection “Starting a New Journey” captures the process of grief and the introspection that comes with the loss of a loved one. Chiyoda shared the story that brought about this collection and i really encourage you to read it and see the rest by clicking the date at the top of this post.
i haven’t experienced the death of a loved one and i really don’t look forward to opportunity to do so. but this photo says it all and it does so silently. what i appreciate most is the offset angle in the photograph. most seascape shots tend to carry a feeling of ‘ there’s something in the distance’ or something to look forward to but that’s not what’s being communicated here. it’s difficult to explain through a photo the feeling waves can bring. they’re powerful, dangerous, and unwelcoming. i’ve tried many times to create through my own photography the feeling of confusion and alienation i feel when i look at this photo. i can’t speak for Chiyoda or anyone else but i feel this photo carries with it the distinct feeling of not knowing what is going to happen next. which makes it all the more powerful. in contrast to the infinite horizon this gives you no opportunity to look for what’s next. you’re in it. whether you’re swimming or drowning, it is happening. and i can’t think of a more appropriate way to convey the tumultuous feelings that come with the loss of a loved one.
“i have been asking myself whether feelings toward someone who has passed away is our own internal conflict and if mourning means to keep going forward with that conflict.” Michiko Chiyoda
i figured out what’s happening there’s a foreign place inside my veins it’s reaching out to grab me and whether i need it isn’t up to me it’s deep inside like some small thing a needy voice that grabs me
so when my mind freezes, i’m listening you shouldn’t be afraid
there’s got to be a safer place for you to be than here with me