January 11th: Lines and Curves (literally)

Photo on 2018-01-12 at 00.13

Today it was youtube drawing tutorials–lines and curves.


I read The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddartha Mukherjee recently. It’s a biography of cancer, and in it Mukherjee traces the history of both the disease, and our fight against against. It’s good, I recommend it.

In the early days of cancer research, people were shockingly optimistic. A popular analogy for finding a cure for cancer was landing a man on the moon: seems impossible, sure, until you throw gobs of money, time, energy and resources at it.

But of course we’ve thrown a ton of energy and resources at cancer, and we haven’t cure cancer yet. The book argues that a key difference between cancer research 50 years ago and the apollo program is that the apollo program was built on a strong knowledge base. We understood the physics. We had recent advances in rocket science from WW2. NASA was putting those existing pieces together.

But early in the fight we really didn’t understand cancer at all. There was no theoretical knowledge base. So the resources that went into cancer research and treatment went all kinds of different places. Only now, Mukherjee says, are we getting anywhere close to understanding the mechanisms of the disease. He says that once our understanding gets good enough will the rapid, exciting “moon-shot”-esque advances be possible.

And I think of all this in terms of a creative life. Underneath anything Original is the incredibly Unoriginal: practice, skill, technique, form, structure, tradition, blah blah blah. That part, I think, is the understanding. The understanding you gotta have–solid as bedrock–before you can do anything cool. The old cliche, you gotta know the rules to break the rules.

January 6th: Poem

Sorry

The kids I haven’t had yet had a very underwhelming Christmas this year.                   Their mother and I aren’t speaking right now, that had a lot to do with it.

There were no stockings, no presents–and not as                                                                         a preachy, anti-commercialism thing either.                                                                               There were also no Santa visits, no Christmas Eve                                                                       services, absolutely no cookies.                                                                                                       On Christmas Day itself, I didn’t even see them.

But for all that there wasn’t…there was also no complaining.                                                 No disappointment, no resentment, no rampant commercialism.                                             Not the best Christmas ever, but also not the worst.

I didn’t expect them to make a fuss over my birthday (the 26th) so that was fine.

Maybe when they’re older.                                                                                                                 Once they exist.                                                                                                                                     First they’ll exist, then they’ll get older, then maybe one day                                                     they’ll realize the significance of what they’ve always known,                                                   oh, shit, Dad’s birthday is the day after Christmas.                                                                      And then they’ll feel bad. Like everyone does. But also not like everyone does.

That’s it, isn’t it?

January 5th: Business

Fiddling with the blurb for my show, again. Today it went from:

“Tom Hanks had a volleyball named Wilson. Jake Simonds has a basketball named Spalding–who may or may not embody the spirit of Spalding Gray, neurotic pioneer of the autobiographical monologue. Inspired by Cast Away (2000) and other survival-in-isolation films, …like nobody’s watching asks why we still feel lonely in an ever-more-connected world.”

To:

“Tom Hanks had Wilson. Jake Simonds has Spalding. Inspired by survival-in-isolation cinema and the monologues of Spalding Gray(“Gray’s Anatomy,” Wooster Group), LIKENOBODYSWATCHING is a funny show about loneliness. ”

I’m really into the phrase “a funny show about loneliness.” Its short, frank, honest. I think I’d wanna see that show. I’d rather see that show than one that “asks why se still feel lonely in an ever more connected world.”

Oh, and I agonized over how to frame Spalding Grey. I considered:

“Inspired by survival-in-isolation cinema and…

…and the life and work of Spalding Grey,

…famed monologist Spalding Grey,

I even thought about a complete rephrasing, which I still kinda like–“Survival-in-Isolation cinema meets the quiet, WASPy mania of Spalding Grey in LIKENOBODYSWATCHING”–but decided sounded too much like a shit movie trailer. But then again, my show is about movies, maybe I should have kept it.

January 3rd: Favorite Films

I’ve made a New Year’s Resolution to create every day. This blog is here to hold me accountable, and to help me share.

Today’s “creation” is a list.

Favorite Films

 

Pulp Fiction

Cast Away

Jules & Jim

The Producers (Mel Brooks (obviously))

Singin’ in the Rain

Caddyshack

The Godfather (I & II)

Frances Ha

Moonrise Kingdom

Y tu Mama Tambien

Fanny & Alexander