stories worth repeating, thoughts

Password as mantra or, a short tour of my brain

I type in my password countless times in a day, even though I’ve got it saved into various browsers. Still. I’ve got a good password too. My fingers skim over the keys with the lightest provocation, the briefest glace at an empty password box. Recently, gmail suggested that I change my old password, which I did.

As I was thinking about what to change it to, an incident from the night before came to mind which I remade into a concise reminder for myself. Then I proceeded to type it a million times as I changed all my passwords, and I felt it reverberate around my brain.

That reminded me of something Rabbi Mordecai Finley said once a long time ago when I attended Ohr HaTorah, a synagogue in Los Angeles. He told one of those little anecdotes: once his watch was broken and it beeped every five minutes and he couldn’t figure out how to turn it off and it was driving him crazy. Then he decided to think of God every time the watch beeped and use that previously annoying beep to think about God (I’m paraphrasing, but something like that).

It’s an obvious and good idea. So I remade my password into a little something I wanted to remind myself of, a lot, since it was going to be in my brain a lot.

Rabbi Finley, by the way, is one of my favorite living thinkers. His teachings/talks are an amazing cross between pysch/philosophy/religion/self-help/moral code/linguistics. They are filled with scientific and literary references… anyway I could go on, but you can listen for yourself 🙂

Interestingly, I happened to see Race at ACT a month or so ago with friends. David Mamet’s whole author’s notes in the playbill were about Rabbi Finley and some ideas that he turned Mamet onto. I can’t say I was in agreement about the politics, but I wasn’t surprised to see that Mamet had been influenced by Finley. He’s that good.

I always remembered the thing about the watch.

thoughts, writing

getting your story straight

I like the sound of getting your story straight.

Aside from the criminal implications, telling a “straight” story is an interesting idea. Is that the truth? The facts in order? A narrative that makes sense historically or emotionally?

I’ve got a story that I want to tell. And I want to tell it straight, how it will have the most impact. I think a lot about where that story starts. What is the beginning of it? Here? No, here. No, here! And when I start to write it, I always ending up cutting back in time. And digressing. Knowing something about the past makes the present make sense, and sets up the outcome. Chekhov and the gun in act one that has to go off by act three and that.

Which should say something about the outcome of our lives. As, at least mine, has been sufficiently set up. Except that life isn’t a straight story. The story is just the thing we make out of it, tell about it, craft out of the non-linear trajectory. And yes, it’s my birthday today. But I digress…

Advertising, music, thoughts

In medias res please

In medias res is one of my favorite narrative ideas. Who wants to start at the beginning of things? I want to come in seconds before things get really interesting. Say, like this…

There’s so many things I like about this, it’s hard to know where to start.

I could say a lot about it, but let me just mention a few things. The music. You can listen to this piece (without watching, although I don’t recommend it) and get the whole story. It’s amazing. I love the low point of the narrative (yodeling, trailer park, mud) and the emotional highs and lows that run throughout. It’s the longest and most engaging three minutes I’ve spent on digital media in a while (and I know it’s not new, but I keep going back to it). It articulates how each moment creates a different future, and is therefore everything. Just the current moment. It’s moving, it’s exciting, it’s life and death.

Also, it showcases the intersections of culture, media with celebrity and fan beautifully. And I think the placement of the product is brilliant. When you really get a long look at the shoe, you can feel it in your chest.

I can’t seem to get enough of this. I watch it repeatedly. Every time I do, I notice another tiny, careful, interesting detail that feeds the whole.

Plus, it starts in the middle and ends at the beginning.

Uncategorized

“…the instinctive tourism of infancy.”

This is one of the most evocative phrases I’ve read in a while. I can’t stop thinking about it. It’s the perfect way to describe the movement, curiosity and explorative behavior of children. Brilliant. It will come as no surprise then that Julian Barnes wrote it. It’s the opening of his novel, Arthur & George.

A child wants to see. It always begins like this, and it began like this then. A child wanted to see.

He was able to walk, and could reach up to a door handle. He did this with nothing that could be called a purpose, merely the instinctive toursim of infancy.”