Words and Pictures – Musings About the Movie and Life

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Words and Pictures

The house is quiet for the night and the writer slowly curls in her chair and opens her favorite journal to an empty white page awaiting the pen strokes to cross the pages with intriguing words that will hopefully invite another to join her journey.  In the morning after the children have left for school the artist slowly approaches the blank canvas in the sunroom, she closes her eyes and sees smoldering visions of burning red, violent purple and burnt orange and hopes the brush flowing across the canvas will capture the vibrancy, intensity of color and the eye of a beholder.  Everyone at some point has experienced a blank page just prior to a moment of creation, whether it is your first school essay or chasing dreams of being a writer and artist and creating your first short story, poem, drawing, painting or taking that first camera shot.   The process and struggle of putting forth the words and images within us is displayed wonderfully in the movie, Words and Pictures, that presents the story of a published writer with writer’s block and a drinking problem, Jack Marcus (Clive Owen), and a talented artist struggling to discover a way to paint with rheumatoid arthritis, Dina Delsanto (Juliette Binoche), who develop a relationship during a war of words versus pictures between the art and english students at the high school where they teach.  The movie celebrates the love of learning, words, art and inspirational teachers, but also has a darker side that shows the bitterness, arrogance, fear of failure, helplessness and struggles for those pursing their passion and the downward spiral of someone questioning, “what if the fire just goes out?”  Toward the end of the movie Jack Marcus makes the wonderful statement that “each artist makes the world his or her own and, in doing so, elevates it and, in doing that, elevates us, gives us a larger view.”  That magic happens when we slowly turn a page to an eloquent sentence and riveting paragraph or discover a beautiful or harrowing image that instantly grips our emotions in a life-changing moment of reflection .  Words and pictures can inspire, astound, captivate and provoke thoughts, laughter and a never-ending array of emotions.  As we write, read, paint, photograph or observe, it seems we are searching for those words or images that register in our hearts and brains with emotions, intensity, and a curiosity with the power to change us and the world.

The following includes powerful words from others and photographs that were taken recently in northern Michigan while driving along Lake Michigan and Grand Traverse Bay past orchards, farms, lakes and vineyards in the breathtaking wine country around the Leelanau and Old Mission Peninsulas.  I included the quotes in honor of a lifetime of reading and receiving inspiration from the words of others and discovering through blogging, that in the words versus pictures debate, I often need the pictures to help inspire my words.

“Laughter is wine for the soul – laughter soft, or loud and deep, tinged through with seriousness – the hilarious declaration made by man that life is worth living.” – Sean O’Casey


“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.” – Rumi

“It is only through art that we can escape from ourselves and know how another person sees  a universe which is not the same as our own and whose landscapes would otherwise have remained as unknown as any there may be on the moon.” – Marcel Proust

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