Storytelling…The Visual Element (Part 3) Firsts


Driving home through the rain last night the exhaustion began to settle in.  It had been a long day.  I have been getting to work early to offset the time I am at the clinic receiving treatment.

Work started at 7:55 AM.  I was gone from 8:50 AM to 10:00 AM.  And really just a bunch of loose end catch up stuff that really required my attention. I finished the day by decorating the office for the festive season ahead.

We have an artificial tree at the office that really is a pathetic looking thing.  It’s about 25 years in age now and should have been tossed out a decade ago.  The box that it’s stored in is composed mostly of tape now so I hauled it out and resurrected it once again.  The top of the tree is so mangled that topper is leaning dangerously forward.  Not much I can do to correct this, though I tried.  Still, I managed to make the tree look pretty.

I’ll pick up a poinsettia and some holly branches to adorn the counter next week.

After work I met my daughter and we shared a nibble at a small bar on Granville Street.  Then she headed out to a social event and I decided to see what deals could be found on this Black Friday event that was occurring.  Wanting to get started on the Christmas shopping thing I stepped out onto Granville Street and began my quest.

This portion of Vancouver is undergoing a massive change.  We are being invaded by American stores such as Old Navy and the old Eaton’s store is being renovated by Nordstrom’s which will open next spring.

Won’t be a store a that I will frequent.  Holt Renfrew has been the equivalent in Canada all these years and I go in there periodically to ponder over why someone would spend $1,200 on a dress (and that, by the way, is cheap for that particular store).

I walked through Pacific Centre mall and the Bay and purchased a gift for my daughter.  For all the hype surrounding this Black Friday thing, I didn’t come across any fabulous ‘must have’ deals.

I went to another mall in Burnaby before heading home just after 9:00 PM.

As I drove, I thought about my first diary.  It was a small 5″ x 7″ brown padded book with a lock on it.  It contained approximately 150 pages.  I received it as a gift when I was about 10 years of age.  This little book was pivotal in the exploration of the written word for me.

The entries in the beginning were simple things.  I was never too sure what to write so I would say things like:

Dear Diary,

How are you?  I am fine.  I went to Cheryl’s after school today and we hung out in her rumpus room.  School was okay.  I’ve got homework.  Bye.

Nancy

In the beginning I wrote such things everyday.  One page would contain a week’s worth of this.  Then I started to just make entries once per week and tried to make them more meaningful.  I tucked it away then for long periods of time.  Months would go by.  Then one night my parent’s had one of their many fights and I opened my diary on that night releasing all the anxiety and fear that came with these events.

I had found my release.

I guarded the words contained in that little book more out of fear.  Should my parents find the words that I had written about them…they were not kind words.  They were bad words, vicious and hateful words.  Sometimes I found the strength in the emotions I had purged onto the page a little frightening as well.

Where was this coming from?

A life long practice was born and I have followed the written word ever since.

I would become pen pals with a young girl in England for a few years and amazingly a few years ago she found me on Facebook, so we now have established our connection once more.  How cool it that?

I was never exposed to art galleries or the like as a child.  Just movies, television and books.  I’ve been on my own from the age of 16 years.  My first venture into the Vancouver Art Gallery was at the age of 18 years of age.  At the time the gallery was located  on Georgia Street in a very cool art deco building.

I recall feeling rather fraudulent entering the building as I knew absolutely nothing about the arts.  I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do or how to conduct myself. Timidly I walked from painting to painting.  Some I liked, others I didn’t.

Then a painting at the end caught my eye.  I was about to lose my artistic virginity.  An Emily Carr painting of some trees in the forest drew my interest.   I was mesmerized and drawn to it like a moth to flame.  I stared at this painting for a long time and the emotional connection was like no other.  Ms. Carr had captured the very soul of the tree on that canvas.

And it was in that moment that a small window of understanding opened with regard to the arts.  What we all try to do with whatever chosen form we are pursuing is to touch someone and make them see and feel what we are experiencing at the moment of creation.

All that I have learned over the years has largely been self-inflicted.  My curiosity kicks in and the need to explore takes over.  Indeed there is much I don’t know having never had the opportunity to attend an institute of higher education to pursue these interests of mine.  Still, much can learned by reading and observing.

At nineteen years of age I was living in the West End of Vancouver.  I would see my first musical on the silver screen during this time.

“Jesus Christ Superstar” blew me away.  The simplicity and harshness of the location it was filmed at was just brilliant.  The setup showing the theatrical group arriving on a bus, unloading it and preparing for their roles then departing after the deed was done never to be the same again.  So evident in their demeanor.

All this while an actual war was taking place around them.  The shots where we see the fighter pilots flying low and tanks coming over the dunes in this film was not originally staged.  These were antagonistic methods letting the film crew know that not everyone was happy with their presence and what it was they were filming there.

Indeed the contentious nature of the location lent to the quality of the experience watching this film. And the music!

I was familiar with some of the songs.  The play had been circulating for many years before the movie was made and as a result songs such as “I don’t know how to love him” and “Superstar” had been in the top 40 on the radio in the early to mid 1970’s.

The quality of the performances was superb as well.  The connection developed between Ted Neeley (Jesus) and Carl Anderson (Judas) during the filming would follow them throughout the course of their careers.  They would reprise their respective roles on stage for the next 30 or so years.

I was fortunate enough to see Ted Neeley at the age of 68 in a staged production of JCS here a few years ago.  Unfortunately Carl had passed away a few years prior.  There are many messages in this film that speaks to our humanness.  That is just one of the many things I love about this musical.

I have viewed this more than 20 times and seen the staged version.  For me, a classic, a favourite, a timeless movie is one that every time I see it…in many ways its like the first time. And every time I view it,  I take something new away from it as well.

If you’ve never had the pleasure, I would encourage you to watch this film.  If you are of a religious nature, please just view this as piece of art and think too of the time period it was created in.

This is definitely one of my all time faves.

Time to head off to Yoga and purge some of the aches from the past week.

Enjoy your day.  Peace.

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