This I Believe

Cali - Malibu, California
Entered on July 24, 2007

I believe in fairy tales and happy endings and in the power of play. I believe in cherishing my innocence and the innocence of others, and it seems to me now, that what I believe in, – is believing.

During this quantum leap between the sheltered blessings of University and the hot breath of Hollywood – NPR’s delicious concept called “This I Believe,” rattles around my brain helping me to focus on my potential contribution. What will it be? Here is an irresistable opportunity to examine my beliefs. Ok, do I have beliefs? Do they change once a second? Once a year?

Beliefs, I find, are like kaleidescope – I focus on the patterns they form, then shuffle them, – adjusting to create new ones. I am rescuing orphan dreams and getting to know myself in the process. So I find that “believing” – is a process. It’s a process I can play with forever because this is my kaleidescope.

This realization provides a great healing for me because it seems that upon escaping an abusive childhood, graduating early with a Masters’ degree at an impossibly young age – I was commanded by the marketplace to “put away” childish things, like dreams, and join the “real world.” Was everybody just kidding when they told me those dreams mattered while I spent hours worshipping in those classrooms?

Or maybe this is “The Mother of All Final Exams?” To survive out here with your dreams intact and realize them in some physical form? Is this the part where I’m called upon to “outwit, outplay, outlast?”

What about “The Pursuit of Happiness?” – is it not the right to keep on playing? I think it is. If we can keep “play” alive beyond our schooldays, we may continue to rescue those orphan dreams and then our beliefs may evolve through genuine dialogue between heart and head.

I am playing with this essay as I formulate the “vision statement” for my own company. In playing with these ideas I provide a “game-plan” for my creative endeavours in the market-place.

As a 21st Century artist I am exploring the significance , or some would say “relevance” of what I do. What is the purpose and value of an artist in the 21st Century? And now, as a result of playing with this essay, it seems I’ve come full circle and arrived back at my beliefs. It seems I really do believe in fairy tales and happy endings and in the power of play. I really do believe in cherishing my innocence and the innocence of others, and it seems that I do believe in believing.

My job as an artist is “to play” and my contribution might be to remind others to daily rescue their own orphan dreams beyond school, in spite of the mortgage, in spite of what some call “death and taxes” – those inevitibilities that somebody reads to us like our existential miranda rights.

Ok, yes, I’m learning that the market-place, delusions of time, and human frailties such as the desire to eat regularly, life with a roof over one’s head, catch up on the love we missed in childhood, and heal from old and new wounds – do pose challenges to playtime. For an artist in my field, the film industry, the main challenge might be well described with the following analogy: Imagine that a painter, who raised herself as a little girl with big dreams, is required to write down her ideas for a painting. The paint and canvas are almost prohibitively expensive, the painter seems to have no option but to write down her ideas in the hopes that someone might “allow” her piece to come to life on canvas (or screen). Her written idea for this virtual painting will be subject to the editorial whims of the person who mixes the paint and manufactures both the brush and canvas – but most daunting – shopkeepers all over the world who broker not only paintings, but also sell bubble gum and “sundries” will decide the fate of her idea. Their consensus will be the ultimate “decider” about whether or not her painting will “sell” and is therefore the arbiter of life or death for her painting. That painting may never find it’s way onto any canvas (or screen) because the purveyors of bubble gum and sundries and paintings have decided that this aborted painting would have never “sold.”

Sounds like quite a personal and professional challenge, doesn’t it? With odds like that, – if I can believe in fairy tales and happy endings, and in the power of play. If I can believe in cherishing my innocence and the innocence of others, and in believing – maybe you can too?