Local critters – Toronto

More images from my recent foray through the neighbourhood…including someone prepping for dinner.

Transience

The smallest of worlds can still be a pretty big place.

The smallest of worlds can still be a pretty big place.

I won’t live forever. There, I said it.

There was a time when I believed—or wanted to believe—that just because no one else had cracked immortality, it didn’t mean that I couldn’t. Now, I am pretty certain that a time will come when my tomorrow does not transition to today.

Strangely enough, that understanding doesn’t bother me like I thought it would.

Yes, there will be things I will not see, moments I will not experience, understanding I will not gain. But the truth is, this is also the case now, during my existence. I can only accomplish and experience so much in a day.

By the same token, I cannot live purely in the moment, as so many others like to crow. I need to aspire to something, to look forward, to not limit myself to now.

I write today with an eye to continuing to write tomorrow. I see friends whom I hope to see later.

What is different for me now, though, is that I do all of this for my own satisfaction rather than with an eye to leaving a legacy. Where I once feared that my life was meaningless if I was unremembered, I now live for me and care not about any grander meaning.

I am the chemistry of the universe, and I have chosen to do what I want with what I have while I have it. And when I cease, I will cease to think on it.

I can live with that.

Souls before sentience

As human beings, we tend to make a lot of noise about sentience. The challenge I find, at the deepest level, with this is that we seem to equate feeling with awareness in its broadest sense.

To me, feeling focuses inward, toward me, whereas awareness focuses outward, on what is out there. Thus, I’m more interested in soul. Not in the religious sense of who goes to heaven, but in the sense of unity with the greater universe.

One look into the eyes of animals tells you, humans are not the only ones with souls. What do you think?

Fall butterfly flurry

Looks like the butterflies have decided to take one more stab at Summer 2013 in Toronto, even if Autumn officially started this past weekend.

Naturally history – New York

A few more shots of my 2011 trip to New York City, this time from the American Museum of Natural History, where I shot the photo of the ammonite fossil in my earlier post.

White space

blank-paper

Earlier today, I read a blog post by my dear friend Marsha Mason, the latest in a series for Why The Face. In today’s post, she touched on the subject of use of white space in writing, whether a screenplay, query letter, whatever.

“The goal of white space,” she explains, “is to never be at the detriment of your story…but to force you to condense, to economize, to pack as much punch as you can into less.”

I agree with her conclusion, but question if the goal of white space isn’t so much bigger.

For the uninitiated, white space is literally the empty space between lines of text and/or images, the complete absence of content which appears white on the printed page or computer screen.

As I suggested in my response to Marsha’s post, I have worked for several years in careers such as magazine publishing, web design, advertising and now screenwriting, and in all that time, I have found that white space is easily the least understood and most underutilized aspect of creativity.

For whatever reason, people seem to believe that an absence of something is an absence of work. Marsha’s comment about the need to be concise and economical in your word choice partly puts the lie to this conjecture, but it doesn’t go far enough.

We live our lives like we fill our pages, with mostly useless things designed to ground us but which, in fact, anchor us and restrict our movement. It is a restriction that we accept voluntarily and without which many of us could not function, or at least fear we couldn’t.

At this moment, I have five browser windows open and yet am ignoring all but one, and only because that one is playing music. And at the same time that I write this post, my mind is on several other posts and some projects I am neglecting.

Nature abhors a vacuum. True. But think of the greater image.

More than 99.99999% of the known universe is actually NOTHING! Only the absence of ubiquitous light keeps it from being literally white space.

In screenwriting, white space is there to let your reader run free with his or her own interpretation of your work. Restrict their thoughts with clutter, and they resist. Prevent their thoughts with too much specificity, and they disengage.

Let your story breathe, as you yourself should. Your readers will be happier for it. And so will you be.

(Image is property of owner; I stole it.)

Ammonite

From the gemological collection of the American Museum of Natural History (New York).

From the gemological collection of the American Museum of Natural History (New York).

Iridescent jewel,

Multicoloured wheel,

What wonders did you see

In your aquatic home

A half billion years ago?

Vast schools of shelled minds,

Thousands of eyes

Scanning the waters for prey,

Thousands of arms

Reaching into the darkness

Seeking sustenance or mate.

Named for a sun god,

Did you play in the shoals

Or patrol the inky depths

Of the world yet young?

We remember you,

Museums commemorate you,

And yet you are

And ever shall be

A stranger to us.