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  • Man is a genius when he is dreaming.

    Director Akira Kurosawa

    Inspiration can strike like lightening, and a whole story will arrive in raging flames, complete, begging to be written down immediately. There is hardly time to think. I just have to write fast and edit later.

    Inspiration can also smolder along like a slow tundra fire in my imagination, gathering heat until a tipping point is reached, and I know that it is time to see what the story wants to be. The flames and heat are there, but spread over a large, grassy field of thought, inviting deliberation and reflection.

    Then there are those moments of sudden inspiration, neither conflagration, nor slow burn, when a fragment of song, a glance from a stranger, a line in a poem, a taste, a sip, a scent of orange blossoms in the spring air, a news item so bizarre it stops rational thought cold, a moment in a movie, a memory from a time forgotten…when any of these catalysts simply presents itself quietly, modestly and asks me to tango with it, just a few minutes, please. Gracias!

    For Proust, this was the bite of the Madeleine, which captured his “involuntary” memory and would not let him go for thousands of pages.

    We writers can all pray for such moments!

    This morning, in listening to Gilbert Becaud’s song “Nathalie,” I became lost in the memory of one of my favorite movies, “And Now My Love,” and its haunting theme song, sung by Becault, “Et Mainenent.” ( This is one of those films that even when you know the brilliant plot, and the exquisite ending, bears watching several times, just for the sheer artistry of the storytelling, writing, acting and cinematography.

    And so, in spending a few delicious moments with M. Becault, and reliving moments from the film,, I found myself wondering what has happened to our great movie stories?

    What has happened to the kinds of films that the great French, Italian, Russian, Swedish, and Japanese directors used to make? What has happened to quality, the craft of cinema, and the ability to use film to touch and transform human hearts? Are we now forever consigned to the digital world of pixels and cartoon characters, who do little more than promote a marketing paradigm of mediocrity and trashy values? I will save my rant on all this for another day, but I found myself feeling a deep nostalgia, and a sense of loss.

    And yet, perhaps there is hope after all, as a new generation of independent filmmakers simply go out and shoot their stories from the heart, as they find them, stories worth telling, and use inexpensive means to create films which get to the essence of our global problems and human challenges. This is the democratization of information that I find heartening, and perhaps we will now see a true renaissance in films which will bring us together as a Global Tribe, committed to the well being and success of our species, and our fragile, spinning blue home.

    Kate McCallum, Founder of the Center for Conscious Creativity, writes in the IONS Newsletter:

    There is a very encouraging trend in the land of tinsel and stardom. Let us hope that it portends a new era in media and entertainment at a local, national, and global level. Our collective mission is to utilize these incredibly powerful tools and collectives as “weapons of mass instruction.” Media and art have the potential to assist in the transformation and the evolution of both the individual and society, and we as creators are eager to join the ranks of the many others dedicated to that mission.

    (Full article, with a listing of transformational media groups, at:

    (Photograph by AJN in "Burning Life," in the 3-D virtual world of Second Life)
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