Saturday, March 10, 2012

What I Learned from Hugo

Last night my family watched the award-winning film "Hugo." I've always loved the pioneering cinematic work of Georges Méliès, and I was delighted to discover it hidden under a mystery in Brian Selznick's book, which the film "Hugo" was based on. The film was beautifully done, and I loved the theme that the title character Hugo stated so well, that the world has no spare parts, we all have a place if only we can find it.

But I took a different lesson from the film this time. Don't value yourself based on your art, for you never know when it will get melted down and made into shoe heels.

In the story, a bitter Méliès had to watch the fickle public disown him. He eventually had to sell his movies to a plastic factory in order to buy a toy booth so he could make some kind of living. That was tragic! When I read it in the book it made me cry. I used to make films too, with my little super-8 camera, and I couldn't bear the thought of them being melted down and lost forever.

While I understand why Méliès became so bitter, he might have sold more toys if he hadn't been perpetually scowling behind that counter.

I don't ever want to get bitter. I want to find a more stable place to stand. I don't want every reaction to my writing, whether it be from an agent, an author I respect, or the kid next door, either throw me into euphoria or despair. Because I can't do my best work in either state. I have to approach my art from a position of confidence that comes from inside.

And then, maybe, I can find my place in the world.


Kathy said...

it's the eternal balancing act of mortality - and when we find the right balance, we walk with inner peace - but there are always winds of change coming along and blowing on us so that we are pretty constantly having to re-balance as we go... what an adventure life is!

Rebecca J. Carlson said...

Thanks, Mom! The key is to learn to find joy in the journey, wherever that journey takes us.