“All things are beautiful if you have got them in the right order.”
Stick to your deepest concerns. Don’t try to do everything. Debussy found his style by using only those notes that he liked. What are you obsessed by? What haunts your private hours? What do you discover when you go through your own mirror? Tell us, nay, show us! What is going on in the chambers of your Hotel des Folies-Dramatique?
Do what you are most afraid of doing. (Look what Brakhage did. He always feared death intensely; it has been a constant threatening imminence for him. So with the courage that has always made him a trail-blazer, he took his camera tightly in hand and went into the city morgue in Pittsburgh and looked closely and filmed unforgettably the forms of death as they had never been seen before: The Act of Seeing With One’s Own Eyes. )
Don’t think about success, no matter how famous you want to be. Success is out of your hands. That is what other people do with your work.
Don’t make anything with the desire to impress anybody. You are more apt to depress them. Remember the caution of Castaneda’s Don Juan: “Does this path have heart?”
Honor your dreams. The gods visit you in your dreams. C.G. Jung carved over his front door: “The gods are always present, even if uninvited.”
Don’t worry about being original. A new technique, a new gimmick, is not automatically a new vision. Originality has nothing to do with novelty. The word comes from origin. Thus your original nature is in your roots. As the Zen koan goes: What was original in your nature before you were conceived?”
Keep true to your own nature and you will be original enough. Trust your feelings, intuitions, assumptions, attitudes, and follies. Go deep.
If you want to be avant-garde, never do what the avant-garde is doing. By the time everybody knows what’s new, it’s already old. The true scout of the vanguard is already far out of town, exploring new wilderness. Michaelangelo: “He who follows will never advance.”
The task of the avant-garde is to deal with what nobody else is attending to; to reach the place where you no longer lean on any object, any reference. Or, as with Krishmurti, “the stairway without any railing.” Then you might reach the sphere of innate light, the Mother Light, the light of which all other lights are the children.
When you have made your own room, room will have to be made for you.
Follow your own Weird. This doesn’t mean that all you have to do is turn on the camera and express yourself. Just as talking has nothing to do with creating, self-expression has nothing to do with art. “Anything goes” may be therapy but that is only prelude to the shaping of visions thus discovered. As in painting it is the frame that defines the image, gives shape, selection, point of view, and crystallizes essences.
Nothing is more stimulating to the imagination than working within limitations.
Baldinucci wrote of Bernini: ‘Preternaturally strong until his last illness, Bernini worked at his sculpture tirelessly, sometimes for seven hours at a time, and always with someone at hand to prevent him from falling off the scaffolding. He worked as if in a trance, and when an assistant urged him to stop and rest, the reply was: “Leave me alone. I am in love.”’
A film is never finished, it is only abandoned. But if we are wise we are not expecting perfection anyway, since nothing in life is perfect, art included.
“What thou lovest well remains, the rest is dross."
- Ezra Pound