How we find perspective in our own smallness. Creative response to trauma. Taking space, letting yourself off the hook, making minute by minute.
They say that pain and suffering generate beautiful work, but to create anything, what’s truly necessary is time and space. Somehow making room from the inside when everything feels crushing from the outside.
I don’t know if you’ve ever had to support a family member with mental health issues, but it’s all-consuming. Even with multiple burden-sharers—the weight of it spills over from day’s raw consciousness into night’s ragged one.
Things have been hard. I want to run away, do nothing, sever ties, disappear.
In the fuzz of heartache, fatigue, and fury, the one thing I’ve been trying to do is zoom out: this is just a life. We are little, limited, brief.
Recognizing my smallness makes me feel better, and in a weird way lets me off the hook. I’ve been surprised, too, by the resilience of the creative response: as depleted as I am, I still feel the pull. I still want to make—though right now, without destination or obligation. I crave contrast, thoughtlessness, play.
As if to answer the call for inspiration, the second ever Animation Speakeasy took place last week in Park Slope, and I impressed myself by making the hour-long commute down from Harlem on a weeknight. (It was worth it.)
The Speakeasy is a no-cover “screening and discussion series for animation lovers in NYC.” A bunch of lovely folks come, drink, smile at each other, hang. Guests introduce films they find inspiring, we all watch them together, discuss them afterward. There are, endearingly, both tamales and oysters for snacks.
Here’s Rubicon by the late Gil Alkabetz, which kicked off this evening:
I’m familiar with the joys and rewards of highly constrained exercises but he apparently pushed them to hilarious limits; his 1 frame “films” made me laugh the hardest. (Plenty of his 1 second films are online but sadly, I couldn’t find much about the 1 frame ones.)
Watching his work made me meditate on the capacity and irreverence of the hyper-short format. And how well-suited minimalism can be, for turbulence.
Anyway. I’ll leave you with one of my own hyper-short films—recently-inked and only 20 frames long.
This one is called “Disappear,” and it’s my way of making room.
Until next time.