Tag Archives: Arts

Gone Fishin’: How to Catch Big Ideas in Deep Water

English: David Lynch, photographed on 10 Augus...
David Lynch, doing his signature spirit finger motion when discussing ideas floating around,photographed on 10 August 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I like quotes. I have spent many hours copying and pasting quotes from artists I admire into my Evernote app for further handheld inspiration. Recently I’ve been diving head first into the work of filmmaker David Lynch. I seem to find I have some things in common with Lynch, at least I perceive so. Specifically, I hold a great deal of admiration for his imagination and his idea generating process. In many interviews, Lynch refers to ideas as fish and his extended conscious-mind as a pond where these idea-fish are swimming around, waiting to be caught. Lynch says:

“Ideas are like fish. If you want to catch little fish, you can stay in the shallow water. But if you want to catch the big fish, you’ve got to go deeper. Down deep, the fish are more powerful and more pure. They’re huge and abstract. And they’re very beautiful.”

 

I’m not embarrassed at all to say that quotes like this send me gushing like a teenage girl at a rock concert, (or a Justin Bieber/Taylor Swift festival. Is that what teen girls gush over now?)

Lynch’s rationale that we all have great ideas swimming around in our subconscious, waiting to be found and explored, is enlightening and liberating. He admits to not knowing the best way or even if there is a way of locating these ideas and bringing them to the surface. They just kind of come, sometimes when you least expect it, and you have to be ready for them. A forgotten idea can drive an artist mad, so keep your pen and paper (or trusty Evernote app) handy.

This journey into the “deep water” of one’s soul is not necessarily a Lynch original. I can recall a quote from F. Scott Fitzgerald, “All good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath.” I love that quote. Writers must pain themselves and even torture their souls in order to squeeze the pulpy prose from their juicy brains. Good writing is about feeling something on a very deep level and having the courage to push forward, through the emotion and onto the page.

Even before reading this Fitzgerald quote, my first encounter with the term “deep water” came in a creative writing class where I met my current hero and greatest teacher, poet Christopher Bursk. Chris, whom would be agitated to be referred to by his last name in this post or in the classroom, spoke regularly about the importance of paddling out into deep water in order to write beautifully. Our assignments were often exercises in swimming in deep water; write a poem about something you regret, write about a person you would benefit from being dead, or the self-indulging, soul scrutinizing personal “Song of Myself” that we’d have to write and share in front of the class.

The greatest advice from Chris on writing about deep water was a story he’d tell us about taking his son to swimming lessons. The swimming instructor said the best technique for swimming out of deep waters and to the shore was the dead man’s float; where you put your head under and trust the water to keep you afloat as you paddle forward.

This is of course true for writing. Much like Fitzgerald’s quote, sometimes you have to trust that the pain or longing of the deep water will keep you afloat and just start paddling, start putting the words on the page, and eventually you’ll make it ashore.

These quotes and this advice have helped me channel emotions into some of my best writing. It’s a constant struggle though but I’m content with battling every day. It’s a compulsion to want to strike out every day in hopes of getting that good idea, catching that big fish.

I was thinking of myself, Lynch’s quote, and came up with an analogy. If you’re ever uncertain of why you can’t come up with a good idea, look at the process as you would look at fishing. When you go out fishing, they don’t always bite. Fishing is all about patience. Staring at your rod or checking your hook constantly won’t make the fish come any quicker. Sometimes you just have to lie back and let your thoughts drift when all the sudden you see your line bob and you scurry to your pole, your pen and paper, and start reeling the fish in.

Some people are better at coming up with ideas than others, just like there are master fisherman in the world. In this regard, I think I’d say I’m a talented idea fisherman. I get ideas, sometimes several ideas, every day and I try to be a work horse in order to get them all into a project, down on paper. For the analogy’s sake, I’m good at getting fish to take the bait. But I will say that I have trouble catching the big fish. I’m young and still learning to explore myself and be honest with my emotions.

If I do manage to hook a big fish, a great idea, I often find I have trouble reeling it in and getting it onto the boat. Or worse, sometimes when I do get these big fish onto the boat, adapted into a story or script concept, my ship sinks before I land safely ashore. Sometimes my emotional state implodes unexpectedly and my ship, my safety, submerges with all the ideas and ambition onboard.

So what’s left when I hit the water, away from the safety of the vessel? Usually I panic and suck in a lot of water. But then I remember the wisdom of my heroes, I put my head under the current and start paddling towards land. And sometimes I’ll find I’ve carried one of those big fish along with me as I step onto the sand.

Advertisements

3 Tips to Avoid Looking Like an Annoying Photographer

 

If I’m honest with myself, I’m not much of a photographer. I’m one of those stereotypical girls (even though I’m a guy) who bought a nice DSLR camera and went picture happy with excitement. Then I noticed what great quality the camera has and mistook that for my photographical prowess and posted those photos like mad on Facebook. I’m proud of a few of those shots and think there’s some glimmer of a good hobby in there if I keep at it. But looking back there are some things that should be avoided to keep from looking like a mediocre beginner. As Scarlett Johansson said in Lost in Translation, “I guess every girl goes through a photography phase. You know, horses… taking dumb pictures of your feet.” Well said, Scar Jo. Marry me.

Please.

1) Don’t Use Bold Personal Logos on Photos

Photographers like to use big, loud self-trademarks on their shots to designate the rightful owner. There are reasons for this; once the photo is posted to the web it can be copy and pasted anywhere or reused at anyone’s leisure. So photographers like to know they’re signature is there for the world to know who captured the shot. Makes total sense. But when you’re putting gaudy logos that are too big or too bright (as I’ve done here) it becomes extremely distracting and dramatically takes away from the quality of your photo.

If you’re going to use a logo keep it very simple and tasteful. Make it blend into a corner of the picture where it won’t be noticed and take away from the beauty you’re trying to convey. After all, everyone hates commercials and ads ruining what they really came to see: the Art. For more help, check out this site’s guidelines.

2) Use Filters Conservatively or Not At All

Instagram is either the coolest, most useful app on your phone (if you’re a teen girl) or it’s an annoying route for people to take crappy pictures and slap a gaudy filter over it. Instagram is neat and all but let’s remember that real photographers don’t usually use cell phone cameras or apps to edit their pictures. So if you’re trying to look like you have a shred of integrity, avoid dumbing down your photos with filters.

As a photographer, you want to avoid looking like the dozens of Instagram photos of food and people’s feet that clog everyone’s Facebook and Twitter feeds daily.

3) Be Selective

If you have a photo shoot, you’ve got an idea, you’ve got a subject, and you’ve got the means of making pretty pictures. You’re going to take an abundance of photos on this shoot because sometimes your lighting isn’t just right, some photos were a little blurred, or the model made a weird face or something. At the end of the day you could potentially have hundreds of pictures. There’s a reason that you shouldn’t post all or even most of these photos to the internet for all to see and that’s because most of them are like ugly babies, they’re only lovable to their creator. Only post the cream of the crop. If you have a problem with designating between which one of your children you want to slaughter, than get a friend with an eye for photos to be a second opinion. Be very selective. You only want to show the photos that make you and your model look good.

“That’s a keeper.”

I’m guilty of violating 2 out of these 3 tips and this is one of them. My first photo shoot I posted just about every blurred photo, every angle multiple times, and every downright bad shot I had because I was so jazzed up to show all of my Facebook friends. The result was less than savory.

When venturing into the wonderful world of amateur photography, remember that you’re not only as good as the expensive camera you use. Keep your photos tasteful and professional and set yourself apart from the rest of the girls’ feet shots. Make your feet photos look awesome!