Sadness - an emotional pain associated with, or characterized by, feelings of disadvantage, loss, despair, grief, helplessness, disappointment and sorrow.
I find that there is no emotion more fascinating than sadness.
It's true that sadness is a feeling of negativity. I bet that if any of us had the option, we would choose to forgo experiencing it. Sadness can be challenging, it can be painful, it can be tough. At times, sadness can be destructive and it can even - in the moment - make one feel that there is nothing ahead but despair.
However, there is another side to this emotion and that's what I find so interesting about it.
It seems that the older I get, the more I am drawn to things that express sadness. I can't get enough of sad songs and my favorite scenes in films are the ones that evoke a feeling of sadness. Is it strange that I get more out of Finding Nemo during the scene in which Marlin is left alone to care for his son after his wife dies than the scene in which Nemo is reunited with his father? Am I weird because I would much rather watch films like Annie Hall and (500) Days of Summer where the relationship between the main characters doesn't work out in the end rather than a film a where a perfect relationship is formed just before the credits roll?
Don't get me wrong. Sadness is not something that one should dwell on for long periods of time. That doesn't do any good. But I do believe that sadness is necessary. After all, it strengthens another emotion.
Think about your victories, your joys, and the moments of pure happiness that have been given to you. Would they be so wonderful if it had not been for hard times, struggles, or failures? Is it possible for someone to feel an immense joy without knowing what it's like to feel an immense sadness?
I don't think so.
This is exactly why I enjoy those films mentioned previously. The reunion between Nemo and his father, Marlin, would not be so joyful if it weren't for the sad scene at the beginning of the film. (500) Days of Summer would not feel so hopeful if the main characters' relationship had worked out perfectly in the end.
I've felt my share of sadness over the course of my life. There's been loss, despair, grief, and disappointment. I'm sure you have experienced those things as well. We all have. I would never describe it as being fun. However, when I do look back on those moments, I am thankful for them. I guess you could say that I am happy to have felt so sad.
I can't speak for anyone other than myself, but in the times when I experience sadness, two things always remain true:
I've always learned something and it has always had a purpose.
I remember when I was about 12 years old, I found myself at my local Borders book store browsing the CDs (It's funny how old fashioned that sentence sounds). I remember looking through the endless rows of plastic cases in the soundtrack section admiring the variety of film music. It seemed that for every movie that existed there was also an album that went with it. Some CDs were solely film scores, but others contained songs that were not found in the films. These albums were subtitled "Music From and Inspired by the Motion Picture".
I loved that concept of inspiration.
The idea of an artist being inspired by another piece of art in a completely different medium is such a wonderful notion. For my second album, I've done something similar, albeit completely abstract, but similar nonetheless.
The title of the album is "Music Inspired by the Motion Picture". However, there is no literal motion picture that inspired this music. Instead, the "motion picture" is life. Each track on the album has been inspired by the things I have been blessed to be given over the last year or so. Every piece represents something different whether that be a place, an event, or a person.
Here's the album art originally painted by the talented Gabby Millett:
The track listing is as follows:
1. We Woke Up Early to Watch the Sunrise
3. The Way Things Go
7. I Am Here and so Are You
8. Music Inspired by the Motion Picture
The album will be available to listen to and download for free at www.projectatlantic.bandcamp.com on September 27th.
Thanks for listening.
I had an interesting conversation with a friend last week. She said she wanted to thank me.
A few weeks prior, I had asked her the question, "What do you like to do?" and it got her thinking.
Her thanks got me thinking.
It made me think about the things we love, the things that inspire us, and the things we like to do. It made me think about why all of that is so important.
For the longest time, I never wanted to share my interests with others. Even to this day I struggle with doing so. I've always felt that the things I like are too esoteric, too weird, and too "out there" for anyone else to understand them and why they are so special to me. Even now as I sit here writing this post, I'm listening to "Kaze Wo Atsumete", a Japanese pop song from the 70s. Ever hear of it? I didn't think so.
Even the things I like to create are mostly met with reactions of confusion rather than joy or excitement. Most don't get why I would create a piece of music that "has no words" or make a short film that "looks old". I've even been asked why I choose to take photos of nature and landscapes rather than people.
If they only knew.
But then there are the times - the very rare times - when someone understands.
I had been taking film classes for about a year in school before I had the opportunity to make something that was really personal. Something weird, something different. The assignment was to do anything we wanted and I knew exactly what I was going to do.
I presented a rough cut to my professor and I wasn't sure how she was going to react. Would she find it pretentious and atypical or intelligent and emotional? I was a bit apprehensive. My short film was far from the usual comedy or horror short that most students made. I think it was also the only one devoid of any profanity.
This is what I showed her:
She watched it and then called me an "artist". She knew what I was going for. I was evoking the feeling of memory.
She instantly knew a lot about who I was as well.
That moment pushed me to continue to be creative. After all, being creative is how I was made to be. It's a part of who I am.
One should not be ashamed of the gifts and passions they have been given nor should should they allow others to discourage them. There is no shame in being a creative individual. There is only shame in keeping creativity to one's self.
I am still trying to share the things I like, especially the things I create, with others. It can still be discouraging at times. Most can't get past the fact that the music I make is instrumental or that my photos are "just pictures of mountains and trees". But for every five or six people that don't "get it" there is one who does.
Someone told me that one of the pieces I wrote should be played at their daughter's wedding.
Small moments like that are incredibly encouraging.
Making music, shooting photos, putting together films, it's a part of who I was made to be. And because of the art I've created there have been others - although very few - who have been either moved or inspired.
The friend who thanked me last week decided that something she likes is books. I think that's wonderful.
Her inspiration and thanks then inspired me to write this post.
So with all that being said....
What do you like to do?
For some reason, photography is something that I have neglected over the past few months. I haven't added anything to the gallery in quite some time. So today, I want to share a couple of things.
First, I want to share some photos from Iceland. Second, I want to tell you the stories behind each one of them.
These 3 images don't do the environments justice. But then again, I don't think anything truly can.
One of the biggest reasons I wanted to visit Iceland was because of the waterfalls. Just look at that thing!
This is Gullfoss, one of the largest waterfalls in the country. This was the very first landscape that I visited during my trip through the Icelandic countryside. I knew what I was going to see when I set out on that first day through the country but I wasn't prepared for the sheer vastness of this scene.
I arrived at the area the falls were located at and although I couldn't see them yet, I could definitely hear them. I left the parking lot and followed a crowd of other tourists who were just as eager to see the falls as I was. There were people from all over the world there. I heard European languages, Asian languages, and everything else in between. I think I was the only American there. Before even seeing the falls, I was moved. People from all over the world gathered in this place for the same reason.
We were all there to witness a beautiful creation.
As I approached the falls, the sound grew louder and louder and the voices I heard around me were slowly drowned out by the sound of rushing water. Eventually, I heard nothing but the sound of Gullfoss.
And then I saw it.
I immediately took out my camera and captured the photo you see above.
I had officially arrived in Iceland.
This was my favorite place in the entire country.
I don't know where this was exactly or if there is a name for it. All I know is that the moment I laid my eyes on this scene, I knew that it was one of the most beautiful things that I have ever witnessed. Honestly, I was in disbelief and this photo cannot communicate just how moving it was to be in this environment.
To the left, just out of frame of this photo, was a small church. I was supposed to stay with the group I was with and tour the building. I didn't. Instead, I spent a good thirty minutes staring at this landscape.
This was a place that I thought had only existed within my own dreams. It was an endless green earth below an infinite blue sky. I just could not believe that there actually existed a place on this planet that was as beautiful as the places I had dreamed up within my own mind.
I didn't want to leave.
My final day in the country began with a problem. I was supposed to be going out on a boat to tour Faxa Bay. That didn't happen. The winds were too strong and my boat ride was cancelled. So instead, I decided to spend one last day exploring Reykjavik. I'm glad I did.
This was the final photo I took in Iceland.
On a hill, in the middle of the city, is a church known as Hallgrimskirkja. It's the tallest building in the country and I managed to find some time on my last day there to journey to the top. I bought a ticket, waited in line for a few minutes, and was then crammed with 6 others in a small elevator. The ride may not have been exciting, but the eventual view at the top sure was.
There were four different spots to look out upon: north, south, east, and west. I can't recall in which direction I looked first, but I remember that I wasn't impressed by the view. The next spot was a little better. The third even better. And then I came to the final lookout spot.
That is where I took this photo.
I began to realize that my journey was ending. I had seen all that there had to be seen in Reykjavik and I had no more plans to venture out into the countryside. The trip I had longed to go on for 8 years had come and gone.
As I gazed out upon Reykjavik, my dream destination, I couldn't have been happier.
The dream had been dreamt.
Summer is over. Can You believe it? A few short months ago I longed for 90 degree temperatures and lengthy hours of daylight. Now I find myself longing for the complete opposite. I can't wait to wear a hoodie, drink a hot cup of tea, watch the leaves change color, and see the sun go down at 5 PM.
Autumn is possibly my most favorite season of all and there is a specific reason why.
From 2011 until 2013, I lived in southern Florida. They don't exactly have seasons there. I would describe them more as hot months and even hotter months. So for two years, I didn't get to experience that transition between seasons. I didn't get to see the leaves change from green to their vibrant orange, brown, and yellow colors. I didn't get to experience the chilly cool down during the late months of the year. I also didn't experience nature waking back up again in March and April. I didn't see a single flower bloom nor a tree's leaves return to its branches.
I moved back up north in the middle of 2013 during the summer. A few months later, I got to experience the transition between Summer and Autumn for the first time since 2010 and boy, was it incredible.
I still remember how gorgeous the leaves on the trees looked. I couldn't believe that I had never noticed such brilliant colors before. I remember the excitement I felt when I saw the ground covered in a light frost one morning in October and the joy I felt being able to wear a hoodie one evening in late September.
Maybe I'm just weird. In fact, I know I am. But it's been three years since I returned from Florida and I still feel the same way about the seasons changing.
I absolutely love it.
This fall, I'm going to try to update the site on a regular basis. There will be a new post every Friday. There's going to be plenty of new music on the way (a second album and songs with lyrics!), more film projects, and I'm even going to try to get back into the swing of things with photography. It's been a while since I've photographed really anything so I am looking forward to creating some new images.
And while I press on with my creative plans, I hope that you too are finding the time to be creative with whatever your passion may be. The year is far from over. You could compose a song, take a photo, shoot a video, paint a picture, or write something. Just do your best!
There's something really special about seasons and there is something even more special about the transition between them. It's a reassurance. Things change, but it's not necessarily a bad thing. The leaves change, the temperature changes, and the weather changes. If the leaves are green, multicolored, or not there at all, it's beautiful. If the temperature is hot, cool, or cold, it's beautiful. If it's dry, raining, or snowing, it's beautiful. There's beauty in every season.
You just have to look for it.