Living vs Being Alive

“I have to die. If it is now, well then I die now; if later, then now I will take my lunch, since the hour for lunch has arrived – and dying I will tend to later.”

-Epictetus

I want to understand why people do things. I think that’s why I was drawn to the arts. Through film or writing, I can explore the thoughts of people that I have never met that live on another continent and sometimes they aren’t even real.

I think the central conflict that every person faces is the fact that one day we will die and there is nothing we can do to stop it.  We spend life trying to cope with that reality in different ways. Death stands in the corner of our eye each passing second and we either ignore it or accept it.

Up until relatively recently I was obsessed with death. Rather than standing in the corner of my eye, Death stood in the center blocking the view of everything else.  I spent every moment of the day terrified, and every dream was a nightmare. There were so many things I wanted to do before I died.

It occurred to me, after much thought and study, that I had to live. If you spend each second ruminating on death, then you are already dead.

I have found that the most courageous thing you can do as a human being is to live, not simply being alive. You need to experience everything you can. The world is as beautiful as it is ugly. To live you need to seek out new adventures.

A fun exercise is to take something familiar and create something new out of it. There are endless possibilities and you should try to explore as many as you can.

If you were to die right now, would you be satisfied with what you would leave behind?

Hi guys!  I was featured in Feedspot’s Top 100 Writing Blogs. I’m super excited to be included on a list with so many awesome bloggers!

Check it out: http://blog.feedspot.com/top-100-writing-blogs/

My First Screenplay

Hi guys! I’ve been dealing with a pretty rough migraine this week so I couldn’t really write anything too extensive this week.

However, I did find the first screenplay I ever wrote.

An Eye For An Eye is a Sin City-esque revenge film I wrote sometime in 2014 while I was in community college. It is approximately 16 pages and hopefully it isn’t too horrible to read.

An eye for an eye-page-001An eye for an eye-page-002An eye for an eye-page-003An eye for an eye-page-004An eye for an eye-page-005An eye for an eye-page-006An eye for an eye-page-007An eye for an eye-page-008An eye for an eye-page-009An eye for an eye-page-010An eye for an eye-page-011An eye for an eye-page-012An eye for an eye-page-013An eye for an eye-page-014An eye for an eye-page-015An eye for an eye-page-016

The Night of Chopin

“Every transformation demands as its precondition “the ending of a world”-the collapse of an old philosophy of life.”

-Carl Jung

One night this week, I was lying in bed listening to something by Chopin.  I had heard the song before, but for whatever reason it resonated with that night. My shoulders relaxed and I could breathe deeply. I felt at peace.

It was a feeling I had never consciously experienced before.  I have been scurrying after one imaginary threat after another since I can remember. I understand the absurdity of reading a post about someone experiencing the baseline of average human behavior, but it marked a major turning point for me.

I have really struggled with various anxiety problems for awhile now with seemingly no end in sight, but now there is a clear path out. The best part of this whole experience has been that nothing external has changed. There have been no new medications, no change of locale, or anything like that. It an entirely internal battle.

I decided to start writing about my experience because I want to be definitive proof that you can get better. At my worst, I would always see other people with similar problems outrunning me in all aspects of life and it seemed as though they were miraculously healed one day.

I would like to document my recovery because you should not be ashamed of helping yourself. We all have problems that we need to overcome. The only way to find no problems within yourself is not to look.

“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.”

-Marcus Aurelius

Painting with a Lens

“You could not step twice into the same river.”

-Heraclitus

I’ve always been drawn to abstract and surreal visual art.

clocks
The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali

The distorted images seem more real than the actual objects they represent. I’ve always wanted to created something like that, but working with a camera I wasn’t sure how to pull it off.

Pier
Looking at Brunswick from Jekyll Island, GA.

Last year I was on Jekyll Island playing around with my Nikon at the pier and my father showed me a trick using long exposure. He shifted the camera slightly to make a ripple effect. Not being much of a photographer, this was news to me and I started experimenting with it.

Moon
The moon.

This has been become the way I shoot photos now. I paint with the lens.

Light Tornado
Tornado of light made from Christmas lights in my living room.

I really enjoy using this technique because every photo is unique. It is like a Jackson Pollack painting, but using the environment around you. Every place you go suddenly becomes new again.

Wall of Light
Wall of light in my living room.

Yesterday I was took this photo:

Sunset Through the Trees
Sunset through the woods.

With a few camera shakes it became this:

img_2790

The best thing about art is once something becomes stale you can change it. It is never boring because it is never the same.

Trees
Trees.

“The Analyst” – A Short Story

NOTE: I tried getting this story published in a few journals, but it was declined. This is probably because of one line in particular. However, I am completely open to the idea that it was simply terrible. I decided to share this story with you anyway, because I am fond of it and I thought you all might enjoy it.

This is not an overtly political tale because I do not believe the themes explored in this work are political. I view them as issues of philosophy rather than issues of government.

The Analyst

by Ethan J. Hatchett

Rain fell on his black coat, each drop numbing his shoulders further. He approached the door of the hulking, concrete fortress that was his workplace. He swiped his identification card through the reader and the door creaked open. “Morning, Analyst,” the nurse greeted him dryly. The Analyst nodded in passive acknowledgement and continued his march forward. He removed his coat and hung it up on the the rusty hook in his office. He shook his computer awake from its slumber and the monitor lit up at a creeping pace. He studied the file of James Thomas, the patient he would be seeing this morning. Thomas had been diagnosed with an Antisocial Personality Disorder and has been experiencing Manic Depressive episodes. The Analyst had not seen this patient, Thomas was transferred from  another facility last week, but he already had a sense of the issue. Thomas was raised in a rural area, far from the reach of the Community and was probably indoctrinated by that uneducated, Neo-Reliant philosophy.  The Analyst did not believe in insanity. Everything had a logical explanation that could be deduced with well phrased questions or the simple implementation of the Scientific Method.

The Analyst arrived in the plexiglass chamber where they held therapeutic sessions. On the other side of the glass was James Thomas. Nineteen at most, Thomas was barely a man. He had short hair, clean shaven, and his clothes were awash with bright,  garish colors. Thomas was a stereotypical Neo-Reliant in almost every way, the only thing that was distinct was his young age. That movement tended to appeal to old men who had nothing to lose and were, in essence, dead already. They grow up before the Restoration and had faint memories of a world gone.

The two men sat in silence for sometime. The Analyst had learned over the years to put the patient off balance.  The Analyst took meaningless notes and every so often glanced sternly at Thomas. Almost half an hour elapsed before Thomas finally spoke. “Can I go now?” The Analyst looked up from his notes.

“Why would you want to do that, James? Everything is provided for you. No one has hurt you.” Thomas rolled his eyes. “Why are you so disrespectful, James? You went to school, correct?” Thomas nodded. “Well, then you knows as well as I, that respect is the foundation of human interaction.”

“Is that why you people have no doors? Respect?” Thomas chuckled.

“Do you not value transparency, James?” Thomas leaned closer to the glass.

“I prefer to shit alone.” The Analyst smiled. He closed his eyes,  took a deep breath, and recentered himself.

“Why haven’t you been taking your medication, James?” Thomas had no answer. “You need to take your medicine in order to feel better,” The Analyst continued in his calm tone.

“No,” Thomas replied curtly. The Analyst was taken by surprise.

“No?”

“I refuse.” The Analyst leaned back in his chair.

“I’m afraid you do not have a choice. We are doctors, our authority supersedes yours in this matter. You are a danger to yourself and others.”

“How am I dangerous?” Thomas asked in a mocking tone.  The Analyst was losing his patience.

“Do you remember July 5th, Mr. Thomas?”

“This again? I’ve explained this a hundred times.” The Analyst had enough.

“Do you really think that anyone would believe that an officer of community assaulted you and withheld food from you?” The Analyst stood up. “Why did you kill him? He had a family. Have you no empathy for your fellow man?” Thomas stood up and they met eye to eye.

The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” The Analyst stared in Thomas’ eyes. They were two brown balls of fiery emotion. There was no logic, no rational thought. He was hopeless.

“Where are you taking me?” Thomas asked, half curious, half scared. The Analyst did not answer. He held Thomas’ wrist and walked as fast as he could without bursting into a sprint. “I’m sorry.” The Analyst kept moving, barely acknowledging his admission of guilt.

“It’s too late for that now.”

The Analyst waited in the brightly lit room for some time. It was nearing midnight, but he was still restless. The metal door in front of the room swung open and the Physician approached him. “Congratulations. Another successful conversion, thanks to the Scientific Method.” The Analyst smirked.

“The praise belongs to you and yours,” The Analyst replied with anticipation. “May I see him?”

The two men entered the dimly lit ward. The Physician gestured towards a figure hunched on a bed. The Analyst rushed towards him. Thomas was bald with freshly made scars running down his skull, his eyes searching blankly for something. “James,” The Analyst began, “do want to take your medication?” Thomas nodded silently.

10 of My Favorite Movie Scenes

When executed properly, scenes tell their own individual stories. When woven together those stories become the narrative of the film. Sometimes some of the scenes stick with you longer than others.

Here are 10 of my favorite scenes from across cinema in no particular order.

10.  Under the Skin- Victim #2

When I first saw this scene it terrified me. The more I have watched it and thought about it, the scene terrifies me more. I have no idea what is happening and the mystery still haunts me to this day.

9.  Reservoir Dogs- Mexican Standoff 

For reasons I don’t quite understand, this scene is the probably the reason that I pursue filmmaking. It is perfectly executed and very effective.

8. Paths of Glory- Charging out of the Trenches

In the this scene, I feel present in the moment. I feel the thump of artillery in my chest. I feel tense and I admire Kirk Douglas’ character for the raw courage he is showing. Filmmaking at its finest.

7. Anomalisa- Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

This is a very simple, but effective scene. It is just two shots that convey so much emotion. I really empathized with these two tiny puppets.

6. Ex Machina- Jackson Pollack 

Oscar Isaac steals the show.

5. Mindhunter- Time Keeps on Slippin’ 

Easily the best montage I have ever seen.

4. A Ghost Story- I Feel Overwhelmed

I absolutely adore this film and this scene is an example of what you can do with a just a little intimate moment.

3. Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead-  It’s Not Fair!

This scene hits me hard. Perhaps, it is because of how Hoffman died, but it feels so raw and genuine.

2. 13 Assassins- Duel

Perfectly executed and brilliantly composed.

1.  Swiss Army Man- Life 

This scene is as comical as it is profound.

The Snow Dream

“Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”

-Carl Jung

I would like to preface this story by stating that I do not necessarily believe that dreams are anything mystical. In my experience, dreams are manifestations of the subconscious.

This is a clip of one of the lectures that introduced me to this kind of thinking:

I fell asleep in the middle of the afternoon yesterday waiting to go to the store. My car is in disrepair at the moment so I have been stuck at the house and I have been restless.

My relationship with sleep has been rocky since I was very young. I am often awake late into the night, as I am tonight. The thought of going of to sleep fills me with dread because I know I have to wake up at a designated time each morning, while I can sleep indefinitely during the day. I know this is silly, but on with the story.

I put a song on loop, shut my eyes, and slowly drifted to sleep.

I only remember one “scene’ from my dream because it filled me with an overwhelming sense of peace that caught me off guard. My dreams are often frantic and alarming because of my anxious temperament.

I was standing on the back porch of my house, looking into the woods. The ground was covered in the patchy snow that we occasionally get in Georgia. There were white rabbits with broken, black patches hopping after leucistic (partially albino) doves that were flying. I turned my head to the railing of the porch and perched on a branch were all manner of leucistic birds (Indigo Buntings, Zebra Finches, House Finches). It was stunningly beautiful.

The next fragment was what I can only describe as a pterodactyls with a semi-mammalian heads, swooped down and starting devouring the birds.  I was awake the second after that fragment ended.

I kept thinking about the dream for the last few hours and I began researching it.

Snow, as an archetypal dream, can mean healing.

Dinosaurs or reptilian creatures, can mean a conflict with your logic and instinct.

Rabbits can represent a need to act intuitively, and not over-analyze a situation.

Birds can symbolize tranquility and balance.

The forest can represent the unknown.

Using these archetypes or for whatever reason, I deduced that I need to take action to enter the unknown. So, I applied for a job in a new place, then the thoughts subsided and I relaxed.

This is the second time I explored a dream to solve a problem and they both have ended positively. It is strange to the least. I thought I would share this story because it applies to more areas than just sleep.

As an artist AND a neurotic person, there are probably thousands of unfinished ideas and probably more that were dismissed before they were even completely thought through. When I am exploring my dreams and acting on them, I am placing faith in my intuition, which terrifies me. However, in order to write, make films, or do anything creative, I have to use my intuition as well as my analytical abilities. It is a leap of faith that rest solely on myself, the person I trust the least.

Perhaps the pterodactyls represent that aspect of my psyche.