I'm in a bus... with some people... WE are in a bus... speeding away in a deserted desert. All seems smooth... until: Look out! Watch out! A FIRE blazing through ahead of us. The smoke is everywhere... the panic is everywhere... Turn around! Faster! Faster! The bus curves away... a big curve, a turn around... and we're good. All is good again. All is good now. The fire is behind us. We are once again driving in a deserted desert. And then? Then -- I wake up.
A dream. A dream that stores more drama in it than most of my days on earth.
Dreams do that - they show us a grander world; a deeper world; a gateway to our INNER world. I wake up, hold on to the stark image of the bus... the fire... the panic... the fear.... and I rush to find the meaning: I ask google for the meaning of my dream, I check my dream book, I ask my boyfriend.... but none of them has the answer for me. The fire can be a good omen, a bad one, it can be about passion, about anger, about creativity, about wisdom... the myths don't have a consensus here, and I start wondering: Well then, can the meaning be... whatever I THINK it could be? A sort of 'power to the dreamers'? If it is a message in a bottle from my self to, well, my self... than how can I find my inner life in a wikipedia page some nerd filled out? Or in a book? Or through someone else's inner life? I can't.
The dream means whatever it means TO ME.
And then I wonder: maybe this dream is to remind me that I, that WE, are always just inches away from the next burn, from the next destruction, from the next creative outpour, from the next transformation... and sure -- we can turn around and be safe, and stay in the same place we were.
Or... maybe next time I can walk THROUGH the fire. Through to the other side, whatever it would be. OUT of the deserted desert. Out to the great unknown.
After all -- there is no way out but through.
From reading Yoval Noah Harrari's book 'Sapiens; A Brief History Of Humankind', I learned that us humans have both the ability to work as individuals to achieve our goals, and also the ability to work together as a team and work towards a common goal. Of course, a book - and even a brilliant book like Harrari's - doesn't need to tell me that. Life, and my industry in particular, has already showed me that fact:
In the collaborative field of filmmaking, the goals of 'getting the shot', running a smooth set, nailing the performance, staying within a budget, setting up and breaking down, etc. are common goals and ideally we all strive to achieve them.
Being on set, for anyone NOT in the industry, is an experience of flow: time exists outside of time, adrenaline is pumping and hyper-focus is achieved. And when we turn around and notice other people in the crew or cast with the same focused-flowing-wired expression on their faces? We know they also are in flow, and together - we share a hive mind.
A set in a state of flow has the magic of collaboration and efficiency much like what I imagine bees would be like in their hive. On set, the individual gets somewhat lost in the dynamic of the collaboration and the determination to reach that common goal. But it's not a sad loss whatsoever... it is rather an intoxicating feeling to be part of a hive; a tribe; a team, and to honor each person as an individual piece in the puzzle of the creative process of bringing a story to life.
Today, this random thought has been circling in my head:
'If I was a fly on the wall of my own life, what would I think of it? What would I feel about it? Would I want to stick around for a bit and watch it evolve? Or would I get bored and look for the next wall to buzz over to?'
I don't remember where I heard this saying -- so forgive me for not crediting its creator -- but since the thought above hints on me wondering 'Am I interesting?' -- It seems spot on to remind myself:
Instead of trying to be interesting -- GET INTERESTED.
Curiosity, curiosity AND curiosity are my answers for, well, everything these days...
I am a poem.
A stark reminder of our time;
A note found by a teacher;
A message in a bottle.
You can bruise me but I won't hurt,
Because I am made of air, you see.
I shatter in pieces when I am touched,
Until you'll see me again --
When the next pandemic hits --
When that heart breaks --
Or the bombs drop --
On those innocent bystanders --
On those mothers and children.
War and other human hobbies:
The stark reminder of our time,
Of ANY time.
I am a poem:
I can be caged up,
Or swallowed whole,
I can drown in a puddle,
Get crumpled and torn,
I can be broken,
again and again and again,
But none of the matters,
Because I am a poem, you see.
I am a poem --
longing to be free.
I am a poem --
And you shall not name me
I am a poem --
A stark reminder of the knowledge tree.
And what are YOU, human?
What are you, the unnamed poet over there -- writing me?
I am sorry to say.... but I used to roll my eyes when I thought of you.
I considered you militant, uptight, anal, BORING... I thought of you as a negative personality trait, not one that I - a self-proclaimed imaginative creative - would ever want to have.
I was wrong, dear Discipline.
You are none of those things.
What you are to me now is a GIFT. A gift that keeps on giving.
I make friends with you more and more as the years go by.
I am excited when I am in your presence... when I feel you driving me to produce, to do, to achieve... to keep going despite all the fears and doubts.
Artists like me tend to credit inspiration, imagination, creativity and flow as our alleys to the intuitive creative process, and we often overlook an equally important component: YOU, dear discipline.
Without you - I don't finish my work.
Without you - I don't DO some work.
Without you - I don't get better.
Without you - I don't take the steps needs to share my work with the world.
And what is art without an audience? What is art if it isn't shared? It is a hobby.
YOU, my dear friend, you turned my art into finished work that then can be received by others.
Yes, I used to roll my eyes... but now? Now I am PROUD of you in my life.
I consider you a loyal, trusted, grounded alley within me, that has patiently waited for me to fully accept her. To fully realize the importance of her.
You are like a taste that keeps growing on me; a best friend I can't help but slowly fall in love with; a secret sauce in the meal of my life.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
My all time favorite book, is one that became a favorite of mine looooong ago: 'The Little Prince' by Antoine De Saint-Exupery. I love many bits of wisdom from this story, but this one has always resonated the most with me:
“And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
I think no matter how many times I'll read this quote - it feels new to me. I take for granted so much of what I can see, touch or feel, but there is another language of communication, a deeper one; the language of the heart. And I would add also the language of the gut; of the center. When I meditate I tap into it a bit, a tiny bit, and in moments of flow I can be immersed in it - but I only recognize it the moment after I am out of it and back in the 'identified self' aka the box my identity is stored in - the one that knows the boundary of my skin. My heart speaks a different language - one with no bounds, no limitations, and no shape. Yes, it may be unseen, but the heart is very much felt and stores in it great depths that I have yet to discover. Merci beaucoup, Monsieur Antoine De Saint-Exupery!
'The Little Prince'
Ever asked yourself - what box am I in that is just a tad too tight for me?
If you have 'identity issues' like I do - that question may occupy your mind and heart more so than it occupies others. I imagine some people live in a world where their boxes fit them perfectly and heck - they'd even defend their boxes to their deaths if they had to. Me? An immigrant in a country that is so polarized on the topic of immigration... who also doesn't look or sound like the common stereotype of an Israeli woman... that finds herself often too foreign to belong to her country of residence and too Americanized to belong to her country of origin.... sometimes seems to exist somewhere in between a couple of boxes. In the eyes of society, that is.
In my eyes? In my eyes I am exactly where I belong: nowhere and everywhere. In between worlds and of all worlds, wishing other pairs of eyes wouldn't desperately need to place me in a box of their choosing.
There are the boxes society infringes on us, and there are the boxes we put ourselves in.
Maybe from fear of outshining, or from fear of not shining enough, or the need to fit in and belong. So many of us think we are this 'one thing': Our career defines us. Or being parents does. Or the place we call home. Even the block we live in defines who we are.
But what happens if we break away from our idea of who we are?
If we step out of our boxes - be them our own making or society's making - and imagine ourselves anew. Maybe we'll find out we're not squares at all.
Maybe we're circles. Maybe we're triangles. Maybe we're ten feet tall!
Maybe we are shapeless and are too infinite to be defined by the bounds of any boxes. Just maybe.
Billie made her way through to the front of the bar. Giggling, she sat down her diamond studded purse and tapped on the bartender's shoulders. 'Makers and soda. Neat! See that grey haired lookin' Grandpa behind me? He's gonna pay for my drink. Watch.' The bartender tended to the confident bubbly figure in front of him -- in an instant. He was trained to be the fastest drink-shaker in all of New Orleans -- her drink was ready before the next Jazz musician even got to clear his throat.
'I like how you play with that fiddle, honey.' Billie tipped the bartender, and reminded him 'Grandpa got me, 'member?' And then she moved through the crowd like a gamer who had played this level over and over again a hundred times, and disappeared into the patio. The bartender signaled over to Grandpa but surprise, surprise: the man didn't rush to open his wallet. He was waiting for his wife to return from the restrooms and did not even chat with any golden haired vixen at any point of the night, let alone agreed to buy anyone a drink. Anyone but his wife of twenty years, that is.
She got me. The bartender shook his head in disbelief. She really got me, that one.
Billie appeared thirty minutes later like a fairy sparkling in a dark forest. 'Makers and soda. Neat please! See that chick by the door with the long braid? It's her treat!' But the bartender was no fool. Once? Maybe. But twice? Nah... He took a step back to get a better view of the door: there was indeed a woman with a braid there, and she was waving to him. 'I'm happy to make you a drink, but see... after the last one? I will need to be paid upfront.' The bartender made a 'I gotta do what I gotta do' type of a gesture, which made Billie flaunt her pouty lips like Lindsey Lohan in her Hey Day, but he was NOT going to be fooled twice no matter how much she'd pout. 'You're no fun. But 'kay. Take my purse! I think it should cover it.' Billie sat down the purse again on the bar. It thumped and nearly rattled the glass of bowl of pretzels. It was heavy, it seemed. 'Ma'am, no need for... a card or cash would do. It's twelve for this one, and the last one... forget about that, all right?' 'I don't have cash or card with me. Take it! I'll come back and we'll trade then, 'kay?' Billie flashed her trillion dollar smile. A smile sometimes stores more power than any words. Reluctantly, but curiously, the bartender followed along, and made the drink. 'Oooohh thank you for the extra bite in there.' Billie sipped and made her way to the door. The bartender watched as Billie conversed with the woman with the braid, making her laugh uncontrollably. Were they laughing at him? He wondered. He then took the purse into his hands. It was heavier than expected. Why do women always carry heavy items with them? He wondered.
An hour passed. And no Billie or a woman with a braid have come along to claim the bag. An hour passed and now it was close to closing. Soon the bartender will have to count the register and tips and close for the night. 'Damn, she was good. She got me that one. She got me good.' The bartender thought to himself. He reached for the bag and figured 'I might as well see what's in there, maybe there is an address I can mail this bag to.'
He opened the bag, and to his surprise - there was something in the bag: A GUN.
In timing straight out of a film noir, the door opened and there walked the grandpa from earlier and the woman with the braid. They came rushing in waving guns in their hands, demanding the bartender give them all the cash from the register. The bartender was fast with his hands, after all - he was the fastest drink-shaker in all of New Orleans - and he now had a gun of his own to tackle these robbers with. He swiftly got hold of the gun from Billie's purse, took a single shot up to the ceiling - a shot that will scare off any invader and notify the crew from the police station next door. Grandpa and the woman with the braid didn't see the gun coming. After all - they scouted the bar all night and a gun was not a part of their plan. Nor the fastest shaker in all of New Orleans. The freaked out and fled the bar.
They made it only as far as the entrance before the were arrested by the cops from the station next door.
The bartender put the gun back in Billie's star studded purse. Who knew that would be far better than any cash or card would. Who knew... Billie. Billie knew.
'Sometimes when angels stop by to protect ya, it may be in unexpected ways.' The bartender thought to himself. And Billie? Billie sent her wink from the heavens. She never did return for that purse. She never did pay for those two drinks. But she played her part like a pro.
In April 2020, while experiencing her first ever global pandemic, Tamar Pelzig pledged to write something every day, even if it's only a word, so she welcomed to the world a daily blog to keep her creative writing wheels rolling.
Header Art: Daniel Landerman