Monday, January 18, 2010

Procrastination, productivity, and Python (sort of)

   Hello everyone!  
   I hope your week is starting off peacefully and productively~although the two concepts seem mutually exclusive.

   At least in my life they seem to be.  I prefer peaceful for a time, yet it is when I exist in a swirl of chaos that I am my most productive.  If I am working on a production, three projects at work, and trying to coordinate my schedule with friends and family, that is inevitably when I will produce some of my best writing.  This is no doubt the power of the adrenaline that surges through my veins pushing me toward the deadlines, denying me the opportunity to even consider not meeting them.

   Yes, I am a procrastinator, in the purest sense.  It is not laziness that motivates me to push things to the very last minute, but the subconscious awareness that often my best work comes from that adrenaline rush.  As absurd as it sounds, that cerebral panic to finish in time, seems to make my brain edit, focus my attention, sharpen my words.  

   I do not advocate procrastination for others.  Goodness knows I often wish I could get things done immediately and just sit back and observe chaos from afar, sipping lemonade, "tsking" at others as they scramble.  The moment I attempt to do it, I forget things.  I leave things out.  I make mistakes.  

   Once a year, I create an ornament for a social gathering I attend.  I brainstorm and collect pieces to use for the ornament, and draw designs, and line stuff up.     Invariably, I am burning my fingers with the glue gun an hour before I am supposed to walk into the party, ornament in hand.  When I have made the ornament in advance, it turns out drab and I end up redoing it the morning of the party.  If the glue isn't quite set, and the ink isn't quite dry, it's a winner...

   Enough about procrastination.  On to genius.

   This weekend, I saw "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus", Terry Gilliam's newest film.  For those who may not recognize the name, he was a member of the Monty Python troupe.  

   What might our world be like if we had never been touched by the humor and genius of these performers?  

   Luckily, we don't have to wonder.  Monty Python and the Holy Grail, The Life of Brian, Time Bandits, Brazil, The Meaning of Life, and The Brothers Grimm are all examples of the brilliance that Python spawned.

   Remember the Seven Faces of Dr. Lao?  How about Something Wicked This Way Comes? Now add a dash of Dante, and sprinkle with special effects and a stellar cast (Christopher Plummer, Tom Waits, and Heath Ledger, Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell).

   ...I know!

   Mortality, faith, dreams fulfilled, and wishes wasted are all brought to life in this dark, magical tale.  Though there are truly funny moments, this one is more a drama.  Faustian in its concepts, Imaginarium challenges us to look at the choices we make, and at how we perceive happiness.   Gilliam is a master storyteller, and uses that gift to once again focus on how important stories are to our humanity.   

   Have you guessed that I truly enjoyed it? 

   I deliberately waited a couple of days to let its magic soak in before I commented on the film.  Dark comedy, poignantly philosophical, and psychodelic parody all packaged in one large decoupage box~a truly decadent treat.  Like so much of Gilliam's work, wonderful crumbs of the story linger in the viewer's imagination, long after the ride home, tempting us to ask, "Please, sir, may I have some more?"