History

Flowers from clay and metal

My great-grandmother had a younger brother who volunteered for the Iowa National Guard just after the Pancho Villa expedition into Mexico. After America became embroiled in World War I, he was sent to Europe to fight in the trenches. He was injured in July of 1918 and died from his injuries in France, where he is buried.

Since learning about him, I have been researching his life and experiences. He wrote many letters home which have been saved for posterity.

Recently I watched a film, They Shall Not Grow Old, by Peter Jackson of Lord of the Rings fame. It is an incredible movie. It is about the First World War, using film recorded more than a hundred years ago during the war. The soldiers come to life. It is amazing the technology and techniques used to make the documentary.

It inspires me to create similar projects of my own. I want to tell the story of great-great-uncle who died in France. I want the world to know.

In Flanders Fields

BY JOHN MCCRAE

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
    That mark our place; and in the sky
    The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
    Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
        In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
    The torch; be yours to hold it high.
    If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
        In Flanders fields.

Music

Some music for peeps

MUSIC+WRITING
I love this Simon and Garfunkel song. Music is often inspiring to me. The score to Alfred Hitchcock‘s film North by Northwest helped me write what was supposed to be a short story for a college writing class. It ended up on the path to being a novel. The composer, Bernard Herrmann, was a pioneering genius with quirky, eccentric musical tastes, much like the fantastic Ennio Morricone. That novel is one of my unfinished projects, which I should resurrect and complete. Wish me luck.

In The News

Art versus algorithms

In a new essay for Harper’s Magazine honoring Federico Fellini, Martin Scorsese argues that streaming services have “systematically devalued, sidelined, demeaned, and reduced” the art of cinema by turning films into “content.” He distinguishes between human curation that highlights particularly meaningful works of art and algorithms that “treat the viewer as a consumer and nothing else.” Scorsese pleads with fans of film to do all that they can “to share our love and our knowledge with as many people as possible.”