“September, a time of in-between,
a lazy month of nothing.”
-Red House Painters, from the song “Michigan”
BIG CHANGE IN LITTLE RUSSIA
I bought a light meter this week off of Craigslist. After spending the weekend in an eBay frenzy (regret, coupled with unsatiated hope), I found this photographer who was moving to China with his wife and selling his equipment. This was at his studio on the east side of Hollywood, a part of town that somehow mingles Thailand with Russia. The studio was the type of great apartment that can be found, on rare occasion, inside one of the city’s millions of sad, dank apartment complexes.
“Big change,” I said.
He shrugged. “It’s time.”
Of course it is. Afterall, this is September. A month that, up until five years ago, was marked by it’s sheer unimportance.
It’s a month of transition, isn’t it? We head back to school, back to work. The end of baseball, the start of football. The unveiling of many unfortunate television shows. The return to “important” films after a summer hiatus of explosions and sequels. The last fits of heat. The first scents of changing leaves.
If not for what happened on September 11th, 2001, this month would go unnoticed, dormant. Ushered in by Jerry Lewis and his timeless antics. Instead, we’re left to endure a string of “America Remembers” specials, salutes to the many brave and innocent whose lives were taken on that day. Not to say these don’t have a place (how, afterall, would we remember without the sweeping melodrama of the newsreel montage?). But every year at this time, you can feel the media gearing up for another assault. “‘Pet Goat’ Schoolkids Remember 9/11″ is the headline on Yahoo. You get the feeling not even the media wants to jump back into this. And who can blame them?
Hey, where’d I put my glasses? Have you seen my keys? Did terrorists ever bomb the World Trade Center? I don’t think it’s going to slip our minds. It’s not something we misplaced exactly. Rather, it has become an intrinsic part of our national lexicon, our heritage. It will be more than “remembered”; we’re still trying to figure what it’s done to us.
Are we more anxious? Fearful? Proud? Have these always been American traits, magnified by hysteria? We’re STILL responding to the attacks. We will be for decades.
So I’d like to posit this: can we have our month back? We’ll give Katie Couric the day. But the whole month? How long did it take after Pearl Harbor before we gave December back to the holidays? If anything, 9/11 is an extension of what September has forever been: a symbol of change. The Great Transition. A period of repose, where we can forgive our past for the firm grip it’s had on us, let the future dangle a little further out there, and turn our attention to the here and now.
SO WHY THE LIGHT METER?
This has been marinating in my brain for the last week because with TAKE ME HOME pushed back I’ve turned my attention to a short film. It’s an adaptation of a chapter from Sherwood Anderson’s WINESBURG, OHIO (the book I mentioned not too long ago). It’s a wonderful little story and a project I’m going to helm on my own. Rather than spend the rest of autumn kicking myself for the financial missteps of TAKE ME HOME, I wanted to turn my attention to something within the realm of possibilities. My aim is to shoot it at the end of October back in Ohio. I should have something to show you all by the end of November. It’s a project I’m proud of, and one that I think will ready me for the feature. If anything, it’s something to do “in the meantime”. A transition, if you will.
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