Probably the strongest lesson of these 30 years has been that it is a very important thing to like yourself, who you are and want to be, where you are and what you're doing. It's good to like what you do in this crazy life, to enjoy your time and your work -- and if you're able to feel that, there's no need to feel guilty about it. That last bit sounds strange maybe, or obvious. But for me it's made this otherwise simple truth quite a hard road sometimes.
The past year in particular has been one of great change. The most significant event has been the decision to startGhost Village Films -- or more to the point, to decide upon a craft, to name it, pursue it, share it, and to feel good about it. As simple as it sounds (and as obvious it ought to've been in hindsight), it took years to figure out, and then years more before I had enough confidence in myself, enough freedom from guilt and self-loathing, to actually put the work in and see it through to something real. I believe what is real is what is shared -- created, expressed, released, given, experienced -- in relationship and community.
I remember a moment, almost one year ago, in the midst of completing some of the first Ghost Village projects. I'd reached the end of the workday and laid down to rest. Suddenly this sense of awareness arrived in which I realized that I felt good about what I was doing. I realized that actually I felt good about pretty much everything I felt and knew and could think about in that moment. This was a rare thing -- not simply feeling good, but being also aware that I was feeling good and then traveling deeper into it.
In that moment I wrote in my journal a very simple poem. The poem took me into new places, advancing the moment and its meaning. While it is simple, the more time I spent in its world, the more I began to see how weird and layered and interconnected even our most simple, everyday realities of life can be. The more time you spend traveling deeper into it -- like when walking or showering long enough to lose the sense of time and obligation -- the more the world reveals its strangeness and beauty through often unexpected phenomena of relationship.
In beginning this deeper exploration, the poem is what eventually became this short film. It was to be my first solely personal project under Ghost Village, and I wanted to make something that is on one level very simple but while also containing a deep well of meaning and ideas of interconnection for those who might like to explore them with me. (Even if the reality of the latter only ever exists in my imagination, and it's actually just a film about a guy riding his bike and eating salad.) I feel the best art is often that which accomplishes this, and certainly it is one thing I most admire in my influences -- namely in this case: Mr. Rogers, Dr. Seuss, Wes Anderson, and Batman.
I shot the film last summer with the help of my good friend Jesse Carter, and actually had most of the thing finished in a couple days. But there were little things I wanted to fix and finish, and then I got busy with other projects ...But, you know, a bunch of little excuses, really. I think in reality I was just putting it off out of that sense of self-doubt and weird guilt leftover from my former self. It used to be those were the only sorts of projects I ever did -- ones never completed, and never shared.
But it was on my 29th birthday when I decided to make a change, and that day beginning work on the project Ghost Village. In the year since, the work has been steady, a reality that I am endlessly thankful for. I've had the great blessing to have gotten to begin and expand rich and inspiring relationships with wonderfully creative collaborators and friends. These relationships, the projects that have come out of them, and the plans and works which now continue have all given me a great sense of joy and confidence that the decision I made was the right one -- that I'm doing what I'm supposed to do -- and that it's a good thing to feel good about it.
And so: this film is about that.
It's about the realization of being loved, being provided for, having a community -- and the wonderful power that that can bring.
And it's also about watching the wind blow by in the summer, taking three hours to eat a salad or walk the town, seeing what you see, making up funny stuff in your head to laugh about.