Thursday, February 3, 2011

Advice by Any Means

I wasn’t at SCBWI in NYC, but I’ve heard from many people that Sara Zarr hit a keynote homer. Not really a surprise, I suppose.

Steve Brezenoff wasn’t officially at SCBWI either, but, he borrowed one of his character's juvie shoes, and now you can read his take on Zarr’s keynote. (Rumors you may have heard about Steve beating up John Green for his lunch money are totally unfounded.)

Here’s another excellent recap of the speech. I’m sure there are others.

These reports reminded me of Woody Allen’s obit for Ingmar Bergman (hence the photos). It’s well worth reading if you’re thinking about art and endgames. Here are a couple bits (emphases mine):

I have joked about art being the intellectual's Catholicism, that is, a wishful belief in an afterlife. Better than to live on in the hearts and minds of the public is to live on in one's apartment, is how I put it. And certainly Bergman's movies will live on and will be viewed at museums and on TV and sold on DVDs, but knowing him this was meager compensation, and I am sure he would have been only too glad to barter each one of his films for an additional year of life. This would have given him roughly 60 more birthdays to go on making movies; a remarkable creative output. And there's no doubt in my mind that's how he would have used the extra time, doing the one thing he loved above all else, turning out films.

Bergman enjoyed the process. He cared little about the responses to his films. It pleased him when he was appreciated, but as he told me once, "If they don't like a movie I made, it bothers me - for about 30 seconds."

I learned to try to turn out the best work I'm capable of at that given moment, never giving in to the foolish world of hits and flops or succumbing to playing the glitzy role of the film director, but making a movie and moving on to the next one. Bergman made about 60 films in his lifetime, I have made 38. At least if I can't rise to his quality maybe I can approach his quantity.

I think that whatever your role in bookmaking, it’s good to be reminded that the making is as important as the book.

Photos courtesy Meagan Fisher.