Essay: Seeing things differently

My wife initiated a discussion a few days ago in which she clarified (for both of us) our deepest respective interests. She acknowledged that despite her RISD degree in illustration and the fact that she has pursued illustration, painting, and graphic design since graduating, her real love is fashion and fashion design. She also suggested that my deepest-held interest is in movies (as opposed to literature and fiction writing, which I majored in, partly as a reaction to the prospect of fighting my way to any kind of recognition in the film industry, and which I've been telling myself for almost ten years was my true calling in some form or another).

I think she is right.

She loves fashion and approaches it from a really thoughtful angle - an artistic angle. She finds significance in fashion choices, in style, and in comportment. To her it's not just how something looks on an individual, but what it does functionally and what it suggests visually. She finds meaning here. She doesn't just have a strong personal sense of style - she has quite specific ideas about What People Should Wear.

Similarly, all I think about is movies. My storytelling instincts are visual. Even when I'm reading, which I do a lot of and which I think is important regardless, stories are constantly reminding me of some movie and I get this urge to watch it - no matter how engrossing the book is. Lindsay and I usually watch a movie every night; occasionally I wedge in a solo viewing here and there. I think that films can be the most efficient, effective, and intellectually robust form of storytelling available. I am not interested in films because of one particular thing that they offer in the way that some people love great actors, action, special effects, imagery of a certain kind, or particular subject matter. I love the idea that great films can do all of these things simultaneously, creating a really rich experience that works on a whole array of levels.

The impact for me here is not too terribly intense: I haven't written anything substantial (or complete) in a long, long time. A few big ideas have been percolating, but I've only written stuff in note form. In one way, this is good news: I think I'm very good at writing screenplays and I do it fairly quickly. In my mind, writing a story as a screenplay is much, much easier than as prose.

Lindsay's situation is different. It's tough to design clothing "on spec." She wants to take a design class in RISD's continuing ed program in the spring, which I think is great. However, I'm afraid that if she really wants to pursue this, she'll have to go into a full-fledged graduate program. I'm worried that this will mean two years in RI or NYC. Either way, I want her to do it. I only dread the prospect of the cost - and staying on (or coming back to) the East Coast, which I now have pretty unmixed feelings about: it sucks.

I'm not sure of next steps here yet. I can get writing immediately, and Lindsay can set up her sewing machine and learn to draw patterns. Other than that, it's a new way of looking at things that has somehow escaped me for too long - and I need to get used to it.


  1. a. excellent picture choice, it works on 2 levels. awesome movie and faye dunaway in 'bonnie and clyde' is one of my style icons. in fact, i am wearing my faye-dunaway-in-bonnie-and-clyde shoes today! quelle coincidence.
    b. i am an artist who feels that perhaps the career choice for my creative impulses should have been fashion. i also seek further education. move back here. lindsay and i can be study buddies.

  2. this is interesting Casey. Are you shocked to be hearing from me? The creative journey is an interesting one.....I think it's good to let it evolve into new forms. I hope you guys find the right path for each of your creative passions. That's pretty much why Dave and I moved to LA - to find more outlets for our respective interests. Hope you can find the right place to live that will facilitate that for both of you.


  3. Anonymous2:42 PM

    Thank you for this interesting post.