… laying out the life in underplay
(theatrical release poster for the film “Spotlight” 2015*)
“What is this about?” Olivia Flanders asks, calm as toast without the butter. She’s a natural for the role of gatekeeper — a superhero of the resolute polite, sitting at a clutter-empty desk like a ballerina of communication, her back an upright arrow laid back against the long bow of the chair, forearms stretched out upon the polished cherry desktop framing the yellow pad she has for notes, the phone’s thin half-headset hanging like an epiphyte on the outside of an ear.
“It’s a revelation,” Jeffers answers. “Just tell Mr. Bingley it’s the secret Mammoth Pictures has been looking for since Victor Mature was lost at sea in that pirate with self-doubt issues movie.”
“And the secret involves what?”
“Magic. Why movie magic happens, and how to make it happen again and again by following a simple formula.”
“A formula you call ‘Ringo’s Dance Card’?”
“Yes. Named for the cheat sheet drum chart Ringo used for reference, taped to the inner, bass drum skin just beside the pedal. Except here, of course, there are no drums. Just natives beating back the bushes along the quakey trails of Tinseltown, as they try to make a movie.”
Olivia is smiling. It’s one of the perks of interacting with the weirdness — to look beyond the rites of chaos passage, and see the human show for its inherent, entertainment value.
“Still there?” Jeffers asks after a few beats.
“Yes. Both here and being still.”
“Cool. Still life works. It’s just a crap idea for the central theme in framing out a moving picture. Moving still life — in what self-reflective, zero-sum idea farm did this idea start?”
“So tell me about the formula.”
“‘Conscious underplay’ — it works by doing conscious without the attachment of a hyphened-self. Which is like convincing both the conscious and the self that maybe they should spend some time apart. Then you buy the self a ticket on a bus to Vegas via Anchorage, so the conscious can finally open up the windows of the crib and catch a breath of unclaimed air.
Olivia is silent for a moment as she begins to draw a bus on the AlCan Highway to Alaska.
“So the underplay, then?
“Is just the story of the conscious self without the self. Which is analogous to a dog watching nature shows on t.v. If the dog becomes entranced with gazing at its own reflection in the t.v. screen, it’s going to miss the part where the kangaroo deals cards.”
“And if I ask you to bring this brief visit to the land of theory-ville back home to “formula,” and hold the entertainment, would that cramp your style?”
“No. Sorry. You get to conscious underplay without the self, by taking out the stuff that puddles-up to make the self. Suppose, by some happy, finder’s chance, you find a story of real life that has so much depth-of-real about its story life, the idea of nailing up the story-boards to form the framing for a mirror of life, just seems like painting over gold.”
“And this would be the model?”
“Yes. The model of the depth-of-real you’re looking for. If what you find is a moving van of that, then lucky you. But still, even with a happy load of that, it still requires a lot of digging through to find the story-patterns in the links. Which is the link-link narrowing we call “finding,” that becomes a qualitative mirror of the quality involved with “looking.”
“So the mirror is –”
“– a story of the looking.”
“As the whole process becomes —
“– like doing 3-D cultural archaeology, as it’s happening. Which is how you get to resonance, which is when the well of story links begins to hum, and what happens in the movie model link I sent.”
“And that’s the future opening that you, and your electronic word shovel, are auditioning for?”
“As Victor Mature said to his chief engineer in ‘Grand Coulee — The Story of a Damn Fine Dam’: ‘Can you dig it?'”
20160629 00:02 (702 words)
▸ * “Spotlight” 2015, currently available on Netflix, YouTube, Amazon and elsewhere
▸ Brown Bird performing “Thunder & Lightning” 2012, from “Salt For Salt” 2011
▸ Daughter performing “Youth” from “If You Leave” 2013
▸ NOAHS performing “Love Will Save Us” from “Cedar & Fire” 2014
▸ Wolf Alice “Lisbon” from “My Love is Cool” 2015