Thursday, May 20, 2010

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A Writer Under The Influence is moving over to a nice clean self-hosted Wordpress location at:

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Sunday, March 14, 2010

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Judgment Cometh To Ye
A Poem by Jeff Campagna

The eve of judgment cometh, men of men, women of women, all ye be judged in death as ye judged in life.

Two men sit astride in blue,
..One with a cane and one who,
Has a hat that rests atop,
..His homely face which cant' stop,
Spying the cane in the hand,
..Of the man who starts to stand.
In this room which little fits,
..One now stands and one still sits.

The man who stands reflects his past,
..And how long he hath come to last,
In a world where evil and good,
..Are by all men misunderstood.
A fortune made, A child lost,
..Both by his hand, but at what cost?
The same hand which now rests atop,
..His golden cane, his body's prop.

Ay! This man cared little for few,
..And thought he above all ado.
But those for which he did so care,
..He did so with a silence ere,
He could tell them he did so feel,
..Those emotions he did conceal.
For this man wasn't bad straight thru,
..But things good aren't all that accrue.

The hatted man now stands as well,
..And his modest past he dost tell,
With tear in eye and heavy heart,
..He claims to be a man apart.
Nary a fortune did he make,
..Nor a life did he ever take.
Though one life he did throw away,
..And let his own life go astray.

A friend or family he had not,
..But to love himself he forgot.
So idly through life he went
..With self lament, and did resent,
A God who didn't seem to care,
..Or listen to a poor man's prayer.
His life stood between right and wrong,
..To neither camp did he belong.

Like pillars of stone they stood,
..Pondering which of them would,
Be called through judgment's door,
..To see their life's final score.
Both men were in life not wise,
..And thought soon all their lies,
Would be buried in the fine,
..Sand that sprawls deserts of time.

Much to both the men's surprise,
..There was no God in the skies.
Just an office stark and plain,
..With a clerk who did explain;
That religion mattered not,
..And any God should be forgot.
But no man escapes the day,
..When those who judge have their say.

Two men stand before a judge,
..Both overcome by begrudge.
One whose life was up and down,
..One who wore a poor man's crown.
The first pleasure and strife knew,
..And failed not to throw askew.
The second knew depths and thrift,
..And did squander life's true gift.

This the judge did declare;
.."Both of you are now aware,
God is not the judge of you,
..But a board that does review,
In living what you did show,
..And in death where you must go.
Both of you can rest assured,
..The worst of it ye have endured."

written under the influence by
jeff campagna

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

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What is a movie? What are they supposed to do and what sort of effect are they meant to have on those who view them? I suppose these are questions whose answers reside in the province of opinion, and so, I mean to have no authority on the subject, instead, I will merely wax poetic.

As I see it, movies are something of a magic show, a cinematic presentation of a feature length magic trick which has no magician but those who constructed the trick before the show began. They are supposed to whisk us away to some foreign local we can't, for the majority, ever hope to visit in this life. They are meant to leave us euphoric and questioning the reality behind the show.

In 1959, theaters saw record crowds lining up for a new William Wyler picture that had been hyped, promoted and marketing without mercy. "Ben Hur" was one of, if not the biggest, movie that had been released and they made no attempt at hiding it. Back in the 50's there were still remnants of 'movie magic' where viewers would be 'wowed' or 'amazed' by what they were witnessing, and although they had no idea how it was happening, or if it was happening, they enjoyed, whooped and hollered, laughed and cried as if the chariot race was kicking up dust for them to choke on forthwith. It was a magic trick and it blew peoples mind's.

Modern audiences, through no fault of their own, have grown desensitized to the power of a movie. If we see space ships sailing across the screens we think nothing of it; just another night at the movies. If we see a man shot and killed on screen do we feel as if a man has really been murdered? No. Imaginations ran wild in the days of old and to go see a picture was an escape, not from their day, but from the world. Today, movies have the same quotient of enchantment as game of lawn bowling. They exist merely to pass the time.

51 years since, the world has been given another 'Ben Hur'. A man had a vision that movies could once again be a magical experience, one where the viewers knew no time or space, no race or religion, they simply watched in awe. We were shown a world that not only was foreign to us, as movies have continued to do through the years, but revealed a world that the audience yearned to visit, and some would have gladly stayed. Animals we had learnt not of, languages our ears had never heard and people we knew not, all fused and fed our dormant, not dead, but dormant imaginations. "Avatar" is not only an achievement, it's a gift.
writing under the influence,

Monday, March 1, 2010

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"I Love U2 Brother"
An old diddy I wrote back while I was backpacking Europe when I was 20. My brother was, and still is, a huge U2 fan so I wrote this for him. If you know some U2 songs, you may even like this poem.

I have a Brother,
As he has one too.
I shouldn't complain,
But sometimes I still do.

Sometimes our fights,
Are more than I can bear.
We sew it up,
But you can still see the tear.

We are one yet,
So little's the same.
I'm running away,
And he's glad I came.

I seek refuge,
In my dark holes.
Where as my Brother,
Has soul sweet soul.

We've had our ups,
We've had our downs.
But when he calls,
I come around.

And sometimes I miss him,
I don't see him for days.
What I fail to realize is,
Brotherhood moves in mysterious ways.

All in all,
What I'm trying to say,
Is when you're around,
It's a beautiful day.

written under the influence by

Friday, February 26, 2010

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I will let Sir Ken Robinson due the speaking. All I will say is; I couldn't agree more, Ken!

listening under the influence,

Thursday, February 25, 2010

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Have you seen HBO's "Temple Grandin" starring Claire Danes? Well, I am not, as you know, fond of critics and their reviews, so this post really isn't about the movie as much as it is about what the movie proved to me.

I believe, though I may not be skilled enough to practice it yet, that all art requires a certain amount of invisibility of the artist. When one listens to music, as they do, they shouldn't be constantly reminded that there is a musician behind the notes. When one reads a book, they should notice the story and not the writer behind it's words. And when one watches a film they should not be shelled with evident camera movements, over acting, one liners and strange production design that could risk taking the viewer out of the story and into the film. After all, a film, or a novel, is simply the telling of a story. A tradition that dates back beyond recorded history, where one person, or many, would stand before their listeners and, simply, tell a story.

I digress. "Temple Grandin", though no big stars grace it's credits and no famous art house director was calling it's shots and no Kaufman was behind it's words, was, I dare say, one of the best film I have ever seen. And I claim this for one reason and one reason only. Yes it had spectacular and poignant acting, yes it was a very technically competent film, but neither of these are the reason I speak of. The reason is the film's unparalleled achievement in, what I think is the most important aspect of a film, the suspension of disbelief. It wasn't about the directing, writing or acting. It was about the story. The visible edge of filmmaking was nowhere to be seen or felt.

If you are having trouble grasping my point, compare my thoughts to say, "Smoking Aces". A wonderful film that I enjoyed very much, but while watching, was constantly reminded of how cool the film actually was. It wasn't about the story, it was about the film.

I know a lot of screenwriters, but not as many storytellers and the spread is ever widening. As an artist there is a desire to show yourself in your work, I know for I am guilty of just this, but perhaps an artist will appear in their work whether they try to or not, and when one tries, they compromise that elusive and sweet suspension of disbelief, the story.

writing under the influence,