I love being around creative people in the church body, always thinking and pushing the limits of their own thinking. Being on the photography side of creativity I feel like sometimes I have one foot in the creative door and one looking in to see if anything interesting shows up. Sometimes photography to me feels like the fringe of creativity.
Realistically, with technology today, anyone can pick up a camera and push a button, but to do it differently, you have to create. As is the moto of WordPress themselves, Code is Poetry, a computer can become the essence of creativeness in today’s culture. Years ago only a small percentage of people could understand what code was and you needed a degree in graphics design to edit images. Today, teenagers are becoming expert videographers and editors so they can post their creations on Youtube before their bus drops them off at home.
I walked into a friends office today and he was doing a relatively mindless and repetitive task (although important) for a series we have coming up and to pass the time he was watching Dead Poets Society on his computer. I ended up staying just long enough to remember what a cool movie it was and tried to find it when I got home so I could finished watching it. Of course neither hulu, nextflix, or even blockbuster’s new download had it and I was stuck trying to watch a movie that apparently only he has (I would like to borrow it now, thanks). Since I can’t sit here and watch the movie, I figured I would post a poem in context with the movie.
He got me thinking, especially from his last blog post, why we don’t challenge each other more. Challenge each other in learning (or listening to) new music, new books, scripture, our faith, or even a poem. Of course they are all the normal reasons, like time. I don’t read physical books much at all, but I love to read. If it doesn’t show up on my computer I have a hard time flipping through endless pages one at a time, but I can read for hours on a computer screen, so I really have to force myself to read.
One of the last longer physical books I read was one called Galen Rowell’s Inner Game of Outdoor Photography, which was written by an author, photographer, climber, adventurer, environmentalist, call Galen Rowell, who had been to all parts of the world looking for his spiritual peace through photography, mostly in Tibet, helping many along the way. The book was called a cross between Sir Edmund Hillary and Ansel Adams. He was a photographer I followed closely over the years and while on an assignment for National Geographic his plane crashed on landing at his home in California and he and his wife and the pilot died. I finished the book about a week before he died and I remember right where I was and what I was doing when I read the news about his plane crash. I remember at that time the book had challenged me and my normal ways of thinking. He respected “religion” of all kinds, but was not a Believer, and he challenged me to think deeper about my own faith.
So here is a popular poem discussed in the movie by Walk Whitman called O Captain! My Captain! Written by Whitman in 1865 after Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, about the return of a ship whose Captain has died at sea.
O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won,
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.
O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up – for you the flag is flung – for you the bugle trills,
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths – for you the shores a-crowding,
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head!
It is some dream that on the deck,
You’ve fallen cold and dead.
My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still,
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will,
The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done,
From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;
Exult O shores, and ring O bells!
But I with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and Dead
—– from memories of President Lincoln
Typing instead of writing may not be art (as I have been told), but perhaps reading it, is. Who do you challenge to grow, and who challenges you? We each have both, but may not recognize either.