It occurred to me recently that if you distill down the essence of what movies are trying to accomplish, it's to seek out emotional truth.
I no longer think movies are capable of doing that.
I mean, come on. Everything that comes out these days is a sequel or a remake. If you're really lucky, you get a sequel to a remake. (Wrath of the Titans comes to mind.) Where's the emotional truth in that?
TV is not much better. TV is all reality shows and singing competitions. Every emotion is premeditated, orchestrated for maximum effect.
Books? Too long, too meandering. They are constantly climbing up their own assholes.
Music? Have you heard any music lately? See my previous comment about singing competitions.
If you want something short, sweet and to the point, free from emotional manipulation, you have only one place to seek out your emotional truth.
And that's why this blog will, from here on out, be devoted to the following:
That's right, the haiku.
Three lines, 17 syllables. Five on the first line, seven on the second line, and five again on the third.
It's so simple, I can't believe it's taken this long to occur to me.
Consider this haiku from novelist Richard Wright:
Whitecaps on the bay:
A broken signboard banging
In the April wind.
Doesn't it put you right there on the scene? No need for cameras. No need for actors. No need for explosions and CGI monsters. Just simple words and, yep, emotional truth.
Ah, but the haiku doesn't have to have exactly 17 syllables. It can have up to 17. Sometimes fewer is even more elegant. Consider this effort from haiku specialist Alan Pizzarelli:
a truck driver gently unloads
sacks of clams
Can't you see that morning? Can't you see that truck driver? Can't you see those clams? Can't you see the harbor that the words imply? Can't you hear the seagulls in the background?
Not emotionally truthy enough for you? Okay, I admit I've been concentrating on setting a scene. Now, let's get to something more emotional and devastating. For that we turn to Sonia Sanchez:
My face is a scarred
Reminder of your easy
Comings and goings
He takes her for granted. He doesn't care about her feelings. And her face expresses it. Oh, does it express it.
But we don't always watch movies to be moved. Sometimes we just want to laugh. Well, haikus can do that better too. Take this example, whose author is not credited:
A banana burps.
Goofy farts and piggies pop.
The flowers chortle.
Let's see you manage something that funny, Will Ferrell.
Don't believe me? Don't think that I could really be renouncing movies for haikus? Well, I don't know how else I can prove it.
I guess there is one way. What I love about haikus, especially when compared to movies, is that they are something I can make. I can't be a filmmaker, at least not without a lot of training, money, effort and luck. But I can write haikus. And what better proof of an art form's power than its ability to make us all equal, all capable of becoming the artists who can excel in expressing this emotional truth?
So I've been working on some haikus of my own. Here's one I've written that should settle my commitment to the haiku once and for all:
Quit movies? Really?
Can't imagine such a thing.
Happy April Fools'.