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why do we remember movies?


as someone born in the latter half of the 20th century, i grew up with TV and movies. i watched a few cartoon series (yes, Transformers was one of them).

well, more than watched them. i remember memorizing whole episodes so i could relate them to my dad when he got home from work — the dialogue as close to word-for-word as i could get it. speaking of my dad, i’m a second generation Trekkie because of him. i’m probably a lover of sci-fi because of him, too.

(thanks, dad!)

my interest in storytelling, story making and even things like memorizing dialogue was either a reflection of my creative passions or perhaps my environment shaped them a bit. whatever the case, certain scenes have become ingrained in my consciousness and stayed with me over the years.

why do movies have such impact?

have you ever wondered why movies, or even books, have such impact on our lives? i believe it is of great significance and deserves more than a passing thought.

especially for anyone in creative endeavors.

why do i remember a Japanese hobo cooking a stolen egg for a little boy every time i make an omelette? it’s Tampopo’s fault.

every time i hear the word “inconceivable”, why do i hear a wiry swordsman’s Spanish accent: “you keep using that word. i do not think it means what you think it means.” because of The Princess Bride, of course!

okay, so they’re great movies to me. but not everyone would agree. everyone has different life-impacting movies.

is it because they’re funny? well, they are, but Tampopo is serious, too. so that’s not the only factor.

personally, i believe it’s because the human brain is such an amazing and faithful machine: it takes what it sees and hears and incorporates it as a memory. a slightly less-intense memory than something that happened to us directly, but still a memory.

a vicarious experience is an experience nonetheless,

and it shapes us just as living shapes us. especially if our living isn’t especially exciting on its own. we walk out of a theater triumphant, angry, depressed or inspired to greatness.

shared experiences

even more powerful are shared experiences. the movies and one-liners that i remember the best are ones i shared with others. my friends and i would quote favorite scenes from the Princess Bride back and forth, until we got distracted or laughed ourselves silly. there’s hardly a line in the movie i cannot complete.

“iocane powder. i’d bet my life on it.”

i mean, seriously, i’m still laughing, just typing the line above. now there was a character you were invited to despise, no question. he was begging for it, and didn’t even know it.

i’d dissect everything i watched in great detail afterwards from a writer’s perspective. talking it over with friends just cemented it all in my mind. especially the ones i watched again and again. heh!

there are many, many whole books i’ve read out loud to friends and family. the LOTR series, multiple times. the Vorkosigan series by Lois McMaster Bujold (i simply cannot recommend these enough or run out of good things to say about this author! the woman is not a multi-award winner for nothing!).

sharing the experience with others makes an amazing collective consciousness effect. everyone catches different angles on a story. hearing their viewpoint fills in holes in your own observations and brings epiphanies even after the movie or book is long over.

and after all,
when you love something,
who doesn’t want to share it
and talk to others who share your passion?

thus we have fandom.
a topic for another time.

the garden

there is a concept that is quickly becoming central to my philosophy of life.

my heart is a patch of soil.
it could be a garden.

my life grows out of the soil of my heart, using the seeds i plant in it. the soil is as moist and rich or as dry and sterile as i make it. everything i create is, more or less, coming out of my very innermost being. but what is in me?

> a gatorade commercial comes to mind…
successful marketing, right there:
is it in you? <

what am i experiencing every moment of my day? what passes in front of my eyes? how is it being connected to everything that has come before?

is my garden thick and overgrown, cluttered and choked?
or is it well-tended,
rich in nutrients and things that will make for yummy fruit?

what we watch becomes a part of us.
what we read becomes a part of us.
what we experience becomes a part of us.

DON’T MISS THIS: what we create and others ingest… becomes a part of them.

we become a part of them.
because what we create is a part of us.

doesn’t that trip you out?
it boggles.

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