Lonely Are the Brave?

Is it a coincidence that the other night I finally watched “Lonely Are the Brave,” one of the films recommended by F.T. Rea in his Five Film Favorites: Westerns, and the next day I got an email from Terry sharing a link to this Slate article, “The End: Why projectionists will soon be no more.”?

Then, the day after that a professional colleague shared the news that her brother was diagnosed with inoperable cancer and has six months to a year to live.

I’ve been around this world enough turns to know that this ain’t no coincidence. This is a message from upstairs, something that life, the universe and everything want me to pay attention to.

O.K., you’ve got my attention and I’m taking notice and sharing — even if at this particular moment I’m not sure where I’m going with all this.

Actually, I think I do. I’m getting some not so subtle hints to live each moment to the fullest, follow my heart, my passions, and spend as much time as I can with people I love and who love me — sharing … sharing meals together, movies, books, music, and experiences like going to a Richmond Squirrels game with my father and son. And sharing disappointments — bad news, crappy days, the death of loved ones, regrets, and failures — in other words, life. (By the way, I might add that I must be a slow learner because the universe regularly sends me reminders like these.)

Life is short, and people are so damn interesting.

During this holiday season, let’s fight against the hustle and bustle and take some extra time to get to know those around us, even the person on the bus you always see but with whom you never talk. Let’s ask strangers, friends and family to tell us some stories, share a meal, watch a movie together.

Terry, tell me another story about your Biograph days. Mike, tell me about that time that Stan Brakhage came to the James River Film Festival. And, remember when we did shot of tequila with Jonas Mekas? Katie, tell me what made you tear up when it was Logan’s turn to make the spiral walk at school last week? Peter, tell me again why you love “Night of the Hunter” so much. And what pissed you off about last year’s Minnesotta Twins team? Tell me about the first time you made biscuits, Grandma.

I could go on.

And I will. (I hope you will too.)

Lonely are the brave?

It doesn’t have to be that way.

P.S. Below is the link to the short film I made with my Grandma Peedin several years before she died. Many of you have seen it; for those who haven’t, this is one of my favorite memories of taking the time to ask and listen, watch and learn. By the way, I made Grandma’s biscuits for the Parrish clan during Thanksgiving. It was so fun to have this once familiar staple of every meal that we shared with my Grandma rejoin our family gatherings. Those biscuits gave us a chance to remember her and make new memories for and with each other. Enjoy!

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2 Responses to Lonely Are the Brave?

  1. F.T. Rea says:

    James, thanks for posting your film.

    It reminded me, once again, of how we who take pictures are usually documenting more than we realize when the shutter is winking at the moment’s light. Years later, when we sift through our old photos or watch film footage we shot, so often there’s more in the frame than what we were originally focused on.

  2. Peter Schilling says:

    I love your Grandma’s Biscuits movie, though I’m sure I’d love it more if next time I was there I got to actually eat some biscuits. Great post. This is what the holidays *should* be about, you know?

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