Monday, April 04, 2005

Happy Birthday, Sweet Friend

Sweet, sweet is the greeting of the eyes,
And sweet is the voice in its greeting,
When adieus have grown old and goodbyes
Fade away where old Time is retreating.

Warm the nerve of a welcoming hand,
And earnest a kiss on the brow,
When we meet over sea and o'er land
Where furrows are new to the plough.
--John Keats

This picture was taken two summers ago in Boston. I was in town for a chamber music festival, and Peter was kind enough to let me stay at his place and give me a lift to Brandeis University. We hadn't seen each other in ... one, two ... five years--not since our semester together in Austria. We had Indian food, and he let my friends and me into the old theater in Boston that he worked at. He was a ... oh dangit, Peter, I'm going to forget the proper term ... projectionist? Is that right? It's not projector... Hmm. I have come to expect to find Peter behind a camera of some sort, that's for sure. He studied film at Hampshire College in Amherst, Mass, won a filmmaking award in Vermont for a short entitled Waiting for the Time Being, and is currently finishing up a masters degree in art at the Art Institute of Chicago.

He's going to hate me for telling you all that, but I can't help it--I'm proud of him. He's one of the most passionate people I know--and I swear he had just shoved some kind of food in my mouth before he snapped that polaroid. B**tard.
In Letters to a Young Poet, Rilke wrote:

There is only one thing you should do. Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write. This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simple "I must," then build your life in accordance with this necessity; your whole life, even into its humblest and most indifferent hour, must become a sign and witness to this impulse.

Man, Peter, I think of you when I read that.
One of my favorite photos from my semester in Europe is a black and white that Peter took in the small practice room at the school. I was practicing Liszt's Un Sospiro (A Whisper). He told me it was his portrait of me. I think I told him then that it was inaccurate--that it didn't feel like me. But I think there's something deeper in me that is beginning to nod. I'm beginning to see that it's who I want to be.

Let me have a tenth of the passion you possess. Your pursuit of excellence and honesty is truly beautiful. Thank you for your kindness and your encouragement. You have taught me a great deal, and I am grateful. Have a beautiful birthday.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

cinematographer, perhaps?

Suzanne said...

and i said who am i to blow against the wind?

Sean said...

I know what I know.

Suzanne said...

she was going with a cinematographer, who woulda thought he was really a pornographer?

your mom said...

Yes, but, I ask, "Who's your daddy?"

Sean said...

Wow, as a testament to how I'm starting to dig the humble rodent, I actually recognized that lyric, Suzanne. I wish I had a camera. I deserve a cake.

Suzanne said...

good job, seaner.