Saturday, September 15, 2001

10 Zillion Light Years

For a couple of days this week I didn't think I would be able to write this month's newsletter. Why bother? What does it matter?

But then I started receiving emails from various people around the country, some just checking in, others expressing concerns & opinions. It felt good to know that so many people out there felt like I did and were able to share their feelings. I started to really appreciate the Internet as a tool for expression and communication that may help in the healing process. It isn't just for porn anymore!

My main concern at the beginning of the week was to get a copy of my movie in the mail by Friday to be placed in consideration for an upcoming film festival in New York. On Tuesday, it didn't seem all that important anymore. Then I talked to my sister, Susan, about a poetry reading she gave last week. She brought together a diverse group of people from her community and involved them in a truly positive creative experience. She even got some of them to sing. Many of those who attended thanked her afterwards and told her that she had inspired them to go out and be creative themselves. I realized that I had a responsibility to continue working on my movie, even moreso than before. A responsibility not only to myself but to my community. Creation in the face of destruction is as essential as breathing in after breathing out.

My cousin Blake has been working on the final "print" of the movie for the past two weeks, in between his other assignments. Blake is a colorist at a big post-production company here in Hollywood. He looks at a film or tape and runs it through some highly sophisticated color-enhancing equipment and adjusts things like tone and hue and tint and contrast and a whole spectrum of colors, making sure each scen is properly balanced and color-correct. I finally got to see what he had done with Dante's View late thursday night at the end of his shift. I was amazed. The changes Blake made went far beyond color balance and correction to include evocation of mood and enrichment of texture. He created an internal palette that gave the movie a cohesive color logic of its own. And he made my many mis-matched cuts look seamless. We made a VHS copy of the movie and I got it in the mail on Friday, just under the deadline. It was another example of discovering how much generosity and talent people have and being fortunate to tap into it.

I think there are tremendous resources within us all that have been untapped for too long. I think we are beginning to see some evidence of that in the response to Tuesday's nightmare. The human spirit has always thrived when confronted with adversity. There may be no greater test of that ability than the one we now face.

Perhaps the greatest challenge of all will be our attempt to reach understanding with people we now perceive as evil. If we are to meet that challenge, it will require every inner resource we have. But most of all, it will require creativity. The world is what we make it and it is time for us to make it new. Every act of creation is a step in the right direction.

I was listening to Stevie Wonder the other day and I heard something that I felt I needed to share with everyone I knew.

Here's what Stevie said:

"They say that Heaven is ten zillion light years away,

But if there is a God, we need Him now
'Where is your God?' That's what my friends ask me
And I say it's taken Him so long
'Cause we've got so far to come

But in my heart I can feel it
Feel His spirit...
If you open your heart you can feel it..."

I hope everyone can feel it.

Love, Rich

p.s. To those of you in New York, my thoughts have been with you all week. If you get the chance, I'd love to here how you're doing.

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