Saw this at my son’s preschool this morning and instantly had SO MANY MEMORIES. I haven’t seen the book in probably 25 years now, but I was fairly obsessed with this as a kid. Between this and Cosmos being on last night, I’m basically an astrophysicist now.
Empathy isn’t just something that happens to us—a meteor shower of synapses firing across the brain—it’s also a choice we make: to pay attention, to extend ourselves. It’s made of exertion, that dowdier cousin of impulse. Sometimes we care for another because we know we should, or because it’s asked for, but this doesn’t make our caring hollow. The act of choosing simply means we’ve committed ourselves to a set of behaviors greater than the sum of our individual inclinations: I will listen to his sadness, even when I’m deep in my own. To say ‘going through the motions’—this isn’t reduction so much as acknowledgment of the effort—the labor, the motions, the dance—of getting inside another person’s state of heart or mind.
This confession of effort chafes against the notion that empathy should always arise unbidden, that genuine means the same thing as unwilled, that intentionality is the enemy of love. But I believe in intention and I believe in work. I believe in waking up in the middle of the night and packing our bags and leaving our worst selves for our better ones.
Thanks to the good folks over at Pitchfork, you can now stream the ENTIRE soundtrack to Wes Anderson’s upcoming film, The Grand Budapest Hotel, right here.
"Anderson co-produced the soundtrack with longtime music supervisor Randall Poster. It features original music by composer Alexandre Desplat (who worked with Anderson on Moonrise Kingdom and Fantastic Mr. Fox) as well as Russian folk songs and performances by the Osipov State Russian Folk Orchestra."
In our brand new February issue, released last week, we were fortunate enough to convince author Jenny Hollowell to write an essay for us, giving her free reign to write anything she wanted to, provided it related in some way to movies. Hollowell, who was featured on Radiolab last year—where her beautiful short story "A History of Everything Including You" was read in its entirety (and was also performed by Kyra Sedgwick on NPR’s Selected Shorts)—turned in an essay that was, hands down, one of the single finest things we’ve ever received in the nearly five year history of Bright Wall/Dark Room, and we are absolutely honored to be running it in the magazine this month.
We’ll be highlighting bits and pieces of her essay, "The End of The End: An Evolution of Faith, in Five Films", throughout the week on the site, but to read the entire thing, you’ll have to grab a copy of the issue ($1 for the issue by itself, or $2 for a monthly subscription). But trust us, there is no possible way you’ll spend a better dollar or two on anything this entire year.
And Jenny, thank you.
This was by far one of the highlights of the past 9 months of magazine-making. And Jenny’s essay is just…everything BW/DR is supposed to be about, basically.
If you like non-fiction essays at all, this is something you need to read immediately.
Ok, here it is. Now believe me, there are about one million things I’d like to change about this, but the whole point of this project is to learn and record a song in fifteen minutes and then upload it with no edits, etc. So it is what it is. But man, what a song, Alex Chilton.
Hope you enjoy it, and the rest of your weekend.
(ps: you’ll probably have to turn it up a bit - there’s three people sleeping in the house, so I had to keep it all pretty quiet.)
Fyi for those of you who are still up, and at all care, I’m going to do one of those Record a Song in Fifteen Minutes things I used to do on here a few years back, because…well, I want to. I’m going to go record a cover of Big Star’s “Thirteen” and I’ll post it about twenty minutes from now.
Hooray for music :)