The Influence of Stanley Kubrick

     Sometimes I feel like Icarus flying higher and higher as I seek to grasp that which I desire most before realizing somethings will always be out of reach. Such is the nature of life. Way back when I discussed my film influences, I somehow manged to leave Stanley Kubrick out of the mix. With films like Full Metal Jacket, The Shining, Eyes Wide Shut, and, of course, 2001: A Space Odyssey, it’s hard to imagine a world where Kubrick hasn’t influenced aspiring filmmakers and writers alike.

     To me, Kubrick is Icarus. He wasn’t afraid to spread his wings and fly high. You can definitely see his willingness to push the limits of filmmaking in his film 2001: A Space Odyssey. It’s one of those films that makes you think. Nowadays that’s quite a rarity. 2001: A Space Odyssey also seems to be something of a prerequisite for watching Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar. The references and allusions just make more sense if you go into Interstellar with a working knowledge of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

     Then of course, you have A Clockwork Orange which pushes more than just the limits of filmmaking. For me, though, Kubrick’s best works are some of his older films like Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb and The Killing. It was fun to watch Kubrick take on satire in Dr. Strangelove. And who can forget the iconic scene where Major Kong rides the bomb? The Killing, on the other hand, strikes a more serious tone and helped to pave the way for so many other “one last heist” films. Then there’s that memorable last line: “What’s the difference?”.

     When it comes to writing, I’ve aspired to follow what I see to be Kubrick’s approach: Don’t be afraid to spread your wings and fly high. Have I been successful at it, or have I flown too close to the sun and melted my wings? The answer to that question isn’t up to me. That being the case, I don’t worry about it. I just keep writing. In the end, I suppose that is all that I can do. I’ll leave it up to the readers to decide if I have scorched my wings or not.

     So, thank you Stanley Kubrick. You inspired me. Now it’s time for me to get back to writing. I need to stretch out my wings and get ready to spread them wide. Just in case, though, I suppose it wouldn’t be a bad idea to grab a parachute while I’m at it…

vintage old film

Poem Analysis: now i know

     Author intention and reader interpretation sometimes vary wider than the width of the Milky Way. Fortunately for me, the regular readers of this blog have proven to be very astute in their interpretations of my work. This helps me to breathe a sigh of relief knowing that my work hasn’t been misinterpreted.

        When it comes to reader interpretation, I’ve always taken the approach that a poem, or any other type of written work for that matter, has its own unique meaning to each individual reader. Personally, I love to see the different ways that others interpret my writing. Often, I purposefully create double-meanings as a way of both layering my writing and creating avenues for diverging interpretations.

        All that being said, though, I do have specific ideas in mind when writing any given piece. As I transition this blog to the focus of pulling back the curtain on my writing process, I figured it would be a good idea to analyze some of my previous work.

        What better place to start than at the end. “now i know” is the last poem of both the Lost in Time collection and The Past, Present, and Future collection as a whole. As such, I wanted it to be a piece that spoke for itself but also the entirety of the collection.

        One of the messages that I  worked to convey through “now i know” was the power of self reliance. Many of the institutions that surround us in this world want us to shed our own personal judgment and replace it with doctrine. Funny thing, though, I’ve yet to find the institution in this world that has been right all the time. Institutions make mistakes just like people. Their truths are not doctrine, their more metaphorical in nature. Metaphors can be useful and comforting but shouldn’t be relied upon wholly when making judgments.

        When making judgments, I believe that people should rely upon themselves. If you’re going to do this, however, it is 100% imperative that you educate yourself. Education and knowledge are the cornerstones of any self reliant person. After that, life is all about choices. The best way to make the right choices in life is to make educated decisions. Once you’ve figured that out, you can leave the doctrine and dogma of institutions where they belong: in the past. When you do, life becomes about living in the present. A place where educated people have the ability to make choices that will hopefully pave the way toward a brighter future for everyone and this small planet that we live on.

        Well, there you have it. That’s my poem analysis of “now i know”.  I hope this analysis helped to pull back the curtain on this poem and my writing process as a whole. Until next time, keep livin’ in the present people.

pile of covered books

 

20 Down 3 To Go

        From every ending comes a new beginning. Such is the duality of life and the nature of the Universe. With 20 Lost in Time poems now published here, The Past, Present, and Future is nearly complete. Only three more poems of the Lost in Time collection remain.

        Of the three, however, two have been plucked for inclusion in my novel (that long overdue avocation of mine that is nearly complete). As such those two poems will remain lost in time for now… That just leaves one more poem to publish here, which I plan to do next month on the six year anniversary of this blog.

        After that, a time of transition will be at hand. Instead of publishing my poems, it will be time to unveil information about my novel, my adventures in the pursuit of publication, along with snippets about my writing process and influences.

        If you’re wondering what the novel is about, don’t worry I’ll reveal that part in time. In the meantime, enjoy the new year.

light painting at night

Poem for my Dad

In My Father’s Eyes

by Cody McCullough

In my father’s eyes
I see blue

I see the past
I see Christmas morning

The desert
The deer

I see love
I see my dad

In my father’s eyes
I see warmth

I see the present
I see the unseen      

The memory
The Marine

I see love
I see my dad

In my father’s eyes
I see us all

I see the future
I see the grandkids

The family
The friends

I see love
I see my old man

In my father’s eyes
I see me

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The Last Sliver of Light

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        As the last sliver of light disappears somewhere beneath the sea, I sit and ponder while the world fades to black.  The silver moon has yet to rise and bring its dull illumination to the dark night sky.  It’s too dark to type now, so I turn off my laptop.

        I’ll type more in the morning, or perhaps when the moon rises, I think.  Or, I suppose, I could wait a bit longer.  It’s all just semantics now anyway, I continue with my thoughts. When the time comes, and inspiration arises again, I’ll be ready.

        Now, though, the day has ended and my mind is clear.  Another time will surely come, I think.  The sea slithers out as I stand up.  Tucking my laptop under my arm, I begin walking along the sandy beach.  Yes, another time will surely come, I think.  I can feel it in my bones. Then again, maybe it’s just the cool ocean air….

The Last Hurrah

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        I hope you liked it.  I’m not going to lie, it took a lot of work.  It’s not quite over yet, though.  There is still one post that remains a mystery: the final post of The Past, Present, and Future.  The “Lost in Time” collection, well, it has been sliced and diced and sent to the four corners of the world (otherwise known as publishing purgatory).  The final post, however, is near.  The post contains a poem.  It is one of 23 from the “Lost in Time” collection.  Personally, I believe it is a fitting farewell.  That being said, join me on June 3rd, one more time, for the last hurrah.

Coming Full Circle

   When the journey concludes, time begins anew and you find yourself right back where you began.  With the exception of time and perspective, of course.  Followers of my blog may have noticed that the photo for “The Journey Begins…” and “The Journey Concludes…” are taken from the same location, a shrine in Japan.  “The Journey Begins…” photo is taken as one looks out from the shrine; while “The Journey Concludes…” photo is taken as one arrives back at the shrine and looks inward.  This symbolizes the journey coming full circle, or the end of The Past, Present, and Future.

   Sometimes, though, life grants you a reprieve.  A second chance to pursue the journey, only with a glimpse of truth in your back pocket.  Such a chance, could only be described as A New Beginning…  Writing a story that deals with such a theme, though, is a journey unto itself.  So, it came as no surprise that writing A New Beginning… has come with many twists and turns.

   As I have mentioned before, much of my writing comes from the dark cave in my mind.  One day, as I lit a torch and headed into the cave, I saw a mark left by a certain “Joe” that pointed in a different direction.  That mark, though, led away from the task at hand.  What’s a writer to do when they find themselves in such a conundrum?  Fortunately for me, one of the major themes that I’ve been writing about is time.  Having thought about time a great deal, in order to master its essence in my writing, I knew that it was on my side.  With the warm light of my torch shining down upon the mark, I examined it thoroughly.  Understanding my new path, I then slid through the damp cave walls on my journey to a new destination.  When I arrived, I found 23 lost poems: The poems that time forgot.  I also found my lost influences there.

   In the days that followed, I lugged each poem out of the dark cave and brought each to life.  After finishing the last poem, I realized that I had found the lost treasure in my mind.  The missing piece of the The Past, Present, and Future.  I had just completed the “Lost in Time” collection.  The final, and previously missing, piece of The Past, Present, and Future.  In the days that followed, I revised the original 70 poems and combined everything.  The entire “compilation,” as I like to call it, is now complete.

   With my poetry now whole, it is time to finish the book.  When that will come, I do not know.  After all, I have a new time line to introduce….   One thing that I do know, is that my lost influences still need to be lugged out of the dark cave.  There are three of them, but they’re not like the others.  No, they’re all together different.  I’ve lugged out a few parts, but each influence is a bit heavier than the previous lot.  I suppose, I’ll need more time to compose each.  A month should do.  I imagine the third day of the month would be as good a time as any to release each.  Please come back on 3/3, 4/3, and 5/3 for the unveiling of each.  After that, I suppose I’ll just have to let you know what I plan to do with my compilation.  Oh, I suppose you’ll want to know where I am at with A New Beginning… as well.  Barring anymore detours, I should make good progress between now and then.  That is, as long as I remember that time is on my side….

A New Year

   Today, a new year begins.  In 2014 I have big plans, and I am cautiously optimistic that those plans will come to fruition before the year closes out.  Of course, you never know what the future may hold.  One thing is certain, though, I will be wrapping up The Past, Present, and Future this year.   It has been a stimulating journey for me, but I suppose the time has come for the last fiery sliver of sunshine to melt away into the horizon as the journey concludes.

   With time comes perspective, and much perspective may be gained from coming full circle.  Traversing through space on a 365 day journey around a giant orb of nuclear fusion tens of thousands of light years away from the center of the galaxy, our little planet has indeed come full circle.  On February 3rd, my blog will have come full circle as well.

   As that anniversary date nears, I am excited to both wrap up The Past, Present, and Future and begin my next project.  Needless to say, it has been an interesting ride.  You never know where, or when, you may find yourself, when you let your imagination loose.  I hope everyone enjoyed this project, and will enjoy the next one.  Please join me on February 3rd, to discover what the future holds.

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Photo by Elizabeth McCullough