The 2012 of Creativity: Parisian Back Streets to the Imagination and Yann Tiersen by Diana Rivera

I have never met anyone with a developed sensitivity for films that abhorred the film Amelie. Sure there are people with gripes, but down right hate. No way. You’d have to be somehow cold-blooded, or at least luke warm, to not appreciate the capricious main character played by Audrey Tautou, the luminous Parisian cafes, and the mystical synchronicities in which I long 2012 to be etched. The realist may challenge idealism, stripping the essence out of belief as it slowly slips out of one’s powerful grip.

The Parisian streets of Amelie’s creative world are powerful routes into the cognitive road maps of the imagination. If they were, they would be composed by Yann Tiersen, the music composer to Amelie. I have personally fallen in and out of love, composed artistic and academic projects, serenaded by this soundtrack. I don’t think I stand alone in my interest–it’s a spectacular album.

Lately, I have been driving on a Yann Tiersen loop station to no clear end in sight. His other album, Dust Lane, has taken me momentarily out of Amelie’s Paris into other back lanes of the imagination: the desolate desert roads to let go to what you cling, and bizarre bridge crossings where longing and the ferocity of the future crash into subtle waves in the river. He makes it okay to ask: “what the hell am I doing with my life?”

I finally parked in a sonic dome with Yann Tiersen’s album, L’Absente. The album catapults the romance of courage back into the driver’s seat of the heart. For me, the song “Les Jour Tristes” is an ode to the creative artist who longs for the synchronicities and mysteries of life and art, yet balances the practicalities of the every day like bringing home the bacon, being courageous in the face of other people’s expectations or judgements, etc.

Here are the lyrics and the song:

It’s hard, hard not to sit on your hands
And bury your head in the sand
Hard not to make other plans
And claim that you’ve done all you can, all along
And life must go on
It’s hard, hard to stand up for what’s right
And bring home the bacon each night
Hard not to break down and cry
When every idea that you’ve tried has been wrong
But you must carry on

It’s hard but you know it’s worth the fight
‘Cause you know you’ve got the truth on your side
When the accusations fly, hold tight
Don’t be afraid of what they’ll say
Who cares what cowards think, anyway
They will understand one day, one day

It’s hard, hard when you’re here all alone
And everyone else has gone home
Harder to know right from wrong
When all objectivities gone
And its gone
But you still carry on
‘Cause you, you are the only one left
And you’ve got to clean up the mess
You know you’ll end like the rest
Bitter and twisted, unless
You stay strong and you carry on

It’s hard but you know it’s worth the fight
‘Cause you know you’ve got the truth on your side
When the accusations fly, hold tight
Don’t be afraid of what they’ll say
Who cares what cowards think, anyway
They will understand one day, one day

Yann Tiersen has led me through an emotional journey through music this season, and has taught me something fundamental to my resolution behind 2012. It is hard to believe in your artistry when there are accusations that hold you back. But, don’t be afraid of carrying on. Your art builds the streets, alleys, roads, bridges and freeways that drive others to feel, think and be. It is worth the battle, and there will be a major pay-off: sharing. Contributing. Offering your greatest passion to a world that could be otherwise stripped of beauty or meaning without you. It won’t be in the fantastical ways of Amelie. It will be in your signature form, led by the pulse of the Parisian streets, the dust lanes of resolution, the fortifying gates of courage.

Hedy Lamarr: Patent Beauty, Patent Invention by Diana Rivera

“I have not been that wise. Health I took for granted.

Love I have demanded, perhaps too much and too often.

As for money, I have only realized it’s true worth

when I didn’t have it.”

–Hedy Lamar

Hedy Lamarr (1913-2000) is a Hollywood starlet in a luminescent observatory. She has been waiting for the exact moment to enter spotlight most likely to be reckoned with by you, by me, by the millions of others that’ll discover and muse over her. She planned it this way. Hedy was stunning, and her beauty was glorified at the exact aesthetic time to capture that quintessential black and white starlet look incorporating jewels, deep red lipsticks, silks and fur.

Hedy was an Austrian native, married six times, divorced, rose to fame. Somehow it reads like another starlet’s life, yet it would be simplistic to clump her along with everyone else because she is not like anyone else. Although Hedy is famous for her beauty, her style and her films, to me she is famous as a creative, collaborative inventor.

What you may know is that growing up in Vienna, she was introduced to the piano by her mother and mentor, Max Reinhardt. Her background in music and the future learnings from her first husband, a munitions manufacturer who did research on control systems, led to a major discovery.  After her divorce to him, once she had come to Hollywood, the U.S. went to war with Germany in World War II. She was determined to help the effort and she began to collaborate with her musician friend, George Antheil.

Hedy was constellar in her thought process. Together with George, they united her second-hand learnings of music, the german weapon systems, and his expertise with player pianos to devise a new invention. They created a frequency hopping system, which would protect U.S. radio-guided torpedoes in the Second World War from being intercepted by the Nazis. “However, the US Naval Department would not take an idea proposed by a beautiful actress and a musician seriously, even when that idea had the support of the newly established National Inventors Council. Hedy was encouraged to support the war effort by selling kisses to promote the sale of war bonds, and she did so very successfully.” (Crammond, p. 523).

Although Hedy and George patented their idea, it wasn’t used in U.S. ships until 20 years later after the expiration of the patent.

How are beautiful actress’ of Hedy’s era understood? In the broadest way, they are adored for beauty, not innovation. In the most creative way, they could be seen as prismatic as the diamonds they wore, not just a pearl on a pillow.

Conscious or not, legacy-driven or not, Hedy planned a beautiful room of innovation to greet her in. Close enough to the spotlight where she was personally driven to, the observatory hosts a constellar vision of what passion (in her case political), learnings from previous relationships and artistic experiences can be when in concert with another.

Points to ponder:

  • What is a gift you have that might appear to be a secret to others?
  • How might that gift be part of a larger, constellar vision of the world?

Crammond, B. (2011).  Women and Creativity. In M. A. Runco  &  S. R. Pritzker,  (Eds.), The  encyclopedia of Creativity, 2nd ed., Vol. 2. (pp. 521-524). San Diego: Academic Press.