emailing with purpose
To the right a river
To the left a sky
Straight ahead a pebbled road
To the right a river and a boat
To the left a sky and a door
Straight ahead a pebbled road
To the right a river, a boat and a boy
To the left a sky, a door and a girl
Straight ahead a pebbled road
To the right a river, a boat, a boy and a dog
To the left a sky, a door, a girl and…
This diary entry takes us back to 2011. I came across it while writing my novel with the idea to use some entries that would enrich the characters’ inner lives. My goal is to integrate material from my diaries and give the novel’s world a historic psyche perspective.
Three days before March 8th in 2011, another entry reads:
Mariya is a light!
Mariya is a well!
Mariya has, but revealed a glimpse of her dance.
The world awaits her, like a child the touch of his mother.
Mariya is my wife and we had been together under a year when the entry was made. With that said: Happy (belated) International Women’s Day to all the women and mothers here! Touring with my films, I've come across far more women in the not-for-profit world than men. These women volunteer, bring together communities and sow peace. My deepest gratitude to them, my wife and stepdaughter, mother and sister, my female colleagues and every other woman who has humbled and pushed me to consider the world through the eyes and heart of the opposite.
March 8th is also the birthday of my mother and the birthday of my grandfather. Yosif Darev was a writer. He was accepted in Yugoslavia and the USSR to study documentary film directing. He never made it to either of those schools. But in a direct or indirect way, depending on what you believe, Yosif is making documentaries now…
This past week we celebrated another birthday and remembered maestro Alexander Eppler, born in 1955 on March 6th in Seattle. This adventuresome American of Russian descent made an impact in Bulgaria recently. “Kaval Park” was viewed by the Agency for Bulgarians living abroad which is part of the Ministry of Exterior. The film made such an impression that the Agency and Ministry have invited us to be a part of celebrating 120 years of diplomacy between Bulgaria and the USA. A celebration that takes us back to 1903. The cycle of events lasts through the end of 2023 and our little movie is opening the festivities! Congratulations to everyone involved and a big thank you to Julia in Bulgaria who has been working closely with me to continue to promote the film. The Vice President of Bulgaria and prestigious government officials are supposed to attend. I will be traveling to Bulgaria for the event on April 4th, two days after the elections there. It should be interesting to say the least, but, hey, politicians are also people and if the film sows a seed somewhere, we will have done our job.
In relation to government officials, here is what this entry says:
Imagination turns destructive in government and life when one lives in a perpetual state of accumulating emotional and physical wealth.
I’m not including the dairy entries here to make a statement or to validate any truth. They are documents about a state of being and thought. Just as Follow The Pen (and The Camera) is the equivalent to a diary - I wish to continue to develop this space as such. I love writing here, knowing my words are received by you. I’ve been reading the essays of Paul Kingsnorth
and enjoy how Paul has structured his publication. So we will attempt to do something similar here:
I will publish every fortnight a long essay, reflection or a musing. Whatever we call it, I plan to devote structured energy and thought to these writings.
Every third Sunday we will start a Monthly Meet-Up where I will open up the floor to you in the comments with a topic - our first Meet-Up next week will start with, you guessed it, movies. The idea is to encourage us to meet one another, build up this community and exchange ideas.
I invite you to download the Substack app where you can have a wonderful curated mobile experience, like and comment. This will turn my publishing from a monologue to a dialogue.
Speaking of exchange of ideas, my mom, Mariya, sister and niece discussed A.I. at length this past Wednesday. As mom’s birthday celebration with homemade food and dessert wound down, I showed some of my most recent illustrations and they loved them!
Then, I told them the truth: The above images were created by A.I. What followed was a lengthy discussion about ethics, beauty, art and so much more. The images were generated in the program MidJourney at a dinner party after my wife gave the A.I. the following key words:
in the style of Remedios Varo
How could we bring ourselves to discredit an image, if it makes us feel something... Could you? Be careful what you answer because, after all, how much of your reaction is affected by what you know about the Creator?
Here is what my friend an artist Vera wrote:
“Very interesting question and kind of dilemma. It is a commissioned art. You enter your preferences and get a result. Are they visually pleasing? Yes. Are they meeting the requirements? Yes. And this is what current trends are in the society: receive what you want to see. Hear what you want to hear. Like people who are like you. And this scares me. But are people going to buy art created by AI? Probably yes. It fits well.
And my reply to her:
We just had a two hour conversation about this with the family, mom and my sister and this is the conclusion I reached for myself: It will be up to everyone of us to decide how and if to participate in this new technology, and this technology is just the tip of the iceberg. So, do I seek out an artist to work with for my short stories? Or do I use A.I. to generate the images in five minutes? What does human to human connection give me? And am I willing to forgo it? I know the answer for myself, but what will future generations choose? Most importantly, we got to keep a conversation going about this emergence.
In the end, I don’t think any of us agreed on one solution, but I know each got something out of our conversation. The next morning, mom said, “I loved our discussion. It transported me back to my youth at the Bulgarian University in the sixties, staying late and talking passionately about the state of affairs.” Who was listening to them talk is another story for another time…
Next “Kaval Park” showings & tickets
We keep adding destinations so be sure to scroll down next time and check!
Chicago - April 27th - More information
New York - May 18th - The showing is at the Bulgarian embassy and it’s without tickets. Please RSVP here.
Sofia - May 18th, Dom na kinoto, SAVE THE DATE
Seattle - May 21st - Buy Tickets Now