It began with the advent of Super 8. I'd tried it with regular 8 mm film and was never satisfied enough with the outcome to be driven to do more. But Super 8; this looked almost like a movie. So I began in earnest to do something I'd be proud to show others and call it mine. I started with sunsets. I'd talked the folks at the campus library into allowing me access to the roof "in the name of art." It was a pretty high perch with a beautiful old quad below, sporting the majestic trees any quality university should own. I'd set the camera up on a tripod on days that looked promising. These were usually afternoons when a storm was either coming or going. I fashioned my own filter with rose-tinted sunglasses from Walgreens ($1.99 plus tax). Then I'd point it at the sky and click off a frame ever few seconds (10?) using the exposure extension cord I'd acquired somewhere. Even I was taken aback at first by how lovely these sped-up sunsets were. Sure; you see it everywhere now, but I did it first and I never earned a dime for the idea.
The first full length feature I put together I set to the Yes Album, side one. It took hours and hours with a little cut and splice machine I'd also acquired "somewhere." I swear I can't remember but I guess I got these accessories at a camera store.
So my paean to the Father of us All, the One who'd been worshiped by millions upon millions of upwalkers who had left historic homages in the form of carved rocks, brush strokes, pens on paper, preachers' sermons; my hymn was to show the Father who cannot be looked directly in the eye as He hurried downward, turning into oranges and then scarlets as if He were embarrassed about his destination or about His leaving us derelicts here in the darkness to do God Knows What until His return. And, as he scuttled away, herds of clouds would stream by like Appaloosas or Palominos on a plain, running nowhere as fast as possible, changing colors from white to grey or yellow and pink with rosy undertones, some looking pregnant with moisture and large darkened underbellies, waiting to break their water on some lucky farmer's crop two hundred miles away. The most significant caught images were of such a cloud forming out of nothing right in front of you and just as rapidly receding back into that place from whence we all came and where we're all going.
And all of this set as best I could to the near-falsetto voice of Jon Anderson pleading to all of us:
Don't surround yourself with yourself,
Move on back two squares.
My first masterpiece was shown as an opening feature to some foreign movie being shown on campus, and the crowd went wild. Obviously, they were all stoned to the hilt, but it made me feel good. And I understood how all filmmakers as well as artists of any sort can feel like God for just a few minutes at least, completely surrounded by themselves.