"We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race; And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, "O me! O life!... of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless... of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?" Answer: that you are here; that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?" - Robin Williams as John Keating from Dead Poet's Society
I was fourteen when the movie, Dead Poet's Society, was released. I can recall being heavily influenced by its underlying themes. It was about passion, discovering who you are, what you love and the things that drive you. It was about creating something and appreciating the beauty in the process. It was about finding inspiration in the world that surrounds you. It was about words.
Last week, I caught this film again, and though I still found it very entertaining, it didn't quite have the same impact as I remembered it having when I was young. I realized it wasn't the movie that had changed, but the viewer. A few days later, I saw a commercial, and there it was again, the voice-over was from Dead Poet's Society. I decided in that moment that I needed to take another look at the film. Once again, I found myself inspired, but this time it wasn't as much the dialog, but the set and costume designs that got me. The aesthetic was austere, restrained, grounded and, of course, preppy. I fell in love with the look of the film. I fell in love with those wonderful wool duffle coats the boys wore.
Indeed, the viewer has changed in the last 25 years. There was a time when I wanted to be a writer (this film was partly to blame for that), but now I am a designer, still seeking inspiration in the world that surrounds me. Though I might struggle, or tend to find it in the details of the strangest things, the beauty is in the process of discovering it. My ultimate goal is to learn what inspires my clients, and to direct them as they set the "stage" of their lives, because "the powerful play goes on..." I still love Whitman, that hasn't changed.
Be inspired...contribute a verse.