One of the things I’ve never understood is the occasional depiction of writers in movies and TV. Understand now, I applaud the appearance of them, but what bugs me is the way they are so often portrayed. In that regard I suppose pretty much the worst of the lot was “Shakespeare in Love.” Joseph Fiennes played the part of young Shakespeare, who seemed to spend a great deal of his time cavorting about town, but from time to time he was suddenly seized with an idea. He would rush to his desk, give his trusty quill a twirl or two, and off he went on one of those glorious flights of fancy that produced so many plays and poems that are still a part of us some four centuries later. The only thing is, it didn’t happen that way, and screenplay writers Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard, being writers themselves, surely knew that. Anyone who actually writes more than an occasional letter to the editor knows the first axiom of writing. You do not wait for inspiration. Find yourself a quiet place to create and commit yourself to being there five to seven times a week, always at the same time, and for the same allotment of time. That way, the advice runs, if inspiration should strike, you’ll be ready for it at your desk with your writing implements.
So, that’s the bad depiction of writers. But over thirty years earlier I saw an absolutely wonderful depiction of writing in the movie version of “Dr. Zhivago,” the memory of which warms my heart to this day. In the second half of the movie, Zhivago and his love Lara go to the old mansion. It’s the dead of winter, and they break in, as the Soviets have declared it off limits. It’s much too big a place to heat with their limited fuel, so they partition off two rooms for themselves. One night while she sleeps he sits down to write a love poem to her. He manages but a line or two before he realizes it’s no good, no good at all. He crumples it in a rage, breaks out another sheet, and begins again. On and on through the night he writes, sometimes in a veritable passion of creation, other times wretched stuff that’s destined to be crumpled up and tossed to the floor to join the other false starts. The following morning, Lara goes into the room. Zhivago has finished his poem in the wee hours of the morning and fallen asleep at his desk. All around the table and floor are crumpled sheets, but there in the center of the desk is one pristine sheet with the final draft of the poem neatly written out. And that, really, is how writers create.
Well, that movie came out in 1965, and I actually saw it in Berlin while it was on its first run. I was 20 at the time (you can do the math!), but a lot of those scenes have stayed with me all these years, especially the one I’ve just shared with you. I thought never to see any kind of product that would bring back the memories of that long ago perfect portrayal of what writing really is, but I recently got a press release from one of my favorite publicists, JoAnn Locktov, that did just that.
Global Lighting is a wonderful source for not just lighting fixtures, but lighting fixtures that knock your socks off. I won’t pretend to speak for the thinking that drives both the creation of their own lines and the choosing of which lines and products to distribute, but, in browsing through their many collections, I was reminded of the design philosophy of a manufacturer I once visited with a group of bloggers. The head designer told us that what they most wanted to produce were designs that were loved by half of those who saw them and hated by the other half, the ideal cutting edge, one might say. That sounds rather bold, which it is, I suppose, but, really, it’s just good business—OK, bold business—because nothing lukewarm means those who love the product are passionate about it.
Global Lighting’s latest addition to their product line is very much a case in point. All lighting, as Larry Lazin, President of Global Lighting, points out, must be functional if it is to have any value, but they chose Karman for the Stratos Collection because it is “superbly crafted of high design. Karman, under the creative direction of Matteo Ugolini, goes a step further. Imbued with wit and romance, Matteo’s lights inspire stories. They are confident lights, sometimes heroic and sometimes winsome but always compelling.”
Mr. Ugolini has created a whole host of lighting masterpieces over the years, but the one that most caught my fancy—for obvious reasons—is featured in the picture that tops this blog. It’s called Scrivimi (Write to me).
I know a lot of creative people and like to think I do fairly well in that department myself, but for all that, the one constant imponderable has always been, where do you get your ideas? It a question as old as mankind, really, dating back to the scene depicted in a cartoon that is now almost classic: a stone age man sitting on a rock, patiently carving a wheel out of another large rock. Where the heck did he get the idea for THAT? Maybe he saw a log rolling down a hill or a large rock or, who knows, really? He saw the same things everyone else did every day of their lives, but he somehow saw something that caused him to create something that never was.
The same thing happens with writing. Writers use the same words everyone else does, but they somehow find a way to shape them into sentences and thoughts and descriptions that elude the rest of us. But not without a struggle! The one constant with writing is revisions. Only sometimes does one create a sentence so fine that it requires nothing further. But how, if one were inspired to do such a thing, would one commemorate that act of creation with something so prosaic as a lighting fixture? Well, to start, the lighting fixture would no longer be prosaic, but the question still remains, how does one design it in such a way that it is fair to describe the finished result as evocative of writing? Think about it for a moment. There are millions of writers, but the one constant is the crumpled paper that is so often the result of failed sentences and concepts. What, then, is more emblematic of the writer’s passion? And with that Matteo was ready to wail.
It is, as I said, the lighting concept that most appealed to me, but, really, the man is a veritable cornucopia of lighting concepts. We’ve also featured the 24 Karati Teardrop Pendant, but there’s half a dozen more Karman lighting concepts available at Global Lighting that we could just as easily have written about. The qualities shared by them all are quality, utility, and designs that are nothing short of amazing. As Ugolini puts it, “My lights express the magic of how design can transform life.”
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