Film director Pete Docter gave something back to the audience in his acceptance speech for Best Animated Feature for Inside Out at the Academy Awards last Sunday. If you haven’t seen Inside Out, it’s a wonderful film about an 11-year-old girl who becomes miserable after a cross-country move.
Here’s what Docter said:
“Anyone out there who’s in junior high, high school, working it out, suffering — there are days you’re going to feel sad. You’re going to feel angry. You’re going to feel scared. That’s nothing you can choose. But you can make stuff. Make films. Draw. Write. It will make a world of difference.”
Adults were listening too.
It reminded me of advice given by Merlyn the magician in King Arthur’s court as told in The Once and Future King by T.H. White.
“The best thing for being sad,” replied Merlyn, beginning to puff and blow, “is to learn something . That is the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then—to learn. Learn why the world ways and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the thing for you. Look at what a lot of things there are to learn—pure science, the only purity there is. You can learn anatomy in a lifetime, natural history in three, literature in six. And then, after you have exhausted a million lifetimes in biology and medicine and theocriticism and geography and history and economics—why, you can start to make a cartwheel out of the appropriate wood, or spend fifty years learning to begin to beat your adversary at fencing. After that you can start again on mathematics, until it is time to learn to plough.”
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[Photo: taken from a back car window of the Brooklyn side of the Manhattan Bridge.]