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Passion Required

I didn’t expect to like either of the television adaptations we looked at in class last week. To my surprise, the 1978 version might be my favorite adaptation we have studied so far. And it seems to me this comes down to passion. While the Katharine Hepburn certainly didn’t lack it, the two that followed did, and the result was depressing.

I’ve come to the conclusion that no matter how talented a cast is or how faithful a screenwriter is, the production has to be inspired, reverent, and most importantly, passionate about the source material for the adaptation to come alive.

I’m looking forward to looking at the 1994 and 2019 versions, as I’m familiar with both and know they are filled with passion and love for the Alcott novel. I’m excited to see the different elements that come into the foreground of the analyses as the two films are exceptionally strong. I imagine it will be easier to focus on nuanced camera work, acting, and production design. I can’t wait.

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The Fifth

My brother is my father’s namesake. As a kid, I assumed “the third” that followed his name referred to birth order, so as the fifth and youngest child, I would introduce myself as Reed Jamison Rickards the fifth with great dignity.

Since spending so much time with Alcott’s fictional sisters and all of their various incarnations, I’ve thought a lot about what it means to be born into a tight knit team of siblings. I never imagined that one day we’d live so many miles apart, miss birthdays, or make new relationships that would take on more significance.

I wonder when it started, the drifting apart. Was it the weddings? Was it the children that made siblings more mom than sister or dad than brother? Was it the loss of physical closeness? Was our bond really only born out of the convenience of living down the hall from each other?

I miss being the fifth. I used to resent it–being known as my sibling’s younger brother. Now I wouldn’t mind being known only as someone’s something. The magnitude of true independence is more overwhelming than exciting at the present moment. And while I’m lucky to have friends and family who support me, I can’t help but feel a bit lonely in my independence.

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Our Own Plumfield

I went home this weekend to see family. The brick farmhouse was mostly the same, though my innumerable nieces and nephews have moved their toys into my old room. A giant Medieval style castle that you piece together like a three dimensional puzzle was brought down from the attic for my nine year old nephew to play with. I was around the same age myself the last time I saw it, the old Christmas present that was eventually stored to make room for other toys and belongings. The whole scene had the same buzz that I imagine when I read about Plumfield academy. Kids everywhere, arts and crafts, and creative projects out under the oak trees.

At the end of the weekend I drove away from Oak Lake Drive, my heart a bit less heavy than last time. That’s growing up, isn’t it? We just become more and more comfortable leaving home behind until we create a new home. We leave the attic, costumes ready to collect dust, and we set out in search of our moment under the umbrella, our moment in the paddle boat, and eventually, our very own Plumfield.

For now, the hands are still ink-stained and the future is still a dream. “What will I be doing in however many years?” “Gosh! I’ll be so old!”

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Storm of Creativity

Surely every reader knows the electric feeling of sensing an approaching creative storm. Like the old man in the village whose left hip tingles when bad weather approaches, us creatives feel it in our bones with the vortex of creativity that will suck us in is on its way. I feel it approaching, gaining speed, and the feeling reverberates in my bones. It excites me. I need a good purge of all of the good, interesting, and heavy thoughts that have been swirling waiting to be inked onto paper.

I’ve been enjoying writing the old fashion way this week: ink and pen. It seems to emphasize this ritual, giving it more impact. It feels like action of dancer in combination, artist with brushstroke, and conductor leading his symphony. I have to escape the keyboard and glowing screen sometimes. I wonder sometimes who will find my terrible unorganized long-hand notes and papers one day, whether another version of myself, older and wiser, or family or friends. Then I shirk the thought because it makes me self conscious. But still, the question hides in the back of my mind. Where will this writing go? What will come of it?