I have known…

Listening to music can be therapeutic, soothing, invigorating, inspiring, heartbreaking, or depressing, much like reading or listening to a story. In fact Hans Zimmer once said that in all the music he composes his primary purpose is to tell a story, despite using no words. Listening to one of his most famous pieces (that accompanies one of the great movie endings of all time) inspired this little effort of mine below. In Zimmer’s piece, and the film, the hero is faced with a situation where all seems lost. He did everything he could, but all he has worked for has crumbled to dust before his eyes. He sees the situation for what it is, absorbs this devastating news, and yet he still finds the strength to keep going, even to sacrifice himself and his reputation to save people he will never meet, who will almost certainly never even know, let alone appreciate, what he did for them. He is able to do it quickly this time, because he’s done it before. In these respects, these few minutes are a microcosm of his entire heroic journey.

As the piece played I was struck by the ways in which it mirrored some of my own experiences (except it took me far longer to gather up the strength to keep going, and my behaviour has been far less heroic). It encourages me to keep going, to do better, to come closer to the good example set.

This is the power of story, of archetypes, of strong heroic characters, of good examples. Let us make more of them.

My piece set to Zimmer’s music can be found here, with the lyrics below that

I have known…

I have known despair, and I will not promote it.
I have known pain, and I will not glorify it.
I have known false hope, and I will not encourage it.
I have known cowardice, and I will understand, but not praise it.
I have known self-loathing, and I will not romanticize it.
I have known brokenness, defeat, lostness, and yet emerged on the other side, not unscathed, but grown.
I have known failure, and I will learn from it.
I will defend the truth.
I will not abandon my allies.
I will keep learning, and admit when I am wrong.
I will advocate for genuine hope.
I will praise and strive to create beauty.
I will call for courage in matters great and small.
I will seek to repair the damage I have caused.
I will seek to restore friendships.
I will console those who suffer.
I will encourage those who feel they can’t go on, for I have walked that path.

A treat for the people falling into the intersection of the universes of Heinlein purists and Film buffs…

…which has to be most narrowly defined Hollywood demographic in the Predestination_posterhistory of Tinsel Town.

Nonetheless, I was surprised – nay, shocked! – to run across this flick the other night, which stars Ethan Hawke, who seems to be carving out a niche in genre movies – Predestination.

About two minutes in, I started to recognize lines from Robert Heinlein’s “All You Zombies” – perhaps, the first and greatest time-travel paradox stories – so I checked IMDB and – lo and behold – it was based on “All You Zombies….”

To quote from my Amazon review:

If you are a fan of Robert Heinlein, then you will love this movie. It is based – and stays extremely close to – Heinlein’s classic story “All You Zombies.” I tumbled to the connection in the first few minutes when some of Heinlein’s lines were showing up in the movie, but when one character introduced himself as the “unmarried mother,” I knew I had to check IMDB. Heinlein purists will love this movie. There are lines right out of the story, and the background has things from the story, such as a jukebox playing “I’m my own Grandpa.” There also all sorts of clever “tells” planted in the movie, which you will spot if you know the story.

The movie does extend the story, but not in a way that hurts the message or plot. In fact, the extension is necessary to round out the story from the standpoint of fitting a Hollywood checklist for plot closure (the story being famous for not having closure.)

I am not sure that anyone will be surprised by the plot turns, but, then, I read the story a half dozen times before I graduated from high school.

The actors sell their roles. Ethan Hawke comes across as an experienced agent, and Sarah Snook delivered on her roles as well as one might expect for such a pretty and feminine lady.

 

Something like 90% of the movie is the Heinlein story, up to and including how a central character attempts to join the Space force….in 1962, so we are clearly in alternate history territory, which must have been jarring for civilians, i.e., non-science fiction readers.

The movie adds about 10% that extends the Heinlein original, but not in a way that I found distracting or unfaithful.

I recommend reading the Heinlein short story before watching this flick so that you can appreciate how Heinlein’s concepts translate to a different medium.  Also, the story might have too much of a “WTF?” effect if the viewer goes into it cold, albeit I wouldn’t know.

This is a surprising gem that is worth burning a couple of hours on a slow weekend.