My grandpa's old movie screen, in the studio.

I went to see HUGO the other night with my movie club friends. HUGO is the film version of Brian Selznick's graphic novel, The Invention of Hugo Cabret. When the book first came out, I chose it as a book for my son's book club. I was fascinated by what the response to a graphic novel might be from a group of middle schoolers who mostly just read fantasy and classics. William loved it, and so after seeing the film, my husband and I brought all the kids for our first family theater outing. It went remarkably smoothly, even with the twins' repeated bathroom runs, which were really just excuses to get out of their chairs, stretch their little legs, and explore the theater.

I loved HUGO. I'm not a movie critic at all. If a film makes me smile, I like it. If it makes me fall in love, I like it. There are very few films that I don't like, although I am admittedly not a huge fan of anything with blood and gore, and I will pierce you with my nails if you are sitting too close to me during a horror flick. Films, like music, inspire me. They stir the wells and make me want to create, write, and reflect. They make me feel alive.

This film is the most recent one that really sparked my creativity. HUGO is a child of remarkable insight, curiosity, imagination and ability, who follows his passions with a sense of determination and responsibility, with no one guiding him, and in doing so, makes the lives of those around him better. He talks about about the world being one big machine and everyone being a part of that machine, and how no machine has useless parts, so we are all here to do something, to contribute in some way to the machine...

I have put my friends through the wringer for the past six months. I have been asking them to help me answer questions about my life, that really, only I could answer. Why am I here? What should I focus on?  How can I achieve my lofty goals and mother teenagers and preschoolers at the same time? What is my place in the machine?

One friend told me, "Jocelyn, you have to do you." Another, "Stop worrying about what people think you should be doing and do what you want to do." And yet others, all saying the same thing, "Stop trying to help everyone else, focus on yourself." And I wanted to, but I am a sucker for an underdog, and how do you not help someone when you know that you can?

And the best advice I got was this: "The best thing a person can do to help everyone else is to do what they do best, what they love the most, the best they can."

What I love to do most? To help other people achieve their goals, and work in the studio. It's scary to commit to solely focusing on the thing that you love the most. What if you fail? What then, is there?

Screw fear. I'm working in the studio, and going back to school starting in February. I figure it will be good to restart my studio practice with a class, since it will keep me focused, get me back into talking art speak, and get me into Boston on a regular basis, networking, hitting the galleries again and seeing others work more, all of the things I had originally planned to do as part of this journey. It will also keep me accountable until my studio practice habits are formed.

As far as helping other people achieve their goals... more to come. For now, I have to finish up the current things I have committed to, namely,  the current Arts After Hours Production I Love You, You're Perfect Now Change, then, I am jumping back into the studio HUGO style: taking my place in the machine as a mother, writer, and artist.


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