A Tribute To Philip Seymour Hoffman


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Since I heard about the passing of Philip Seymour Hoffman, I wanted to write something in his memory, but I was totally unable to collect my thoughts until today. The shock & sadness was too much, and I say that as someone who didn’t even know him. I cannot imagine what his friends and family are going through right now. I really wish them whatever peace they are able to find at this time.
I knew his work, and to me he was a genius – a master of his craft. I loved watching his performances, as I was deeply filled with each & every nuance he created on screen. I wish I had had the opportunity to see him on stage, because I know that would have been an amazing experience. Just to be in the presence of this artistic giant.
As is so often the case with famous people, we tend to focus on a processed image we are presented with – which is sometimes larger than life – and forget the fact that these people too are fallible, and prone to the fragility of human existence. For me, his death showed me his vulnerability, his humanity, and mirrored to me my own mortality, as I’m sure it did for many people around the world. But this was not how I viewed him while alive. I thought of him as intelligent, intense, powerful, sensitive, anchored, genius. He was someone who so completely filled the space in which he occupied; a creator, a risk-taker, a beautifully passionate artist.  
I loved knowing PSH existed in the world. I keep asking myself if that’s strange. Even if it is, I simply did. I loved knowing he was alive – someone with the capacity to bring art to life with such mastery, with huge depth and sincerity. Here was a man who explored his vast potential, with such ferocity and freedom. I would see any film he was in, because I knew he would always deliver, and I wanted to feel how I had felt when seeing him onscreen that very first time. Quite often I found myself smiling in recognition of that certain something he conveyed, which I think transcends language. I can’t find the words to explain it at any rate, and I feel even if I did, they just wouldn’t do.
I have to admit I don’t understand drug addiction. Anyone who knows me well knows that I abhor drugs. I am so intolerant of them. They simply don’t make sense to me. I cannot say I understand what Philip Seymour Hoffman was going through, what he experienced. But I feel tremendous sadness that he battled with addiction, and that whatever personal difficulties he was dealing with, he was unable to master. I feel sad at the thought that he may not have known how much he meant to so many – those who knew him well, and those like me. I’ve read many peoples’ reaction to his death, and while there are those who seriously lack compassion, there are many more who are feeling such a tremendous loss. I don’t know if he knew how valuable, how important he was – not just as an actor, but as a human being – but the outpouring of love right now from those of us he inspired & touched, is a sure testament.
I don’t want him to be dead. I know that is such a inane thing to say, but it’s how I feel. I can’t believe he’s really gone. But he has left a wonderful legacy, and I am very thankful that he existed. I am thankful for all the breaths he took.  
I found some lovely quotes of his that I thought to share. A few parting words:
“I think Magnolia is one of the best films I’ve ever seen and I can say that straight and out and anybody that disagrees with me I’ll fight you to the death. I just think it is one of the greatest films I’ve ever been in and ever seen.”
“The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you’re uncool.”
“I think you should be serious about what you do because this is it. This is the only life you’ve got.”
“Well, I think everyone struggles with self-love.”
“People actually live with their id exposed. They’re not good at concealing what’s going on inside.”
“To have that concentration to act well is like lugging things up staircases in your brain. I think that’s a thing people don’t understand. It is that exhausting. If you’re doing it well, if you’re concentrating the way you need to, if your will and your concentration and emotional and imagination and emotional life are all in tune, concentrated and working together in that role, that is just like lugging weights upstairs with your head…And I don’t think that should get any easier.”
“It’s not by going into ‘the business,’. The business can’t be a thought. You get a foothold because you want to get a foothold as an artist. Your desire, your intensity, has to be about being a great actor or a great painter or a great musician. If that’s strong enough, it’ll lead you to good teachers and to places where you’ll learn. For me, the business wasn’t a thought. I was doing a play, and a friend in the play said, ‘My manager is here tonight and she wants to meet you.’ And I said, ‘Oh.’ And that’s how I got a manager.’”
“Study, find all the good teachers and study with them, get involved in acting to act, not to be famous or for the money. Do plays. It’s not worth it if you are just in it for the money.You have to love it.”
“I had insecurities and fears like everybody does, and I got over it. But I was interested in the parts of me that struggled with those things.”

Ideas Worth Spreading…


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I came across these TED talks by Brené Brown a while ago, and just loved what she had to say.

This quote resonated with me a lot :

“As much as I would be frustrated about not being able to get my work out to the world, there was a part of me that was working very hard to engineer staying small, staying right under the radar.”

and of course her ultimate statement:

“Vulnerability is not weakness, it is our most accurate measurement of courage”

I hope you take the time to watch these two videos, and join in the conversation in the comments below.


National Poetry Day


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Today is National Poetry Day here in the UK.

To celebrate, I’m posting a poem I wrote a few years ago for a friend, whose Mother passed away. I like to think it’s for all of us who have lost someone close.

To My Child

You are my child and all is well
You will not fall under the spell
Of thinking
Now that I am gone
Your life without me can’t go on
You ramble through the bushes bare
And look for meaning everywhere
But I am here to guide your way
And I will hear you when you pray
So dry your tears and know my child
That I am always by your side
And when the grief proves hard to take
Remember love when you awake
Remember laughter, and those years
When I was there to soothe your fears
And always know no matter what
The door to me is never shut
Just close your eyes once in a while
And feel me close and see me smile
And know my heart it overflows
To watch you as your life it grows
In every meaning that you find
You rest with me, our souls entwined

My Angel Gabriel


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Today I’m sharing one of those songs that makes me shiver when I hear it. It’s so beautiful, simple, & profound.
The song is “Gabriel” by a band called Lamb from Manchester, UK. It’s from their 2001 Album “What Sound”. After a lot of searching, I found the official video which I share with you here:

Lamb – Gabriel – Video Dailymotion.

I featured some lyrics from the song for my “Lyric Tuesday” post on facebook which you can see below. I hope you enjoy the song as much as I do.
 Please let me know what you think in the comments below.


Autumn Leaves


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I have to say, we had a wonderful summer this year! I made the most of August outdoors, which meant I spent little time online, and my blog suffered serious neglect. But I figure I can more than make up for this now, as the weather has become really cold and I am staying put behind closed doors, concentrating on all the work I want to catch up on.

As some of you will know, every Tuesday I post a photo on my facebook page with some lyrics from a favourite song – mine or another artist’s. This week I thought to celebrate all things Autumn, and share some lyrics from my song entitled “Autumn Leaves”. Here it is below:

Autumn Leaves

Autumn Leaves

And this is the perfect place to share the full lyrics:

Autumn leaves on the ground
Howling wind, all around
Faded rainbow, colours gone
Hold the key until there’s none
On my own, running free
No one coming after me
Nothing to cling to
Nothing left
Eerie sounds surround my steps
Echoes near
Whisper secrets in my ear
Don’t follow shadows of the day
Lift your eyes and look away
Feeling wild and almost scared
Mindless dreams I never shared
Climbing branches, hollow bark
Sit and wait until it’s dark
On my own, running free
No one coming after me
Nothing to cling to
Nothing left
Eerie sounds surround my steps
Echoes near
Whisper secrets in my ear
Don’t follow shadows of the day
Lift your eyes and look away
Squirrel leap
Falling right at your feet
Silent noises everywhere
Darkening sky, misty air
Nothing’s clear
Feel despair
Don’t you care
© Emily Coates 2013

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