Les Americains are obsessed with closure, and conclusions are required to be prefaced by fiery explosions that settle into wholesome landscapes, comforting and blithe for everyone who originally got burned. Except the black guy. He's dead.
American films dish up unreasonable scenarios that lack intricacy, the summer lineup a queue of largely obvious formulas that are rewritten over and again. And one distinct difference between the two classes: In American film, it is the leading man who is chased, in those European, the woman is the prize. Always. I appreciate that.
French filmmakers are masters of capturing the epitome of angst without using histrionics as a tool. Have you ever been to Paris? The inhabitants are the wry characters that you see in film, traumatized by the tedium of life. They pout, they don't scream, they take lovers, not therapy. The French know that there is nothing comforting nor blithe in general, and in order to endure the undercurrent of existential distress, one need only have a brief affair, then show no perceptible signs of concern once it ends.
European film portrays the subtleties of interpersonal complexity and irresolvable enigma. Plots traverse down unexpected avenues and generally end with bitter sweet notes that can leave the viewer feeling anything from frustration to utter acceptance. How fibrous. There is rarely a summation, it's the wife who usually leaves, and the outcome is hardly predictable. I know that a movie is good when after I offer its recommendation I am asked the nature of its content and I can only respond, 'you know, I don't really know...'.
I've always had difficulty with subtlety, which is why it is so magnetic for me. In film, and in those people I meet who seem to utterly macerate in patience and quiet fortitude, I always wonder what level of zen one has to achieve to output subtlety, moreover, on what road must one travel to get there.
Subtlety is power without the appendage of exhibition or pretension. It is a manifestation of hard-earned integrity and equanimity that cannot be unearthed, not easily anyway. Bombast, contrarily, belies an uncertainty within. If there is enough mighty energy swirling about, then the vulnerable soul can be lost in the tangle and escape scrutiny for weaknesses that one would rather not disrobe.
Part of my path has been not so much to cultivate silence for silence's sake, but to work assiduously toward a place of peace so that silence alone has the mettle to speak of place and intention, the merit of the path on which I have strode, and without haste or desperation to define an end. It is through that effort, I believe, that the secrets of our own lives are revealed to us, leaving less to say and more to simply and silently know.
I struggle with subtlety sometimes. Less and less, to be sure. But the content of my silence is the measuring stick that I use to gauge just how stalwart I've grown, and where still I would like to go.
Perhaps one day the quietude of my external voice will mark the quality of the one within. If I dive deep enough, I might even discover a voice of eloquence, of merit, and with enough subtlety to speak volumes.
For these babies, I used Tartine's Country loaf formula, divided into 6 boules.
A note on feeding my starters: Guys, I generally bake once a week. You might bake more. For those of you who bake once a week, I find that this works very well: You only need to feed your starters once every 24 hours. And then two days before you are going to bake, begin to feed them at 12 hour intervals. For example, if I want to bake on Wednesday, or start a preferment on the night before, I would begin two daily feedings starting Monday morning. So two feedings Monday, one on Tuesday morning if I am going to do an overnight preferment that night; or two feedings on Tuesday if my formula does not call for a preferment, and I just want to bake straight from my starters Wednesday morning. Make sense? I will let you know if the ensuing hot weather forces me to bump my feedings back up to twice a day. Also, in effort to save money on flour, here are the gram amounts I use for my 100% hydration starters: 50g flour 50g water 50g starter at one feeding per day. If I want to bake from a formula that calls for a larger volume of starter, when I start my double daily feedings, I bump up the amount of flour and water to increase the starter volume required for the recipe. It's helped me save money, and trips to the market. Rye is expensive!