Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Immortalized in Print, Painting or Memory?

Ever wonder if you've ever made such an impression on someone that they might have written about you, sang about you, painted you or immortalized you in some way? Is there a character in a book based on you? Or a song playing on the radio about your break up. Perhaps a painting or photograph hangs on a wall somewhere and every time people pass it they wonder the story behind it.

Years ago I saw a film about a man who time traveled to find the woman he saw in a photograph. You might have seen it too, it's a cult film starring Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour titled Somewhere in Time. It's a haunting, sad film that stays with you long after you've seen it and leaves you wondering, "Can you make such an impression on someone or fall so deeply in love that the memories sustain through time?"

The movie Somewhere in Time is based on a science fiction book titled Bid Time Return. In both the book and the film a man travels through time to find a woman he sees in a photograph. In reality the author of the book walked into an opera house and saw a photograph of a reclusive stage actress from the 1890's named Maude Adams. The photograph so intrigued him that he fell a little in love with her, fictionalized his experience and eventually adapted the book to film. There is a moment in the movie when Christopher Reeve walks into a hotel and sees for the first time a picture of Jane Seymour. Taken decades before he was even born he is immediately obsessed with the woman in the photo and eventually travels through time to meet her. One wonders what it is that creates that connection between 2 strangers.

Like the author of Bid Time Return many writers and artists are intelligibly tied to a muse. Salvador Dali and his muse of 50 years Elena, Gustav Klimt and his companion Emilie, Yoko to Lennon, Linda to Paul, Elizabeth Siddal to Dante Gabriel Rossetti. These women were immortalized again and again but what about the relationship that inspired your favorite love song? Or the real life person that inspired the quirky character from your favorite movie or TV show? Do you think you would know if you'd inspired someone to create something that reminded them of you? Would it be enough to know that somewhere someone remembers a moment?

Here is one of my favorite clips in film, Robert Redford sharing with Demi Moore in Indecent Proposal about the stranger he never met and never forgot but immortalized in memory.

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