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From the monthly archives:

March 2010

Please Support My Friend Steve Fialkoff

by Danny Fisher on March 26, 2010

Steve Fialkoff is a very talented film editor and we worked together for many years. He is now facing blindness at the age of 56. Please help Steve achieve his goal and remember to count all the blessings in your life.


You Can Make A Difference in my life by Steve Fialkoff

You probably don’t know what Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) is – I didn’t either, that is until age 25, when the doctor told me I would be blind sometime in my 60′s. Well I am 56 now and his prediction, unfortunately seems to be on target. I should be depressed but I am not. That’s because of you. Yes, you. I know that your donation is going to be the one that funds the next biggest breakthrough in sight restoration. I’m very serious. The last time we asked my friends for support, a few months later, a nine year old boy’s sight was restored. This treatment was funded mostly by this foundation. There’s another reason; I am getting a little scared of facing the ever increasing darkness that invades my life everyday. Thank you

Steve’s goal is to raise $5,000 for the Foundation Fighting Blindness, and as I post this, he has achieved $781 toward his goal. Please consider helping Steve reach his goal.

You can make a donation here.


I became interested in Marcel Proust, for whose monumental masterpiece my blog is named, when I worked as an assistant to director Nicholas Ray at his acting and directing workshops at the Lee Strasberg Institute. In addition to the dynamic workshops of Nick Ray, I had the opportunity to sit in on a workshop given by the legendary Lee Strasberg, in which he chose a volunteer from the student audience and used the student to demonstrate the technique of emotional recall. That left an indelible impression on me, as the student was transported into another place, and all his senses were recreated – relived – to the most minute detail. The recollection of the student’s senses evoked the recall of the emotional state – as close as one could get to reliving the actual experience – it seemed a work of hypnotism on the part of Lee Strasberg.


Lee Strasberg

I had the further opportunity to personally experience such an intense emotional recall during Nick Ray’s workshops, using the techniques of Lee Strasberg combined with Nick Ray’s intensely personal directing style. I was able to relive a moment in my life, and felt that I was “there” for the period in which I was in the “spell.” Nick Ray and Lee Strasberg both had spoken about Proust in reference to the subject of the recollection of the senses and emotional recall, and about Proust’s famous madeleine and cup of tea, the taste of which unleashed memories in Proust resulting in several thousand pages and seven volumes which feature over 2,000 characters.

proust picture

Marcel Proust

I was intrigued, and began reading “Remembrance of Things Past,” later retitled to the more literal translation “In Search of Lost Time.” I was tremendously captivated by the novel and read some of the volumes several times. It is my favorite book, the deepest and most profound book I have ever read – yet I am certain that I have not yet captured most of its meaning.

The book is not an easy read – it is admittedly tedious (but well worth it, at least it was for me) – and some of the sentences are so long that it is extremely hard to follow. I have been thinking for a while about a sentence I remember reading in “In Search of Lost Time” that was so incredibly long and I was eager for another read of it. I couldn’t possibly search for this sentence by perusing the seven volumes – that would likely take me years – but through the power of the internet, I tonight rediscovered Proust’s longest sentence – possibly the longest sentence in all of literature – and I am pleased to reprint this 958 word sentence in its entirety as a special bonus feature available exclusively (well, not really) here:

“Their honour precarious, their liberty provisional, lasting only until the discovery of their crime; their position unstable, like that of the poet who one day was feasted at every table, applauded in every theatre in London, and on the next was driven from every lodging, unable to find a pillow upon which to lay his head, turning the mill like Samson and saying like him: “The two sexes shall die, each in a place apart!”; excluded even, save on the days of general disaster when the majority rally round the victim as the Jews rallied round Dreyfus, from the sympathy–at times from the society–of their fellows, in whom they inspire only disgust at seeing themselves as they are, portrayed in a mirror which, ceasing to flatter them, accentuates every blemish that they have refused to observe in themselves, and makes them understand that what they have been calling their love (a thing to which, playing upon the word, they have by association annexed all that poetry, painting, music, chivalry, asceticism have contrived to add to love) springs not from an ideal of beauty which they have chosen but from an incurable malady; like the Jews again (save some who will associate only with others of their race and have always on their lips ritual words and consecrated pleasantries), shunning one another, seeking out those who are most directly their opposite, who do not desire their company, pardoning their rebuffs, moved to ecstasy by their condescension; but also brought into the company of their own kind by the ostracism that strikes them, the opprobrium under which they have fallen, having finally been invested, by a persecution similar to that of Israel, with the physical and moral characteristics of a race, sometimes beautiful, often hideous, finding (in spite of all the mockery with which he who, more closely blended with, better assimilated to the opposing race, is relatively, in appearance, the least inverted, heaps upon him who has remained more so) a relief in frequenting the society of their kind, and even some corroboration of their own life, so much so that, while steadfastly denying that they are a race (the name of which is the vilest of insults), those who succeed in concealing the fact that they belong to it they readily unmask, with a view less to injuring them, though they have no scruple about that, than to excusing themselves; and, going in search (as a doctor seeks cases of appendicitis) of cases of inversion in history, taking pleasure in recalling that Socrates was one of themselves, as the Israelites claim that Jesus was one of them, without reflecting that there were no abnormals when homosexuality was the norm, no anti-Christians before Christ, that the disgrace alone makes the crime because it has allowed to survive only those who remained obdurate to every warning, to every example, to every punishment, by virtue of an innate disposition so peculiar that it is more repugnant to other men (even though it may be accompanied by exalted moral qualities) than certain other vices which exclude those qualities, such as theft, cruelty, breach of faith, vices better understood and so more readily excused by the generality of men; forming a freemasonry far more extensive, more powerful and less suspected than that of the Lodges, for it rests upon an identity of tastes, needs, habits, dangers, apprenticeship, knowledge, traffic, glossary, and one in which the members themselves, who intend not to know one another, recognise one another immediately by natural or conventional, involuntary or deliberate signs which indicate one of his congeners to the beggar in the street, in the great nobleman whose carriage door he is shutting, to the father in the suitor for his daughter’s hand, to him who has sought healing, absolution, defence, in the doctor, the priest, the barrister to whom he has had recourse; all of them obliged to protect their own secret but having their part in a secret shared with the others, which the rest of humanity does not suspect and which means that to them the most wildly improbable tales of adventure seem true, for in this romantic, anachronistic life the ambassador is a bosom friend of the felon, the prince, with a certain independence of action with which his aristocratic breeding has furnished him, and which the trembling little cit would lack, on leaving the duchess’s party goes off to confer in private with the hooligan; a reprobate part of the human whole, but an important part, suspected where it does not exist, flaunting itself, insolent and unpunished, where its existence is never guessed; numbering its adherents everywhere, among the people, in the army, in the church, in the prison, on the throne; living, in short, at least to a great extent, in a playful and perilous intimacy with the men of the other race, provoking them, playing with them by speaking of its vice as of something alien to it; a game that is rendered easy by the blindness or duplicity of the others, a game that may be kept up for years until the day of the scandal, on which these lion-tamers are devoured; until then, obliged to make a secret of their lives, to turn away their eyes from the things on which they would naturally fasten them, to fasten them upon those from which they would naturally turn away, to change the gender of many of the words in their vocabulary, a social constraint, slight in comparison with the inward constraint which their vice, or what is improperly so called, imposes upon them with regard not so much now to others as to themselves, and in such a way that to themselves it does not appear a vice.” – Marcel Proust, “In Search of Lost Time”

* * *

Excerpt from a novel I have been writing called “White Sand Falling.”

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It’s So Hard

by Danny Fisher on March 9, 2010

What can I say, but it’s so hard.  Hard to get out of bed.  Hard to go to sleep.  Hard to get through the night.  What can I say, but it’s so hard.

“You got to live,
You got to love,
You got to be somebody,
You got to shove,
But it’s hard,
It’s really hard,
Some times I feel
like going down…”

jack building

Rebuilding:  Jack works on a new edit room

I am trying to rebuild.  I am trying to redefine myself.  I am trying to reinvent myself.  I am trying to get back on my feet.  Hard to be with new people.  Harder still to be with people I knew.  How do people see me now?  How do I see myself?  What can I say, but it’s so hard.

“You got to eat,
You got to drink,
You got to feel something,
You got to worry,
It’s so hard,
It’s really hard,
Some times I feel
like going down…”

I live each day with great uncertainty.  Anything can happen.  My glass is either half full or half empty.  That depends on the day, the hour of the day and the minute of the hour.  Uncertainty can bring troubling thoughts and hardship – but it can also bring wonderful feelings and accomplishment.

“But when it’s good,
It’s oh so good,
And when I hold you
in my arms baby,
Some times I feel
like going down…”

joel dovev building

Rebuilding: Joel Dovev

I have been off antidepressants for more than two years.  Today I looked at the old pill bottle and said maybe its time for that bit of help.  But is that really what I want?  I thought of my last blog post, the last quote from Sean Stephenson said “On your darkest days remember what it feels like to have sunshine on your face.”  So I walked out of my house as the sun was setting and walked the 3.5 miles around Prospect Park.  The sun glowed golden on the lake and the air was breezy and nice.  Spring will soon be here.

“You got to run,
You got to hide,
You got to keep your
woman satisfied,
But it’s so hard,
It’s really hard,
Some times I feel
like going down.”

-John Lennon

(If you like this post and my blog please visit my facebook page here and click “like”)


Three Foot Giant

by Danny Fisher on March 2, 2010

“When we’re being puppeted by our insecurities, we read into everything. It’s as if we plot our own demise.”

Ever since I met Sean Stephenson, who is three foot tall and has overcome tremendous physical and psychological hardships, I have turned to him for wisdom and inspiration.

sean stephenson

Sean is not only one of the happiest people I have met, but he has dedicated his life to help others find contentment and overcome life’s challenges.

“Just imagine a world where everything is ALWAYS going your way, even when it doesn’t look like it. That’s actually the truth of life.”

I turn to Sean’s sayings every day – sometimes every five minutes. I need to be continually reminded.

“If you know your personal truth there’s no need to prove it to anyone else. Energy spent proving is energy wasted.”

I spend so much time trying to prove myself to others. Why do I do that? I wrote one and only one screenplay in my life, and I placed it on a far away shelf for no one to see. I am not a writer and why would anyone want to read my screenplay? It is now moving closer to production as a major movie (“Interrupted”) with big stars and will be directed by one of America’s greatest living directors (Philip Kaufman). My co-writer (Oren Moverman) has been nominated for this year’s Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay (“The Messenger”). I suffer from phobias. One of my lifelong phobias has been winning an Academy Award, as I would never be able to step up onto a stage with the world watching. I have so far been spared such a nightmare! Good luck Oren!!!

“We waste so much time brooding about the past and worrying about the future, we often miss the shimmering of the present.”

Life is now. It is so obvious – why do I continually forget?

“Working on yourself is the best gift you can give to those you love.”

I found the gym to be incredibly crowded the first week of January – New Year’s resolutions week – I think it must be much less crowded now – but, then, how would I know?

“If something is meant to happen, take solace in knowing that it will and no force can stand in its way.”

On the first film my brother Jack and I made, “A Generation Apart,” Jack said the project was blessed and meant to be. We had no money, but it somehow materialized. I will never forget Jack and I sitting in a windowless room, facing each other in silence across opposite sides of a desk, on which was a black phone. We stared at the phone for hours and realized we had no one to call. But there was always someone to call, even if it was a name out of the white pages. The phone on the desk represented an insurmountable barrier – yet it also represented an entire world of unbounded opportunity.

“Staying calm is so underrated. The calmest person in the room controls the dynamics of the interaction. Your ability to stay calm, no matter what madness arises is your greatest resource.”

I have surprised people with my calmness for so many years and have had success with it. Yet I become hotheaded on occasion – usually at the absolute worst times.

“If you avoid difficult conversations you experience painful situations.”

The greatest mistakes in my life arose from avoiding difficult conversations. With others. And with myself. If I can go back in time and change my past to make it better, it would mostly involve adding the many difficult conversations I never had.

“Create a future that is so compelling that you laugh at obstacles. You know where you are headed, keep going my friend!”

I’m going. On and on and on and on.

“On your darkest days remember what it feels like to have sunshine on your face.”

(If you like this post and my blog please visit my facebook page here and click “like”)