THE LIGHT AND THE DARK

The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo. Winner of the John Newberry Medal.

The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo. Winner of the John Newberry Medal. Illustrated by T.B. Ering.

The Tale of Despereaux

As I wander through the day thinking upon what next to write about I cannot help but feel astonished by what presents itself. Though I continually search for stories with a Scottish Great War base it seems lately that I have been, wanting to continue upon the path towards creative thought from unlikely inspiration. Recently I happened upon a children’s book sitting upon the table. Drawn to the mouse on the cover holding a needle and seemingly fitted in red thread, I picked up the account and started to turn the pages of “The Tale of Despereaux”. If ever there could be a tale to bring message to my being I have now found it in the unlikeliest of sources. Despereaux is a mouse, in search of the light whose nemesis is a rat Roscuro who haunts the dark. The tale continually plays upon the theme of light and dark, not an unfamiliar quest and one only has to turn to other tales and recall, “May the force be with you”, or something about “Turn to the dark side”. It seems we have a fascination for this search, this quest and it is one I am certainly familiar with.

Malta. Building erected in 1915 by the Australian Branch of the Red Cross Society for the benefit of the soldiers of the Empire.

Malta. Hospital building erected in 1915 by the Australian Branch of the Red Cross Society for the benefit of the soldiers of the Empire.

My interest in the lives of the Great War is not without its interest in the dark and the light. Seeking as I will the goodness no matter how desperate the history. There are tales to be told as I wander these sites of France and Flanders, or climb the cliffs or follow the ravines of Gallipoli. So too in Malta, an Island nation that called to me years ago, I have made my way across the landscape in search of the light, perhaps the regeneration or the peace from within the conflict. Though it may be that I have had to wait for the time to pass to seemingly heal these landscapes my wanderings make me feel the heartbreak of lives lost, the sad words of love and grief. Still I continue throughout these injured places and happen upon sites that remain testimonies of healing, the wounded that may stand unrecognized, but through research we find the good, the light in what was done here. And so it will continue, as I gaze across the horizon and walk upon this well experienced ground I will stop to admire the obvious and seek the finer things of today in contrast. It may simply be the green of new growth, flowers within a place of row upon row markers, bees or butterflies, and all the while I hold a camera in my arms waiting for that subtle message of light to appear before my eyes.

 Thank you Despereaux I can hardly wait to turn the next page.


About The Author

pferguson
Paul has worked with the Paradigm Motion Picture Company since 2009 as producer, historian and research specialist. Paul first met Casey and Ian WIlliams of Paradigm in April 2007 at Ieper (Ypres), Belgium when ceremonies were being held for the re-dedication of the Vimy Memorial, France. Paul's sensitivity to film was developed at an early age seeing his first films at RCAF Zweibrucken, Germany and in Sardinia. Paul returned to Canada in 1967 and was further amazed by David Lean's "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Bridge on the River Kwai". Film captivated Paul and with time he became increasingly interested in storytelling, content development, character, direction, cinematography and soundtracks. At the University of Victoria, Paul studied and compared Japanese and Australian film and became interested in Australian film maker Peter Weir and his film "Gallipoli" (1981). Paul was entranced when he learned Weir had visited the beaches, ridges and ravines of the peninsula. The film "Gallipoli" alone led Paul on many journeys to sites of conflict in England, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Malta, Hawaii and Gallipoli. It was, however, when Paul watched documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, "The Civil War", that Paul understood how his own experience and insight could be effective and perhaps influential in film-making. Combining his knowledge of Museums and Archives, exhibitions and idea strategies with his film interests would be a natural progression. Paul thinks like a film-maker. His passion for history and storytelling brings to Paradigm an eye (and ear) to the keen and sensitive interests of; content development, the understanding of successful and relational use of collections, imagery and voice. Like Paul's favorite actor, Peter O'Toole, he believes in the adage “To deepen not broaden.” While on this path Paul always remembers his grandmother whose father did not return from the Great War and how his loss shaped her life and how her experience continues to guide him.

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