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The Animation Pimp: The Stars

In the last Animation Pimp column, Chris Robinson looks to the stars to see what animation means to him.

we climbed up, far enough to see, through a round opening, a few of those fair things the heavens bear. Then we came forth, to see again the stars.
Dante, The Inferno
We live in a world of great mediocrity and falsity Dante tried to write paradise. And I think each of us in his own way is looking for some little taste or glimpse of paradise.
Nick Tosches speaking about Dante on Michael Silverblatts radio show, Bookworm, 2002

Illustration by Andreas Hykade. Courtesy of Chris Robinson.

Im scared. I feel things falling away. Ive been here, comfortable, too long. Time to shake. Everything Ive thought Ive wanted has come to me. I wanted the festival, I got it. Then I wanted to write, I did it. I wanted to be write books, I did it. I wanted to write a column, so I did it. I wanted a son, a family, I got it. So why is it not enough? Why, once I reach these destinations do I want to pick up and leave again?

I dont think I take it all for granted, but maybe in some deeper sense I do. And I dont mean in some smug sense its something far worse, in an existential sense. The days I waste getting no writing done, playing videogames, jerking off, scouring the Net for nothing. Then I stop and think, well shit man you had three books published this year. You programmed a good festival, wrote articles, spent a month this summer entirely with your son. Whats the problem? I take life for granted.

Im two years shy of 40, still relatively young, but too old to fart around. Then again, does it matter? If theres no god, no nothing then this is all there is. That means there are no rules. I can do whatever I want and it dont mean a thing in the end. None of this does, except now. Now is all we got. Thats a lot of pressure cause I dont know bout you but I dont know what I want right now, always now.

Ive always been scared to commit to life. Maybe that comes from being an unplanned birth maybe the loss of the father the never of my mother. Then the loss of my grandparents. But so be it. Thats over now. I have my family. It is everything really that I could want and yet I cannot grasp it. I am petrified of letting myself go because I know one day this and these will all be gone. Stop wanting, be?

The animation tent is shaped like a chapel. Animation has been a sanctuary for me, provided me with a space to find, cleanse, confess, define, lose and discover myself. Some days I feel its time to leave this tent, but then I think, why? Unlike the solid foundations of a church, this tent can be folded up, it can blow away, its temporary it never stops moving. I can step in and out as I please. So, no, there will be no grand pronouncements, proclamations or promises. Nothing of the sort. Sorry.

What has all this narcissism been about (me, obviously! heh, heh)? Simple I guess. These past five years Ive been using this space to try and figure out what animation means to me, to try and find out where I fit in more importantly, to try and find out where animation fit into my life. And yes, ultimately, this journey was about me trying to find me. Im not sure I have. Im not sure we do. I do know, though, that Im not now who I was then, and that Im perhaps closer to paradise, to truth than I was five years ago. For that Im thankful to me, and to you.

Perhaps Ill see you someday on the avenue.
Chris RobinsonOttawa 2005

Chris Robinson is little more than a man. In his spare time he cares for the elderly.

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A well-known figure in the world of independent animation, writer, author & curator Chris Robinson is the Artistic Director of the Ottawa International Animation Festival.