When I was a teenager, I became obsessed with Douglas Sirk films after analysing All That Heaven Allows for AS Level Media Studies. We watched the film so many times, and in such detail, that I can still repeat large chunks of the dialogue (which I can’t do for any other film).
There’s one scene that particularly sticks in my mind, where the main character, Cary, meets her lover Ron’s friends for the first time. As they talk, we hear stories about how Ron came to live the way he does. He leads a simple life, in a cabin he built for himself in the woods which he lives off; making furniture and selling timber from the trees. This is a direct contrast to Cary’s society life, complete with country club membership. It is the conflict between these two ways of life, and whether love can flourish across the divide, that forms the central story of the film.
One line from this scene that I’ve remembered turns out to be a quote from Walden by Henry David Thoreau:
Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed? If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it’s because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
This idea has been on my mind a lot lately, as I make decisions about the next year or two and how I want to develop my business. I’ve been struggling to place my vision, which is pretty modest, in a society which encourages endless growth.
With this letter today, I feel like I’m reminding myself that it’s OK to follow a different beat. And what I need to work on is how I keep my drummer in earshot and avoid getting drawn towards someone else’s beat.
What is your experience of this? What beat does your drummer keep?
What helps to steer you back towards it when the sound gets drowned out?