The Happiness Project

Francis Ford Coppola’s Insight About Sin

A smart friend told me that I had to read The Conversations: Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film by Michael Ondaatje. Even though this wasn’t a topic in which I had much interest, he spoke so highly of it that I decided to read it.

He was right. It’s a fascinating book, on many levels. I love finding a book like this—which gives me entry into an entirely new world (sound and film editing, in this case) and also insight into a great creative mind like Walter Murch. There are a lot of almost throw-away lines that really struck me. I’ve quoted Murch for my weekly happiness quotation .

Another provocative line appeared in the book’s discussion of The Conversation , a movie written and directed by Francis Ford Coppola, with Murch as the supervising editor and sound designer.

Coppola’s notes for the script of The Conversation include this line: 

There is always the idea that the sins a man performs are not the same as the ones he thinks he has performed. …

What does this mean , exactly? How do we take this observation into account as we reflect on our actions?

Are the sins I think I’m performing not the ones I think I performed? Very likely. How, then, does one become virtuous? What do you think? I can’t stop turning this line over in my mind.

* Last week I had coffee with Amanda Freeman, a friend who is one of the creative minds behind Vital Juice , the free daily e-mail that gives info about fitness, nutrition, health, etc. Funny and useful.

* As I posted the other day, I’m trying to figure out the level of interest for a book tour. If I did a book event in your town and you’d come, it would be very helpful if you’d either post a comment below or drop me an e-mail at grubin[at]gretchenrubin[dot com] . (Sorry about the weird format—trying to thwart spammers). Just write “tour” in the subject line, and be sure to include the name of your city! Thanks very much to all the people who already answered; the information is enormously helpful.