From: James Ellis
March 16, 2004
Subject: William Moritz, thoughts memories ramblings meanderings
The first time I met Bill Moritz, It was 1993 I was 26 years old, I had never pursued any form of higher education. Out of desperation to have time to create work I applied to one place and one place only only... CalArts. I got in, and was "accidentally" assigned two mentors (a coincidental gift?) Michael Scroggins and Bill Moritz. I was unaware of this "mix-up" at first, and thought that Bill was indeed my only mentor.
I knocked on Bill's office door, and there he was. I knew immediately that this was a remarkable man. I could feel his emotional intelligence his wave length his beauty and joy and I would have bet just about anything that he was gay ... jeese, what do you know... I was right. ;)
At that time in my life, I was pretty much a fulltime musician, that occasionally made films and painted. I immediately told him of my interest in creating "animated sound paintings". How when I played music, I would "see things in my minds eye", How I wanted to bring back the entire package: the music, the visuals, the spiritual element I could feel that he would know what I was talking about and sure enough, again he did. This sort of mutual understanding was rare to me, a real gift. He didn't look at me as if I had just escaped from the looney bin, he welcomed me into a looney bin (CalArts) a place to help understand and make sense of it. I felt I could trust him... which again is rare (especially with such subject matters) Why did I feel this? Because I could feel this This man was open, and radiant. His honesty in his life could not be any more apparent.
He asked me if I knew the works of a countless filmmakers I replied: "No" to which he replied: "well then we must expose you to these masters" (or something to that extent) I explained how I didn't want to contaminate my "vision" by being influenced by the brilliance of other films at this stage... how I needed to first "get some things out" He respected that, and years later (when I was ready) he gave me 4 filled video tapes of these very masters.
When I first met Bill he reminded me of Allen Ginsberg, whom I had had the pleasure of interviewing and having dinner with about 2 years prior to meeting Bill. I knew it wasn't fair to "lump them together", but I couldn't help myself. Two brilliant beautiful and poetic gay men that were similar in appearance Like I said, I knew it wasn't fair but in truth, in that first meeting with Bill... I appreciated Bill even more than that the other super hip Big Daddy... and in the end, Allen ended up reminding me of Bill.
Eventually I found out Michael Scroggins was also my mentor This was great... too great to last. The film school informed me that I had to choose Both remarkable men I had discussed this dilemma with Bill He assured me that he would always be my mentor in whatever choice I made With that act of kindness I officially chose Michael, and kept my two mentors.
Bill continued to help and inform me Giving me the room to grow on my own all the time, being a beacon of knowledge, sensitivity, support, and kindness We didn't "hang out" outside of CalArts we weren't "pals" I respected him I have deep feelings for him I don't know if what we shared can be called "a friendship" in the traditional sense More like two people exchanging art, information, and soul... mixed with an occasional round of laughs. God his laugh.
Eventually the sickness set in and with each day he quietly slipped further and further from my day to day life I graduated and would look for him at CalArts or at events but he wasn't around I missed him sorely even then leaving drawings and blessings for him on his CalArts office door
I visited him in the hospital about a month ago Brought him a "special brew of medicinal audio" I was amazed at how positive this man remained (I'm such a whiner) His glow had diminished... but even at that stage of sickness he shown brighter than most I have encountered who are healthy I guess that shows exactly how "healthy" this mans soul was I didn't go there to say goodbye, I planned to visit again We did inadvertently say goodbye that day though I held his swollen hand gently staring into each others eyes all I could say was "your a good man Bill Moritz" I wasn't sure if he knew he was talking to the flesh of Jim Ellis or not but I knew he was really seeing me gazing deep into me and he said "So are you" I think that's the first time I truly believed that
The ripples this man took part in creating for this pond are gorgeous, breath taking and packed with zen intelligence He touched so many I don't think I will ever not think of him when I'm contributing to the ripples and/or riding the wave that we both shared so much interest in
Still warm from his touch
Blessings to his spirit