Influences

What books, movies, plays, tv, etc. have influenced your life? I have some go-to books and movies that I return to on a regular basis; sometimes for comfort, sometimes entertainment, and sometimes because the messages they offer meet so many needs in my life.  Here are some of them, in no particular order (and I’ll probably add to the list in notes as I think of different ones):

Anne of Green Gables: Anne was my childhood. She is also my comfort as an adult. No, I wasn’t an orphan growing up on a farmhouse on an Island in Canada. But I was a little girl who loved big words, and who imagined stories and adventures of all kinds, that took me away from my real world. I was a girl who loved learning. Anne’s story always made me laugh and cry. And it still does. Some day I will make my own trip to Prince Edward Island, so that I can walk  the paths Anne would have walked, smell the blossoms anne would have smelt, and allow myself to enter the world of beauty, imagination and bosom buddies.

To Kill a Mockingbird Another one from my childhood that touched me in so many ways. It introduced me to the truth about racism and injustice in this world. It showed me that sometimes things can be unfair, but also that love and kindness are worth more than anything else in this world. I think it might be time to re-read Mockingbird for inspiration.

Fablehaven Series.  This is a recent discovery that I feel tops Harry Potter. Magic, fairies, monsters, and two young people who face demons of all kinds with the support of some kick-ass adults.  What more could you ask for?

The Help. Another recent find, this book really made me think about social norms and societal roles. I read this at a time when I am questioning my own role and purpose in society, and it has provided a lot of food for thought.

You’ve Got Mail. Okay, don’t laugh. I know it is a romantic comedy. But there is something about that movie that speaks to me. It has hit a nerve at a time in my own life when everything is changing. To quote the movie “Some people say change is good. But what they really mean is that something has already happened that you didn’t want to happen . . . ” That feels like my life in a nutshell at the moment. But, I also know that changes can lead to wonderful things, as it does in this movie.

Holocaust Miniseries: I think this was in the 80’s on television for several nights. I watched every moment of it, with tears, with horror, and (I even recall) some joy.  At the time, I was still in hebrew school, still learning about what it means to be a Jew, so of course the mini-series had an impact on me. But it is more than that, as I have become more culturally Jewish than anything. The story introduced me to the cruelty of man, and has helped shaped my beliefs in how to treat others. I don’t know if I am always successful at achieving my goals, but the movie helped my goals form. This is not a go-to show by any means. I don’t need to watch it again. But the ideas formed stayed with me for a lifetime.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Short, petite girl who kicks demon butt with a little help from a close group of friends. Sexy vampires, and lots of confusing emotions. Enough said.

Shadow Beauty

 

Japanese writing

Image via Wikipedia

 

I am sitting in what was my daughter’s bedroom relaxing for a little while. It is currently the calmest area in the house.  I was just about to enter a blog about books and movies and things (see a later post) when I glanced up at the wall opposite me. reflected in faint shadow, like a Japanese print on the pale yellow background of her wall I am witnessing a moment of pure beauty. The aspen trees in front of her window are blowing in the breeze and the movement ripples on the wall in a perfect square of light. Below the aspen shadow lies the fragile lines of another kind of bush (I’m not sure what it is), leaves just growing in so the pencil thin marking of branches make  an appearance. It is unplanned art. I wish I could capture it visually, but all I have are my words. They are not enough.

Writing for Real

All of this blogging has been fun. It has given me a place to vent and explore, and just ramble on with the knowledge that someone (at least a couple of people) are actually reading what I have to say. Okay, maybe more than a couple of people–my current goal for this blog is to reach 1000 hits by the end of June (as of today I have 752). But I admit, like many people who blog, I have a fantasy that this could turn into something more. Like JULIE & JULIA and many other blogging success stories where little daily explorations turn into big books and movies, I have the occasional flights of fancy about discovery of my work. I’m not saying that anything I’ve had to say so far is so brilliant that a publisher will beat down my door begging me to sign . . . but a girl can dream, can’t she? 😉

Anyway, this has led me to a few  questions. I have several books in the works, well when I actually take the time to sit down and focus on them. Some for young people, some for adults. Fiction and non-fiction. Poetry and prose. I’ve started them all. I have one idea that has been bubbling and brewing for a while now, and I’m beginning to really focus on it. So here is the question . . . should I put sections of the work I am doing on my blog, giving public access to work that I eventually would love to publish? Does that diminish the power of what I’m writing, or the possible earning potential? It’s not that I expect to make millions of dollars with what I write, but I wouldn’t mind making some kind of living off of it. But, in the world of internet access and public exposure through blogs and websites, how do you maneuver the line between professional and hobby? When do you keep what you are working on private, and when do you put it out there for the world to read?

Thoughts?

PMA

 

Pollyanna

Image by Mona Loldwoman (Look for the good) via Flickr

 

Positive Mental Attitude.

Kids learn it in school. Adults are told things like envision what you want and you will achieve it, or stay positive.

It makes my brain hurt.

I’m not saying that I don’t want a positive attitude. I do. I am trying to stay positive, I’m trying to believe in the good, I’m trying to “put on a happy face” and not let anyone see me fall apart.  But, to quote from my favorite old move of the moment “They say change is good. But what they are really saying is something that you didn’t want to happen has already happened  . . . ” (You’ve Got Mail).

So, change has happened. Did I want it to happen? In some ways, yes, because this place has never been the perfect fit for me. But, in some ways it has been wonderful. I haven’t had so many good friends in a really long time. The sun shines, I get exercise, it is a beautiful place.  But, at the same time I think that my PMA hasn’t been honest for a very long time. I want to wake up every morning feeling good, knowing that the days adventure is going to be something special. I want Sarah to wake up in the morning feeling confident and loved. I want Nathan to wake up in the morning feeling appreciated and positive. It all comes down to PMA.

But, I don’t know if the fake it til you make it philosophy really works in this world. Lots of people have commented to me that they are impressed about how I’m handling all of this. I am glowing with PMA, but inside is a whole different story.

How do you turn the outer PMA into true belief?

Leaving a Mark

Sometimes I notice that someone has looked at an old post of mine, and I check to see what it was, only to discover something I don’t like or need to fix. So this is just  an update of one of those. 

I’ve been thinking about what it means to leave a mark in this world. I don’t mean becoming notorious, but leaving an indelible mark about your presence.  Do we all pass through life as a mere blip in someone else’s radar? What does it take to be remembered when you are no longer around. I’m not necessarily referring to death, but when life has taken you somewhere else in its typical crazy way.

I admit it, I want to leave a mark. I don’t need to be famous. But I do want to know that I have touched someone’s life, even in passing. That I have somehow made a difference wherever I’ve gone. If I haven’t done that, I cannot understand my purpose. I don’t think it is about ego. I mean, sure, I’d love to be recognized and honored for something. But what I am talking about is slightly different from that. If I have not touched someone in some way, helped someone in some way, meant something to someone in some way than I am visible. I think my biggest fear is being completely invisible.

Right now I am fading away.

Prayer for Moving Forward

Dear Universe,

Please help me for the next few days, weeks, and months. Give me the strength to take on the challenges with grace, dignity, and confidence. Help me make the transition a delightful adventure for my daughter. Help me support my husband throughout whatever happens, not as a subordinate but as a partner. Help me let go of the negativity that has held me down and held me back since this insanity began.  I want to be able to look back on this time in my life and say “I learned important lessons, and from them I created the woman I became.” I want to show my daughter, and myself, that we can live with passion, be good people, and ultimately be truly happy. Universe, I appreciate any help you can give me and am truly thankful.

The song that just started on the radio was “Don’t worry about a thing, every little things gonna be all right.” Message from the universe or simply coincidence? I am chosing the former. Thank you.

On Books, Technology, and Saving the World

Today I was thinking about whether or not to buy a Kindle Reader (or something like it) given the number of books I can go through in a week. While I probably will end up doing it one of these days, I have to admit that I find the idea problematic. I know I spend a lot of time on the computer. I do a lot of writing on the computer. I spend time with the keyboard, the mouse, and the screen. I read blogs, and I read news articles. But when it comes to books, I LOVE feeling them in my hands. I love blank journals made out of beautiful paper. I own many that have yet to be filled; many that have been filled from cover to cover. I love old books, not because of the musty smell, but because of the love and artistry put into the making of them. If I could, I would own hard covers of every book that I am passionate about. So, while I recognize the value of reading books on-screen (including saving trees and helping the environment and the world) I struggle with the idea of letting go of books. We are packing up our house now, and I admit that most of the boxes are filled with books. I’ve let a lot of them go, but I can’t let them all go. I’ve limited my purchasing of them and spend more time in libraries. I guess, in a way, I am a book-aholic. I’m not sure I will ever be ready to cure this disease, however.  But maybe someday I’ll give in to the power of technology and give up the visceral feeling of holding a book in my hands. Maybe someday, but not today.

3 am in a World that Never Sleeps.

 

Artificial light horizon

Image by 96dpi via Flickr

 

There is no real silence. Not in this man-made world that buzzes and clicks with wasted energy, thrumming through the veins of mother earth. Slowly killing her.

There is no real darkness. Even out here in high up in the mountains, away from town. The stars twinkle above, but not in the completeness of a wilderness empty of artificial light.

There is no real peace.  Out there in the darkness, someone moves, someone breathes, someone makes love, someone cries, someone screams.  Sighs and dreams are not silent.  Minds may shut down for brief moments, but deep inside they are still working. There is no rest for those who blame themselves for things that have gone wrong in their lives. Or even for things that have gone right. There is no rest for someone who blames others and struggles to forgive.

Without sleep, the world becomes a waking nightmare. Perhaps not inhabited by monsters and demons, but rather by the thoughts that plague your soul. Without sleep, life becomes insanity.

The only solace is words. Words of love, words of anger, words of forgiveness, words of desire. Words that come in a rush from the heart, bleeding life blood onto an unknown page for unknown readers. Words heal. Words help. Words hurt. Words cleanse. I am running out of words.

Message to the Group Supporting Fine Arts at Brockton High School

BHS Drama club in action.Looking at the number of people who have joined and the comments below, the building and the learning that has gone on there have touched so many lives. I hope that we can take this passion and fight for the education system as a whole. Something is very wrong when a system focuses only on things that can be tested, but does not allow for the passions and explorations of the students. We, as a country, will be poorer for allowing that to happen. I am passionate about the role of theatre and drama, of all the arts, to empower change in this world. They have made me the person I am today. But, I also want to emphasize that keeping programs for nursing students, shop students, consumer science etc. is just as valuable. If a student has a passion, he or she needs to be allowed to pursue that passion, because that is how learning happens. We need to recognize that our education system, as well as our economy, are in crisis mode right now. I know that budgets must be made to work, but we have to find other answers. So here’s a call to everyone in this group, or everyone who is passionate about giving young people a chance to really become who they want to be . . . we cannot let things like this stand, in Brockton or anywhere else.

Dots, Lines, and Connections

 

Netti's "Connect The Dots"

Image by The Infatuated via Flickr

 

When I was younger (and even sometimes now during a boring meeting) I had one doodle that I would return to regularly. It always started with a few dots, anywhere from 3 to 5. Each of those dots then had to be connected with another by lines. Then I would begin to add new dots one at a time. Each new dot connected to the other dots by lines. Out of this grew an intricate web, sometimes looking almost three-dimensional. Sometimes I used different colors. It would grow bigger and bigger until I either ran off the page or was finished with whatever was going on. Sometimes I tried to do it on art paper, with color and variation . . . each dot sprouting lines of different color and thickness that link to all other dots on the page.

As I’ve gotten older, I have tried to find and connect the dots in my life. Each dot represents a person or an experience. My own dot is in there too, near the center, but there is no true center to this complex image.  Sometimes the lines don’t connect smoothly, and twist around to reach other dots. As this complex web grows, sometimes dots never meet, never link, never connect. It is impossible to connect everything to each other, everyone to each other. But I am fascinated by the intersections and the connections that bring people in and out of my world.

In the living version, lines stretch into the distant past and sometimes break. But sometimes they reconnect with stronger cords.  There is some old saying that says something about friends being there at the right time in your life. Perhaps that is true, but once someone has become a part of my life, I’ve connected the dots between myself and that person. The line may stretch and fade, but they never truly disappear.

Thank you to all the dots in my life. You’ve made my life a rich tapestry, and I hope that I have helped do the same for you.

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