Much has been said of the divisiveness permeating our Country today. Yes, it is there and it is unsettling. But there is something else I am noticing in the past few weeks: a desire for connection.
I am meeting more eyes as I walk through town. I want to smile at you and I feel like you want to smile at me too. We want to connect, even just for a moment. I feel this pull to share what is best in me … love.
I believe love reigns supreme. This belief is not born of religion or politics. No one told me so, no one taught me so, it is simply my truth. It doesn’t come with rules or exclusions, love is love. And when I move from a place of love I see it all around.
This does not blind me to hate. I see that too. Mostly when people try to control how other people love or decree who is entitled to love. This behavior wounds me, all of us. But instead of diminishing the love – it emboldens it. I see that all around; love standing strong. Do you see it too? Read more
While browsing through a quaint bookshop last week, drawing my hand across stacked paperbacks on a table, I touched down on Hadley Freeman’s Life Moves Pretty Fast: The Lessons We Learned From Eighties Movies (And Why We Don’t Learn Them Anymore). I picked it up for a perfunctory flip-through and knew instantly it would be coming home with me.
If you, like me, were a movie-loving teen in the eighties you were lucky! Many now classic films were released, many of them with teenagers as the lead characters. This is when my love affair with the cinema blossomed and I came to know the power of film to connect us, enlighten us and make us feel less alone in the World.
In Life Moves Pretty Fast, journalist Hadley Freeman uses interviews and commentary by writers, directors and actors along with her own personal insights to explore the lessons of these films. She discusses them with reverie, she is a BIG fan, but she also puts them in a social and cultural context that absolutely lit me up. Several times I had to slap the book down and say to myself: I never thought about it like that!
For example, the first chapter is about Dirty Dancing. I’ve seen this movie dozens of times and consider its main characters Baby (Jennifer Grey) and Johnny (Patrick Swayze) personal friends. But I never saw it as having a uniquely feminist point of view. Here Freeman quotes screenwriter Eleanor Bergstein:
“…I wanted to make a movie about what it is like, as a young woman, moving into the physical World, which means the sexual World,” says Bergstein. “So you get those shots of Jennifer looking up with her big eyes and then about a hundred shots of Patrick. I remember when we were in the editing suite and people were saying, ‘Why do you have all these shots of Patrick?’ I’d say, ‘It’s because that’s what she sees.’ The film is through the female gaze and most movies are not.” Read more
In my recent workshop, we used a variety of artistic mediums to explore creative “assignments” — writing, drawing, photography, etc. This was born of the notion that trying something different can reveal a new layer of our creativity, a new aspect of our being.
For a couple of the assignments, I found myself writing in third person. This is unusual for a writer of personal essays, which are very much first person: Me, I, My.
Telling someone else’s tale was exciting. I did not know where it was going or how it would end. While I won’t deny that I saw myself in the stories, they were not about me. Liberated from being factual, my imagination took the helm.
Our first prompt was about “roots” and this short parable arrived. It came, not from my intellect but from that magical place of knowing that exists in all of us and speaks when we are open and willing.
I share it with you because I like the message it delivered, quite unexpectedly. I share it so that it may spark you to listen to that place of knowing within yourself, even for a moment, and see what comes.
She drew up the fabric of her skirt to take in the view her bare feet. There they were, planted in the squish of damp soil. Blades of grass peeked between her toes, tickling her, but she was not bothered.
She’d been wandering for a long time, afraid to land anywhere long enough to get stuck in the droll or, worse, committed for eternity to something that should have been a passing fancy. Read more
I always cry at curtain calls. I just can’t seem to keep my eyes dry when the performers bow and the audience applauds. It is such a beautiful display of mutual gratitude. The performers put their hearts out for you to see, they make an offering of their talent and hope that it will be well received. The audience is inspired, moved, elated by their offering. In the end the audience claps as if to say “thank you, we received your gift and appreciate it” and the actors bow as if to say “thank you for being here and hearing what we had to say.” It is the perfect exchange of … well, of love. Read more