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Posts from the ‘Writing’ Category

80’s Movies: A Love Affair (and Quasi Book Review)

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

Stop & Smell the Peonies – A guest blog from Lisa Olson

Lisa Olson is the creator of 8 Days Workshops, which are a lovely blend of creative writing, personal retreat, soul searching and connecting with similar souls.  All done via email and Facebook so they are accessible for everyone.  She also happens to be one of my closest friends.  Here she shares about a delightful new tradition we’ve started.  Plus, a writing prompt!

Several months ago my dear friend Luisa and I decided to plan a monthly Fun Friday. What is a Fun Friday you ask? Once a month, usually on a Friday (sometimes on a Wednesday if we can’t get together on a Friday; but those are called Wonderful Wednesdays), we adventure to a place we normally would not go. A place that inspires our senses. We’ve visited museums, art galleries, toured gardens and more. We top it off with a delicious lunch.

This month we visited Cricket Hill Garden in Thomaston, CT.

Neither of us are gardeners, (though I’ve often dreamed of being one), so that was not why we went. We went because a friend of Luisa’s recommended it, the weather was beautiful, and being out in nature is a surefire way to get inspired.

Should you find yourself stuck with a pen hovering over your notebook or your fingers perched over your keyboard, unsure of what to write, may I suggest trying one of the following prompts:

What is your favorite flower? Why? What memories does it conjure up for you?
What does being out in nature do for you? Do you love it? Hate it? Why?

I’ll be blogging about past and future Fun Fridays & Wonderful Wednesdays on 8daysworkshop.com.

Check out Lisa’s next 8 Days Workshop which starts June 20th and is hosted right here on luisatanno.com!
Pen to Paper: An 8 Days Creative Writing Workshop

Rubik’s Cube

Have you ever had the sense that you’re working on something?  Something deep, brewing within you, calling your name.  You are chewing on an idea, dusting off a truth or unpacking a dream.  This “something” is not fully formed but it is lurking. Whatever it is, you can feel it, just at the surface but not fully accessible … yet.

So, what do we do with that?  How do we see it clearly and let is rise?

I equate it with a Rubik’s cube. Certain people (geniuses) can solve it in a single sitting, but not me. I twist it for a while, get happy when I make one side uniform and then to put it down in frustration or apathy, depending.

To get to any incubating seed you have to stay with the cube; keep twisting away, trying different approaches.  Honor the process of processing but at the same time take action; express it, play with it, let it out.   Even in frustration and apathy, we must be willing to spend time with the unknown.

What is it? Why is it? How will it manifest?  Good questions. Read more

Who Am I?

My recent online Journaling Experience featured 10 days of questions designed to help us gain a better understanding of our identity, what drives us and what stands in our way.  We began with the simple (profound) question: who am I?

When we meet someone new we often lead with questions such as: Where are you from? Are you married? What do you do?

So, we answer: I’m from California, not married but happily coupled, I teach yoga and dance.

These are all perfectly fine questions and answers but how much do they reveal about who we truly are?

For the “Who Am I” journaling assignment I advised the participants to avoid biographical descriptions and instead use the writing to explore who they are in essence, to dig deeper in expressing their self -identity.

The experience of eschewing labels and focusing on essentials makes for a rich journey indeed.  For me, what showed up on the page was a riff on three core traits (peace, doubt, love) that are present, for better or worse, in all that I “do” and in my relationships.

My pen delved enough to expose unexpected aspects of these seemingly general traits.  I also played with owning them (I am peace)  rather than wearing them as adornments (I am peaceful). Read more