Sunday, February 27, 2011


Tonight is Oscar Night and I will be watching. I don't recall when I started tuning in to the Oscar shows, but I remember watching them as an undergraduate at NIU in DeKalb, Illinois. It was a good distraction from approaching mid-terms and I think I was still in love with Paul Newman who starred in "Cool Hand Luke" around that time and was the ultimate cool "dude" to me at the time. I also adored Audrey Hepburn and the style she brought to a room of glitter.

I love the movies. I still have a quiet aspiration to write a movie script, while, at the same time, struggling to find the time to write my weekly blog. But I make time for movies. Last night we rented the most recent "Wall Street" movie. I really like Carey Mulligan, the new star from Britain. I loved her in the movie adaptation of the book "Never Let me Go." She should have been nominated for that role this year. But there are good women roles out there for mature ladies as well as the young ones who seem to come out of nowhere and light up the screen (an old metaphor but it still works when it is true).

Great movies are great stories. I don't know how an actor does what s/he does: becomes another person and can "act" as the lights and props and cameras surround them as their inanimate audience. Where do they go in their psyche to become the story? The Greeks knew that stories were cathartic. We, the animate audience, live through the emotions of the actors.

In "The Black Swan", I felt terror and passion as the ballerina went mad and danced with joy. In "The Fighter", I felt the tears and anger of the fighters' mother as she strained to retain control of her sons and her life. When an actor is really good, as Christian Bale is in that same movie, gender doesn't matter: I forget that his character is a man and open up to feel what he is feeling---even if it is a feeling that I have never felt before. And good actors can do just that: take you where you dare not go in real life. Annette Bening, in "The Kids Are All Right" is a lesbian mom, in turmolt for her family. It wasn't hard at all for me to be inside of her character while, at the same time, liking her and wanting to shake her!

It's a ride to be inside of the story and when it doesn't work for me, as it didn't in "Social Network", I want to leave the room. What kept me in the theatre for that movie was the rapsody of words that the script offered to the story. Aaron Sorkin is an amazing writer and I hope he wins tonight for the best script.

I don't need to go to an Oscars party and play at being at the Oscars. I just need a comfortable couch on a late winter night to tease me with celebrity glamour and offer me a taste of being the best at an art I admire and enjoy.

What do you like to do on Oscar night? How do you celebrate? What's the best movie you have seen this year?? And the worst!!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

squeezing the juice

I went to my blog today and was surprised to realize I missed writing this Sunday. I had to check my day planner to figure out why that happened. It happened because I put 8 hours into a work task this weekend and what remained of my weekend spirit was like what remains in the orange when the juice is squeezed out.

Here it is Wednesday and I am just figuring this out--and how physical aches and pains could be related to my sense of depletion. I get rehydrated, rejuiced by blog writing and lack that, I feel empty and a bit sad.

So it's a lesson learned, again, to me about how important writing is to me. Even though I have tried to set up Fridays as my day "off" of work and, instead, should be a day to focus on writing, that didn't happen last week either. I did push in some time at Starbucks on Saturday to start to read my new book, The Poetry Dictionary by John Drury. Even for just 30 minutes I felt my mood rise as I learned about the term: accentual meter. Maybe I learned it years ago in my English Lit days, but the idea that a poem's rhythm matches the ancient rhythm of oars as they swished in the rough weathered waters took my soul into an imaginary ship. That's what words can do to me.

Is there a way that you find respite and replenishment during a busy day or work week? I welcome you sharing your ideas with me--we need to reassure each other that we deserve to live a life that is fully juiced up!!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

poem "Egypt's New Day

In response to a Writer's Digest, Poetry Aside, prompt, I wrote this poem in the tradition/format of a "cascade"--new poetry form for me.

Flags flutter across the public square.
A child is held high to see the fireworks fly--
Freedom from tyranny.

But soldiers rule the country and fleeing
is their father-king to the seashore as
flags flutter across the public square.

For thirty years one man ruled
and two generations held their tongues and dreams. Now
a child is held high to see fireworks fly.

Across the globe, countries and people wonder
if it's true that the Soul of Everyman dreams of
Freedom from tyranny.

Sealed with a kiss

As I look at my "word for the day" page, the word is "buss"--meaning a kiss and since it is the day before Valentine's Day, rather that write about what is on my mind (I am frustrated with work details and want to hide under the covers for a few days or weeks), I will turn to my heart.

As I made that choice, the song "Long Lonely Summer" came to mind (hearkening back to my early junior high years--triggered by last night's viewing of the movie on the Beatles, "A Hard Day's Night"). Those were easy days of hanging out at my friend, Vicki Banwert's house and imagining ourselves bathed in sunshine while February's winter grey skies and cold temperatures kept us inside for many more weeks.

The songs sung by the Beatles in their early days were often silly love songs, as Paul McCartney would croon thirty years later in a solo album. "If I Fell in Love with you, would you promise to be true...?" sang John smiling into the microphone. "Yes", the girls in the balcony screamed back, tears cascading down their cheeks as they added the name of their favorite: "John, George, Paul, Ringo."

Now all those girls are in their sixties, assuming they are alive. And what do we croon now? To whom do we cry? Two Beatles are dead and, amazingly, Ringo has aged into a man almost as good looking as Paul was. Paul's not bad either now, except he dyes his hair and dates women the age of his daughters, while Ringo, after rehab, has settled into a life with a former James Bond startlet, Barbara Bach, also sober now in her fifties.

So, no matter what the dye bottle says, or the film celluloid creates with its magic, life passes quickly and we are sitting in our chairs watching history in Egypt shift in 18 days.

Does any of this connect to where I started---maybe so if I consider the plaintiveness of the song "so it's going to be a long, lonely summer, but, baby, I promise you this...." He bids her good-bye but their love is "sealed by a kiss." So we say good-bye in our lives to friends, family members, youth and yet, we can commit to their memories, we can "seal it with a kiss."

So, on this Valentine's Eve, whom can you kiss with that promise? A child, a lover, even the mirrored image of yourself can be the object of your affection and commitment. Take that step and, in the words of Jackie De Shannon (who opened the Beatles' first show I saw in Chicago, at the Stockyard Inn), "put a little love in your heart."

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Seed Pods

As I sit at my desk, feeling rather empty of ideas for my Sunday blog writing, I look outside my window and see the mesquite tree's brown seed pods still hanging on the branches. Crinkled and brown, they are full and seemingly still tightly woven onto the tree. They survived the winds, wetness and frigid temperatures of the week. At what point, I wonder, will they fall?

I will look to them as my metaphoric symbol of the week. They are tenacious and move into action when the time is right. Until that time, they wait and serve as textured ornaments on a tree that never loses its leaves. I have to smile a bit as I let my imagination wander because they also look phaellic-with-a-bend which takes my imagination to places I won't write about!

One of my friends who has a friend who is an astrologer said that from January to June, it's a time of new beginnings. After the Tucson shootings four weekends ago, we could use a new beginning in the Old Pueblo, but I witness how we are carry our old baggage with us as we move forward. Some of the memorial mementos have been published as photos in the local newspaper; all of them will be catelogued by the UA Library staff--a job that is both an honor and a burden, I think. Today, an editorialist wrote about Tucson as a town of "threats" that started after the 2008 national election and continues, with another layer of vigilante-style justice (my words, not the newspaper's) since the shootings. It's true and yet cooler heads are also present in our community, establishing living memorials for the shooting victims at various non-profits.

It's not easy to wait for when the time is right. To be a seed pod is an important job--filling up with the necessary nutrients to lay in touch desert soil, rarely nurtured by rain, baked by summer sun, and, yet, miraculously, some seeds take root in the summer season and grow. I hope that for us in Tucson, we can experience rebirth as the mesquite seeds push their tiny, furry green heads through the rocks.

Friday, February 4, 2011

another blogsite

I encourage readers to go to this link to find one of my postings for this blog and for other good postings.