Sunday, June 15, 2014


One of the things that I feel strongly about is allowing people to change when they are ready to change. We should not hold them to some past decision or behavior. While past behavior can be a strong predictor of future behavior, it should not be a prison from progress. One should not be verbally bruised daily or reminded of past wrongs either. That being said, I have journeyed lately into the recesses of my mind to resolve my understanding of this moral pillar in my belief system. Somehow I started to believe that forgiveness meant continuing to allow someone to continue to injure me. 

Forgiveness is freeing oneself from reliving past injury. The body does not differentiate between recalling details from the past and experiencing it firsthand, so by recalling insult or injury and not forgiving, the victim becomes a predator to him or herself, pouring trauma into the mind and body with every recollection. This is where freedom of self enters in. By releasing the offending party in thought, the victim is freed to heal. That doesn't mean that the offending party need be released from accountability, or reparation. It doesn't mean accepting the offenses as acceptable. It does not mean that the offending party should be warmly welcomed back in to continue to do harm. Forgiveness isn't necessarily embracing that individual again. It can be, but forgiveness can also mean releasing the offender from a former position of friendship to create a safe distance to protect oneself without a need to hold on to anger, spite, resentment, and other bitter, poisonous emotions. Sometimes forgiving means moving forward without that person, and allowing that person and yourself to move on to find happiness without expecting them to change, or submitting yourself to further injury. 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Spoiler: Every Movie You Have & Will See

Books are books. They use formulas just like music, cooking, math, choreography, chemistry... What sets each of these apart is when the formula is no longer visible and one is transported, unaware of the underlying skeleton on which taste, touch, sight, sound, thought, and smell hangs.

Screenplays are no different. We have all been victims of movies that leave us feeling like our time would have been better spent knitting a sweater, digging a hole, or scraping paint than subjecting ourselves to such meaningless and shallow entertainment. A few come to mind for me, including Robert Redford's latest. It wasn't his acting, however, it was the screenplay. Screenplays include dialogue, visuals, audio, scenes, locations, characters, plotlines, and camera shots.They are limited to roughly 90-125 pages (one page per minute of film, roughly) and can be masterfully transporting or miserably disappointing. I am learning about screenplay writing and have included a rough skeleton of what I have learned below:

Screenplay formula: 
Act 1- introduce characters, start with some "fire," 6 mains, 5 supporting characters that are purposeful, extras, background characters. Introduce the problem - 25 pages

Act 2- build up characters, define strengths, problems, action of trying to solve problems, conflict every 3 pages, 50 pages 

Act 3- resolution of problem(s) - 25 pages, more "fire," the characters are different having journeyed through the story.

Characters- protag hopes to achieve something and antag, blocking or stopping the protag from achieving his/her goal; what methods does antag use to stop protag? co-stars 3-4, one supporting protag, one supporting antag. Supporting characters bring in new ideas, help them get in or out of trouble, guide them rightly or wrongly, pull main characters in different directions. 
Two remaining supporting or featured characters should add humor, drama, be interesting, serve a purpose, helpful or trouble for main character. 4-5 featured characters, each a few lines; extras must have purpose, may have a line or two. Background characters fill in to make it seem real (no lines).

Develop clever story turns that nobody sees, new challenge, defeat, how they react to it, what they do about it, 1-2 major turns, these are conflicts, they create a sense of urgency, like time is running out, many little turns, obstacles, or conflicts are fine. 

Dialogue - 10 word sentences, 3 sentences at a time max. 

Plot - is the action of the story; subplot is theme of the story or what is the story about or the main point, what do you want the world to know, learn or enjoy. Plot moves the subplot along. How do characters feel about subplots, for or against? How do they behave because of it? 

May have a recurring sound or image that reminds us of the theme that takes place before a story turn or a major conflict and is called a theme pattern (i.e. Jaws music). 

Tell the visuals concisely to help guide the production, shooting timelines, costuming, etc. Don't direct in a screenplay, describe. 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Hello Again.

A lot has changed for me since I was actively writing here. I have less time, three children two and under, and well, I am going it alone. It's strange to post that publicly. Sort of a gulp, am I really going to post that? Those closest to me already know this and it is rather obvious from those who know me personally so why not, right? I guess all of my attempts to keep everything under wraps were for naught. I may be a gun-slinger, but I am not a mud-slinger, so may I just say it has been a personal journey where I realized that I lost myself and am learning to find myself again. I am not going to point fingers or find fault. It helps no one to do so. There is a point where you let it go and you feel free. Happy. Peaceful. I had all of these things I wanted to do and be and I shelfed ME so I could try to be someone he would love. Pfft. Funny sounding, isn't it? To spend years thinking, "If only I were more _____ then he would love me more." I finally realized that I was really saying, "If only I were NOT ME, then he would love me more."

That is raw. That is real. It has taken a lot of time and effort to discover some new things about myself, so with this new vulnerability that I have found the courage to expose in myself, I say, I am lovable as-is. I read recently that if you try to wear a mask that eventually you will have nothing underneath it. I never intentionally wore a mask, but I did ignore the hurt and pretend it wasn't there. The painful events that have led to this are a blessing in many ways.

Another thing I have learned is that I have held myself back in many ways. Being smart set me apart and so I have played dumb for many years. I am finished playing dumb. I have substituted my dreams for what others wanted for me, not choosing what I wanted, but what I thought others wanted me to have. I am finished with that, too. I am capable of choosing what I want and I am finished holding back. I can't take back the time I have lost, but I can go forward and be me. I have given up some amazing opportunities and self-sabotaged other opportunities, and I can't get those back, but I can believe I am capable of great things and live up to my potential right now. Enough for tonight. You may hear from me more often. I am a writer, after all, and writers write.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Baby Booket List

I waited so long to become a mom that I thought about being a mom a lot over the years. I have some activities (a bucket-list of sorts) that I want to do with the children that are book-based, so here are a few:

Anne of Green Gables series, L.M. Montgomery - go on an outing where we eat treats from Anne's pantry like raspberry cordial, little cakes, and have a poetry reading, or read some of L.M. Montgomery's memoirs. Of course, visiting Prince Edward Island is on the list as well.

Frances the Badger series, Russell Hoban - I loved these books as a child and inherited a real tea set from my mom with roses painted on them. We would have a little tea party but would probably combine this with some of the things from when she goes on a picnic, hard boiled eggs, a tiny set of salt and pepper shakers, a pillowcase for catching snakes, and of course, Jam and Bread.

Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak - Have a monster party in the woods where we all get to be a monster and stomp and be grumpy. After all, we all need some time for that!

Very Hungry Caterpillar, Eric Carle - I think it would be fun to come up with a menu full of the hungry caterpillar items and at the end we all get butterfly wings. Maybe dye skewers green and put the items eaten on them shishkabob-style so they have holes in them already?

Alice in Wonderland, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (aka. Lewis Carroll) - A Mad-Hatter's Tea Party/Unbirthday Party complete with crazy hats and costumes, and perhaps a mushroom cake?

Of course there are several other bucket list items that don't include books, namely visiting Germany, Kyoto Castle in Japan (perhaps for the upcoming Olympics?), teaching them all programming using the Alice software, studying Chinese as a family and visiting China together. I guess it all boils down to what we want in life. I hope that we can save up and have some of these fun memories together but also recognize that some of these are a long way off and will require a great deal of sacrifice. Visiting Turkey and Armenia are also on my personal list, but mainly for research for a book. I will add more items later.

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