Coloring My World

Posted by on Sep 2, 2011 in Authenticity, Books, Family, Film, Inspiration | 0 comments

I read about Kathryn Sockett, this new author, some time ago. She had written a book about black maids raising Southern white children.  I resonated with the story right away and couldn’t wait to read The Help. I grew up in the Bahamas Islands with a professional mother who worked in real estate and later owned tourist shops in the Bazaar.  We always had a maid that worked at our house and was home after school. This wasn’t because we were wealthy by any means  – these women worked cheap and were often employed illegally. As a kid in the late sixties I didn’t wonder about this arrangement.  Unfortunately our maids didn’t stay with us for long so I never grew attached. We had high spirited Jamaican women with their lovely lilting accents enticing me into our kitchen to taste their fried plantains. There were quiet hard working Haitian women who only had a few words of English but signed and pointed animatedly so that I understood their meaning. And even Bahamian women with proud attitudes who were insulted by the job and sat and watched television with me. I was in awe of these women—their rich ebony hands on my pale freckled arms made me long to be like them. Dark. Strong. Passionate.  They spoke their minds around the bosses kid, I never made a peep anyway as I was drunk on their foreignness yet their differentness seemed so natural to me. They lived in their bodies danced and sang while they made beds, mopped floors, and cooked exotic meals I was far too tentative to taste.  I learned the song Yellow Bird and longed to fly away with them when they left. I grew up a minority in a country that was learning how to be independent and was achingly proud; many natives were prejudiced towards foreigners regardless of their skin color. I know what it’s like to be judged by what I look like not who I am.  But the dark skinned women who wove a colorful patina on my monochrome world opened my eyes to a new way of being and living that was alive and free of any judgment for my shyness, pale skin, or lack of culinary appreciation.  They accepted me as I was and gave me the greatest gift—I was free to be me. Watching Kathryn’s book come alive on the screen last week was an emotional tug-of-war.  These women’s stories were the weapon of choice for justice and what was right. When I wasn’t laughing out loud I was crying either tears of heart rending grief or rivers of joy. When Aibileen asks Mae Mobley to remember what she told her for the last time and Baby Girl recites,“ I is kind. I is smart. I is important.” Heart rending. Skeeter summed it up with this description of her relationship with her maid Constantine,"Oh, it was delicious to have someone to keep secrets with…It was having someone look at you after your mother has nearly fretted herself to death because you are freakishly tall and frizzy and odd. Someone whose eyes simply said, without words, "You are fine with me." Joy. Rivers of joy. The Help Official Movie...

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Twenty-one Pages

Posted by on May 19, 2010 in Challenges, Film, Writing | 0 comments

I participated in ScriptFrenzy during the month of April. The challenge was to write 100 pages in 30 days. I’ve written (drum roll please)… twenty-one pages. Okay so I’m almost a quarter of the way there. Here’s what I’ve learned: I don’t have to type one scene after another I can jump around and fit them together later.Screenwriting software is oh so tantalizingly tempting but not necessary at this stage.Scenes are titled by ‘sluglines’ I adore this term!Sluglines are followed by action.The name of the character speaking is written in capital letters.Dialogue does not go inside “quotations” as it does in novel writing.Show don’t tell.Writing in Starbucks works some days and is a distraction other days.When I don’t feel like writing: write anyway.When I do feel like writing: write anyway.When I have no idea what to do with myself: write...

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You pick ’em

Posted by on Mar 1, 2010 in Film | 1 comment

The 82nd Academy Awards are on March 7th and I love predicting the winners. There was a time back in the day, when I managed a United Artists movie theatre, that I was scary good at guessing the winners in the main categories. I would create a contest with a bookstore and restaurant and the winner would receive dinner for two, movie passes, and an Oscar book. Participants had to guess the most winners for the five top categories: Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Supporting Actress. If we had ties they each won a prize package. 😉 In those days I had always seen every movie in the best picture category and this year I’ve only seen six out of ten! Take a peek at the Best Picture nominees to see how many you know. How do I choose between Avatar, The Blindside, and Up!? They each generated a completely different movie going experience for me. What makes a movie a ‘best picture’ for you? Meryl was delightful as Julia Childs and Sandra gave one her best performances in The Blindside—how will I pick!? And check out Best Documentary feature: Food, Inc. was nominated! So do ya wanna play the Oscar game!? What can I offer as a prize? Something chocolate? Maybe you’ll be willing to play for the fun of it! Post your choices in comments by Saturday!And here’s a nifty ballot for you to keep track of your picks! Happy...

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Hungry for Change

Posted by on Feb 15, 2010 in Conscious eating, Film, Food and Drink | 1 comment

I’d been waffling back and forth over watching the movie Food, Inc. Was I ready to watch it and take action, or skip it and keep eating unconsciously?  This was the rub—I wanted to eat responsibly and consciously but I believed it would be too difficult and take me out of my comfort zone. I rationalized that over the past two years I’d made great strides with my nutrition, healthy eating habits, and weight loss; did I really need to tackle another hurdle? My resistance told me yes, I did. My first steps in my past transformations began with awareness and so one month ago I watched the movie—I have not eaten meat since then.   Don’t get me wrong I love a juicy home grilled hamburger, or a rib eye steak still pink in the middle. And crisp bacon or melt in your mouth baby back ribs…Mmmm, Mmmm! I’m not giving up meat because I dislike it but because of what I’m supporting in buying it. What I saw in the film was that our humanity ceases to exist in the face of power and greed. Our inhumanity to the animals that sustain us and to the people that grow these animals, or work in the process, astounded me.   I get that it’s not me personally treating these animals or people inhumanely but if I buy the product then I am accountable for how that product is produced. These faceless conglomerations meet the demand that you and I create. I never before ‘got’ how empowered I am as a consumer. We, as shoppers, hold all the cards and every time we lay our money down at a fast food restaurant or grocery store for meat from these companies we support the current unhealthy system. It’s our choice.    The good news is that there are healthy options and choices. Choosing organic products and buying meat from local organic farms that raise their animals in a healthy environment are a few possibilities. It will take conscious effort; it may take me out of my comfort zone but I’m committed to doing my part to transform my life and the lives of the victims of this system—both animal and human.   If you’ve watched the 1999 film The Matrix there’s a scene where Morpheus offers Neo a blue pill: go back to life as he knew it; or a red pill: travel further down the rabbit hole. This movie is definitely a red pill—I hope to see you in...

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