Monday, December 16, 2013
Elle, January 2013, an article about ambition + power + women, featuring Lani Hay, written by Laurie Abraham. Understood that Elle is a fashion mag, evidenced by the photos of horrendously skinny women, and ads like London Fog, which until today I thought was a trench coat maker, but apparently not. Abraham takes a both sides now approach to the interview about women + ambition + power that reminds me of Chuck Todd – everybody is to blame, everybody gets a high five. You can read the whole article if you'd like, but for this post, let's sum up that Lani Hay will be president in 2024. It is her goal. She's accomplished a long list of things already, including the Naval Academy as a pilot, starting her own company, growing that to the multimillion level. She's done research enough to know that governor is the title to get to the White House, and she is eyeballing the guv mansion in Virginia. Never been a female governor in Virginia, but heck, there's never been a woman president of GM until this month either. Hay is getting her creds together, polishing her image, doing all the smart stuff necessary for a successful political career. I'll be keeping watch on Hay's career path. She also mentors other women interested in military training and careers. Abraham makes a point of twitching at the idea of a woman with ambition. She is twitching on the reader's behalf, but she doth twitch too much. Abraham labels some of Hay's funnier anecdotes as cringe worthy. This is the attitude we need to adjust: women calling out women who are honest, tough and don't pull punches. Not reacting to female ambition and power is the response we need and expect. I don't need anybody to twitch for me. And I certainly don't want a female writing about how another female seeking high and higher office makes us twitch. There was one excellent line in the article, and it was quoting somebody else. What women lack–and I will be thinking that this is the critical piece for a long time–is expectation of recognition. Not twitching.
Saturday, December 7, 2013
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
smashwords. While you're there, please take a moment to download the free children's book You May Already Be A Winner! to share with your favorite youngster. It is an homage to a real Michigan man who is an inspiration for us all. And if you're not yet bored, read the interview. It was the most fun I've had in the house in a long time.
Sunday, October 27, 2013
Do not let your fire go out
spark by irreplaceable spark
in the hopeless swamps of the not quite
the not yet and the not at all.
Do not let the hero in your soul perish
and leave only frustration
for the life you deserved
but have not been able to reach.
The world you desire can be won.
It is real.
It is possible.
It is yours.
Browsing the local resale for a notebook for a birthday gift yesterday produced bonus bounty. I found a magnetic fake leather journal that had The Secret Gratitude Journal stamped in goldfoil on the spine. The cover has thank you embossed in many different languages. I kept that one for me. Kiitos paljoin [thanks lots~Finnish.] The woman at the counter said she had just put it out minutes before. Found a notebook for the birthday boy. I thought it read Killer Reality, but turned out to be Killer Beauty, and for marketing reasons I can't fathom is merchandise from Snow White & The Huntsman. (It was still packaged and read "Spiral Bound" although it is obviously perfect bound.) Made me laugh, still does. He's a huntsman, and if he gets a deer this year, I signed on for some venison bacon. And I found a travel journal for another wonderful friend who yearns to travel, but life is asking her to stay home for now. Scotland next year. Fingers crossed. A deer for Patrick, Scotland for Nancy, and gratitude for me. It exists. It is real. It is possible.
Thursday, October 17, 2013
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Default, by E.M. Spairow. It is set close by in the future, has education as a theme, and a Bradbury book in the scenic design.The dystopian story displays a soupcon of horror, a touch of dark comedy, a terrible timely trope. What would that look like on a poster? There would be red and black, because those are the colors of the horror genre. Black at the bottom because if you're sinking, you're fading to black. Black is the pit of hell, it's also a dandy pedestal to support the art above, and it works as a perfect place to put credits now, and film festival laurels later. Anyone who has enjoyed seeing a PAID IN FULL stamp will appreciate the terror of a PAST DUE stamp so an inky untidy font surrounded by a decayed box in dried blood red would simulate an old school rubber stamp. The yellow to orange descending gradient in the background is meant to simulate flame. "It was a pleasure to burn," is the opening line of Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. I wanted the lighter versions of the Default stamp to glimmer enough to create a phantom shimmer. One of the prototypes had a 50% transparent gray gaussian blur ascending middle to top, but it was too much, and I remembered to rely on the audience to see what it wanted to see. Put everything in and then take stuff out. It's a good design rule and a good writing rule, too. In drawing class I liked the method of laying dark all over and using erasers to pull the highlight. I haven't seen the poster with gloss paper yet, but I think, with a good light source, it will fool the eyes into seeing fire. Glance at the poster, quickly look away and your retina will supply the ghost image I'm talking about. The filmmaker liked this poster enough to use it on the DVD cover, too. I'm delighted. The creative process is joy for me, and when the person I've drawn for is happy, that is bliss. You can follow the life of Default on the movie's facebook page, or on twitter.
Saturday, September 21, 2013
The first person I followed on twitter is a woman in California. Her avatar is a Roy Lichtenstein image, he is a favorite artist, and she writes smart interesting stuff. Today's world of connection by technology is still a strange one for me. Connecting with a stranger on twitter was a first step. Do I know the woman in California? No. Does she know me? No. This year I've been posting jewelry I make on twitter. I feel weird doing that; it's easier to promote other people. The CA woman admired some pieces. Those comments are a connection that transcend twitter follows, a thread that links us as individuals. This week, when she commented on a necklace, I wrote her. She likes my work and I wanted to celebrate that. I'm going to make you a piece. What do you wear? Bracelet, necklace, earbobs and in what colors? She wrote bracelet and she likes ocean colors. I crave freedom to create this way, to disappear in creative bliss, to select findings that tell a story. The story of a woman who likes ocean colors. I do not have to know her, to sit in a room with her, I can picture her wearing this physical manifestation of her story. A woman who likes ocean colors. Anyone who likes ocean colors needs to have her own private ocean. Each of the glass beads chosen had thought of her in the selection. Each glass bead is an individual ocean and circled together are the earth's water in perpetual cycle. The bracelet is on its way to California, to a woman I know likes ocean colors. With the little story she shared and the art circle closed, a new cycle is created in the world.
Sunday, September 8, 2013
I've coveted the Integrity Toys Fashion Royalty Urban Geisha Kyori Sato for years. I cannot explain it to myself. Nonetheless, I craved. I bought an Adele Makeda doll 6 years ago because she did not have the price point of Sato. I could justify that expense to myself. She's special, but Adele Makeda is not Kyori Sato. If I was feeling flush, I'd shop for the Urban Geisha, but mostly I'm never flush enough, can't justify the expense, chicken out. She is rare and expensive. I do not consider myself a doll collector. I did have all the Disney Great Villains dolls, which I sold this year. So maybe that's why I felt like I could finally get Kyori Sato. A deal showed up on ebay. I won the auction. I was thrilled to see the box arrive. She'd been described as taken out of the box, so I wasn't afraid to take her out myself. What I forgot was that early FR dolls are not fully articulated. I tried to turn Kyori's head. Her head came off. Not from the stem, her neck cracked raggedly, and I was staring at the decapitated body of my dream doll, her detached head still wobbling on the desktop. Stunned, I glanced up at the Adele Makeda doll on my dresser and, for a tiny moment, I thought she was smiling. In the complicated and entertaining backstory of Jason Wu's Fashion Royalty coterie, Kyori Sato and Adele Makeda are mortal enemies. I did not own Urban Geisha Kyori Sato for a full day before I killed her. For another full day I tried not to tip over into crazy. No, Adele Makeda did not cut off the head of Kyori Sato. Yes, the rigid plastic is a problem, and her neck knob was fused, and no, I did not subconsciously buy this doll so I could maim her. So what's the lesson? There are 1001 stories to write about this ersatz tragedy. A million universal truths to mediate upon, another million to discard. And one day I'll be brave enough to open the box again to glue her head back on her jagged neck.
Sunday, August 25, 2013
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Alice Guy Blache documentary being produced. Be Natural: the Untold Story of Alice Guy Blache. Actually, it has been told, more than once; and brilliantly by Alison McMahan, but Madame Blache is not in the zeitgeist yet. There are players attached to the project - Robert Redford, ExP, Jodie Foster, narrator. And the researchers highlighted are topnotch. Well done backgrounding by PIC Agency codirectors. The film is a Kickstarter project. I'm an old bird-the crowdsourcing stuff was outside my range of vision. So, I educate myself a little more. The creators want $200,000 from you and me to complete the documentary. Robert Redford is Sundance, yes? Why do they need our money? Looking into project crowdsourcing this morning, I found this article from indiewire on the relative success (as can best be determined by squishy data) of indiegogo, Kickstarter, and newbie Seed & Spark. The big loot in filmmaking is focused on franchise film, overseas sales, and a dumb audience. Please no documentaries, dialogue, story or character. These stories are being left to us, the audience with little money, but a need to feed our brains and hearts. Will I give $$ to realize an Alice Guy Blache documentary? The big studio boys with the real money have zero interest in a story about the woman narrative film pioneer. Pull focus: do I want this film made? Yes. Will I change the dynamic of Hollywood financing by not helping this film be made? No. Do I have a big headache? Affirmative. Will logging in and clicking "confirm" cure it? Probably not, but I just did it. Ugh! Amazon! How much is that behemoth taking out of this? I'm wondering how far we are away from crowdsourcing all our creative - those projects in art, music, literature that keep us human. How far away are we from privatizing education and crowdsourcing teaching children? Log into Amazon, click confirm $K-12.
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
In a story I’m writing there is a character named Catalyst. Catalyst is an ambassador. Ambassadors negotiate peace and foment discord, as required by the political body they serve; specifically, the agenda of the power brokers who influence that political body.
Catalyst is a cynical character.
Are our news sources cynical as well? I don’t know. I do know that I became a cynical news consumer, and an aggravated commenter. Read the comments beneath any news piece on the internet and feel the itch to log in and rejoin. En garde! Claim your space, bash the other side. Anonymously. Because who wants to be attacked for an opinion?
To be clear, news is not opinion. Journalism is not opinion. What we read today is primarily not news. What we find is an endless loop of links to opinion pieces that conform to our gut take on a news story, and we choose what we consume based on confirmation bias. Guests on TV nonfiction (can't call these news) shows are well-known for which side they’re on. News has become a virus-its sole mission to replicate itself.
Why do I see weekly Rush Limbaugh video on MSNBC shows except Rachel Maddow’s and Chris Hayes’? Because MSNBC is confirming our political bias, while whining that Fox News does the same thing. Why does Dee Dee Myers wish the Anthony Weiner story would go away, while agreeing to discuss the Anthony Weiner story on a Sunday nonfiction show?
Famine, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, is a character in Terry Pratchett/Neil Gaiman’s book Good Omens. Famine in this modern dark comedy owns a chain of fast food restaurants. The more you eat, the sooner you die of malnutrition.
A friend had been attending a mindfulness class. I asked what mindfulness meant. She gave me an example: pain is pain. It happens and then it abates. When one revisits the pain, that is suffering. Suffering is memory of pain, rather than pain itself.
I was starving for news and could not stop consuming. The news was making me suffer. I was lucky to regain my mental health because of Dr. Christine Tracy and her book, The Newsphere.
News addiction, in an era when news is mixed with opinion like a drug masked in a cocktail, has to be cured by avoidance. Dr. Tracy calls it going on a news diet. She changed my brain. I read the sites and the columnists I had bookmarked, only as Dr. Tracy suggested, I listened to my gut reaction. Was I angry? Did the news story make me think or just make me triumphant because I agreed, or furious because I did not?
One by one I offloaded the bookmarks. Inch by column inch, I quit reading the loudest side-takers. Then the more subtle nudgers. Any news that made my insides holler I stopped reading. In the newsphere, I trained my brain to read those writers/observers who advance my knowledge base, point me willingly to the writers who are thoughtful and can debate the other side, and give me facts I crave. Real news, real reporters. There are rules in journalism, and our world has abandoned too many. Where and when the rules are abandoned, I abandon those sources.
News can instigate dialogue and action. We must be aware and active participants in our news consumption. When I comment today, I point out where the piece went awry in actually being news.
I commented on an inflammatory headline on a major news site, and the headline was changed that day. I commented on an NPR story headline that misrepresented the report of a medical paper, and NPR changed the tagline. Was it me? I don’t know. I feel neither triumph nor anger. I did the thing it was appropriate to do.
Participation in news - in keeping news honest and informative - is healing, not damaging, both to the news cycle and the person consuming. Not reacting when reaction is the goal is a gift. What I learned from The Newsphere applies to life as well. I am calm. And grateful.
Friday, August 9, 2013
Monday, August 5, 2013
Goalpost Pictures and distributed by Hopscotch Films in Australia. It is based on a play produced in 2004. It is about four indigenous women who formed a singing group and toured Vietnam in 1968. Now the DVD is being released in the US, distributed by Anchor Bay Entertainment. You can find it on iTunes. I'm not going to post the Anchor Bay DVD cover here because it makes me crazy mad to look at it. Instead of the 4 women of color that the movie is about (as beautifully shown in the Goalpost poster here), the Anchor Bay cover features Chris O'Dowd who plays the manager of the group front and center. In the back under a blue screen are the women, whitened and obscured for the American audience. So far, I've tweeted a couple of times about this, written to Anchor Bay and outed The Weinstein Company, which owns 25% of Starz Media - Anchor Bay's parent company. Some of us have been eager for the DVD release. This is a movie about women - about women of color. We need this movie. What we don't need is a bunch of white boys deciding what the image for America needs to be. Sexist, racist, maddening, infuriating - I'm exhausted from the anger. The American entertainment industry is a cesspool of misogyny, and I can no longer accept that this is normal, and that this is the way entertainment will continue. Whitewashing women. Disappearing women. What can we all do to encourage women filmmakers, discourage Hollywood from their anti-women practices, and bring some measure of equity to the industry? Keep shouting foul when foul is delivered. I won't buy this film until the cover is changed. I won't buy anything distributed by Anchor Bay Entertainment until the cover is changed. Or Starz Media, or - I am unhappy to write - from The Weinstein Company. 25% complicit is too much. I'm out 100% until this nonsense is corrected.
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Friday, July 26, 2013
Monday, July 22, 2013
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Great-Aunt of a Black Man
What to whom?
No fucking idea.
made his mother
“Does grandpa hate me too?”
She was 5.
Now she’s a mother.
Of a black man.
Teach the haters.
Deny them the comfort of ignorance.
And imagined strength in numbers.
Take their fear.
And teach it to my great-grand nephew.
And not shoot anyone.
And not shoot anyone.
Friday, July 12, 2013
Friday, April 19, 2013
Dress for Success in Catherine's House on the Saint Joseph Mercy Health System campus in Ann Arbor, Michigan does that. I talked with a woman (and lost the note with her name!) who started as a volunteer, and now does interview training for women job seekers. Dress for Success will take donations of business suits, accessories (not jewelry), make-up (new), shoes, handbags and briefcases. She said their success rate at getting women hired is about 85%. For those women who are clothed and trained in business schools, the job acquisition is in the 90th percentile. Dress for Success is a national organization, and one I am going to support wholeheartedly as best I can. Women helping women. What a divine concept! The website's tagline is Going Places. Going Strong. Yes, ma'am.
Monday, March 25, 2013
Olympus Has Fallen. I like action adventure, hero journey epics, rescue operation movies. The reviews I read this morning changed my mind. I will not be seeing the movie. Torture is featured again. And a woman screenwriter is involved. Is this now what it takes for a woman to get a job in Hollywood? Some whacked version of traumatic bonding/Stockholm syndrome? WTF? And how do we fix this? Fairy Tale Princesses, Boomer Anxiety About Aging?! Women and Film 2011: Sexual Violence. The Throwaway Woman Plot Device.
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Warning by Jenny Joseph. Over the years I've dropped many of the behaviors that make up the sobriety of youth. I swear in public and I've worn slippers in the rain. I do not always set a good example for children. I call managers out of their back offices to solve my problem. And I'm not waiting to be an old woman to do what suits me, and not do what doesn't. Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg is the flavor of the month. Women may take a seat at the table. Then raise a hand. Then say something. So 60s. Push back, writes Maria Shriver. So 80s. This is the second decade of the 21st century. Women are fighting the same bloomin' fights we fought for all of the last century. Fights I fought in the last century. Michigan's most invasive species is our legislature. Many states are harboring the same invaders. Why? Because women lost our voices again. And the women voices we're hearing are disturbingly reactionary. We have a 21st century woman COO telling us: ladies, it's okay to raise your hand. We have a 21st century woman CEO's edict that employees may not work at home. What is this? The 50s? These woman head up Facebook and Yahoo, monstrously cloudy social networks. And this is their schtick? I feel aprons and pearls making a fast fashion comeback. As if Mad Men wasn't enough. So, I walk by the TV and some egocentric politician is spouting for the cameras, and I casually say "he must clank when he walks." I have been known to say "he's got the balls of an ox." I do not remember if it was in mixed company, or through which decades. I accidentally said it in front of my father once, but that's another post. A couple weeks ago, talking with a friend about the latest male directed preferential ass-kicking, I said what we need to do, what we must do, is get some balls. Big balls. I said this again later to another friend. And so on. From the dim outback of my memory, I looked for a glass necklace I thought was in the jewelry supply storage bin, found it, took it apart. Big balls. Big shiny glass balls. Earbobs. One friend wants brass. Another suggested color - blue balls anyone? The message is self-directed. And it makes me laugh, laugh, laugh. Yes, by all means, sit at the table, raise your hand, use your voice, push back. Then get you some balls. Own some. Sit at that table pushing back, with your big balls on. I can testify that once you have the image planted in your brain, you've already changed. You might even learn to spit.
Thursday, February 21, 2013
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Monday, January 14, 2013
The exhibition, during March (Women's History Month) will be head and shoulders renderings of what contributors understand about the looking-glass self. Presented by Charles Cooley in 1902, this theory purports, as Baker quotes, "I am not what I think I am and I am not what you think I am; I am what I think you think I am." Twisty, huh? It took a handful of weeks to even understand the concept. I've had several ideas of art to submit, but I am thinking in three-dimensional art, rather than flat art asked for submission. And I am thinking about whether this theory is true. For me. In the long years of the past. Today. The art I imagined is a discarded frame hanging in my workroom. Around the edges I would paint "I have a framework. It is constant and divine." True. All the wiggly bits and electricity and chemical compositions that make a human are there at the beginning. Centered in the frame on fishing line is a light. Small, bright. This is my essence. Powerful, as significant in every way as anything else in the cosmos. As mighty, as miniscule. True. In front of this incredible light would be transparent panels representing what has, and is, obscuring that light. 1st layer: painted with the parent brush. 2nd layer: painted with the peer brush. 3rd layer: drawn with the teacher pencils. And so on. Bosses, coworkers, lovers, enemies, circumstances. True. And understanding emerged. We have no way of knowing what others think of us. But we make it up. We absorb what our culture feels about us. We suffer for it. We do it to ourselves. For the last several months, I've been removing the painted layers from my mental work of art. When these obscuring layers are abandoned by me - because I am the person who keeps them installed and effective - when I remove the layers, what remains is my light. Small, powerful, steady, calm and bright. So bright. And on December 22, 2012, when I subconsciously reached for the veil, it wasn't there. None of them were. Self esteem. "I am what I know I am."
Thursday, January 3, 2013
Wikipedia gives a more thorough etymology. Jefferson used the repulsive and first promulgated modern [14th c.] definition for virago: a shrew, a loud and overbearing woman, and (adding insult to other cultures) a termagant. Over a dinner party? I don't want to read this book. I don't remember why I got it from the library. I just finished reading about Generals Grant and Sherman, and I'm male ego-ed out. I hope I'm done this lifetime with reading about gentile slaveholders in glowy prose. I'd rather perhaps read something at all about Martha Wayles Skelton Jefferson, who inherited her father's 100 slaves at his death, but didn't really own them because all property went to those wielding The Art of Power.