Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Movie Reviews

I recently flew from Istanbul to Los Angeles--twelve hours--and that meant I watched some movies and read a book. (I'll save the book for another blog post.)
So the movies...
Me and Ear and the Dying Girl
I loved this movie so, so much. I could relate to every character, even though each was unique. (Although maybe not the drug dealer, or Earl's thug brother, but I saw a piece of myself in everyone else--the moms, the teens, the dad, the goofy high school teacher). And you think it's a movie about Greg and Rachel, but it's really about so much more. It's about how Greg relates to his best friend (co-worker) his parents, and the rest of his universe. And maybe because I also had someone close to me die while I was in high school, I cried. But don't skip it because you don't want a weepy movie. This never once sunk into cliche or melodrama. It was fresh, funny, and oh so human.
Money Monster
I liked this one, too, although it was supposedly edited and the F-bombs were flying. Maybe because it was a Turkish Airline and they thought the F bombs didn't need to be edited. Anyway, this movie made me think about money, how hard we work, and how often our money seems to have little to do with our daily efforts. On my grandparents' farm, if you didn't work, you didn't eat. If you didn't milk a cow you had dry corn flakes. Today, I write a book and someone else may buy it or not. I didn't think about my books, work on them, or promote them while I was traveling and yet people still bought them. (It's very cool when you think about it). But this is a movie about how money moves and how it's easily lost through no fault of our own.
This is a classic rags to riches story, but even though I didn't enjoy it as much as the other two movies, it did make me think. I'm sure they demonized the dad and half-sister, but I found it interesting that even though they were awful, Joy put up with them. And it made me think about family and community. Since this needs it's own blog post, so I'll leave it for another day and post a link when I write about the importance of community and how it's a lot like government.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding, 2
Very silly. Sweet. Glad I didn't pay for it, or make my husband see it, but it wasn't a waste of time, It also made me think about community, families, and why they're important. Or maybe I was just focusing on that since I was returning home after an extended stay and I was anxious to be surrounded by my own loved ones.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Acceptance- Learning to Love Others inspite or Maybe Even Because of Flaws

Sometimes letting go doesn't mean letting someone go. Sometimes it may mean letting go of your own expectations, and your own frustrations. Because the sad reality is we all have weaknesses and flaws. And yes, it would be great if our beloved didn't do x, y, or z, but that really isn't our choice. The only choice we have is whether or not to love them. To walk away or stay.

It's simple, really, but we complicate things with emotions. Sometimes we've invested so much time and energy into a relationship we think if we only work a little harder, be a little smarter, or talk a little louder they'll be able to see what you see--they person they could be if only they'd give up the x, y, or z, or embrace the a, b, or c. 

But their choices are never our choices. We have to love each other and the letters we each carry in our pockets. We're all messy packages, products of our beliefs, our environments, and our training.
Walking away from a relationship is an option. But usually the best choice is to walk away from our own false expectations and allow our loved ones to realize their own visions of who they want to be.

And hope they give us the space to do the same.

But, of course, sometimes the only choice is to walk away, knowing that if we do we'll have much more space than we ever wanted.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016


In my novel, Menagerie, Lizbet can talk to animals. Sometimes this ability helps, and sometimes it hurts. It's definitely useful in book one as she struggles to find who is responsible for beating her mother. It'll be hurtful in book two as her relationship with Declan, a young atheist pre-med student, deepens.

Here's a few quotes. I'll use some of them for chapter headings.

Animism (from Latin anima, "breath, spirit, life") is the worldview that non-human entities—such as animals, plants, and inanimate objects—possess a spiritual essence.

“If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.”
― Francis of Assisi

“A single sunbeam is enough to drive away many shadows.”
― Francis of Assisi

“Be praised, my Lord, through all your creatures, especially through my lord Brother Sun, who brings the day; and you give light through him. And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor! Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness."

Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars; in the heavens you have made them, precious and beautiful.

Be praised, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air, and clouds and storms, and all the weather, through which you give your creatures sustenance.

Be praised, My Lord, through Sister Water; she is very useful, and humble, and precious, and pure.

Be praised, my Lord, through Brother Fire, through whom you brighten the night. He is beautiful and cheerful, and powerful and strong.

Be praised, my Lord, through our sister Mother Earth, who feeds us and rules us, and produces various fruits with colored flowers and herbs.
Animals, whom we have made our slaves, we do not like to consider our equal. Charles Darwin
Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science. Charles Darwin
We must, however, acknowledge, as it seems to me, that man with all his noble qualities... still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin. Charles Darwin
To kill an error is as good a service as, and sometimes even better than, the establishing of a new truth or fact. Charles Darwin
It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change. 

"There is no fundamental difference between man and the higher animals in their mental faculties... The lower animals, like man, manifestly feel pleasure and pain, happiness, and misery."
--Charles Darwin

"If all the beasts were gone, man would die from loneliness of spirit, for whatever happens to the beast, happens to the man."
        --Chief Seattle

"Until he extends the circle of compassion to all livings things, Man will not himself find peace."
        --Albert Schweitzer

By ethical conduct toward all creatures, we enter into a spiritual relationship with the universe."
      --A. Schweitzer

"...We know from the truths of evolution and ecology that we are all related and interdependent. Anthropomorphism (crediting animals with human emotions and traits) is, however, outdated. Rather we know that we are like animals."
        --Michael W. Fox

"I want to realize brotherhood or identity not merely with the beings called human, but I want to realize identity with all life, even with such things as crawl upon earth."
        --Mohandas Gandhi

"I care not much for a man's religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it."
        --Abraham Lincoln

"The Anti-Vivisector does not deny that physiologists must make experiments and even take chances with new methods. He says that they must not seek knowledge by criminal methods, just as they must not make money by criminal methods. He does not object to Galileo dropping cannon balls from the top of the leaning tower of Pisa; but he would object to shoving off two dogs or American tourists."
        --George Bernard Shaw

"The question is not, can they reason? Nor, can they talk? But can they suffer?"
        --Jeremy Bentham

"...we sacrifice other species to our own not because our own has any objective metaphysical privilege over others, but simply because it is ours. It may be very natural to have this loyalty to our own species, but let us hear no more from the naturalists about the "sentimentality" of anti-vivisectionists. If loyalty to our own species--preference for man simply because we are men--is not sentiment, then what is?"
        --C.S. Lewis

"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated."

"I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights. That is the way of a whole human being."
        --Abraham Lincoln

 There are more things in heaven and earth … than are dreamt of--” 
-- William Shakespeare, Hamlet, act 1, scene 5, lines 167–68.

Menagerie is Free this weekend. Get yours here.

Book two, Melange, is now available for pre-order. Order it here.