Thursday, December 31, 2015
Friday, December 25, 2015
Gift by Joanne Faries
take time to say thanks
thanks to all loved ones
remember your past
shed tears of joy, not sorrow
breathe deep and look around
no phone, no electronics, no gadgets
breathe deep and look around
let your mind take the snapshot
of the moments
repost from blog 12/8/12
Be back at New Year's. Until then - Peace and Love
Be back at New Year's. Until then - Peace and Love
Thursday, December 24, 2015
Christmas cheer and goodwill
from mountains to prairie to sea
rooms glow festive with candles
bells chime to bless you and me
pray for soldiers' safe return
full stomachs and treats
peace in all hearts
delightful friends shall meet
family hugs all around
laughs and stories galore
let this spirit prevail
holiday season and more
Wednesday, December 23, 2015
Tis the season
Tuesday, December 22, 2015
Monday, December 21, 2015
Sunday, December 20, 2015
Or sit and tell your own Christmas tales - the magic is there
Saturday, December 19, 2015
Just me and a Betty Crocker pouch of peanut butter cookie mix - add egg, oil, and water. So easy to bring joy.
Tis the season
Thursday, December 17, 2015
Spotlight is fast paced and tells quite a tale based on true events. I’ve always liked a “hold the presses” movie and this is old fashioned news beat story telling. Back in 2001, the Boston Globe’s special news team – Spotlight- started researching information on priest abuse. The numbers grew and they realized they had more than a few priests involved – this was a whole system of lies. Interviews, knocking on doors, confirmation of names, and more research yielded an amazing sad expose of lives forever affected due to the trust given to the Catholic church.
Tight film making and great acting gives Spotlight a classy edge. Michael Keaton is the editor raised in Boston and entrenched in the parish affected. Liev Schreiber is the new comer to the area who questions the fiber of the system. Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams are the boots on the ground researchers, digging ever deeper and getting the necessary interviews to confirm the pain and suffering of former altar boys. Stanley Tucci plays the lawyer who’s been fighting the church for a long time. The cast interaction heightens the drama and sense of urgency to the story.
Oscar buzz surrounds this film and it’s a worthy contender. If you want a well done, smart film experience, then train your eyes on Spotlight.
Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Monday, December 14, 2015
Mary Karr’s The Liar’s Club was a sensational memoir. She followed it up with Cherry and Lit. Now she’s using her skills as a writer and years as a professor and combining the two for The Art of Memoir. It is not a step by step how-to book, but rather a general discussion of the elements needed to put a personal story down on paper. From the cover blurb – she breaks open our concepts of memory and identity, and illuminates the cathartic power of reflecting on the past: anybody with an inner life or complicated history, whether writer or reader, will relate.
She uses other writers as examples and also delves into her own process. She admits to fear. She describes the concern of baring her soul, facing demons, and dealing with her own family and their perspective on their roles in her life. Mary Karr says, “ In some ways, writing a memoir is knocking yourself out with your own fist, if it’s done right.”
Everyone has a story, but how do you make yours interesting to others? She discusses all the senses and how to throw your reader into the life you are depicting. She says, “ Everyone has a past, and every past spawns fierce and fiery emotions about what it means.” If you are writing a memoir, you are taking a side and trying to be fair in the exposition of the tale. Will the reader stay on your side? Or will they drift and wonder what you are hiding? It’s a dance of sorts, and words are the musical pacing.
I enjoyed The Art of Memoir and marked off many pages for the wisdom, wit, and advice Ms. Karr shares. She’s been a favorite writer of mine and does not disappoint. P. 215 Writing, regardless of the end result – whether good or bad, published or not, well reviewed or slammed – means celebrating beauty in an often ugly world. And you do that by fighting for elegance and beauty, redoing or cutting the flabby, disordered parts. Whether you are a writer or a reader, The Art of Memoir will strike a chord in your heart and have you digging into your own life story.
Sunday, December 13, 2015
Friday, December 11, 2015
The original Rocky was a sleeper movie – low budget, heartwarming story, and a lovable lunk mumbling “Yo, Adrian.” It won the Oscar for Best Picture back in 1977. Then the sequels arrived, each more outlandish than the next and the series became an excessive joke. Now, after a long time, Creed arrives on screen and it harks back to the original – a heartwarming story, a lovable lunk mumbles “Yo Adrian”, and there’s a kid with a chip on his shoulder who manages to prove to himself that he’s worthy of his name and he’s a fighter.
Michael B. Jordan is Adonis “Donny” Johnson, illegitimate son of Apollo Creed – the champion boxer back in the day. Donny fights his way through foster care until Apollo’s second wife takes him in and provides a home long after Apollo died. Donny never knew his father. Fast forward to today when Donny is winning fights in Mexico, quits his respectable financial job, moves to Philadelphia, and seeks out the Italian Stallion himself – Rocky Balboa. Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) keeps a low profile these days running a restaurant. He has no intention of taking on a boxer to train. But something about this kid, the history, and the chance for redemption for Apollo.
Now the focus of the movie is on training – running through the streets of Philly (which looks awesome in this film), the physical and mental strain, the slow build-up to a huge match against Ricky “Pretty Boy” Conlan – a tough boy from Liverpool with a grand reach, fast feet, and a faster lip. Who has the staying power? Adonis Creed who must acknowledge his name and the demons that come with it? Or Rocky, old guy, who gets a medical diagnosis that ain’t pretty? They have to fight together.
Creed is a boxing movie and yes it culminates in the Big Fight. But it’s way more than that. It’s about esteem, family, history, guts, determination , roots, plus heart and soul. Michael B. Jordan is excellent – he’s physically ripped, but he’s more than that. His face reflects his feelings and you want to root for him. Sly Stallone is great too – he’s always been underrated, and he shows a deft touch as a mentor. Philly shines, and yes, you want to run up those Art Museum steps with the Rocky theme wafting over the city. Step into the ring and soar.
Wednesday, December 9, 2015
JK Rowling, writing as Robert Galbraith, is so darn good. I’ve featured her first two novels – The Cuckoo’s Calling and The Silkworm – and now she’s back with Career in Evil. I think this is the best Cormoran Strike book yet.
From the cover blurb – When a mysterious package is delivered to Robin Ellacott, she is horrified to discover that it contains a woman’s severed leg. Her boss, detective Cormoran Strike, is less surprised but no less alarmed. There are four people from his past who he thinks could be responsible – and Strike knows that any one of them is capable of sustained and unspeakable brutality.
Yowza – now that will make you turn pages.
Indeed, the book progresses with some grisly murders. It’s obvious a serial murderer is on the loose. Cormoran and Robin are under police surveillance. They, in turn, are doing their own investigative work. Meanwhile, chapters offer up the killer’s viewpoint and as the reader, we have no idea who this is. We are as stumped as Robin and Strike. Meanwhile, Robin is maybe getting married, maybe not. Trying to maintain a relationship is very tough in this business. And at one point, Robin and Strike are at odds – now that makes it tough for the reader. We root for both of them – they are our constant.
Cover blurb – A fiendishly clever mystery with unexpected twists around every corner, Career of Evil is also a gripping story of a man and a woman at a crossroads in their personal and professional lives.
I love JK Rowling. She truly is a superb writer with a clever imagination and a gift for rich descriptions and characters. This is her best mystery yet and kept me guessing until the very end. Turn on all the lights, snuggle under an afghan and treat yourself to a great read.
Monday, December 7, 2015
Not bragging too much, but I'm always pleased to have stories in this journal.
Enjoy my wacky darkness
Robin Dunn—Leaving the Globe—Winner
Joanne Faries—Fall from Grace
Ryan Pillarsy—From Arbendale Before Rainfall
Anna Bálint—Saint Anne
Bev Vines-Haines—Saints Marching In
Roger Leatherwood—No Saint
Hayward Fault Line
Bev Vines-Haines—Achieving Sainthood—Winner
James Shaffer—Saint Januarius
Joanne Faries—No Man, Just Me
Kristen Caven—Vino Vidi Vesuvia
Steve Rodriguez—Fictitious Memories—Winner
Anna Bálint—Boy on a Bicycle
Sandy Vrooman—Googling Down Memory Lane
Frank Stewart Symons—Saint Cecilia—Winner
James Shaffer—Saint Anthony
Abha Iyengar—Living in Hope
Roger Leatherwood—Joanna Lost at Seaside
Lester L. Weil—Cigarettes, Whiskey, and Wild Wild Women
KJ Hannah Greenberg—Her Bulbous Eyes
John A. Ward—The Saints We Know—John A. Ward
Andrew Ramer—Lament: in several fonts, sizes, colors
Friday, December 4, 2015
The new film Brooklyn is an immigrant tale written by Nick Hornby. 1950s small town Ireland does not offer a lot of room for growth. It’s a land of predictability – you live, marry, and die. But more is meant for Eilis Lacey. Her sister Rose arranges via the priest for Eilis to travel to Brooklyn, live in a respectable boarding house, and work at a department store. Rose will stay in Ireland, continue working as a bookkeeper, and care for their mother. So Eilis ventures into an unknown world. After a bout of homesickness, she soon meets a young man. It’s shocking but he’s Italian. But it’s not Ireland. It’s America, and it’s okay. Eilis grows into her job – learning to laugh and interact with customers. The local priest (Jim Broadbent) sponsors her night school so she can achieve her dream to someday become an accountant. She’s blossoming before our eyes into an independent young woman – an American.
Circumstance bring her back to Ireland and she has to face her past to decide on her future. The auld sod is in her heart, but she’s torn. She has a new life in Brooklyn. This tender movie is sweet, poignant, and well-acted. Saoirse Ronan’s clear blue eyes captivate the screen. She’s excellent and you root for her. Jim Broadbent is perfect as the local priest looking out for her. Julie Walters is a welcome presence as the boarding house marm. Emory Cohen, Tony the Italian suitor, is a charmer. And Domhnall Gleeson is the Irish lad in the old home town.
Brooklyn presents choices, growth, humor, love, and tells a tale about home and what the word embodies. It’s rich and presents the energy of America. It’s a good movie to see in this holiday season and to give thanks.