Archive for the ‘Life’

Making sense of post-election heartbreak

This morning I woke up wondering if last night had been a bad dream. How have the hopes, vision and hard work of millions of high-minded people been superseded by a racist, misogynistic, narcissistic repeat liar with no knowledge of governing? (And under the new regime, am I going to be “disappeared” for writing this!?!)

As I muddle through my pain and sadness, I have come to realize that this is what the business world calls a “disruption.”

A disruption is an innovation that literally uproots the way the market thinks, often by addressing a previously under-served sector of the market.

For example, Kickstarter made it possible for ordinary people to raise money without having to secure venture capital. Rent the Runway made it possible for women to wear designer gowns at a low price.

Yesterday’s election was clearly a disruption.

Whether or not branding magnate Donald Trump can follow through on the disruption he intended and give his market what he promised is almost immaterial. What they apparently wanted most (as also indicated by the Democratic primary and votes for a third-party candidate) was disruption.

Perhaps the most useful questions the rest of us can ask ourselves are, “Why did so many people need this to happen? What wasn’t working for them?”

Disruption is a destructive and chaotic process, but also often creative, so logically the next question is: “How can we redesign the inevitably ensuing chaos to work better for all of us?” We thought having #HillaryClinton in the White House would help us achieve that, but were unable to convince enough people. Something has to change.

I’m devastated and disheartened that Hillary Clinton won’t be our next president. With a Democratic Congress supporting her, she would have done a stunning job of unifying the country.

It is our challenge to use our anger and disappointment to help navigate the path forward in a positive direction. The pendulum is likely to swing far backward, so once we manage to move through the stages of our grieving process, we are going to have to work our collective butts off to maintain our vision of a more peaceful, just and inclusive world. There is literally no other option.

Why Michael Keaton Didn’t Win Best Actor

I’m disappointed Michael Keaton didn’t win Best Actor, even from fellow actors in the Screen Actors’ Guild awards, and I’ve been puzzling as to why. It’s not that Eddie Redmayne didn’t give a wonderful performance in The Theory of Everything, because he absolutely did. But Keating in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman was nothing short of astonishing. He took us on an incredible ride, reaching into the marrow of his bones to extract every ounce he had to give. And I think this partially explains the vote.

Every person who is voting on these awards either fancies him/herself doing that same thing, or secretly wishes he could but feels inadequate to the task. (N.B. I’m going to stick with “his” here because as you probably noticed if you watched the awards, the industry is still dominated by men.) Every single one wants to be relevant and, if he’s honest, famous and successful; and nearly every one is scared silly not so much of failure and being outshone by someone younger and more talented, but of losing everything—possibly including his mind—in the effort to fulfill his dreams. In other words, the members of the Academy, and even of SAG, look at Riggan Thomson and see their worst fears manifested. It’s just too scary.

In general, Hollywood is more interested in pragmatism than magical realism in any event: Recent Best Picture winners such as 12 Years a Slave, Argo, Dallas Buyers Club are all good films with excellent performances, but more grit than magic. And they are about important, meaningful, worthy subjects. But most people in the film business have the sense on some level that they’re getting away with something. Our country was built on a kind of spartan work ethic and here they are, possibly working their butts off but also having fun and feeling great about what they do. As we used to say years ago when I was still an actor, “It beats selling shoes.”

Scientists, on the other hand, now there’s a respectable profession, and Stephen Hawking is a genius! So when you pair filmmaking with someone you think walks on water despite being unable to walk, combined with boy meets girl and they overcome adversity together, you’ve got a winner. A vote for Eddie Redmayne is also a vote for Stephen Hawking.

And can you imagine the blowback if the Academy gave Best Picture to a movie that is all about the work they do?

Maybe I’m projecting with all this. What do you think?

February 12, 2015

This post is titled with today’s date because that’s what’s on my mind. Today. The unseasonal warmth, the breeze gently kissing my skin, hot sun on the concrete block path, a feeling of quietness having gotten through the big push of getting the new Whole Life Times website up and running, the thrill of figuring out how to do a tech thing just by googling it and following the steps.

I don’t think millennials have any comprehension of how challenging computer technology is for some of us raised in the 20th century. All my college papers were done on my portable typewriter, as were my boyfriend’s papers. By me. I did that for love.

February is all about love, or so they tell us. In our new issue (sign up on our home page if you haven’t seen it) we talk about all kinds of love: love for self, love between BFFs, romantic love, sexual love and even spiritual love. But we don’t talk much about familial love. Family of origin.

On this date in the early-mid 20th century, Rose Mary Carr and Jinx Lewis got married. I’m the third of the five diverse children who issued from that unlikely union, and I’m grateful every day for the life they gave me. Grateful, too, for the life of this planet, the beauty and abundance that surrounds me, the opportunities that come my way for a full, rich experience on the material plane. I do wonder, sometimes, about what lies beyond and the point of it all. Some people believe they have all the answers. More power to ’em.

I’m just enjoying the day, and I hope you are too.

Hershey Bar

It was a summer camp field trip and I’d been eating crummy food for what seemed like forever; I must have been about 10 or 11 years old. It may even have been the year I ran away from camp, an ill-fated adventure that ended with several of us renegades walking a very long way back to the camp in the dark. Scary. And who knows, maybe the candy bar started it all.

On the field trip we’d gone to a swimming pool, and after our swim we were all hungry and no doubt craving sugar or carbs. Two young counselors had a Hershey bar that had melted in the heat of the day, and they sat on a bench in front of us—I can still see them in my mind, lanky wet hair hanging over their faces—wiping melted chocolate off the paper and licking their fingers til every drop was gone, as we wee things stood salivating.

I don’t even like Hershey bars, but to this day I remember those girls every time I see one. This must be a little taste (sic) of the way those who don’t have enough to eat constantly feel. They see people all around them living well-fed lives, and they are struggling just to survive and feed their children. Are we all those mean girls?