The Book, the Movie, the Reader, and the Audience

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What is better, the book or the movie?  That is a question that we hear many times, specially when talking about a recent release.  However, there  is no real answer to that question.  Really, there is not.  This is why.

I have found that book lovers (including myself) enjoy reading the book, but love seeing the movie for these reasons –

  • You want to see the images in the movie and compare them to the images that you have stored in your mind after reading the book.
  • You want to re-live the book using other senses.
  • You want to see the interpretation of that book in film and how it compares to the book.  Did they get it right?
  • You want to put faces to the main characters in the book.  You probably may have cast some in your mind.
  • You watch the movie as an extension of the book.

There are many other reasons, as reading a book and watching the movie is a personal experience, one that each reader/movie goer makes as individual as their senses.  This is why there is no straight answer to that question.  For some the book is better than the movie, for others, the opposite may be true.  Some will hate both (although, if they hated the book I doubt they will go to see the movie).  And, for a few others, they will love both, and will keep re-reading and watching over and over.  I count myself in that last group – many times.


On this topic

They Had a Beef – For Dinner?

Marbled beef

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When I first heard of the word or phrase “I have a beef with you”  I thought that the person was referring to an actual piece of meat – little did I know that it meant – either an argument, a problem, or a situation, that was setting the stage for a fight.  I was listening to the person speaking of this “beef” and could not make sense of it.  It wasn’t until later, when the conversation had progressed, that “the beef” became much clear.

This made me think that first, I had to brush (a lot) in today’s slangs and second, that we are living in a different world, where language, culture and technology intermix with disregard of time or motive.  It used to be that generations had a bit of time to learn to understand the new slang, and the new slang had a purpose or a motive.  A new slang word appeared and it was used and abused, and you were forced to learn it, want it or not.  Today, slang seems to appear out of the sudden and take you by surprise; there is no prelude to it, no big announcements of the generation using it, and no warning that it is here.  It is as if language has taken a dangerous personality, and one that may appear in the most unexpected places.  An example of this is when today, while watching the morning news, the newscast member reading the headlines used the word Beef.  However, this time, I knew what it meant.

Why I Don’t Care About Winning an Argument


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There was a time when I used to get blue in the face defending an argument; I don’t anymore.  Why?  Because first, I am not a lawyer nor do I enter any debating contests; therefore, it doesn’t make a difference to me.  Personal arguments do not take my energy anymore and this is why.

  1. People’s beliefs vary – In the old days, I was trying to convince people of accepting or adopting my belief.  The agenda was set wrong since the beginning.  Instead of inviting people to ponder or take a look at my point of view, I wanted to convert them to it.  Wrong!
  2. I have learned to agree to disagree – Instead of preaching my point of view until air from my lungs is exhausted, and they collapse, I have learned that it is alright to disagree, and it is healthy as well.
  3. It doesn’t change me – Learning to disagree and accepting disagreements does not mean that I have lost or have become weak.  On the other hand, understanding where the other person is coming from, makes me stronger and open-minded.  Agreeing to disagree does not change my core of beliefs, so there is no need for defensiveness.
  4. It is healthy to ponder others points of view – When you learn to appreciate the differences in others people’s arguments, you are allowing your mind to expand and look at other possibilities beyond your own.  You are freeing yourself out of your own box, and can benefit from this mental exercise.
  5. You are totally free – You are allowing yourself to consider other points of view, and there is no need to waste energy defending yours.  This may result on strengthening your own beliefs, or in allowing the freedom of changing them, if you discover new information that contradict your beliefs.

I have learned that there are more colors to an argument besides blue, and welcome all kinds of points of view.  Now, instead of preaching my point or trying to convince the other person that my way is the right one, I choose to expose my feelings in a non treatening way, providing information, and letting that person know why there are features and benefits (for me) to my point of view.  Now, instead of arguing, I sell.

I FaceBooked My Way Through Irene

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Well, the worst of Irene in Cliffwood Beach, NJ is over.  We had some trees down, and some flooding, but overall, better than what we expected.  I decided to keep aware and did not sleep until the worst of the hurricane was over.  Facebook helped me cope with Irene, and in a way, it helped ease my nerves.  I talked to family and friends while the winds were hitting the house, and this proved to be good storm therapy for me.  This proves once more that FB is more than a networking site, it extends to much more.  It has become a way for us to communicate during hard times, and many times the only way when phones and other ways of communication don’t work.

Irene scared the heck out of many people; I Facebooked my way through Irene.

Hurricane Irene – An Education

Irene was located south of Bermuda and was mov...

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I live in Cliffwood Beach, NJ, close to the path of Irene.  I have observed the preparation for the storm and I have gotten an education on how differently people react.  First, I have to say that Governor Chris Christie has made New Jerseyans feel safe, as he seems very prepared and ready, and he is not taking things lightly.  He has also been “very real” giving his awareness speeches.  I applaud him for this.

Despite all the warnings, I have observed people taking the arrival of Irene very lightly – having parties, planning on getting drunk, or staying in danger zones that are mandatory evacuation.  I know people who are not ready, even with the basics of water and can food.  Their believe – “Nothing is going to happen.”  They just don’t seem to want to hear it.

I have also seen people who at the time of this writing have not secured their stuff outside – many of this things, with the possibility of turning into dangerous projectiles that may damage other people property or even lives.

For the ones planning on partying and getting drunk, think of your family, and the importance of being alert enough to get them to safety if they need you.  There are plenty of times to get drunk and party, and during emergency alert is not one of them.

I have observed that most of the stores here in local Jersey are almost empty.  I am not sure about today, but water is certainly almost gone.  I had to visit two places yesterday to be able to buy water ( single small bottles since the 24 pk kind was gone in my area).  Affordable wood panels were almost gone at the local Home Depot – I had to buy two panels costing $20 each, to cover large windows.  At least it is a good sign that people are getting ready with supplies.  It also makes me think how low in supplies the local stores are, and in the event of a large emergency, they may not be enough for everyone.

I hope that we don’t get hit hard by Irene; it has certainly been an education prior her arrival.


The Ageless Artist

Sketch of W. Somerset Maugham.

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This morning I read a post on Facebook that quoted someone – “… no artist should be allowed to live after he’s 40.  By then a man has done his best work, all he does after that is repetition.” Of Human Bondage,” W. Somerset Maugham.

My reply to the quote itself was,  “Those are such foolish words, inspiration and art are ageless.”

If that was true possibly half or more of the greatest works in history would have not come to be.  Art and Inspiration are ageless, simply because they come from within, from the heart, the soul, and the deepest crevices of our spirit.  The artist inside you is ageless and ready to create when the need and instinct to create makes it inevitable for Art to be born.  Whether artists realize it or not, their art comes from their deepest desire to become creators themselves, and from the spiritual connection between their humanity and their soul.  When you create a piece, there is more than the aging carcass at work; the shell is just the instrument to make art real, art relies on the artist to become, but it is.  Many artists may have the same idea, but it is expressed in different ways and takes its unique form; therefore, becoming art.  In that sense, the artist is ageless.

Celebrating Autumn

Vineyard in Napa Valley

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I love Autumn; it is my favorite season.  So much happens during this time.  Nature becomes a changing painting.  Around mid September, I start preparing to welcome the Fall.  I try to enjoy this season to the max as it is also a prelude to another favorite – Winter.  Most likely, during fall, you will find me doing these activities, some of which I will not be able to do to total contentment this year, since I am in transition to move to VA.  However, I will certainly enjoy as many as I can.

Candles – I start by buying scented candle jars to welcome the season.  Some of my favorites are pumpkin spice, spiced apple, cinnamon spice, vanilla, gingerbread, maple pecan … and other scents.  At the end of fall I make sure that I have a pine or evergreen and cedar scent to welcome Winter.

I also give a good fall cleaning to the house to get it ready for the joyous season.  After that, the home is ready for decorating.  I like to decorate using a natural approach.  Many of the things will be handmade and using natural materials such as leaves, twigs, branches …  Many of these items can be tweaked for the winter, and later on recycled into mulch.  The organic feel is perfect for the season and conveys a warmth and coziness.  The outside decor follows the same approach.  I use some recycled vintage items as well.

Since the weather will be changing, so does the wardrobe.  I enjoy cleaning up closets and getting ready the outfits for the season.  Even hubby’s closet gets the Autumn treatment.  I love to play with fabrics and colors.

I enjoy the no A/C season and take advantage of it by opening all the windows to let the crisp air inside. The cats love it too. Their beds also get the autumn treatment, and get their heavy blankets on.

During this time, I celebrate by enjoying the quiet of the woods and parks.  We take walks, and love the smells of nature – wet leaves that are starting to decompose, the moisture in the air, as well as the crisp air of the season.  The sound of crunching leaves as you walk, the wind, and the scenery that slowly paints itself in nature – a palette of unique colors.  This is the perfect time to pick up fallen leaves and branches to use in the decor.  This is also beach time for me, as I enjoy the beach during fall, not during the summer.  It is not crowded and it is quiet, and the weather is better.  So there are many beach walks during this time.

One of my favorite rituals is to prepare for Halloween; I love the holiday.  In our neighborhood, we get tons of trick or treaters and I enjoy preparing colorful candy bags to give away to the kids.  I love to sit outside with a bucket full of bags while watching the parade of cute costumes.  I pick a favorite costume as a mental exercise.  I prepare 80-100 little bags and most of them go.  Sometimes, my neighbor will have a Halloween bash and most of the traffic will come to our street.  Their home is decorated with all kinds of spooks, smoke, sounds, and moving creatures … Last year two local rock bands played – this is also a treat, and I have grown accustomed to it over the years.  I will certainly miss it once we move.

Finally, I make sure I have some of my favorite treats on hand – the pumpkin or apple pie, hot chocolate, ginger tea, pumpkin spice creamer, cinnamon bun creamer, and the rarely found coconut creamer, mini marshmallows,  and my favorite – the tiny candy corn and pumpkin candy.  These treats make me happy.

And this is how I celebrate Autumn.

How Keeping a Journal Helps Me Start the Day

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I used to keep daily or weekly diaries where I wrote some important events or marked things in the calendar; however it wasn’t until I read “The Artist Way” by Julia Cameron that I decided to keep a daily journal.  She calls it, “the morning pages” in her book.  It is a bit different from the type of journal I used to keep before.

I keep a journal, almost everyday.  Not everyone keeps one, and the ones who do, don’t do it the same way.  Writing a journal is personal.  Since I started to write a journal before I start my workday, I have found that it helps me start the day in the right mood and in the right mode.  For me, it is more than writing events; I hardly do so.  I use my journal to clear my mind of the things that are hovering inside it and that may interfere with my day.  Many times, writing this journal takes the form of a prayer, other times written reflections, questions, and many other times, I just ponder about something that seems to be in the back of my mind.

Writing a journal before I start my day helps me approach the day in a more positive way.  For me, there are no set number of pages to write.  I write as long as it takes me to feel that my mind is ready.  Sometimes I write one page, sometimes, more than three.  It is never the same.  It may take me five minutes or twenty.  Sometimes, I may write before I go to bed if I feel that I need to organize my thoughts or if I am looking for an answer to something.  Sometimes the enlightenment comes in a dream, or as soon as I wake up; sometimes as I am writing.

Keeping a journal allows me to feel closer to my Creator, many times.  It reinforces my direction and purpose.  It has also helped me resolve past issues that have lingered in my mind,without me knowing.

How you keep a journal is up to you – what works best for you.  For me, pen and paper works best.  Maybe for you, keeping one at your PC might work better.  However, I must do it before I start my day; it grounds me.  If you feel that you don’t have the time, even gifting five or ten minutes to yourself, early in the morning will be beneficial – or before you go to bed; whatever seems to work best for you .

I discovered my biggest road block by doing this, and I even didn’t know about it.

Simply Human

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The title of this post came to me after opening the lid of the trash can in the kitchen – the brand is simplehuman.  When I glanced at it, this question came to mind, What is to be simply human?  We belong to the human species on this planet, and we live among many other species.  Just as elephants are pachyderms, we are human.  Unfortunately, over the years, the term human has been associated with mistake, error, shame, and a negative connotation.  When we make a mistake we tend to say, “Well, I’m only human or I am simply human.”

I have said that in many occasions, and it wasn’t until today that I got to think about what I was saying.  By saying the phrase, I was giving a negative meaning to my species.  Not on purpose, I was saying that being a human was being less than … far away from perfection, and I was using the word human as a crutch.  A crutch to justify mistakes and not performing up to my potential.  I think that the reason we think of ourselves, as humans, as something far away from beauty, has to do with a philosophic and religious influence throughout the ages, starting with the original sin and Adan and Eve story.  It also has to do with us comparing ourselves to the perfection of divinity.

On the contrary, implying that God or a Creator (if you believe in such) made a beautiful species, capable of many great and not so great deeds, would liberate us of the “simply human” negative connotation.  If you are an atheist, you may see the beauty of our species, and the greatness of our kind.  We can learn that there is no need for excuses in our journey to achieve our potential, and for many who believe, like me, on a divine purpose, to fulfill such.  Whether you believe in God or not, you may find yourself thinking of your humanity as an excuse.  It doesn’t matter if you are an atheist or if you believe in a Creator, you belong to the human species, and this puts you on the same level as any other human being.  What you do with your life – with your human existence is up to you.

Today, thanks to my trash can, I stop saying that I am “Simply Human,” because I know I am much more than that.

Where Do You Get Your Veggies?


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This past weekend I went to the farmer’s market to get my fruits and vegetables.  The drive there is about half and hour; however, the roads we take have a bit of a country view.  I can easily drive three minutes to one of the three nearby supermarkets, but there is a reason for the monthly drive to the farmers market, well, maybe more than one.

The first reason is that the fruits and vegetables come from local farms and this supports the local economy.  The second reason is that the fruits and veggies taste so much better and are bigger than the ones bought at the supermarket.  The third reason, is that I save money as well.  I can pay $3 for a whole basket of Jersey tomatoes or I can go to the nearest supermarket and pay $4.99 for three small tomatoes in a pack.  I spent $28.00 in fruits and veggies that will last our household (me and my husband) for a whole month, maybe more.  Cutting and freezing is part of the weekend as well.  In addition, we enjoy this trip.  For now, this will do; once we move out-of-state we will be growing our own food and farming.

This got me thinking.  It matters where I get my vegetables, and the same principle can be applied to … my inspiration, my knowledge, my learning, my advice.  Where or from who do you get inspiration, knowledge, advice …?  Just as it may be more convenient to get my vegetables at the nearest supermarket – a 3 minute drive – I may also be getting a fruit or veggie that is of less quality, lacks in flavor, and does not give me all that I am looking for or expecting.

As beginning artists or writers, we must mind where we get our feedback, education/learning, and inspiration.  The wrong advice or ill comment can take the flavor of our work and leave a sour spirit.  In the end, shortcuts may make your journey much longer.