MY MANY JOURNEYS: RECONFIGURING, RELOCATING, AND PONDERING — NOV. 6

 

Welcome to my “interior world,” where I enjoy reading, sipping coffee in the morning—in this newly configured morning space—and then watching a little TV between more reading.

On the weekend, I decided to revamp my dining area…again.  And now the Baker’s Rack holds pride of place, front and center (so to speak).

It was a lot of work, since I had to remove all the items from the rack, as well as the green cupboard (now on the left side of the space); I felt a little virtuous, since everything got thoroughly dusted in the process.

The Baker’s Rack sat in its former place ever since I bought it.

This version shows it in the space I reconfigured awhile ago when I moved the red cupboard into the corner.

I have always had a yen for Baker’s Racks.  I noticed them on TV shows or movies, and drooled a bit.  But I could never find just the one.  They were always too fragile looking; or had too many mirrors or surfaces that needed polishing.  I wanted one with shelves I could fill with books and trinkets, but I also wanted drawers.  And space below for more stuff.

Finally, while wandering around in the furniture stores near my neighborhood, I found this one!  And it was discounted, because the store was going out of business.  Mixed feelings all around…I hate when stores go out of business.  But I love discounts.

And they delivered it the next day, at minimal cost.

I had made room for it near the patio door…and thought it would stay there forever.

But my restless spirit kept seeing it elsewhere, while my dread of big chores like this would be kept me from acting.  Until Sunday.

What is it about Sunday that brings out this part of me?  Does it feel like a day for recreating things?  Often my urges for upheaval are satisfied on a Sunday….And then again, it could have been because I was watching the DVD collection of Lipstick Jungle.…where my love of Baker’s Racks was refueled years ago.  The character Nico has a lovely one in her dining area.  Of course, hers is not filled with all the stuff mine has…

But I do love looking at it now, in the newly reconfigured space.  You can see it as you come in the front door.  And it seems like an icon standing there in such a prominent place…

Hmm…Should I move that “Chez Raine” sign, so it reads like a caption? (You can barely see the sign in the second photo).

 

Here it is!  This sign (see above) was one I had made for me when I was living in the foothills.  There it welcomed guests, as it “lived” on the front door.

You can scarcely glimpse it in this photo above.

The sign, like me, has been on many journeys.  But should I move it again?  That would mean rearranging the other pictures and spackling the nail holes again…lol.  What do you think?

IN SEARCH OF FORMER GLORY — A MOVIE REVIEW

 

 

I have thoroughly enjoyed every Diablo Cody movie I have seen…and this one is no different.

Charlize Theron inhabits the role of Mavis Gary so completely that it is hard to imagine that she is not that person. From the opening scenes, when we see Theron in the messy apartment, the TV playing in the background, and she is sleeping in what can only be a very depressed state, we know that this is going to be a very dark tale.

We slowly come to see what her vulnerabilities are. As a “ghost” writer of a YA series that is about to end unsuccessfully, it is no surprise that she seeks out her former glory days. High school was the pinnacle for her, and her former boyfriend (played by Patrick Wilson) becomes an obsession.

Going home to the town where she was a “star” turns into another kind of journey.

I could not turn away from Young Adult, even though it definitely was not going to a happy place. This is a movie I will watch whenever I want to study a character whose sad and lonely life is hidden, sometimes unsuccessfully, behind a veneer of apparent self-confidence.

A SAD JOURNEY: A STAR’S POIGNANT TALE — A REVIEW

A twentieth century icon whose life remains fascinating and endlessly mysterious, even more than forty years after her death, Marilyn Monroe still grabs our attention as no other star of her time.

In Leaming’s portrait (published in 1998), I learned a lot that I hadn’t gleaned from any other tome about this captivating star. One thing remains true through all the books on the subject, however: Marilyn had a sad and lonely childhood; struggled in her adulthood; and died tragically, still chasing the demons that plagued her all the days of her life. Fearing abandonment and a repeat of all the other losses she suffered throughout her life, she often sabotaged herself and became the kind of person people would turn away from.

Needy, frightened, paranoid—these traits all could describe her. And in her effort to gain the love, the respect, and the attention of others, she often pushed away the very things she desired. She did, however, show a determination and a unique ability to capture her audiences, which kept her a valuable asset for the Hollywood system for a long time.

Unfortunately, she also trusted and depended on the wrong people, who seemingly basked in her dependency. Even her psychiatrist, at the end, played right into the abandonment drama she feared the most.

In this book I learned a lot about the whole industry/studio system and the drama that unfolded around stars like Marilyn. More than I wanted to know, actually. Sometimes these tedious and unending details took away from the star and her life. I did enjoy details about the people she met, the relationships, and her homes: always part of that elusive thing she sought.

This was the saddest story of Marilyn that I’ve read, and I applaud the author’s research and efforts. However, for the reasons I mentioned, I’m giving the story 3.5 stars.

THE HEART SEES THE TRUTH — A REVIEW

As I read this wonderfully colorful story, I couldn’t help thinking of the saying: “A picture is worth a thousand words.” We learn Ella’s story, as well as those of her family, friends, and the people she paints…as she paints them. In each sitting, Ella, the portrait artist, elicits the stories of her subjects. And as she gradually portrays them, we learn bits and pieces of her story as she interacts with them and reflects on her life.

At thirty-five, Ella Graham has a big hole in her heart…and in her life. Her father, about whom she has some happy memories, disappeared just before she turned five. Drawing him over and over as a child was her way of somehow capturing him.

Her mother’s secrecy and complete dismissal of his presence or importance in her life back then create an agony that cannot be fully healed.

So in painting the lives of others and seeing their loves, hearing about their losses, Ella feels a connection that, while it doesn’t replace what she’s lost, gives her something on which to focus.

Then one day, something unexpected happens, and Ella’s life changes course. Gradually she uncovers the secrets of her past…and at the same time, discovers something right in front of her that had eluded her. Unexpected love.

Visually vibrant settings, along with fully-drawn characters, brought The Very Picture of You: A Novel completely alive for me. I enjoyed this memorable story that in some ways fully realizes the idea that we all see something different when we look at the world, and that our individual perceptions can sometimes distort events. Secrets, betrayals, and even love can be fully seen when we acknowledge them. Four stars.

FOLLOWING THE YELLOW BRICK ROAD — A JOURNEY — JUNE 29

FOLLOW THE YELLOW BRICK ROAD

 

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about journeys. 

I have participated in various writing challenges during the past year, hoping to jump-start my writing.  I had begun a WIP in early 2010, and then set it aside for NaNoWriMo, which required a new project.

In each of them, journeys are a large part of what the characters are exploring.  In Interior Designs, our MC is facing up to her “interior world,” not liking what she sees.  She will attempt to figure out what drives her, and then change some of her behavior.  Will she succeed?

While the character in Defining Moments has to veer off the course she set for herself when her marriage falls apart, she now has to come to terms with some of her hidden obsessions and compulsions.

When I selected a photo of my Wizard of Oz collectibles for today’s header, I was thinking about journeys.  How they often lead us to unexpected places, and how we end up transformed.

I do like to illustrate my thoughts with fantasy images; not necessarily because I “believe” in these fantasies, but because they do offer metaphors for our lives in the real world.

So when I set off to explore a new path, or take a unique twist or turn in the current one, I have to ask myself what lies ahead?  Will my “yellow brick road” reveal the secrets that I need to know in my journey?

What about you?  Do you think about journeys and how they might teach us what we need to know?

A JOURNEY INTO THE DEPTHS — A CREATIVE EXPLORATION

Photograph by Craig Robinson, Berlin Photographer

THE BEAUTY IN RUINS

Sometimes when we embark on a creative exploration, we find unexpected things. Treasures, maybe; but the possibility always exists that we will stumble upon something dark and even frightening.

Interior journeys are like that, even when they’re not creative ones.  Reflecting on our thoughts; plumbing the depths of memory; and taking those reflections and thoughts to the story we are creating, or even the life we are living, can yield unique gifts for potential readers.

Sharing our true selves on the written page will shine through and strike a chord with someone out there.  If we remain on the superficial plane, without delving deep into the core of our being, that will show, too.

Like the image above (in the post) and on the header, sometimes our journeys will lead us to decadent places; however, there is also a beauty in the ruins. The past, even if it feels dark and forbidding, can tell us how to overcome our obstacles in the here and now.

What unexpected treasures have you discovered lately?

THE ICONIC JONESES

Meet the Joneses. They are the perfect family living in an upscale neighborhood, and they have everything that you might want. From the first moment they descend into their new environment, envy rears its head. Everyone wants what they have.

But underneath the stunning surface, secrets and hidden agendas are just waiting to reveal themselves. Is this family too good to be true?

When a neighborhood tragedy jolts one of them into the real world, what will happen to the perfect life they’ve created?

I was riveted to the screen throughout this film. My expectations were not high for this movie, but I was pleasantly surprised. Demi Moore was perfect as the “plastic” superwoman; David Duchovny was great at revealing glimpses of a real person underneath that perfect exterior; and Lauren Hutton, as super icon, was masterful. And Gary Cole and Glenne Headley reeled me in as the vulnerable wannabes.

You might be surprised at the ending…but then again, anything is possible in this unreal universe.

Four stars for The Joneses…the ending, albeit satisfying, seemed like an unlikely departure from the main theme.

THE HIGH COST OF ART

When three people in a farm family are killed in Holcomb, Kansas, Truman Capote (Toby Jones) and (Nelle) Harper Lee (Sandra Bullock) embark upon a journey to delve into the impact of this crime on the people of the village. It is 1959 and Truman has already displayed an extraordinary literary talent; Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Perennial Modern Classics) is about to bring her success as well.

Thus begins this movie, which, like the previous one, Capote, focuses on Truman’s attempts to ingratiate himself enough with the townspeople to earn admittance into their thoughts and feelings.

In the process, Truman Capote becomes so involved with one of the killers, Perry Smith (Daniel Craig), that he almost becomes part of the story.

At the end, after the hangings and after the book has exceeded every expectation, it’s almost as though all of their lives are but an epilogue to the main event.

Narrating at the conclusion, the character Harper Lee comments that, in America, there is no attention paid to the “small” moments in your artistic life; instead, after the success, everyone asks, as only Americans can: “What’s next?”

This comment seemed so poignant, considering that, despite the success that still surrounds To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Perennial Modern Classics), this book was the main event for Harper Lee as well.

The actors left their intriguing marks on the characters, adding a depth and humanity—even on the criminals—and also gave us a peek into the thoughts and feelings of the writers who turned the human moments into art.

While I enjoyed this movie, I was disappointed that Harper Lee was portrayed as a footnote to Truman (or a sidekick), with only the occasional moments that revealed that she might be his moral compass as well. I feel compelled to learn more about her, which is why I am currently reading Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee, a portrait written by Charles J. Shields.

The high cost of the writing process was very evident throughout this film. If more of this angst had been portrayed, I would gladly have seen this movie as a five star creation. Instead, I could only grant four stars to Infamous.