Sadly, for reasons yet unknown to me, Amazon has decided to eliminate its entire catalog of short films, films which includes Leave and which happens to be an awesome film with an awesome director and an awesome cast and crew and which yours truly wrote and executive produced and which premiered at the awesome LA Femme International Film Festival in 2018.
Dubya. Tee. Eff., Bezos?
So, now I need to find a new home for Leave. A home which is hopefully a little more respectful of the value short films bring to the world.
Tell you what, while we ponder over where best to host the flick, how ’bout for the next couple days, let’s say until 2359 Sunday, March 14, 2021, to be exact, I will unlock it at Vimeo for all to see and enjoy?
Sounds like a solid plan, eh.
Also, if you’re interested in watching the short documentary I produced about the making of Leave, you can check that out at leavethemovie.wordpress.com. While there, you can also learn more about the cast and crew.
Of course, you can watch the doc at Vimeo as well.
I was inspired to write my first novel Inside the Skin (formerly The Sea Trials of an Unfortunate Sailor) by life experiences I earned back in the late ’90s, early ’00s while working as a navy Equal Opportunity specialist, experiences the focus of which centered around the harassment, abuse, injury, and sometimes sadly even death as a result of the hatred for and confusion of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy which had recently been implemented throughout the military.
I may occasionally write the junk, but rarely do I read it.
And it is not because I don’t like it that I rarely read it…
It’s because it, the really good stuff anyway, is so durn hard to read.
I’m talking Poetry here…
Poetry with a big, bold capital P.
And it is so hard for me to read (And by read I mean read. I mean really digging into the poem and fighting through the initial confusion and the complicated and often archaic words. I mean, not just reading the poem, but studying it and trying to close the gap in time from when the poem was written to when the poem is being read by learning about the poet and where and when and why and how he or she is from and where and when and why and how he or she lived and then coming to my own understanding of what I think the poem means and then trying to apply that meaning to my own life and where and when and why and how I live it. That’s what I mean by read.) because it takes more than a little bit of effort to read it.
I’m not the smartest or greatest dad there is. Not even close. I have many faults and made many mistakes over the years that I regret.
However, I do think I’m pretty good at understanding my faults and I work hard to minimize their impact to myself and others, especially to my family, as much as possible.
Even still… just because faults were minimized, it doesn’t mean there wasn’t impact from them from time to time. There was. I regret that.
But… we live and learn and live and relearn and one and on.
My daughter is my first child and when she was born I didn’t have a clue as to how to raise her.
I found out quickly though, that having children, and especially having the first child, is kind of like going to war.
No matter how much you plan for it, once the first shot is fired the best you can hope for is a campaign of organized chaos.
Fortunately, not long after she was born, I happened upon some useful information — probably from articles in a newspaper (remember those things?) — about the results of a couple of different studies.
I don’t remember the newspaper — probably the Stars & Stripes.
And I certainly don’t remember the studies or who conducted them so I cannot attest to the veracity of the reportage.
However, based upon my life experiences, what was reported seemed to speak the truth.
And from these apparent truths that I happened upon long ago, I was changed — or at least I sought to change — from their insights.
And from this change, I hope I became a better father to, not just my daughter, but to my sons as well. For I also hope that when my sons, too, have daughters– and based upon the make up of my lovely and loving wife’s family and mine, they probably will — they understand how their beliefs and, more importantly, their behavior can have such an impact on the outcome of their daughters’ lives.
The first thing I learned that changed my behavior as a father was…
The more education a father has the less the chance will be that his daughter will find herself in an abusive relationship as an adult.
The second was…
Girls with high self-esteem tend to have less sex during their middle and high school years and girls with low self-esteem tend to have more.
The inverse is true for boys.
It’s Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.
These four words flew into the forefront of my brain along with what felt like gallons of blood as I was bent over the floor around my son’s desk retrieving his crumpled up artistic attempts. He is nearly 7 years old and a truly gifted artist. I do not say this because he is my son. A sharp pencil or pen and paper is his chosen medium and from the depths of his soul he creates beautiful and intricate abstracts and hilariously haunting caricatures. We are a homeschooling family therefore he is privileged to practice and delve deeper into his art every day for hours on end. I encourage it, I love it. This is what I want for my children, why I homeschool, so passion can arise organically and be nurtured.
As I am in his room tidying up and thinking “your dreams are dead,” I shout out to my husband “is this it for me, is my life over?” “Yes,” he says. He always answers my nihilistic questions nihilistically. To a large extent, he is right. In a permanent way that you cannot change your mind about like you can the dream of wanting to be a successful blogger or to own a Louis Vuitton bag, bringing children into the world is a dream all to itself. The dream of children trumps all other dreams. I remind myself of that anytime I despair about not having an aspiration to call my own or even an uninterrupted shower to call my own. I wanted this. These children were and are my dream realized. It is exciting to watch the unfolding of these beautiful human beings. And I am their mother. I am honored to be their safe-space, the place-holder as they venture in and out of their artistic worlds through play and meaningful work.
However. As I near my mid-30’s, I find myself being less and less content with this idea. I still have something to offer, I have ideas that flood my head nightly once everyone else is asleep and the silence settles in. There have been times when I felt disgruntled about life and have thought about this character that I have seen portrayed in television and movies of the overbearing mother who regrets that she never did anything with her life so she nags, meddles, cuts-down and eventually alienates her children. It could have been different if only she had made a life for herself outside of her role as wife and mother. This persona would top the list as the worst version of myself. I don’t want to envy my children and begrudge them of their dreams.
There is another way. And I already know where to start. I have been cultivating hopes and desires for people in my family for years. For a passion to bloom, a person needs tools, space and opportunity to create. My children deserve that. I deserve that. You deserve that. As adults, we have to make that happen for ourselves. There is no mother or father around to do it for us now, or maybe, ever. We are creative-space incarnate. No. More. Excuses.
Our vision for our short film LEAVE is to create a cinematic work of art that both entertains and inspires positive change. If you are a #WomeninFilm Los Angeles-based Director interested in captaining our production, please contact me.
Okay, just a couple of quick announcements while I’ve got your attention.
I am overwhelmed with happiness and joy now that it is Spring, and because of all the wonderful submissions we’ve received to the Relating to Humans Women’s Issues feature in celebration of Women’s History Month. We still have a week or so to go for #WHM2016 and I am still posting to the blog all submissions received to the feature.
If you’re not sure what all this Relating to Humans stuff is all about. I attempt to explain it all here.
All RTH submissions received prior to 2016 have been moved to the RTH Archives. There is a lot of compelling reading to be found there so check it out if you have a chance.
Aurelius, Zeno, and I are vibing to some Nine Inch Nails Ghost I-IV right now, in case you were wondering.
Anyway… With just about all RTH past submissions now archived, that means there is a lot of white space for you to post your work.
We all know that the early bird gets the best spot where all the book worms like to hang out, if you know what I mean… So submit early and submit often, but only submit one article or piece at a time per feature. If you want to submit something new to a feature that you already have something submitted to, let me know and I’ll archive the old so you can share with us the new.
From now through the summer months, I plan/hope to be heavily involved with the raising of funds and then the production of my short film LEAVE out in Los Angeles. Fingers crossed.
Consequently, I am not going to have as much time to spend writing stuff here for you to read, hence the awkward necessity of this awkwardness. Consequently, I am going to be looking to your submissions to the various RTH features to pull from and post to the blog. Consequently, I am going to need you all to post a lot of compelling and awareness-raising stuff up there for me to pull from. Consequently, I am going to be adding even more features for you to submit your work to.
Can you dig it?
I’m thinking new features such as: “Health Issues,” (notice how I put that comma before the closing quotes? strange how we do it that way here in ‘Merica (prounounced: mur/e/ka) when our good friends across The Pond would put them outside the closing quotes… isn’t life wonderful with all its little peculiarities like that? though, in actuality, since I’ve now added this interesting – at least to me – parenthetical aside, I guess the comma really should go after the closing parenthesis… oh well. my blog my (broken) rules.), “Criminal Justice Issues,” and although I’m a bit hesitant about this one because I’m not totally convinced it fits comfortably with the other features but we’ll see how it goes… “Relationship Issues.”
I am going to ask/require that all human-related creative submissions, such as poetry as the primary example, be submitted only to its designated creative artsy-type feature. In other words, please submit your poems, photography, flash fiction, etc. only to its specific feature. In other words, all poems submitted to the “Women’s Issues” feature will be moved to the “Poetry” feature. To me it will be more interesting to read poetry or any other pieces submitted to the artsy-fartsy type features that cover many diverse, human-related topics in one feature. In other words, I hope I didn’t confuse you as much as I just confused myself.
April is “Sexual Assault Awareness Month” so, unfortunately, there may be opportunities to speak to that very unfortunate and sadly big issue.
Let’s start identifying “Trigger Warnings” where applicable, please. I think for a place like this those are a crucial necessity.
So… that’s about it. Please start submitting away and I will move all the submissions that move me to the blog so they can move all of us into a broader, more compassionate understanding of all that’s going on in and all around this pretty yet petulant planet of ours that we all can and do and must relate to because like it or not we are all humans and we are ultimately all related.
One last thing!
Have you considered donating a buck* or two to help me get my short film off the ground? If you do, I will help you promote your book, your project, or a cause your most passionate about. You can learn how here.
And if you’re a Newsletter Love subscriber, I’ll promote your work to our dedicated, and growing, newsletter group, as well.
Friends don’t let friends drive drunk, vote for Trump… or stumble headfirst into bars.
For pain will surely ensue if they do.
*Paypal accepts just about all major global denominations.
**Yes, you’re right. I did use an awful lot of “alls” in this post for some reason.
I grew up in a large family, the youngest girl and second youngest of six children, with two sisters and three brothers. Despite that, or perhaps because of that, I have always wanted to have a large family myself. My husband on the other hand, grew up with just one sister, so he was more skeptical of the prospect of a large family. Of course a large family today is probably only equivalent to half the size of a large family back then.
My ultimate goal was to have my children before the age of 30, so I could be a young mother and grandmother. After three-and-a-half years of marriage, I stopped using birth control so we could start a family. It didn’t take long for me to get pregnant, but it took determination and perseverance throughout nine pregnancies within the next ten years to successfully create our family.
I decided to write a book about my efforts to have children for many reasons; the most important one being that it was very therapeutic for me to jot down details of each of my pregnancies, successful or not, to keep them all sorted in my mind. Reading about them now, each one borne complete through words becoming sentences, and sentences becoming paragraphs and pages, is the most therapeutic of all. Of course it is easier to move on when things have ended on a positive note, and my family is complete.
My advice to others is simple:
Talk about your fears, disappointments and struggles to anyone who will listen. This can be a professional councilor or a friend or family member. On the flip side, listen to anyone that is trying to lean on you for support throughout their struggles. I remember a co-worker thanking me for “breaking the ice” as she called it, upon my return to work after a stillbirth. My co-workers were all very concerning and caring, but no one knew what to say or how to act, so when I started the conversation they were very grateful. It is always better to acknowledge someone’s pain rather than ignore or avoid it.
Do not wait too long to start your family. As my story shows you, things do not always go as planned. If you are in a healthy, financially stable relationship, and both of you want to have children, don’t procrastinate. That’s why humans have a nine-month gestation; it gives you time to get used to the idea of a baby in the family.
Work hard for what you believe in and want out of life. Do not let others tell you that you cannot do something that you believe you can. Do not believe that you cannot do something until you have tried your best to do it.
Do not take anything you have for granted, especially your health, but also your intelligence, athletic abilities, and anything else that makes you different from others.
Last, but not least, when you are feeling down, take a moment to realize that there is always someone worse off than you in any given situation. Think of the good and positive things in your life, (I do not mean materialistic things) and be sure to surround yourself with positive people that really care about you. Delete the negative things and people from your life. Make a written list of these things, referring to it often and adding to the list as you work through your struggles.
I can write this story now with humor, candor, wisdom and hindsight, all things I did not have much of when I was first starting out on my path to motherhood. Hopefully, this will provide inspiration and comfort to others that have or are going through the frustration and heartbreak of losing a child during pregnancy.
Deep Brown eyes stare back at me,
Fleeting whispers floating between us,
Shadows creep silently,
Across broad brown shoulders,
The darkness melding within the chocolate hues,
Lengthening to point accusingly,
At the faded bruise
That still held faint outlines of his hand.
“Are you okay? Should I call someone?”
I hear the teacher’s voice whisper
My eyes jump back up,
Shamed to be caught,
Starting at the dark eyes,
That hid darker shadows.
“I’m fine, I fell”
I watched her rouge tipped lips open in reply,
Tasting the words,
Rolling them around her tongue
Until they fit,
Like words spoken
“Should I call a doctor?”
The persistent voice asked again,
Concern and patronization moving together
To create a melody of the question,
“No really I am fine, I fell.”
Stronger, this time
The eyes lit with the flame of memory,
Recreated to a story to be told over and over,
Each time more real than the last.
Hands lift reaching across
Touch the fading bruise,
Face flinching from where my fingers lay,
Turning to look away.
With a breath, I slowly withdraw my hand
Shaking as it moves from the mirror.
Square the shoulders,
A deep inhalation and whisper…
“I am fine, I fell.”
Please submit your creative expressions that bring awareness to women and gender issues to the Relating to Humans Women’s Issues feature. All submissions will be profiled on the blog throughout Women’s History Month.
Kurt here to let you know that I am breaking free from publishing’s Amazon Overlord by building a store to sell my books directly to you. Currently I am in test mode and my ebooks may be free for a time. If you feel so inclined, please help me ensure all selection and ordering processes are easy and error free by purchasing the free books and then letting me know how it goes by writing a review, right here, at my site! And while at it, how about telling me what you think of the books too! Paperback and hardcover editions are coming soon.✌🏻 Dismiss