Tag Archives: Self

Solange Knowles:
A True Original
On Her Wedding Day

solange_20

Image by Rog Walker

By now you’ve almost certainly seen the pictures of Solange Knowles and her long-time boyfriend, now husband Alan Ferguson on their wedding day. Their wedding was the shot heard around the world. So stunningly authentic and original were these nuptials, from the everyday glorious juxtaposition of Solange’s fierce natural and Alan’s equally fierce beard, to Solange’s regal cape dress, to the eco boho swag of arriving to wherever they were going (reception perhaps?) on wedding white bikes, to the cavorting through the heady streets of New Orleans, where the living may not be easy, but it sure is good.

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What Kind Of Badass Are You?

Bad Ass Surfer Woman

I had an interesting experience earlier this week. I read a TV pilot I’d written for reasons still not fully understood — I’m not a TV writer and don’t truly aspire to be (but more about that downstream). When I was done, I got up from my chair and thought “meh.” It was “okay“. It was “good enough.” With some time and rewrite work, it could be better, maybe even sellable,  though the odds of selling any TV pilot, even for an established TV writer, which I am not, are quite slim. I could invest the time in my long shot mediocre pilot, or I could invest my time in the things I’m really good at and that seems to suit my life right now: writing a novel (my first) and exploring ways to get more involved in making a better world. These are my passions, really, writing and change-making, and TV isn’t really the place for that. At least not for me.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what I’m really good at and passionate about. I’ve started a novel and I’ve begun to explore ways that I can make a difference in the world. I am retooling myself as a writer and change maker and am still sussing out what that means. What I know, though, is that I’m good at writing prose and that I love it in a way that I never loved writing  screenplays, even in my heyday, and that I certainly don’t love writing TV.

The “meh” TV pilot was the third script of mine that I’d read in recent months. The other two were screenplays for feature films, one of which had gotten me a lot of attention and been developed with some hot shot producers. My reaction to both of those screenplays was also “meh.” Both had their merits, both were arguably better than a good chunk of what’s floating around, but they weren’t amazing feats of artistry either.

Oddly enough, I don’t feel bad about any of this. I think I’m a good screenwriter. I don’t think I’ll ever be a great one, in part because I don’t really want to be, but also because I think my natural talents, my true greatness, such as it is, lies somewhere else.

I think I’m a natural novelist. I have no illusions that it will be easy and expect to write trillions of drafts before I have a great novel, but I do believe I have a great novel or two in me. If I applied the same energy to a screenplay, I don’t think it would be half as good, and I know it wouldn’t be half as satisfying. I am philosophical in nature and a little overwrought. I’m interested in themes, and excited about the controlled meanderings and internal exploration that literary fiction allows. I also know how to structure things well, thanks to my background in film. Writing this novel I’ve begun is a joy, whereas just thinking about reworking on of my screenplays or pilot makes me blah. I’m full of ideas and I want to put them on the page in a way that you can only do with fiction or essay. I also want to connect my ideas with the world. I want to use my sharp mind and my big heart to contribute to the conversation that’s happening everywhere you look these days about how we can make a better world. The question of how I can get a movie made pales in comparison and, honestly, knowing what it requires, it just isn’t worth it to me unless it arises organically from the passion projects I’m committing myself to. I can’t keep chasing that film crack, because a film badass is not the sort of badass I am.

It’s a good question: “What sort of badass are you? I don’t mean what have you succeed at. I have enough super successful friends to know that success that’s divorced from some sense of meaning or calling can feel empty, even if it does keep fear at bay. I mean, who are you really? What have you come here to do? What is the true best use of your considerable talents and gifts.

I think of it the way I think about ingredients for a recipe. There are a lot of things you can do with cauliflower, so knowing that you’re a cauliflower (or a lawyer, or a evolutionary anthropologist, or a writer) doesn’t really tell you very much. That’s just an ingredient with which you could do many different things. The kind of badass you are will determine what you cook up with the ingredients you have.

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TFRL:
Cultivating Lightness

TFRL is an ongoing series about the journey to The Fully Realized Life.

I had a great conversation with a friend the other day. I was telling her about people who inspire me, people who, despite the obvious challenges of juggling the businesses they’ve built doing what they love, and the marriages, children and friends with whom they spend rich, interesting, life-affirming time, they seem happy and relaxed. They seem, in ways I’ve never been, at ease within themselves and in the world.

I imagine them walking through life with a lightness I now want to cultivate, the lightness that I believe awaits me, on the other side of all of my grief. I imagine I will get there, to the other side, by simply emulating what I see, by acting “as if” my life were charmed.

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Witchy Woman

 

“Witchy Woman.” I have always loved the way that sounds. It conjures up so many things. Anne Hathaway looking fierce in that witchy witchy hat, or a fecund Miroslava Duma looking every bit the witchy enchantress in a black dress that hugs her pregnant belly like white hugs on rice. And don’t even get me started on that witchy headband, the-ever witchy Matthew Williamson, or their witchy, witchy friends.

I looked up the word “witchy” in the Free Online Dictionary, and here’s what I found:

1. A woman claiming or popularly believed to possess magical powers and practice sorcery.

2. One particularly skilled or competent at one’s craft (as in “a witch of a writer”).

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Revel Wisdom:
Confidence Wears The Crown

The first time I saw this image I fell in love with it for all it had to say about confidence, and what it truly takes to celebrate life’s triumphs — without looking over your shoulder for the other shoe to drop — and weather its inevitable storms. In my mind, there’s a second sentence that goes with the first:

“Always wear your invisible crown,” it says. How else will they know you’re royalty?” 

As a reader and a writer, I love archetypal language — words like “royalty” that invoke, with centuries’ old associations, deeper truths about the nature of human life. In this context, I’m using the word royalty (assuming, of course, that you aren’t actual royalty) to describe the fact of your own innate worthiness, a worthiness that, as we once said of kings, you have by divine right. To wear your invisible crown is to walk through the world with an inner attitude of confidence that who you are, who you’ve always been, is enough. It’s a confidence born not of accomplishments, but of awareness of your majesty, which neither triumph nor failure can touch. By now you may be thinking, “I’m not royalty, I’m an ob/gyn who just spent all night on call,” or, “I’m a law firm partner exhausted from my 90 hour week,” or “I’m a failed actress who has lost my way.” These may be roles you play, but they aren’t who you are. Who you are is timeless. Your role is temporal. It may change throughout your life time, but what remains constant is the you that lies underneath it all.

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