Colleen's thoughts on writing, directing and coaching, and her unique take on life itself!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Affection is not species specific

Pictures of any creatures being affectionate make me smile. And strangely enough, eat less.

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Release, resolutions and resolve

I love this time of year.

Befitting the season, it's when those things that must - leaves, hard times, things that create misery - fall away, allowing a quiet snowfall of life to cover us, giving way to a touch of demi-dormancy so we can reflect on what worked and what did not over the past twelve months.

Sort of like emotional and mental assessment and house cleaning, which in turn opens up all sorts of room to prepare for what we know is ahead; tuning up a welcoming attitude for everything in store that's unexpected. Limiting expectations is the best way I know to keep maintain that attitude of gratitude for everything life hands us.

I have big goals, but keep the expectation low of knowing exactly how something should happen - or how it will look in the end. I set and keep goals - it's fun for me - but sometimes the way an accomplished goal appears is not exactly what I had in mind when I started.

Greeting unplanned events and experiences with open arms - especially those that initially feel so painful - is probably the most challenging.

Especially when, so often, the occurrences that feel the worst can actually turn out to be the best, most positive turn of events - or set up a situation that creates a much better outcome than anything we could have perceived in our unrecognized ignorance at the time we got zapped!

I think awareness and action are the best tools to deal with life.

When I've just let life happen without taking any responsibility for initiating what I want or what I want/need to do, I've run into some unexpected and rocky walls because I wasn't paying attention.

Not paying attention to how poorly someone treats us can result in being unnecessarily hurt; not paying attention to those we cherish or relationships we treasure can cause us to lose them - and never see it coming because our focus was somewhere else.

I try to keep an ear and eye out for both sides so I can take action either way.

Walking on eggs around someone, never knowing what will set him or her off - is no way to live. People - even disagreeable people - are free to be who they are, but for me? Without anger or rancor after trying to deal with the situation, I need to extract myself from the situation in order to protect myself from what I perceive to be an unsafe environment. Fortunately, these are almost non-existent in my life these days.

On the flip side, to maintain valued friendships and relationships, they need to be stoked and stroked with affection and attention with relish and often - something I find incredibly fun. I believe the more love there is, the more love there is!

So it's time to take stock of everything going on in and around me - so I can see where I need to bring my game up, and where I need to streamline or alter what I'm doing to make it all work. Make my life feel like I spend more energy moving forward rather than treading water or being swept away by circumstances I could have influenced - actually changed - if I had been paying attention and taking action.

Every day life issues like work, health and my new vegetarian lifestyle are part of this equation.

I guess my goal in life is more than just to learn everything - it's also to be the best me, the best person I can be. Which to me means being true to myself and my values, being as kind as possible to others (honesty without brutality is kinder than patronizing someone), as well as taking the best care of myself, those I love and those for whom I am responsible.

So I guess my resolution this year, simply put, would be: to pay attention and take action on what I can.

There's something called a "broken window policy" and it helps keep us on track to where we want to go. It's used in neighborhoods where problems have previously festered. After an area is cleaned and fixed up? Every single broken window is tended to - mended and fixed - immediately upon its discovery, preventing more of them from popping up along with the onslaught of attending problems.

I'll put signs around the house - PAY ATTENTION! ACTION! - to remind me of my resolution. They'll also help me make sure to immediately mend every emotional or experiential broken window that appears along the way.

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Counting down to Nov 2 HEROES!

Elisabeth Röhm joins the cast for several episodes Monday, Nov. 2!

Here's her story line: she plays a kicking serious butt CIA agent, Lauren Gilmore, who at one time was very close with HRG (major Hero for the uninitiated).

They worked together and at one point had the opportunity to get even closer - but both chose to be ethical, since he was married at the time.

Deal is, to prevent any further stress for her (read: sexual tension, unrequited love, which as you know can create a distraction from major booty kicking), he erases her memory of their (Platonic but wanting more) relationship.

UPDATE: As it turns out, the story flips to HER erasing her own memory about their unrequited love - she "goes Haitian" on her own.

Flash forward to Nov 2, 2009.

Lauren shows up again - but even with her "memory" erased, she senses that she knows HRG on a very deep level. As Elisabeth put it, "like a soulmate."

So he's tormented. Only recently single, he knows what they've meant to one another, what they've felt - what he has continued to feel, but should he tell her? Should he allow himself to become close again?

She's confused, but knows there must be an unexplainable connection. A connection that feels strong, undeniable and "right."

As she told TV Guide (the picture is from its online interview with her), Elisabeth believes the idea of a soulmate resonates with her. That there are people with whom we are simply "meant to be." They may not be our spouses, or even in a sexual relationship at all - but there is a palpable, very real yet unexplainable heart, or soul, connection.

So we're left to wonder: will she figure it out? Will he tell her? Will she want to get closer? Will he allow their relationship to re-ignite now that they are both single? Will he tell her she erased her memory of their budding romance?

OK, because I happen to have directed her in THE WHOLE TRUTH I got some backstage ... well, I can't exactly call it "dirt," so I'll call it ... insight.

First and foremost, she has been incredibly "Impressed with the quality of work that everyone here strives to achieve." She says every one in every position at Heroes cares deeply about this program. Producers, directors, writers, actors, crew, no one takes their work on Heroes casually.

I pointed out that Heroes program runners don't have any say over changing program nights or times or delays in airing episodes, all of which have really upset fans. That's the network's doing. Folks associated with the show can only lodge their displeasure, but they are at the mercy of the same folks who have put Jay Leno on every week night at 10pm.

As for the work itself, Elisabeth says that the Heroes actors are the *best!* She says that to a person, every cast member has been professional, great to hang out with and are not afraid to do whatever it takes to make a scene work best.

Also that Heroes staff, cast and crew care very deeply about their fans.

Of course they're disappointed in the failing ratings - but they don't blame fans. They know their fans have had to endure some problems with the show and are doing everything they can to turn that around.

They hope bringing Elisabeth Röhm in for their first ever exploration of a romantic relationship in the mix of all those superpowers will strengthen their center, their core. I know I will be tuned in to my NBC channel Monday, Nov. 2, 8pm Eastern/Pacific 7pm Central.

And I can't help but think the greatest super power of all is love.

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

True love and friendship never end

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Love and forgiveness

A close friend and I were discussing love.

Like what is it really.

I said I believe genuine love is an exercise in terminal forgiveness. If I love someone I'm in a state of perpetual forgiveness.

When two people choose to forgive each other for virtually everything that actually does not matter, that's true love.

I'm not talking about the big things - any verbal or emotional abuse or worse can't be tolerated. Even if there is the urge to hang out with that person in the mistaken name of love - nope, it's buh bye. That's not forgiveness, it's masochism.

I'm talking about the little things. The tiny things that can build. The way she chews her gum - the fact that he chews it at all.

You know what I mean. The little things. That build.

A big complaint is directed at people who "suck" their teeth in an effort to clean them without brushing. At first it may sound ... sweet. But for some reason after he moves in with you it becomes so irritating you buy him electric toothbrushes, floss, sonic-spray and more, but he doesn't stop. So that "minor" issue becomes major, when in the great scheme of things it really does not matter - if your mind and emotions are directed on stuff that actually does matter.

Unless you're forgiving. And in a really recognized way. That is, saying out loud or whispering to yourself, "I forgive her for chewing gum, I'd rather be around the sound than not around her at all."

Same with the bazillion of other things that can drive us nuts if we aren't fundamentally interested in being around that person. As in, obviously, you aren't that into him/her.

But in the end it's not about the other person, it's about us.

Why does his/her particular habit grate on our nerves? What does that reflect within us? About us? And why don't we just tell him or her to cut it out?

Do we love that person enough to forgive the little things, knowing that the big things are handled? The respect, the thoughtfulness, the care, the fun, the tenderness, the kindness, the appreciation, the soft place to fall?

Do we love and respect that other person enough to ask for what we need? Does he or she love and respect us enough to hear just how incredibly frustrating our tooth-sucking can be?

Are our priorities loving and forgiving or are they more involved with trying to discover what is wrong with the other person? The Frasier Crane syndrome.

Another friend and colleague is the father of two terrific teenage girls and a devoted husband to his long-time wife. On Father's Day, I ended a work email with "I hope your female family is spoiling you rotten today!"

He wrote back, "They are making me feel very special and appreciated. But spoiling? That's *my* job."

Now there is a man who's so in love he must spend a lot of time forgiving ...

I enjoy the whole notion of forgiving people I love and care for. I don't expect perfection or want it - maybe I'm afraid if I did, they'd expect the same from me. And I'm far from perfect.

Besides, being upset about something takes far too much energy; energy I'd rather spend feeling good; feeling good helps my creativity and being creative makes me happy.

So I guess what it ultimately has to come down to - since my premise is that it's really about us and how we react to people - is that as long as I can forgive myself for the little stuff, knowing the big stuff like self respect and self esteem are going for me, I stand a good chance of forgiving others for stuff that, in the end, don't matter anyway.

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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Pact Mentality

"Hollywood films Juno and Knocked Up blamed as teenagers race to become mothers" read the sensational headline in the British newspaper The Times of London last week.

It seems 17 teen age girls, some younger than 16, the age of consent in Gloucester, Massachusetts, made a pact to become pregnant at the same time so they could "raise their children together." According to CNN reports, there was severe peer pressure among the girls at the school to become pregnant to join .. to belong to the pact.

One father said that his daughter was either scared .. or strong enough .. to refuse when she told her parents about the pressure the girls were putting on her.

The school nurse reported girls being "disappointed" when their pregnancy tests came back negative - more than 150 tests were requested at the school.

I recall a rash of teen pregnancies several years ago, where the reason given by most of the pregnant girls was that they wanted to get pregnant to have someone "love them" for the rest of their lives. Not someone *to* love. But someone to *love them.*

The article says one of the fathers is a homeless 24 year old man, other fathers in their mid-20's. Some are outraged at the men, saying they should at the very least be financially accountable as fathers and at the most put in jail for impregnating the girls under 16. That's statutory rape.

The correspondent, with the regrettable-for-this-story name of James Bone, is only one of many columnists and pundits who claim that recent films "Juno" and "Knocked Up" may have been the inspiration for such a pact.

In Juno, actress Ellen Page stars as a teenager who finds herself pregnant through carelessness and ignorance. She decides to have the baby in order to give it to someone who can care for and nurture the new life properly, with all its attending responsibilities. Her family supports and loves her through her pregnancy; classmates and friends accept her situation.

The Diablo Cody script received an Academy Award last year.

"Knocked Up" is about a slacker who impregnates an otherwise responsible, mature woman with a solid career because both were careless and irresponsible. Unlike in most similar real life situations, he learns to grow up and take responsibility for his behavior.

More, the teen pregnancy of Jamie Lynn Spears, Briteny Spears' younger sister, is said to have influenced many girls, because Spears has been the focus of special interest, and even though her mother has agreed to raise the baby, Jamie Lynn's actions were not seen to have many negative ramifications, other than interrupting her show business career as the star of the sitcom Zoey 101.

Meanwhile, back at Gloucester High School, there was a call for issuing contraceptives to the youngsters without parental consent ... that was nixed because most are Roman Catholics in the fishing village.

The Times of London article says that the school superintendent doesn't blame Hollywood. No, Christopher Farmer believes the real cause is that these young women have no sense of purpose or direction, that they lack self-esteem and affection.


I would have added to Christopher Farmer's list: they lack a sense of belonging.

"Pact" mentality seems to be a popular among many American youngsters today, regardless of its reason.

I see it as trying to gain a sense of belonging, in whatever way they can.

Gangs provide a "pact mentality" with a strong sense of belonging; it's the primary reason kids hook up with them. Belonging then gives kids a purpose - even if that purpose is malevolent. Even if their chances of being maimed or killed are astronomical. They can die feeling they did it for their gang family.

Family is a place where a sense of belonging is supposed to start. Too many kids aren't feeling as if they belong in their own families. Among the million reasons why the don't feel they fit in or belong is not being accepted for who they are by their parents or extended family. Feeling isolated, and in turn feeling bad about themselves, which leads to a lack of self esteem, a lack of purpose or direction as well as a lack of affection. Withholding affection is no way to "punish" a child.

How many kids have "good homes," but behind closed doors are not accepted for who they are, who are told they are supposed to be, essentially, someone else? Denying a kid a sense of self, acceptance and their true identity is a recipe for kids seeking acceptance, love and support somewhere else.

Enter Hollywood.

Sometimes adult intentions when writing for or about kids are good, but because kids don't perceive things the way adults do, the message becomes garbled or misinterpreted.

Writer-director-producer John Singleton created the film Boyz N the Hood, a breakout film that showed the mean, gritty gang culture and how his hero, the protagonist, was able to leave that horrible lifestyle behind, to be a positive influence and have a life contributing to the world.

That's how adults saw the film. Gang bangers saw it as a glamorization of their lives; they experience the hero as "weak" "meek" and wimpy -- adults would experience that young man as having more courage than any gang banger.

Because of this, sadly, after seeing the well-intended film, several fights broke out, shootings occurred and some theaters refused to show the film because of it.

In Juno, I can see girls thinking that getting pregnant is a good way to get special attention and love, and end up with a boyfriend/husband as the teenager did in the film.

Its star, Ellen Page, would do everything to refrain from getting pregnant at her age because she has a purpose - a direction, a career and is getting lots of affirmation for her talent and skills.

Those of us who see it as "just a movie" understand that.

But for vulnerable kids desperate for love, positive attention, direction and purpose, who knows how they perceive so much of what they're exposed to in this media-saturated culture. They seek out answers from media instead of the people from whom they need to get real information. A genuine reality check.

Many, if not most adults, did not understand Napoleon Dynamite. The kids did. And absolutely loved Napoleon and the film. He was a kid who didn't fit in and was seen as a slacker because he had no purpose or direction, but who came through for his friend in what could have been the most humiliating way - and was therefore a real hero to them.

I don't "blame Hollywood" .. but I do feel that media influences people -- especially kids -- in intended and unintended ways when a vulnerable, needy individual is exposed to it.

Intended .. through advertising. Commercials and ads want to affect your behavior and actions -- to buy their products. Many companies enjoy a healthy bottom line because of their advertising.

Unintended through the examples I've already cited.

In the film, The Whole Truth, for which I'm the writer-director-co-producer, I originally included a specific purebred puppy for one of the lead characters because they are *so* unbelievably cute and smart.

I have since replaced that purebred with a rescued mutt puppy from the animal shelter because I knew puppy mills would go crazy for the purebred, wrecking little pups because of their hateful breeding systems, because kids would want them and while puppies may not be babies, they take a heck of a lot of attention, socializing and training to live happily ever after.

Most dogs end up in shelters because they are brought home as puppies, not socialized or trained properly and become pests because they've not had enough attention or proper care.

I remember the nightmare of Dalmatians besieging pet shelters because kids wanted one after seeing 101 Dalmatians. They are a special breed, prone to deafness and other problems, so they need special attention.

No doubt the puppy mill runners carelessly bred them as well, creating more physical and psychological problems. When the puppies turned into work? They were literally dumped at shelters all over the world.

The moral of the story in 101 Dalmatians got lost on little minds; they just saw the cute puppies and wanted one.

Should that film not have been made?

Of course not .. but parents needed to help their kids understand that any puppy is in need of lots of time, care and attention. Especially feeding, watering and picking up their poop. That would have been a great problem-solving exercise for kids to understand whether they were ready to get a dog, because the vast majority of people who bought those puppies couldn't handle them when they grew up.

So they took them to shelters (or worse - released them alongside country roads) that had to euthanize them because there were too many to care for; rescue facilities were already overcrowded.

In short, these films make great family discussions and can lead to some very positive interactions and actions by the kids. If kids want a puppy after seeing our film, at least they've seen how much care they need.

Without these discussions, kids will see what they want to see, hear what they think they hear and take actions that may well not be in their best interests.

Something to consider. Feel free to respond!

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Friday, May 18, 2007

"Letting go"

One of my actors and I got into a great discussion about the notion of "letting go."

So often, when we face an emotional dilemma, we're told to simply "let go." Or "let it go."

Easier said than done.

I've found that when we attempt to only "let go," we can try to repress or push away our feelings, but residual resentments still build and one day come back in a way we sorely wish they would not! It's as if we've given ourselves a surprise attack because we had no idea all that anger, resentment or hurt was building. We thought we had "let go."

Even visualizing negative thoughts disappearing into the stratosphere, putting them in packages and letting them float downstream or using some other imagined releasing metaphor can still result in those negative thoughts bouncing right back when we least expect them.

Again, this can be infuriating, since we thought we had somehow dealt with the issue - that we had "let it go."

But there it is again, rearing its ugly head.

Here's what I suggested to my actor:

Deal with the issue that makes us feel helpless, fearful or hurt in a way that empowers you, rather than passively trying to "let go."

For example, say you're angry because you're part of a production that, while touted to be a great experience, turns out to be unprofessional, run by someone who actually doesn't know what they're doing - and who won't collaborate and the script stinks. You know what will "fix" the show but they refuse to listen to anyone; it's an ego trip for the folks putting on the show - who are writing, directing and performing in it.

Meanwhile, you're a professional actor surrounded by wannabes who chat and laugh during rehearsals and don't even show up with their lines learned.

While tickets to the show are expensive, none of the actors will be paid, but the unprofessional people "producing" the show will be.

Like, OUCH!


And you've been advised to "just let it go," show up for work and keep your mouth shut. Show up for a dozen rehearsals so you can perform in a production that will probably be poorly reviewed and poorly received by audiences.

Because, face it - the script sucks. And those in charge refuse to change a word.

You are pissed.

Do you continue to resent every moment you spend with this endeavor, building anger and bitterness, or do you empower yourself to get back on track to your usual positive outlook and strong self-worth?

O....K. Time for a hearty dose of Coach CP's Esteem Elixir!

Despite the long list of complaints?

Don't be dissuaded or distracted by all the stuff that doesn't matter. Remember we have primary feelings of love and fear. Fear, or fear and hurt=anger.

The *real* issue is that you're being treated disrespectfully (OW!). And unprofessionally (OW!). You - and your potentially face-saving ideas (fear of making a fool of yourself in this stinker) - are rudely discounted as an actor (OW!) and a contributing member of the troupe (OW!). Which in turn makes you feel excluded (OW! - again). All of which=anger.

Identifying those feelings of hurt, fear and anger is the most important part of the empowering process.

You're hurt, angry and fearful that your career is about to get a big ol' bump on the nose because you made the choice to be part of this wacko show without doing enough research on the production team.

Love and fear cannot co-exist at the same moment.

So let's get you back into the love/courage/high self-esteem column.

The first good vibe? A valuable lesson learned. Getting cast for a project (or offered a position) doesn't mean you have to accept the job. Check out the folks doing it. Read the script - and know enough to recognize a bum one, and make sure about what sort of working situation you're becoming part of.

Good vibe#2: Look around - have you learned something from anyone in the group? Something about yourself? Your profession? Acting? Production? Your goals? Your career? Your craft? Chances are you have.

Good vibe #3: Understand you have choices in this situation. Acting, as any art is all about choices.

If it's not too late, you can actually leave the production. Chances are they cast anyone who work free, so your reputation as a pro won't suffer if you hit the road with this group. The question is whether you are a person who wants to see something through to the end, no matter what you have to suffer through - or if there are enough perks to make it worth your while.

The empowering part is that you realize you have the choice. Whatever you decide - stay or go - you are in charge of you. Not them.

I suggest people ask themselves three questions before they decide to accept or not accept a gig: 1. is it good for me personally? 2. is it good for me professionally? 3. is it just a boatload of fun?

In order to accept the gig, you must answer yes to two of those questions.

Looking back, which *two* of these questions can you say "yes" to?


Let's see how many of the three you say "absolutely!" to:

Professionally? - no
Personally? - not unless you made a new best friend among the troupe
Fun? -um, absolutely not

At this point, whatever you decide? You should feel good about yourself again, back on track - your anger completely dissipated.

That's how the Phoenix rises from the ashes!

Good luck!

(Gentle Reader - I'll let you know what the actor decided after s/he makes the decision!)

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Sunday, April 22, 2007

Alec's reprehensible rant

This hurts.


I am a huge fan of Alec Baldwin and his work.

He is an extraordinary talent and person. I interviewed him last year - his personal warmth, sense of humor, professionalism and desire to help others succeed in this business were clear; the words of wisdom he passed on to movieScope readers profound.

But with the release of the recorded horrific tirade against his 11 year-old daughter, Ireland, he is facing the personal trial of his life: whether to maturely take full responsibility for his actions and make a determined effort to grow up - or not.

To change how he deals with the misery that has been his spiteful divorce proceedings with ex, Kim Basinger - or not.

The PR nightmare resulting from the public airing of the abusive recorded message to his daughter has only been compounded by his reaction.

On his website, he makes an apology and tries to explain his behavior, in part saying that he regrets the words he used (like calling her a "pig") and that his anger was the result of six years of essentially being kicked around through custody battles by his ex-wife.

Here's the problem: there is no acceptable reason, explanation or cause for a father to verbally abuse his child. As in, ever.

If his gripe is with Kim Basinger, that is where he needs to direct his feelings - and has for six years, as she has directed hers against him - with Ireland caught in the middle.

As a parent, his role is to protect his daughter from people like him. To step in between people who for whatever reason personalize and attack children for something over which they have no power.

As a parent, his role is to let go of any feelings other than love, support, care and protection for his child.

The fact that he is attempting to explain his behavior tells us that he's trying to make himself somehow right or that his response would make sense if only we knew more about what *he* is going through.

Alec, that is the point.

It doesn't matter what you are going through. Your role is to protect your kid. Support, nurture, care for and about her.

I know he didn't come up with this abusive behavior in a vacuum. I have no doubt his own childhood and background play a role in his outrageous outburst and that the past six years have worn on him.

But the most important lesson a parent must learn is to stop making himself or herself the center of attention (he and Basinger have both failed to do this); the child should become the most important center of attention for parents the moment she's born.

I hate to think of Ireland being "brainwashed" by Basinger against her father, but he doesn't help his case by portraying himself as a victim rather than suck it up and be a responsible parent.

He spoke to his daughter as if she were knowlingly abusing him - as if he were the target of abuse - while he was in fact abusing her.

He does not seem to comprehend that his role as a parent is to try to understand why she does what she does and help her learn problem solving skills to avoid hurting other people - including him.

What a sad state of affairs for his child.

Who released the tape and why is a subject for the courts to decide. That has nothing to do with his daughter or being a good parent.

I join the chorus of people who care about him, who cry out that they wish he would get counseling to learn how to be the most effective, loving parent despite what he is going through in his divorce custody battle.

His behavior is inexcusable, as is Basinger's.

I join another chorus of people who wonder why these two 49 year-old chldren can't stop making the case against one another more important than the welfare of their child.

Adults can tell children over and over again that they did not cause a divorce. Even if they intellectually understand that - kids still feel and believe that it is their fault.

Kids may even feel at fault for a parent's personally abusive tirade directed specifically at them, when, in fact, it's all about an adult who is incapable of behaving like a responsible parent.

Whoever released the tape doesn't seem to understand that Ireland will suffer from knowing that the public heard her daddy belittle and abuse her so vehemently; reliving those vile, hurtful words along with millions of adults and kids who not only knew that he treated her this way, but heard it for themselves word for word.

Messages left on machines never go away. As in, never.

One of Baldwin's punishments for abusing his child will be that he will have to listen to this tape played in media over and over the rest of his life. The stories they air will have no relation to it, but they will play the message, nonetheless.

I believe it will also cost him jobs.

But all of this should pale to the punishment he suffers minute after minute, forced to live with the fact that he actually spoke to his child so abusively, using those hurtful words, that spiteful tone, with the unmistakeable motive of threatening and trying to scare her into behaving the way he wanted her to.

When we go to war, the first thing each side does is dehumanize the "enemy." That is what Alec and Basinger have done to one another. Now that duo is triangulated to include their innocent daughter, who is only guilty of being born to two people who now clearly and destructively hate one another.

The result, as in any war, is that a child grows up with a certain understanding of hate, enemies, an unfriendly world, believing it's them against the world, hating themselves for "causing" the war, and the probability of being abused by people he or she chooses to love, because that is how they interpret "love."

There's still time to turn it around. Grow up. Both of you. Find out how to deal with your feelings. Love your child enough to stop putting her in the middle of your adult idiocy, using her as a weapon to get revenge against one another.

The sooner you do this the sooner you'll stop being a punch line on late night TV - and the subject of blogs like this one! You have made this private affair the public's business - because we have witnessed a little girl be verbally abused, no matter the "cause" or who is to "blame"!

Divorce lawyers - how about earning your huge fees working in the best interest of the child; stop dividing these people any more than you have; help them become the world's best parents - and positive public role models for couples who are undergoing equally venemous divorces.

Only because of its already public venue, I suggest that Alec and Basinger get together with Dr. Phil to understand how to relate to their child in the most healthy way before it's too late. It would be a public service because there is no longer the possibility of privacy; show others how to save their kids from the hell this infamous couple has already put their daughter through.

Dr. Phil, take the wheel.

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Friday, April 06, 2007

Is the US really a "loveless" nation?

Mother Theresa reportedly said that she found America to be the most loveless country in the world.


Because of our priorities.

Wait. I think most of us would say that our family, friends and loved ones - or seeking a relationship/significant other - are at the top of our priorities.

I mean, perhaps the greatest evidence of our priorities is our daily list of things to do:

What do you have written down?

How many of them involve family, friends and loved ones - or seeking that special relationship?

How many of them involve work-related tasks or activities?

How many of them involve both - like having your kids or significant other attend an activity you ordinarily do alone and that they might enjoy?

Does your list of things to do look like this:

9am staff meeting
10am presentation for execs
noon lunch with advertising rep
2pm meeting with VP, sales report
5:30 squash with Bill/gym
6:30 dinner with department head
8pm concert with Beth

Or this:

8:50am call Beth - tell her how much I love her!
9am staff meeting
9:50am pick up flowers for Beth/home
10 meet with execs
noon lunch with Beth - arrange for family vacation
2pm meeting with VP, sales report
3pm arrange for kids' play day Saturday (my week to do this)
5:30 squash with Bill/gym
6pm make dinner with Beth
6:30 dinner with Beth and kids
7:30 help kids with homework (except Friday when we play putt putt golf)

Just a thought.

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Monday, March 19, 2007

What is love, actually?

Richard Curtis' film Love, Actually has me thinking a lot about the subject.

Flawed as it is, the film draws many sides of the faces of love.

Curtis writes a lot about the up sides of romantic love - his prior films being Four Weddings and a Funeral and Notting Hill.

If you are a faithful reader of my blog, you know I do not. For lots of reasons, one of which is that I'm pretty private about such matters.

But I was recently assigned to write a love poem for a poetry class I'm taking. I emailed it to another writer-classmate to take to the class for me since I had to work during the session that day.

Interestingly the writer-courier read it aloud to her husband before she left for the class.

And ... told me ... that ... because of this poem (can you believe it?) she was .. um .. late .. for .. class. They ... ah ... were inspired to take ... a moment ... to ... um ... how does one say? Reconnect ... after reciting ..

Moving on.

Mind you, I'm not a real poet like my best mate and writing coachee John Beresford, but here's what I wrote that was not only the inspiration for an afternoon delight (!) but also won a resounding round of praise from the teacher and class in my absence.

Real Love
Colleen Patrick

So much is written
When we‘re smitten
About love - it’s celestial glory
Not its end – a very different story

Hearts soar
Hormones roar
Make love on the floor
Desire ignites your deepest core

At last, you are somebody
In somebody else’s eyes
An awe-inspiring identity
Anyone would prize

You think about her all day
You dream about him all night
You picture the wedding
A spectacular sight

That is, unless you’re gay
Then it’s a union
For which you must pay
Still, it’s “our special day”

But so many months later
When your mind is thinking straighter
You wonder how you came to hate her
That facial tick – why’d you ever date her

You hope this time it’s going to stick
The thought of him won’t make you sick
He’s a catch, his clothes are slick
He loves you back, and it’s no trick

Respect and esteem grow
It must be your fate
You do what you know
To make her feel great

Day after day you care
You build, you arrange
You dare and you bare
Your soul, feeling strange

Yet one memory at a time
You create and you store
Hoping in your prime
You’ll make so many more

Love is not feeling divine
Or a thought at valentine
Or an amorous notion
Even a wish for devotion

Real love isn’t a dance
A trance
Built during a reverie
A romantic brewery

Nope, not even by a fraction
Real love? Real love is an action
A note, a caress, washing dishes, cooking dinner
Tell me I’m beautiful and that I look thinner

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Friday, March 16, 2007

Oscar's Farewell

Life Savers

by Colleen Patrick

Li'l OHe came into my life
All four pounds
Enduring so much strife
Damned puppy mill grounds

Nearly twelve years ago I was
I was low as low could be
Anti depressants and all because
A futile depression enveloped me

Don’t ask me why
When this little guy
Caught my eye
I couldn’t say good-bye

A soul encompassing my own
That wee sable pup
So angry, vicious and alone
Except with me - he completely warmed up

In the car – his very first drive
He couldn’t get close enough
He was so sweet, he seemed to thrive
Alas, with others he would only act tough

Li' O in his bedWe arrived home
With nary a bone
But he didn’t moan
He got an ice cream cone

Eight months old
Living years of neglect
And misery untold
Memories he’d forever reflect

I took him to a vet
Who told me to forget
Him - "Get a healthy pet
He’s a wreck -" and yet

Despite his horrendous mind/body plight
So much that couldn’t ever be made right
The one thing I couldn’t fight
Between him and me? It was love at first sight

And so I struggled for two years
To train my little social misfit
Whose temper sent fears
Into grown men with grit

Li'l OHe became a perfect gentleman
Walking proudly around the lake
People even became fans
Stopping us for pictures to take

He was the IT factor
And a smile magnet
Not a single detractor
Where ever we went

All the games we played
And his farts – oy vey!
Wallpaper peeled
Noses needed a shield

When did he get old
I really don’t want to recall
He started falling in the cold
Then one day couldn’t walk at all

I don’t mind carrying him around
All five and a half pounds
This little furry mound
His shirt pulled down

Those eyes have somehow lost a light
Though he watches me every waking minute
Those big brown eyes once clear and bright
So loving, his heart has reached its limit

As he moves around, he limps and he trips
His little heart murmurs, his neck and hips
Rife with arthritis; his aging bladder drips
His seizures frequent, as he stands, he slips

I can’t let him live in pain or misery
Oblivious as he is - as long as he’s with me
I hold him closer now for it's the end I see
Instead of once I kiss him three

Sweet Pomeranian kisses
They number in the millions
His head against my cheek
There were not many misses

Ah the stories I could tell
Of the little wild man I tamed
And the reason that I named
Him Oscar

Being a director and screenwriter
I thought my future would be brighter
When asked if I have an Oscar thirst
I smile and say I already have my first

Sick OscarI shall weep inconsolably just for today
I can’t bear the thought of being without him
Or empty nights I can’t pet or play
With my smiling furry boy at my slightest whim

But this isn’t about me, it’s for him I pray
So his final days will be filled with joy
And laughter and cuddles – we’ll pah-tay
So he can leave this earth one happy little boy

I will only say au revoir, I cannot say adieu
I’ll snuggle him tight as he takes his last breath
The last words he’ll hear will be simply thank you
I'm right here, loving you at your time of death

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