Stop Destroying My Home
How many movies in the past 10 years have shown images of New York City being totally obliterated by foreign entities (human or otherwise)?
I don’t know about you, but I’m tiring of visualizing my home being destroyed in 3-D clarity with digital sound.
Yes, I know that September 11 prompted much of this.
But why pay $12-$15 to relive the horror in a movie theater?
For the filmmakers, destruction is relatively easy. You just tear things down--blow them up. You just have to decide whether or not to decapitate the Statue of Liberty, rip off the top of the Empire State Building, or crush drivers on the Brooklyn Bridge.
To me these look like moviemakers having a temper tantrum…crushing everything in sight to get my attention.
Save your drama.
I challenge the brilliant creative screenwriters, storytellers, and filmmakers to skip making another story about a New York City reduced to concrete rubble. Instead, make me a film about New York more glorious than I ever could have imagined.
New New York
I’m no Isaac Asimov- we may need some Sci-fi minds to really help us imagine the possibilities. In the meantime, I’ll help get you started…
· stunning subway stations (instead of ones that look like the gateway to hell)
· everyone prosperous, smiling, and living out his or her fullest purpose?
· For clean air and fitness maybe we all switch to bicycles--Little flying machines-Rollerblades-
· Fantastic artwork was imbedded in the sidewalks
· Fruit trees in the center of the street with water fountains flowing at all times (like in Rome)
· Maybe hover boards need to make a comeback
· A 300km/hr speed train to DC – please
· Solar powered everything…
· Bridges that glow in the dark?
· Fire engine & police car sirens that alert cars to move aside via screens installed in the cars (imagine no more sirens!!!)
Glass Bottomed Swimming Pool
My request—the glass bottomed pool that connects between buildings.
Shanghai has this stunning first draft--- it’s 30 meters and doesn’t connect between buildings. Visitors say it does give you the feeling of swimming through the sky.
In my NY pool, swimmers enjoy watching the world below and pedestrians can gaze at the liquid beauties above.
This film…Think of it as the New York equivalent of the World Expo.
A trip to Hong Kong, Shanghai, or Tokyo might stimulate some ideas. Or lunch with Richard Branson who just introduced a glass-bottomed plane.
I’m flexible on the storyline, I just want to see NY blossom not fold.
Maybe Let the superheroes figure out how wild animals can live more fully integrated with humans.
Wolves on the sidewalk? Maybe a stretch.
Unless we really want to see NY destroyed, can I encourage that we stop visualizing it or participating in others’ visualizations?
This new endeavor will take brain cells—we’ll have to make a New York City so richly abundant moviegoers would pay to peek?
If it works, we might actually build it…
So why not give it a try?
It helps us welcome in the season,
Deepen our experience of the moment in which we find ourselves,
and explore the world without being asked to buy anything....
Indeed, Mary Oliver knows how to welcome in summer!!
Sue Bender, author of Plain and Simple, spent time with Amish families in Ohio to better understand their views on life.
In response to, "What is Satisfying?"
Here's what some folks said...
"It is the enjoyment of every step in the process of doing; everything, not only the
isolated piece we label art. If accomplishing is the only goal, all that it takes to reach
that goal is too slow, too fatiguing--an obstacle to what you want to achieve. If you
want to rush to the accomplishment, it is an inevitable disappointment. Then you
rush on to something else. The disappointment is reaped over and over again.
But if every step is pleasant, then the accomplishment becomes even more,
because it is nourished by what is going on."
A little more…….
"All the stages of one's work have a poetic nature. No one gets paid
for keeping his own tools cleaned. It is an act of real art; otherwise you don't have a
rapport with the tool; then it becomes a rebellious servant, not respected, not
properly handled. If you don't appreciate it's weight and be aware of the balance,
one day or another it is going to hit your finger."
This requires letting go of the belief that there is somewhere better to be..or letting go of the belief that this moment is somehow "wrong."
While I'm not ready to hand over my zippers, I'm looking forward to a day filled with poetry.
(Thanks Sue Bender, the Ohio Amish, and Betsy E. for turning my head in this direction...)
"Oh, my grandparents died," you tell people.
You sigh and maybe recall for a moment how nice it was to have older generations in your family.
You remember the birthday cards, gifts and the yelps of glee when you arrived to visit.
But then you're resigned, right? That's it, they're gone. That's life.
Well, I wanted to let you know there are thousands of grandparents available.
In interviewing dozens of Holocaust survivors, I have found so much more than material for my dissertation. I have found friends and, dare I say, grandparents:
They glow when I call. They tell me I'm pretty and smart. They love spending time and they have delicious stories to tell. That's how I remember my grandparents. They made me feel special even when I had disastrous teeth, couldn't spell, was overweight and had a terrible haircut.
They can be a dream.
But they're spectacular in their own right.
Today, Marty talked about surviving 4 concentration camps. Somehow he has a sparkle in his eye even though he watched his mother and sister sent to gas chambers in Auschwitz.
I dare say at 85 he's actually strikingly handsome. He boasts about his great friends in their 30s. I'm not surprised. He's a catch!
Things I've learned about the elderly:
1. They have paradoxically more and less time than we do. (They have all day, but probably less days.)
2. They have all lost something precious.
3. Their lives didn't go as planned.
4. They appreciate many things we have not yet come to appreciate.
5. They have seen more change than we have.
6. Many are busier than I am.
7. It's easy to hang out with them. You don't have to be charming, they just talk.
8. They are seeing their friends die and/or get sick.
9. Being around younger people enlivens them.
10. Regarding holocaust survivors, at this point I think most would rather tell you their story than receive reparations. Please listen.
11. Every tragic story has some moment of hope.
12. They were once young.
13. They are afraid of losing their ability to move about.
14. They appreciate your time.
15. They've beat incredible odds to be alive so long..consider they know something.
I cannot handle all these grandparents alone. There are so many!
Please volunteer your cheeks for pinching whether you're 20 or 50. It's a cliche, but you will get far more than you give. Start talking to someone eating alone at a restaurant or riding the metro. Help them with the door and talk to them like people.
You'll be old too one day...if you're lucky. How would you like to be treated when old age finds you?
My face has changed. Of course to people in their 80s laugh at me when I say this. Their faces have really changed they tell me.
Mine will change much more should I have the good fortune of living a long life.
But I do notice the changes over time..looking in the mirror day after day, we watch the baby fat dissolve and the young adult face elongate. And if you're a woman, you probably spent more of your young adult mirror time comparing your face to the "perfect" faces of the world rather than appreciating the youthful radiance of your skin.
What a waste...
In the past few years, I have noticed changes in my own face. Mostly sun spots. Trivial as they are in the grand scheme of things, it's a change and reminder that time will have its way with all of us.
To make peace with them, I have renamed them "Surf Spots"
They appeared after several surfing trips where applying sunblock proved difficult when we were out for 3 hours at a time.
This makes me proud. I was burned by the beautiful sun reflecting off the water.
The past few weeks I really have been communing with the idea that the goal of life is not to get through the whole ordeal with perfect skin or a youthful glow.
Yes, keep the sparkle in your eyes by living a life of wonder, whimsy and contribution. Yes, take care of yourself- eat well, put on sunblock...But, honestly, I would never trade surfing in 4 oceans to have no sunspots. Or have skipped trips to Africa, Fiji, or Indonesia just so I could have porcelain skin.
The Worship of Porcelain Skin
Porcelain skin and the worship of it probably derives from the days when young wealthy women spent their lives in English manors. They could not leave their homes and spent most of the year inside hiding from the winter. This skin has become a representation of white privilege- even rich Southern woman who could spend the days under hats while the slaves worked. The worship of this skin continues to absurd proportions today. It has convinced the world's most beautiful Asian, Indonesian and Indian woman that they need skin whiteners. If they only knew how beautiful white women think they are.
I remember reading that Scarlett Johansson, in order to preserve her skin, had some rule about not being outside more than 30 minutes a day. This may be total hogwash. Regardless, the reporting of such a fact (true or false) highlights the extremes that one might go to to preserve the look of a porcelain doll.
A doll's life was never for me. I never played with dolls or found them very interesting; they required lots of care and never wanted to go anywhere.
So perhaps, it is no coincidence that I would not trade my months trekking through the Colorado Rocky Mountains and the Utah Canyon Lands so the person in the elevator doesn't see my sun spots.
That wonderful children's book The Velveteen Rabbit talks about becoming real by being loved so much that you kind of fall apart. This stuffed rabbit lacked all the shininess and softness of a new stuffed animal because he has spent years being loved.
A face well-worn can show a life being lived. It's a liberation to not have to hide from the sun to stay a doll. Or to have no scars because you've never dared to leap.
If you want to die looking like a doll, you need to die young with your beauty in tact like Princess Diana. She probably grew up with massive skin protection and then died when it was still perfect. She'll be remembered as beautiful, always, but it was life half-lived. It's not worth it to me.
What's the Point?
Next time you look in the mirror and are about to critique freckles or spots, think about whether you would really have preferred a life in an English Manor house reading about adventure or never going outside so you can look perfect for your colleagues or the people in the airport.
Anyway, if you really want to look porcelain, you can just airbrush yourself on Photoshop.
In conclusion: live large and airbrush your photos.
Sarah Federman, PhD
Enjoy these short blogs and videos designed to bring you a little cheer.
My other blog Language of Conflict addresses the importance of word choice and narration in conflict.
Finish and Flourish supports writers struggling to complete projects.