Jodie Foster isn’t interested in being pickled in a vat of celebrity.

I’m going to go off on a couple of tangents before I get into the substance of this blog, which is about my reaction to Jodie Foster’s acceptance speech at the Golden Globes when she received the Cecil B. Demille award.

First, I always think of some great advice that Layce Gardner gave about the importance of titles.  Since reading her blog about the subject, I put lots of effort into coming up with titles.  I can see from the stats on my own blog that titles do matter.  Thanks for the advice, Layce.  Layce is funny and wise.  To see what I mean, check out her blog at http://laycegardner.wordpress.com/2013/01/.

My second tangent is about how art moves or speaks in different ways from one person to the next.  An art museum that we like to visit often is the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Massachusetts.  If you live in New England, check it out at http://www.decordova.org/.  It’s where I discovered one of my all time favorite artists, Robert ParkeHarrison.    At the time I discovered his work, his exhibit, “The Architect’s Brother” was on display at the deCordova.  I’ll never forget walking into the room where his various works covered the walls.

At first glance, they were a depressing punch to the gut.  The room felt heavy and dreadful.  But, then when I looked at them more closely I saw something beautiful, uplifting and hopeful in each one.  I sat on a bench, stared at “Tree Sonata” and cried.  Among my favorites are Mending the Earth, Tree Sonata and Book of Life.  You can check them out at http://www.geh.org/parkeharrison/.

My spouse and I were so taken with his work that we went back several times to see the exhibit.  On one occasion we brought a friend.  She didn’t see the same things that we saw and it definitely was not a favorite exhibit of hers.  To her, the images represented futility rather than hope.  Neither of our respective views or interpretations is right, or wrong.  They’re simply different, and I’m glad about that.  We as individuals have different needs and passions.  Art in its various forms manages to fill those for each of us.  We can all look at the same photograph, hear the same song, read the same book, yet have a completely different take on its meaning.  Each one is right.  That leads me to Jodie Foster’s speech.

Her speech seems to be the kind that people either loved or really disliked.  Provocative art has that effect.  That, in and of itself, made it a great speech because it wasn’t the same old-same old unmoving blather.  For example, I was on the edge of my seat during her wind up of the big admission she said she was about to make.  I get why people are disappointed that when the rubber met the road, rather than saying “I’m gay,” she said, I’m single.”  At first it fell like let down.  Like she was somehow making light of or fun of coming out.  The rest of her speech proved otherwise to me.  Far more important than the words “I’m gay” were the ones in which she said, “There is no way I could ever stand here without acknowledging one of my deepest loves of my life, my heroic co-parent, my ex-partner in love but righteous soul sister in life, my confessor, ski buddy, consigliore, most beloved BFF of 20 years, Cydney Bernard…”  That to me said it all.  It was powerful, honest, totally “out” and so very real.”

Speaking of one of the other reasons I thought her speech was great was that in its messiness, she showed us a bit of who she really is.  Thinking back to interviews that I’ve seen of her, she seems very comfortable talking about the various roles and characters that she’s played over the years.  She doesn’t seem as comfortable at all talking about herself, and definitely not interested in being a celebrity.  What she seems to care most about is her art, and saying something about the world through the characters and movies that she’s made.  I believe her when she says that she wants “to move people by being moved.”  That is so refreshing in the Hollywood world that is often plastic and filled with actors more interested in being celebrities than moving or teaching us something through their art.  I like that Jodie Foster was messy, not so poised or cool during her speech.  She was authentic in her heartfelt words for her “modern family” and mother, her imperfection, edginess and honesty.  She didn’t tell us what we wanted to hear, she told us what she was able to say honestly.   I like that.  I also like that as an artist, she recoils against being pickled in a vat of celebrity.  Hollywood needs more, not less of that.

As for her friendship with Mel Gibson, I think it’s cool when two people who seem so unlikely to be friends are friends.  The world needs more rather than less of that too.

Thanks, as always, for stopping by to read or comment on my blog.  You are much appreciated, even if you have a different view.  That’s part of the beauty of being human.  Peace.

 

 

 

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Guest Blog by Lee D. Graham on the Next Best Thing Blog Hop

I recently tagged my good friend, Lee Graham, in the Next Best Thing Blog Hop.  Lee is the author of The Herald of Justice which is the first book in his series The Heroes of Niph.  He writes in the genre of fantasy and science fiction.  Lee is an all round great guy, one of my best friends and a fantastic author not to be missed.  Please check out the blurb and reviews of his first book, The Herald of Justice at http://www.amazon.com/THE-HERALD-OF-JUSTICE-ebook/dp/B0079VM0BU/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1357346271&sr=1-1&keywords=herald+of+justice.

To learn more about the second book in The Heroes of Niph series please check out his answers to the blog hop questions below.

The Next Big Thing by Lee Graham

1. What is the working title of your book?
I am about a quarter of the way through this book and do not have a title for it yet.  I don’t like to pick something for the sake of having a name that will not stick in all likelihood.  The direction of the book constantly changes as I think and write, and I don’t want to lock myself into a title that might not be relevant later.  It is the sequel to my first book, The Herald of Justice.  I did not have a final title for that one until it was finished (The original name was “Veritas”), and it looks as though this one is going to be more of the same.  Like, HOJ, which was named after Aaron, the main character, my thought right now is to name this one after an important female character that is going to be introduced toward the beginning of this one.
2. Where did the idea come from for the book?
Aaron, the main character from the Herald of Justice, had been stewing in mind and evolving for years.  I knew that when I finally put pen to paper that the story (at least a part of it) would revolve around him.  I wanted him to be larger than life and powerful, but have flaws and inner demons that he needed to constantly struggle with.  The idea was that there would be no enemy that he could not overcome, other than the one in his head.  He has the power to bring down a kingdom, but due to his terrible manic depression, he cannot manage to maintain a relationship with the person that he loves.

 

Since I knew that I wanted to write a fantasy, I built a story around Aaron and his troubles, and tried to incorporate some things that I am familiar with in my own life, like criminal law and police procedure.
3. What genre does your book fall under?
While it falls into the fantasy genre, one of the main themes follows the trial and tribulation of the relationship between two of the main characters, Aaron and Sarah.  They love each other madly, but because of Aaron’s manic depression, which manifests itself through the Demon Alaset, he becomes toxic to her and she flees from him in order to save herself.  Part of the story is the two of them trying to find their way back to each other while attempting to save their world.  I tried to write a love story in a fantasy setting, with a dose of legal procedure included.  I know that a lot of people do not read fantasy, but I think that this might appeal to others as well.
4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
This is difficult for me to answer as I could not be less interested in any of the news coming out of Hollywood and am not familiar with the newest stars and starlets.  I try and visualize my scenes as I write them, but have never pictured any particular actor as one of the characters.  That being said, since you asked, Sarah has almond shaped eyes and I thought of her as part Asian and really beautiful.  I would pick someone like Margaret Quigley, who was in Mission Impossible III, Live Free or Die Hard and others.

As for Aaron, he needs to be portrayed as dark, brooding, heroic and handsome.  Being that this is my book, the ideal person to play the leading man, provided that he took acting lessons, got in really good shape and grew out his hair would be me of course!
5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
This is hard to do with a series planned to be around four books with lots of characters and storylines.  But I think that something like, “The line between good and evil, right and wrong is very grey, thin and fragile, and depends on one’s perspective.”  Each story line has something where this would apply.
6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
The Herald of Justice was self-published through Authorhouse in January, 2012.  My intent is to do the same with the sequel later this year, unless something unforeseen happens prior to that.  I found that trying to find an agency was a miserable experience, and that the publishing business really seems to be trending toward self-publishing anyway.  It is a pretty simple matter to self-publish nowadays with all of the different companies offering their services to new authors.
7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I wrote the first draft of the Herald of Justice over the course of one year on a part-time basis.  It took me the better part of another year to re-write it and get it ready for printing.  I have been working on the sequel for the last couple of months, and am about a quarter of way through it. My intent is to have this one finished this year.
8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I purposefully tried to write something different than anything else that I have read in the fantasy genre as I thought that the typical storyline was getting old and worn.  While the Herald of Justice and the sequel do take place in a fantasy setting, and there are dragons and magicians and magic, I try and address other, more real life issues, life mental health disease and relationship problems.
9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?
My inspiration was going into different bookstores over the years, looking at the books on the shelves and wanting to see my name on a novel for someone else to read.  I always thought that, “If they can do it, so can I.”  I had plenty of ideas in my head, but found that the hardest thing to do was to put the first word onto the paper.  My good friend Bev Prescott and I started meeting about our respective books, and she kept me motivated and moving forward until the draft was done.
10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
While I love reading a book and being transported to a new world where I can forget about my troubles, I don’t enjoy reading something that is completely unbelievable.  Everyone has problems.  While someone might not find dragons and magic enjoyable, I think that everyone can understand that being in love and in a relationship is not easy, and that it is very difficult dealing with mental health issues.  Many of the comments I have received about the Herald of Justice are from people who have never read fantasy before, but they appreciated the “real life” issues that the characters were forced to deal with.