There are some people who can watch horror movies while eating. Some people can put their bare butts on public toilet seats. There are those who can eat the leftovers off of other people’s plates. Right or wrong, I am not any of these people. I guess you can say I have a sensitive stomach. It has recently occurred to me that I also have “sensitive sexuality”.

This has nothing to do with being squeamish or a prude. It’s just an acknowledgment that my insides are changing. In the past, if a man was attractive and fun, that was enough to possibly start something. But now, as I’ve gone on date after date with no response on my part, I realize that’s no longer enough. Friendship and a real connection have to come first. This seems backwards in a society where Married At First Sight and Dating Naked are actual shows with real participants; where a text that says “S’up?”, or contains only an emoji, passes for communication; where people want to know your credit score before they know your middle name. I am, perhaps, a dinosaur. A dreamy, old-fashioned character in a Charlotte Bronte novel.

Maybe so. And so be it. I want to be able to get to know people – all people – without agenda or expectation. I want to be friends first, before anything else is expected or demanded from me. I want to communicate with people, men and women, in complete sentences, about things that matter. I want to share and learn from people, love them, want the best for them, and know that they want that for me in return. I don’t know if I can find all this in a lover. But what I do know is that I have some wonderful friends whom I love very much. For me, for now, that’s enough.

Aside from navel-gazing, I’ve also gotten back to my art. Below is my latest piece, a tribute to a level of consciousness beyond the mundane details of the day-to-day. It’s called “Beyond Birth and Death,” a nod to the concept of Nirvana, a state of consciousness where all worldly passions – those desires and cravings which cause us so much suffering – are finally extinguished.

"Beyond Birth and Death" 18" X 24", Acrylic on canvas
“The Pure Land” 18″ X 24″, Acrylic on canvas

 

Advertisements

I’ve been away for quite some time settling into my new life. I was forced to unexpectedly flee what, at the end, became a dangerous situation. But I was led out so seamlessly and gracefully by the universe that I was truly humbled by the Love the surrounds me always.

Life is full of transitions, no matter how long we live, no matter how “safe” our choices. Since I have never been one to make safe choices anyway, I have experienced more than my fair share of transitions. What I’ve learned along the way is that happiness is an aggressive choice, but worth every sacrifice. Self-doubt is normal, but generally unnecessary if you are following your heart’s courage and your mind’s wisdom. Loneliness is an expected part of life, but is also the warm, shrouded birth place of many beautiful ideas and opportunities.

I look forward to watching this new chapter in my life unfold with grace and ease. Here’s to an exciting week of love, joy, prosperity, and success!

 

Raven

Valentine’s Cray

Valentine’s Cray

February 14, 2016

 

Dear Valentine’s Day,

We need to talk.

Listen. I’m sure you’ve sensed that this has been coming for a while. Seriously. Do you really not know how hard it is to be single in this town without an entire day filled with gaudy balloons and heart shaped crapola to remind a girl that she’s utterly alone?

For those fortunate enough to be with people who love them, do they really need another day besides their anniversary to flaunt their status? For those people who are in love but broke, do they absolutely need another reminder they can’t give their mates everything they would like to? For the sorry women out there who want desperately to believe that their boyfriends will one day fall in love with and/or marry them, do they need this day of reckoning to tell them that their daydreams are flimsy illusions? Do the bloated corporations who manufacture this shiny red kitsch for you really need any more money?

Valentines, I’ve held this in for too long. And for that I apologize. We’ve had some good times, but we’re just going in different directions right now. It’s not me, it’s you. I’m sorry, I’m just being honest right now. I’m sure you’re a good match for someone out there, but at this point I just need to be on my own. Let’s not make a scene. I just need to get out and see what it’s like to live without you for a while, Valentines. This is a good thing. For both of us. 2017 will be different.

Sincerely,

Recently single people everywhere

 

And for anyone else out there who has been driven a little cray-cray by this stupid day – and is relieved that Valentines Day is finally over – can I get an amen?

Have a great week!

Raven

 

Screenwriting and Acting

The above video is very applicable not only to acting but to all creative careers. Creative careers, apparently, require creativity!  They also require just as much hard work – if not more – than regular careers.

I discovered this video in response to my screenwriting teacher’s advice. I had asked him whether or not it is important for screenwriters to know film production. He said it is much more important to study acting. When a writer understands acting, she produces a better script and increases the alignment and harmony between herself and the director.

So, my next step is to delve into the deep waters of acting – either by finding a local, inexpensive acting class or conducting some other research. What I love about writing is that you never stop learning!

Abundance and peace,

Raven

Women in Fiction

This semester I have the pleasure of taking a Gender and Text class as part of my grad school curriculum. This week I read “Company of Wolves” by Angela Carter and Dorothy Allison’s Two of Three Things I Know for Sure.  “Company of Wolves” tells a series of wolf legends, culminating with the Red Riding Hood story, which is a bit more…adult… than the childhood version I’m familiar with.  In one of the legends, a woman marries a man who stupidly goes outside to pee (this is the old days and he didn’t want to use a bucket in front of her) and never comes back. She eventually remarries and has two kids. The first guy miraculously comes back, years later, and immediately demands that she start waiting on him hand and foot. Apparently while he was gone he got turned into a werewolf because, when he discovers she’s been “unfaithful”, he turns back into a wolf and bites the foot off one of her children. The new husband chops him to death but then beats his wife because she’s in tears over the whole thing.  Interesting.  Not a good time to be a woman (or a werewolf).

14_11_28

 

It got me to thinking whether or not things have changed in today’s fiction, television, and film (incidentally, Fiction and Film is my other class this term). Are today’s women totally at the mercy of men or are they more likely to be the centers of the action? And, when they are the main character, are they silly and frivolous like in I Love Lucy or do they have something intelligent to say and something important to do?

I think we have a mixed bag nowadays. For example, my two favorite shows are Scandal and How To Get Away With Murder (especially How To Get Away With Murder).  Olivia from Scandal has somehow shrunk in her professional capacity. The story line lately has focused more and more on the two men in her life, and her inability to choose between them (Frankly, one is married and the other one loves her and is red hot – Scott Foley I’m talking to you, boo! – so the decision would be easy for me). Anyway, the show used to focus on her job – her infinite ability to play the spin doctor and get idiotic celebrities and political figures out of embarrassing scandals. It was fascinating!

How To Get Away With Murder just wrapped up its first season. Analise is a bad-ass lawyer and professor with serious skills. She’s got a successful husband and a hot lover on the side. However, her pathetic husband and his lying, womanizing ways send her into emotional puddles of foolishness and indecision on a regular basis. Yes, love often makes us all weak, but I at least want the women on TV I admire to be stronger than me. Why not just enjoy the lover and kick the drippy husband to the curb? I’ve never had these kinds of options but I’d like to think I’d know how to use them if I did! Now, instead of using her exceptional lawyer skills to secure a quickie divorce, she has ruined her life – because now he’s dead and there’s a scandalous mess to clean up. Damn it!

Oh well. The good news is that there are more women leads on TV and in movies than ever before. More and more of them are 40+, brilliant, wealthy, and beautiful. Now if we could just get them to book a few sessions with a relationship counselor, all would be well…

Getting Inspired

Everything begins with inspiration. Then an idea. Then the follow-through and completion. I have heard some say that inspiration is overrated, that it’s all about the work. I disagree.  Of course, it is all about the work, but I don’t think inspiration is overrated.  My best ideas have come out of nowhere, usually while I’m doing something else. I always type these ideas into my phone and store them there for future use.  So far, my best stories have been inspired this way.

Perhaps the reason why people say inspiration is overrated is because it can’t be manipulated.  It comes when it comes.  And how can you sell a how-to book telling someone to wait around and see what happens?  No, sitting down to write regularly is the important thing but inspiration is where the magic happens.  The only advice I have for conjuring up the muse is to meditate, read a lot, watch a lot of TV and movies, and listen (really listen) to other people’s conversations.

The latest item I’ve been reading during my (brief) time off is a book called Therapy by Jonathan Kellerman.  It is not the typical book I read. I prefer intellectually stimulating literary fiction and classic pieces from the 1800’s.  However, in the spirit of reading widely I am trying this book and am impressed.

14_11_09

It is written in the first person by a therapist, Alex Delaware, whose best friend is a detective, Milo. Together they are trying to solve the murder of a teenage boy and an unidentified blonde. This murder seems to be tied to the subsequent murder of the boy’s therapist and to a previous murder involving someone completely unknown to the victims but killed in a similar style – impaling and a shot to the head.

The setting is Los Angeles which is fun for me because I intimately know all the streets referred to in the book. The male victim’s parents are rich snobs with marital problems and live in complete denial – they are a handful!

So, I look forward to seeing how this book ends and noticing if it inspires me in any particular way.

Happy reading!

–Raven