12 Days of Gratitude – Honourable Mentions

13 days

I have the great fortune to be surrounded by love and support from a variety of sources. But with that boon comes the curse of trying to select only 12 people for whom I am grateful.

And I failed…because I now present you with the handful of souls who didn’t make the original list but who I cannot NOT thank and honour. You all mean the world to me.

Mike & Lee

Mike & Lee: Truly devoted friends who ask nothing and offer everything.

Victoria

Victoria: Always quick with a supportive smile, heart-warming giggle and welcoming spirit.

Marlies

Marlies family: Collective chaos and maniacal wit with as many facets as faces. (not all members shown here)

Asmara

Asmara: A glowing spirit who befriends all.

Mike & Nana

Mike: The buddy for when you need to bury a body, no questions asked. Devoted friend, father, husband.

agah

Agah: Debate master and brother-man from another motherland, all packaged with devotion and dedication

12 Days of Gratitude – Lisa

Lisa Serrao

If you want to see the face of love, then you merely have to see my friend Lisa (the one who doesn’t need Rogaine).

A high-energy spitfire who gives of her time and her heart without a second thought, Lisa somehow manages to care for everyone she knows while still having a blast herself. And for her compact size, she has a laugh that fills a room and your soul.

To watch the glimmer in her eyes and feel the warmth of her smile is to know you are in the presence of a great spirit.

 

(Part Five of my 12 Days of Gratitude…because the rest of the news sucks)

12 Days of Gratitude – Piper

Piper

This is my spirit guide and friend Piper, the bracing rush of fresh air that makes the world turn with her vivacity.

No one’s pushover, Piper eagerly embraces everything and everyone the world has to offer and gives a thousand-fold what she receives. You cannot help but smile in the presence of this beauty who warms your cheeks with laughter, your heart with joy and your soul with love.

She is a whirlwind that will make everything else in your life seem dull.

P.S. You can follow Piper on her life journey on her blog: Pipe’s Adventures/Living for Happiness

(Part Three of my 12 Days of Gratitude…because the rest of the news sucks)

Bringing joy to others

I’m not a celeb-stalker generally, but I was killing time with my camera downtown when I stumbled across a crowd awaiting the arrival of movie stars (no one knew who) for the Toronto International Film Festival or TIFF.

I managed to grab a couple of shots of Dev Patel and Jeremy Irons (check out my Twitter feed), but I specifically loved this photo. If you can bring this type of joy to people in your life or to those completely peripheral to it, you have done well.

After premiering his movie, Dev Patel came back out to embrace his fans.

After premiering his movie, Dev Patel came back out to embrace his fans.

Anger after Robin William’s passing

robin_williams_01

A couple of days have passed since Robin William’s death and although I still cannot accept the truth of it, I have somewhat resigned myself to that truth.

Shortly after the event, as I watched the public response, I found myself getting upset. The following post, written the night of his passing, explains those feelings. If you read on, please read all of the post as I don’t want to hear anyone’s comments unless they have read all that I have to say below. 

 

I’m angry. I’m angry at all of the people who want to turn my grief into some sort of life lesson.

The death of Robin Williams from depression isn’t a parable, it’s not a morality play, it doesn’t serve a purpose; so stop throwing literature and comments about depression and the availability of help at me.

This is a man who made millions laugh. A man who struggled throughout his life with demons and who worked with and around those demons to make beautiful art. A man who had loved ones and raised children.

A man who touched my heart and mind and soul. A man who taught me that it was okay to misbehave, to act out. That to be frenetic could also be to be focused. That you can love and be livid with the world and its people at the same time.

And now that man is gone, and I want to mourn. I want to wallow in my memories of the joy and tears that he brought to my life. I want to remember the man.

I don’t want to rationalize his passing. I don’t want to find meaning in his death. I don’t want to learn a lesson.

I want to grieve, to storm, to wail, to laugh, to love.

But I am not the only one in mourning.

I know the people who post information about depression and mental health, who list hotlines and web sites, are doing that as part of their grieving process. They are doing what they have to do to process Robin’s death.

They are doing what is right for them as I am doing what is right for me. Pain is a self-centred thing.

Perhaps in a day…or two…or ten, I will be able to see their side a little better, but for now, I just want to hurt…and remember…and smile.

In the meantime, forgive me if I snarl.

It’s a sad, sad, sad, sad world

Go to YouTube and search for Sid Caesar.

Right now. Don’t wait.

I’ll still be here when you get back.

Comedy lost another titan today with the passing of Sid Caesar at the age of 91.

A man who defined television sketch comedy as we know it today.

A man who trained and/or gave voice to some of the greatest comedic minds of the 20th century, including Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Mel Tolkein, Danny Simon, Larry Gelbart, Neil Simon and Woody Allen through shows like Caesar’s Hour and Your Show of Shows.

A physical giant, Caesar was capable of playing the brutish husband or the nebbish boyfriend. He brought laughs and tears. And he was the first to let his co-stars shine. Stars like Imogene Coca, Nanette Fabray, Howard Morris and Carl Reiner.

I am confident that all of these people would have influenced my life in one way or another without the likes of Sid Caesar, but he formed the nexus around which my comedic galaxy spun.

Thank you, Sid. Know that you were loved.

 

Related posts:

My Favorite Life

My Creative Journey

Jonathan Winters

 

Know when it’s over

Writing a screenplay or novel is a lot like being in a long-term relationship as you largely go through the same steps.

At first, you’re unfailingly passionate about your partner, flush with love for an incredible idea. You dive into her with a zeal you have never felt before and are certain you will never experience again. You embrace every inch of her, her very essence and when finally forced to surface, you just want to show everyone how happy you are.

As time goes on, however, the initial zeal diminishes, if not in scale, at least in monomaniacal focus. You become more comfortable with her. You spend more time contemplating her rather than just diving in. You are caring, loving, nurturing. And even if not everything proceeds as smoothly as it once did, those are just the little maturities that slip into life.

Eventually, you grow into each other. There is love, there is care, but it’s mellower, more set in its ways. She isn’t as all-consuming as she once was, but you’re both okay with that. You might spend time with other couples, sharing common bonds and then making fun of them on your way home. Life is good, it’s right, it’s comfortable.

Now, if you’re fortunate, this goes on for the rest of your time together. You mature with each other. You fulfill her needs until that fateful day when she passes on to the other side. You’re wistful, but satisfied that you had a good life together.

Not every couple is so fortunate, however.

Sometimes little inconsistencies or minor difficulties can inflate in importance. What was once just a tiny tic, becomes this really aggravating feature that just drives you up the wall. Oh, you try to work through it. You try to convince yourself it’s nothing, that you’re just being paranoid, but after a certain point, she just seems to do it all the time and damn it, on purpose.

You soon find yourself coming up with excuses to go out for a little bit to clear your head, but the moment you leave the house, you find your mind wandering off to sexier screenplay ideas. You’re fantasizing and you can’t help it. And damned if, the minute you walk back into the house, there she is, staring right at you like she can read your mind.

“What do you expect?” you scream. “You knew I was an artist when we started.” And she just lay there, letting you stew in your self-incriminating guilt. It’s the silence, the inertness that just gets under your skin.

If you’re lucky enough to calm down, you may decide that you just need a little time apart. Both of you. A little time to remember why you came together in the first place. A month, six months, a year later, maybe those petty little problems won’t be so big. Hell, you might even have found a way around them. But right now, you just need some space.

Time goes by and maybe you do get back together to solve your differences. But maybe you don’t. It’s tough, but you realize it’s over. It’s time to move on.

It’s okay. You’ll live. You can’t beat yourself up over it. You tried and it just didn’t work out.

You may not think it right now, but there’ll be others. You’ll try again and maybe that one will work out differently.

You didn’t fail. You’re not a bad person. It just wasn’t meant to be.

You have to know when it’s over…but nothing says you have to know any sooner than is absolutely necessary.

 

PS If screenplays and novels are long-term relationships, I guess that makes sketch comedy a quickie in the alley. No wonder they’re so much fun, but rarely fulfilling.