15 Life Lessons Learned From Classic Movies

 

  1. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn: Written lies can be stories.  (Just don’t print them as truth.)
  2. To Kill a Mockingbird: Sometimes there are consequences for doing the right thing.
  3. Gone with the Wind: You might lose your soul-mate by pining for someone else’s.
  4. Clash by Night: “It’s who I am” is not an excuse for being a jerk.
  5. Johnny Belinda: Sometimes you say it best when you say nothing at all.
  6. 9-5: If you want good office morale, treat your employees right.
  7. Office Space: “Humans weren’t meant to sit in a cubicle all day.”
  8. 12 Angry Men: “Not guilty” isn’t the same thing as “innocent”.
  9. The Night of the Hunter: Religion can wound, and it can heal; it depends upon the application.
  10. It’s a Wonderful Life: Your life matters more than you realize.
  11. Miracle on 34th Street:  Let children be children.
  12. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers: Never stop wooing your wife.
  13. Meet Me in St. Louis: A love of home and a sense of belonging is more important than more money.
  14. The Sound of Music:  Even in the darkest of times, music can be one’s salvation.
  15. Sullivan’s Travels: Making people laugh has intrinsic value.

One bright, shining thing

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I was ten years old when I saw “Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus”, around a quarter of a century ago, and I never forgot it.  I’m not even sure if it’s a Hallmark movie (if it is, I can say, “They sure don’t make ’em like they use to”).  That said, for some reason, I never believed in Santa Claus (my parents tried, but I was like little Susan Walker on “Miracle on 34th Street”); I don’t know why that was–I suppose, being a very imaginative child, I thought everything that wasn’t Biblical or historical was simply a story, and that it was fun to pretend.

For years, I’ve tried to find a copy of “Virginia”, to no avail.  Yesterday, I looked it up on YouTube, and there it was.  I caught many things as an adult that I did not as a child, such as how all the immigrants (from different countries, no less) looked out for each other.  It made me think of when my mom was in the military overseas and all the Americans were close-knit (so different than in the States).

I used to think I wanted to be a reporter (even though I was terribly shy, having not matured into an introvert yet), but I decided I wanted to write stories where I wouldn’t have to depend upon other people to provide the information.  I also wanted to write stories that would be remembered.  This was further confirmed when my English Comp II professor said, “Most people can name at least one book that’s changed their life, but not a newspaper article.”  When Franklin P. Church (the man who answers Virginia O’Hanlon’s question about whether or not there is a Santa Claus) says no one remembers a news story after 24 hours, I agreed.  It’s why I’m not majoring in journalism–because I want what I write to stand the test of time (though journalism can be a much more exciting and lucrative career).

When I read a biography of Aimee Semple McPherson (female evangelist who founded The Church of the Foursquare Gospel), it changed my mind on women pastors.  When I read D. James Kennedy’s, “What if Jesus Had Never Been Born?”, it opened my eyes to how the gospel of Jesus Christ not only affected those who chose Him, but also bettered the lives of those who did not who lived with those who had.  When I read “The Happy Room” by Catherine Palmer, it showed how Christians sometimes neglect their children in the name of being “called” to do missionary work, for what profits a person to save a village, but lose their own children?  “Many Moons” by James Thurber showed that children have simple wisdom.  Dr. Seuss’s “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” showed that the Christmas spirit cannot be found in a store, but comes from within.

I’d love to write such a book, but perhaps, I will someday write such a story (or editorial) like Franklin P. Church’s, even though newspapers are dying as blogs are being born.  Perhaps I will even write that story somewhere online, for words on a screen can be just as powerful as on paper (once they’re internalized) and they will live on in cyberspace, long after my soul has returned to the firmament.

The editorial:  http://www.nysun.com/editorials/yes-virginia/68502/

What is your story?

#Micropoetry Monday: Ekphrastic Poetry

 

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She’d learned it all from Lucy: how a life of grand schemes
& wars of the sexes made it worth living,
how starting out in a small apartment could end up in a house in the country,
how lifelong best friends & a long-awaited child
could be part of anyone’s American Dream.

Caroline Carmichael had found purpose in a stolen life,
rather than the life she had chosen as Martha Sedgwick.
She was the water,
Hillary & Winston the powdered mix,
& blended, they made up the Instant Family.

Beth was but a faint percussion,
Amy, a colorful brush of fresh oil,
while Jo captured & condensed life as she knew it,
& Meg mothered the future.

Tomorrow was always another day—
a mythical time in which all would be well—
yet she pined for the one man
who represented the lost cause
in which she’d found happiness.

She was one in a dozen,
a ginger with a snap,
the heart of a lion,
the breadth of a lamb.

Poem-a-Day Writer’s Digest Challenge #24. Theme: Imitation

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Imitations of Life

“Drama is life with the dull bits cut out.” — Alfred Hitchcock

Dioramas,
miniature dramas;
Paintings,
scenes fading.
Books,
an unreliable narration,
Music,
a canorous condensation.
Plays—
life’s sincerest flattery,
and television,
where books go to die,
where smash cuts and sound bites—
like hors d’oeuvres that do not satisfy—
but ferment,
fomenting discord;
but the best depiction of all,
is posted on our pages—
the CliffsNotes editions
of our life stories,
putting friendships in remission.

http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/2016-november-pad-chapbook-challenge-day-24

Writer’s Digest Wednesday Poetry Prompt #355, Theme: Cravings

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Airing Network Grievances

Bloomberg isn’t running for President after all.
Will Biden run for President?
Will Romney run on a third-term ticket?
Classic stock market speculation.
It isn’t news if it doesn’t bring in the ratings.

The manufactured feud between
Megyn Kelly and Donald Trump
has ended in a kissy-face one-on-one.
Since when did bar-hopping attire
become the cable news anchor look?

A celebrity has died.
Not exercising is bad for you.
O’Reilly has written another book.

Another celebrity has died.
Five days later,
we’ll stop hearing about it.

“Breaking News” has become
“The Boy Who Cried Wolf”.

Through the haze of punditry,
and over the babble-bobble of the talking heads,
I begin to have cravings for real news,
but, like a gold miner of yore (or ore),
I must sift through the infotainment—
many times on fast-forward—
to find the nuggets of truth
that have been crushed to dust.

http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/wednesday-poetry-prompts-355

Poem-a-Day Writer’s Digest Challenge #22. Theme: Waiting for (Blank)

Several months ago, I read a story in “The New Yorker” about a woman whose mother told her that her father would come back before John Wayne died, because she thought he would never die (though I cannot find the story now, and I almost wonder if I dreamt it).  The story resonated with me, though, like it often is with a piece of art, I couldn’t say why.

The other night, I watched a movie called “Blossoms in the Dust”, starring Greer Garson (who, though not a beauty, had such a radiant charm, her beauty exceeded that of many others) and Walter Pidgeon (who I always thought was handsomer and more refined than Tyrone Power).  Blossoms” was about Edna Gladney, who fought for the word “illegitimate” to be stricken from birth certificates because of the social stigma.

Hence, the inspirations for this poem.

Waiting for her Father

She sits at the bay window,
surrounded by light,
her back to the shadows of the empty house.
From ages seven to twenty-one,
she has sat in this space on this date—
till the day the Legend died:
her birthday,
his deathday.

He will come, her mother had said,
before Elvis leaves this Earth,
he will come,
but then her mother had thought Elvis
would never die,
even though legends did all the time.

When the Legend passed on
to a world or worlds unknown,
it was like a second birthday,
a rebirth,
even though a part of her,
that part of her called hope,
died that day, too.
And yet, how freeing was a lack of hope
in things, or people, never seen,
and how limitless was hope in what was to come,
dependent upon her and no one else?

Fourteen years she had waited,
like Rachel,
laboring by being good
so that when he did come back,
he would stay.

But all those years had not been in vain,
for all the good she had been,
she had been for him,
till doing good became a part of her,
and it was only for that and her life,
she could thank him for.

 

Poem-a-Day Writer’s Digest Challenge #21. Theme: Strange

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I am a Strange One: A Self-Portrait in Writing

I turn my clock backwards
before I go to sleep.
I am a strange one.

I don’t like to sleep on pillows,
but rather between two of them.
I am a strange one.

I set my clock ahead five minutes,
for 7:00 a.m. is too close to 6:59.
I am a strange one.

I am studying to work in the healthcare profession,
but the sight of blood makes me faint.
I am a strange one.

I love to read crime thrillers,
but I love to write children’s nursery rhymes.
I am a strange one.

I read the dictionary for fun,
Hemingway for school.
I am a strange one.

I am a maximumist when it comes to books,
a minimalist when it comes to DVDs.
I am a strange one.

I love foreign films with subtitles,
but close captioning drives me crazy.
I am a strange one.

I love and appreciate fine art,
but have a hologram of a tree hanging in my house.
I am a strange one.

I watch Fox and read the HuffPost.
I love the Shopaholic series, but am a fan of Dave Ramsey.
I am a strange one.

I have seven Rubbermaid Tupperware containers,
and seven Rubbermaid lids.
I am a strange one.

I like Coca Cola from Mexico,
but I would never drink the water there.
I am a strange one.

I don’t love to cook,
but I love to watch cooking shows.
I am a strange one.

I’d much rather “meet my meat”
than cook it.
I am a strange one.

I buy a new fruit or vegetable first,
then try to figure out what to do with it later.
I am a strange one.

I love most everything fried,
but I prefer my fries baked.
I am a strange one.

I don’t like bananas,
but I love banana cream pie.
I am a strange one.

I love the beach and water aerobics,
but I never learned to swim.
I am a strange one.

My dream vacation is in Iceland,
but I hate the cold.
I am a strange one.

I love cat jokes,
but will probably never have a cat.
I am a strange one.

I like to make bars of soap,
but I prefer to use body wash.
I am a strange one.

I am a night owl,
but I hate when it gets dark early.
I am a strange one.

I hate cold weather,
but I love to be able to wear nylons and sweaters.
I am a strange one.

I like to wear socks inside the house,
but not outside the house (with shoes).
I am a strange one.

I find brassieres uncomfortable,
but not bikini tops.
I am a strange one.

I prefer skirts and mittens
over pants and gloves,
because I like my parts to touch.

I don’t like beards,
but I like a man who can grow one.
I am a strange one.

I like a man who wears cologne,
but I don’t wear perfume.
I am a strange one.

I don’t mind loading washers and dishwashers,
but I hate emptying them.
I am a strange one.

I love shopping for clothes,
but I hate trying them on.
I am a strange one.

I live in the Deep South,
but I don’t say y’all.
I am a strange one.

I don’t have a single tattoo or piercing,
yet I love chandelier earrings.
I am a strange one.

I am an introvert,
but I wait tables for a living.
I am a strange one.

My truths may be strange,
but they are not stranger than fiction.
We are all contradictory,
and, at times, just a little bit OCD,
in our own way.

But at least I don’t go to a seafood restaurant
and order a hamburger.