Erin

For more information on Erin Carere the singer, please visit:

For more information on Erin Carere the Hollywood screenwriter and actress, please visit:

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

VIDEO WEDNESDAY! May we all be like THIS gal! Happy Holidays!

Follow this link to UpWorthy's website, read the story and watch the video. What a great gal!
xoXOXO


http://www.upworthy.com/when-a-97-year-olds-drivers-license-was-revoked-she-went-to-get-it-back

The Holidays Bring that $hit Up: on lackluster holidays and the return of wonder, The Philadelphia Story and (wo)man's search for meaning.

It is Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015.

The puppy is off at his babysitter's, after I spent four days watching the sitter's two dogs while SHE was out of town. The house feels empty without my little boy (furbaby!) and last night I spent the evening watching "The Philadelphia Story," which is not a holiday classic per se, but which brings up every feeling of womanhood I am experiencing right now.

Well, not exactly. I'm not torn between three men, and I'm not a wealthy equestrian.

But I am all those other things that Tracy, aka Kath Hepburn, is in that movie. A goddess learning to be human, and vice versa.

In 2015, that comes off very differently than how it was used when "Philadelphia Story" was made. In 2015, we have connotations of New Age tarot decks, yogini worship of Qwan Yin, Wiccan idolatry. I myself have participated in at least two of those three.

 

But I mean it in the way that ALL humans, especially today, need to return to their bodies and get back into being human- a real human being.

We- okay, I'll speak for myself- I need to feel. I need to remember the awe of Christmas, and if not Christmas, then awe in general. This year I don't have a tree, I only did a couple of gifts, and I haven't made any cheesecakes or cookies at all. Historically, I have always loved Christmas and the magic of the dark silence of a wintry woods. Now, I live in a concrete jungle full of billboards and plastic surgeons and diet programs and celebrities famous for being talentless. I'm sorry, but where is the wonder and awe in that?

In my heart, of course. That's the answer. *I* am the poetess. I am the singer, the muse, the creator of worlds and characters and laughter and love. 

Dang.

So how can I give to myself?





What am I craving?

I don’t usually get too wild in my mood swings any longer, but lately I have been feeling a bit of a nihilistic sense of pointlessness. Then I think to myself, as soon as I catch myself wallowing, I say, "Well, Erin, you know how to practice joy, fun, sensuality, giving, being of service, gratitude. So even if part of you feels this is all bullshit, just keep loving and giving. You’ll get out of your crappy attitude and back into divinity fast."

Usually it takes only a moment. Lately it has been taking me a day or even a few days.

Either I’m losing my touch, OR I’m going through something, OR I am at a new strata, a new level, and so while it is actually better than ever before, it FEELS less effective because my personal barre has been raised…

Or a little of all of the above.

(In other news, don't you hate the meme "take it to the next level?" And yet it is SO very useful, that phrase!)
 
What am I craving?

Endless spritz cookies and egg nog with rum, sure, yes. 

But really...

What am I craving?
 
I am craving serenity- peace in my heart- and lovingness. I crave wonder. Excitement, possiblity, opportunity, a feeling of purpose, yes. I am craving awe. I am craving that feeling I had after I received in a vision on top of Prophecy Rock* in the Hopi village of Oraibi, where I felt SO in love with the world as it IS (life on life's terms!) and in such bliss that every cell in my body felt so much  pleasure and pain and joy and sorrow and bliss it was orgasmic but not in a sexual sense- well that was in there- but in every possible sense and even beyond.

That just got at once very intimately personal and very mystical. But I feel that if I am to share any learning in this blog with ANYONE who reads it, I will give an account of my honest experience in life, so as to encourage all of you to live YOUR life, or maybe just because sharing what I have discovered in my exploration of the world is PRECISELY how I feel alive in the world- as Hepburn's Tracy says at the end of "Philadelphia Story," "like a human... like a human being."

(go directly to: 2:00!)


           
But back to bliss.
  
Perhaps it is possible to feel that way all the time- Jesus, Mother Mary come to mind.

Perhaps not.

Of course I am none of those folks- Jesus, Katherine Hepburn, Santa Claus, Mother Mary, not even you. I am you, of course, and I am all of those folks. They live in me and I live in them. I am none and all as are you as are all of us.  

Goo goo g'joob, indeed. 

So, what would life look like if I gave myself even more permission to let go of what I don't want- nihilism, in this instance... it's fine for some √úbermensches, but not for me.... 

Even if I didn't know what else was out there? Even if I didn't know how else it could go? 

 I had a great teacher once who taught the lesson of going just outside your comfort zone. She taught it in numerous ways. She taught us to “stay beyond the mind,” meaning, if your mind tells you it is time to leave, stay just a little longer, just long enough to see if your mind isn’t changed and learning occurs. She taught us that most people have one or two responses to stress, A and B, but taught us to create a triangle of response by being willing to find an option C- any option C- just be willing to find something new, something we have never thought to think or do before. I started applying this to my life in all sorts of ways. I started waking up in the morning saying to myself, “Today, I want to see three things I have never noticed before.” “Today, I want to think thoughts I have never thought to think before.” “Today, I am willing to find an opportunity to go beyond my mind, go beyond my norm, go beyond my comfort zone.”

It becomes a little addictive, actually.

And yes, with that, I went back to school for opera, I did tons of one woman shows, I traveled many times to India and Europe, I “did” and will always DO amazing things.

But the most interesting application in my life is in my day to day relationship with my most intimate friends and family, and with myself.

And if I lived that way all the time? Well, perhaps I do...

What would my life look like?

No idea. But I’m open to not knowing and letting the mystery unfold.








*Perhaps someday I shall post that story, of Prophecy Rock. Perhaps I am saving it for my proper memoirs. LOVE! 

I shall close by quoting Robert Frost, who said everything so much more beautifully in this:

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

By Robert Frost
Whose woods these are I think I know.   
His house is in the village though;   
He will not see me stopping here   
To watch his woods fill up with snow.   

My little horse must think it queer   
To stop without a farmhouse near   
Between the woods and frozen lake   
The darkest evening of the year.   

He gives his harness bells a shake   
To ask if there is some mistake.   
The only other sound’s the sweep   
Of easy wind and downy flake.   

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,   
But I have promises to keep,   
And miles to go before I sleep,   
And miles to go before I sleep.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Fiction Fridays, The Art of Observing, and Things We Learn From Our Sisters/ Ourselves.

Happy Fiction Fridays, all!

I have been slowing down a bit for the year, writing about 3-5 pages a day on the novel. As you may know if you've been following the blog, Carlo and I finished our umpteenth draft of our screenplay and have sent it to a few connections in the industry as a first round of marketing. We also entered a few competitions of note, just to see what happens there as well! We read that screenplay competitions, at least the ones we're entering, get between 7000-11,000 entries each year! And yet, I have two friends that have won notable competitions! An acquaintance friend from acting class won the Nicholls a few years back, and another friend (guy I briefly dated) won Slamdance. So, something about osmosis is going on? LOL. No, yes, maybe, who knows? At least I know that I am surrounded by gifted friends and colleagues and keep very good company. :)
 

In other news, today is a very special sister's birthday, and in conjunction with slowing down and reading a little more, watching some old spy movies and TV classics for inspiration for my next project with Carlo, and writing (less, but still!) on the novel, I am doing a bit of reflecting on the spirituality and beauty and peace I have learned from my experiences.

Here's what I wrote today:
 
--> When I was 17 and working with a very intense and brilliant singing teacher and coach, she noticed that I was already an insane perfectionist who beat herself up over every little missed nuance in the music I was singing. So the free-spirited, former hippie (yet somehow Minnesota Lutheran) that she was, she gave me this book: “The Inner Game of Tennis” by Tim Galwey. She told me to apply it to singing and it made all the difference in the world.

In it, a renowned tennis coach becomes a Zen Buddhist. Prior to his enlightenment, he was one of those harsh and intense coaches who shouted and yelled over the minutiae as well as the big mistakes. He started learning about  observation of self and the concept of the Observer, and though he would try it on his own tennis game. His game improved immeasurably and so he started using the art of observation on his athletes. Lo and behold, their games improved, too!


I started using it on myself with singing as well as other areas of study- academics, etc. And it made a HUGE difference. I don't know how, or perhaps I could look into how, but why? There are myriad scientists who can do so and mine is to write and sing about my life, and I know that not only did my test scores improve, but I actually had more fun!


Years later I got the idea that I could use observation rather than rules on my eating. Mostly I was coached into trying this by a former Guru, who knew about my eating issues, and, when I told her about my little secret trick of observation with regard to singing, she suggested I try it with eating, body image, binging, starving, and even purging. I started watching without judgment, and began adding blessings! Yes! I even blessed my purging.

I believe THIS is why I have been able to truly make lasting changes- the blessing- because I’m not manically affirming the purge (or now, the small amount of overeating that sometimes occurs. Nothing like the old days! I can’t overeat because it actually no longer really applies to me, meaning, I don’t believe in the CONCEPT of over eating any longer! Weird, huh? When I think about how I used to think, it’s more like reading about a distant relative rather than thinking about mySELF.) I simply watch myself and remain present- as present as I am able to be- for every breath, every bite, every movement. I stop and ask myself: is this joy? I allow myself to binge and eat as much as I want as long as I am truly, sensually ENJOYING every bite. For a while in there,  I was not truly sensually  enjoying every bite and something beyond the pleasure drive is forcing food into my mouth. I watched that and blessed that, too.



In a world of pressures to be perfect, and if not perfect, then at least always striving and pushing and driving and never arriving, how do we talk to ourselves for lasting change?


How do we incorporate our desire to “improve,” or “succeed” with our desire to be and practice love?
We do it with love. We do it with as close to non-judgment and as close to blessing as we possibly can. If we can get to the point of just observing, the shifts that come out of that will astound us, for we will no longer be driven by the external presentation of pressure, but by our own inner divinity.


Something my sister and I came up with many many years ago was the idea that when we were stymied about what to do our how to react or how to behave, we would ask ourselves, what would my sister have me do? We happen to have a very loving relationship! I recognize not everyone is blessed with a sister relationship that is so pure. If you can’t do this with your sister, ask yourself how you would advise your niece, or your best friend’s gifted daughter. How would Mother Mary, or Qwan Yin, or Jesus, or Wayne Dyer advise you? Go into their hearts for a moment, looking back at YOU, and see what they have to say!


But back to me and my sister. Like I said, she and I are “sororital soul mates,” (my term, I think, haha!) and we together came  up with the idea that if and when we were faced with challenges of punitive self- admonition, self-sabotaging behavior, or any other question at all, really, we  would ask ourselves, “What would I tell my sister to do if she were in my position and asking me for help?” The love between us is so pure- pure enough- that we could at least see what WE would want in regards to health and joy and dreams coming true for the other.


What a change in self-talk! We would never want the other to abuse food/ drugs/ alcohol/ anything else for that matter, or date BLEEPholes, or stay in negative relationships, or spend so wildly that we would ruin our financial lives.


We WOULD want the other to eat mostly healthy but not beat the self up over a deviation from the plan. We would tell the other that celebratory eating on a holiday was a gift from the ancients and that it would not affect our bodies long term. (A lapse is not a relapse!) We want the other to pursue our gifts and build a career all the while finding financial stability and dignity.




NOW is the only time there is. This is the only time I can do anything, from breathing and involuntary body movements to making choices and taking actions. I don’t really know what’s possible for me now or in the future, but I do know who I am and what I love and that I am pursuing a beautiful life. I am committed to love. The gift of love and of art running through me is just that- a gift. The rest is all gravy. 

And so, I commit, and recommit, to being love, acting from love, creating from love, and then: love is what is returned to me. 

Have faith, dear one.


Of course we all can, and of course that is what we will do anyway, for this is the life we live, whether or not the conscious mind sees it as such. But how wonderful would it be to marry the subconscious and the conscious minds in love during this lifetime?

May the cosmos bless each and every moment, and each and every moment within that moment- regardless of our judgment. All of this is a dream and a gift. Let us honor it as such. 


With love,
 
Peace in your heart.
 
xoxoxo
Erin

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Year End Recap: ARE YOU CELEBRATING YOU!?

Hello, everybody!

You all know I love my "internet challenges." You know, the platform challenge from October through Writer's Digest, the #nanowrimo national novel writing month challenge... right now, as part of my day job, I am doing the Mentor Masterclass Holiday Challenge. :)

Today is Day Two, and the task was to list alllll of my accomplishments for the year 2015. No achievement was too small. My list was smaller than years past, perhaps, but mighty. One of the things I consciously have been doing is slowing down- doing less, focusing more!

(I know my artistic challenge of a few weeks back is contradictory to what I just wrote! Which is why you will find an AMENDED version of that on my Patreon. I was reminded by most everyone I know that QUALITY is important as well as QUANTITY. And I don't want to spread myself too thin!)

But I am sharing with you today not to list all of my accomplishments, most of which were things like- didn't get sick this year. Got lots of nights with solid sleep this year. Didn't waste as much time on Facebook so that I could read more novels. Of course there were a few choice biggies- moved in with my love, did a one woman show, wrote and re-wrote (a hundred times) a very intense and smart and fun action script with my partner in life, love and writing. Etc.

Then, there was a question for reflection about celebrating accomplishments, and about creating a community of friends where we all honor each other... Here's my reflection.



" I used to never celebrate my achievements, because it always felt like a waste of time. Then I started a reward system because my life was starting to feel useless, pointless, nihilistically depressed. There WAS no point to life. 

And while there may or may not be, part of my mystical conversion in India was realizing that THAT way of thinking, living, believing, being and living- THAT was not for me. I was a rose and for me all there was to do was to bloom- i.e., a rose is a rose is a rose. A rose grows, blooms, withers, dies. It does not choose when it blooms, when it withers, when it dies. It doesn’t even think it has a choice. It merely roses- does as a rose does- in accordance to its OWN co-creative interplay with nature and with the cosmos. So for me, it was the same: I would simply act and be the truest MYSELF I could be in accordance with MY interplay with nature and the cosmos. 



Easier said than done, but then again, not really, because that’s all any of us are ever doing, whether we recognize it or not. 

Then again, we are human roses. And we do have some and certain choices- and MINE at this time is a practice of choosing the humanistic and the hopeful, and putting that into practice.... 

SO in regard to the reward system, every Friday I get a reward just for it being Friday. (Looking for rewards where I don’t spend money, though, as I am also now trying to live within my means, something I’ve never done, but want to really get my debt- and credit- in better shape.) Then, I get rewards for all sorts of good behavior as well- keeping commitments, doing responsible/ boring things that MUST be done (seeing the OB/GYN for example, definitely warrants an hour with the phone turned off, just me and a novel.)


I looked at my list for this year and it is very small and low compared to achievements of previous years. That said, I think slowing down and doing less was of extreme important to me and it seems that perhaps it has only helped me with some of my other accomplishments. My screenplay with my partner took a lot of time and attention. Not getting sick was on the list, and that is another biggie for me. I used to get sick all the time. But now, this last year, aside from allergies and a few remnants leftover from car accidents and last year's pneumonia, I have been VERY HEALTHY. I

no longer miss sleep, that should definitely be on my list!



I had to break the very difficult habits of saying yes to everything, of spreading myself too thin. I had to end a few projects and in so doing I also lost a few relationships… but I did what I thought was the right thing to do because I REALLY WANT TO CHANGE MY LIFE, for real.



So, I will celebrate that I have been willing to change, and in so doing, a lot of the WAY things have come to me have- and will- change(d.) I am only in the beginning stages of a slower, more meaningful, more sensual, more thoughtful way of life. I guess I had to begin with a small discussion about semantics about what I see as accomplishments, because I want quality rather than quantity now…



How would it feel if I celebrated all of them all of the time?



This is what I aspire toward actually. ;)



Great parking spot? Yay! Celebration dance!



Authentic conversation with a family member? Yay! Foot massage!



Loving kiss with my partner? Yay! Another loving kiss!



LOL.



I think it would be INCREDIBLY EMPOWERING.



Okay!



Champagne, anyone?"

p.s. If you haven't seen STANDUPERA yet... it was on my list of accomplishments... ;-p 

Monday, December 14, 2015

StandUpera! It's HERE!

And now, without any further ado,
Maestro! If you please:

STANDUPERA!


Friday, December 11, 2015

Fiction Fridays: December 11th, 2015: What I'm up to writing wise (screenplay, novel); a poem from college and its context; Sappho.

December 11th!

Today is Friday, and that makes this FICTION FRIDAY!

WHOOT!

I wanted to give a little update on what I'm up to these days writing-wise.

Just this morning, Carlo and I held a reading of our feature-length action-thriller screenplay. We had made a few major changes after getting feedback from a script analyst from Sony, and another from a reader at the agency CAA. Both analysts had great feedback- "the future looks bright [for your script]" and "...reminds me of the best scenes from 'Homeland." Both analysts ALSO had a lot of suggestions on changes to implement and so, after discussion about how to really make the script the best we possibly could, and after 6 weeks of intense rewriting, editing, reading, rewriting, editing, etc., we feel it is ready for the market.

Whew!

Meanwhile, I took part in National Novel Writing Month (#nanowrimo) last month! I wrote 250 pages of my novel, Eva de Los Angeles, expecting that my first draft will be about 400 pages. Oof duh! It's a magical realism road trip novel... more to come. I also re-read parts of the first novel I ever read, My Life as a Phone Psychic, and the comedy screenplay version of my FIRST one woman show, The One. My goal is, one at a time, to write a draft of one, edit/ rewrite the next, etc., until each is ready for agents/ publishers/ self publishing. At the point at which I feel any individual project is truly ready, I will proceed. In the meantime, my Fiction Fridays will DEFINITELY continue, with essays from the "self help" version of The One, (sort of along the lines of the book "He's Just Not That Into You," only really screamingly funny, so I've heard.) I will also put up excerpts from my novels that I just mentioned. Currently, my goal is to finish draft ONE of Eva de Los Angeles (based on the musical I wrote in 2012, but realized was far too large a story for a two act musical) by my birthday in February.

I know. It's a lot. But you've met me, right? If not? You're meeting me now! :) Un plaisir de reconnaitre.

So let's move on to something I found while looking through some old boxes-

a poem I wrote in college!

I write a lot of poems. Some of them are channeled and I am very proud of them. Some are sonnets, exercises in the integration of form as well as nuance. Of those, I am sometimes proud and sometimes... um... not so proud.

The following poem I actually really love, because of what it stands for in my life both NOW and at the time I wrote it.

I found it encased in some handouts from a class I took my fresh(wo)man year of college. I was in a program called "The Great Conversation" at my first college, St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. I LOVED it. It was a two year program that would take care of every liberal arts requirement as it was taught by five different professors, covering Western Civilization from the time of the Ancient Greeks forward, taking a holistic, systemic study of each era (Ancient Greeks, Romans and Hebrews, etc.) History, art, architecture, science and math of the era, comparative studies of literature, music, religion... basically, everything I have always loved and studied, and continue to love and study now! Only now, I am definitely NOT an academic, but am merely an autodidact/ fangirl.

The handouts were about what we, meaning scholars, knew up to that time about the Greek poetess Sappho. I know that in recent years, more has been discovered and learned about Sappho, but the handout I am looking at now was the most recent at THAT time. I am going to include a few snippets of translated Sappho works, and then the poem I wrote, apparently at that time, right before my first rehab.

 (that's Sappho, not me! Although my real hair is that color, my eyes are truly blue.)

At that time of my life, I felt very lonely. I spent hours wandering the frozen woods near my college campus, communing with the endless gray skies and barren trees. I would wake up every day at 6 am to practice piano on the glorious Steinways in the practice rooms of the music hall, and then go for a long walk before breakfast, which was usually one apple. I see now, as an adult, I was isolating myself, and I know I was yearning for the life I WANTED to live but wasn't yet ready to claim for myself.

Now, MANY years later, forging a new path every day, I look back to that younger Erin and reach out a hand of compassion, yes; understanding, hell yes; and hope.

There are a lot of wonderful passages in this handout I have from so many years ago. I will share some now, and some again, perhaps. I encourage you all to investigate the "tenth muse" (read below.)

SAPPHO SNIPPETS:

"Some say the muses are nine. Careless!
Behold the tenth: Sappho of Lesbos."
-Plato, The Greek Anthology, IX. 506.



"Eros the loosener of limbs shakes me again-
   bitter-sweet, untamable, crawling creature."
-Sappho, translated by Jane McIntosh Snyder, p 27, in
   The Woman and the Lyre: Women Writers in Classical Greece and Rome



"As a sweet apple reddens
on a high branch

at the tip of the topmost bough:
The apple-pickers missed it.

No, they didn't miss it:
They couldn't reach it."
-Sappho, translated by Jim Powell, p 12, in
   Sappho: A Garland



"Like a mountain whirlwind
punishing the oak trees
love shattered my heart."
-Sappho, translated by Willis Barnstone, p. 9, in
   Sappho



"The moon has set,
and the Pleiades,
midnight--
the hours are passing
and passing--
yet I lie alone."
-Sappho, translation VLH









My poem:


i ask myself what i'm waiting for?
false knowledge drops on my doorstep.
after a mundane moment of
     fingering my desk
i choose now to ignore the lies,
the fragments chasing through my mind
of                i love you, i don't love you
   i need you, i don't need you

i'll end it now.

i choose you.

     and fear?
                 i ate it for breakfast.









Have a great weekend, all. And for breakfast, this weekend, I'm thinking a beautiful green juice, followed a few hours later by my favorite almond croissant and a cappuccino. ;-p

xoxo
Erin

Monday, November 30, 2015

Happy Birthday, Lucy Maud Montgomery!

Today, I opened my Facebook to discover this delightful doodle by Google doodler Olivia Huynh, posted by "Stuff You May Have Missed in History Class," which is a podcast I listen to regularly!



It's Lucy Maud Montgomery's 141st Birthday!

You can read what Google reported about LMM, or "Maud," as us uber fans call her, HERE:

If you don't know the delights of Lucy Maud Montgomery-

"Oh, Marilla, you don't know what you're missing!"

Most likely you have a cultural awareness of Anne of Green Gables, or as Carlo tells me she is known in Italy, "Anna da Cappelli Rossi." (Anne of the Red Hair.) You may have seen the CBC/ PBS movies staring Megan Follows or heard of Jonathan Crombie (aka Gilbert)'s untimely death last spring. Perhaps you are reading this blog because you are one of my childhood pen friends from across the globe, connected by a newsletter devoted to Anne, Maud, Emily of New Moon, Pat, the Blue Island, Victoria Magazine or baking vanilla liniment cakes.

Those of you who don't know this whimsical obsession of mine- those of you who know me as a powerhouse, or as an opera singer, or as a former rock singer, or as a writer of mystical memoir, or as a purveyor of raunchy and funny one woman shows, may now be going, "huh?"

Let me tell you just a little bit about why I love these books, this author, and what the books and their birth mother have meant to me over the years.

I first encountered Anne of Green Gables through the CBC/ PBS movie. PBS was not only one of the few channels we were allowed to watch at leisure as children, it was also one of the only channels we got in what was then a little house on the edge of a big forest (since replaced by housing developments.) I LOVED Anne and identified with her- constantly having adventures, and then constantly getting in trouble for being misunderstood for those adventures! I bought the books through my elementary school's book sales program. There used to be these little two or three page book catalogs (was it called Apple Books?) printed on newspaper style paper and you would pre-order the books for $1.25 or so. I DEVOURED the first Anne book and then began obsessively reading everything the woman ever wrote. Even in high school- I may have been writing essays on "The Fountainhead" by Ayn Rand (not a fan) or "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald (I am a fan) for A.P. English, but my free time was spent up in a tree or at the local coffee shop (JAVA JOINT!) reading Anne. (And King Arthur books, and others, but a lot of Anne.) As a teenager, I was romantic, poetic, deep, and although I had a group of friends, I really felt the most MYSELF as a lone wolf wandering through those disappearing woods.

The best trip I ever went on- with humble respect- was when my mother took me and my sister to Prince Edward Island, the native land of the esteemed author. We had so much fun peeking into craft shops, bookstores, and driving to remote parts of the island where the waters were wild. 

In college, the journals of LMM came out. It was, looking back, probably not the best idea to have been reading them at that time, for LMM suffered greatly from depression and many disappointments in life. She had such high ideals and so many aspects of her life seemed to fall short of those ideals. I shared that same problem in life- when a person has such an illustrious romantic imagination, and wants desperately to believe in the goodness- nay- GREATNESS- of oneself and others- then.... as a former life coach used to say, "Wanna be disappointed? Make an appointment." Meaning: attachment to outcome will disappoint you because it will so rarely go that way. Things will not look the way you THINK they should look. 

My shrink in rehab took away my Sylvia Plath books- ("Maybe best not to read the Bell Jar while you're going through this," Judy had said.) but I retained my LMM Journals.

Now, as an adult who has far surpassed those difficult times and replaced the wallow and misery with the sort of wisdom only pain can bring, and who looks for the opportunity ALWAYS in each obstacle, I understand why I loved Anne first, but TRULY loved Emily of New Moon, another of her heroines, more: 

Anne is what we would like to be. She looks always for the goodness and the possibility, and grows deeply into her own womanly wisdom despite great difficulties (being an orphan, being a red head, SPOLIER: losing a child.)

Emily is closer to our truthful experience of life as deeply sensitive, acutely aware, yet dreamy creators of story. 

What I aim to be now is THE STORY GIRL, Sarah Stanley, one who travels the world telling and writing her stories. Why? Because stories are how we feel ourselves back- or not- and therefore how we fathom what it means to be human.

The value and beauty of life, of nature, of relationships... In my heart and mind, I do feel that THESE are the things that will return humanity to a semblance of sanity. These are the things LMM offers with her characters and writing- heroines for us all to learn from, laugh with, feel delight and horror and comfort in.

That's what LMM has given to me.

That photo above is Prince Edward Island-
sure does give you a lot of "scope for imagination," eh?

“There's such a lot of different Annes in me. I sometimes think that is why I'm such a troublesome person. If I was just the one Anne it would be ever so much more comfortable, but then it wouldn't be half so interesting.”
L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables  


Monday, November 23, 2015

Music Mondays: November 23rd, revisiting some oldies but goodies

Hey, y'all!

It's Music Monday!

I know we all have Adele's new hit, "Hello," in our heads, and if you didn't see the SNL Thanksgiving sketch about it, do yourself a favor and watch it!

But if you're looking for some more goofy fun, here's a little treat from me, directed by Joshua Dragotta. It's a sort of weird, burlesque comedy interpretation of the wonderful song "Zip" from Pal Joey.... 

 
 


Until next time- I'm hard at work finishing my websites (www.worldoferin.com) and prepping in the studio to record some songs for my 2016 Challenge!


 
 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Music Mondays... on Tuesday!

Hey everybody!

So, the Akademia Music Awards recently honored my song, "Come Alive," and me, with the award for best pop/ rock song of the month!

http://www.theakademia.com/november2015_bestsong_poprocksoul3.html?utm_content=bufferec4d9&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

'Soulful guitar riffs, gorgeous vocals and compelling lyrics make this song a pop rock knockout and make Erin Carere one to watch in the coming year.'

I am so grateful!






If you haven't heard

"Come Alive,"

you can hear it right here!




Thank you and more to come soon.

Have a lovely day!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

From hurt and anger and justifications, out of nihilism, and into love: my journey since the events of November 13th, 2015

Since Friday, I’ve been posting as many peaceful photos and articles exemplifying inclusion as I can throughout social media. Many of these were articles about France in particular, and about how Muslims around the world are grieving for the people victimized int he Paris attacks (as well as in Beirut.)

 I received a letter from someone who misread or misunderstood my intention and told me I was a racist for posting so many of these articles…. my intention is always love and solidarity and compassion and understanding. If ever someone thinks my intention is otherwise, I encourage that person to reach out to me so we can have an open minded and open hearted conversation about connection and deeper understanding. I am grateful for this misreading of my intentions, not because I can be understood by everyone, but because I believe in listening as much as I can, loving always, and rising up to an ideal of civility in discourse. Diversity is beautiful. Assumptions are dangerous. Conversation is encouraged. Love is all.



THE ABOVE is what I posted on Facebook, but I would like to add the following.

The events of Friday the 13th hit me almost as hard as the events of 9/11. I feared for the people of the world- honestly, for all people- for ALL people. Yes, all. Race, religion, color, creed, country of origin, country of destination, country of inhabitance, belief system, thinking, politics. All of us, all of you. For I truly love all of you.

And am I a nihilist? Sometimes. Do I get caught up in the anger at a world of violent idiots, in which group I include myself, for even our thoughts can lead to violence? I don't mean just the terrorist groups; I mean the systems that create such anger and hate in the first place. I don't mean just colonization, or even just patriarchy. I mean anger and frustration at the very existence of animals with sensitivity and violence and justification in the first place (humans.)

Well, actually, today? No.

Since Friday I have been stuck. Stuck in disappointment, sure. Anger, not as much. Sorrow, yes.

Stuck in my particular manifestations of my modern age, meaning, those issues and symptoms part and parcel to my "perceived" role in the universe.... let me be more clear.... a white, Scandinavian/ Scottish/ Welsh origin woman in her 30s who was born and raised in the middle of Minnesota who is auto-didactic, artistic, sensitive, driven and ambitious and now lives in Los Angeles, California but who has traveled the world in search of artistic and mystical meaning and truth.... so, I was stuck in my personal failures as an artist, my extra 15 or 20 pounds, my fears of who I really am and who we really are as people, my exhaustion, my boredom.... in short, the symptoms of "my" dis-ease in what I think is a moment of nihilism in the modern (2015) age as a stage in our own cultural evolution as a species.

Blech.

Today?

No more.

Today I am humbled by a stranger who, angry at his perception of my racism (although I maintain I was not being racist, but instead, trying to encourage people to STOP being racist... is acknowledging racism a racist act? A question for all us navel-gazers, to be sure!), wrote me a letter asking me to stop. I am humbled not because he misunderstood me or understood me but because he took the time to write.

It is easy to get angry.

It is easy to assume.

Today,

I seek to understand.

I seek to offer peace, love, and respect if not actual friendship. *Especially* with those folks with whom I do not agree. To those people, I especially reach out. Laugh away, or come join me for a cup of tea. I reach out to you anyway.

I seek to return to my work, the acts of creation, songs and writing and films of love and joy and understanding.

For myself, today, I recommit to love.

I had never actually left love,

I just got caught up in one particular way of showing it, and was left hurt by humanity.

Peace for us all.

Peace.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veteran's Day Remembrances: Armistice Day, Poppies, and a trip to Europe where everything that could go wrong, did!

Happy Veteran's Day, American Vets,

which includes

My Dad, several of my uncles and cousins and grandfathers, and many friends.

My partner in life and crime is former military as well, but not US Military.

Still, I thank you all for your service!

This day, 11/11, has a lot of interesting memories for me.

My first recollection is more of Armistice Day, and of older gentleman selling poppies at Coborn's Grocery store, which was the main grocery store in my hometown in Minnesota. I always felt a little afraid of older men, but I remember one day, straggling behind my mother as we walked into the store, there were two older men (at the time, I would have called them "Grandpa Age," which could have been anywhere from mid 50s to 80, for all I know.) One was very gruff and ornery, but the other was so kindly as he pinned the little red poppy to my jacket.

Somewhere along the lines, somewhere in the late junior high or possible early senior high school years, I remember saying "Happy Veteran's Day, Dad!" to my father. He snorted and said, "yeah right." My dad had been in Viet Nam toward the end of the war, in the 70s. He had been drafted at age 22 or 23. He never speaks of it, and would hate me even mentioning it or this paragraph. But I feel it is important for our us to see any and all perspectives about this sort of thing. Once, my brother and I were snooping, (very bad, I know, but it's true!) and we found a purple heart in my Dad's secret box of special things. Years later we confessed and asked him about it. He rolled his eyes and said, "they were handing those things out left and right back then." So I guess we'll never know what it was for? Or maybe in years to come, now that he is getting to "Grandpa Age," we will learn more details.

My other memories of Veteran's Day- aside from Peanuts cartoons- are not about Vets or Veterans but about strange things that happened to occur on this day, 11/11.

So, about ten years ago, (or was it 12 years now?) my ex-boyfriend and I were on a little acoustic tour of gigs in Europe. We played a few gigs in France, and had a lot of time in between them so as to explore. We had rented a Renault Clio and shoved our guitars in the back and hit the road, driving through Western France, down to the sea and Coulioure and Perpignan, into the Pyrenees, visiting Cathar Castle Ruins high in the clouds, and then down into Barcelona.

This particular trip had already been a comedy of errors. I had lost my house key while locking the back door as my sister was picking us up to drive us to the airport to start the whole dang journey. I know that sounds ridiculous, but it's true! It was early November, the 3rd, and there had been a light dusting of snow in Minneapolis, where I was living at the time. My sister was picking us up very early in the morning, while it was still dark. (What a saint.) As I was locking the back door, I pulled the keys out, and then realized I had forgotten to turn off a certain light in the house and wanted to double check the flames and any electronics I may have left on. Mike, my boyfriend at the time, was already in the car. With the key ring literally still in my hand, I turned back to the door and looked for the key to unlock the door. It was gone. It was not on the key ring. I looked in the door itself. It was not in the door. I looked on the steps, on the ground below. It was nowhere to be found.

Eerie.

I never did find it, either, but of course, by the time we returned to Minneapolis about three and a half weeks later, the ground was frozen and buried beneath a thick pile of snow.

We had a layover in New York, during which we visited some friends of mine. We were going to have lunch with a friend also named Mike, and while we waited for him to finish work, we wandered around Washington Square Park. We got a coffee. Just as I was about to sip my drink, a bird flew by and pooped DIRECTLY INTO THE SIP HOLE of the cup.

Blech.

Fine. No coffee for me, that's okay. We headed over to my friend's office and he laughed when he heard the story and said, "here, have a cup of coffee." He pulled a mug from the company cupboards, filled it with coffee, and handed me the cup. I grabbed the handle of the ceramic mug with a smiley face on it. I remember it had googly eyes glued on to it. Before I even took a sip, the cup itself BROKE COMPLETELY FROM THE HANDLE which I was left holding as the entire cup dropped to the floor.

Ay. ay ay.

And on and on. The whole trip had been like this so far, and now, driving into Barcelona, after having just getting stopped by La Guardia Civilia (and somehow avoiding a search of car, which, as usual with that particular boyfriend, definitely WOULD have yielded a discovery of illegal substances, this time, hash in the jelly jar.) (TWICE with that boyfriend I got pulled over for no reason and ONCE searched, both times with pot in the car, and miraculously, the time we DID get searched by DOGS no less? They didn't find the stash.) (And by the way, and this is 100% true, ask ANY of my ex boyfriends, especially the pot smoking ones, I hate pot. I hate smoking it. I am the least cool person ever when it comes to drugs or pot, unless we are talking a little of the analgesic cream legally for sale here in California, which I use on some of my old car accident and motorcycle accident injuries. Okay, this defense is just sounding worse and worse! But seriously, not a fan of the Mary Jane.)

So now, the boyfriend was driving and I was reading about the city and where we were staying, a hostel inside a park with lots of Gaudi architecture nearby. Cool!

But what I wanted to warn Mike about was the high level of pickpockets and crime. It was a big deal in Barcelona, according to Lonely Planet, and Mike was famous for just not paying attention to his stuff. He was the kind of guy who would leave his wallet and his insulin and needles and phone and car keys at a bar when he stepped outside to go smoke a cigarette.... something that would leave little Scandinavian Minnesotan Good Girl ME rendered INSANE.

No wonder he always thought I should try smoking pot. I really needed to lighten up! ;-p

Just kidding. I mean. No, seriously, I work on lightening up constantly. But I still don't like the green so much.

Anyway, so, I have an over the shoulder bag I've been hauling around in addition to my backpack with my clothes and toiletries and stuff. It's an oversized purse, you know, think of that episode of "Friends" where Joey has the "man bag" and you'll know what I'm talking about. In it, I kept my makeup, camera, passport, wallet with money and credit cards, phone, keys, (ha!), Mike's insulin and needles (Type I Diabetic) little notebook for notes and pens. Also, gum. Also, once we had checked into our HOSTEL and were down at the internet cafe (remember those?) because I had a friend in Barcelona and I was checking my email to see if he had written back with his phone number so we could hang out, my little bag was ALSO carrying Mike's insulin and needles so we could just head straight out without going back up to our room where he was putting away our stuff.

And, oh! Look! Luciano had emailed us. I pulled out my notebook and a pen, set down the over the shoulder bag, wrote down the number, reached back down for my purse and-

and-

where the F*** was it?

Well, S***.

It was gone.

Mike came down then, and bumped into a guy in a suit with his coat draped over his arm.

He saw the panic on my face- it had been fairly constant on this trip-

and we began the fruitless search for my purse.

Finally, we went to the front desk for help, and we began the process of cancelling credit cards in the back office of the hostel lobby. Meanwhile, guess what? The hostel had cameras installed and the whole damn thing was ON TAPE. Mike and I watched as, at the exact moment I set down my purse, the guy IN THE SUIT got up from his seat two chairs down from me, grabbed my purse, covered it WITH HIS COAT, walked around, bumped into Mike, and sauntered out of the internet cafe in the hostel.

Well.

Damn.

Anyway, the Veteran's Day thing.

So, this was November 10th, and I called the US Consulate in Barcelona, because guess who had her passport in that very bag?

And the outgoing voicemail message let me know that as November 11th was a holiday and the Consulate would be closed, it would also close early on November 10th, and re-open at 8 am on November 12th.

Yargh!

That particular trip was a learning lesson for me. It was the trip where we accidentally got stuck at a disco hosted by some Basque Separatists, where I accidentally bribed a traffic cop in Belgium (I swear), and where my ex-boyfriend and I were really truly about to become ex'es.

I didn't like the trip while I was on it, but I enjoy thinking about it so many years later.

So. Happy Veteran's Day, all you service men and women, and I thank you for your service.

xx


Erin


This photo either Mike or I snapped of the full moon above Carcasonne, a few days before Veteran's Day. We loved western and southern France. That part of the trip, they were some of the greatest days of my life. I have never felt so free.

And honestly, the passport thing took a few days to sort out, but driving through France, Spain and Belgium was glorious.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

"Patter for the Floating Lady"

Hey, y'all!

So, I recently filmed this monologue from a Steve Martin play (yes, that Steve Martin!) "Patter for the Floating Lady," for a demo reel from SuperHero Reels.

Check it out!



Tuesday, November 3, 2015

COMEDY TONIGHT! I mean, um, TODAY! Tuesday, 11/3/15: I talk comedy with JOSH MARGOLIS

Hey everybody!
So, as some of you know, I am a maker of multi-genre stuff. I am sometimes funny, sometimes poignant, sometimes musical, and sometimes just downright poetic. Lately, I have been working on two comedy pieces- 
 
which is very likely coming to a city and computer screen near you in 2016! Hang tight for more info!
And here is a pic from the recent video shoot:
Unedited, unphotoshopped, just straight up Erin 'tude.


AND, among other things, I am developing an action-comedy web series with my partner in life, crime, and writing, Carlo Carere. (We have a very serious, very commercial action-thriller sci-fi script if anyone has 40 million dollars lying around and is friends with Bradley Cooper by the way. Script Shark analysts even said the "future looks bright" for THAT script. But our WEB SERIES is for us, for fun, for COMEDY!) (Sorry about bragging rights from Script Shark, but, well, you know, what if Bradley Cooper, or, say, Ryan Reynolds or Chris Pratt reads this blog somehow? You never know. They might! Just putting it out there.)

I've been studying and analyzing comedic structure a long time, (and recently actually applying it! Ha!) and while I LOVE studying the masters- Steve Martin's "Born Standing" is an amazing book- I recently got to work on a set with sketch comedy masters Jane Curtin and Dan Akroyd- just watching them get up from their seat to walk on set was a Master Class in and of itself!)- I thought it would be fun to talk a little comedy shop with some of my friends in the business who are brilliant comedians, if not as famous as those aforementioned icons. (Also they are all my age-ish, so, you know, give us all another 10, 20, 30 years and maybe we might enter the doorway to the threshhold to the valley to the field of the masters.)
Today, I want to share a conversation about comedy with one of my earliest comedic partners, Josh Margolis. Josh and I became friends in Minneapolis years ago, so many years that I think, according to IMDB, I wasn't born yet. But that's cool. He and I worked together on many projects, most of which he wrote and I acted in, but some things which I also directed. Our show was called "Josh and Sandi," and it was very "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman." It was the 2000s, and people were in the mood for "Friends." We were like the bizarro version of that. Actually we were like the bizarro version of "Debra Messing and the Hot Gay Guy." I know that show has a real title and was very funny, and it was also actually all about Jack and Karen for me, but for the life of me, I think of that show as "Jack and Karen" or "Debra Messing and the Hot Gay Guy." 

So here's the convo!
E: When did you first realize you were funny?

J: I think I first realized I was funny when people starting laughing when I wasn't trying to be funny.  People seem to find my neurotic concerns hilarious!

E: OMG, that's kind of my story, too.

J: I don't think I'm actually that funny in person if I don't know someone well.

E: Oh, really? I think you're hilarious!

J: Well, of course, that's true, but we know each other very well.

E: And have from the start. Like, the minute I met you, even just talking on the phone with you, I felt like I had already known you for eons.

J: It takes awhile for my sense of humor to come out in day to day life until I am comfortable with someone or a group.  People who've seen the various film and TV things I've done through the years expect me to be funny in real life, but I think I channel all of that in my writing.

E: I hear this about so many funny people. Like, they are often actually very serious, or very hurt, or very angry people in real life... often very different on a day to day basis than their performing or writing selves. So, what kind of comedy do you love the most? I mean, that's a wide open question, but you know, just whatever comes to mind first.
J: I love comedy with a point of view and comedy that is character driven. I think anything that is based in reality is funny, like the quirks of people and behavior.  I often think of Gilda Radner and how she committed to her characters in a way that she made even the most ridiculous situations real and funny. There was always a truth to everything she did. She always seemed to care for her characters and never was condescending to them or the audience.  An earned joke is a funny joke.
E: Yeah, I feel like it's true that comedy comes from that level of seriousness. Comedy comes from pain, and commitment, and observation. Everything Amy Schumer says is funny, but it is also, taken out of the context of a comedy stage with a microphone and put in a shrink's office, very tough! Okay, sure. Funny. But tough stuff, too! So, where do you get the material for your comedy?

J: Almost all of my comedy is from my own life. Sometimes it's heightened or changed to the way I want it to be, other times it's written exactly as it happened. 
E: When I did my first one woman show, "The One," a lot of people thought stories were about THEM when they really weren't! "What really happened," at least for me, is subjective. But a lot of what I write theses days is definitely filtered. I mean, it's always filtered through my style and intention and framing, anyway.
J: It seems like all my characters are different parts of my personality trying to figure things out and trying to find the meaning in everything. When I reread some of my older scripts, it really becomes obvious to my that I was trying to work something out in my own life on the page. 
E: I wonder if that's true for everyone? And if so, yeesh! Scary! I say that because I recently found a series of short stories I wrote in 5th and 6th grade, and they were all about the end of the world due to environmental catastrophes. And this was the 90s, you know? They are HILARIOUS. I will maybe post one or two on my blog. But they weren't meant to be funny at the time. They were MEANT to be very serious.
J: Reading my older scripts now, I feel like I understand better what I was trying to say.  In those old scripts, there are jokes and lines I had forgotten and they make me laugh and then I think "this is so me." It's clear to me as I review all the things I've written that I will always be obsessed with the same things.
E: I felt that way about Steve Martin when I read "Born Standing." In the book, he shares jokes that he loved but other people didn't get. To be honest, I didn't really get them, either. Do you have jokes that you think are hilarious but haven't caught on yet, or just need time or the right context to ripen?
J: The jokes that I think are so funny don't always get as strong a reaction as I'd like. Sometimes these jokes are really inside jokes that I don't realize until later that the audience won't get it because they are not in on the joke. 
E: Yeah, actually, that can be tough for a lot of comedians who are so smart, usually, and often in their heads. But what is really funny is what is relatable, I think. And so you have to also consider the audience. Like, how do you make jokes about an experience that is a little more niche and make it funny to a wider audience?
J: When writing, I can get so inside my head that I don't always communicate clearly. It's usually the "throwaway" jokes or lines I don't even think that much about that people seem to like and quote back to me. I'm also surprised when people laugh when I'm not trying to be funny. 

E: Yeah, me too. Every time I perform a show, whether it's a set at a comedy club or a one woman show, something like that pops up, you know, things that weren't even jokes are things people laugh at. But then it gets back to that question of when we realized we were funny. For both of us, and I think for a lot of comedians, it kind of happens/ happened on accident.

J: I'm always surprised at what makes people laugh.  I think I have a peculiar (or particular) sense of humor because for the most part, I don't find a lot of current comedies to be funny. In the last year or so, there has been a return to more character driven comedies, but for so long before then, there was a lot of gross out type of comedies and those always leave me cold. I don't like mean humor.  I think jokes can be funnier and more shocking if they are more subtle.
E: I don't like gross out comedies myself, but I do love some of the new icons of comedy- Melissa McCarthy, Amy Schumer, Tina Fey. I wish they would make a new Golden Girls starring Tina as Sophia, Amy Schumer as Blanche, Melissa McCarthy as Rose. 

J: Who's Dorothy?

E: Me, duh!

J: No, you're way more Blanche.

E: No. I claim Dorothy. But if you get to be Dorothy than I want Blanche and, sorry Schumer, you're out. Anyway, now, I'd like to thank you for being a friend...

(Everyone ready to sing along?)




Josh Margolis is a comedy writer based out of Austin, TX.  He has written the cult classic "Joanie" movies and well as a TV comedy series in his hometown of Minneapolis. He is currently observing everything he can. There is so much to write now. He's still waiting for the people of Austin to "get him." 

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Halloween and the Day of the Dead

Happy Halloween, everyone!

I recently read a great article by my friend and colleage at 12Listen, Mo Abdelbaki, about Halloween, Samhain, and the Day of the Dead: http://www.gaiamtv.com/article/samhain-and-day-dead

I may live in West Hollywood now (and for the last ten years,) home to the world famous Halloween Parade that keeps us residents locked in (hopefully, rather than locked out, although that has happened to me a few times!) to our neighborhoods... and it has given me some of my crazier Halloween moments. My favorite is when I performed as Marilyn Monroe at the Hard Rock Cafe in Hollywood for a fundraiser for the Humane Society... It was a combination of some of my favorite things! Marilyn Monroe! Hollywood! Halloween! Animals!

At the time, I was dating a really fun guy and after we played baseball with Jack O'Lanterns.... here I was, wearing 6" stripper stillettos and a skin tight pink Gentlemen Prefer Blondes dress, slipping around on pumpkin guts. Don't ask, it was awesome. :)

My Halloweens here in Hollywood tend to be full of zany behavior and wild parties, but honestly, I love best my Halloweens in the forests of Minnesota, where the coming winter creates a quickening, where you can heed the call of the ancients and the cry of the future infants, a whisper in the wind, "remember... remember..."

I wrote a classical art song for Mark Mallman's 7 Day Music Marathon a few years back about that exact thing:



That's my own studio demo- I'm playing piano AND singing- but with my sort of funky microphone so it doesn't capture the vocals like a professional studio with an audio engineer would- but I am still proud of this song! LOL.

Today's Halloween is a different story. It has always been my mother's birthday, but only in the past few years is it also the anniversary of the loss of a niece, and it is also the anniversary I celebrate with my life partner, Carlo. In other words, life and death have commingled for me in my own life and relationships, just as the living and dead commingle, at least in the experience of the ancients- and perhaps, if we are quiet enough, or reverent enough, for us as well.

Here are the lyrics for
"FANTASIE FOR A MARATHON MAN,"

The song (demo) above.

If you want the sheet music- well, chord charts- email me at erin.muir@gmail.com. :)
I'd love to hear some other singers perform it!!





FANTASIE FOR A MARATHON MAN


Here now we Stand 
As Autumn Takes the  land
And living is  hurried now, oh
Hush, Hush, Hush.
Hush, Hush, Hush.

Posing for pictures now, 
Leaves swirling, I am sound
Of longing and Hope, oh,
Hush, Hush, Hush.
Hush, Hush, Hush.

Little One, oh why this sorrow, 
For Cold shall flow tomorrow
The snow is coming, snow is coming
Hush, Hush, Hush.
Hush, Hush, Hush.

Let me take your hand,            
You’ve nothing left to do
Stars shall light the way to wonder 
Carrying you through

To a  Marathon, A Marathon
Of Melancholy Winter Too.
I Shall Take Your Hand,              
And we shall sing by the fire                            
Poems and stories and thoughtful hours
Happily In Your Arms 

through
The Marathon, A Marathon

The Marathon Of

MUSIC!                          
Sweet Music,               
Inspire, Inspiring
LOVE!                                     
Sweet Love,                        
Returning, returning to
Spring!
                                
Sing now for the marathon man
Dropping notes as slow as we can
Gather them
From the night sky      
Like stars
Falling to  silent ground.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

mystery

Contemplate the mystery that is your life.

Not the regrets, nor the endless tyranny of your own petty thoughts. ...


But the sacred hopes within your heart, 

Before money, before careers,
Before weddings, before baptisms,

Before Jesus, before law,

Before deserts, before iron, 
Before glaciers and methane and remember 
Remember back to that star that you are.

Stop your investment in struggle
And begin your love affair with wonder.

Can you, with your own searching heart, remember?

Monday, October 19, 2015

MUSIC MONDAYS

Hey y'all! Just a few quick notes.

I've been reviewing video footage from the recent shoot I did for an online segment of "StandUpera."





These pics crack me up ( by Raul Guzman, my cameraman) but that's because *I* know what's happening in these moments! If you have seen "StandUpera" then you might know as well. If not, don't worry! The online video will be coming circa early December, along with some fun announcements for 2016!

In other news, I broke the ReverbNation Top 40 again, which is kind of fun, because I am alongside some amazing singer songwriters! Of course, in reality, I'm not exactly in the singer-songwriter category. I'm more in the classical pop crossover Broadway jazz singer songwriter category. But, I AM a singer songwriter! So let me send out an acoustic soul version of one of my earlier songs, Black Butterfly.




I may not be available for Music Mondays NEXT week, but I should be back in about two weeks.

Until then, listen to some great music. Reverbnation is a really fun resource for discovering new musicians and performers!

xo

Erin

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Beasts of No Nation- a kind of review

Last night we went to see "Beasts of No Nation," the movie by Cary Fukunaga and based on the book by Uzodinma Iweala.  I am also very proud of a friend who served as Executive Producer and so went to support her- it was a screening in a movie theater (the movie has a distinction of being released on Netflix the same day it was released into movie theaters, mostly art theaters such as the Landmark, where I saw it, because the "bigger" theaters, such as AMC etc, boycotted it because it violated the usual 90 day window between a theatrical release and a digital release.) There was a Q and A after with the director, which is one of the pleasant benefits of living in Los Angeles.

So, let me just say first of all, that I am a HUGE fan of Fukunaga since Sin Nombre, and then Jane Eyre, and then the first season of True Detective. I think he's genius. He also did the cinematography on this film and it is GORGEOUS.

So, SPOILER, here is the basic plot: a boy, Agu, (Abraham Attah) lives happily and peacefully in an African village in an unnamed country when a revolution breaks out in a confusion of different warring entities- the military is different than two different rebel groups is different than UN Troops... etc. People are fleeing their villages and those who are left behind are often the victims of killing and war crimes. Agu's mother and sisters flee, leaving the boys and men behind, and when the rest of his family is killed, he is forced into becoming a child soldier trained by the Commandant (Idris Elba, who is AWESOME.) I won't give away too much more but let me just list what is awesome about this film before I list a few of my objections.

AWESOME:
writing
directing
cinematography (beyond beautiful. Seriously, seriously great.)
music (incredible and immense and awesome)
acting (Idris Elba is an international treasure and this young man Abraham Attah is incredible.)
characters (you sort of love the Commandant until you are forced to hate him, but still have compassion for him. Then there is Agu's best friend, Strika, who you just fall in love with as well.)

I mean, this movie is so gorgeous and beautiful and has so many things working for it that it pains me to say a few things that I think were a few missed opportunities:

1. Only briefly is it one of the main causes of the civil wars touched upon: western colonization (i.e. Europeans, i.e. Americans, i.e. white people) and the continued exploitation of African resources. I feel like the Commandant could have been a voice for a deeper exploration and exposition of some of the reasons why these rebels are rising up in Africa (and other places in the world.) He briefly briefly touches upon it, but there was a real opportunity to give some clearer explanations for those of us living with our heads in the sand.

2. "Beasts" is in the title. I'm sorry, I know the movie is based on the book written by an African person, but... an American movie about people in Africa with the word "Beast" in the title. I think on the part of the novelist that might be THE POINT, that many people still consider these folks "Beasts." Oh, it's them, OVER THERE, in that other country, that other place, that uncivilized land where they don't even have running water, etc. No, seriously, just because it's 2015, don't kid yourself into thinking there are no longer rampant prejudices such as these... the proof is in the fact that not all children have enough food and education worldwide, that children are sold into slavery for sex, drug trafficking, military use, and organ harvesting. So in a way, so many of the film's "points" are sort of uncomfortable for me, as I am not sure we as a species have evolved enough to really understand the systemic problem inherent to that language and memetic value system.

3. SPOILER ALERT: It was fascinating to watch the audience respond viscerally, audibly, and loudly in protest when Agu is sexually molested by the Commandant. But no one made a peep at all the intense killing, mass killings, blood shed, or even rapes of other women. Is this because we are so used to that level of violence in films and it doesn't phase us, but we are not used to watching children being molested? It was just fascinating. I mean, it is all atrocious. But it's interesting what we are inured to in entertainment and news media.

GO SEE THIS MOVIE IN THE THEATER IF YOU CAN,
AND SEE IT ON NETFLIX.

But then think of how we can actually care. As we left the theater, Carlo said, "just think of all those kids in Africa, the child soldiers, the kids affected by war. And here we are at a movie theater where there are so many snacks and free water and they would be so happy if they could have access to just a little of it." I was thinking of this boy I sponsor through PlanUSA and wondering if I'm really helping- I mean, am I just an asshole, sending money and then thinking I've done my part? The question is, for those of us who can, how do we really help? We make movies, like this one, to stop turning a blind eye. But also, perhaps it is time to also start looking at the ways we are a part of the problem as well, so we can create shifts in the consciousness of humanity so that there are no longer the haves and the have nots in the first place. I'm not saying we can change the past per se, but maybe it is time to consider: what are we really wiling to live with and live without in order to help all the little Agus out there in the world. There is no difference between Agu and the Commandant in the eyes of God who sees them both as little children. There is no difference between Agu in an unnamed country in Africa and Joey in Wisconsin save for a few details in culture and money. We are all Beasts, and we only think we are "of" "some" nation, but I tell you, in a different set of circumstances, all of us become child soldiers. All of us could be Sin Nombre... and Beasts of No Nation, indeed.