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Thursday, December 31, 2020

Wonder Woman 1984: A Movie Review

 Wonder Woman was an amazing movie. This sequel highlighted similar themes to the first movie, but it also brought an interesting challenge to Diana. 

Raised as a warrior, Diana valued strength and victory above all things, but she was impatient to achieve them. This sets up the movie as the inner and outer conflict. 

Her perspective is very different from Barbara’s perspective of the world as a woman during 1984. While Barbara envies Diana’s life, Diana is longing for the past. When an opportunity to get what they want arises, the way Diana and Barbara react is very different, but Maxwell Lord has been searching for that opportunity for a long time. Once wishes are granted, terrible prices must be paid in return, and each character has an important choice to make. 

I really liked the dynamic between Diana and Steve in this movie. While Wonder Woman had Steve guiding Diana through the world, this movie has Diana teaching Steve about all the changes that the world has gone through. It was an added bonus that the places filmed in DC were places that I had been to. 

Another interesting dynamic was between Diana and Barbara. While they had much in common at the beginning of the film, their choices changed that entirely. 

Wonder Woman 1984 asks a question about wishes and value. I think it was worth watching. 

A Year of Reflection

 Two years actually. Most people will say that 2020 was a very tough year. I agree. But I’m humble enough to admit I had two tough years with many lessons. 

Maybe I’ll add these lessons in my stories and share them in the future. For now, I’ll just say it’s been quite a journey. 

I’m optimistic, so I still have hope for the future, and I have worked hard on my novel Starlight to make it ready to publish. But I’ve also learned that publishing a novel is just one thing, and yes it’s still an important thing, and I want the book to be at it’s best when it gets published. But there are many other things I want to experience. 

2020 taught me a lot about resilience. And I’m optimistic that 2021 will bring positive opportunities. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Perspective and Mentoring

It’s been a while since I blogged, but what I’ve been doing in the meantime is very important. Self care, connecting with people who understand what I’m going through, and creating a work book for people who may need a guide to help them with a similar situation.
I’ve been speaking with people who have Autistic siblings, and talking with people from around the world of various ages about what they are going through or have gone through. We all agreed that a guide would help. We’ve been collaborating on how to handle extremely stressful situations, ask for help when we need it and to allow ourselves to be who we are.
This guide would be about a variety of situations and the tools needed to understand it.
Here’s the thing, and it’s still true today. The siblings of people with autism are not given the support they need to deal with the situations that are extremely important, often repetitive and ignored by many psychologists. This can lead to intense consequences down the line.
It’s hard to share the tough stuff, but I’m finding it helpful. We’re all able to talk about some difficult topics that are not easy to discuss with parents, teachers, even psychologists and the most important thing: allow ourselves to feel what we feel about it. Including whether or not we feel safe or supported.
This guide we’re working on is not just about the tough stuff. It’s also about the skills, talents and lessons we’ve learned from our experiences. We’re even discussing about a website or programs for people who need it.
There arent a lot of resources out there, so I thought it would be important to create one.
Siblings are the focus of the workbook, but it’s not about secluding them from the family. Isolation is part of the problem. The more people I talked to, the more I heard the same troubles, patterns and behaviors I experienced, and the more we brainstormed on what could help.
I’m posting this for two reasons.
One: It’s an update.
Two: To get the info out there. If you have other resources to offer, feel free to comment.

Yes, I’m still writing, editing my novels and I’m taking breaks, so it’s not a sprint. But it’s a step, and a big one.
Several people I talked to about this say it’s a great idea. It adds a new perspective to the situation and may lead to other resources in the future.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Rapunzel, Elsa and Emma Swan

This is a fascinating video that shows the connection between Elsa and Rapunzel. They’re both more powerful than they are aware of, extremely creative and they create from the heart. They take their circumstances and create something beautiful from them. This is the lesson Emma Swan learns when her powers get out of control and she doesn’t want to hurt the people she cares for. Elsa teaches Emma a very important lesson, and once she embraces who she is, Emma is able to create from her heart. I’m writing a similar story with my own elements thrown in, and I’ve been on quite the journey myself, But I wanted to post this today because I’m going to create online again. I’ve been writing, and for awhile I lost the confidence to post. This is for obvious reasons to the people who knew what I went through for awhile. But I’m back, I’ve finally gained the courage to tell my story, in the hopes to help others who understand and need guidance through the confusion and chaos in their lives. I’m posting these stories because they are dear to me, and now I’m ready to write my own.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

A Wrinkle In Time- Spoilers Galore

This will not be a spoiler free review. There is no way in the world I could write one. Meg’s journey in this story is also mine. Every obstacle she faces, and the final battle that she must confront is the exact story that I have lived. 

Meg Murry is a character after my own heart. She’s insecure and cynical, but she is also loyal and brave. And smart. Incredibly smart. Using the laws of physics and her own inner strength, Meg braves the journey to find her father alongside her brother Charles Wallace, and the boy next door Calvin with the astral travelers Mrs Who, Mrs Which and Mrs Whatsit. 

Her character growth makes this film, and that’s why it spoke to me. 

Before Meg begins her journey, Mrs Who gives her an important quote. “ The wound is the place where the light enters you.” - Rumi. 

Meg must face her own faults to battle the darkness. She doesn’t travel well, while everyone else is just fine. She is closed off to her own brilliance and what makes her special. 

Her first real test in the film is trusting The Happy Medium, who allows her to find the balance within to open her heart to her father in order to find him. 

She finds a memory, the memory of the exact moment she last saw her father, before he disappeared. That memory leads her to Camaztoz, the evil planet where her father is trapped. A planet run by an evil mind known as the IT. 

As the planet changes into obstacle after obstacle, Meg and Calvin are separated from Charles Wallace. And after a harsh battle with the darkness, Calvin gives Meg one of the best lines that any insecure person could be given, “You don’t know how incredible you are.” 

After they find Charles Wallace, they face a strange encounter with a red eyed man who claims to know Meg’s father. Calvin and Charles trust him, but Meg is not so sure. She listens to her instinct and focuses on her goal. 

They had traveled to  Camaztoz, to find her father, but the IT wants something too, Charles Wallace and his brilliant mind. 

Meg watches her brother fall to darkness and enters a realm where the path is no longer visible. Still, she is determined to find her father, and uses her will, and the gift of the unseen (given by Mrs. Who) to climb the impossible staircase leading to her father. 

When she finds him, she finally lets herself cry, allowing all the grief to wash away, but the battle isn’t over. The IT has her brother, Charles Wallace, and only Meg can save him. 

While her father and Calvin manage to get away, Meg refuses to go with them. She would never leave her brother. 

I will not lie, the final battle in this version of the story is brutal. The IT speaks harsh words through Charles Wallace, and tosses Meg like a rag doll. 

But Meg is determined to save her brother. 

What does she have that the IT doesn’t? What can she do to save her brother?

She loves him. 

As the IT continues to use her brother against her, Meg screams at him, “You love me Charles Wallace, and I deserve to be loved!” 

It is that declaration that brings her brother back, and destroys the IT entirely. Charles rushes to his sister as the evil mind bursts into light. 

Mrs. Who, Mrs Which and Mrs Whatsit return, and they congratulate Meg on her success. She knows her own brilliance now, and she is able to lead them with no pain. She has become a warrior. 

She returns home, and brings her father to her mother, and thanks Calvin for taking the journey with her. 

 As she watches the happy scene of her family reunited she whispers, “Thank you” to the universe. 

So how did I react to this story? With my entire heart. 

I have been fighting a battle with darkness for a long time. My brother’s Autism.

We all have fights with siblings, and we get angry at them. We tell them that they hurt us. Autistic siblings don’t always understand this, and that has been a struggle for me my whole life. Meltdowns, harsh words and lack of empathy. 

Confused and lost, I shut myself away from others. 

I was like Meg, closed off, sad and angry. And yes, I was bullied like Meg was too. 

So many kids are mistreated in school, and that can scar them for life. I hope they all draw inspiration from Meg in this film. 

There are times when I must remember, the Autism is not my brother. He doesn’t always understand. And yes, I love him. I love him deeply, and I would never leave him behind. But I have a right to speak up for myself too. 

I was with Meg on that battlefield screaming those words, and I left the movie theatre with a newfound strength. I had become a warrior.  

The Murrys are a wonderful family, and not without their faults. But faults can save us. Meg’s faults saved her. 

While the IT told her all that was wrong with her, Meg proudly stated that she was all that and more. 

The Murrys all possess a powerful love for each other that transcends time and space. Love is the frequency that binds them together, no matter where they are. 

My family and I have been told how amazing it is that we stick together. We do because we have that love. 

There is no book on Autism, and there is no direct type of Autism. It is still a mystery, but that mystery is just a part of my family and my life. 

We all have the ability to love beyond faults. We all have the ability to see beyond labels.  

I don’t care what the critics say about this movie. I thought it was beautiful. The diverse cast was amazing and most importantly, the message hit home. 

It’s all about the power of love, and how it reaches no matter where you are. It’s universal and beautiful. Love can overcome anything. 

I could rate this movie, but I have a personal bias that ties me to it. 

All I can do, is look up at the stars, and whisper “Thank you” to the universe. 

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Black Panther: A spoiler free review

I saw Black Panther last night and I was caught like an antelope in headlights. The movie itself is a gorgeous representation of African folklore, culture and the people of Africa. From the music to the costumes and the details on set, Black Panther offers an amazing look at the lives of warriors, princesses and of course a good king. 

The characters are memorable and well dimensioned. Even the villain of this story is not what he seems to be. Of course the special effects are great, the plot is well crafted and the women are represented as strong and resourceful characters. 

What I loved most about the film though were the mythical elements interwoven in the story that tie to African fairytales and mythology. 

The goddess Bast is mentioned, but the journey T’challa makes throughout the film echoes the spiritual path of great warrior tales in legends. 

The focus on the importance of ancestors and carrying the role of those who came before is an important plot point and it is one of my favorite scenes in the film. 

The country of Wakanda carries traditional customs and characteristics of historic African tribes. The introduction to African shamanism plays a role in the film that follows T’challa’s character growth and ties tradition to modern day culture. 

I don't want to spoil the film, and I want to make sure that I discuss this film with the respect it deserves. But I will say this:

The film deserves all the recognition it has and more, and the representation of an entire culture is a story worth telling. 

Five out of five claws. 

Before I wrote this review, I watched this video to better understand the customs and traditions represented in the film:

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Taking a Shot: A Riarkle Fanfiction


Riarkle prompt please. Farkle decides to try out for lacrosse and Riley goes to his practice and cheers him on even though he's not that good.

"What are we doing here?" Maya asked. 

Riley pulled her friend toward the bench. 

Riley took a seat in the stadium, watching the boys on the field. Lacrosse, an interesting sport, and one that she knew Farkle had been curious about. 

"I'm not watching this," Maya said. 

"Come on Maya, Farkle was there for my cheerleading tryouts." 

"Yeah, I don't think I could ever forget that. Did you really take the coach's doughnut?"  

Riley laughed. 

"Yeah, that was a fun day," Riley said as Maya looked at her. 

"Maybe it was fun for you," Maya said, crossing her arms. 

"It was, and today Farkle needs our support," Riley told the restless blonde. 

"But he didn't tell us about this," Maya said, finally sitting down. 

"I know," Riley replied, folding her hands in her lap, "That's why we're here." 

Maya looked at Riley, and Riley raised a brow. 

"How many times is Farkle there for us?" she asked her. 

"Well there was that time freshman year," Maya said. 

Riley sighed. 

"Well, I'm here for Farkle, and you should be too. Didn't you say he's always been there for us?" Riley asked, looking pointedly at Maya.  

"Yeah, okay. You're right," Maya said with a sigh. 

The game began, and Riley spotted Farkle wearing a number ten jersey, holding a lacrosse stick and looking nervous. 

"Yeah, he's dead meat," Maya said. 

"Maya!" Riley scolded, "Is that anyway to support someone?" 

Maya shrugged. 

"I said the same thing about you, Riles," Maya told her, "when you tried out for cheerleading." 

As the game began, Riley watched the players take their positions. She spotted Farkle immediately and when the whistle blew, she held her breath. 

From what Riley read, Lacrosse could be a dangerous sport. As she watched Farkle, she thought about the probability of injury. 

Suddenly, the ball landed right in front of him. 

"Go, Farkle!" Riley shouted. It might have been a mistake.

Farkle looked at her, his eyes wide, and then he saw the ball in front of him. He scooped it up in the lacrosse stick and made his way toward the other players. 

As a player from the other team tackled Farkle, Riley winced. He had lost the ball. 

As Farkle stood up, Riley smiled. He was okay. 

The whistle blew as the other team scored a goal, and Riley sighed. 

"Maybe you shouldn't have cheered so loud," Maya told her. 

"Why?" Riley asked.

Maya sighed. 

"You really don't know, do you, Riles?" 

Riley just looked at her. When Maya didn't say anything, she turned away to face the field again. 

She could tell Farkle was nervous, because his leg was shaking. 

"Well, now's a good time then," Riley said, "Before they blow the whistle." 

She took a deep breath, then stood up in the stands. 

She remembered the cheer from halloween, years ago. 

"Farkle! Farkle! Gonna Sparkle!" She cheered. 

Maya groaned. 

But Riley watched Farkle. His leg stopped shaking, and he smiled. 

"Huh," Maya said, "How did you know that would work?" She asked Riley. 

"Because he's Farkle," Riley said. 

The whistle blew, and the game started again. 

Riley watched as Farkle moved a lot smoother on the field.

"Riles," Maya said, "he's doing better." 

"Of course he is," Riley said. 

They watched the game, and when the ball landed in front of Farkle again, he scooped it up without hesitation, and ran. 

Riley's heart raced as Farkle made his way toward the goal. The other team chasing after him. 

When he stood in front of the goalie, Riley tensed. 

"Take the shot!" Riley shouted, and Maya smiled. 

Farkle shot the ball in the net, and Riley clapped and cheered. 

She looked over at Maya who was smiling. 

"I never thought I'd see the day," Maya said, "Farkle. An athlete." 

"Maya," Riley said with a laugh, "Don't you remember eighth grade?" 

"Barely," Maya said. 

"Nothing's impossible if you take a shot," Riley told her. 

"And Farkle just did," Maya said. 

"Yeah," Riley replied, "he did." 

Riley ran toward Farkle when the game was over. He averted her gaze until she gently lifted his chin. 

"Farkle?" Riley asked, "What's wrong?" 

"We lost, Riley!" Farkle said, his frustration echoing in his tone. 

"I know," Riley replied. 

"So, why are you smiling?" he asked. 

"Because you scored a goal, Farkle," Riley said. 

"Yeah, I did, but we didn't win," Farkle said. "I might not make the team." 

Riley sighed. She knew that Farkle was too hard on himself. 

"Farkle," Riley said, "answer honestly. Did you ever think you'd score a goal today?" 

"No," Farkle said. 

"But you did. Do you know why?" 

"I don't know." 

"Because you took a shot, Farkle. You tried. You learned." 

"But we didn't win." 

"That doesn't matter," Riley said. 

"Yeah I know," Farkle replied, "It doesn't matter to you, but it will to the coach." 

"I'm sure the coach will say something, but you should be proud. You just did something that you thought was impossible." 

Farkle stared at her for a moment. Her brown eyes shown in admiration. 

"You're right," Farkle said with a grin, "I did." 

"Yeah, that was pretty cool, Farkle," Maya said. 

"Thanks guys. That means a lot." 

"I knew you could do it," Riley said, tilting her head. 

"Why?" Farkle asked. 

"Because, you're Farkle," Riley said. 

"But we lost because I'm not strong," Farkle said, "I probably didn't make the team." 

Riley shook her head. 

"Whether you make the team or not, you are strong, Farkle. Do you know why?" 

Farkle just stared at her. 

"Why?" Farkle asked, his eyes searching hers. 

"Because you tried," Riley said. 

"But that's not strength, Riley." 

"It is," Riley told him, "just not the usual kind. One that is often overlooked." 

"Are you just saying that?" Farkle asked. 

"No, I'm not," Riley said, " Farkle, once you focus on a goal, you never give up. That kind of strength is not something you see every day." 

"I guess that's true," Farkle said, "but I still have one question." 

Riley's brows furrowed. 

"How did you guys know I was here?"

"Riley figured it out," Maya said with a smile. 

"But I didn't tell anyone," Farkle told them, "I didn't want you to see me lose." 

"You didn't have to tell us, Farkle," Riley said. 

"Riley wanted to be there for you," Maya said. 

"Just like you've been there for me," Riley told him, "I hope you're not upset."

"I'm not upset, Riley," Farkle said, "but I am confused." 

"Do you remember what happened when I tried out for cheerleading?" Riley asked. 

Farkle winced. 

"I don't think I'll forget it," he answered truthfully. 

"You guys were there for me, even though I failed over and over again." 

"But you tried, again and again," Farkle said with a smile. 

"No matter how hard we tried to convince you to stop," Maya said. 

"That's right. I'm stubborn that way," Riley said. 

"So, I guess Riley wanted to return the favor," Maya said, "But she wasn't surprised when you scored a goal." 

"You weren't?" Farkle asked. 

Riley shook her head and smiled. 

"Why?" He asked her. 

"Because, I knew you would do your best," Riley said. "I'm proud of you, Farkle."

Farkle smiled, and Riley hugged him. 

"Thanks, Riley." Farkle told her. 

"Anytime," Riley replied.