Thoughts on What We Say to Young Adults about the Future

Screen Shot 2019-01-23 at 3.19.17 PMYou can accomplish great things in this life.

That’s it. Now you just have to believe it. Unfortunately, it seems that our media and our educational system is hell bent on convincing you otherwise. And so many of you are taking that to heart. I want to say “Stop that.”

I’d been a college professor (with a brief stint of teaching middle school thrown in for fun) for 25 years when I quit last year. I am not sure if I will ever go back. I’m not sure I want to. But I know academia. It’s my niche. I lived it, and I follow academic news stories in the media somewhat obsessively. One of the reasons I am so interested is that much of what is occurring on a national scale at colleges and universities today are things that already happened at a small community college in Los Angeles, where I was a tenured English professor. I taught there for a total of 16 years, back in the nineties and in the first decade of the 2000s. So what I am witnessing is not all that surprising.

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Thoughts on Reading vs. Listening to Books

screen shot 2019-01-13 at 2.36.46 pmThe question posed on Facebook went something like this (and I paraphrase): Is listening to an audiobook the same as reading a book? If one listened to an audiobook, can that be added to a “books I read this year” list?

My initial response went something like this: No, they are not the same, but I suppose you can put it on the list.

But as people chimed in, and as I was given more time to think about this, I realized that the answer is actually not that simple.

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Being Witness to the Power of a New Day

Cap-1001Every day, I wake up in awe. Every day. Every day I set my alarm for a half an hour before sunrise, and when the alarm rings, I struggle to open my eyes before turning toward the window at my left. Through trial and error, I have discovered that by this point, a faint glow will line the horizon. There have been a couple of mornings where cloud cover hides that glow, but most mornings, the orange color that swells and deepens as the earth rotates to reveal the sun propels me out of bed.

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Meeting Challenges Head-On

IMG_3373One of the decisions I made for 2017 was to do things that are difficult. One night I was thinking that it had been too long since I did something that was really hard for me, where I really challenged myself.

I felt this was especially important because I have finished one major writing project (my screenplay) and have not started another yet. Well, the screenplay is not “finished,” exactly. But I like the draft I have, and I am taking a break from continuously nitpicking at it. I figured I could use some distance from it while I wait to hear from people who are looking at funding it.
Any decisions in that regard have been put on hold for a few months to wait and see what this Trump presidency will do to investments in entertainment, if anything. That’s fine. I get it.

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The Fear of Those Who Are Different (and the power of writing) Part 2

This is the second in a series. To read part one of The Fear of Those Who Are Different, click here.

protestorsA story I relate to my classes each semester regards a proposal made a number of years back in, I believe, the Oakland Unified School District. It stated that the required literature assigned to high school students must be written by authors who reflect the gender and race makeup of the student body. So, for example, if the required reading included ten novels, and fifty percent of the student body were female, then five of those books would need to be written by women authors. And if sixty percent of the student body were Hispanic (which was the word of choice at that time for people who came from countries whose primary language was Spanish), then six of the authors would need to be Hispanic. And so forth.

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It Is Possible!!

Here is a great article about a gentleman who was extremely successful with the first screenplay that he wrote. I am posting it for two reasons: one, the strategies I used for writing my screenplay are very similar (so I must be on the right track), and two, it is possible!!

Enjoy!

Living the Dream: First-Time Screenwriter Jonathan Perera on His Movie Miss Sloane

sloane

https://screencraft.org/2016/12/16/living-the-dream-first-time-screenwriter-jonathan-perera-on-his-movie-miss-sloane/

Doing Dreams the Right Way

Emily, selfie
See. This is what she does to me.

My daughter Emily and I went to Starbucks together to get some work done – I had writing to finish, and she had studying to complete. What a mistake! I always forget that I never get anything done when we go together. There’s too much watching people, sharing funny tweets, taking selfies (she is the one taking selfies, not me! Although she often gets me in the background, unbeknownst to me), noticing cute dogs outside, and doing whatever else keeps us from our tasks at hand.

Then she had to show me her favorite all-time video. She  was giddy as she queued it up and untangled the ear buds. She then handed me one as she placed the other in her ear. Here it is:

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