Of Colombiana, Contagion, and Miracles…

“If you are interested in something, you will focus on it, and if you focus attention on anything, it is likely that you will become interested in it.
Many of the things we find interesting are not so by nature, but because we took the trouble of paying attention to them.”
— Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

I saw two movies this weekend. Contagion, for the first time, and Colombiana for the 2nd.

Viewing a movie for the second time, much like reading a book, allows the opportunity to evaluate and inspect what either makes the story work, or remain vibrant in your mind, or the memories of its plot and characters, if you can recall them, slink into the recesses of the forgotten.

I was not excited at the thought of seeing Colombiana a second time.

Yet now as I write, I realize my hesitation came not from the quality of the movie itself, but quite the opposite.

The story of a young woman, who in losing her parents to a villainous killing at the age of 9, then seeking revenge, Colombiana is clearly a character driven story.

Contagion on the other hand, involves many characters whose roles work to tell the story of not a person, but rather display the effect of


Of Books, Tension, and The Mind on the Page…

Presently I am reading Anuradha Roy’s novel, An Atlas of Impossible Longing .

As with any good novel, interactions between the main characters are strained.

Tension abounds, but not in a melodramatic way.

The story moves with a nice speed for an opening.

I look forward each evening–a hallmark that I have found a jewel of a novel–to settling into bed,


Of Shrinking Advances, Entertainment, and That Which Remains Present in Translation…

One of the things we learn as psychotherapists is to interpret what clients are actually saying vs. the words they speak.

This is not to say that clients lie. I have found those with whom I have worked to be incredibly honest. They were investing a substantial amount of time and money into their sessions to learn more about themselves and how they could achieve their goals and dreams.

And yet we all have our defenses.

As a client myself, I have benefited enormously from psychotherapists who could see through my defenses and careful choice of words and lead me to the heart of the truth ebbing or perhaps bleeding through.


…the writing life… | “Bollywood, The Hijinks of Thrillers, and Definition…”

I am always amazed how much screen time Bollywood movies donate to establishing and clarifying family relations of the film’s protagonist compared to the nil to absent mention of family connections in American movies.

The protagonist of an American made movie can be undergoing the direst and most despairing of circumstances and the screenplay makes no mention of mother, father, sister, or brother. Often very little time or explanation is given to the ex-spouse or ex-significant other, unless she or he is central to the plot.

Where Bollywood movies perhaps overdramatize the gifts and goodness of family, American theater emphasizes the need to break away and discover who one truly is.


Of Writing, Cinema, and What Only Books Can Provide…

Hay-on-Wye Cinema Bookshop “If books merely convey plots and characters why in the age of cinema read a book? What can books give us that movies can’t? In two words:  beautiful writing?“ —Peter Selgin, 179 Ways to Save a Novel: Matters of Vital Concern to Fiction Writers I diligently pondered this question while working my […]


Mythic Structure and Story

All stories consist of a few common elements. These elements constitute all stories, fairy tales, dreams, movies, and myths. These elements also form what Christopher Vogler describes in The Writer’s Journey–Mythic Structure for Writers, as The Hero’s Journey. The Hero’s Journey becomes not only a universal myth for human kind, but also offers a blueprint […]


The Dollars and Sense of Writing

Why should I read this book? This is the question every reader holds when cracking open the pages of any novel, or work of fiction and deciding whether to invest money and time into purchasing and reading it.


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