Wednesday, December 19, 2012

3 Quotation Inspired New Year's Resolutions

             1) I want to try to be less judgmental. I want to better resist the temptation to label, categorize, and attempt to define those around me. Jon Ronson, a writer and filmmaker who has spent a lot of time studying psychopathic behavior, once said, “You shouldn’t define people by their maddest edges.” That quote has stuck in my mind and I think he’s absolutely right. In fact, I think it applies to more than just psychopaths. We so often judge people based on their most terrible decisions or their worst moments. We throw labels on people, and then refuse to let them change. We ignore anything they might do or say that goes against who we’ve decided they are, and exaggerate the significance of anything they do that supports our judgment. By being too quick to judge another person, we refuse to acknowledge the complexity of human beings, and fail to remind ourselves that there is likely much more to their story than we can ever know. So throughout the year I want to repeat to myself, “You shouldn’t define people by their ___.” What can the blank be? Pretty much everything.

2) I want to surprise myself. Several years ago, one of my favorite authors Neil Gaiman wrote the following New Year’s Wish. “May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't forget to make some art -- write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.” I love this line! To me, surprising myself means having the courage to leave my comfort zone. It means embracing new experiences and challenges as a way to learn about myself. It means being open minded about the things, and the places, and the activities, and the people I may think I won’t like, because sometimes we find something new to love where we least expect it.

      3) I want to be more grateful for all of the things in my life. There is a quote I love by G.K. Chesterton that says, “When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.” I actually plan on hanging this some place where I can be reminded every day to be thankful for all of things that are precious to me.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

50 Simple Holiday Pleasures!

1. Sitting by a warm fire
2. Picking out the perfect Christmas tree
3. Watching favorite Christmas shows
4. The smell of fresh pine
5. Baking holiday treats
6. Kissing someone under the mistletoe
7. The first snowfall of the year
8. Sipping hot chocolate
9. Listening to favorite Christmas music
10. Lighting candles
11. Christmas lights
12. Seeing family and friends you miss
13. Watching children get excited about Santa
14. Buying gifts for loved ones
15. Eating Christmas candy
16. Giving to those less fortunate
17. Singing Christmas songs
18. Making snow angels
19. Reminiscing about past holiday seasons
20. Ugly sweater parties
21. Eggnog
22. Putting up decorations
23. Playing board/card games with the family
24. Surprise presents
25. The sound of bells
26. Sleigh rides
27. Christmas stockings
28. Hugs
29. Making new memories
30. Streets and houses being lit up
31. Making holiday cocktails
32. Getting out the special holiday dishes
33. Going to Christmas mass
34. Funny drunk relatives
35. Dressing up for holiday parties
36. Getting Christmas cards
37. Counting down on New Year's Eve
38. An excuse to wear glitter
39. The smell of delicious food baking
40. Eating Christmas dinner
41. Snuggling with someone you love
42. Watching children open presents
43. The crisp cold air
44. Wearing scarves and gloves
45. Wrapping gifts
46. Feeling the magic of the season
47. Ice skating
48. Baked ham
49. Being too excited to sleep
50. Seeing the joy it brings out in people

Monday, December 3, 2012

10 Great Holiday Movie Scenes

With lots of help, I've put together the list of 10 great holiday movie scenes. Thanks to everyone who offered suggestions! It was very hard to decide on 10 but this list contains my personal favorites. I hope you enjoy remembering some these as much as I do!

1) From "When Harry Met Sally" the final scene where they realize their love for each other...

2) From "Love Actually" the scene where Mark expresses his hidden love for Juliet...

3) From "Christmas Story" where Ralphie visits Santa...

4) From "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" where Aunt Bethany says grace...

5) Another from "Love Actually" where Jamie proposes...

6) From "Serendipity" the final scene...

7) From "Elf" where Buddy goes to the Mall...

8) From Home Alone 2 the fake gunshots scene...

9) From "Bad Santa" where Santa shows up drunk...

10) From "It's A Wonderful Life" the happy ending...

Sunday, December 2, 2012

100 Quotations From New York’s 100 Most Important Living Writers

Last week, Flavorwire published a list of New York's 100 most important living writers (Find article here: Being a self-admitted quotation junkie, I decided to make a list of 100 quotations that I personally like selected from the work of a few of these writers. I must site one of my favorite websites,, as the source of some of these quotations. Enjoy:)

1) “Everything becomes symbol and irony when you've been betrayed”
 -Jay McInerney, Bright Lights, Big City

2) “It is not easy to be honest because it is impossible to be complete.”
-Ariana Reines

3) “One changes, as a writer, fairly quickly; what you wrote six months or a year ago might not sound right anymore.”
-Keith Gessen

4) “Everyone agreed that Edie was a tough woman to love, though she was worth loving.”
     -Jami Attenberg

5) “Love wasn't a thing you fell in, but rose to. It was what stopped you from falling.”
     -Darin Strauss, More Than It Hurts You

6) “If God made anything better than Coffee and Chocolate, he kept it to himself.”
     -Sapphire, The Kid

7) “You know what they say - sleep is the mother's drug of choice, but like heroin, only the very rich and the very poor can afford it.”
-Elissa Schappell, Blueprints for Building Better Girls: Fiction

8) “I was a late bloomer. But anyone who blooms at all, ever, is very lucky.”
-Sharon Olds

9) “Once you lose someone it is never exactly
    the same person who comes back.”
-Sharon Olds, Satan Says (Pitt Poetry Series)

10) “Dreams: the place most of us get what we need.”
 -Amy Hempel, The Collected Stories

11) “Sometimes you don't even know what you want until you find out you can't have it.”
-Meghan O'Rourke, The Long Goodbye: A Memoir

12) “Yet the story of Orpheus, it occurs to me, is not just about the desire of the living to resuscitate the dead but about the ways in which the dead drag us along into their shadowy realm because we cannot let them go. So we follow them into the Underworld, descending, descending, until one day we turn and make our way back.”
-Meghan O'Rourke

13) “And I do think that great fiction, even when it's comedic, has an urgency or an inevitability to it, a sense that the writer absolutely had to write this particular story in this way.”
-Karen Russell

14) “Love, I think, is a gateway to the world, not an escape from it.”
-Mark Doty

15) “There are those fortunate hours when the world consents to be made into a poem.”
-Mark Doty

16) “Find what causes a commotion in your heart. Find a way to write about that”
-Richard Ford

17) “Some idiotic things are well worth doing.”
-Richard Ford, Independence Day

18) “At the exact moment any decision seems to be being made, it's usually long after the real decision was actually made--like light we see emitted from stars.”
-Richard Ford, The Lay of The Land

19) “Things happen when people are not where they belong, and the world moves forward and back by that principle.”
-Richard Ford, Canada

20) “Just exactly what that good life was--the one I expected--I cannot tell you now exactly, though I wouldn't say it has not come to pass, only that much has come in between.”
-Richard Ford, The Sportswriter

21) “Uniqueness is wasted on youth. Like fine wine or a solid flossing habit, you'll be grateful for it when you're older.”
-Sloane Crosley, I Was Told There'd Be Cake: Essays

22) “Suburbia is too close to the country to have anything real to do and too close to the city to admit you have nothing real to do.”
-Sloane Crosley, I Was Told There'd Be Cake: Essays

23) “You told me once that a soul isn't something a person is born with but something that must be built, by effort and error, study and love. And you did that with more dedication than most, that work of building a soul-not for your own benefit but for the benefit of those that knew you.”
-Chad Harbach, The Art of Fielding: A Novel

24) “Literature could turn you into an asshole: he’d learned that teaching grad-school seminars. It could teach you to treat real people the way you did characters, as instruments of your own intellectual pleasure, cadavers on which to practice your critical faculties.”
-Chad Harbach, The Art of Fielding: A Novel

25) “True stories can't be told forward, only backward. We invent them from the vantage point of an ever-changing present and tell ourselves how they unfolded.”
-Siri Hustvedt

26) “I live for coincidences. They briefly give to me the illusion or the hope that there's a pattern to my life, and if there's a pattern, then maybe I'm moving toward some kind of destiny where it's all explained.”
 -Jonathan Ames

27) “There are two types of people in the world: those who prefer to be sad among others, and those who prefer to be sad alone.” -Nicole Krauss

28) “Even now, all possible feelings do not yet exist, there are still those that lie beyond our capacity and our imagination. From time to time, when a piece of music no one has ever written or a painting no one has ever painted, or something else impossible to predict, fathom or yet describe takes place, a new feeling enters the world. And then, for the millionth time in the history of feeling, the heart surges and absorbs the impact.”
 -Nicole Krauss

29) “Perhaps everyone has a story that could break your heart...” -Nick Flynn

30) “I am simply looking for a companion with whom to spend my days, a companion who will cherish as much as I the stupidity of living in the moment, and spend every dull, amazing second with me.”-Heidi Julavits

31) “I got my heart's desire, and there my troubles began.”-Lev Grossman

32) “That was the thing about the world: it wasn't that things were harder than you thought they were going to be, it was that they were hard in ways that you didn't expect.” -Lev Grossman

33) “Love, as the poet says, is like the spring. It grows on you and seduces you slowly and gently, but it holds tight like the roots of a tree. You don't know until you're ready to go that you can't move, that you would have to mutilate yourself in order to be free. That's the feeling. It doesn't last, at least it doesn't have to. But it holds on like a steel claw in your chest. Even if the tree dies, the roots cling to you. I've seen men and women give up everything for love that once was.”  -Walter Mosley

34) “Yet for all the depression no one ever quit. When someone quit, we couldn't believe it. 'I'm becoming a rafting instructor on the Colorado River,' they said. 'I'm touring college towns with my garage band.' We were dumbfounded. It was like they were from another planet. Where had they found the derring-do? What would they do about car payments? We got together for going away drinks on their final day and tried to hide our envy while reminding ourselves that we still had the freedom and luxury to shop indiscriminately.”
 -Joshua Ferris

35) “My mother always says that fear and pain are immediate, and that, when they're gone we're left with the concept, but not the true memory.”  -Téa Obreht

36) “You meet a new person, you go with him and suddenly you get a whole new go down new streets, you see houses you never saw before, pass places you didn't even know were there. Everything changes.”  -Samuel R. Delany

37) “But I realized something. About art. And psychiatry. They're both self-perpetuating systems. Like religion. All three of them promise you a sense of inner worth and meaning, and spend a lot of time telling you about the suffering you have to go through to achieve it. As soon as you get a problem in any one of them, the solution it gives is always to go deeper into the same system. They're all in rather uneasy truce with one another in what's actually a mortal battle. Like all self-reinforcing systems. At best, each is trying to encompass the other two and define them as sub-groups. You know: religion and art are both forms of madness and madness is the realm of psychiatry. Or, art is the study and praise of man and man's ideals, so therefore a religious experience just becomes a brutalized aesthetic response and psychiatry is just another tool for the artist to observe man and render his portraits more accurately. And the religious attitude I guess is that the other two are only useful as long as they promote the good life. At worst, they all try to destroy one another. Which is what my psychiatrist, whether he knew it or not, was trying, quite effectively, to do to my painting. I gave up psychiatry too, pretty soon. I just didn't want to get all wound up in any systems at all.”  -Samuel R. Delany

38) “There are 10,000 books in my library, and it will keep growing until I die. This has exasperated my daughters, amused my friends and baffled my accountant. If I had not picked up this habit in the library long ago, I would have more money in the bank today; I would not be richer.”  -Pete Hamill

39) “I don't ask for the meaning of the song of a bird or the rising of the sun on a misty morning. There they are, and they are beautiful.”  -Pete Hamill

40) “Human beings want to know too much abut each other, and that's why there are so many lies.”
-Pete Hamill

41) “The only way to fight nostalgia is to listen to somebody else's nostalgia”  -Pete Hamill

42) “The boy admonished himself for wanting everything to be a story. And now realized that some journeys were not stories. On some journeys, nothing really happened. You just kept taking steps.” -Pete Hamill

43) “A good novel begins with a small question and ends with a bigger one.”  -Paula Fox

44) “People see everything through the lens of their obsessions.” -Francine Prose

45) “To be ourselves we must have ourselves – possess, if need be re-possess, our life-stories. We must “recollect” ourselves, recollect the inner drama, the narrative, of ourselves. A man needs such a narrative, a continuous inner narrative, to maintain his identity, his self.”  -Oliver Sacks

46) “Why does tragedy exist? Because you are full of rage. Why are you full of rage? Because you are full of grief.”-Anne Carson

47) “When I desire you a part of me is gone...”-Anne Carson

48) “There's a part of me that thinks perhaps we go on existing in a place even after we've left it.”
 -Colum McCann

49) “Every one of Joel's important songs--including the happy ones--are ultimately about loneliness. And it's not 'clever lonely' (like Morrissey) or 'interesting lonely' (like Radiohead); it's 'lonely lonely,' like the way it feels when you're being hugged by someone and it somehow makes you sadder.” -Chuck Klosterman

50) “Emotion is contagious.”  -Malcolm Gladwell

51) “Our world requires that decisions be sourced and footnoted, and if we say how we feel, we must also be prepared to elaborate on why we feel that way...We need to respect the fact that it is possible to know without knowing why we know and accept that - sometimes - we're better off that way.”
 -Malcolm Gladwell

52) “My earliest memories of my father are of seeing him work at his desk and realizing that he was happy. I did not know it then, but that was one of the most precious gifts a father can give his child.”
-Malcolm Gladwell

53) “Tangled in one another's arms and nine times out of ten the things you think about a person make it impossible to touch them.”  -Rick Moody

54) “A pool game mixes ritual with geometry.” -Mary Karr

55) “When people ask me how to find happiness in life I tell them, First learn how to cook.”
 -Charles Simic

56) “He who cannot howl will not find his pack.”  -Charles Simic

57) “Literature differs from life in that life is amorphously full of detail, and rarely directs us toward it, wheras literature teaches us to notice. Literature makes us better noticers of life; we get to practice on life itself; which in turn makes us better readers of detail in literature; which in turn makes us better readers of life.”
-James Wood

58) “Life, then will, always contain an inevitable surplus, a margin of the gratuitous, a realm in which there is always more than we need: more things, more impressions, more memories, more habits, more words, more happiness, more unhappiness.”  -James Wood

59) “We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.”  -Cynthia Ozick

60) “Most reckless things are beautiful in some way, and recklessness is what makes experimental art beautiful, just as religions are beautiful because of the strong possibilities that they are founded on nothing.”
-John Ashbery

61) “A writer should always feel like he's in over his head” -Michael Cunningham

62) “Why didn't I learn to treat everything like it was the last time. My greatest regret was how much I believed in the future.”  -Jonathan Safran Foer

63) “I hope that one day you will have the experience of doing something you do not understand for someone you love.”  -Jonathan Safran Foer

64) “It's the tragedy of loving, you can't love anything more than something you miss.”
 -Jonathan Safran Foer

65) “I like to see people reunited, I like to see people run to each other, I like the kissing and the crying, I like the impatience, the stories that the mouth can't tell fast enough, the ears that aren't big enough, the eyes that can't take in all of the change, I like the hugging, the bringing together, the end of missing someone.”
-Jonathan Safran Foer

66) “You cannot protect yourself from sadness without protecting yourself from happiness.”
-Jonathan Safran Foer

67) “If you don’t write the book you have to write, everything breaks.”  -A.M. Homes

68) “Sometimes you can do things for others that you can't do for yourself.”  -A.M. Homes

69) “Please, no matter how we advance technologically, please don't abandon the book. There is nothing in our material world more beautiful than the book."-Patti Smith

70) “The artist seeks contact with his intuitive sense of the gods, but in order to create his work, he cannot stay in this seductive and incorporeal realm. He must return to the material world in order to do his work. It's the artist's responsibility to balance mystical communication and the labor of creation.”  -Patti Smith

71) “Finally, by the sea, where God is everywhere, I gradually calmed.”  -Patti Smith

72) “Still, there are times I am bewildered by each mile I have traveled, each meal I have eaten, each person I have known, each room in which I have slept. As ordinary as it all appears, there are times when it is beyond my imagination.”  -Jhumpa Lahiri

73) “They were things for which it was impossible to prepare but which one spent a lifetime looking back at, trying to accept, interpret, comprehend."  -Jhumpa Lahiri

74) “Pack a pillow and blanket and see as much of the world as you can.You will not regret it.”
 -Jhumpa Lahiri

75) “Nothing more exhilarating ... than saving yourself by the simple act of waking.”
-Junot Díaz

76) “It's never the changes we want that change everything.” -Junot Díaz

77) “In order to write the book you want to write, in the end you have to become the person you need to become to write that book.”  -Junot Díaz

78) “If you didn't grow up like I did then you don't know, and if you don't know it's probably better you don't judge.”  -Junot Díaz

79) “Love was a rare thing, easily confused with a million other things, and if anybody knew this to be true it was him.”  -Junot Díaz

80) “This is what it is the business of the artist to do. Art is theft, art is armed robbery, art is not pleasing your mother.”  -Janet Malcolm

81) “One belongs to New York instantly, one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years.”
 -Tom Wolfe

82) “You have a good heart and you think the good thing is to be guilty and kind but it's not always kind to be gentle and soft, there's a genuine violence softness and kindness visit on people. Sometimes self-interested is the most generous thing you can be.” -Tony Kushner

83) “In this world, there is a kind of painful progress. Longing for what we've left behind, and dreaming ahead.”  -Tony Kushner

84) “You'll find, my friend, that what you love will take you places you never dreamed you'd go.”
 -Tony Kushner

85) “I don't understand why I'm not dead. When your heart breaks, you should die”
 -Tony Kushner

86) "Greeting cards routinely tell us everybody deserves love. No. Everybody deserves clean water. Not everybody deserves love all the time.” -Zadie Smith

87) “The greatest lie ever told about love is that it sets you free.”  -Zadie Smith

88) “Any woman who counts on her face is a fool.”  -Zadie Smith

89) “The very reason I write is so that I might not sleepwalk through my entire life.”  -Zadie Smith

90) “You don't have favourites among your children, but you do have allies.”-Zadie Smith

91) “Nice people don't necessarily fall in love with nice people.”  -Jonathan Franzen

92) “How wrong to have been so negative, how wrong to have been so gloomy, how wrong to have run away from life, how wrong to have said no, again and again, instead of yes.”  -Jonathan Franzen

93) “But the first lesson reading teaches is how to be alone.”  -Jonathan Franzen

94) “You're either reading a book or you're not.”  -Jonathan Franzen

95) “I guess my life hasn’t always been happy, or easy, or exactly what I want. At a certain point, I just have to try not to think too much about certain things, or else they’ll break my heart.”  -Jonathan Franzen

96) “I am the sum total of everything that went before me, of all I have been seen done, of everything done-to-me. I am everyone everything whose being-in-the-world affected was affected by mine. I am anything that happens after I'm gone which would not have happened if I had not come.”  -Salman Rushdie

97) “Let's enjoy the aimless days while we still can.”  -Don DeLillo

98) “Writing is a concentrated form of thinking...a young writer sees that with words he can place himself more clearly into the world. Words on a page, that's all it takes to help him separate himself from the forces around him, streets and people and pressures and feelings. He learns to think about these things, to ride his own sentences into new perceptions.”  -Don DeLillo

99) “If you reveal everything, bare every feeling, ask for understanding, you lose something crucial to your sense of yourself. You need to know things that others don't know. It's what no one knows about you that allows you to know yourself.”  -Don DeLillo

100) “Whenever someone who knows you disappears, you lose one version of yourself. Yourself as you were seen, as you were judged to be. Lover or enemy, mother or friend, those who know us construct us, and their several knowings slant the different facets of our characters like diamond-cutter's tools. Each such loss is a step leading to the grave, where all versions blend and end.”  -Salman Rushdie

Thursday, November 29, 2012

3 Intriguing Articles About Nostalgia

When I think about nostalgia I am reminded of the Milan Kundera quotation that reads: "The Greek word for "return" is nostos. Algos means "suffering." So nostalgia is the suffering caused by an unappeased yearning to return." I think that describes it very well. Here are the links to three articles on the topic that examine it a little deeper.

1) Nostalgia: On the Wistful Presence of Absence

This article says that the longing from nostalgia comes from "the indefinable sadness of life's finite essence slowly slipping away from us. Each look back subconsciously reminds us that there's that much less to look forward to—the sand in our hourglass trickling ever lower. Our lives that much more "used up." I suppose this is part of aging and something we will all experience more of as we become older. I do think that although nostalgia is natural we should never allow it to cause us to miss out on the life we are experiencing now. I believe that at any age there are new adventures to be had, new experiences to treasure, and new people to meet. In other words, this is a well written article, but don't let it depress you too much!

2) Nostalgia: Why we think things were better in the past

This article brings up a couple of really great points. First, it points out that nostalgia is so powerful that a large number of products have been created to appeal to our 'nostalgic tendencies.' Just looking around my room I know this is true, for I can see several items that I purchased primarily because they reminded me of something else! However, the article did reassure me that being vulnerable to such things does not mean I'm a weak person. It actually shares that "Research in 2008 showed nostalgia to be a feature common to the most resilient people" and "Sociable, emotional and motivated people are more likely to relish some reminiscence." A very interesting and surprising find indeed!

3) Nostalgia is Good Medicine

This article suggests that the reason we might be so prone to nostalgia is because it "promotes psychological well-being" and "fosters feelings of belongingness." Definitely worth a read!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Why I'm Not Sure I Really Want To Win The Lottery

The Powerball jackpot is once again ridiculously high, which means that I, like millions of others, will rush off to buy a ticket with dreams of winning tons of money. There’s a part of me that gets excited about all of the possibilities and opportunities having that much money would bring. However, if I’m being honest, there is also a part of me that thinks winning wouldn’t be such a grand thing after all. The truth of the matter is, I know the odds of winning the jackpot but I’m not sure I know what the odds are of me being happier in the long run if I win. I’m wise enough to know that it certainly isn’t 100%, but is it even 50%? Gambling a couple of dollars is one thing, but gambling my entire life as I know it is quite another.

Some people have a lot of financial stress and hardship in their lives that winning the lottery could save them from. Others are stuck at jobs they hate that money could free them from. For some of these people, the question of whether winning the lottery would make them happier might be a very likely yes. But although I am not very wealthy, I have very little financial stress and am doing the job that I love. So for me, the question is a bit tougher.

For one, I’m afraid if I were to be extraordinarily rich, I would feel like I’d never really know who my true friends were. I’d be forever trying to figure out if people were being nice to me and wanting to spend time with me because they like me or because of what I could do for them. I think that this issue alone could have the potential to make me depressed and lonely. I once experienced the pain of being betrayed and used by someone I loved and it’s a terrible situation to be in. I think that if I won that much money the possibility of that happening again would be almost certain. It wouldn’t be a matter of if I’m being used, only a matter of who is using me and who isn’t. The truth of the matter is, it would be terribly hard for me to be able to truly trust anyone’s intentions, and I’m honestly not the most trusting person to begin with. Feeling like I know who my true friends are is a priceless luxury that I’m not sure I want to risk giving up.

Also, I want the opportunity to be successful in my career, to make something of myself, to have a positive influence on people, to know that all of my hard work, dedication, and sacrifices paid off. If I won the jackpot things would change. People would no longer respect my ambitions, they would laugh at them. “You don’t need the money,” they would say, “let someone else have your job that needs it.” Everything I’m currently pursuing might start to seem selfish and silly. Any true talent or ability to add unique value that I might possess would likely be overshadowed or perhaps even ignored by the fact that I’m just incredibly lucky. Victory just isn’t the same if you feel, or other people feel, that you’ve had an unfair advantage. It’s like if you trained your entire life for an Olympic marathon and then on the big day you were allowed to have someone drive you to the finish line. You’d likely realize that it was never gold medal that you wanted, only the chance to prove that you deserved it.

Of course, those reasons to fear winning the lottery are a bit selfish. Think about all of the good I could do. Wouldn’t the ability to give so much to so many people bring me great joy? Perhaps, but even here there is the risk that it wouldn’t. The thing is, with great power and great wealth comes great responsibility. I’m afraid I would crumble under the weight of this responsibility. I’m afraid I’d stress about spending foolishly, about not doing enough, about spending too much on myself and too little on others. I’m afraid I’d end up like the man in the movie “Schindler’s List,” who saved many lives, but was still heartbroken in the end by the guilt that he could have done more.

So why will I even buy a ticket at all? I guess in the end, in spite of all the fears I have about winning, and the risk that having that much money would not make me happier, there are so many good opportunities and experiences it would give me. I don’t want to be the type of person that allows fear, uncertainty, or my own self-doubts, keep me from embracing opportunity. However, when the numbers roll out, and they are not mine, it’s not very likely that I’ll cry about it.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

What Is Your Favorite Holiday Movie Scene?

I want to put a list together of 10 of the best holiday movie scenes, and since I'm sure there are some great movies I haven't seen, I'd love your help! Below are two of my favorite scenes (from "Love Actually" and "When Harry Met Sally") that will probably make the list:) Send me your responses by the end of the week if you can. Thanks so much!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Some of My Favorite Lines From "Sex and the City"

"Better alone than badly accompanied."

"Maybe some women aren't meant to be tamed. Maybe they just need to run free until they find someone just as wild to run with them."

"That's the key to having it all: stop expecting it to look like what you thought it was going to look like."

 "It's infuriating! Women sit around, obsessing about what went wrong, while men just say 'alrighty' and move on."

"I used to think those people who sat alone at Starbucks writing on their laptops were pretentious posers. Now I know: they are people who have recently moved in with someone."

 "People go to casinos for the same reason they go on blind dates: hoping to hit the jackpot. But mostly, you just wind up broke or alone in a bar."

"I will never be the woman with the perfect hair, who can wear white and not spill on it."

Rereading "The Little Prince"

There’s nothing like rereading one of your favorite books years after first discovering it to make you realize how life’s experiences have inevitability changed your perspective on things. I first read “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry during the summer I was seventeen. It immediately became one of my favorite books and still is. However, there are a few messages about love, friendship, and responsibility that I absolutely loved the first time that now seem like they are missing an important “but…” Maybe this means I’m more pessimistic and jaded now or maybe it simply means that somewhere in past 10 years I just grew up.

The first such passage goes like this, “People have forgotten this truth," the fox said. "But you mustn’t forget it. You become responsible forever for what you’ve tamed. You’re responsible for your rose.” This basically says that you are responsible for the people that love you. Forever is such an idealistic word. What it doesn’t say is that sometimes part of growing up is learning to let people go. It doesn’t warn about what can happen if you let that responsibility weigh you down so much that you become a much worse version of yourself. It doesn’t tell you that there is a difference between loving someone and being good for someone, and that you shouldn’t feel guilty for walking away from something that might not be in your power to fix.

There is another passage that says, “If you love a flower that lives on a star, it is sweet to look at the sky at night. All the stars are a-bloom with flowers...” But what if loving the flower doesn’t make it sweet to look at the sky? What if it just makes you terribly sad? What if your whole life becomes bitter as you dearly desire and miss something that you cannot have and will never have again? We all learn eventually that memories can be both a blessing and a curse.

Don’t get me wrong, I still think that this is a brilliant book and makes a lot of great points. I still enjoy reading it and reflecting on all of the messages that it contains. If you have never read it, I would certainly recommend that you do. The fact that I can no longer read it with the innocence that I once did, does not mean that I don’t appreciate it, I just think that life has taught me that love and relationships are not as simple as I once may have thought.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

50 Simple Pleasures!

Thank you to everyone who sent me a few of the simple pleasures in life that they are thankful for this year. Here is a list of 50 of my favorites along with a few of my own!

1. a really good cup of coffee
2. silent, rainy mornings
3. good memories
4. a clear conscious
5. a book that takes your breath away
6. chicken fried steak
7. surviving cancer
8. falling in love
9. new friends
10. an ice cold beer
11. cats
12. writing a poem
13. sunny days
14. bike rides
15. a long distance phone call from someone you love
16. hearing the laughter of a small child
17. fresh garden vegetables
18. having a job in this economy
19. large dogs
20. smell of a bonfire on a crisp, fall evening
21. being able to afford groceries
22. sunrise
24. owning a reliable car
25. flower gardens
26. having the finances to sponsor a child in Zambia
27. laughing uncontrollably
28. falling autumn leaves
29. the fresh smell after rain
30. hugging your children
31. chocolate cake
32. cups of tea
33. sarcasm
34. pink clouds
35. hot candlelit bath
36. a glass of wine at the end of a long day
37. warm oatmeal cookies
38. roses
39. smelling the perfume/cologne of someone you love
40. blueberries
41. sleeping in
42. dancing
43. kisses
44. discovering something you forgot you had
45. rainbows
46. listening to music
47. vanilla candles
48. buying a new lipstick
49. walking on the beach
50. popcorn and a movie

Cherish Life

Never forget
That it costs something to be who you are
Don’t learn this lesson too late

Know that there is difference
Between loving someone and missing them

Remember that life is a mystery
You won’t always know all the answers
Learn to live with uncertainty
Embrace the moment

Learn to love many things
Do as much as possible out of love

Meet new people
In new places
Learn from them
Have stimulating conversations
Surprise yourself sometimes

Be brave
Be kind
Be patient
Be grateful
Be strong
Be passionate
Be compassionate
Be beautiful
In your own way

Don’t take anyone too seriously
Don’t take yourself too seriously
Don’t take life too seriously

Cherish life

Monday, November 19, 2012

What Are 5 Simple Pleasures You Are Thankful For?

As most of you know, it is Thanksgiving in the United States this week, a great time to reflect on our many blessings. Most of us are thankful for the things that are most important to us, such as our family, our health, our home,etc. However, I want to know what some of the simple things are you are thankful for, maybe a certain treat you reward yourself with at the end of a long day, a scent you love, or a place that always seems to lift your spirit. Please send me around 5 of your simplest pleasures if you'd like and by the end of the week I'll put a list together and share my favorite responses on here with everyone! You can email responses to with "Simple Pleasures" as the subject. Please share this with anyone you think might be interested in participating. Hopefully we can remind each other of all of the little things in which we can find joy. I can't wait to get your responses!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

My 12 Favorite Quotations on Gratitude

“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”  -Marcel Proust

“Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.”
-A.A. Milne

“Gratitude is the ability to experience life as a gift. It liberates us from the prison of self-preoccupation.”
 -John Ortberg

"Maintain an attitude of gratitude, not for what was lost by moving on, but for what was gained by having been there." -Michael Rawls

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.” -Marcus Tullius Cicero

“One can never pay in gratitude: one can only pay 'in kind' somewhere else in life.”
-Anne Morrow Lindbergh

"Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough." Oprah Winfrey

“Gratitude is medicine for a heart devastated by tragedy. If you can only be thankful for the blue sky, then do so. ” -Richelle E. Goodrich

"At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us." -Albert Schweitzer

“If the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough.”  -Meister Eckhart

“When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.”
 -G.K. Chesterton

"Gratitude is the sign of noble souls." -Aesop

Friday, November 16, 2012

How Well Can We Really Understand Another Person?

I’ve always had an incurable curiosity about people, constantly being fascinated by individual personalities, how we grow and evolve throughout our lives, and how much the perspective we have of the world defines us. Those of us that are readers, writers, filmmakers, storytellers, etc. are constantly thinking about these things from the standpoint of fictional characters. Having a deep understanding of people and characters is something that all truly great story tellers seem to share.

But if we move away from the world of fiction, and think about the real people we actually know, especially those who are closest to us, how well can we really understand each other? Personally, I think, that for even the best judges of human nature among us, the answer is not very well at all. People are complicated.

In most of our relationships we often only get to know one version of someone. We only know who they are when they are with us. There are so many other versions of them, in different times, in different places, with different people, that we will never know. We are also hindered in our ability to truly understand another person, by the fact that we tend to see them how we want them to be. It’s human nature. We are especially prone to do this in romantic relationships. I like the line in the book Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert where she says, “In desperate love, we always invent the characters of our partners, demanding they be what we need of them, and then feeling devastated when they refuse to perform the role we created in the first place.” It’s so true that we tend to create roles for people to play in our lives, and this ultimately limits our ability to understand who they truly are. Perhaps this is why we sometimes feel like certain strangers can see us more clearly than some of the people we have known for years. 

Another reason that understanding one other is so difficult is because people are always changing. People are constantly growing and evolving, sometimes gradually over time, and sometimes much more suddenly than we might think. It is often impossible for us to understand what is happening deep inside someone, and how that is impacting who they are, and who they will become.

One might say, if we can never really get to know each other, than what’s the point of even trying to get close to someone? But we must not forget that we don’t need to completely understand someone in order to love them, or be happy with them, or learn from them, or help them. There is a quote from a Philip Roth book that says, “Maybe the best thing would be to forget being right or wrong about people and just go along for the ride.” I think that there is some truth to this. Sometimes the best thing things in life, and in love, come when we learn to embrace the mystery. Maybe it’s okay to accept what we can’t understand and allow people to surprise us.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

My Favorite Scene From "Alfie"

This is one of my favorite movies and I like to watch this scene from time to time because it always makes me think. I just had to share it! I hope you enjoy it and if you haven't seen the movie I would certainly recommend it (especially if you're a Jude Law or Sienna Miller fan!)

Thanks for Sharing Your Favorite Quotations!

Last week, I asked readers the question "What is your favorite quotation?" I received a lot of responses, which as an undeniable quote junkie, I absolutely loved reading. Thanks to everyone that sent something! Out of all the quotations that I received I want to share three of my favorite.

“The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool.”
 -Lester Bangs

"It isn't what we say or think that defines us, but what we do."
-Jane Austen

"Certainly one response is laughter... it is the soul seeking some relief."
-Kurt Vonnegut

Sunday, November 11, 2012

My Favorite Movie Scene From "Love Actually"

This a great scene about someone expressing their unconditional yet unrequited love. It's sad and beautiful at the same time.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

My Favorite Passage From "The Unbearable Lightness of Being"

I wanted to share a passage from The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera that in essence suggests that we all need to feel important somehow the only difference is to whom. I think that there is a lot of truth to this. In my opinion, Kundera has moments in his work where he shows a brilliant understanding of human nature and this is one such example.

“We all need someone to look at us. we can be divided into four categories according to the kind of look we wish to live under. The first category longs for the look of an infinite number of anonymous eyes, in other words, for the look of the public. The second category is made up of people who have a vital need to be looked at by many known eyes. They are the tireless hosts of cocktail parties and dinners. they are happier than the people in the first category, who, when they lose their public, have the feeling that the lights have gone out in the room of their lives. This happens to nearly all of them sooner or later. People in the second category, on the other hand, can always come up with the eyes they need. Then there is the third category, the category of people who need to be constantly before the eyes of the person they love. Their situation is as dangerous as the situation of people in the first category. One day the eyes of their beloved will close, and the room will go dark. And finally there is the fourth category, the rarest, the category of people who live in the imaginary eyes of those who are not present. They are the dreamers.”

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

My Response To The Question: What Good Is Art?

A couple of weeks ago, I asked readers to answer this question, “What Good is Art?” and received some wonderful responses. Now, it’s time to share my answer to the question.

Art, in its various forms, literature, music, film, photography, etc., is immensely valuable to the human soul. I honestly believe that it is what gives life meaning for a lot of people myself included. One might question this, saying, “What about God, or love, or the people you care about? Aren’t those things more important?” But you see, to me, art is a way to feel connected with the spiritual world. Even prayer, one could argue, is a form of it, and to be honest, certain music has made me feel closer to God than anything else ever could. As far as love and relationships, the painter Vincent van Gogh once said, "I tell you, the more I think the more I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people." I believe that he was right.

Although there are many different ways in which art can be meaningful, I believe that truly valuable art is significant for one of three reasons. It provides an escape, it teaches you something, or it helps allow you to heal.

Escape art is what we experience when we become so absorbed in a book or a film, in the lives of the characters or the story, that for a moment we are able to forget our own. It allows us to experience vicariously places, events, and emotions that we may never have felt otherwise. It helps us to forget, even if just momentarily, our own problems, struggles, and pain. I am a firm believer that escape art is good for the mind, good for the body, and especially good for the soul. It is sometimes almost like medicine to me, I honestly cannot imagine living without it.

Art also provides value when it teaches us something. Sometimes the lesson is obvious, other times we learn through stories or metaphors. Some art forces us to think about things in a completely new way or opens our minds to new perspectives or possibilities. Sometimes art has the ability to convey a message in a way that nothing else can, and has the ability to make all of us better, wiser, and more compassionate.

Last, but not least, art can help us to heal. We can pour our hearts into the creative process and turn suffering and painful experiences into something positive. Art isn't always about the end result; sometimes the value is in the making of it, the intense emotions it allows us to express, and the things we learn about ourselves in the process.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Answer The Question: What is Your Favorite Quotation?

As anyone that follows either my blog or twitter account already knows I am a quotes junkie. I absolutely love discovering, reading, collecting, and sharing great quotations! In a blog post a couple of weeks ago, I asked readers to answer the question, "What Good is Art?" and posted my favorite responses (My Favorite Responses to the Question "What Good is Art?"). I received so many great answers and enjoyed reading them so much that I want to do the same thing, except this time the question is, "What is Your Favorite Quotation and Why?" Please email responses to using the subject "Favorite Quote" by November 11, 2012 and I will post my favorite answers on my blog next week. I can't wait to hear your answers! Please share this with anyone you think may be interested in participating. Thanks!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

My 7 Favorite Anne Morrow Lindbergh Quotations

1) “One writes not to be read but to writes to think, to pray, to analyze. One writes to clear one's mind, to dissipate one's fears, to face one's doubts, to look at one's mistakes--in order to retrieve them. One writes to capture and crystallize one's joy, but also to disperse one's gloom. Like prayer--you go to it in sorrow more than joy, for help, a road back to 'grace'."

2) “If you surrender completely to the moments as they pass, you live more richly those moments.”

3) “One cannot collect all the beautiful shells on the beach. One can only collect a few. One moon shell is more impressive than three. There is only one moon in the sky.”

4) “When you love someone, you do not love them all the time, in exactly the same way, from moment to moment. It is an impossibility. It is even a lie to pretend to. And yet this is exactly what most of us demand. We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, of relationships. We leap at the flow of the tide and resist in terror its ebb. We are afraid it will never return. We insist on permanency, on duration, on continuity; when the only continuity possible, in life as in love, is in growth, in fluidity - in freedom, in the sense that the dancers are free, barely touching as they pass, but partners in the same pattern.

The only real security is not in owning or possessing, not in demanding or expecting, not in hoping, even. Security in a relationship lies neither in looking back to what was in nostalgia, nor forward to what it might be in dread or anticipation, but living in the present relationship and accepting it as it is now. Relationships must be like islands, one must accept them for what they are here and now, within their limits - islands, surrounded and interrupted by the sea, and continually visited and abandoned by the tides.”

5) “I must write it all out, at any cost. Writing is thinking. It is more than living, for it is being conscious of living."

6) “Him that I love, I wish to be free -- even from me.”

7) “Parting is inevitably painful, even for a short time. It's like an amputation, I feel a limb is being torn off, without which I shall be unable to function. And yet, once it is done... life rushes back into the void, richer, more vivid and fuller than before. ”

Friday, November 2, 2012

I Can't Stop Listening to "I'll Hold My Breath"

Is anyone else addicted to this Ellie Goulding song? I just can't stop listening to it. So catchy and I love the lyrics.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Relationships and Loneliness

The ends of so many relationships begin the same way. You start to feel lonely with someone. And loneliness within a relationship is really hard to fix. You can’t just go to the other person and say, “Help me not feel so lonely with you.” Could they even do that if they wanted to? First, they would have to understand the source of this feeling and there is a good chance that this is something that you cannot even define yourself.

I think that the things that we crave the most from other people are never things we can ask for. They are things that must happen naturally and cannot be forced. We can ask someone to try to understand us but we cannot ask someone to want to. We can ask someone to notice us but we cannot ask someone to stop seeing through us. We can ask someone to be kinder and more patient but we cannot ask someone for true love. We can only recognize and appreciate these things when someone can give them to us, and learn to forgive them when they can’t.

It’s hard because it’s often nobody’s fault. Sometimes we end up in this situation merely because we had the courage to let ourselves grow and change. And somewhere along the line we grew into someone that the person who used to know us best doesn't understand anymore. 

I’ve always thought that a truly wonderful relationship, just like a truly wonderful day, should be easy. It should be magical in a slow, sensuous, flowing kind of way. When you lose that flow I think is when the loneliness starts to fill in the gaps. I just don’t think you can force it to come back through therapy, or effort, or changing. You can either wait to see if it does or move on. There are those who leave to soon and those who stay too long. And sometimes timing is everything.

Monday, October 29, 2012

My Favorite Responses to the Question: What Good is Art?

Last week, I posted the question, "What Good is Art?" I know a lot of my readers are passionate about various forms of art so I was very interesting in seeing how people would answer this question. Thanks to everyone who sent a response! I received a lot of great answers, but managed to select five of my favorite that I'm so excited to share! Also, I've been thinking a lot about how I would answer this question myself, so next week I hope to post my response. I hope you enjoy reading the following responses as much as I did, and thanks again to everyone that participated!

What Good is Art?

From @DeiStarr

"Art is the outpouring of one soul's inspiration, inspiring others.  It lifts, fulfills, and sustains our hearts.  Art is emotive, with the power to move hearts and minds.  It is provocative, with the power to shock, disturb, and revolutionize our way of thinking.  Art influences the way we see the world and ourselves.  Without art, we would be a poor culture indeed."

What Good is Art?

From Blythe Crowe

"Art is a release of thoughts and emotion. It can become a portal, so that you may close your eyes to another reality. Art is truth, and lies... Without art this world would have no emotion, no personality. Without art we (Society) are merely science. Art allows us to tell a story, some of which we make through fantasies. Art can be good or bad. You may save a life through a painting or poem by pure inspiration, or you may alienate another through exaggeration."

What Good is Art? 

From Nathaniel Stewart (@NateStewart_TLA)

“My definition of art is, for all intents and purposes, anything that stands out to any individual person. It goes without saying that we are all different from our cultures, our likes and dislikes, our upbringings, our tastes....but we all have that "sense" about us as far as art, what catches our eye, and what actually qualifies as art. Most people look at classic pieces like the Mona Lisa or the 16th Chapel and go, "Wow," but there are other people who look at much more simplistic, less skillful pieces such as Piet Mondrian's paintings where he used a lot of primary colors and simple lines and have the very same reaction.

There is a friend of mine who has an enlarged, close up, and cropped black and white photograph of a fork on a countertop hanging in her house. To me, it's just a cool but slightly useless picture of a glorified fork. But to her, it's one of the absolute best photographs that she has ever seen and it is her favorite. Why? I'm still not sure, and she won't give me a definitive answer but she will say things like, "I just love the way it looks," or "I like the angle of the fork." Obviously, something about the piece resonates with her and causes it to stand out in her minds eye. To her, it's art. It gives her a feeling, or provokes a memory that she maybe likes to revisit. Or, she simply thinks it's beautiful, and who am I to tell her that it isn't just because I don't necessarily dig it?

Art is personal, whether you are the creator or the admirer. I have seen people damn near go to war arguing over a piece that one thinks is amazing and the other thinks is complete crap. Even outside of the world of what is commonly considered art (such as paintings, sculptures, drawings, etc.) you see the same type of thing. We have all been in situations where we like a song and someone else is all, "That song is stupid and you're stupid for liking it," and vice versa where we do the very same to them.

That's the beautiful thing about art. It has so many forms, meanings, and intents. Art is beautiful, art is personable, art is is us essentially."

What Good is Art?
From Jena

"The arts exist as the best expression of the human condition. When someone takes a completely original idea, formulates a plan and executes that idea into reality, it's the closest we get to understanding creation.

No matter what art form you consider -- visual fine arts, dance, film, music, theater, literature, design, photography, architecture and more -- from cave paintings to graphic novels, they may be thought of as community identifiers, gathering reference points that include and define people. As consumers, these genres offer shared experiences that tell us who we are and what is important to us.

There is a fairly accepted rule that contemporary art reflects the society in which it exists. I'm not sure that's true, since academia has its thumb on the scale in turning out contemporary artists who in turn portray contemporary society. I say give it a hundred years or so and see what still holds up as relevant. Then we'll see."

What Good is Art?
From Jim Dirkes (@thefilmthugs)

"What good is art? Well, that’s easy. It’s all pretty paintings for nice people to look at. Right? I mean, that’s what art is, like... paintings and stuff, right?

It sounds dismissive, but it does get to the heart of it. Really, how you answer that question relies entirely on how you answer a few other questions.

What is art?
Who is art for?
What is the purpose of a particular piece of art?

Bruce: You have no idea what I want. What is chess, do you think? Those who play for fun or not at all dismiss it as a game. The ones who devote their lives to it for the most part insist that it's a science. It's neither. Bobby Fischer got underneath it like no one before and found at its center, art. I spent my life trying to play like him. Most of these guys have. But we're like forgers. We're competent fakes. His successor wasn't here tonight. He wasn't here. He is asleep in his room in your house. Your son creates like Fischer. He sees like him, inside.
Fred: You can tell this by watching him play some drunks in the park?

Bruce: Yes. You want to know what I want. I'll tell you what I want. I want back what Bobby Fischer took with him when he disappeared.
 - Searching for Bobby Fischer- (written and directed by Steve Zaillian)

I think that sums up the first question for me. If you are able to do something in a pure and beautiful way, and understand it, and it speaks to you in a way that nothing else can... how is that not art? I mean, baseball is just a game, but if you’ve ever seen the poetry that is a perfectly executed  6-4-3 double play you can understand that there is art in the heart of that game. Even if you don’t like the game, a play like that is so fluid and moving that you can’t help but feel it. Not just see it, but feel it.

Hell, look at the history of the Boston Red Sox, which was an outright tragedy for 86 years. When you see the years of suffering and heartbreak that the fans went through, then see the release of emotion when they finally won a championship... it’s operatic. How many pieces of classical art have had that level of emotional effect on that many people?

Essentially, art is where you find it.

John L. Sullivan: I'm going out on the road to find out what it's like to be poor and needy and then I'm going to make a picture about it.

Burrows: If you'll permit me to say so, sir, the subject is not an interesting one. The poor know all about poverty and only the morbid rich would find the topic glamorous.

John L. Sullivan: But I'm doing it for the poor. Don't you understand?

Burrows: I doubt if they would appreciate it, sir. They rather resent the invasion of their privacy, I believe quite properly, sir. Also, such excursions can be extremely dangerous, sir. I worked for a gentleman once who likewise, with two friends, accoutered themselves as you have, sir, and then went out for a lark. They have not been heard from since.

 -    Sullivan’s Travels (written and directed by Preston Sturges)

This really sums up my feelings on the second question. A lot of art is created for people who “get” art, and there is nothing wrong with that. There are people out there who see art as being something that only people with training can really understand. They hold that there is an elite class that can truly understand and appreciate art and everyone else is a petit bourgeois who is content living a consumer driven life. That’s fine... for them. It also happens to be complete nonsense.

Art is for anyone who feels a genuine emotional response to something. I will return to sports again (fyi, I’m only using sports metaphors because for many people sports is as far removed from art as you can get). You may not see the poetry of sports, but there are people who see someone like Michael Jordan or Wayne Gretzky or Peyton Manning and they way they play the game stirs something in them. The grace, the athleticism, the strategy, the very understanding of themselves and those around them creates a balletic symphony of movement that gets to the very heart, the viscera of what it means to be human and to what we as humans are capable of.

For some people, a crucifix floating in a jar of urine does the same thing. So be it. But just because someone went to art school doesn’t mean that the experience of another person is invalid.

John L. Sullivan: There's a lot to be said for making people laugh. Did you know that that's all some people have? It isn't much, but it's better than nothing in this cockeyed caravan.

 -    Sullivan’s Travels (written and directed by Preston Sturges)

 I don’t believe the nature of art has ever been as concisely stated as it is here. For a lot of people there is a stark divide between “high” art and “low” art. From this view some pieces of art are inherently better than others. If we were to focus on the film world this is where the master directors reside. Hitchcock, Kubrick, Bergman, Fellini, Forman, Bunuel, Kurosaua, and countless others are held up as this ideal of cinema, and rightfully so. These are absolute masters of their craft who created some of the most amazing films that have ever been created.

But what about people who aren’t fancy pants filmmakers? What about people who just make movies?

I’m no great fan of Adam Sandler films. I have enjoyed some of his past work, but the stuff he makes now just doesn’t do it for me. They are broad, crass humor that doesn’t really strive for anything more than cheap laughs with outrageous characters and predictable plots.

But is that a bad thing? If someone works way to hard for way to little money at a job where they are disrespected by their boss and the clients, has a horrible marriage and a few kids that hate him and he can sit down and watch “That’s My Boy,” and for 90 minutes forget about everything awful in his life... how is that not art? It may not be your particular cup of tea, but if a stupid move is able to cause a reaction of pure joy in the heart of someone who desperately needs something to feel joyous about that seems, to me at least, to be the very essence of art.

So, after all that blustery hoopla let’s return to the question.

“What good is art?”

Art is an objective good. It elevates us when we fall, grounds us when we get too far from center, it distracts us when we need it, it reminds us of things we need to remember, and it helps us forget things that are best left forgotten. It exists where we need it to and is there if we need it or not."