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Cindy Bruchman

Films. Culture. Photography. Books. Let's talk.

IMO: Welcome to My World

There’s a part of me that feels like I’ve cast myself into the tundra, face first into the arctic blast, alone, as I now live inside my head, writing and editing this second novel. On one hand, that’s how much I miss blogging. Denying myself the fun of sharing thoughts about films, culture, books, and camera angles from my side of the world. Who knew your cheery comments and fun conversations would come to mean so much?

The maudlin side of me put aside, like a stashed cigarette secretly smoked, I have secretly read your posts but haven’t commented, but you all seem fine and well.

Das Buch:   Weimar Germany and the depravity of Berlin. The cabarets, the darkness of sin, drugs, and Bessie Smith. Poor George Hero, my anti-hero bordering on an unreliable narrator, has had a rough time of it since WWI.  I’ve been listening to Philip Glass while I write, and I am glad to report this first part of the novel is completed because Philip Glass wears on my nerves and depresses me, but he seems perfect for putting me in the right mood to represent the dark. In contrast, as if emerging from a cave at noon, the next part of the novel takes place in good ‘ole sunny Arizona. Sally is the feisty young copper cutie, a dancer, who dreams of becoming a Ziegfield girl and star on the Hollywood stage.  She will need her chutzpah to survive the invasive force of her mother. She is cast as an extra in a western. She is determined to become indispensable and befriends Zane Grey and Gary Cooper.  She has a needy friendship with Kay the Hopi Indian, who is a chameleon, sometimes seen as female, sometimes as male, sometimes as Apache, and sometimes she hears the whispers of her mother and sisters wanting her to remember the Hopi way. Meanwhile, she is the recipient of the elaborate gold-plated pistol, hollowed and filled, with the means by which she can free herself from her past, present and have a say about any sort of future. To what extreme will George reclaim the pistol from Kay?

As teacher:  After 18 years, I am counting down the final eight so I can retire. I know it’s a sin to wish your life away–just the working part of it. It’s hard not to this time of year. Spring is the time the drama begins. The school year is drawing to a close. State testing has students restless and apathetic.  Juniors are applying to colleges and seniors have emotionally left high school and await graduation. Teachers are tired and resigned what they are trying to sell in the classroom no one is buying. Teachers compete with students’ cell phones, the prom, sport team demands, and being a cast member in the musical. Is it any wonder they don’t care about John F. Kennedy’s involvement in the Cold War, the Vietnam War, and Civil Rights? Gee, if I can’t get them interested in the volatile sixties, this last month of school could be tortuous.

Meanwhile, teachers are grumbling because the new superintendent has shaken things up. The master schedule’s modifications include removing classes with lower sizes to make it equitable across the board. (If one teacher has class sizes of 30 and another only 12, is that fair?)  That means cutting out the advanced and elective classes. Personally, this means all the classes I love teaching have been taken away from me. The gems like AP US History, AP World History, and a big sting, my Holocaust Studies/Recent World History class. Gems because teaching college level courses are the perfect fit for me. I have been struggling with my pride over it. Be a team player. You are a cog in the wheel. Get over yourself. Readjust your attitude. It still hurts, though.

The Vikings and Nationals Baseball: Strangely, I’ve taken a break from watching movies. I’m binging on the television series by the History Channel via Amazon called The Vikings. Man, I love it. When I come home from work, after watering the flowers, one or two episodes with a beer or glass of wine is a great way to relax before starting supper. I’m on series three. I like the monk Athelstan (George Blagden) the best because rarely in films or television do you see the importance of the role of the monk in history, in this case, by preserving the scrolls of Roman England. I’ve been to Ireland and have seen The Book of Kells and love the artistry of the monks’ calligraphy. The character Athelstan straddles the conflict between pagan/Christian religion. Michael Hirst who wrote the series includes Old English and Scandinavian languages when the two worlds collide; it’s delicious to hear the languages spoken.

The culture of the Vikings is complicated. The legends and mythologies have fascinated many for years.

http://www.history.com/shows/vikings/pages/vikings-historians-view

When I’m not watching The Vikings, I am watching the Nationals play baseball. We are off to a great start this year by leading the NL East with 10 wins and 5 losses (.667). My favorite players are Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy. They bat 3, 4 respectively, and the two are hitting powerhouses. Like Lennon and McCartney, their competitiveness inspires the other to do better. Go Nats!

Books: I’m reading Paula McClain’The Paris Wife. It’s about Hadley, Ernest Hemingway’s first wife and their time in Paris during the 1920s. Ernest is trying to become an author and I can’t help but pretend we two are trying to accomplish the same goal. Except he doesn’t have to go and teach teenagers every day. He gets to sit in a Paris cafe and drink all day long while he writes. It didn’t go so well for him in the end, did it? Who knew my students would save me in the end? Ha!

Okay, bye again. Back to the novel.

Love & Friendship,

Cindy

Back in a few months, I promise.

My Dear Friends,

You know I’ve been working on my second manuscript “Inside the Gold Plated Pistol” and it’s going great. I told you earlier I was backing off from posting to allow more time to devote to creative writing. I threw in photo posts because, well, they’re fast and easy to do. I’ve been trying to keep up with your blogs, commenting when I can. Then I added a Lucky 13 Film Club post, and now I’ve found really cool information about the Weimar Republic as well as Chicago in the late 1920s. Naturally, I thought of making a post and sharing it. I’ve seen a slew of movies and thought about writing a post about several films that have held my attention, but I’ve refrained. In other words, I think about blogging all the time.

Herein lies my problem. I’ve gone and said a couple of times that I’m taking a hiatus. Step by step, I’m lured back to blogging. So the novel gets neglected, and I feel like an albatross is around my neck. Then I go through an emotional see-saw–should I bother writing the novel? Should I just focus on blogging? The vacillation is the best problem I could have. The solution is bittersweet, however. I’m going to sign off completely from blogging until the first draft of the manuscript is completed and sent off to the editors. I simply cannot juggle one or the other well. I think it’s called growing older. If you have planned an upcoming Lucky 13 Film Club event with me, hold on to that thought! I’m hoping by summer I’ll be back and ready to blog with you all.

Love & Friendship,

Cindy

Five Shots: More Butterlies

Farming Butterflies

Who knew farming butterflies and observing their cycle intimately in a Butterfly House could be a therapeutic experience? Quite a few of you enjoyed yesterday’s butterfly post. I pulled a few more shots to share. Which one do you prefer the most?

1. Yellow Eyes
2. Green Glory
3. Ebony and Ivory
4. Mammoth Moth on Palm Leaves
5. Black Beauty
6. Here’s looking at you!
7. A Pair of Beauties

Five Shots: Butterfly Wonderland

Growing Butterflies

I was in Phoenix today with family enjoying the 3,000 butterflies fluttering around us at Butterfly Wonderland. What did I learn? It takes three generations in the span of a year for the Monarch Butterfly to complete the great migration. It begins in the hills of Texas where butterflies feed on Milkweed. Then they produce the next generation which flies up to Toronto. The final generation senses winter is coming, so they fly south to Mexico, riding the wind, sometimes up to a mile high. They spend the winter in Mexico, billions of them. Then they return to Texas.  I apologize for not knowing the names of the species we encountered today. Here a dozen shots for you today. Which shot do you like best?

1. Attracted to Orchids
2. Sharp Shooter
3. The Hitchhiker

 

4. Gentle Queen
5. Sunbathing with Orange Hibiscus
6. In with the Green
7. Orange Slices
8. Fanning on Palm Leaves
9. A & W
10. Ghost
11. Blue Giant
12. Butterfly Pole

 

 

L13FC: Religion and Violence in Irish Films

Welcome back to the Lucky 13 Film Club. Traditionally, a co-host joins me and we share an angle into the film industry and talk to people all day long. It’s great to hear from one and all, so add to the conversation. Would you like to lead a discussion you are passionate about? Let’s figure out a topic together and select a month that works for you. It’s easy and fun. Email me with your idea:  cbruchman@yahoo.com. 

It probably has occurred to you that if there’s a movie about the Irish whether it was filmed in Ireland or contains Irish characters, invariably, elements of Catholicism and violence follow. Is this a stereotype? Why are the Irish depicted as scrappers, alcoholics, boorish and profane? A sign of the cross in one breath, a hard right sent or received in the next? As an ethnic group, the Irish and Catholicism are intrinsic, and in films, the priests and nuns usually misbehave behind their cloisters and vestments?  Tis a gray line between their luck and their paddy-whacked explosive history.  If the violence isn’t with the Catholic church, a mob, a brawl or bout in the ring, the violence likely happens between the IRA and the feud between Northern Ireland Protestants and their Southern Catholic counterparts. Need a quick reminder of Northern Irish History? READ THIS Can you think of a film set in Ireland or containing Irish characters which don’t feature religion and violence? The only two exceptions I can think of are Brooklyn (2015) and Waking Ned Devine (1998). (Well, Eilis did emigrate and establish herself with the help of Father Glynn, didn’t she?)

Boston 

If it’s a film set in the Boston area, the Irish family is revered, Catholicism is followed, violence is worshipped, and the culture is packaged with an indiscernible vernacular and enough profanity to make a sailor blush.

 Would you consider Good Will Hunting a violent film?

Daniel Day-Lewis

He loved Ireland so much he became a citizen. Some of his best films include him playing an Irish character.

 

Favorite Irish Characters in Films 

Violence and Religion are the cornerstones of Irish history and those values are reflected in film. Have the stereotypes worn thin? What’s the fascination and glamorization of violence, alcohol, and the perversion of faith?  My favorite stereotype is that they’re funny.

 

 

 

Five Shots: Full Moon over the Sycamore Canyon

This afternoon my family and I headed out to the ridge overlooking the Sycamore Canyon. It was 80 degrees and the breeze delightful. We watched the cows roam and the full moon rise. Which one do you like best?  

1. Roaming Cows at the Base of the Red Rocks
2. Sycamore Canyon Facing South West
3. Til the Cows Come Home
4. Green Mound

5. Shadows Over the Canyon

6. Full Moon
7. Full Moon Rising

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