Tag: film

Writing Without Rules

Qoʻqon UZ - Dakhmai-Shokhon 03

How does that work when you have writer's block? Even famous authors can suffer from writer's block. It can be very frustrating when you have a deadline and have to get that essay or report in on time.

What causes writer's block? Think back to your time in English class in school. Your teacher wants you to write an essay about Shakespeare or your thoughts on a particular poem for your homework. This you find boring. As you sit at home with your copy book open on a blank page the clock ticks loudly in the background. It is not happening. There is no enjoyment in the task. Teacher has set certain criteria about what has to be included in the essay, how long the essay should be, specific very important points that need to be expanded on and of course your own opinion. The list is endless and monotonous. The deadline is tomorrow morning first thing.

The stress levels are fairly high now. Where has the fun gone? Many adults have memories from school similar to this one. Now when you sit down to prepare a report or article this memory from your school years is playing in the back of your mind. You may not be aware of it but if you are sitting in front of a blank screen or piece of paper then there is a traumatic memory in there somewhere from your school days.

So what can you do about writer's block? Give this exercise a go before you start. Hold a pen in your non-dominant hand. Hold the palm of your other hand in front of you and draw what you see without looking at the page. Keep your eyes focused on all the creases and undulations of the palm of your hand. This is not about the finished piece of artwork. This is about the process.

You activate the right side of your brain when you draw with your non-dominant hand. This part of your brain is responsible for your creativity. The left side of your brain is you logical and analytical side. This is the side where you can get thought up in all the detail – such as all the points the teacher wanted included in the essay, the length of the essay and all the other 'teachers' rules from you school days.

When you activate the right side of your brain you will release your creativity and the ideas will start to flow. It will be a lot easier to write. Forget all the rules which the English teacher set. The only rule here is there are no rules. Give it a go and have fun writing without rules.

Culture

Munch, Edvard (1863-1944) - 1890 Spring Day on Karl Johann (Billedgalleri, Bergen, Norway)

In the present-day world there are few people who reject the phenomenon of globalization. The world is becoming more and more global in the sense that people of various cultures start to communicate more freely. Furthermore there are means to communicate thoughts and ideas across cultures such as television, the internet and so on. Even though it is so common to believe that knowledge, experience, science are capable of transcending all cultural differences, many people lessen the importance of those barriers and oftentimes disregarding their existence.

All cultures have a set of beliefs that institute the code of values ​​and moral laws for that particular culture. In Asia for example people were exposed to certain social phenomena and inevitably adopted certain beliefs that now determine their behavior as a separate culture. In other countries people share different beliefs and values ​​due to a variety of factors. Religion is one of the most important factors that shape the society in terms of its cultural beliefs and traditions. Another important component is history that can tell us about the events of the past that might have had some influence on the further development of people in that particular country.

Cultural differences present a very interesting social phenomenon to study and understand. There are cultures that share very similar values ​​and traditions and there are cultures that have very different beliefs. In the confines of this paper, I will focus my attention on the differences between Chinese and American cultures that in my opinion present very good examples for this study. There are myriad differences in all aspects of social activity and there are probably more differences than similarities in these two cultures.

To study a particular culture is to actually study the people and their behavior from a sociological perspective. It is very important to construct a working definition of a culture. Culture is a set of social norms, traditions, beliefs and values ​​shared by a large group of people. Individuals who belong to that group can be considered a culture. By the same token, they can be called a society because at this point there is not much difference between the two notions. A society is literally a group of people that share that particular set of beliefs, values ​​and so on, whereas the word culture has slightly different connotations. A particular culture may as well be share by more than one nation whereas the word society is usually applicable to the nation that inhabits a particular country. There are slight differences between these two terms but most sociologists and anthropologists use them interchangeably.

In other words, a culture is a set of beliefs or a particular ideology that a society shares. It is very interesting to understand how people develop a culture because it seems to be a purely social phenomenon developed by a group of people and then spread among others individuals who somehow relate to that particular group.

As an example, communist countries have very different cultures. They vividly illustrate how a group of people can influence a culture. China was not always a communist country. Long before communists came to power the population of the country shared a different ideology. The communist government directly influenced the country's culture by the means of propaganda, the education system, television etc. Subsequently, the next generation is going to absorb the culture modified by communism whereas the previous generation is not so likely to accept it. However, even though communists altered people's views and beliefs they could not completely eradicate most of the traditions shared by the society (Henry Rosemont, 1981).

There are many numerous differences between human beings and animals. Even though humans as well as animals are very complex creatures that have very complicated biological and chemical processes going on in their bodies, humans are more complex creatures because there is a great deal of social interaction that implies relationships, mental processes, human behavior, etc . Social sciences are several related fields that basically study the interaction among human beings. This field is very broad because the social activities that human beings involve in are so numerous that it would be hard to expound all the phenomena that can not be explained by natural sciences in one discipline.

The social sciences include anthropology, sociology, political science, economics, law, psychology, criminology and social psychology. All these sciences are very important because they make an attempt to explain why people act that way they do, why they interact with others, and why they form a global society. Actually these disciplines cover a lot more social issues that directly relate to the behavior of people. The difference between the social sciences and the natural sciences lies in the fact that the natural sciences like physics, mathematics, biology and chemistry study the processes and objects that can be physically measures in terms of weight, speed, or other measurements. Social sciences deal with more subtle social processes and phenomena that can not be measured exactly but can only be pondered and theorized about (Encyclopedia Britannica).

Anthropology is a very diverse and broad discipline that primarily deals with questions like what people think, what they do, why they interact with each other, and how they evolved over the course of time. Mostly, anthropologists deal with very basic questions but it is the simplicity that gives way to more complex phenomena. This discipline also studies how people can adopt to various cultural environments and how the cultures were formed. Ultimately, the purpose of this science is to understand the human life. Anthropology contains three main components that are employed by scientists to unravel the mysteries of the human race. They are society, culture, and evolution. Society and culture are the terms that are often confused and used interchangeably.

The basic definition of society can be found in biology where a herd of horses for example is referred to as society. However, society in the anthropological sense is used in reference to humans who can form a society of several billions of people who share the same culture. Culture, on the other hand, is a set of rules, customs, traditions that people live in accordance with. A society that shares the same set of social rules that can be called a culture. Therefore, there is very subtle difference between the two terms and most of the time they can be used interchangeably due to the great deal of similarity. There are several elements that institute a culture.

First of all, people who form a culture speak the same language, and employ other means of communicating complex ideas such as art, literature, cinema, etc. Thus a culture can be passed from generation to generation. Evolution is a radically different approach and it aims at the evolution of human beings over time. There are numerous theories that try to examine the process of evolution but most of them are questionable. As a separate discipline of anthropology consists of several fields that include cultural anthropology that studies the elements that institute a culture and what role cultures play in the world today; linguistic anthropology that focuses on the role of the language in the society; archaeology that studies the ancient societies, the cultures of the past and the effect they have on the present-day world; and physical anthropology that focuses on the evolution of human beings in terms of biological and physiological aspects.

Physical anthropology is similar to archaeology in the sense that both study the evolution. However, physical anthropology focuses on the physical changes that presumably occurred in the human bodies over time whereas archeology emphasizes the cultural aspects of evolution. As you can see, anthropology is a very broad field and it is closely related to some other social disciplines (Encyclopedia Britannica).

Another very important component that I believe influences the formation of a particular culture is mythology that relates to the people of that culture. Mythology is essentially a set of myths that originated in a culture and were spread around by people. Thereafter, this set of myths became traditions and cultural beliefs that are share by the people of that culture. A myth can be classified as a narrative or a tale that has been passed from one generation to another by word of mouth. This process of retelling keeps going up to the point when it is hard to distinguish between a tale and a true story.

Myths usually get accepted by the culture as a custom or a tradition and when this happens it is hard to tell a myth from reality. Most of the time, people involuntarily believe that the myths that happened to originate a long time ago set the foundation of their culture (E. Evans, 1983). Myths are universal, occurring in almost all cultures. They typically date from a time before the introduction of writing, when they were passed orally from one generation to the next. Myths deal with basic questions about the nature of the world and human experience, and because of their all-encompassing nature, myths can illuminate many aspects of a culture. Although it is difficult to draw rigid distinctions among various types of traditional tales, people who study mythology find it useful to categorize them.

The three most common types of tales are sagas, legends, and folktales. When a tale is based on a great historical (or presumably historical) event, it is generally known as a saga. Despite a saga's basis in very distant historical events, its dramatic structure and characters are the product of storytellers' imaginations. A legend is a fictional story associated with a historical person or place. Legends often provides examples of the virtues of honored figures in the history of a group or nation. The traditional American story about young George Washington and the cherry tree – in which he could not lie about chopping it down – is best described as a legend, because George Washington is a historical figure but the story about the cherry tree is recognized today as fictional. Folktales, a third variety of traditional tale, are usually simple narratives of adventure built around elements of character and plot – for example, the young man who slays a monster and wins the hand of a princess. Folktales may contain a moral or observation about life, but their chief purpose is entertainment (E. Evans, 1983).

Myths may include features of sagas, legends, and folktales. What makes one of these tales a myth is its serious purpose and its importance to the culture. Experts typically define a myth as a story that has complying drama and deals with basic elements and assumptions of a culture. Myths explain, for example, how the world began; how humans and animals came into being; how certain customs, gestures, or forms of human activity originated; and how the divine and human worlds interact. Many myths take place at a time before the world as human beings know it came into being. Because myth-making often involves gods, other supernatural creatures, and processes beyond human understanding, some scholars have viewed it as a dimension of religion. However, many myths address topics that are not typically considered religious – for example, why features of the landscape take a certain shape (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2002, Deluxe Edition).

The key character of Chinese mythology is monkey. He is a god-hero who is the cornerstone of ancient China's mythology (Henry Rosemont, 1981). Based on what is said in the legends, monkey was born from a stone egg that was created from a rock as old as time and included the essence of the Earth and Heaven. Monkey was endowed with a magical staff that could shrink or grow to any size. Also this hero had other magical abilities. For example there is a famous picture in Chinese mythology where the monkey creates an army out of his fur blowing it into the air.

Subsequently, this clever creature creates a monkey warrior out of every single hair. Monkey defied the supreme god of Chinese mythology, the Jade Emperor, with his own claim as high god. To appease the mischievous Monkey, the Jade Emperor proclaimed him King of Heaven, concealing the fact that he had only made him a heavenly stable keeper. Monkey discovered this deception and, enraged, returned to Earth to wreak havoc. The Jade Emperor entreated Buddha for help. Buddha dropped a mountain on Monkey, and Monkey remained benefit it for 500 years. On his journey from China to India to retrieve Buddhist scriptures, the monk Tripitaka unearthed Monkey, who became tripitaka's escort and disciple. With two other companions, Piggy and Sandy, both exempts of the Heavenly Court reborn in monstrous bodies, Monkey accompanied the monk for 14 years, covering nine kingdoms and encountering numerous fantastic adventures. After introducing the scriptures Tripitaka had obtained in India to the Chinese emperor in the imperial capital of Chang-an, the four travelers were borne up to heaven. Monkey, with his irrepressible spirit and countless magic tricks, is generally regarded as a personification of the nature of genius (Encyclopedia Britannica).

Culture is basically the patterns of behavior and thinking that people living in social groups learn, create, and share. Culture identifies one human group from others. It also identifies humans from other animals. A people's culture includes their beliefs, rules of behavior, language, rituals, art, technology, styles of dress, ways of producing and cooking food, religion, and political and economic systems (E. Evans, 1983). Culture is the most important concept in anthropology – the study of all aspects of human life, past and present. Anthropologists commonly use the term culture to refer to a society or group in which many or all people live and think in the same ways.

Likewise, any group of people who share a common culture – and in particular, common rules of behavior and a basic form of social organization – constituents a society. Thus, the terms culture and society are somewhat interchangeable. However, while many animals live in societies, such as herds of elk or packs of wild dogs, only humans have culture. Culture developed together with the evolution of the human species, Homo sapiens, and is closely related to human biology. The ability of people to have culture comes in large part from their physical features: having big, complex brains; an upright post; free hands that can grasp and manipulate small objects; and a vocal tract that can produce and articulate a wide range of sounds (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2002 Deluxe Edition). These distinctively human physical features began to develop in African ancestors of humans more than four million years ago.

The earliest physical evidence of culture is crude stone tools produced in East Africa over two million years ago. People have culture primarily because they can communicate with and understand symbols. Symbols allow people to develop complex thoughts and to exchange those thoughts with others. Language and other forms of symbolic communication, such as art, enable people to create, explain, and record new ideas and information. Symbols allow people to develop complex thoughts and exchange those thoughts with others (E. Evans, 1983). A symbol has either an indirect connection or no connection at all with the object, idea, feeling, or behavior to which it reiterates.

For instance, most people in the United States find some meaning in the combination of the colors red, white, and blue. But those colors themselves have nothing to do with, for instance, the land that people call the United States, the concept of patriotism, or the US national anthem, The Star Spangled Banner. To convey new ideas, people constantly invent new symbols, such as for mathematical formulas (E. Evans, 1983). In addition, people may use one symbol, such as a single word, to represent many different ideas, feelings, or values. Thus, symbols provide a flexible way for people to communicate even very complex thoughts with each other. For example, only through symbols can architects, engineers, and construction workers communicate the information necessary to construct a skyscraper or bridge. People have the capacity at birth to construct, understand, and communicate through symbols, primarily by using language.

Research has shown, for example, that infants have a basic structure of language – a sort of universal grammar – built into their minds. Infants are thus predisposed to learn the languages ​​spoken by the people around them. Language provides a means to store, process, and communicate amounts of information that vastly exceeds the capacities of nonhuman animals. For instance, chimpanzees, the closest genetic relatives of humans, use a few dozen calls and a variety of gestures to communicate in the wild. People have taught some chimps to communicate using American Sign language and picture-based languages, and some have developed vocabularies of a few hundred words. But an unabridged English dictionary may contain more than half-a-million vocabulary entries. Chimpanzees have also not clearly demonstrated the ability to use grammar, which is crucial for communicating complex thoughts. In addition, the human vocal tract, unlike that of chimpanzees and other animals, can create and articulate a wide enough variety of sounds to create millions of distinct words.

In fact, each human language uses only a fraction of the sounds humans can make. The human brain also contains areas dedicated to the production and interpretation of speech, which other animals lack. Thus, humans are predisposed in many ways to use symbolic communication. People are not born with culture; they have to learn it. For instance, people must learn to speak and understand a language and to abide by the rules of a society. In many societies, all people must learn to produce and prepare food and to construct shelters. In other societies, people must learn a skill to earn money, which they then use to provide for themselves. In all human societies, children learn culture from adults.

Anthropologists call this process enculturation, or cultural transmission. Enculturation is a long process. Just learning the intricacies of a human language, a major part of enculturation, takes many years. Families commonly protect and enculturate children in the households of their birth for 15 years or more (Encyclopedia Britannica). Only at this point can children leave and establish their own households. People also continue to learn through their lifetimes. Thus, most societies respect their elders, who have learned for an entire lifetime. Humans are not alone in their ability to learn behaviors, only in the amount and complexity of what they can learn.

For example, members of a group of chimpanzees may learn to use a unique source of food or to fashion some simple tools, behaviors that may distinguish them from other chimpanzee groups. But These unique ways of life are minor in comparison to the rich cultures that distinguish different human societies. Missing speech, chimps are very limited in what they can learn, communicate to others, and pass on from generation to generation.

People living together in a society share culture. For example, almost all people living in the United States share the English language, dress in similar styles, eat many of the same foods, and celebrate many of the same holidays. All the people of a society collectively create and maintain culture. Societies preserve culture for much longer than the life of any one person. They reserve it in the form of knowledge, such as scientific discoveries; objects, such as works of art; and traditions, such as the observation of holidays.

As it was pointed out mythology plays a vital role in the development of a culture. The tales and sagas that originated in a particular culture are adopted as beliefs and traditions that in turn form a cultural foundation that people adhere to. It is not only traditions that determine a cultural barrier that interferes with the mutual understanding among cultures. People in China were able to develop different traditions and customs partly because they inhabited a different geographical area and were not influenced by the American culture. There are things that can only be understood by people who live in a particular area. Furthermore when the representatives of a particular culture confront people from another culture there is a great deal of misunderstanding between them. Using the sociological terminology, it can be classified as a cultural clash. Such a cultural clash happens whenever people from two different cultures attempt to communicate an idea not taking into account the cultural differences that exist between them.

Bibliography
Chinese Language, Chinese Philosophy, and Truth. Journal of Asian Studies 44: 3 (May 1985), p. 491-519

Encyclopedia Britannica 2002 Deluxe Edition.

Edward Evans. Understanding and interpreting cultures. New York: Random House, 1983.

Henry Rosemont. Studies in Classical Chinese Thought. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1981.

Lisa A. Raphals. Sharing the Light: Representations of Women and Virtue in Early China. Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 1998.

16 Most Inspiring Famous Failures

Belem Tower

To succeed in business or life, I came to realize that we must continually take remedial actions. Putting myself on the line day after day can be extremely draining, especially when things do not work out as I desired. Hence, each time I face a disappointing event or undesirable outcome, I NEVER FORGET these famous failures:

1. Bill Gates, founder and chairman of Microsoft, has literally changed the work culture of the world in the 21st century, by simplifying the way computer is being used. He happens to be the world’s richest man for the last one decade. However, in the 70’s before starting out, he was a Harvard University dropout. The most ironic part is that, he started a software company (that was soon to become Microsoft) by purchasing the software technology from “someone” for only $US50 back then.

2. Abraham Lincoln, received no more than 5 years of formal education throughout his lifetime. When he grew up, he joined politics and had 12 major failures before he was elected the 16th President of the United States of America.

3. Isaac Newton was the greatest English mathematician of his generation. His work on optics and gravitation made him one of the greatest scientists the world has even known. Many thought that Isaac was born a genius, but he wasn’t! When he was young, he did very poorly in grade school, so poor that his teachers became clueless in improving his grades.

4. Ludwig van Beethoven, a German composer of classical music, is widely regarded as one of history’s supreme composers. His reputation has inspired – and in many cases intimidated – composers, musicians, and audiences who were to come after him. Before the start of his career, Beethoven’s music teacher once said of him “as a composer, he is hopeless”. And during his career, he lost his hearing yet he managed to produce great music – a deaf man composing music, ironic isn’t!

5. Thomas Edison who developed many devices which greatly influenced life in the 20th century. Edison is considered one of the most prolific inventors in history, holding 1,093 U.S patents to his name. When he was a boy his teacher told him he was too stupid to learn anything. When he set out on his own, he tried more than 9,000 experiments before he created the first successful light bulb.

6. The Woolworth Company was a retail company that was one of the original five-and-ten-cent stores. The first Woolworth’s store was founded in 1878 by Frank Winfield Woolworth and soon grew to become one of the largest retail chains in the world in the 20th century. Before starting his own business, Woolworth got a job in a dry goods store when he was 21. But his employer would not let him serve any customer because he concluded that Frank “didn’t have enough common sense to serve the customers”.

7. By acclamation, Michael Jordon is the greatest basketball player of all time. A phenomenal athlete with a unique combination of grace, speed, power, artistry, improvisational ability and an unquenchable competitive desire. Jordan single-handedly redefined the NBA superstar. Before joining NBA, Jordan was just an ordinary person, so ordinary that was cut from high school basketball team because of his “lack of skill”.

8. Walter Disney was American film producer, director, screenwriter, voice actor, and animator. One of the most well-known motion picture producers in the world, Disney founded a production company. The corporation, now known as The Walt Disney company, makes average revenue of US $30 billion annually. Disney started his own business from his home garage and his very first cartoon production went bankrupt. During his first press conference, a newspaper editor ridiculed Walt Disney because he had no good ideas in film production.

9. Winston Churchill failed the 6th grade. However, that never stopped him to work harder! He strived and eventually became the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. Churchill is generally regarded as one of the most important leaders in Britain and world history. In a poll conducted by the BBC in 2002 to identify the “100 Greatest Britons”, participants voted Churchill as the most important of all.

10. Steven Spielberg is an American film director. He has won 3 Academy Awards an ranks among the most successful filmmakers in history. Most of all, Steven was recognized as the financially most successful motion picture director of all time. During his childhood, Spielberg dropped out of junior high school. He was persuaded to come back and was placed in a learning-disabled class. He only lasted a month and then dropped out of school forever.

11. Albert Einstein was a theoretical physicist widely regarded as the most important scientist of the 20th century. He was awarded the 1921 Nobel Prize for Physics for his explanation of the photoelectric effect in 1905 and “for his services to Theoretical Physics”. However, when Einstein was young, his parents thought he was mentally retarded. His grades in school were so poor that a teacher asked him to quit, saying, “Einstein, you will never amount to anything!”

12. In 1947, one year into her contract, Marilyn Monroe was dropped by 20th Century-Fox because her producer thought she was unattractive and cannot act. That didn’t deter her at all! She kept on going and eventually she was recognized by the public as the 20th century’s most famous movie star, sex symbol and pop icon.

13. John Grisham‘s first novel was rejected by sixteen agents and twelve publishing houses. He went on writing and writing until he became best known as a novelist and author for his works of modern legal drama. The media has coined him as one of the best novel authors even alive in the 21st century.

14. Henry Ford‘s first two automobile companies failed. That did not stop him from incorporating Ford Motor Company and being the first to apply assembly line manufacturing to the production of affordable automobiles in the world. He not only revolutionized industrial production in the United States and Europe, but also had such influence over the 20th century economy and society. His combination of mass production, high wages and low prices to consumers has initiated a management school known as “Fordism”. He became one of the three most famous and richest men in the world during his time.

15. Soichiro Honda was turned down by Toyota Motor Corporation during a job interview as “engineer” after World War Two. He continued to be jobless until his neighbors starting buying his “home-made scooters”. Subsequently, he set out on his own to start his own company. Honda. Today, the Company has grown to become the world’s largest motorcycle manufacturer and one of the most profitable automakers – beating giant automaker such as GM and Chrysler. With a global network of 437 subsidiaries, Honda develops, manufactures, and markets a wide variety of products ranging from small general-purpose engines and scooters to specialty sports cars.

16. Akio Morita, founder of giant electric household products, Sony Corporation, first product was an electric rice cooker, only sold 100 cookers (because it burned rice rather than cooking). Today, Sony is generating US$66 billion in revenue and ranked as the world’s 6th largest electronic and electrical company.

Collectible Screen Plays – Film Scripts Worth a Fortune

Sissinghurst Castle and Garden - As Beautiful Without as They Are Within!

In the world of ephemera looks can be deceiving. To an untrained eye a scruffy pile of paper may actually be the building blocks of a Hollywood blockbuster like Quentin Tarantino’s star studded Pulp Fiction – a document worth $950.

Movie scripts or screenplays can become very valuable and highly sought after in the collector markets, while many others can be bought relatively cheaply. Like book collecting, there are key factors in knowing if you have a treasure on your hands.

To learn more about film scripts we talked to Dan Gregory, a bookselling expert from Between the Covers in Merchantville, New Jersey. Between the Covers is one of the leading sellers of screenplays and film ephemera in North America.

Screenplays appeal to all of those who love cinema, but also to bookish types too. “Book collectors who also love movies often find film scripts and screenplays interesting additions to their collections,” says Dan. Though the exact reason for collecting can differ from collector to collector or even script to script. “For some they [the scripts] are an artifact which recalls the experience of watching a classic movie. For others, they show the inner workings of the filmmaking process and the decisions which went into the making of the movie. Regardless of why they appeal to you as a collector, filmscripts can be pleasant addendums to your book collection, or the starting point for a comprehensive collection of film material.”

Many aspects of collecting screenplays and collecting books are similar, but there are some key differences one must be aware of when acquiring screenplays.

First, the condition of a screenplay is less of an issue for most collectors. “Condition, one factor which is usually critical for book values, is less important for film scripts because of their limited and fragile productions, and because all copies were intended for daily use. The chances of finding a “better” copy of a script are much more limited than for a book.”

The value of a script, like that of a book or most other commodities, depends on supply and demand. “A script for a classic movie loved by millions is always going to cost more than a script for a little known picture watched only by film historians and aficionados.” In other words a copy of the 1943 Ernst Lubitsch-directed classic Heaven Can Wait ($1200) about a would-be sinner (Don Ameche) not quite bad enough to get into Hell, which was nominated for three Oscars will understandably garner a higher price then the 1981 Tom Cruise and Sean Penn film Taps ($200) where a group of military cadets seize their campus to prevent a land developer from turning it into condos.

However just because a film is only remembered by aficionados doesn’t mean it’s worthless because as Dan says “many of the people who collect scripts ARE film aficionados.” Sometimes any scripts from a popular director or actor will be worth a handsome sum even if the film is not very known or popular. “This is particularly true because of the predictable availability of film scripts, a collector hoping to buy a well known book can usually find a copy if he or she is patient. Collectors hoping for a particular film script may never have the opportunity to purchase a copy, no matter how long they wait or how much they are willing to spend.” A good example might be with Alfred Hitchcock’s The Paradine Case (a courtroom drama where a woman is accused of poisoning her older, blind husband). Generally not considered one of Hitchcock’s best films yet it still fetches a high price at $6000 because of the director’s notoriety.

Signatures can also effect the value of screenplays but there is greater room for variance in the screenplay market. With a book the only signatures that usually appear are that of the author and possibly illustrator. With a film, however, there are many more people visibly involved in the production (ie: writer, director and an entire cast). “Right now we have the script [at Between the Covers] for the 1938 film Man About Town ($8500), it’s not a famous film; you would have to be a real film buff to have heard of it. But this copy of the script is signed by many of the actors including Jack Benny, Dorothy Lamour, Betty Grable, and others. That collection of autographs from well-remembered Hollywood legends turns a not particularly desirable script into a very desirable one.”

Sometimes you don’t even need the signature to make the script valuable, “scripts sometimes have the name of the actor, screenwriter, or production person that copy was intended for either printed or written on them, and this too can add both to the provenance and the value.” This copy of The Highlander has the price tag of $750 because it was believed to have belonged to Sean Connery. And then sometimes it’s not who signed it or who it was for but what was done to it that makes the script valuable. “Notations by someone involved in the production, not unlike notations in an uncorrected proof of a book, can also enhance the value.”

With screenplays, it is not always the first edition which will fetch the highest price. “The number [of copies] can vary from a few dozen to several dozen (of the same film but in various states), depending on the needs of the production.” These different states can be worth different amounts depending on how many of that specific state were produced, such as with these two copies of “The Shop around the Corner.” The James Stewart and Margaret Sullivan film which was remade in 1998 by Nora Ephron as You’ve Got Mail with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. Depending on which version you have it could go for $2000 to $2500. It all comes back to the number of copies that were produced, or more importantly on the market demand. “Screen treatments or screenplays which do not get produced, or are in their very early drafts, often exist in only a handful of copies since only a few individuals need to read them.” You don’t always know how many copies of each script are out there but sometimes studio’s letter or number their scripts so you will know the exact number produced such as with Marlon Brando’s personal copy of the Viva Zapata! (for a whopping $12,500), however numbered or not you have a very rare item with a screenplay.

With filmscripts, as with books, you don’t always need to spend a lot to get something interesting, but if you’re willing to spend top dollar the sky is the limit for what you can find.

On the lower end of the scale you can buy in on a copy of Universal Pictures turkey of a film Howard the Duck for $75 or the George Romero zombie “classic” Night of the Living Dead for about $30.

Stepping it up a notch you can have the pair of cult classics Gremlins I & II for $400, the Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster psychological thriller Silence of the Lambs for $150, or arguably the best Star Trek film to have been made Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan for $600.

And if you are willing to put up a bit more money you can get your hands on a piece of history: Oliver Stone’s JFK ($1250), perhaps Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (priced at $2001 of course) or Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather ($12,500)

Of course we had to ask Mr. Gregory what the most valuable script he had ever sold was?

He said it was Gone with the Wind which sold for $9500.

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Collectible Screen Plays – Film Scripts Worth a Fortune

Lluent.

In the world of ephemera looks can be deceiving. To an untrained eye a scruffy pile of paper may actually be the building blocks of a Hollywood blockbuster like Quentin Tarantino’s star studded Pulp Fiction – a document worth $950.

Movie scripts or screenplays can become very valuable and highly sought after in the collector markets, while many others can be bought relatively cheaply. Like book collecting, there are key factors in knowing if you have a treasure on your hands.

To learn more about film scripts we talked to Dan Gregory, a bookselling expert from Between the Covers in Merchantville, New Jersey. Between the Covers is one of the leading sellers of screenplays and film ephemera in North America.

Screenplays appeal to all of those who love cinema, but also to bookish types too. “Book collectors who also love movies often find film scripts and screenplays interesting additions to their collections,” says Dan. Though the exact reason for collecting can differ from collector to collector or even script to script. “For some they [the scripts] are an artifact which recalls the experience of watching a classic movie. For others, they show the inner workings of the filmmaking process and the decisions which went into the making of the movie. Regardless of why they appeal to you as a collector, filmscripts can be pleasant addendums to your book collection, or the starting point for a comprehensive collection of film material.”

Many aspects of collecting screenplays and collecting books are similar, but there are some key differences one must be aware of when acquiring screenplays.

First, the condition of a screenplay is less of an issue for most collectors. “Condition, one factor which is usually critical for book values, is less important for film scripts because of their limited and fragile productions, and because all copies were intended for daily use. The chances of finding a “better” copy of a script are much more limited than for a book.”

The value of a script, like that of a book or most other commodities, depends on supply and demand. “A script for a classic movie loved by millions is always going to cost more than a script for a little known picture watched only by film historians and aficionados.” In other words a copy of the 1943 Ernst Lubitsch-directed classic Heaven Can Wait ($1200) about a would-be sinner (Don Ameche) not quite bad enough to get into Hell, which was nominated for three Oscars will understandably garner a higher price then the 1981 Tom Cruise and Sean Penn film Taps ($200) where a group of military cadets seize their campus to prevent a land developer from turning it into condos.

However just because a film is only remembered by aficionados doesn’t mean it’s worthless because as Dan says “many of the people who collect scripts ARE film aficionados.” Sometimes any scripts from a popular director or actor will be worth a handsome sum even if the film is not very known or popular. “This is particularly true because of the predictable availability of film scripts, a collector hoping to buy a well known book can usually find a copy if he or she is patient. Collectors hoping for a particular film script may never have the opportunity to purchase a copy, no matter how long they wait or how much they are willing to spend.” A good example might be with Alfred Hitchcock’s The Paradine Case (a courtroom drama where a woman is accused of poisoning her older, blind husband). Generally not considered one of Hitchcock’s best films yet it still fetches a high price at $6000 because of the director’s notoriety.

Signatures can also effect the value of screenplays but there is greater room for variance in the screenplay market. With a book the only signatures that usually appear are that of the author and possibly illustrator. With a film, however, there are many more people visibly involved in the production (ie: writer, director and an entire cast). “Right now we have the script [at Between the Covers] for the 1938 film Man About Town ($8500), it’s not a famous film; you would have to be a real film buff to have heard of it. But this copy of the script is signed by many of the actors including Jack Benny, Dorothy Lamour, Betty Grable, and others. That collection of autographs from well-remembered Hollywood legends turns a not particularly desirable script into a very desirable one.”

Sometimes you don’t even need the signature to make the script valuable, “scripts sometimes have the name of the actor, screenwriter, or production person that copy was intended for either printed or written on them, and this too can add both to the provenance and the value.” This copy of The Highlander has the price tag of $750 because it was believed to have belonged to Sean Connery. And then sometimes it’s not who signed it or who it was for but what was done to it that makes the script valuable. “Notations by someone involved in the production, not unlike notations in an uncorrected proof of a book, can also enhance the value.”

With screenplays, it is not always the first edition which will fetch the highest price. “The number [of copies] can vary from a few dozen to several dozen (of the same film but in various states), depending on the needs of the production.” These different states can be worth different amounts depending on how many of that specific state were produced, such as with these two copies of “The Shop around the Corner.” The James Stewart and Margaret Sullivan film which was remade in 1998 by Nora Ephron as You’ve Got Mail with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. Depending on which version you have it could go for $2000 to $2500. It all comes back to the number of copies that were produced, or more importantly on the market demand. “Screen treatments or screenplays which do not get produced, or are in their very early drafts, often exist in only a handful of copies since only a few individuals need to read them.” You don’t always know how many copies of each script are out there but sometimes studio’s letter or number their scripts so you will know the exact number produced such as with Marlon Brando’s personal copy of the Viva Zapata! (for a whopping $12,500), however numbered or not you have a very rare item with a screenplay.

With filmscripts, as with books, you don’t always need to spend a lot to get something interesting, but if you’re willing to spend top dollar the sky is the limit for what you can find.

On the lower end of the scale you can buy in on a copy of Universal Pictures turkey of a film Howard the Duck for $75 or the George Romero zombie “classic” Night of the Living Dead for about $30.

Stepping it up a notch you can have the pair of cult classics Gremlins I & II for $400, the Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster psychological thriller Silence of the Lambs for $150, or arguably the best Star Trek film to have been made Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan for $600.

And if you are willing to put up a bit more money you can get your hands on a piece of history: Oliver Stone’s JFK ($1250), perhaps Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (priced at $2001 of course) or Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather ($12,500)

Of course we had to ask Mr. Gregory what the most valuable script he had ever sold was?

He said it was Gone with the Wind which sold for $9500.

Collectible Screen Plays – Film Scripts Worth a Fortune

Δελφοί Ναός του Απόλλωνος Delfi Temble of Apollo

In the world of ephemera looks can be deceiving. To an untrained eye a scruffy pile of paper may actually be the building blocks of a Hollywood blockbuster like Quentin Tarantino’s star studded Pulp Fiction – a document worth $950.

Movie scripts or screenplays can become very valuable and highly sought after in the collector markets, while many others can be bought relatively cheaply. Like book collecting, there are key factors in knowing if you have a treasure on your hands.

To learn more about film scripts we talked to Dan Gregory, a bookselling expert from Between the Covers in Merchantville, New Jersey. Between the Covers is one of the leading sellers of screenplays and film ephemera in North America.

Screenplays appeal to all of those who love cinema, but also to bookish types too. “Book collectors who also love movies often find film scripts and screenplays interesting additions to their collections,” says Dan. Though the exact reason for collecting can differ from collector to collector or even script to script. “For some they [the scripts] are an artifact which recalls the experience of watching a classic movie. For others, they show the inner workings of the filmmaking process and the decisions which went into the making of the movie. Regardless of why they appeal to you as a collector, filmscripts can be pleasant addendums to your book collection, or the starting point for a comprehensive collection of film material.”

Many aspects of collecting screenplays and collecting books are similar, but there are some key differences one must be aware of when acquiring screenplays.

First, the condition of a screenplay is less of an issue for most collectors. “Condition, one factor which is usually critical for book values, is less important for film scripts because of their limited and fragile productions, and because all copies were intended for daily use. The chances of finding a “better” copy of a script are much more limited than for a book.”

The value of a script, like that of a book or most other commodities, depends on supply and demand. “A script for a classic movie loved by millions is always going to cost more than a script for a little known picture watched only by film historians and aficionados.” In other words a copy of the 1943 Ernst Lubitsch-directed classic Heaven Can Wait ($1200) about a would-be sinner (Don Ameche) not quite bad enough to get into Hell, which was nominated for three Oscars will understandably garner a higher price then the 1981 Tom Cruise and Sean Penn film Taps ($200) where a group of military cadets seize their campus to prevent a land developer from turning it into condos.

However just because a film is only remembered by aficionados doesn’t mean it’s worthless because as Dan says “many of the people who collect scripts ARE film aficionados.” Sometimes any scripts from a popular director or actor will be worth a handsome sum even if the film is not very known or popular. “This is particularly true because of the predictable availability of film scripts, a collector hoping to buy a well known book can usually find a copy if he or she is patient. Collectors hoping for a particular film script may never have the opportunity to purchase a copy, no matter how long they wait or how much they are willing to spend.” A good example might be with Alfred Hitchcock’s The Paradine Case (a courtroom drama where a woman is accused of poisoning her older, blind husband). Generally not considered one of Hitchcock’s best films yet it still fetches a high price at $6000 because of the director’s notoriety.

Signatures can also effect the value of screenplays but there is greater room for variance in the screenplay market. With a book the only signatures that usually appear are that of the author and possibly illustrator. With a film, however, there are many more people visibly involved in the production (ie: writer, director and an entire cast). “Right now we have the script [at Between the Covers] for the 1938 film Man About Town ($8500), it’s not a famous film; you would have to be a real film buff to have heard of it. But this copy of the script is signed by many of the actors including Jack Benny, Dorothy Lamour, Betty Grable, and others. That collection of autographs from well-remembered Hollywood legends turns a not particularly desirable script into a very desirable one.”

Sometimes you don’t even need the signature to make the script valuable, “scripts sometimes have the name of the actor, screenwriter, or production person that copy was intended for either printed or written on them, and this too can add both to the provenance and the value.” This copy of The Highlander has the price tag of $750 because it was believed to have belonged to Sean Connery. And then sometimes it’s not who signed it or who it was for but what was done to it that makes the script valuable. “Notations by someone involved in the production, not unlike notations in an uncorrected proof of a book, can also enhance the value.”

With screenplays, it is not always the first edition which will fetch the highest price. “The number [of copies] can vary from a few dozen to several dozen (of the same film but in various states), depending on the needs of the production.” These different states can be worth different amounts depending on how many of that specific state were produced, such as with these two copies of “The Shop around the Corner.” The James Stewart and Margaret Sullivan film which was remade in 1998 by Nora Ephron as You’ve Got Mail with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. Depending on which version you have it could go for $2000 to $2500. It all comes back to the number of copies that were produced, or more importantly on the market demand. “Screen treatments or screenplays which do not get produced, or are in their very early drafts, often exist in only a handful of copies since only a few individuals need to read them.” You don’t always know how many copies of each script are out there but sometimes studio’s letter or number their scripts so you will know the exact number produced such as with Marlon Brando’s personal copy of the Viva Zapata! (for a whopping $12,500), however numbered or not you have a very rare item with a screenplay.

With filmscripts, as with books, you don’t always need to spend a lot to get something interesting, but if you’re willing to spend top dollar the sky is the limit for what you can find.

On the lower end of the scale you can buy in on a copy of Universal Pictures turkey of a film Howard the Duck for $75 or the George Romero zombie “classic” Night of the Living Dead for about $30.

Stepping it up a notch you can have the pair of cult classics Gremlins I & II for $400, the Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster psychological thriller Silence of the Lambs for $150, or arguably the best Star Trek film to have been made Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan for $600.

And if you are willing to put up a bit more money you can get your hands on a piece of history: Oliver Stone’s JFK ($1250), perhaps Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (priced at $2001 of course) or Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather ($12,500)

Of course we had to ask Mr. Gregory what the most valuable script he had ever sold was?

He said it was Gone with the Wind which sold for $9500.

Literary Analysis – A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings

What do you think of it so far?

In “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” author Gabriel Garcia Marquez weaves the natural with the supernatural in an unexpected yet stimulating way. It leaves the reader with the question, “What would I do if I was confronted with something supernatural right outside my door?” By blending the most mundane and ugly parts of life – from rainy days to selfish crowds – with the miraculous, Marquez effectively uses a creative tone and a unique style to create a story that carries elements of everyday life yet supersedes it. His story invites the reader to look closer at daily events and determine one’s response to the normal and not-quite-normal events that have the power to change a life.

The tone of the story is set in the beginning, with the most natural and unwelcome of occurrences: a sick child in the midst of poor weather. In the first few sentences, Marquez’ writing style immediately grabs the imagination as he writes, “The world had been sad since Tuesday,” describing the drab and inclement weather in detail. In the first paragraph, he brings in magical elements by introducing the surreal character of an old man with enormous wings. Marquez immediately shatters any mindsets the reader has of powerful and holy angels by placing him face down in the mud and unable to extricate himself, “impeded by his enormous wings.”

With a hint of irony, the very objects that should have empowered this man to fly above earth’s elements – his wings – hindered him and brought him unwanted attention. Irony is part of the tone weaved throughout the story. It is seen in the “wise old woman” who determined that the old man with wings was an angel… and then suggested clubbing him to death. It is noticed in the wording that Marquez chose when he stated that the husband and wife “felt magnanimous” when they opted to set the angel afloat on a raft with enough food to last him a few days “and leave him to his fate on the high seas.”

In parts of the story, the author’s tone seems to convey a sense of regret that humanity, as a whole, often fails to appreciate the “magic” that is part of life. Instead of appreciating an experience and living fully in the moment, so many ask, “What’s in it for me?” When the husband and wife, Pelayo and Elisenda, decide to exploit the angel by having the onlookers pay to see him, this sense of selfishness and greed is apparent. Here, again, the reader has the opportunity to imagine what their choice would be if faced with a similar situation. Of course, no angel is going to fall from the skies on a sad and stormy day, but in the daily run of things, how does one use the opportunities presented? Gabriel Garcia Marquez invites the reader to ask questions such as these not through a sermon but in the form of a story.

Using magical realism, Marquez also takes those natural tendencies of humanity and weaves it with supernatural elements, creating scenes that let the reader wonder if perhaps the magic can spread into the world beyond the pages. For instance, the angel is so real that the local priest, Father Gonzaga, notices he’s “much too human.” He smells. Everything about him is opposite of everything one might think of as angelic and holy. But when looking closer, portions of the angel’s character can be glimpsed in the pages. His unending patience is made apparent when he endures mistreatment – being locked up with chickens, pushed around, poked and prodded. He doesn’t fight back. He waits… almost as if he knows it’s only for a time. This, if nothing else, is a sign of the angel’s supernatural origin – his bearing in the midst of trauma. Perhaps in spite of human and unsavory circumstances, the reader, too, can manifest those same attributes of patience and endurance. The tone of the story invites one to think that, yes, it is possible.

Finally, towards the end of the story, the angel’s patience is rewarded. With the dawning of spring, he begins to sprout new feathers in his wings. The setting of the story match the action. The long and dreary winter is over and new life is beginning all around, and within. Like the rest of the angel, those new feathers are unimpressive, “the feathers of a scarecrow, which look more like another misfortune of decrepitude” But they are enough. He looks to the sky, feels the breeze, and begins to fly, slowly at first but rising higher and eventually disappearing over the ocean, beyond the blue.

Elisenda watches from the kitchen and “she kept on watching until it was no longer possible for her to see him, because then he was no longer an annoyance in her life but an imaginary dot on the horizon of the sea.” The strange juxtaposition of her emotions against the clearly supernatural circumstances creates a unique effect. Elisenda is watching an angel take flight – the same angel that provided her and her husband with enough money to build a two-story mansion – and she feels nothing but relief that he is gone. At the end, just as in the beginning, a normal person is confronted with a supernatural event and fails to see it for the amazing happening that it is. Elisenda likely returns to her work, never appreciating the miracle that entered her life unexpectedly and left just as abruptly.

With the tone that the author sets in the ending, the reader is invited to ask, “How many times do I glance up for a moment, see a glimpse of something beyond the ordinary, and look away? How often am I confronted with something truly amazing and fail to see it for what it is because I pause at the question, ‘What’s in it for me?'”

With his use of magical realism, Gabriel Garcia Marquez opens the door to interesting dialogue and invites the reader to not only enter a place of imagination and mystery, but also to look into one’s own thoughts and actions and see how they measure up against the elements – normal and supernatural – of everyday life.

Roaming Fingers – A Story of A Childhood Sexual Molestation

Workshop of the Patanazzi family (active circa 1580-1620),Inkstand with Apollo and the Muses,Maiolica (tin glazed earthenware) 1584

We have all had our “stories” to tell about our lives growing up. Some have had fun loving childhoods in which they had a stay-at-home mom, who had home baked cookies ready for them as soon as they walked in from school, clean clothes ready for the next day, and dinner simmering on the stove. Dads arrived home, everyone sat at the table and enjoyed the delicious meal that mom had prepared, and then while dinner dishes were being cleaned up, the kids could tell their dad about their day. Some had parents that encouraged them, helped them with their homework after supper, and enjoyed spending time with their kids before the next day started. You know, one of those “Leave It To Beaver” type of families. Then there were those who were minus one parents for one reason or another…usually divorce or death. Or what about those that lived with alcoholic or drug addicted parents who weren’t really “parents” at all. Their kids were basically were on their own, raising themselves, fending for themselves, and making the most of bad situations.

I don’t know why I am sharing this right now. I just feel led to let someone out there know that you are not alone! That you can live a normal life. I have been molested by 4 different men between the ages of 8 – 14. But, the LORD GOD Himself, brought me through this all. I have been been redeemed and washed clean by the blood of the Lord. I no longer have to live in life of my molestation taking charge over me any longer.

I was one of those kids who had my own “unique” circumstances when growing up. My parents divorced when I was 7, though my dad moved out when I was 5 ½. I was the oldest of the three of us. We moved to a small town to live closer to my grandparents, my mom’s parents. We moved from the bigger metropolis of Denver, CO, to the small town of Julesburg, CO. At first, when I was younger, I’d made my lifelong friend with the girl who lived across the street from my grandparent’s house. This was the summer before our 2nd grade school year. During the time, our lives seemed somewhat “normal” playing babies, or pretending to be teachers at school, or building ant farms…

But during my lifetime, many things happened that made me who I am today. I cannot begin to tell you what my life was like and do it justice! There are so many more stories I could tell you! For one, we moved and lived in 27 different places from the time I turned 7 – 18. I went to 11 schools in 12 years time. I think that that with us moving so often, I took with me idea that “I better make friends quickly, because sure enough we’d be moving and I’d have to leave.” I believe my sister took the theory that “why bother making friends because we were going to move anyway.” And my brother, well, being a boy, keeping a friend wasn’t that big of a deal, and he made friends fairly easy, but it wasn’t as big an issue for him as it was us girls.

When I was 8, my mom began dating a Japanese farmer in our area, quickly becoming engaged, with the last name of Kinoshita. As you can imagine, the 3 of us kids made quite fun of that name at the time by intentionally pronouncing it, Kin-O-Shit-A. Mean, weren’t we? Well this is the first time that I consider myself being sexually molested. After suppers, my mom would go to the kitchen to wash dishes at his house, and the 3 of us kids and her boyfriend would lie on the floor to watch some TV. Well her fiance’ would use this time to “rub my tummy.” Now I was 8, so needing my tubby rubbed after dinner seemed really weird to me, but I thought, okay, I suppose if this is normal? It made me uncomfortable, but my mom said he was only trying to be nice. Okay, so nice it was…I guess?? But then those tummy rubs, turned into “roaming fingers,” and climbed a little higher and a little higher. Soon my tummy rubs became chest rubs. Now mind you, I had barely started developing, but still had just enough that this made me incredibly uncomfortable! My mom had said that she really wanted this marriage because he was financially well off, and so each night that this went on, I tried to keep myself busy with homework so we didn’t have to lie on the floor and watch TV, but one way or another, he coaxed me in to it, and my mom had told us several times that she didn’t want this relationship messed up by us kids. So, I kept my mouth shut, until one day, on the way home from school, I let it all out to my friend. She went home and talked to her mom. I didn’t know what they were talking about, because her parents only spoke Spanish, so I didn’t think much of it. However, her mom, having heard what was going on, assured me that they were there for me, and that this was something that I had to talk to my mom about right away. So with my friend and her mom both sitting there, I called my mom and told her what had been happening. I don’t know much how was actually said between my mom to her new fiance’, but I do know that she broke up with him. However, my friend’s mom suggested that he be turned in to the police, but my mom said that it was pointless to call the police because “he was so rich that he can own the town, so no one will believe you anyway. It would be his word against yours,” she said. So, life went on as “normal.” Okay, normal as normal could be.

Then my mom found a younger guy who could come over in the mornings and stay with us, when she went to work at 6:00 AM at the truck stop, and he got off at 6:00 AM from working the all night shift there, and would come stay with the three of us kids for the day, as our “babysitter.” Oh he was fun, would make us breakfast, take us to the school or the park to play on the playground, and chase us around the house playing tickle monster. However, when he first got to the house each morning, instead of climbing in to my mom’s empty bed to sleep for a while, he would climb in to my bed with me. Why? Well there were those “roaming fingers” again. Except this time, these fingers roamed up, and then down. I was 9, and he was 21. What did I have at that age that was so enticing anyway?! I hadn’t even started physically developing yet for goodness sake!!! At any rate, this went on for weeks. I told my mom, but she she thought that since I had been through this with her ex-fiance’, then “it must me something I was doing to encourage these guys.” So, though he stopped watching us, I remember wishing him dead. I did. I couldn’t help myself. I just wanted him dead so he could never do something like this again! A couple of months later, while he was working at the electric company, and his partner decided to start drinking some beer on their lunch break. Well Curtis had climbed the pole to work on a specific wire that was causing them trouble, and was electrocuted. He fell from the pole, and his partner, having been drinking, wasn’t functional enough to give him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. I knew it was all my doing! I had prayed and asked for him to die, and he had. You see, it was all my fault…I had wished it, and prayed for that. I just knew it was my fault. I held on to that guilt for many, many years after that. Someone was dead and it was all my fault.

Then, we had a family friend, who we’d been friends with he and his wife for years. In fact, most times, we loved going over to their house. She was like an adopted mom to us kids, and we could convince her husband to come play games with us, read us stories, etc. You should have heard him read one of the Dr. Seuss books backwards! It was a riot! And it was a tongue twister reading it from front to back, let alone reading it back to front! And we used to love tricking him in to asking for Big Macs at Burger King! So, needless to say, we would go over to their house quite often. Usually though, I got the big bed with his wife because we always went to bed much earlier than he did, and he slept on the couch when we stayed, or in the spare bedroom. His wife would usually send me in to wake him when it was time for us all to get up each morning. That’s when those infamous “roaming fingers” would start roaming again. I was between the ages of 10 – 12 during most of this time. But, without telling my mom, (remember how she had decided the last time that I must be the one to enticing these “men,”) that sure enough, it must be something about me, and once again, I was at fault.

Well over time, we’d moved again like we had done numerous other times before, and so we didn’t see them as often as we had before. It was in the beginning of our 8th grade year, so I was in one school there in Jr. High, and suddenly we left CO and headed to good ole’ IA. My mom had broken up with a trucker guy she was dating, a real nutty guy who used to set up candles in a circle in our basement, and call on the spirits from the Mojave Dessert. So, we packed up as soon as we got home from school that day, took only our few very important possessions (and I do mean very few), and our cats, and loaded up a small little U-haul trailer, and off we headed out with no where specific in mind. My mom suggested IA, so off we headed West. We ended up in Council Bluffs and out of money. So, this is where we decided to stay.

Of course, we’d switched schools again, for the umpteenth time, and we started yet another school in Council Bluffs, while we lived in a one room cabin with 2 double beds, one bathroom, a crock pot to cook in and three cats. We started one school, but were the “poor kids” and didn’t fit in well. But, once again, we moved. This time it was a good thing. I was starting in the 9th grade, but at a completely different school. This school was much better, much more acceptable, much less judgmental, and critical, and we weren’t treated as “low class scum” here.

I was finally 14 at this time. My last year before I got to start high school. I was so excited! I was finally growing up, started wearing makeup, fixing my hair, and thinking about the big “B” word…BOYS!!! We were living in a house fairly near the school, so it was in walking distance. My mom was once again working at one of the truck stops nearby. But money was tight, so my mom brought a truck driver home to live with us to help pay the bills. Well this guy was 28. My mom worked the all night shift at the truck stop, and Terry would be home most nights, and on runs during the days for the most part. Well Terry took quite a liking to me immediately. Now mind you, I had just turned 14. My sister and I shared a bedroom, my brother had one to the left of us, and across the hall was Sue’s room (a girl/lady in her early 20s from Indiana), someone that Terry had found hitch hiking one day on his trip out-of-town, and brought to our house to stay with us too. So, that was one more person to help pay the bills. But, to get to the bathroom, we had to walk through a little hallway, and we had to go through Sue’s room to get there. Then to the left was the bathroom, and then to the right was Terry’s bedroom. My mom’s room was on the main floor. In between the bathroom and Terry’s bedroom was a second door. The door locked from Terry’s side of the room, but not from his room into the bathroom. Well at night, once Terry thought all of us kids were asleep in bed, he would come into my room, and once again, night after night, those infamous “roaming fingers” of yet another guy, would start their traveling. He would come in, with a condom on, already ready for whatever I guess he had hopes for. He would ask me to put on something “sexy.” I didn’t have anything “sexy” because I was 14-years-old, and “sexy” was not something I was thinking about at that point in my life. Heck, just getting my makeup to look good in the morning, and curling my hair before school was as “sexy” as it got. His fingers roamed places that I didn’t know existed. I used to pray, “Please Lord, let him think that I’m really asleep and go away tonight.” Or I’d pray, “Please Lord, let my sister wake up so that she’ll make enough noise or something that he’d go away and leave me alone.” He never got to the stage where we actually forced full fledged sex on me, but night after night, we went through this ritual. Night after night he would go back to his room, and I would disgustedly cry myself to sleep. Night after night I wished my sister would please just WAKE UP, just this once. But, she never seemed to, or so I thought, until many years later when I found out that she said that she was afraid to let us know that she was awake, because she was afraid he would come to her next. I can’t blame her for that. I wished I could pretend so he’d leave me alone too, but, that wasn’t the case.

Well one day Sue had asked me to go for a walk with her to talk. So, I did. She started telling me that Terry would come in to her room almost every night and do these “things” to her, ask her to “put on something “sexy,” and his “roaming fingers” would start roaming with her too. That’s when it all came out…I spilled what he had been doing to me as well. I pleaded and pleaded with her not to tell my mom because my mom would say, yet once again, that “it must be something I was doing to entice guys like this.” My fault again. Well Sue, knowing how young I was, ended up telling my mom after all. So, my mom went and confronted Terry. He told her that he did it to me because “He loved me soooooo much that he couldn’t resist wanting to make love to me.” Well my mom told him to pack up and get out of our house. We went to my mom’s friend’s house for a few days while he moved out and because they were one vacation and needed someone to house sit and care for their pets. So, we stayed there 3 nights and 4 days. Once we got back home, Terry was gone, and life seemed to go back to “normal” again. Sue and I felt such great peace having him gone. Then one day, about a week later, my mom said that she had to go to the truck stop because Terry wanted to talk to her about something. So, she left and was gone for several hours. When she came back, she said that Terry had convinced her that he really did do what he had done “because he loved me,” and she said that it was a small price to pay since he offered to help pay even more of the bills we had. So, she let him move back in to our house with us. For the first week or two, he was very polite, pulled out the chairs for me when we would sit down at the table, and insisted on driving me to school so that he could kiss me good-bye each day to “let people know that I was his.” At this point, I tried to convince myself that okay, maybe he did really love me, and that I should be proud and flattered that someone the age of 28 would like me, a 14-year-old teenage girl.

Well a few more weeks went by and things had gone back to the way they were. My mom would go to work all night, and Terry would once again come back in to my room at nights, with condom in hand, and his roaming fingers would once again, starting roaming up and down, up and down. The words he spoke made me sick. And every night, it was was same, I would sickeningly cry myself to sleep because I could no longer deal with this at my age, and I was supposed to be having fun in school, looking forward to my high school years, dances, proms, sports events, etc. But instead, I wouldn’t see a future at all. One day, I had had enough, and could no longer take it! I know my mom wanted and needed the money, but I couldn’t pretend that I was okay anymore. I wasn’t. I wanted to die. Yes, truly die! If it had not been for the Lord putting in my path a certain girl at school, who I quickly became best friends with, and my Science Teacher, whom I will never forget and always be grateful for, I might have ended it there. But, God obviously had other plans for me. Just when I thought that He had left me all alone, He provided me with a friend, and a man who not only was my teacher, but one who genuinely cared about me, who knew that I was going through something terrible at home, who gave me compassion, extra time when I just couldn’t concentrate on my assignments, and someone who could make me laugh. I needed that. It brought back hope to me that ALL men did not just want me for sex. That older men were not all perverts, and that God had put him in my life, as my teacher, just in the nick of time.

Today, by God’s grace, forgiveness, and compassion, I have been forgiven my the blood of the lamb, the Lord Jesus Himself. The person who died on that cross many, many years ago so that I might have life everlasting. The one who pulled me out of the darkness and back in to the light. The one who took away all my hurts and distrusts in men. I thank God that though I had to suffer through those awful times, that I came to learn that it was not my fault that the one guy had been electrocuted and died. That NONE of the things that these four men did to me as a child, were my fault.

To this day, my mother still says, “IF those thing really happened to Kelly, then I guess I should have protected her more.” IF those things happened? IF?!?! There is no question that they happened me! My sister once told her that she knows it to be fact because most times she was in the same bed with me, as we almost always shared a bedroom while growing up. I no longer expect that my mother will ever take any responsibility for what I went through. I know that now. I know that I have to forgive her so that Christ can forgive me for my sins. But it is truly, and only by the Grace of God Himself, that I am still here today. It is my prayer that maybe, just maybe, this testimony will help someone else who has been through something similar, or worse, that there IS hope in Jesus Christ. You are not alone. It is NOT your fault. Give it to HIM, as His shoulders are strong enough to take it from you and let you now walk freely in His love.

*Names of people have been changed to protect those others who were involved.

The Forensics of Signed Celebrity Art

Breathing...

When it comes to art, many professionals in the field of what is considered "great" and "historic" art, believe that signed celebrity art or celebrity art in general, has no place in the world of art. These so-called professionals believe that true artists are only comprised of those who dedicate their own lives to a specific type of art, such as painting or sculpturing. However, if a celebrity crosses over and begins to produce artwork, many professionals will not take them or their work seriously. They will simply believe that the celebrity is simply "dabbling" in art.

This is true of various types of art beyond the world of historic and museum type art. It can even be seen in the field of entertainment. For instance, when a musician attempts to cross over from music into acting, many people raise an eyebrow and will criticize the musician for their acting. They will make bold statements saying that the musician should stick to singing and get away from acting. This has been seen a great deal over the last decade as many rap artists have attempted to cross the boundaries between one creative medium to the next. Very few artists can successfully do both and this has been seen time and time again.

The main reason for this is that people in general will always see an artist in the first vein that they were recognized in. If an individual acquired fame as a singer, not many people want to see them cross over into another field of entertainment or art. They will always forever judge the person or celebrity based on the first thing that they were successful at. This is why there are few individuals and or celebrities who have been successful in more than one creative outlet.

However, the forensics of signed celebrity art, have proven that regardless of the artistic talent of a musician, singer, sports figure, or actor when it concerns them crossing over into painting or creating sculptures, that the individual will succeed in making some type of money. It has also been proved that signed celebrity art will increase in value throughout the years based on the performance of the celebrity in their most well known field of art whether it is acting or musical performances.

Signed celebrity art is increasing in value each and every year. The majority of collectors who purchase or seek after signed celebrity art, are die-hard fans of the celebrity who will do anything to acquire anything and everything created by the celebrity.

Many fans are willing to fork over great deals of money in order to obtain signed artwork created by their favorite celebrity. Fans are very much different than the majority of professional art owners and critics. They are willing to enjoy the many arts of their chosen celebrity. This means that they enjoy the majority of everything that their chosen celebrity produces, and are more willing to give them the benefit of the doubt when they attempted to cross from one medium to another.

The 4 Stages of the Counseling Process: What Every Youth Counselor Should Know

Lake Saiful Muluk

There is a natural progression that takes place within the context of the helping relationship. This process enables you and the person you are working with to build a relationship, assess the situation, set goals and come up with a plan to bring about your desired results. This progression is known as the counseling process. There are four stages of the counseling process. They are: developing a relationship, making an informed assessment, establishing mutually agreed upon goals and objectives and developing an implementation plan.

Phase 1. Developing A Relationship

In order to develop positive helping relationships with youth, you’ve got to be able to connect with them. This can only happen when youth are made to feel like you genuinely care about their well-being and that you understand where they are coming from. It’s about behaving in a way that demonstrates the core conditions of genuineness, respect and empathy.

To develop solid relationships with youth, you need to create a safe environment where young people will feel comfortable enough to open up to you and talk to you about anything that is on their minds. You also need to help youth see that despite their circumstances they have strengths. In short, you should start things off from a strengths-based perspective.

Questions to Consider When Trying to

Develop A Relationship

· In what ways can you build better relationships with the youth in your program?

· If there are youth who are not actively engaged, what can you do differently to engage them?

· If a youth is resistant, what steps can you take to reduce resistance?

· What worked in the past with resistant youth?

· How do you know when you’ve built a solid relationship with a youth? Could you use these indicators to strengthen your relationships with other youth?

Phase 2. Making An Informed Assessment

An informed assessment happens when both you and the youth gather information in order to figure out what’s “really” going on so that you can assess what needs to happen next in order to change the situation for the better or build up the youth’s coping skills to better deal with a problematic situation. The first step in making an assessment is to find out if change is necessary, and if it is what needs to happen for change to take place. If you have determined that change is necessary, then the next step is to figure out what needs to change. Is it a behavior? An attitude? A situation?

A good assessment can provide an opportunity for a young person to see how his/her behavior or attitude might be contributing to an undesirable or unhealthy situation. Assessment is an ongoing process. You need to regularly check in with your youth to see how things are going. Reassessments enable you to ensure that you and the youth are on the right track.

How do you gather information in order to make an informed assessment? You can gather information in a number of ways: talking with youth, observing the youth’s behavior and interactions, discussions with other people who are involved in the young person’s life, and reading any documented information on the young person. Keep in mind that when utilizing someone else’s verbal or written report as a source of background information, you run the risk of subjecting yourself to their biases and assumptions.

Points to Keep In Mind When Making An Assessment

· Be aware of your biases and how they impact on the assessments you make.

· Involve youth in the assessment process.

· Don’t rely on one single source to make an assessment, gather as much information as you can from a variety of sources.

· Don’t automatically label a behavior as dysfunctional because you don’t understand it, or it is not germane to your culture.

· Make sure to point out a young person’s strengths even when addressing problematic behavior.

Phase 3. Establishing Mutually Agreed Upon Goals and Objectives

Why is it important to establish “mutually agreed” upon goals and objectives? Because if a young person is in agreement with the goals then he/she is more likely to follow through on them. When a youth is actively involved in the goal setting process and is in agreement with the goals, then he/she is more inclined to take ownership of the goals. What are goals? Goals are broad statements that identify what you want to accomplish. Think of goals as the end result that you are trying to achieve. While goals are broad statements that identify what you want to accomplish overall, objectives are the measurable steps that you take to achieve your goals. For example if you have a goal that states, “youth will be better able to manage her anger.” One of your objectives might be, “youth will recognize emotional triggers that lead to angry outbursts and use positive, self-talk to calm herself down.” Your objectives should always be concrete and measurable. They should also be derived from the overall goal.

Questions to Consider When Developing

Goals and Objectives

· What do you and the young person want to achieve?

· How are you going to achieve it?

· When do you want to achieve your stated goal?

· What obstacles do you anticipate?

· How will you address these obstacles?

· How will you use to measure and monitor progress?

· Are your goals realistic?

Phase 4. Implementation Plan

The implementation plan is a plan that you and the youth work on together. It is designed to prevent, intervene, or address unhealthy behaviors and practices. The implementation plan identifies who will perform the activities, where the activities will occur, how frequently they will occur, how they will be carried out and when they will be carried out. Implementation activities are designed to help individuals re-think risky behavior, work through problematic issues, address unhealthy lifestyles practices, learn new skills and build strengths. Implementation activities can include: counseling, crisis intervention, training and education, supportive services, concrete services and constructive use of free time.

As you can see, each stage of the counseling process builds upon the former. As you move through each stage, you will come to realize that it takes patience and practice to counsel youth effectively, but if you are committed to the goal you’ll do just fine. You may not feel completely confident in your ability as a counselor, but as you expand your knowledge base, gain more experience and strengthen your helping skills, you will become a more effective counselor.

Copyright © 2006 by Cassandra Mack

Excerpted from Cassandra Mack’s book, “Smart Moves That Successful Youth Workers Make”