Monday, September 08, 2014

More on: Born Again, Again

I am very pleased to have published my first piece with the Guardian, "Born Again, Again."  In that piece I refer to  an e-mail exchange I had with the author of "A Time to Cherish" the wildly successful Born Again Christian YA romance novel, Robin Jones Gunn.

Gunn was warm, helpful and thoughtful in all of her responses to me, and I wanted to include more of our conversation, very little of which made it in to the final piece.  Below are my questions in bold, her responses, which have been edited for length, and my thoughts are in italics.

Christy struggles when her best friend begins to question her faith. What, if anything, were you saying about young girls' frienships?
[...]As I wrote the series I always tried to imagine what a girl like Christy would think or feel when confronted with normal coming of age situations. Friendships are all encompassing during those years. In several of the stories Christy realizes how valuable friends are. She wrestled with keeping her friendships even when her BFF’s no longer agree with her. Relationships are a process and every single one of them requires careful thought and consideration because every life is of great value.
I guess you could say I was trying to communicate to young readers that they have the power to think. Think for themselves. Think things through. Think outside their own experiences, their own culture. Think about what the other person is going through and what they’re thinking. The stories weren’t designed to tell readers what to think. I just wanted them to think and not get rooted in a bias at a young age. A small life is one where you keep out anything or anyone who is different from you. You don’t take risks and you don’t extend grace. You don’t think. You let someone else do all the thinking for you. Christy grew as a character throughout the series because she was forced to think.
 On re-reading "A Time To Cherish" one of things that struck me most potently was just how didactic the book is. Of course, it only strikes me as overtly political because it espouses politics very different from my own.  While Christy herself often struggles with what to say to Katy, her best friend who is dating a non-Christian (he is also a vegetarian, wears Birkenstocks and eats health food, so he's basically a liberal Boogeyman) it is never in question that Katy is playing with fire or that Christy is right to worry about her friend. I'm fascinated that Gunn believes the book promotes free thinking. Perhaps it does promote thinking, but only within the rigid frame of BAC dogma. There's no dialetical conversation happening. 

Monday, May 05, 2014

Champagne Problems

I am not above an actor crush. Not by a long shot. Not by a mile.

You know how it goes:

"Who is that? I'll look him up on IMDB. Oh, he was in that? That was good. I'll just re-watch that really quickly. ...Wow, how did I miss how attractive he was in that? I need to look at some pictures of his attractiveness so I can just affirm how attractive he is. There sure are a lot of pictures of this attractive person. Wait, what else has he been in? Oh, a BBC series?" 

[Ed. Note: Nearly all my crushes been on  BBC series.]

"...I guess I'll just watch that entire series now." 

By the way, that entire interlude usually takes about 30 minutes.

So no, I am not above an actor crush. It's just that sometimes I have the misfortune of actually meeting them.

Friday, September 27, 2013

"I Still Think, Maybe I'm Not Good At This": Graham Moore Outtakes

Cumberbatch As Alan Turing / Daily Mail 
Hello, Benedict Cumberbatch fans! Over on Buzzfeed I have an interview with Graham Moore, novelist and writer of "The Imitation Game," the Alan Turing biopic starring Benedict Cumberbatch. Here are some outtakes from my conversation with Graham in which we talk further about Benedict Cumberbatch, set etiquette and Benedict Cumberbatch. 

Benedict Cumberbatch! 

Thursday, July 25, 2013


Monty came to us a little broken. He'd been shuttled around from rescue to rescue so often that any time a car door opened, he'd mournfully shuffle towards it, tail dragging like a canine Eeyore.

He was missing one of his big lower teeth, never made a peep, and didn't really know how to play. You'd throw a ball for him and he'd just stare it and then look up at you with these big brown eyes. He didn't care about anyone who only gave him passing attention. You had to put in your time with Monty to get affection from him, and affection from him was simple: he wanted to hold hands.

He'd come sit by you, and just rest his paw on your foot, or your leg. He didn't want you to scratch him or shake it, or anything but just sit there and hold his hand and maybe talk to him. There's no other way to say it: that dog was noble. That dog was Atticus Finch.

Our other dog Cleo, younger and more sprightly is a fine dog, a sweet dog, but... She's just a dog. She's not a soul who just happens to be currently in a dog costume. You throw the ball, she fetches it. Then you have to yell at her for a couple of minutes until she finally fucking drops it.

It took nearly three years for Monty to understand what "playing" meant. The first time he took a loping stride towards a ball I chucked, I immediately reported it to my dad. Monty didn't do it again for months. Instead, I would bring another ball, which he would happily keep in his jaws, right where that big lower tooth should be, and sit by me, paw on my foot, while I chucked another ball for the puppy.

One day at the beach, I tossed a tennis ball down the way for Cleo, who immediately lost sight of the thing and started digging for it about 20 feet away from its position in plain view. Lo, Monty pulled himself up onto his aging hips and loped down the beach with clear purpose. He nabbed that ball without Cleo noticing, and started back.

It was "Chariots of Fire."

It was the Olympic torch relay.

He trotted back, tail up, chest out and looked right up at me.

Reader, I burst into tears and threw my arms around him.

He kept that ball in his mouth the rest of the day, and sat by me through lunch and dinner, one paw on my foot, the whole while long.