Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Raquel Martina Martinez: The Matriarch

Raquel Martina Martinez: The Matriarch: Bossy, intrepid, little girl All skinned knees and unkempt pony tail More afraid of being afraid than getting things done A thin, ...

Monday, December 10, 2018

The Matriarch


Bossy, intrepid, little girl
All skinned knees and unkempt pony tail
More afraid of being afraid than getting things done

A thin, teenaged beauty
A sweet siren smile and long, brown hair
Afraid she won’t have time to do things, see things, go places

A career woman, a wife, a mother
Youth a fading flower but a full life spreads out before her
Afraid of losing hold of her dreams

A grandmother wearing a silver crown
Gone are the days she conquered mountains and broke hearts
Her only fear – that of being forgotten


Friday, December 7, 2018

Monday, December 3, 2018

The Chicken or the Egg/The Book or the Movie


Our book club chooses one book every four to six weeks to be discussed at a later date.  When we get together, the six of us enjoy a lively discussion even though we each have differing opinions.
We are perfect examples of what is called reader-response theory.
Reader-response theory suggests that the written word’s (author’s) intention and what the reader understands are two different things. The good news, these two different views do meet somewhere in the middle.  Regardless what the author intended, the reader adds to what is on the page based on his or her own past experiences.
This happens with any created object. What the “artist” presents to the world is often seen and appreciated differently by the reader, the audience, or the consumer.
This often happens with movies. The director creates a movie, but the movie critic sees one thing, and the movie goer sees another. We each respond to the film based on our past experiences, our likes and dislikes.
Knowing this, which do you prefer to do first, read the book or watch the movie?
For those of us who read the book first, we form a solid mental picture of the characters, not just what they look like but also their inner workings, their motivation. Through the written word, we have been privy to inner thoughts, back stories, imagery, mood, and this ‘bias’ affects our expectations should “our” book become a movie.  
We balk when the characters do not look like we pictured them, and worse yet, if torrphey do not act and react like we expected.  We scrutinize the film, looking for the details we enjoyed in our reading – the inner dialogue, the back stories, the conflict. We are not forgiving should the setting, the imagery, the mood, or the pacing not jive with what we “pictured.”
We pretend expertise and become amateur filmmakers, looking for evidence to back our criticism - the use of sidekicks or confidants, camera pans, background music, and visual effects. We become film critics if our “favorite” scenes get written out of the scripts or end up on cutting room floors to fit budget restraints or maximum run times.
Book-first readers are merciless.
I know very few who see the movie first and then reach for the book. They would be surprised in the difference between the two presentations. On rare occasions, if I see the movie version first and it intrigues me, I’ve been known to buy the book.  

Afterthoughts:
·      In the movie How Stella Got Her Groove Back, the character played by Whoopi Goldberg was not a character in the book. She was added as a confidante into the movie to share Stella’s misgivings over dating a man many years younger than she was.
·      Characters have been added and deleted in series like Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones in order to streamline the stories.
·      The movie character Lestat played by Tom Cruise in The Vampire Lestat looks nothing like the description the author portrayed in the book, though he did the part so well he won over its author Anne Rice.
·      Whole sections of the Harry Potter books were eliminated to fit into the maximum time frame allowed for a movie.
·      The beginning of the movie Jurassic Park is totally different than the book, but that scene was later incorporated into subsequent versions of the series.
·      Books like The Book Thief or Ready, Player One do not transfer well onto film even with the help of modern technology. Part of the charm and expertise of both books was allowing the reader to envision the wildly impossible.  
·      After I watched The Martian, The Descendants, and Waiting for a Dancer, I had to buy the books, and I am glad I did. I craved more details and understanding than what the movies provided, and the books supplied them.  

Monday, November 12, 2018

I Blame the Magi.


I blame the Magi.  They started this whole giving gifts at Christmas thing, but let me warn you, though I have no use for frankincense or myrrh, I could use some gold around this time of year.
Christmas giving can be expensive, so it is best to plan before you go shopping instead of spending your hard-earned cash on gifts that won’t be appreciated.   
When I was a preteen my mother gave me a present that still gives me nightmares, yet I am sure that was not her intention.  She gave me a Christmas outfit that she forced me to wear to midnight Mass.  It was a green, bonded knit skirt that came with a long sleeved, green and white, horizontal striped top. It wasn’t even Christmas green, but this garish lime green that next to my complexion made me look jaundiced.  It also gave me a skin rash, but Mother demanded I wear it because it was expensive. It wasn’t around for long, because, hey, how was I to know bonded knit wasn’t supposed to be ironed?
Her money would have been better spent if she had asked me what I wanted.  
Here we are decades later and I am still unappreciative when it comes to presents I do not need and or that require for me to dust.  I thank the giver profusely, display their gift for a respectable period of time, and then quietly get rid of it.  
Christmas gifts do not need to be expensive. I prefer a fun or useful present.  
Here’s my take on it:
Start with a list and decide on a reasonable budget. Find ways to give gifts without going into debt.   
I love to give fun presents like Santa hats or headbands, Christmas socks, tree decorations, candles.
I love swapping names, doing Secret Santa, maybe a White Elephant; and set a dollar limit to the gift. It’s more fun hunting for the One right gift than buying in multiples because you have so many people on your list. I actually have friends who have a ONE DOLLAR limit on their gift swap. Another friend participates in a gift swap where the present has to be a certain shape.  Last year, the present had to be round and under $20.00.  What fun.    
I love food gifts.  
My husband and his family are spread out all over two states, so we send each other packages of food.  It isn’t Christmas until HB sends everyone the Deluxe Sampler from the New Braunfels Smokehouse, and no one has forgiven my mother-in-law the one year she decided not to send everyone the No. 101 Fruitcake from the Collin Street Bakery.
And I love, love, love Cookie Exchanges. I’ve taken part in several and it is a great way to spend time together and then come home with an assortment of cookies.
I still miss my grandmother’s tamaladas where all the women in my family gathered together for one full day to make tamales and then we each got fresh, homemade dozens of tamales to take home to our families.   
As a grandmother of twelve, I came up with the Pajama Gramma Plan. Whether they like it or not, my grandchildren get pajamas for Christmas.  I skipped it last year and fielded complaints, so they are getting pajamas again this year.  They will also get a book or a video, something to eat or drink (popcorn, hot chocolate packet), and a small present (gift card, earbuds, phone charger, etc.) in their Christmas gift from Gramma.
I did the Advent Countdown Calendar with Books one year. I purchased thirty-one, inexpensive children’s’ books and wrapped each one individually in Christmas paper. I made two sets, one for each family with young children at that time. The child opened one book a night throughout the entire month of December and their parents read it to them at bedtime. It wasn’t as expensive as it sounds.  I bought my books at a second-hand bookstore. I bought sets of books by one author online, and  I bought books anywhere I could find a good book for under $5.00. It took some planning but I came in under budget when I did that. It might be time to try this again since those grands now have younger siblings.
Those gift-giving magi rubbed off on me but remember their gifts to the Baby had special meaning.  I hope you put as much thought into your gifts as well.