Monday, September 13, 2021

Warrior Writing: Strategic Change

"Act like a man of thought. Think like a man of action." Thomas Mann

Several years ago, I attended New York Times bestselling author Bob Mayer's "Warrior Writing" workshop and it left quite an impression.

I learned several valuable lessons, but the most important one for me focused on change.

What holds you back? YOU! And you can change you. According to Bob, if you aren't where you want to be, you must change. We've all come to a crossroads when we realize that in order to make something happen in our careers, some type of change must occur.

We may not like the change. We'll struggle with it, and perhaps deny that we have to change at all. Then we'll experience anger as we realize that the change is for the best. We'll bargain with ourselves about the best way to change, hoping there will be an easy way, then become depressed when reality says easy isn't best. If we're wise, we'll accept the change and work hard for it.

Change isn't just thinking differently, although this is the first step. And think about this: To make is externally motivated. To become is internally motivated. The successful become.

All of us can change. But we need to show change, not just talk about it. And change requires three things to happen:

  • A Moment of Enlightenment
  • Making a Decision
  • Implementing a Sustained Action
The five stages of change include:
  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance
Moment of Enlightenment (MOE): This happens when you experience something never experienced before. Or, when you experience something you have experienced, but it affects you differently than ever before. Think light bulb going on above head.
By itself, the MOE is not change, just a momentary awareness. Denial often blocks MOEs. Anger stops MOEs when it is actually an indicator of an MOE. And bargaining dilutes MOEs.
Decision: Because of the Moment of Enlightenment, a decision is made. But it may not be a good decision. So you're either stuck with the decision (externally imposed change) or you stick with the decision (internally motivated change). By itself, a decision isn't change, but just a fleeting commitment. Bargaining can dilute a decision, and depression can cause you to give up a decision all together.
Sustained Action: Because of the decision, behavior is changed. The changed behavior is sustained long enough to become a habit. In the military, this is called training. Sustained action leads to change. Sliding back on the five stages of change stops this. Acceptance isn't easy because your reality has changed!
Time to expand your comfort zone, by going into your courage zone. Courage is needed on the path to changing you and developing your self confidence!
As mentioned earlier, Bob's workshop was awesome! It was also inspiring and encouraging! Be sure to check out Bob's "Who Dares Wins" homepage at http://www.bobmayer.org/ so you can become a warrior writer!

Are you ready for change?

Thanks for visiting and have a great week! 

Monday, August 30, 2021

The Best of Mae West

August is certainly a popular month for birthdays! My husband and I share August birthdays, and the special thing about August birthdays is that nothing happens during that month them.

January has New Year's, February has Valentine's, March has St. Patrick's Day and/or Easter, April has April Fool's Day and/or Easter, May has Mother's Day and Memorial Day, June has Father's Day, July has the 4th, September has Labor Day, October has Halloween, November has Thanksgiving, and December has Christmas. August has nothing but birthdays to celebrate!

Speaking of which, I'm sure actress Mae West celebrated each of her August birthday's in style. She was quite a character, and today I'm sharing some of her funniest lines!

In case you've never heard of Mae West, Wikipedia says:
Mary Jane "Mae" West (August 17, 1893 – November 22, 1980) was an American actress, singer, playwright, screenwriter, comedian and sex symbol whose entertainment career spanned seven decades.
Known for her lighthearted bawdy double entendres, and breezy sexual independence, West made a name for herself in vaudeville and on the stage in New York City before moving to Hollywood to become a comedian, actress, and writer in the motion picture industry, as well as on radio and television. For her contributions to American cinema, thevAmerican Film Institute named West 15th among the greatest female stars of classic American cinema.
One of the more controversial movie stars of her day, West encountered many problems, especially censorship. She bucked the system, making comedy out of prudish conventional mores, and the Depression Era audience admired her for it. 

When her cinematic career ended, she wrote books, plays, and continued to perform in Las Vegas, in the United Kingdom, and on radio and television, and to record rock and roll albums. Asked about the various efforts to impede her career, West replied: "I believe in censorship. I made a fortune out of it."  


Most of Mae's quotes are rather provocative, but quite funny, nonetheless. For a more complete list, check out Quotilicious. Now, time for a good laugh!

"Between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before."
"Anything worth doing is worth doing slowly."
"He’s the kind of man a woman would have to marry to get rid of."
"I believe that it’s better to be looked over than it is to be overlooked."
"One and one is two, and two and two is four, and five will get you ten if you know how to work it."
"Don’t keep a man guessing too long – he’s sure to find the answer somewhere else."
"Opportunity knocks for every man, but you have to give a woman a ring."
"A dame that knows the ropes isn’t likely to get tied up."
"Give a man a free hand and he’ll run it all over you."
"A woman in love can’t be reasonable – or she probably wouldn’t be in love."
"A man has one hundred dollars and you leave him with two dollars, that’s subtraction."
"When women go wrong, men go right after them."

Do you have a favorite Mae West quote that I didn't include? Thanks for visiting and have a great week! 

Monday, August 23, 2021

White Heat

My son told me there's some intense rivalry going on between two malicious gangs. They've challenged each other threatening, "You can either roll up or hole up!" That doesn't sound too scary. Turns out my son was pulling my leg. The gangs involved were cinnamon rolls and doughnuts. Right...

Well anyway, the mention of gangs made me think about those old gangster movies, and White Heat is my favorite! If you love old movies, I'm sure you've seen it. Even if you're not a fan of the gangster film genre, this one is worth watching! Here's the 1949 movie review from "The New York Times" written by Bosley Crowther below:


Warner Brothers weren't kidding when they put the title "White Heat" on the new James Cagney picture, which came to the Strand yesterday. They might have gone several points higher in the verbal caloric scale and still have understated the thermal intensity of this film. For the simple fact is that Mr. Cagney has made his return to a gangster role in one of the most explosive pictures that he or anyone has ever played.


If that is inviting information to the cohorts of thriller fans, whose eagerness this reviewer can readily understand, let us soberly warn that "White Heat" is also a cruelly vicious film and that its impact upon the emotions of the unstable or impressionable is incalculable. That is an observation which might fairly be borne in mind by those who would exercise caution in supporting such matter on the screen.

For there is no blinking the obvious: the Warners have pulled all the stops in making this picture the acme of the gangster-prison film. They have crammed it with criminal complications—some of them old, some of them glittering new—pictured to technical perfection in a crisp documentary style. And Mr. Cagney has played it in a brilliantly graphic way, matching the pictorial vigor of his famous "Public Enemy" job.

Indeed, as the ruthless gang-leader in this furious and frightening account of train-robbery, prison-break, gang war and gun fighting with the police, Mr. Cagney achieves the fascination of a brilliant bull-fighter at work, deftly engaged in the business of doing violence with economy and grace. His movements are supple and electric, his words are as swift and sharp as swords and his whole manner carries the conviction of confidence, courage and power.

If you think Mr. Cagney looked brutal when he punched Mae Clark in the face with a ripe grapefruit in "Public Enemy," you should see the sweet and loving things he does to handsome Virginia Mayo, who plays his low-grade wife in this film. Or you should scan the exquisite indifference with which he "lets a little air" into the trunk compartment of an auto in which is locked a treacherous "friend."

And Mr. Cagney's performance is not the only one in this film. Director Raoul Walsh has gathered vivid acting from his whole cast. Miss Mayo, in fact, is excellent as the gangster's disloyal spouse—brassy, voluptuous and stupid to just the right degree. And Edmund O'Brien does a slick job as a Treasury Department T-man who gets next to the gang-boss in prison and works into a place of favor in his mob. Steve Cochran is ugly as an outlaw, John Archer is stout as a Treasury sleuth and Margaret Wycherly is darkly invidious as the gangster's beloved old "ma."

Perhaps her inclusion in the story is its weakest and most suspected point, for the notion of Mr. Cagney being a "mama's boy" is slightly remote. And this motivation for his cruelty, as well as for his frequent howling fits, is convenient, perhaps, for novel action but not entirely convincing as truth.

However, impeccable veracity is not the first purpose of this film. It was made to excite and amuse people. And that it most certainly does.

I love this movie and reading that "NY Times" review makes me want to see it again soon! Have you ever seen White Heat? If you love a gritty crime drama, you'll really enjoy this one!

Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Monday, August 16, 2021

Mildred Washington: A Life Cut Short

If you're like me, you've probably never heard of Mildred Washington. As I was looking for something to blog about this week, I stumbled upon her name. Check out the article below from IMBd.com:

The name Mildred Washington isn't remembered because she appeared in less than 15 films in only small parts. But her stage presence, finesse, beauty and vivacious personality weren't small. Mildred Washington was a popular Black actress and dancer in the 1920s and 1930s. She began on the stage appearing in musicals for many years and later conquered California nightclubs and theaters becoming a full-fledged entertainer who was called the sensation of the West. 


She was headliner and dance director for many years at the legendary Sebastian's Cotton Club. Mildred was a skilled dancer who knew how to wow a crowd by amazing them with her dancing ability and lively stage presence. On the side, she appeared in Hollywood films because it was her dream to be in movies. 

In Hollywood, Mildred played the role of maid in pre-code era films. This meant she wasn't forced to be demeaned or stereotyped. In the pre-code era there were no rules, so Blacks were actually a part of the film, not just the maid or servant. Mildred added a sense of humor, spark, and simply glowed. On screen, she educated her white employers on life, and lifted their spirits when they were feeling down. Beautiful, scintillating and engaging, Mildred often stole scenes from the leading white players. 


Hearts in Dixie was one of the first black films made in Hollywood in which Mildred starred.  She was said to have given an excellent performance, but sadly the film is lost. Her best role was in Torch Singer, starring Claudette Colbert. She played a maid/confidante to Colbert.  

Mildred was a well educated and cultured woman who graduated from Los Angeles High School as valedictorian. She attended the University of California at Los Angeles for two years and also studied at Columbia University. In addition, she was fluent in French and Spanish. Off screen she lived well and dabbled in real estate.


By 1933, Mildred was on her way to becoming a full-time actress as studio heads were satisfied with her previous work and beauty. But it was her untimely death that stalled her escalating career. During a major earthquake in the spring of 1933, Mildred developed appendicitis after she fell running for cover from Grauman's Chinese Theatre. Her death was caused by peritonitis following appendicitis. She died on a Thursday afternoon at the White Memorial Hospital during surgery. She was 28 years old. Her funeral was a star-studded affair with many black and white stage and screen stars in attendance.


She sounds like an amazing lady and I'd love to see some of her films! Sad she died so young. Had you ever heard of Mildred Washington? Thanks for visiting and have a great week! 

Monday, August 9, 2021

Esther Williams: Fighter, Champion, Star


Reposting an article from a few years back. Yesterday was my birthday, and I happen to share it movie star Esther Williams! If you missed this article the first time around, hope you enjoy it now.

One of my favorite stars from Hollywood's Golden Era was the beautiful Esther Williams (August 8, 1921-June 6, 2013), a swimming star of several MGM movies known as Aqua Musicals.

Something you may not know is that Ms. Williams was a proponent of civil rights--keep reading to see how!

I love watching anything filmed underwater, and seeing Esther Williams swim in those pictures is amazing and a real treat.  If you've never heard of Esther Williams, check out this video to see what I mean!

Prior to becoming a movie star, Esther Williams set multiple national and regional swimming records while part of the Los  Angeles Athletic Club swim team during her teens.  She had wanted to compete in the 1940 Summer Olympics, but couldn't  because of the outbreak of World War II.  At that point, Ms.Williams joined Billy Rose's Aquacade, where she spent five months swimming alongside Johnny Weissmuller, the Olympic swimmer and Tarzan star.

While performing at the Aquacade, Williams caught the eye of MGM talent scouts. After appearing in several small roles, Williams began making the Aqua Musicals, featuring elaborate numbers with synchronized swimming and diving.  From 1945 to 1949, Ms. Williams had at least one movie among the top 20 grossing films of the year.

Several years ago, I read her autobiography, The Million Dollar Mermaid.  If you do enjoy bios of the stars, don't pass this one up!  I was thoroughly impressed by her candor, zest for life and positive outlook.  She lived through experiences that might have been crushing to some of us, but made her a fighter, champion and star!

The most devastating time she endured was the repeated rape that began at age 13.  The older teen who abused  her had been charitably taken in by her family.  Orphaned and left on his own, this young man was an exceptional student and athlete.  Ms. Williams had lost an older brother years earlier who was the "golden child" of the family, and this orphaned youth filled the void in her parents' lives.

As a victim of abuse, Esther remained quiet for two years, fearing his threats.  Finally at age 15, she told her parents.  Their reaction was hurtful to her, and I almost cried when I read it.  They were in denial at first, but finally confronted him.  When he admitted the truth, her parents were more upset with him for not living up to their expectations of who'd they'd thought him to be, rather than the fact that he'd repeatedly raped their daughter for two years.

Esther listened from another room, completely demoralized.  Why hadn't her father been ready to kill the guy and kick him out?

The pool at the athletic club was her solace, and after hearing her parents' exchange with him, that's where she went.  But when she'd changed and was ready to swim, the rapist confronted her.  To his tearful apology she responded, "If you touch me again, I'll kick, I'll scream and I'll fight!" After this, he left her family's home and joined the armed services.

During Ms. Williams's days in  the Aquacade, she had fight off Johnny Weissmuller's aggressive advances and endure substandard treatment from bosses since she wouldn't "give in."

Prior to stardom, Ms. Williams survived an abusive marriage, and after stardom, the loss of her fortune through another husband's gambling.  She also lived through some near death experiences from swimming mishaps during filming.

But in addition to the painful times she shares, her story has some humorous ones as well.  Here's the civil rights anecdote I referenced earlier.  She was the mother of three children and employed the same African American babysitter for a number of years.

While performing in a live show, Ms.Williams wanted her babysitter and the sitter's husband to attend one of her performances.  However, the establishment where she'd be doing her show was segregated, but this didn't deter Ms.Williams, who thought the whole segregation system unfair.

She procured Middle Eastern garb for her guests and told the management that they were friends of hers from a royal family.  Needless to say, the sitter and her husband had the best seat in the house that night, and the last laugh!

Are you an Esther Williams fan?  Thanks for visiting!