June, 2007 Archives

30
Jun

A Wrinkle in Time

by Pj in Random

PAMELA BOWMAN – MESA, ARIZONA — I walked out of my house this morning for an early morning swim. I looked down at my feet as they walked and realized those were my feet. They seemed so unfamiliar. sandyFeet.jpgNew wrinkles on my toes. And the conversation began…with myself.

“It’s 2007.”
“No, it couldn’t be. It feels more like 2001.”
“Sorry, but it really is 2007”
“When did that happen?”
“In a thousand small moments.”

As I drove down my street I saw an older couple out doing their yard work. He had to lean on a chair to mow his lawn. Tough to visualize I know, but harder to actually do it. Around the corner was a younger man doing his yard work. At first I thought it was his son he seemed so young. People out working. Are they enjoying themselves I wonder.

Time passes. I know this. My children are all but grown. I wanted this. My feet are wrinkled. I didn’t anticipate that.

Life is not lost by dying; life is lost minute by minute, day by dragging day, in all the thousand small uncaring ways. — Stephen Vincent Benet

Or, Stephen, could it be half full instead?

For eternally and always there is only one now, one and the same now; the present is the only thing that has no end. — Erwin Schrodinger

This is what I am present to at the moment. The here, the now … and my funny toes.

29
Jun

I Am So Mature

by Pj in Random

PAMELA JO BOWMAN – MESA ARIZONA – My youngest daughter had a group “daddy-daughter” date the other night. It was a swimming party. She was excited to go. It reminded me of when I was little and had one with my Dad. It was always an evening that I looked forward to.

While they were there, another girl approached Ciera and said, “I am so glad this is the last one of these things. This is so boring!” Ciera piped up and said, “I think it’s fun.” And her “friend” replied, “Well, that’s because you are not as mature as me.” Ciera reminded this girl that they both turn 12 in July. But this child (in her training bra) was adamant of her advanced wisdom and understanding. Ciera turned and walked away to enjoy the time with her other friends and her father. She noticed the child passing on her wisdom to other adoring girls. In the end it continues to bother her and I don’t blame her.

cierasm.jpgI expressed to her that she showed more maturity than this child by having a positive attitude and being brave enough to express her opinion. I encouraged her to continue to be who she truly is and not influenced by the “mature” crowd. They are the people who remain sitting down observing others act silly while having (gasp) a good time.

That is what I told her, but Inside I am offended and fuming and plotting. I am planting seeds as I tell Ciera’s older sister and soon her brothers about this little brat face. No one is going to mess with my kid’s ego. The audacity! She is so out of her league! She thinks immature. I’ll show her immature. What is her mom’s number. I have it somewhere around here …

27
Jun

Own It

by Pj in Random

PAMELA JO BOWMAN – MESA ARIZONA – I heard a comment the other day. A thought provoking one for me. The concept of destiny as a prison. If we are destined to be someone or do something then there really aren’t any choices. What will be will be. Prison bars.jpgEssentially we are imprisoned with whatever that might be. I don’t know about you, but I believe this life is all about choices and by extension the freedom to choose.

It seems to me that many people I know believe in destiny. Why, I am not sure. Their comments and actions imply that they are special, maybe more special or more deserving. Others seem to act like they don’t deserve anything at all. Even destined to fail.

The human condition is funny like that. There are moments we all have where we ponder on our individual life experiences. Some attribute their experiences to destiny and others to opportunity. Choices plus attitude equals you. Imprisioned with self imposed limits or liberated with potential and promise. The choice is yours. Own it.

26
Jun

Liking It

by Pj in Random

PAMELA JO BOWMAN – MESA ARIZONA – A group of friends have agreed to write something every day. A pjthink.jpgthought, a poem, a journal entry. In the agreement, it doesn’t matter what it is as long as we write something. We are not hesitant to let each other know what we think about what we’re producing. We especially love pointing out typos and other errors. I, of course, am the queen of grammatical mistakes. We won’t even discuss my spelling issues.

The other day, I found out my husband has been reading this blog and my other unpublished writings. This was after I offered to let him read something. His comment? “You are letting people read your writing now?” Good thing I am since he had already read them.

Yes, I am letting others read some of my stuff. You for instance. For me, this is tremendous progress.

So, to build our writing muscle, we continue to write every day just as we (should) walk every day. It is our exercise. It is neccesary. And most interesting of all … I really like it.

26
Jun

Expanded Heart

by Pj in Random

PAMELA JO BOWMAN – MESA ARIZONA

belly.jpg
Young tender hands rest gently on stretched sinews.
Night falls, breath releases, stomach flutters.
Sacred shelter shifts and swells.
Constant steady rhythm silently quells.

Nocturnal laying of hands, palms down.
New moons wax and wan, touch sustains,
Anxious hands slowly expand upward, outward.
Restless. Persistent. Patience. Refrain.

Feel the sounds distance impairs to hear.
Lingering for the throb that diminish the fear.
It comes slowly, gently, yet surely it comes.
Relieved breath escapes in grateful muted tears.

Warmth of skin to skin induced the unknown.
Beckoned awake by pressured touch
Stretching forth stretches taut skin.
Expands the heart to take another in.

25
Jun

Home

by Pj in Random

PAMELA JO BOWMAN – MESA ARIZONA – “Human beings are the only creatures on earth that allow their children to come back home.” — Bill Cosby.

Ben-miss.jpgMy son Ben comes home from Chile in two weeks. Technically, he has been gone for 25 months. It is time for a Ben hug. He has just the right amount of meat and muscle to give good hugs. My oldest son, Saac, is so skinny you feel like you are hugging yourself! Wistie is skinny too and Ciera is still too short, but Ben is just right! Kind of like his dad.

My kids say that Ben is my favorite. They all know that is true and not true. They all know they are my favorite for different reasons. It is a game we play. I win. I have four kids who want to be my favorite.

Tonight Ciera came in and said, “Mom, come play with me.” I said, “You only want to play with me when your friends aren’t around.” I looked into her eyes and discovered how terribly hurt she was by my comment. “You know it’s true.” Of course, I had to make matters worse. I am such a dolt! I did take her to lunch today. Does that count?

Two weeks. I have to paint my office. He has to sleep somewhere! Wistie says she is NOT open for swapping bedroom negotiations.

The only creatures that let our children come home. Well, all I have to say is … Why did I let them leave in the first place!

WIS.jpgAt the end of the summer Wistie will be leaving. I kind of feel like she already has. Evidence exists that she is still here. Her bed is never made. Her clothes hang from her fan. Her hair clogs the bath tub. My gas tank is always empty. My cookie dough is gone. So are my tweezers. I have a unibrow again. Sometimes I can still feel the warmth from her body on the couch or an indent in her bed. I can smell Herbal Essense float through the house.

Thanksgiving she will be coming home.

I wonder if I will see her then. I know for sure I will see her Christmas morning. Gifts always work! Food helps too. Saac and Audrey come for the food. They bring their own tupperware to take home the leftovers. I guess they don’t like to come home as often.

Home. No matter where you go it’s always nice to feel at home. No matter what they do, they are always welcome to cross our threshold.

24
Jun

Conditionally Forgotten

by Pj in Random

BY PAMELA JO BOWMAN – MESA ARIZONA – Torchia before.jpgThis week, in Oregon, I spent time with my sisters and Great Aunt. Aunt Aida came over from Italy when she was eight. She goes back to Italy once each year to visit relatives.

I spent my young life nurtured by our extended family. I remember holidays, birthdays, vacations and many meals with innumerable cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents. For many years, I was the youngest of our generation. Often, I felt invisible. The older kids understandably didn’t want me around and the adults rarely noticed that I was around either. At times, this enabled me to be a fly on the wall. I could listen to conversations, hear gossip, and observe the family interact. As a filmmaker and storyteller, this was a wonderful thing.

This past weekend, Aunt Aida spent most of the time trying to remember me. It seemed that she felt bad that she couldn’t recall who I was. My sisters, who have been a part of her daily life, kept trying to explain to her that I had been out of the country for many years and it was understandable that she had forgotten. It was, they said, to be expected that a 94-year-old woman might forget her Great Niece. I, on the other hand, could remember her and my other family members quite vividly. I would begin telling a story and she would say, “How do you remember that? Were you there? I barely remember that.” She would smile remembering the memory.

I think it is human nature to want to be known by those you love. It is a sad state of the human condition that, at times, some of our family members do not really know us. And, as the years pass, sometimes, we are forgotten. The irony is that we all just want to be known. We want to be unconditionally loved and accepted. I am surprised that I still want that. When I talk with my contemporaries, they tell me that they still want that as well.

I am a middle-aged woman and I still feel like a fly on the wall. I worry that they want to use the fly swatter on me. Get rid of that pesky thing! How funny is that? Not really funny at all.

21
Jun

Dance in the Oregon Rain

by Pj in Random

BY PAMELA JO BOWMAN, MESA, ARIZONA – I found this quote and the way I have been living my life lately, I could have written this!

younggreengirls.jpgAs we grow up, we learn that even the one person that wasn’t supposed to ever let us down, probably will. You’ll have your heart broken and you’ll break others’ hearts. You’ll fight with your best friend or maybe even fall in love with them, and you’ll cry because time is flying by. So take too many pictures, laugh too much, forgive freely, and love like you’ve never been hurt. Life comes with no guarantees, no timeouts, no second chances. You just have to live life to the fullest, tell someone what they mean to you and tell someone off, speak out, dance in the pouring rain, hold someone’s hand, comfort a friend, fall asleep watching the sun come up, stay up late, be a flirt, and smile until your face hurts. Don’t be afraid to take chances or fall in love and most of all, live in the moment because every second you spend angry or upset is a second of happiness you can never get back.

GreenGirls.jpgWith that in mind, I am going to spend the weekend in Oregon with my sisters and my Great Aunt. I am taking my camera and will document all of my aunt’s stories of Italy and her life and our family. Should be some great material there. And if there isn’t I will make it up! I am a writer after all!

Aren’t my sisters the cutest things ever?

20
Jun

Funding is Fun, NOT!

by Pj in Africa, Film Production

BY PAMELA JO BOWMAN, ARIZONA, USA — There are many lessons I have learned and some I continue to learn from my experience working on the FilmZambia project. The number one lesson? Always use Other People’s Money (OPM), preferably a studio’s money or a distributor’s money. What I am still trying to learn is how to get that money.

Of course there are a few exceptions that encourage filmmakers to believe they will be a member of a rare and elite club. The successful self-financed film members include Morgan Spurlock (SUPERSIZE ME), Kevin Smith (CLERKS), cyndiStripes.jpg and Robert Townsend (HOLLYWOOD SHUFFLE). These exceptions tease and titillate filmmakers. The truth is, is every filmmaker believes in “his or her story.”

Their story, their cinematography, their editing, their actors. They believe every element will help produce a successful piece of art. With that belief, they are bound and determined to get the money from whomever they talk to including their families, their friends and even … themselves! There are THOUSANDS of filmmakers who follow that film-financing path into a very dark tunnel. If a distributor or producer gets behind your film, chances are that they see an opportunity for financial success. The problem? First-time filmmakers can be quite naive. They are in it for the art. Yes, they want to make their movie, and they want to earn enough money to buy … more equipment to make another movie. Eventually they begin to understand that there is a business involved in the art of filmmaking and everyone has to eat food, sleep in a safe place, and buy and use TIDE.

It is hard to accept the experience and decision of the money people when they say “no” to your brilliant story. In our case, it was even more difficult. We were students. It’s impossible to get distributors to fund educational projects ahead of time. They want to see the finished product to know if the story hangs together because, well, let’s be honest, it’s students learning by doing. They’re cautious about giving money to that sort of thing. Especially if it is the very first of “that sort of thing.”

So, how did Cyndi end up in the rabbit hole that she did? Did she not preach and teach all of her students to avoid this very hole? This is what she said, “Surely I know the rule about OPM. If there’s anyone who knows this rule, it is me. When I told my filmmaking nephew that I was well over $80,000 on these two films and was probably going to go over $100,000 by the time they were done, I thought he was going to have a stroke. ‘Are you out of your mind?’ Jason gasped. ‘You used your money? Is that why you sold your house?’ he asked.” Didn’t really answer the question did it? To be honest, it was a bit complicated. Hey Cyn! This would make a great movie!

Well, there’s nothing like being called on the carpet by someone half your age. And, if Cyndi wasn’t feeling embarrassed before Jason started lecturing her, she surely got there after I put together this little piece.

Cyndi’s Houses (quicktime)
Cyndi’s Houses (swf)

Don’t shoot the messenger! She sat and watched this and started to laugh. She actually has gotten to the point of being amused by her exuberance for the film. I mean to shout, “What are her alternatives?!!” Believe me she has shed plenty of tears. She cries like a giraffe. There is no sound! How very odd. In the middle of the day, I will turn to her work station and find tears rolling down those cheeks! Her motto now is, “If you decide it’s a good idea to go to Africa to make two films (and encourage 18 faculty and students to come with you for the learning experience of a lifetime), make sure the OPM you get is waaaaay more than a small educational grant that only covers the flight for about a third of the crew. Unless you don’t care if anyone ever actually sees the films that you made..”

If there is anyone who wants to invest in two middle-aged women with bright ideas, tons of ambition and enough energy to get the job done, well get in line or get out of our way. We are comin’ through. Thought I might try a unique approach to funding. Is it working for you?

19
Jun

The Right Road

by Pj in Random

BY PAMELA JO BOWMAN, MESA, ARIZONA – “The path to our destination is not always a straight one. We go down the wrong road, we get lost, we turn back. Maybe it doesn’t matter which road we embark on. Maybe what matters is that we embark.” — Barbara Hall

Peru2.jpgI read a story of a man and child who went walking on a summer day. They walked for many miles. The terrain became more difficult. They came to a fork in the road. They stopped and pondered and then they prayed. They both felt inspired to take the road to the right. They walked on until the road disappeared. They then knew it was the wrong road.

“Why,” the child asked, “were we directed to go on the wrong road?”

The father did not know. He wondered himself. Then he felt a possible answer.
“Perhaps, if we had taken the correct road, we would have always wondered if it was the right one. Now we know.”

Maybe it doesn’t matter which road we embark on as long as we are open to the lessons to be learned along the way.

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