Category Archives: Relationships

Let’s Help this Woman Make Her Movie

10th May 2017

bexyow

Did you ever want someone to succeed so badly that you get chills thinking about it? Rebecca is making a movie, and I want this for her. I want it so much my eyes are welling as I type.

Bex and I met almost a decade ago through the Internet, filming Momversation videos together. Remember those?

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I still cringe a little about that name, but neither of us was gonna turn down a pay check. Plus, those cheesy pre-taped conversations about post-baby bodies and keeping marriage spicy brought me one of my dearest friends.

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When Bex graduated high school, she was already a writer. She worked for the Chicken Soup series, specifically Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul, and she already knew words were her thing. She was raised to be strong and independent, and it took. She told her very educated family that she wasn’t going to college. This went over well, as you might imagine, but Bex had a wild streak and wanted to get started on her life.

She was writing! She was wild! She was pregnant.

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A baby was not part of the plan, but Bex and her not-boyfriend Hal made a new plan. They married at a drive-thru chapel in Las Vegas, just in time for their son Archer’s arrival.

dapperarcher

archerthethinker

Archer is an old soul, sweet and chill, with a head full of thoughts beyond his years.

A few years later, Fable was born with Rebecca’s eyes and artistic sensibility.

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Fable promptly covered herself in Elmer’s Glue and pen marks, and began hoarding decorative paper and stick-on gems.

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Bex and I became friends when she was in her twenties, sharing rooms at conferences and smoking a single cigarette on the balcony at night.

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We’ve sat on stoops in New York, jumped on hotel beds in Salt Lake City, clinked plastic cups of free wine in Florida.

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She met me in Austin when I was newly divorced, patted my back and told me to get laid.

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We eventually met each others’ families, and introduced our kids. A couple years after Fable was born Bex and Hal thought a third baby wouldn’t be a bad idea. I was boarding a plane when I read online that Bex was pregnant …with twins. The news hit me in the sternum. I called from the jetway.

“Twins. Fuck.”
“I am freaking out,” she said. “I am so scared.”
“Ok, girl. What do you need?”
“Money.”

So we talked about ways to get her more writing gigs, to get paid better, to get her on some campaigns.

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Boheme and Reverie arrived just as Bex turned thirty, one with a head of blond curls, the other with a dark shag of Muppet hair.

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Bo’s trust is hard earned, and her brain shines right out her eyes. Revvie is all nurture and encouragement.

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Just like their mom.

Rebecca’s already impressive hustle shifted to high gear. As a mother of four, I have rarely seen her rest.

Through it all — sleepless nights, epic tantrums, the sheer logistical bullshit of getting four kids to all the places on time — Bex was writing a screenplay.

I didn’t know this until it was almost done.

fabletothefront

Most mothers who write have no time for unpaid work. You find it at unholy hours. You settle in to the keyboard at 3 a.m., because you’re pregnant with twins and there’s not enough room in your own skin. You’re awake at 1 a.m. because you had five cups of coffee to get through laundry, and homework, and peanut butter sandwiches, and bedtime stories for four. So you find a pen and hope you’ll get two or three hours of sleep before your kids wake with the sun.

The projects pulled from quiet, bone-weary moments are private — too fragile to bear scrutiny. So I was surprised, and humbled, when Bex told me she’d been working on a script. I asked if I could read it when she was done.

“Do you really want to?”
“What? Totally.”

familygolden

A few months later, we were leaving from a family visit. I had a twin clinging to each of my legs when Bex beckoned me to the desk in her guest room. Next to a cork board covered in pages from old Sassy magazines, she handed me her screenplay.

It seemed like a miracle. How?

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But there it was, 110 pages warm from the home printer. Two years later, I’m still in awe.

CHANGING THE RATIO

“In 2014, 85% of films had no female directors, 80% had no female writers, 33% had no female producers, 78% had no female editors, and 92% had no female cinematographers.” (source)

This movie is Rebecca’s purpose, the thing that kept her up working in the dark while her babies slept. And right now, she’s filming it.

Rebecca’s movie is a reimagining of Peter Pan, set in the modern era and narrated from Wendy’s perspective. In PANS, “Wendy reclaims her power after being stripped of it by an assaulter and her female community who don’t believe her side of the story.”

I'M NOT SORRY — PansMovie.com from Rebecca Woolf on Vimeo.

As Bex puts it euphemistically on her Kickstarter page, “Raising money to fund a film about teenage girls rebelling against the nuances of rape culture is a bit of a challenge.” Ha.

But Bex is making it go. And she is freaking out. And she is scared.

“Ok, girl. What do you need?”
“Money.”

KICKSTARTER

The PANS Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing campaign. That means, if Bex fails to raise $100K, she gets none of the $37,000 that has already been offered. Which makes me feel a little like throwing up.

Last night, a film backer offered to donate $5,000 if we can bring in 100 new backers by Friday evening.

I know a lot of you have read Rebecca’s site. If she’s ever made you laugh or tear up or think, now is the right time to send some gratitude back her way.

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Bex needs $63,000 more to pay the actors, the crew, everyone working to make this movie real. So here’s how we can help:

• Fund Rebecca’s Kickstarter, because money is power and women need more of both
• Help change the ratio in film by telling your people about the PANS Kickstarter on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, whatever you got.
• Maybe hit the thumbs up on Pan’s Facebook page if you want to keep up

Let’s do this. Let’s listen to each other, and help each other be heard.

bexmaggiedingding

I love you Bex. Ride or die.

PANS Kickstarter Campaign,
Girls Gone Child, Rebecca’s site
Rebecca’s Instagram
Pan’s Instagram
Rebecca Woolf’s Feminist Take on Peter Pan Hopes for Greenlight via Kickstarter

UPDATE: What the what? Huge thanks to those of you who have donated so far! With your help, Bex met the goal of 100 new supporters within a few hours. So quickly that the film backer offered an additional $5K if she can make it to 700 supporters by end of day today (Friday, May 12). This level of interest gives PANS a huge boost in the film community. More lady writers, producers, directors! The shift is starting, because of you. Thank you so much.

Unique Wedding Readings

24th January 2017

evanybwahaha
Our friend Evany married us, and this photo was taken just as she muttered something about spinning wheels and our first born child.

We got married in July, and man is it a bear to find non-trite wedding readings. This is especially true when it’s not your first marriage and there are already kids in the mix. In case you’re curious, or looking yourself, here’s what we picked.

Here by Grace Paley

Here I am in the garden laughing
an old woman with heavy breasts
and a nicely mapped face

how did this happen
well that’s who I wanted to be

at last a woman
in the old style sitting
stout thighs apart under
a big skirt grandchild sliding
on off my lap a pleasant
summer perspiration

that’s my old man across the yard
he’s talking to the meter reader
he’s telling him the world’s sad story
how electricity is oil or uranium
and so forth I tell my grandson
run over to your grandpa ask him
to sit beside me for a minute I
am suddenly exhausted by my desire
to kiss his sweet explaining lips

An excerpt from Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird:

“E.L. Doctorow said once said that ‘Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.’ You don’t have to see where you’re going, you don’t have to see your destination or everything you will pass along the way. You just have to see two or three feet ahead of you. This is right up there with the best advice on writing, or life, I have ever heard”

And finally, Brad is a big fan of Bob Ross and his happy little trees. We chose a bunch of his quotes together, and I arranged them into a sort of found poem. It was so simple, and true, and I ended up loving it:

Arranged quotations from Bob Ross

It’s so important to do something every day that will make you happy.

Just let go, and fall like a little waterfall.

That’s when you experience true joy. When you have no fear.

We’re gonna make some big decisions in our little world.

Don’t be afraid to make these big decisions. Once you start, they just sort of make themselves.

That’s what makes life fun. That you can make these decisions. That you can create the world you want.

Life is too short to be alone, too precious. Share it with a friend.

It’s life. It’s interesting. It’s fun.

Let it make you happy.

If you have good suggestions for wedding readings, please fire away in comments.

Lance Arthur is Famous

2nd February 2016

thalancearthur

I met Lance Arthur in the early days of SxSW Interactive, when it was possible to know or at least recognize everyone who was attending.

He started blogging at Glassdog in 1996, and stopped in 2011. He just finished up a series of personal essays on Medium called Conversations with Myself. I’m still reading all of them, but maybe start with Odd Man Out.

If you weren’t around for the early days of blogging, these essays are just how it felt. If you were, you’ll remember Lance. Hello, mister.

Five Love Languages

25th January 2016

swanboats
Photo from Diem Design.

Have you ever taken the Five Love Languages Quiz? I’ve sent that link to dozens of friends.

The quiz is based on a book of the same name, which says there are five main ways we give and receive love:

1. Words of affirmation, compliments and the like.
2. Tokens of affection, gifts.
3. Acts of service, favors.
4. Quality time together.
5. Physical touch.

The idea is that everyone gives and receives love differently. For example, words of affirmation don’t mean much to me, but it’s easy for me to tell someone what I appreciate about them. Some people don’t care at all about gifts, but get teary-eyed when you clean out the closet for them.

Take the quiz, and tell me what you think. It for sure changed my approach when I have an impulse to do something nice for someone.

P.S. Relationship Hacks

Dying Alone

17th November 2015

Did you read The Lonely Death of George Bell in the NYT? This quote from a guy who cleans out the apartments of people who die alone stuck with me:

This job teaches you a lot. You learn whatever material stuff you have you should use it and share it. Share yourself. People die with nobody to talk to. They die and relatives come out of the woodwork. ‘He was my uncle. He was my cousin. Give me what he had.’ Gimme, gimme. Yet when he was alive they never visited, never knew the person. From working in this office, my life changed.

Hair Sensitivity

12th May 2014

If you’ve ever been confused about why it’s bad manners to ask to touch black women’s hair, this video is a good education. In particular 1:12-2:36.

Also at 3:56 where Belynda Gardner tells the story of some random guy at a deli sticking his hand in her hair and touching her scalp with his fingertips. She’s super gracious about it, chocking it up to curiosity, but seriously? No, creepy dude. You cannot just feel around on my head without so much as a hello, ok? Yeeg.