Monthly Archives: January 2017

Fences: A Movie

fences

In August Wilson’s Fences, Troy is slowly building a fence for their backyard at his wife’s request. Troy feels that she wants a fence to protect them from the outside forces but his friend Bono thinks that Rose (Viola Davis) wants a fence to keep her precious things on the inside.

This powerful movie was directed by Denzel Washington, who also plays Troy, the patriarch.  He is bitter and is somewhat broken by life’s circumstances.  He was a baseball player for the Negro League but never made it to the big leagues.  Instead, he works for the city as a trash collector.  He and his good friend Bono enjoy daily laughter on the job as they go through their lives as family men.

Troy advocates for himself and eventually becomes the first black driver for the sanitation department but as he climbs up the ladder, his life unravels on many other fronts.  He is at war with his youngest son, Cory because he does not support his dream of becoming an athlete.

He privately fears that his son will be injured and Troy wants him to use his mind or find a skill that he can fall back on in case of injury.  However, he does not communicate his concerns very well.  Instead, Cory thinks that his father is envious and after a physical altercation, he leaves home and joins the Marines.

In the meantime, Troy has fathered an outside child and as fate would have it, the woman dies in childbirth.  Rose finally agrees to be a mother to the little girl, but she closes the door on their love and intimacy.

Bono, his friend of many years had tried to warn him about the extramarital affair, but it fell on deaf ears.  They drift apart.  The downward spiral continues when Troy accidentally signs his brother into an institution because he cannot read and does not know what he is signing.  His older outside son, Lyons, also gets into trouble; but if Troy had gone to listen to him play as a musician, he may have stayed on track.

At the end, Cory returns home from the Marines to see Lyons and Bono waiting to attend Troy’s funeral.  Rose scolds the daughter that she agreed to raise and tells her to get dressed for her father’s funeral.

Cory and his little sister meet for the first time and they spend time on the back steps facing the finished fence.  They sing one of Troy’s favorite songs together and it is touching.

But Gabe, who carries around a trumpet, does something in the final scene that brings on the tears.  See how Gabe’s final actions leave the family members staring in disbelief. This Pulitzer and Tony award-winning play is filled with superb acting!

Ernest Hemingway’s quote fits this play perfectly.  He wrote, “The world breaks everyone and afterward, some are strong in the broken places.”

Lynn M. Dixon                                                      January 28, 2017

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The Women

womens-march

The Women have spoken.
The nurturers of the wounded
And the broken-hearted.

Like Christ, they console,
Wipe away tears.
Wrap hurt fingers,
Give hugs and speak words of comfort.

They protect when the predators appear
And serve as blocks against inflicted pain.
Through understanding, compassion and mercy.

Who can live without the women?

Lynn M.                                                                                           January 22, 2017

Sun!

sunglasses-17
“Behold, I make all things new!”
{Rev 21:5}

It’s a new year and it is still January, the first month of the year.  The last few days here have been gloomy with a heavy overcast of clouds and fog.  It dampened many spirits and the outlook felt bleak.  The weather men and weather women kept promising that the sun would surely return as if they hold the controls.

Well, today, the sun came out!  She rolled out slowly but she returned in all of her glory.  The Beatles song, “Here Comes the Sun,” had an even greater meaning.  If we ever take her for granted, we are forced to endure a sense of hopelessness in her absence.

Seven days without her is simply too much for the human spirit to endure.  But upon her return, voila!  Hope has been restored.  Just as the earth continually rotates and travels its orbit, we had to continue on but we did so with a sense of mundane mindlessness.

This morning, I ventured out to drive to a place that I had never been.  The heavily overcast skies added to my sense of wariness as I charted new waters.  I followed through and reached my destination on time but the weather did not color my mood.

Yet, upon return, the sun first peeked out and then she came out in full force.  I leaned over as I drove and gleefully reached for my fairly new sunglasses.  In some geographic areas, they are known as “shades.”  I was inspired to turn the music a little louder and went into cruise mode as I took in the new sights around me.

I traveled through several townships that I had only read about or heard about as my hope strengthened.  It dawned on me that I was experiencing something new during this first month of the year.  I felt encouraged as I applauded myself for exhibiting a tad of courage.

I made it back to familiar territory and stopped by the park.  By this time, the sun was in full blast.  People were everywhere.  They had crawled out of their shells, their basements or wherever they were hibernating during this dark spell.

And yes, nearly all of them had on sunglasses! Some jogged, some walked and some had their children or pets as they moved to a silent rhythm.  But all of them wore smiles because only the majestic wand of the sun has the ability to do that to people.  It brings out the absolute best in us and there were smiles for miles!

Lynn M.                                                                                                 January 21, 2017

An Oscar Preparation!

the-oscars-thumbnail

I try to see as many of the nominated movies as I can before Oscar Night rolls around.  So far, I have seen two movies and both were biopics from times that I personally remember.

First, I saw Hidden Figures which was about the lives of three brave African-American women who worked behind the scenes at the height of the NASA Space Program.  Katherine Jackson, played by Taraji P. Henson, takes center stage because she has a wonderful knack for solving mathematical equations.

She is good with the numbers, trigonometry and physics which were necessary for creating timely take-offs and landings of the astronauts. She met and worked with the engineers as they put people like Alan Shepherd and John Glenn into space.

One of the other women, Dorothy Vaughn, played by Octavia Spencer, excelled in programming the new IBM machine and finally became a new supervisor. Mary Jackson, played by Jonelle Monae, went on to become an engineer for NASA.  She had to go through the courts to get rights to attend an all-white school where the courses were being taught.  This was during segregation in Virginia during the early 60’s.

I was telling a young woman in the theatre that I had lived while those historic events were taking place and we were glued to the television just like the kids in the movie.  Whenever, there was a rocket launch, time stood still and we watched in awe. Sometimes, we watched as a whole student body in the school auditorium.  It was a memorable time!

I also saw the movie, Jackie.  It was a new take on her life and focused on her first week as a young widow.  She had flashbacks of the assassination when she and President Kennedy were riding in the open-top limousine on that tragic day in Dallas.

She struggled to make the funeral arrangements and ultimately decided to model it on President Lincoln’s ceremony.  She worked through many details and she also recalled her successful televised tour of The White House in 1961 as they packed to leave there. She realized that she and her two young children had to move to another residence and make way for the incoming Johnson family.

Jackie had the difficult task of telling her children that their father would not be coming home.  Her wonderful priest, played by John Hurt, allowed her to voice her misgivings, her pain and her wavering faith.  She eventually found the will to live, go forward and raise her small children.

It was definitely a walk down memory lane for me.  Natalie Portman did a fine job of portraying the former First Lady.  Peter Sarsgaard was quite convincing in his role as Bobby Kennedy; but the Danish actor, Caspar Phillipson, who played JFK, looked so much like him that it was simply unbelievable.

Both movies left me thinking deeply.  I did hours of fact-checking about all of these historic figures when I got home.  I researched and read and researched and read until I felt a sense of satisfaction.

Then, I neatly tucked those precious memories away and gently closed the door knowing that I would happily share what I remember with the younger ones who want to know.

Lynn M.                                                                             January 14, 2017

Clearing Blocks

crystal-blocks

As I start to fill in a new phone book, I realize that I have been carrying around names of people who are no longer a part of my experience.  They played a role in my journey, but we have come to a fork in the road and we have gone on our separate ways.

Most have moved on harmoniously and I wish each the absolute best, but I need to lighten my paper load.  Each brought a blessing in some form or fashion and we enriched one another in some way.

Yet, they have their karma and I am continually creating karma so I ceremoniously release them and let them go at the beginning of the New Year. When we clean out our houses, we are unconsciously clearing away subtle blockades and making room for the new.

Yet, there always seems to be a vacant spot or space that needs to be  filled.  So, we make a trip to the store to buy something new to give us that sense of fullness and completion.

Life is like that.  As we embark upon the freshness of 2017, we clear away the excess. We release those things from our surroundings or those people who are no longer around us.  Then, we can attract new friends, new jobs, new networks along with the miracles that accompany new beginnings.

As my mind can conceive of more good, the barriers and blocks dissolve.  My life becomes full of little miracles popping up out of the blue,” writes Louise Hay.

Lynn M.                                                                                                      January 7, 2016

Green!

green-fireworks

Yes, bringing in the green,
In Twenty-Seventeen.

Green can represent cash,
Hidden in a safe stash.

Green is ripening hope,
To negatives say, “Nope!”

Green comes with the brand new,
Seen with the morning dew.

Green comes like a fresh breeze,
Clearing those thoughts with ease.

Have a Green 2017!

Lynn M.                                                                                    January 1, 2016