“Your intellect may be confused, but your emotions will never lie to you.” ~ Roger Ebert
“It’s impossible,” said pride.
“Its risky,” said experience.
“Its pointless,” said reason.
“Give it a try,” whispered the heart.
This is my favorite of the many exquisitely poetic quotes scattered throughout Château de Gudanes, a website following the restoration of a 1700′s French chateau. A huge undertaking fueled by pure passion for restoring what was once, and what will again be, a French gem. As I scroll through the images and the thoughts of those charting the progress, I am lost in the beauty of not only the property, the landscape, and the architecture…but also in the romance and charm with which the story is documented. As I watch the transformation of this centuries old architectural masterpiece, as I live vicariously through the images and anticipate the treasures unfolded inside , as I long to aimlessly wander the french countryside…I look forward to getting lost in love with each and every virtual visit to Château de Gudanes.
Given the choice of what to watch, I will almost always opt for a documentary. While watching this particular one, I became captivated…by the family, by the story, by the blemished humanity, by the unconditional love, by the heart. This story consists of countless layers of love, of dissection, of self analysis, of emotional maturity, of an understanding that one will never fully understand the boundless complexities that love unleashes on humanity. And yet at the very core of the documentary lies an intelligent attempt to understand what we know we never will. Watching or reading such stories leaves me hopelessly and passionately in love with the human heart (and all of its infinite capabilities) in a world that so often does the opposite.
Stories We Tell is such an inspiration to the heart. To love without end. To overcome without bitterness. To ceaselessly grow, to endure, and to transcend death. And to constantly self analyze in an attempt to better understand the heart’s untapped potential. This film was just that…an attempt that left me in tears, in thought…in love.
The entire documentary is available here:
~ Chick Hughes
Times together that once were
Days of past, for granted taken
Days of future, forever shaken
Chances thrown away, I curse
To never start anew, nothing worse
Regrets I shout for all to hear
Hopes I guard, their ruin, I fear
I close my eyes and see your face
Drink it in, your soul, your grace
To touch you, hold you, see you too
Your smell, your voice, your eyes shine true
A dream I dream that’s never to be
One dream plus two, alive only in me
With selfless release of love locked away
Let go… ’tis yesterday, some may say
With arrogant self proclaimed wisdom astray
Patience, one day, others will say
But if I might, if I may
With innocent desire, child-like greed at play
Seize the day…this day I say.
Today! Today! …this day, I say.
~ Chick Hughes
“Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today.” ~ James Dean
Nothing sparks one’s imagination, evokes one’s emotions, or speaks to one’s soul like a good book. For both the reader and the writer, the words inspire thought, create passion, and expose vulnerability.
As a reader, I find Eleanor Herman’s Sex With the Queen (a collection of sordid extramarital affairs carried on by some of history’s most highly respected and, as it turns out, sexually starved queens) to be a refreshing reminder of our perfectly imperfect humanity. With each forbidden frolic recounted by Herman, I was able to brush up on hundreds of years of risque royal romping outside the marital bedroom. Not only was I captivated by the author’s nefarious tales of wedded betrayal proving the lengths we, as sexual beings, will go to in order to sate our insatiable appetite for physical intimacy (even when met with certain death as standard archaic punishment)…but I was, once again, blown away by the sheer power of love itself…an engulfing emotion, a trance-inducing spell, a heart hijacking…prompting us to break rules, breach trust, and bring down marital houses.
As a writer, I was captured by her candidly prefaced description of what it’s like, as an author, to put herself out there (heart and soul) with written words and await the merciless criticism that will likely be hurled in her soul-baring direction…most of which she is willing to withstand if only to reach one reader who – like herself – finds liberating understanding and literary growth from her writing. Herman’s sentiments ring true with any writer who has ever written from the heart, unbridled and uncensored.
“Putting a first book out there for the world to read is like standing on a podium naked and asking people to judge you, body and soul. This is because each book is a clear reflection of its author, her personality, her thoughts and experience, her way of looking at the world. Judgement, therefore, will not only be about her writing, but about…her soul! It is extremely frightening to take that step up to the podium, utterly exposed; the least bit of jiggle, cellulite, or sagging clearly visible to potentially cruel judges. It is also an exhilarating experience when the judges agree the results are pretty good, and any minor jiggle can be forgiven.” ~ Eleanor Herman
To reveal oneself through words is to brave, dwelling within us, the inner inhibiting troll.
To break down walls and relinquish control.
To write from the heart, to bare one’s soul.
To break free from the repressed literary whole.
Feel, write, feel, repeat.
~ Chick Hughes
Beginning scene formula for almost any 80′s horror movie ~ A buxom young woman is spending the evening at home with her equally shapely, and questionably legal, girlfriends…challenging her intellectually challenged peers to pillow fights, refusing to conform to society’s bra obsession, and contemplating the answer to life, the universe, and everything. Oblivious to her fatefully awaiting date with the grim reaper, she flaunts her barely there t-shirt and peek-a-boo panties. As she and her friends reenact every boy’s fantasized wet dream ideology of a girls’ sleepover, a crazed murderer lurks in the night, watching her every move, breathing heavily, and waiting patiently for her sexiest moment to slash her into pieces. He watches as she departs from the herd, disrobes, and heads for the shower, where she arches her back, washes her hair, and cleans only her breasts with the obsessive precision of this guy. Once she’s sure they can’t possibly get any cleaner and her back simply won’t arch any further, she deems her shower done. As she slips into as little as possible, an ominous sound outside her window beckons to her. Just when she’s convinced it was her imagination at play, she comes face to face with her serial killer Casanova. He stares blankly at her as she screams frantically into the night. As is the apparent norm for cinematic killers, he is locked in some psychotic trance. She seizes the moment to scream louder and, of course ~ while clumsily looking back over her shoulder ~ run! Squeaky clean ta-tas bouncing to the delight of every teenage boy and envy of every teenage girl glued to, ironically, the ‘boob tube.’ But the omnipresent slasher is two steps ahead of her, and no matter how fast she runs, how loud she screams, how much she begs…those impeccably clean knockers can’t help her now. She’s knocked her last knock.
Now for her friends. ~ End scene
1, 2…Freddy came for you. 3, 4…Let’s watch some more!
Horror movie mania is never more rampant than on Halloween. The need to scare and be scared always dwells within us. Hence, the overwhelming popularity of rollercoasters, skydiving, bungee jumping, haunted houses, and People of Walmart perusal.
We crave fear. But why? What is it about horror movies that keeps us revved up and brushed up on the infamous Zombie Survival Guide?
Theories on our fear flick fetish include our willingness to endure the terror in order to experience the euphoric relief when the credits roll. As one fear enthusiast and haunted house artist put it, “It’s a complete journey from anticipation to anxiety to experiencing the fear and having the adrenaline rush to coming down afterward.” In other words, it’s a drug…and we’re addicted.
Most recently, research on the root of our horror mania points to physiological and evolutionary causes. We love horror movies for the same reason we love any other death defying act. Adrenaline. The hormonal reaction we get from facing and surviving a physical threat is a physiological ganja hit. The ability to experience both negative (threat imposed by empathy for the victim) and positive (relief that we are physically detached from the threat) simultaneously is an emotional high for us. We get high on the fear. We come down on the relief. A hair- raising, nightmare-inducing horror movie is a roller coaster ride of emotion that delivers us safely back to reality.
Once it’s over and we’re still in one piece, we feel victorious and untouchable. We had the courage to come face to face with death, and we survived. Predator survival speaks to our primal roots. Our evolutionary predecessors faced physical threat on a daily basis. Competition for food, clothing, and shelter all required the occasional throwdown with nature’s superior food chain elite. The ability to outwit badass predators was the only way to keep the species thriving and jiving. So not only did we have to face it, we had to be good at it. Adrenaline junkies, we’re biologically hardwired to be drawn to danger and to, hopefully, rock survival.
5, 6…Death’s ass gets kicked!
Of course, as we age, we lose our hunger for horror. It’s no secret that the horror film industry relies mostly on young adults as an audience base. Teenagers, in particular, love a good heaping of horror hangover. Perhaps, as adolescents reach adulthood, they are subconsciously preparing themselves for challenges that lie ahead. Many years ago, those challenges entailed physical threats to survival. So, defense was a coming of age skill. Some psychologists say we dream “in order to rehearse behaviors of self-defense in the safety of nighttime isolation.” In other words, we practice our real life fight-or-flight what-if’s in our dreams…as a means of preparation. Perhaps our love for horror movies is cloaked in the same mental subconscious. Maybe we’re simply training ourselves just in case we ever end up staring down the hockey mask of a lunatic on an unfortunate Friday the 13th. On the off chance that we do, horror movies provide us a play by play of what may get us killed, and what may not. Once the movie is over, we feel more than just relief. We feel properly trained and prepared for our own possible brush with the likes of Freddy Krueger. And we know never to fall asleep.
So, like it or not, our love affair with scary movies is here to stay. Due to evolutionary cravings beyond our control, we will continue to force ourselves through haunted houses, jump from horrifying heights to uncertain death, and gather around movie screens to face off with the latest Paranormal phenomenon or asylum escapee with a chainsaw and a chip on his shoulder. Fear is a timeless fad.
Now to get some female writers for future horror flicks. I mean men take sexy showers too, right?
7,8…Fear is your fate.
9,10…It’s Fright Night again!
“I love horror movies because they’re really fun. They tap into those wonderful primal emotions.” ~ Margot Kidder