My Bernie Journey

I just phone-banked for the second time this week in our new Joliet field office! I am SO stoked that there’s finally something happening in my hometown. The closest other events are between 20-45 miles and it’s just too dang cold for that.

Man, I love it.

Tonight I got a few answers and left a lot of messages. I was calling confirmed Bernie supporters trying to get them to come in and volunteer.

And I got a decent amount to sign up! Most people were excited I was calling. I answered some questions. I even got a few people to commit to specific shifts within the next couple weeks. I got e-mails, from people who wanted more info but were busy at that moment or unsure of when exactly they can work for us.

Tonight I called a woman who was getting married this weekend– and then will be honeymooning in Colorado–skiing!!– until March 15, the day of Illinois primary elections. We kept interrupting each other, so excited to talk about Bernie! I asked if she was marrying a Democrat and she admitted he was a Republican– that she was “working on” him. I laughed and said I’ve dated a few Republicans myself– it certainly makes for interesting conversation!

She joked that she was trying to convert him and if he doesn’t, “it may be a short marriage.” But clearly she’s smitten, I’m not worried about the state of their union.

I teased that in lieu of volunteering in a field office, she’ll be “working every day” with her her future-husband, and she got a GOOD laugh out of that!

I talked to people of all ages.

When I asked if they were voting Bernie in the primary, I often got an enthusiastic response and maybe a good-natured, “Feelin’ the Bern!”

And really, phone-banking brought out the best in me. I remembered that actually, I’m pretty outgoing and comfortable with myself. I connected with everyone who answered except for one who hung up on me right away. My sales background came in handy!

I have a passion for Bernie Sanders’ campaign and sharing that with people is exciting.

Towards the end, I made it a game. How many people can I call in the last nine minutes??

I filled out a sheet about shifts I will commit to working. The field office organizer said I did a good job signing up volunteers and gave me a bunch of extra shift sign-up sheets to pass out to friends. I’m going to make copies of those and just hand them out to people I see around town. Why not?!


Indomitable Annie: A Five Star Re-Make

“What if you have no cards?” Annie (Quvenzhane Wallis) asked her temporary guardian, Will Stacks (Jamie Foxx.)

“You bluff,” he answered.

They were flying in his personal helicopter above New York City.

That’s the moment I remember most about this new re-make on the 1982 original movie.

Why? Because the relationship between the business tycoon and this young girl is both believable and inspiring. It’s clear that they were meant to be family: they share the same go-get ’em mentality. Both are opportunists- but Annie’s agenda is pure. She just wants a better life for herself, and to help out her friends when she’s able. She never forgets her roots and isn’t corrupted by fame or instant wealth.

She also sees right through any attempts at manipulation and calls it immediately. She reminds the adults trying to hustle her that though she may be a kid, she deserves respect and will not be forced into anything that doesn’t feel right to her. She will not be used as a PR prop. Rather, she agrees to play along to help the mayor’s campaign– but only on her her terms. She requires that Stacks get to know her. She is not bought or dazzled by paparazzi.

The best thing about Annie is her refusal to be defined by her current circumstances. She does not see herself as someone rejected by her parents or society– but someone waiting for what she knows she deserves: a family that will cherish her. Even when people try to label her an orphan, she corrects them: “foster kid.” She doesn’t attach easily to Stacks– she reminds him he is not her real father. He realizes he needs to earn HER respect and cooperation: something new for a man used to being surrounded by greedy fans and “Yes men” paid to meet his whims.

Annie cannot be bought. Thus, she wins HIS respect. And he finds that, probably for the first time since he was a boy who idolized his workaholic father, he values a human connection more than money.

The movie is a Republican fairy tale– with a heart! Republicans always get a bad rap, but they’re not evil. Just motivated, which is why they are successful in business. From the first scene, it’s clear that Annie is a smart kid, capable of navigating the city streets alone. She has plans. She has dreams. She’s the leader at home, where is she one of a small group of foster kids (not orphans)– run haphazardly by Miss Hannigan.

I’ve never much liked Foxx before this movie– he always seems arrogant. But he played his role so well that I even changed my mind about the actor himself. It’s clear that once he stops his denial about his genuine love for Annie, he is ready to step up and become a devoted family man.

Annie’s optimism and unrelenting kindness changes him.

Annie also refuses to be bullied by Hannigan and escapes at her first opportunity without fear.

And contrary to the bad reviews of Diaz, I think she claimed this role of Miss Hannigan and made it hers. She starts out as openly verbally and emotionally abusive– a desperate alcoholic. She throws her self at every male who enters her lair, and it’s cringe-worthy to watch. But there’s obvious pain and palpable regret behind her negativity. She was once a promising star, now faded. She, too, feels trapped by her circumstances. To begin she hates Annie, who represents what she herself will never have: joy. She singles out Annie the most for bad treatment and talks badly about her. Clearly, she sees Annie as a threat.

So what if she can’t sing like Carol Burnett? Rather than try to do the impossible and copy the master, she had the courage to do her own interpretation. She more than conveys the anguish behind the character’s hostile facade. As she sees Annie holds no resentment toward her, even she begins to change for the better. She puts down the bottle, sees herself as valuable, and begins treating others better.

The girl is downright unstoppable.

I loved the music! It’s more urban, with complex arrangements. It reminds me a lot of the “RENT” movie, which I love as much as the Original Broadway Cast version now. Not all of the songs are included, but I think this team found the heart of the songs and did them justice.

I don’t compare them– it’s that good. This movie stands alone.

I won’t ruin ALL the plot twists for ya. This movie teaches us about faith, love, ethics and sacrifice.

Go and see it. It will make your day and remind you to believe in your own potential, and that of everyone.

It exudes Christmas spirit.

This is a film everyone can enjoy, and LEARN something from. And that’s a big statement from me, because I’ve been a hardcore fan of the 1982 movie since it’s release. It was one the of the first movies I saw, and I STILL HAVE my vinyl record soundtrack! I wore out my first cassette tape of the soundtrack.

I can’t wait to see it again! And buy the soundtrack.

Single and Writing: A Joyous Epiphany

This blog has been a chronicle of my single life, and my Lenten endeavors. This year I’m basically apathetic about Lent.

Blogging is fun. But it’s ultimately unsatisfying for me. I grew up writing poems. I was lucky to get a couple poems published in college in my school literary journals. I wrote as an intern, a staff writer and then a columnist for daily newspapers. I like more exposure.

I’ve had this blog for not quite two years– and it hasn’t taken off like I’d imagined. I could have promoted it in my column, but chose not to. I’m proud that I put my name on it. A few times, I’ve gotten mentioned in other blogs. But ultimately, I never found a focus for it.

I used to think I didn’t want fame. I didn’t want to be known.

But I’m beginning to change my mind.

Yes, fame is awful. But authors and writers don’t become famous the way the Kardashians do. If so, it’s because they promote themselves relentlessly on TV, cross over into other media, or have very active Twitter feeds. Or they use writing as a springboard to become a celebrity, and never cared much about the writing itself. Columnists become famous. Journalists. But authors? Not as much. I’ve met a few who have been writing for years– they usually toil in obscurity, but keep writing because they love it. Once in awhile, they get a break and ride that wave.

And I admit, my column got me a bit hooked. I loved knowing the people who didn’t like me in high school and my exes opened up the paper and saw my mug shot. Even if that particular column wasn’t so great– it was still an achievement. I was so quiet as a teen. I never said much. I never stood up for myself. A lot of times, I still don’t.

Writing is my bullhorn. It’s my right hook.

Writing is the voice that God gave me. Why else would I have it if not to speak up??

Also, I notice my blogs are often too long and don’t get a lot of comments. I know I don’t always reply! Before I delete this blog, I’m going to try and reply to all the comments I’ve gotten. It’s the least I could do. The most popular ones tend to be around 750 words, but my average post is usually closer to 1300. I just have too much to say! I just love talking too much. I’m too verbose for blogging!

I’ve mainly put off writing because I felt I had nothing to write about. But the last six years alone have given me PLENTY of experience, heartbreak, and fuel. I thought I was too young to start anything. That if was meant to write something, I’d do later in life. But now I just feel like I’m wasting time. What if I die before I finish anything? You never know!

My father is already 70, Diane 71. I don’t know if I’ll ever marry or have children, but I’d love to do something in his lifetime to really make him proud. I think the main reason that I kept my column as long as I did is because my father honestly just loved it so much. My step-mother would cut them out and mail them to relatives too, that made me feel fantastic.

I loved hearing my father say, “My daughter writes for the paper.”

Maybe I’m single so I can write. Maybe that’s what all this solitude is about! All these lessons.  Maybe my legacy won’t be children, but a life set forth in the printed word. And then I can live forever.

Maybe I’ll write scandalous poems. Maybe I’ll try some slam poetry. Maybe a memoir. Maybe some fiction!

I used to worry about offending people. My parents are Republican! But offending people can be really, really fun. Not in an insane, Ann Coulter kind of way. But in a Sharon Olds kind of way. In a Vonnegut kind of way. In a Prince kind of way!

Either way, I don’t have many blogs left in me. I may keep it going until March 17– which will be my 2nd Anniversary of Unrelenting Amee! That would be some wonderful symmetry. But I’m impulsive, and once I finally decide to be done with something, there’s no going back.

When I end this one, I will not be starting another to replace it.

If if I ever do, it will be something focused, professional. Someplace to showcase a body of work and promote myself. Sometime in the future. This was just a playground where I enjoyed seeing how high I could swing, kicking my feet in the breeze. I can drop in here when I feel like it, but there’s never been a schedule.

I’m changing my life, making it more structured. And a big part of that is going to be writing. I’ve been saying for years I’d do it. But now, I’m ready to do it.

I’m reading Julia Cameron’s “The Right to Write,” and it’s definitely getting through to me.

Blogging lets me cave in to impulsive publishing.

Deleting this blog will help me become disciplined, and reignite my hunger to publish. Force me to submit.

To hustle.