Monday, March 30, 2015

Trekking in and around Machu Picchu

We just got back from trekking in and around Machu Picchu. Stunning. Many times I’ve gone to famous places and been disappointed because it seemed so much less than the hype. But not this time. Machu Picchu is grandeur combined with history, and there is so much there you really get a feel for what living was like back in 1450. I loved it. We walked over every inch, then spent a few hours looking down on it from the mountains above. A very spiritual experience. I’m not sure I will ever go back, but what a fantastic experience to share that with Herman, Ben, and Wells.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

My First Trip To Peru

Had an uneventful flight from Palm Springs to Lima, via San Francisco and Houston. My headphones stopped working halfway through an interesting documentary on Marlon Brando, but on the other hand, I managed to sleep a few hours on the flight from Houston to Lima. Also read 25% of Christopher Isherwood’s Christopher And His Kind. Very interesting book. I love Isherwood’s writing. Slept well at a nice hotel, and then woke to news (via FB) that Hans and Jerry are dropping out of the trip. Hans is in the hospital in Santiago with pneumonia and congestive heart failure. They will try to fly him back to the States today. Sad news for all of us.

Hans and Jerry were in the last leg of a four-month, around-the-world trip—Hawaii, Thailand, India, South Africa, Carnival in Brazil, around the cape by boat to Santiago. They were to meet up with Herman, Wells, Ben and me for a two-week trip from Lima to Machu Picchu and back. They are both in their 70s, and I’m wondering if they are simply too old to be making such and aggressive trip?

We touched base with Wells Horton this a.m. to find his flight was several hours late getting in because one of his flights was canceled and UA had to reschedule him through Miami. He didn’t get to the hotel until 7 a.m.

So it seems our South American trip is starting on a sour note or two. Hopefully, luck will improve and continue to do so. So Herman and I have a day in Lima to ourselves, and I think we will simply wander around looking for good places to hang out and eat. A new city to explore is always exciting.

Get better soon, Hans.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Indian Wells Tennis is Hot Hot Hot

 I’ve not been posting much this week because I’m busy preparing for another long trip, this time to Peru and Argentina. Herman and I did take time out to catch a day of tennis at the Indian Wells tennis tournament going on now. Temps in the nineties did little to detract from all the great matches from the best players in the world. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Writing Tip: Dialog Is About Attitude

Yesterday, I was having coffee with James Dalessandro, a noted screenwriter, and we mostly talked about dialog. He said, “Dialog is the characters passing information to the reader, with attitude. And attitude is more important than the information.”

The best example he gave was a prison movie where Clint Eastwood, a prisoner, was meeting with the warden:

Warden: “What was your childhood like?”
Eastwood: “Short.”

The subtext, of course, is that Eastwood’s character found himself on the streets fending for himself at a very early age. But more important, is the attitude that comes across with that one word answer, which says: “Screw you. Why are you asking me these bullshit questions? Mind your own f*&%ing business!”

That is a lot to say with just one word. It speaks volumes about the character, yet it is just one word, five letters and a period. Brilliant.

So, when thinking about what your character will say, give even more thought to how s/he will say it. What are they feeling, what are they trying to get at that moment. It’s all about attitude and impact. 

Monday, March 9, 2015

What is True Love?

I’ve reflected a great deal lately on what it means to truly love a person, because my new work-in-progress deals with this topic.

I’ve come to believe that love, true love, is a rare thing, and different than “being in love” with someone. True love begins to blossom only when you let go of all expectations and let the object of your love be perfectly themselves, rather than trying to twist them into your image of what you think they should be.

That is often an easy thing to do, but to do it all the time in every circumstance is unusual, because we all feel personal needs and we want the object of our love to fulfill those needs.

If you can’t love them wholly for who they are rather than needing them to act/be something you want, then you only love the reflection of yourself that you project onto them.

Looking back on my own relationship, it took me many years to arrive at the point of true love. And I must confess our relationship was a rather bumpy road until I did.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

"Choose to be" vs. "Born this way"

Dr. Ben Carson, a potential candidate in the 2016 GOP presidential primary, said Wednesday he "absolutely" believes being gay is a choice.

In an interview with CNN, Carson argued prisons prove people choose to be gay.
"Because a lot of people who go into prison go into prison straight -- and when they come out, they're gay," Carson said. "So, did something happen while they were in there? Ask yourself that question."

Frankly I don’t understand this "Choose to be" vs. "Born this way" argument. Why is this even an issue? I consider it a privilege to be gay. In my, albeit limited, experience, gay people are equally intelligent and far more compassionate than most heterosexuals I’ve known. So what difference does it make if people choose this wonderful lifestyle or they were lucky enough to be born gay? Bottom line is: the world needs far more progressive gay people and far less hateful, gun toting bigots.