Archive for January, 2011

The Fire of Grief

January 18, 2011

Grief is a fire needing careful tending. If ignored, it builds up, going underground, and then erupts violently with a sheet of flame. It catches you unawares like a tidal wave emerging from a peaceful horizon. If tended too much, its flames can burn or even paralyze you.

It’s like walking through a smoldering forest with debilitating pockets of flames and smoke. There is a pathway through the burning – the mourners’ path, forged by those familiar with this inferno. Those who have walked before us can teach us where and where not to go.

If one refuses to see the blazing fires of grief all around them, the flames will still burn. Better to face it, equipped and ready with tools crafted with the tears of those who have walked ahead, and humble ourselves by following the mourners’ path, an ancient, well-trodden trail.

(I am writing this after getting off the path of grieving because of the tyranny of the present and getting hit by a firewall of grief. I have joined a support group with fellow mourners.)

(I just discovered that imbedded in the word grief, there is fire: In the word g-r-i-e-f, the last four letters are r-i-e-f = fire!)

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

January 12, 2011

Superb acting and excellent visual effects enhance the viewing of the new release, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. True to most of C.S. Lewis’ book by the same name, the movie captures the essence of the story.

Yes, there are some major changes to the plot. Narnian diehards will have a hard time accepting these differences, altering sequence and timing. The screenplay and its basic requirements impose upon the written word new criteria as a novel is transposed into visual art. In spite of the alterations, the writers have maintained the integrity of the characters in Lewis’ book. Eustace, for example, goes through the same transformation of personality even though it is done in a different context and position from the book.

The spiritual content also is preserved. Aslan’s land is a beautiful and moving picture of the afterlife. In an eloquent speech, Aslan inspires us to find him in this world by another name.

A movie that lifts my spirits, artfully transporting me to another land, time and place, gets my vote of confidence as an excellent movie for both young and old. I hope the minor story modifications will be overlooked by fans and that the movie will get the thumbs up vote of confidence it needs to be successful in a very competitive market. It is a great attempt to portray a very complicated novel. Congratulations to those who worked on this third Narnian movie! I will see it again and again, bringing those I love to enjoy this edifying epic

( I posted this review on the Narnia Fans website on Dec. 11 – http://www.narniafans.com/vdt_reviews/review.php?id=79, under Susan.)

Epiphany Reflections on Christianne Noel, My Daughter

January 7, 2011

January 6, Epiphany or “Little Christmas”, reminds me of my Christmas Day girl, Christianne Noel McCrea, born in 1976. When she was a child, I would have her friend birthday party on this day, or close to it, every year. It is only a short time since Christianne died on November 30, 2010. In memory of her, I celebrate her life today.      

 A year ago on the evening of January 6 and 7, my husband Martin and I crossed the Sierras on a rescue mission to pick up Christianne in Reno, Nevada. Missing for over a month, she was found there with the help of a private investigator I had hired. It was such a relief she was alive and willing to return to Sacramento with us. On December 4 she had left Sacramento on a Greyhound bus in a psychotic state with only $40, and I wondered if she would survive the coldness of the season and the dangers of her psychological condition. As she lived through harrowing circumstances numerous times, she came through again. It was a winter resurrection and the beginning of a new life for her.     

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               On the evening of January 6, 1999, I recall getting a phone call from her friends in the Hollywood Hills. “Christianne has not come down from a drug she’s taken, and we are very worried about her,” they said. It was her first psychotic episode, culminating in her first hospitalization. She wandered about Watts all night of the 6th and 7th; I stayed up and prayed for her. She wasn’t harmed, thank God. It was the beginning of her mental illness for me – a long series of hospitalizations, good spells in between, achievements, and deterioration, beginning just twelve years ago. It’s been a bittersweet journey, one I want to write about this year, as I remember her short life of 33 years.