Unemployment, ie What I Did Not Write About

I read an article that someone posted on Facebook recently that talked about the evidence that writing helps people to recover emotionally from difficult experiences.  My mom learned the same thing in her psychology classes.

I was struck by that because I realized that I never blogged about my experience being unemployed (or rather underemployed) last year.  I mentioned on my blog (briefly) that I had been laid off but I never really blogged about it in great detail.

There were a number of reasons for this omission.

I was ashamed.  I had never been laid off before.  Even though I was not terminated for cause (I got letters to that effect from my boss before I left), I was still ashamed.  It was false shame in the sense that I had done nothing wrong, but it was real in the sense that I felt it deeply.  (“Of course this is all in your head Harry.  But why on earth should that mean it is not real? “?)

I was relieved. The situation I was in was a terrible one. I was part of a terribly dysfunctional organization. I am friends with co-worker who still works there, and she is miserable. When I first found out that I was being laid off, it seemed like a release. I felt that I had been spared. That was a difficult feeling.

I was conflicted. I did not want to share too many details about my place of former employment. I did not want to burn any bridges, even though I would never work there again, and I would actively discourage any family member, friend, or mortal enemy from working there. Even so, I am reluctant to burn bridges. More importantly, I still blog anonymously, and I did not want anyone to be able to tell who I was or where I was living. That made it difficult to share details.

I was depressed. I was very, very, depressed. For a time, blogging was an escape. I could post about a variety of subjects from music to movies. It was a motivation. It gave me a reason to go to the library; an occupation on days when I was not working.

Still, I think I made a mistake. I think that I should have published more details about my time as I was laid off. After all, I published a tremendous amount of details about my experience with thyroid cancer. I wanted to record them to help others who found themselves in my experience. I do not know exactly why I chose a different tactic with my time in unemployment, but I think I should have handled it differently.

In order to rectify this situation, I am going to write more posts about the month I spent teaching, how I was laid off, my time as a substitute, and my life now.

After all, I always liked the line from an old song called Breathe (2 AM). The singer says, “Two AM and I’m still awake writing a song, If I get it all down on paper it’s no longer inside of me, threatening the life it belongs to.”

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Films About Women 25

1 Bend It Like Beckham

I have to admit, I thought of this movie when I was a kid. I had an idea to make a film about a girl who was a great soccer player. (I also had the idea for the show Hannah Montanna. Not sure if that’s a good thing.) However, I never made it, and I certainly never would have thought to feature an British Indian young woman as the protagonist.

This film centers the story of two young women who are excellent soccer players in London. In America, playing soccer would be perfectly normal for girls. Soccer is seen as a girls’ sport and many young women earn scholarships to play at American universities. In Britain, this is less true, even more so for young Indian women who must bridge the gap between cultures. Her parents expect her to learn how to cook Aloo Gobi and also become a solicitor. (I find that a telling juxtaposition. She must be both the perfect Indian woman but she must also advance within British society and raise her family’s status. That must be a tough balancing act.) Her friend Jules, has to balance as well. Her mother wants her to be more feminine so that she can have her pick of men; she would rather earn a scholarship to play soccer at an American University.

I find it quite striking that the men in this film are supportive of the women’s talents and desires; the women are hostile. The movie is great fun and has great music. I still listen to the music to this day.

2 Halloween (1978)

I just saw this movie for the first time last April. The film tells the story of Michael Myers, “the shape” who emerges from his hospital and goes on a killing spree. He targets babysitters on Halloween at his home town. He is not so much a person as a force, a demonic presence in this town.

Halloween Jamie Lee Curtis

It was made for virtually no money and it made a fortune. The money was well earned. This is a patient film. The audience has to wait for the violence and carnage, and the director wisely takes the time to build the tension. Young Jamie Lee Curtis stars in this film as a young, slightly straight laced, young woman who is about to confront unspeakable evil.

I am not a horror film fan, but I really liked this film.

3 Contact

Contact is a science fiction film based on the novel by Carl Sagan. It tells the story of a scientist who has devoted her life to seeking out signs of intelligent life in the universe. One evening, as she is monitoring the radio signals she receives from outer space, she receives a message. The film explores the affect that this message has on her and the world. It also asks the audience to decide if she looks at extraterrestrial life from the perspective of a scientist or a mystic.

I have not read the book upon which this was based, so I cannot speak to the film as an adaptation. However, I do enjoy this film. My physics teacher in high school said that this was the most accurate science fiction film he had ever seen. I do not know if that is true. The film does have a sense of plausibility. Compared to Star Trek or Star Wars, this film is very grounded. It is easy to imagine that the events could transpire.

It has a great performance from Jodie Foster, John Hurt, and James Woods. The film also has great special effects but does not allow the special effects to overwhelm the film. The special effects exist for the film; the film does not exist for the special effects. If only George Lucas had seen this film while he was making The Phantom Menace!

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Bach – Easter Oratorio – Conductor John Gardiner

Originally posted on I Write The Music:


Johann Sebastian Bach
Easter Oratorio, BWV 249

1 Sinfonia
2 Adagio
3 Aria. Kommt, eilet und laufet
4 Recitativo. O kalter Männer Sinn
5 Aria. Seele, deine Spezereien
6 Recitativo. Hier ist die Gruft
7 Aria. Sanfte soll mein Todeskummer
8 Recitativo. Indessen seufzen wir
9 Aria. Saget, saget mir geschwinde
10 Recitativo. Wir sind erfreut
11 Chorus. Preis und Dank

Hannah Morrison, soprano
Meg Bragle, mezzo-soprano
Nicholas Mulroy, tenor
Peter Harvey, bass

Monteverdi Choir
English Baroque Soloists
John Eliot Gardiner, conductor

Live recording, London, Proms 2013

View original

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Christ Triumphant over Sin and Death by Marten de Vos

I know nothing about the Flemish painters but I like them. They lack the drama and excitement of Caravaggio, but they have an earthiness and life that is very appealing.

Christ Triumphant over Sin and Death Marten de Vos

I read on Wikipedia that Marten de Vos was part of group of humanist artists called the Guild of Romanists. Perhaps that’s what I find so striking about this painting. I see his humanist philosophy coming through in his work.

Happy Easter!

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The Last Supper by Leonardo Da Vinci


This mural painting is a failed experiment.  Leonardo was known for experimenting with paint composition and techniques.  Unfortunately, this one did not work out; the paint does not want to stick to the wall.

Oh well, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

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The 39th Cleveland International Film Festival : A (Film) Festivus for the Rest of Us!

On Saturday, a friend of mine came to visit me in Cleveland for one purpose; to attend the Cleveland International Film Festival.

I took her to see Short Films.  I think that’s the best way to start.  First of all, it’s less “risky” (you’re likely to see at least one good film) and it’s a rare opportunity to see short films.  We sat down in one of the front rows of the theater, and a man and a woman sat next to us.  We found out a few minutes later that they were an actor and director of one of the short films!

My friend had a great time and was completely hooked on the film festival by the end of it.  (Another convert!)  As we walked out, she had a great point.  She told me she was so impressed with the fact that the theater was filled with ordinary people.

It’s a point worth remembering.  A film festival in a place like New York or Cannes is likely full of major players in the film industry or wealthy elites.  But in Cleveland, with tickets as cheap as $15 a seat, the average person can easily attend the film festival and see movies from across the globe as well as local films.

It is truly a (film) festivus for the rest of us!


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The Annunciation by Bartolome Esteban Murillo

I really love this painting. The color is so rich.

Annunciation Bartolome Esteban Murillo

I also love the color scheme of the Virgin’s outfit, and the fact that she appears to be kneeling in front of an empty basket. The basket is, of course, reminiscent of an empty crib.

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