and the widening gyre continues....
Welcome Internet Bargain Browsers,
Crazy things happened this week. Walls, closing in on open minds. Gun ownership is a state decision though it could affect the lives of dozens of random strangers who might be standing near a momentarily out-of-control gun owner (many more depending on if you think permanent PTSD is “being affected”), but what you do with your own DNA is federal, though it only directly affects the lives of (possibly) two people, maybe three. The EU is considering accepting Ukraine who probably wouldn’t have applied anytime soon if it wasn’t for Russia telling them with force that they were forbidden from doing so. Are there parallels? My daughter’s citizen app “lit up” with shootings the day that the Supreme Court expanded gun rights. She and her friends will be out demonstrating to regain the right to make decisions about their own lives while I worry they might be shot. Yeah. That’s the world today.
Right. So as you are reading this, if all is going well, she and I are changing planes in Finland! My intention is to get out of the airport and wander Helsinki for 4 hours (I have a 6 hour layover). I’m hoping to find some good Finnish destinations easily reachable by reliable public transport from the airport!
Why traveling? I was offered a spot in the Lithuanian Writers of the Diaspora Forum. (if you will recall, I attended the inaugural “annual” event in 2019: thanks Pandemic!)
It’s pretty spectacular to travel internationally and be welcomed as a writer overseas. I recommend it. Get yourself some genetic history with a tiny sovereign nation that has an unpronounceable name. It’s rough when you’re a kid, but then it pays off when you’re an adult.
In a long-defunct print magazine, I wrote a whole essay about how weird it is to be from a tiny country that takes itself so seriously that outside the country it’s a big joke….setting up a vicious circle.
What do you people do with essays/stories that you wrote for magazines that are now long out of print?
Writing News (that I can’t tell you about yet):
A magazine just moved me to the short list for more editorial consideration for a very short humor piece. Yay!
While I’m in Lithuania, as part of the Writers of the Diaspora Forum, I am invited to meet the First Lady of Lithuania She’s cool. She just did this for Ukraine: https://www.baltictimes.com/lithuanians__you_bring_feeling_of_home_back_to_ukrainians___zelenska/
Also I won a nice grant for Pen Parentis. I’m not allowed yet to tell anyone what it is, but I’m pleased.
However, I am allows to tell you this: Part 2 of my hilarious quest for the perfect immersive art experience in NYC is now available on Medium.
I went to see a movie last week, and noticed that in the credits—which went on over five minutes—every member of the background choir was individually named, as was every instrumentalist and the instrument they played. The security team was enumerated. The caterers were named. Even the accountants, the accountant’s assistants, and every single baby that was born during the course of the film shoot.
But not the background actors. What’s up with that?
The actual literal furniture gets a screen credit when it is donated by someone, but the background actors are not named people in a movie.
Their “handler” is named (or rather, their “wrangler” in movie speak) — and of course the Casting Director who chose them from photos or even more likely a database of availability. But the actual background actors, all of whom, usually, wish more than anything they could have a tiny amount of recognition for the sixteen hours they sat on the set hoping that their hair color was the right one to offset the star and the minor characters….they get no credit at all. Why is that, movie people? Does a movie extra do less for the movie than the alternate dog? Because the alternate dog always gets a named credit.
Give credit where it is due, my faceless beloved readers, and think about doing it publicly — it’s gorgeous for a background actor to get told they did a fantastic job in a restaurant scene, but apart from hiring them back the next day, the next best thing you can do is to publicly acknowledge someone’s hard work. Social media makes this easy — and as someone who sometimes gets some very very cool DMs, I can tell you that every public acknowledgement brings a huge smile.