Ask Me Anything.


Disclaimer: I am a book elitist. You know one of those obnoxious folks who always thinks the novel is better than the movie. When my friend Allison Burnett decided to turn his coming of age book Undiscovered Gyrl (2009) into a film, I was skeptical.  Could he really stay true to his artistic vision? Would the film live up to the book? And more importantly would this die hard Undiscovered Gyrl fanatic like it.   Guess what? It does and I do.   “Ask Me Anything” is flawless, captivating and poignant. It is every bit as gripping as the novel, no one, not even, Ms. Book Snob herself can accuse Allison of betraying his beloved novel by butchering it when it goes Hollywood.  I’m not ready to turn down my nose just yet though. In fairness, Allison wrote, produced and directed the film. He had full creative control.  In other words, he made his own book and did a darn fine job of it. I was one of the fortunate ones that got to prescreen this extraordinary film and trust me this is a not to be missed.

The story centers on Katie Kampenfel played masterfully and heartbreakingly by Britt Robertson. Robertson gives an empathy generating performance.  Katie is a beautiful, spirited, witty and troubled young woman who has just graduated high school. She decides to take a year off before attending college. She begins her sabbatical by getting a job at a local bookstore working for Glenn Warburg (Martin Sheen). Bored with her college aged boyfriend Rory (Max Carver) she sets her sights on 32-year-old film professor, Dan played by Justin Long.

When she starts an anonymous blog, we get a voyeuristic look into her life and inner most thoughts which are uncensored, hilarious, and gut-wrenching. Things quickly take a dark turn when we learn of Katie’s troubling past with her alcoholic father, played by the rugged Robert Patrick. As the film progresses a dark secret from her childhood comes to light, Dan stops talking her calls, and she finds herself drawn into another toxic relationship with an older man played by Christen Slater.

The movie just like the book will leave you breathless, disturbed, and, dare I say, changed. The acting is exquisite, the cinematography is flawless, and the writing is superb. You will fall in love with Katie and be drawn into the haunting and stirring agonies, the unwonder years-desires, sex, self-destructive behaviors, the the insatiable longing to be loved.   You may even see a little of yourself in Katie. “Ask Me Anything” will resonant and linger long after the closing credits.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the other star of this film, the soundtrack featuring original music by undiscovered female artists all under the age of 21.

The film is set to be release on Dec 19th.

Watch the trailer here.

Watch “Invictus ~ poem by William Ernest Henley with text” on YouTube

Invictus ~ poem by William Ernest Henley with text:

We grow and learn from every trial and test. Listen to the words of Henley. He wrote ” Invictus” in the midst of tragedy. As a child, he had tuberculosis. In his twenties, he came down with an infection that stemmed from his childhood illness. As a result, he had to have his leg amputated . However, even at such a young age, he knew he was captain of his destiny. His soul and spirit were invincible. He refused to be broken. In later years, Henley would recite his poem as a mantra whenever he felt his courage waning. We can let adversity define us, or we can as Henley did, turn our weakest moments into our greatest triumphs

Being Time in Kenya with Heidegger


A timeless piece.

Originally posted on China Sojourns Photography:

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The concept of time is fascinating. From physics to philosophy, the notion of time is difficult to define.

From our normal existence in the world, we often define time as ‘fleeting’ in the sense there is never enough. Frustration builds as the majority of time is spent catching up on work…work that is always running further and further away.

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The more worry about time, the less there is.

This has been the script for me this year.  Just as I am ready to celebrate and enjoy autumn, this great season is fading fast.

Back in September, I noticed the leaves turning color. But instead of picking up my coat and heading out, I dropped my head for a quick analysis of work and business only to look up a couple of months later to find winter staring me in the face.

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Pushing open the window, a gust of cold wind…

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20 Questions: Poet Daniel von der Embse

..and once again wonky formatting. Sorry. I’m currently under the weather. I don’t have the patience to try and figure it out. Someone pass the whiskey. That might change my tune. At this point, just roll the bus over me, and let’s be done with it. I’m such a breath of contagious air. This isn’t about me though. This is about Daniel. He is a delight. Read on to find out more.

Daniel von der Embse wasborn and raised in Mansfield,Ohio, educated in Catholicschools, and graduated from
Ashland University with a in Theatre. He beganwriting poetry after a four-decade career as a copywriter for
advertising agencies in NewYork, Chicago, Los Angeles,Seattle, San Francisco, and SaltLake City. His poems appear The
Missing Slate, Across The Margin,Harpoon Review, Decanto, PoetryPacific, and Poetry Quarterly.

He blogs at

20 Questions: Daniel von der Embse

1. If you were Alice, would you rather stay in Wonderland on the other

side of the mirror, or come back to the real world to tell the tale? I have ahard time staying in one place, so I’d probably be a short stint in Wonderland.

2. Happiness is _____ writing poetry. I am truly happy when I am writing poetry.

3. Can we have happiness without sadness? For me it is strictly a co-dependent relationship.

4. An author with whom you would like to have lunch? Kurt Vonnegut if he were alive. So I’d go with David Sedaris now. I like a funny lunch.

5. If you were a drink. What would you be? Why? Old Fashioned. I’m that

6. Once, the movie. Are you familiar with it? Yes, love it. The song “Falling Slowly” was the only Oscar winner I picked correctly that year.

7. Does darkness soothe you or frighten you? Sitting or lying in darkness isvery soothing. But having to make my way in the dark is frightening because

8. If you ruled your own country, who would you get to write your national anthem?

Frank Zappa if he were alive. John Cale – as long as he is

9. What makes you nostalgic? Listening to vinyl records.

10. Narnia or Never Land? Well, I’ve actually been to Narnia – it’s in Umbria in Italy. It’s not that great so I’d probably go with Never Land.

11. Do you remember your dreams? Only the bad dreams. They make the best

12. What’s your favorite time of day? Lunchtime.

13. What’s your favorite season? Spring. When everything begins.

14. Does pressure motivate you? I use self-induced pressure to push myself to do better. But I’m used to the external pressure of deadlines. It has made me work faster and not overthink things.

15. Would you rather live to write or write to live? I’d rather just write to write.

16. What published book do you secretly wish you had written? Anything by Raymond Carver.

17. Are you the paranoid type or calm, cool and collected? Not paranoid, but easily excitable. Under pressure, very collected.

18. What would qualify as the afternoon of your dreams? People watching at the Pitti Palace in Florence.

19. Are you more like the sun or the moon? Definitely the moon. I move in cycles. Currently, I’m going though male menopause.

20. Do you hear voices? I have constant ringing in my ears. It’s called tinnitus. I hear lines of poetry in my ear over the ringing.

21. Please tell our readers about your upcoming projects. Thanks for asking that! I’m working on a collection of poems. It might be the most challenging thing I’ve ever attempted. And thanks for asking me 20 questions! Make that 21

Jon Stewart, Jimmy Fallon, and Who????

Tomorrow (Thursday) at 7:00EST, I’ll be a guest on my own podcast. That’s not weird at all, right? My co-host and friend Niles, aka James, has decided to interview me about my new little book of poetry, Confessions of a Reformed Southern Belle: A Poet’s Collection of Love, Loss and Renewal. I’m honored.  If you don’t have anything more pressing to do (like cleaning your dryer filer or rearranging your pantry), we’d be happy if you tuned in. I have it on good authority Jon Stewart and Jimmy Fallon will be calling in. That’s if you consider my cat “good authority.”

You can click the link below to listen.