Sonny Corleone?

Hello wonderful ones. Happy Tuesday. Last week we took one of our mini vacation to the mountains of Helen GA and had the best time. Photos below. Wonderful little town. I imagine it’s particularly lovely in the fall. Perhaps, another trip is in order at a cooler date. 😜

As an aside the Mister, (who’s much more hip and knowledgeable when it comes to films than yours unruly) got me hooked on CNN’s “The Movies”. Note, he’ll never convince me that “The Godfather” isn’t overhyped, but I digress. Each episode of the documentary covers a different decade of films (with people like Tom Hanks, Robert Redford, Steven Spielberg, and various other esteem actors, directors, and filmmakers) sharing anecdotes and their insights into movies that defined each decade. It’s well worth a look.

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The Wingspan of History

Years later if you do find yourself
giving into nostalgia’s fancy, flight
and all. Do not lament the departed
back or the wingspan of history,
the lost of what was.

Remember my dear, the albatross
left its shell long ago,
only the scent of sea water lingers.

If you must soar back into the past,
take solace in those bygones
summers, magnetic in their reticent sweetness of air. Recall the pleasure
of moonlight and innocence. Be
grateful for every hour spent, lessons
learned by the skin of heart.

Do not think of how the storm came,
or the way the Earth bent and folded,
instead give yourself to sentimentality
of summer’s rain soaked showers.

Once you’re throughly drenched,
feel your feet slowly touch the
earth again.Watch as the past drifts
and wafts away.

My how it shimmers in the distance,
riding on the whims of the sky.
The warm updraft feels nice for a
moment but not as lovely as the pull of the ground and the beauty of now.

-Tosha Michelle

“Though this be madness, yet there is method in ‘t.”.

Before I get into the post, I apologize in advance for the formatting. I’ve been having issues with WordPress recently and it making me exceedingly frustrated. Of course, my lack of tech savvy could be the real culprit (but GRRR either way). Happy Monday, beautiful people. Speaking of the beautiful…
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Just finished reading The Richard Burton Diaries. Oh my lands! What a journey it was. As usual, I’m late to the book signing, the diaries came out in 2012, In fairness though, by that time, RB had been dead for almost 30 years. Hopefully, he won’t hold it against me. May he rest in lavish, bookish, and superior peace.

My humble take on the inner wordings of flawed greatness, turns out Richard Burton was not just an accomplished actor, but also a gifted writer. The diaries are a superb read, magical and moving for their realism, and gut wrenching for Burton’s sometimes biting cynicism. If you’re not familiar with Richard Burton, he was an acclaimed Welsh actor of both film and stage, probably best known for movies like Cleopatra, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, (my favorite) Where Eagles Dare, and his renounced stage performances as Henry V, and Author of Camelot. One also can’t think of Burton without mentioning his turbulent romance and marriages to the legendary and glorious Elizabeth Taylor. The latter takes on a leading role in his diaries. In one passage he writes of Taylor:

“I have been inordinately lucky all my life but the greatest luck of all has been Elizabeth. She has turned me into a moral man but not a prig, she is a wildly exciting lover-mistress, she is shy and witty, she is nobody’s fool, she is a brilliant actress, she is beautiful beyond the dreams of pornography, she can be arrogant and wilful, she is clement and loving, Dulcis Imperatrix, she is Sunday’s child, she can tolerate my impossibilities and my drunkenness, she is an ache in the stomach when I am away from her, and she loves me!

Their relationship was one for the ages and fascinating in the way only tormented love can be. However, it’s not as intriguing as Burton himself, with his melodic voice, rugged good looks, and command of the English language (both written and spoken) Just look at how eloquently he described the wonders of traveling:

“Of the gladdest moments in human life, methinks, is the departure upon a distant journey into unknown lands. Shaking off with one mighty effort the fetters of Habit, the leaden weight of Routine, the cloak of many Cares, and the slavery of Home, man feels once more happy. The blood flows with the fast circulation of childhood. Excitement lends unwonted vigour to the muscle, and the sudden sense of freedom adds a cubit to the mental stature. Afresh dawns the morn of life. Again the bright world is beautiful to the eye, and the glorious face of nature gladdens the soul. A journey, in fact, appeals to Imagination, to Memory, to Hope-the sister graces of our mortal being.

Burton’s diaries begin in 1933, when he was just a young lad of 14. They conclude in 1983, the year of his untimely death at the age of 58. The journals provide an intimate glance into his private life and innermost thoughts. Thoughts that come across as lyrical, profound, self indulgent, deeply introspective, surprisingly scholarly, and always captivating. Like all of us, Burton had his demons, his vanities, his disappointments, his heartaches, his less than moments but also his successes and Mohammed mountaintop, (isn’t life a glamorous hoot) glimmer and glimpses. In some parts, the book reads like a Hollywood gossip column, in others, an erotic love story (always on the precipitate of becoming a Shakespearean tragedy), and in still others, a collection of Dylan poems with Yates’ Revolutionary Road thrown in to make you ponder the banality of even the most extraordinary of lives.

As an aside (and noteworthy, for all of us reading fiends), his love of books almost rivaled his love of Taylor. He consumed volume upon volumes of reading material. He read ferociously and obsessively from every genre. His knowledge of literature was extraordinary. He was very opinionated on the novels he read too. His summation of The Godfather and the Bond books made me chuckle. His knowledge of Shakespeare and Blake was astonishing. I’ve added a few of his suggestions to my reading list. Thanks RB! I think he’d probably hate that I’m calling him that. It beats Dick though.
The impression left upon completion of the book, Richard Burton was a multi dimensional, brilliant, curious, tender, sometimes lovable, other times unlikable man but a man who was always authentic, generous, and genuine in his assessment of himself and the world around him. Like most creative types, he did have periods of misanthropy and depression. At times he was full of self loathing and a natural born critic, both of himself and others, but he tempered his harshness with an engaging wit. He was wickedly funny. If I had to sum up Richard Burton, I would say in my pedestrian and utterly lacking way, he was a bit of a Dickens character, mixed with Oscar Wilde and King Lear.
Oh and in case you haven’t figured it out yet, I highly recommend The Richard Burton Diaries. It’s a stellar read for anyone who is a fan of old Hollywood, rags to riches tales, love stories, engaging writing, and tortured men with faces like a Greek God. Men who don’t mind getting deeply personal with their journals. Note, the writings really take off around his 1965 entries. You can see his progression as a writer. Richard Burton was more than apt with a turn of a phrase and danced his way through the pages with the grace of Baryshnikov. If you choose to read the diaries, you will come away with an intimate portrait of a wonderfully complex, indelibly flawed human. He may have been Hollywood royalty but his heart was just like ours, one that bent and broke on occasion. I wish I could do justice to his musings, but you’ll just have to read him for yourself.

-Tosha Michelle


The best scene from “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” The acting is mesmerizing.

https://youtu.be/g1IDWOtBDTg

Let’s talk about adversity. Getting personal. (long)

Let me tell you about trials and tribulations. This girl has been through some things. I’ve developed a few annoying habits because of said things, but talking about myself in the third person shouldn’t become one of them. 😜 Here’s a bit of my adversity story. We all have them.

Just like everyone, I’ve had my fair share of adversity. I was born premature and due to complications this caused irreparable damage to my optic nerve. Translation, my eyesight is beyond screwed. I’m legally blind and as a child, I struggled with epilepsy and a condition called Chorea. On top of that, I was a shy kid who was overly emotional and cried a lot. It made me a great target for bullying. Thankfully, I came into my own during my university years. As an adult, I’ve battled depression and anxiety. The latter has been debilitating on occasion, but these days, I’m more equipped to survive. My emotional fortitude has grown stronger with each trial. I’m blessed with a wonderful support system. More on them later, but these people make all the difference.

Adversity has been a wonderful teacher. It has taught me to believe in myself, to fear change less, and to step out of my comfort zone. I never want to become stagnant, constantly stuck in a quagmire of my own making. I always want to have something new to share, to never stop evolving as a person. There’s been times when I wanted to let my disabilities, or past hurts hold me back, but I’ve always persevered. Partly, because I’ve realized that coping means looking beyond my own worries, and concentrating on helping people with problems much greater than my own. The world is so much bigger than our own issues. Focusing on helping others is a great way to get out of our heads and be productive. It also makes one less of a selfish, self obsessed Mofo. Ha! Trisha Paytas, I’m looking at you.

Despite limitations and setbacks, I’ve written two books (with another on the way). I’ve got a Masters degree in Criminology, and research work that keeps me busy. I have a partner who loves me, and after a few uncertain years, a relationship that is thriving and stronger than ever. I am so grateful for his strength and spirit. He hit midlife crisis mode for a minute and we grew apart. It was a strange time for both of us, and could have ended in a few different ways. We honestly were on separate paths for awhile, but somehow managed to find our way back to the one we knew by heart. We married so young, just a couple of college kids, but thankfully, those two former kids are closer than ever now. He’s the responsible, go getting, charming, witty, loving man I met all those years ago, He makes me laugh, looks out for me, and puts up with all my quirks. We’re lucky to have each other. It’s wonderful to have someone to walk through life with, who will hold my hand during hard times.

We also have two amazing girls, (more young women now) not to mention, the best and brightest feline kind has to offer. Tucker says, “hi”. (Little Georgie could use your prayers, but that’s a story for another time). Just send out positive vibes into the universe for him, please) Very soon we will either be building or buying our fourth house together. Life truly is beautiful (even during trying times).

I’m grateful for the people who have come and gone, and the people who persist and remain. Each experience has taught me so much. I’m thankful for every moment, and each memory that has become a part of who I am, and who I will be. Sometimes unanswered prayers become our saving grace. If only we could see that in the moment, imagine how much suffering we could avoid. I really believe everything happens for a reason, (even the things that almost break you) that every journey takes us where we’re suppose to be. I’m thankful that every hurt (eventually) has brought about a renewal of spirit and desire to never repeat past mistakes. I’ll always miss and remember fondly those temporal people who helped me grow and shared their lives with me for a season. They were just what I needed for that moment and time. Lessons they taught me won’t be forgotten.

However, it’s the ones who are still here that get my unwavering affection and undying loyalty. I am a ride or die person, and I give my all to the people I love. My goal is to make their lives better and show up everyday. I try to put out sweetness and light, but some days it’s more snark and sassiness. marked by my homespun quirky awkwardness. I’m down with anyone who appreciate nerdy things, history, art, nature, music, antiques, traveling, Netflix, reading endlessly, the joys of being utterly silly, the comfort of yummy food, and talking about the most random things.

Having said all that, we’ve come to the purpose of this post. I know. I’m such a chatterbox on occasion. No! Really! 😜 I’d like to share some of my favorite quotes on adversity. I hope that if you’re struggling that these will lift you up. Sending lots of love to everyone. Thank you for reading. ❤️

“You should never view your challenges as a disadvantage. Instead, it’s important for you to understand that your experience facing and overcoming adversity is actually one of your biggest advantages.”

Michelle Obama

“We don’t develop courage by being happy every day. We develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.”

Barbara De Angelis

“Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.”

Napoleon Hill

Move Along

Monday Madness

Comment on my latest YouTube video. How funny. You can find my channel here:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCInH-Dt_OBPbWGt7bpDDHPg

I like to think of myself as Elsa. Ha ha!

Silliness

The sweetest gift.

Soulfulness

Nature is my jam, toast, and butter.

Yes!

And..

Just one of my many favorites. Such a beautiful song. 💕