A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Tom Hanks portrayal of Mister Rogers in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is so realistic one almost feels like Mister Rogers is still with us. It’s such a glorious film. If you’re lucky enough to see it make sure to have a tissue in hand. I’m tearing up just writing this. I was a mess during the actual film. It’s message is so timely given the current state of the world.

The beauty of Fred Rogers was how he never lost faith in humanity. For thirty years he taught children the importance of kindness, love and forgiveness. Those themes are reiterated in the film which focuses on the friendship between Mister Rogers and journalist Tom Juno. The two meet when Juno is tasked to write an article on the beloved hero of so many of our childhoods. I can’t praise this movie enough. It’s surprisingly dark in places which makes the sweeter moments more poignant. Here’s the trailer, followed by a few of my favorite quotes from the film.

“To die is human, and anything human is mentionable. Anything mentionable is manageable.” – Fred Rogers

“Do you know what forgiveness means? It’s a decision we make to release a person from the feelings of anger we have against them.” – Fred Rogers

“Sometimes it’s hardest to forgive the ones we love.” -Mr. Rogers

“Just take a minute and think about all the people who loved us into being.” – Mr. Rogers

“I think the best thing we can do is to let people know that each one of them is precious.” – Mr. Rogers

“He’s just about the nicest person I’ve ever met.” Tom about Fred

On Roses and Netted Woods

Hello lovely ones. I’m sorry I’m so sporadic with my posts. I can’t promise I’ll do better, but I thank you all for sticking around. On a random note, going to see the Mister Rogers film this afternoon, excited for it. He was such a beautiful soul. I’m sure Tom Hanks did him justice. Now for a poem. I hope you like it. Happy Monday!

——–

In the journey of my life,
the voyage of self awareness 
 I’ve fed on roses,
walked through woods netted
with bramble 
Mixed metaphors and signals.
I’ve had glimpses of narcissism,
flirted with egoism, had brushes 
with bitterness, doubted my worth.
I’ve questioned the validity of the sun
and found solace in torrential rains.
I’ve left small bruises on paper,
but nothing that hasn’t been felt
by others more lyrical than me.
I’ve had childlike faith and believed
in the flickering of fireflies, even now,
as the days grow shorter,
each year the footnotes longer.
Finally I’m home again, content to sit in 
our garden and pay attention to the
call notes gathering in the air.
The bird sings sweetly, no 
longer in her wicker cage. I join 
her chorus, besotted with the 
fever of a life living and lived. 
-Tosha Michelle
 
Goofy goodness
 

Fire Escape

“Walking home your hand in mine
Tattoos on the river line
The morning birds are taking flight
Either way I thought that you should know

You’re my number one
You’re the reason I’m still
up at dawn
just to see your face
We’ll be going strong
with the vampires, baby
We belong, we belong awake

https://youtu.be/KfU-S6ovooQ

Memorized

If you watch “This Is Us” you’ll recognize this beautiful song from the season 4 premiere. The tune is calledMemorized performed by Blake Stadnik, the legally blind actor who plays the grown up version of baby Jack on the show. If you’re a fan of TIS you’ll understand the poignancy of the scene and the relevancy of the lyrics. It was definitely one of the most moving moments from a series that defines moving moments.

According to The Wrap, “Stadnik’s song — which was co-written by This Is Us composer Siddhartha Khosla and Taylor Goldsmith, the lead singer and guitarist from the band Dawes (he’s also Mandy Moore’s husband) — has entered the Top 20 in the U.S. iTunes sales store and is currently No. 14 on the all-genre song sales chart. It’s a stunning achievement for a TV show soundtrack song from an episode that has only aired once.

Here’s a few of my favorite lines from this gorgeous song, followed by music video. Well worth a listen.

“Can one wrong turn give me new direction?
Can one false move bring you one true friend?
Could a stranger ever end up being you?”

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