Tuesday, July 20, 2010


When one says that another has wit; it can either mean that they have a sense of humor or exceptional intelligence. A clever, quick or bright person I'd say. The film Wit is undoubtedly one of my favourite films to date. I was introduced to this film by my Literature writing professor, Dr. Barbara Nightingale in my first semester at University. She made us recite poetry, visit art galleries, and write our own eulogy for one home-work assignment. Wit was a film she made the class watch one warm afternoon; and neither of us had any high expectations; seeing that it was 'only' an HBOtelevision film. Little did we know what we were in store for; a film that tugged enormously at one's heart strings to say the least and for those who hadn't yet been touched by tragedy in life to experience firsthand a path in life every one of us would have to journey.

I marvel at Emma Thompson's performance in this film; it was mind blowingly marvelous work. She committed to the character of Viviane Bearing whole heartedly and completely took us on a beautiful level that made us cherish our lives.

Wit was released in 2001, based on a play by Margaret Edson, with screenplay adaptation by Emma Thompson and Mike Nichols, also directed by Mike Nichols. It was done in memory of Derek Anson Jones. Its subject not one people necessarily enjoy dealing with; that being of death; yet it is one we all must deal with whether we wish to or not.

I am by no means a morbid person, but I must admit because of my life's experiences thus far, these ominous topics do fascinate me. I would be lying if I said I didn't have a fear as many people do, but it is not essentially of passing on that terrifies me but only that there is so much I wish to experience before continuing onwards to the exciting amnesias tic adventure. To experience 'true' love; to feel a life grow inside of me; to walk with my father up the aisle; to travel to Egypt; to walk the red carpet in elegance; to receive awards and recognition for contribution to the film and writing world…so many wonderful things I hope to achieve. But life is short and not promised, and so each day I try to remember that even though I wish to get so many things done, that I should just value each breath, each smile, each touch, sweet sounds, and lovely tastes…because life is truly dazzling and we are truly fortunate to have new days! I am reminded also when spending time with my best friend who is quite young (I suppose as young as myself – although most times I forget my age) and suffers greatly with fragile health; constantly living and visiting hospitals to regulate her mortality. She is by no means a regular girl; yet extraordinary in the way she operates through life. Always with a smile, always positive, always spontaneous…I love her! And also spending time with the elderly at senior homes as well as hospice; such wisdom they share and lessons on appreciation of life. It is something so fulfilling and sacred.

There is a poem which Viviane Bearing continually refers to throughout the film, which reads:

Death be not proud, but some have called thee mighty and dreadful,

For thou art not so, for those that think so, art thou overthrow,

Die not poor death, nor yet canst thou kill me,

Thou art slave, to faith, chance, kings and desperate men, and dost with poison,

More and sickness dwell,

And poppy or charms that make us sleep as well,

And better with thine strength, life's well thou then,

One short sleep past, and thee awake eternity,

And death shall be no more, death shall die.

I find it quite heartrending and poignant; akin with this film. I'd seen it once in 2002, and it stayed with me until now; that I had the opportunity to pick the only copy up from the shelf of Fry's Electronics store. It is a film I would recommend for someone to come to terms with life and death and or simply to learn a lesson in how people should treat each other and be pleased about the blessing that is of good health and life! J

Thursday, July 1, 2010


You can 'Do it'! No! I'm not speaking about 'doing people' or 'doing each other'; no need to let your mind go to the gutter. And if that's what you're thinking, then shame on you! Don't 'do-people' or 'do-anything', enjoy the activity, love the activity, and become the activity. So 'make love', or 'share lunch', or 'have a conversation'. What I'm speaking about is actually believing in your worth and value; you can achieve what you put your mind to.

I am lucky to know from a young age what I was put on this earth to do. What my strong points are, and what I could embellish to ensure happiness in my life and spread love and positivity to others. It was writing and it was film. I always knew that. I loved writing stories and role playing with my cousins when they came over to visit during the summer months. It was always about the story; always about the message, always about the emotions. I absolutely loved it. I will admit though that I've had many doubts along the way and I probably haven't been through all of them as yet; as I am not yet to the point of success that I'd like to be at. However; last night I was proud to know that I could push my doubts aside; because I indeed am capable of my aspirations!

I've mentioned in a prior blog entitled 'It's OK to Cry'; on how difficult it was for me to cry in front of people, or simply have a breakdown of emotions in public. In Trinidad & Tobago as well as my immediate household, crying is seen as a negative and feeble emotion. Growing up, I was the eldest of my siblings and was raised to be tough; I had to set the examples and pave the road for my younger siblings to follow; it was a tremendous responsibility. I cannot say I was always as strong as my 'Super-Woman' mother, nevertheless I had taught myself to cry only behind closed doors. I would remain calm and as solid as a rock for my younger siblings and for whoever else wanted to lean on me. I engrained in myself that crying would make me appear vulnerable and weak. I successfully masked and suffocated this emotion for very many years; and here it was that now in my acting class in America I had to learn to face something I terribly loathed.

It wasn't that I couldn't cry; that would be the most enormous lie, my teddy-bear, my shower, and my bedroom knew the echoes of sadness that befell it. It was just to me an embarrassing emotion that I wanted to keep away from prying eyes. I wanted to be strong and optimistic and wise; everyone who knows me exclaims how 'sunny' and 'happy' I always appear to be. I liked that; but I began to realize over the years that crying in fact was a necessary and beautiful way to heal, and even show strength in a situation, with having the bravery to deal with the emotion instead of burying it.

Although people may scoff at what seems so difficult; it was going to be one of the hardest things for me to do. Perform a serious role, shedding tears and expressing melancholy in front of people and not behind closed doors. This was going to be quite complex! I had tried and failed many times before in class, and marveled at my classmates, even the boys who were able to 'cry on demand'. I somehow was dead when it came to those scenes; I suppose I never really wanted to live them. My acting coach kept pushing me; despite my sometimes dramatic outbursts because I was getting closer and closer to dealing with what I had for so long trained myself not to. I remember he said to me, "Jair, I cannot tell you anything more; you're almost there, but you have to do it yourself…"

I was dreadfully doubtful; I shook my head sadly not thinking I was capable to take on such a mighty task. I tried studying dramatic 'telenovelas' and dense girls on MTV who were able to execute crying with such finesse and splendor and I was worried that it was something I just couldn't do. I asked my acting friends if they had any hints on how I could embrace and achieve such a feat; some laughed, some ignored me, and others said, that it was really just up to me.

I attended class as usual; and I'm not exactly sure what happened, but something stirred inside me. I wanted to be a winner, I wanted to be fearless, and I wanted to finally be what I knew I could be. I was just as good as my classmates and could be as dramatic as those actors in those 'telenovelas'too; but I definitely didn't think I was as ditzy as the girls on MTV [hahah] but I knew I had drive.

After my scene that night, I looked up meekly as the class was silent. My acting coach's expression was priceless, he was staring at me with his mouth wide open, and my classmates, were nodding with enthusiasm. I had done it! I was so proud of myself, and so grateful. Everyone complimented me; and some even hugged me. I became that night a different person; I became the character through and through and I was no longer afraid to deal with my tragedy. I embraced it; I believed it, and by golly George I did it alright! J I am not at the point of streaming tears as yet; but I know I am very close and elated that I am capable of facing one of my biggest fears. We all have doubts in life; but be the master of your thoughts; you can do it! 'Make sweet love' to your fears! For if you are afraid to leave the shore, then how will you ever be able to discover new lands? J