Posted on

The Female Perspective: The Last Blog

Welcome! This is a weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website! Or find me on Facebook at @JLMetcalfAuthorArtisan!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc


Hello Friends of the Blog!

As you can probably tell from the title, this  is going to be my last blog for the foreseeable future. I didn’t want to just disappear from the internet so I wanted to take a quick moment to do two things; first of all explain my leaving and second of all, say thank you.

Peace, love, acceptance.

So first off, why am I leaving The Female Perspective?

Well it’s just one thing too many in a busy schedule. I have gone back to school full-time, I work full-time and I am trying finish my fourth book, the sequel to my first book, The Last Daughter of Lilith. I’d like to have it out in May of this year and will hope to announce the official release date in the coming months. But as you can tell, that’s a lot of work and doesn’t leave me a lot of time for this blog. Or, at least, to write this blog with the quality I want it to have and that it deserves.

This leads me to my second point, the thank you.

I want to thank Chris for giving me the chance to write this blog these last couple years. He’s been awesome and always understanding and for that you have my hugest thanks. For all those who read and commented and shared, thank you as well. It’s been a blast and I love writing about crazy geek-dom every week. I hope to do it again one day.

In the meantime, make sure to check out the other blogs on the Great Stories site! There’s tons of cool stuff for sale as well!!! I’ll still be on the Trailer Snark blog as well each week.

Enjoy life friends, be kind to each other and read blogs to your hearts content! Thank you!

Thank-You

Posted on

The Female Perspective: The Word of the Superbowl = Inclusivity

Welcome! This is a mostly weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website! Or find me on Facebook at @JLMetcalfAuthorArtisan!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc


I’ll be honest, I haven’t watched the Superbowl in years. I went through a brief phase of loving football and I still like it, but I don’t sit down and watch a game anymore, too many blogs to write, cats to brush and chocolate to eat. This year though, I ended up watching it and while I didn’t care about the outcome one bit (I rooted for the Falcons, not ashamed. I love an underdog) I was surprised at the tenor of the commercials. Pleasantly surprised.

This is not a political blog in any way and I apologize if it sounds like it is kind of right now, you come here for entertainment and gosh dang it, I try to give you what you want, but I simply couldn’t walk by this one. What I noticed was that there were quite a few commercials that stressed inclusivity this year. And I loved it.

A couple of my faves were the Audi spot that stressed equal pay for women and just basically that women are awesome. How can I not love that? It was surprising and really well done. From the perspective of a father wondering what he should tell his daughter about who she should aspire to be. And the answer to that? Anything she dang well wants to be.

Check it out here: Audi Commercial – Superbowl 2017

Then there was this great one by Kia with the always wonderful Melissa McCarthy. It’s n to easy being a hero, but if anyone can do it with grace, er, well a smile on her face anyway, it’s McCarthy. Can this woman possibly do wrong? I think not!

Check it out here: Kia Commercial – Superbowl 2017

Finally, I list my two favorites of the night. They stressed inclusivity, they stressed that we are all from somewhere else and we deserve our chance to live our dreams. They said a giant, collective, F-You to anyone who thinks that America shouldn’t be the land of opportunity for everyone.

Budweiser Superbowl 2017

Lumber 84 Superbowl 2017

There are plenty of people out there that say both these spots are “liberal propaganda” and that is totally their right to believe so. I (a crazy progressive liberal) believe that both of these spots demonstrate that, once again, America should be for all people. And yes, that means I believe we deserve to be safe, but you know what? There are ways to do it that don’t shut out genuine, hardworking people that just want a chance. Let’s all practice inclusivity in our lives. Let’s all accept each other. Let’s all find peace.

Peace, love, acceptance.
Peace, love, acceptance.

Thanks for reading.

Posted on

The Female Perspective: A Wee Little Break & New Years Celebration!

Welcome! This is a weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website! Or find me on Facebook at @JLMetcalfAuthorArtisan!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc


Hello Friends!!!

This weeks blog is a day late and a bit different than the norm. I am going to be taking a bit of a break as I need to focus on other projects — Namely finishing as best I can my fourth novel, the sequel to “The Last Daughter of Lilith”!!! I have a title, FINALLY, which I will reveal when the publishing date gets a bit closer and I have AMAZING cover art done by the one, the only, Frankie B. Washington, which I will also reveal when the time is upon us.

For my last blog of 2016 (thank you Jeezus that 2016 is almost over) I wanted to end the year on a positive note. When so much is going wrong in the world it’s hard to focus on the good things and it can be even harder for those who are alone or feeling unloved to find the light in the dark. So I wanted to offer up a few New Years traditions that can maybe help start 2017 off on a positive note.

And as the legendary Leonard Cohen once said;

There Is a Crack in Everything, That’s How the Light Gets In.

Also, being perfectly imperfect is the best way to be, you’ll have way more fun that way.

cae0d67c500b4d298dedfa71a9e922ff

New Years Traditions 

A Jar Of Good Thoughts — It can be fun to get a nice jar, a nice, big jar, and place it somewhere that you cannot overlook or forget about it. Next to the jar put a small notepad or a basket of small pieces of paper. Next to that put a pen (or pens) and every time something good happens in the new year, no matter how small it seems, even if you got a new, cool pair of socks (thanks Celeste) or awesome Prince earrings (Jenny!), you write that on the paper, put it in the jar and by the end of the year you have a jar that represents every good thing that happened to you that you then read out loud with friends, or alone. Whatever suits your fancy.

A Cleansing Fire — Fire is the ultimate cleanser. It burns the just and unjust alike. It can destroy and it can be the impetus for rebuilding. It can be devastating or deadly, or it can be cleansing and forward-looking. In this case, we want the fire to represent the good that is to come and our break with anything bad in the past. Build up a nice, SAFE bonfire in your fire pit and/or fireplace or wood stove. Write down all the things (good or bad) that happened and say them to yourself (or out loud if you feel safe) and toss them into the fire.  Let those thoughts, occurrences burn up and be ashes, let them be free and in turn, you’ll be free of them as well. Free to enjoy the new year lighter and freer, with an open heart.

Have a New Years Puja! — A puja, put simply, is an act of worship. I learned about it in my yoga training and it is an amazing and lovely experience. Most importantly, you don’t have to be some yoga guru to perform one. You can hold a New Years Puja right in your own home!

Importance of New Year Puja

New Year is one of the most popular occasions for the people of India. It is celebrated on 1st January, i.e. the first day of year according to solar calendar. The New Year day is very prominent for the life of a person as it is the day for new beginning leaving all the mistakes, miseries, bad habits behind and making resolutions for performing good deeds, improving oneself in every fields and achieving great success. The New Year day also holds enormous astrological significances. It is the day on which the earth begins a new revolution around the Sun. Lots of people hold puja on this day with a desire of happy and prosperous year ahead. They make new resolutions and promises in front of the god and ask for strength and blessings to fulfill those resolutions successfully.

How to do New Year Puja

The New Year Puja basically consists of offering prayers either in a temple or at the one’s house. It may also consist of other rituals like Havans, Aarti and donations. Usually, the New Year puja is accompanied by a feast among the participants. The Puja is done while focusing on wishing for prosperity and success for the participants in this New Year.

~ Click here for more info.

More than anything else, make New Years a day of letting go of the past and a stepping forward into a new year that is full of possibility and hope (no matter who is president). We can all get through this together. We are one, we are powerful and we are ready to face whatever comes our way with grace, sensitivity and most of all, love.

Happy 2017!!!
Happy 2017!!!

So tell me, how are you going to celebrate the end of 2016 and how are you going to step into 2017? Tell me in the comments below!

See you in 2017 Friends!!!

Posted on

The Female Perspective Gift Giving Guide

Welcome! This is a weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website! Or find me on Facebook at @JLMetcalfAuthorArtisan!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc


It’s that time of year when people are frantically searching out the perfect gift for loved ones (or, in the case of so many commercials, all those totally random people in your life) and I thought I’d offer up some suggestions to help!

I am a huge Christmas geek. I love it. I wait patiently for Thanksgiving to arrive so I can finally decorate my house for Christmas. I enjoy picking out gifts for the people I love and in recent years, have had some fun sending out Christmas cards with my partner. It really is my favorite time of the year and I make no apologies for sounding like a total geek about it.

Sometimes it can be hard to come up with gifts. Some people just buy what they want when they want it, leaving not a lot on their list. Some people are just fussy. Some people just deserve coal in their stocking. For those that have been nice all year long, here are a few ideas!

Happy-Holidays-from-Article-3

Gift Certificates are Super!

Yep. To some this seems like a cop-out but really, what is bad about getting some a gift card to their favorite store so they can go pick out something they really want? Why is that a bad thing? I personally have fun with gift cards I receive because I can spend some time really seeing what I need — whether it be cat litter or other household items or new clothes or even a massage or facial gift card. It’s all good and it’s fun to shop with pretend money! Makes you feel rich and fancy.

These Stores Are Pretty Amazing

Here are some of my personal favorite websites to pick up goodies.

ThinkGeek.com — They have so much stuff for the nerd in you life. From Star Wars to Star TrekGame of Thrones and so much more, it’s hard to NOT find something the geek in your life will … well, geek out over! I personally am drooling for this Spellbook wallet.

Shari’s Berries — Maybe you want to get your special someone a tasty treat for Christmas instead of a toy or clothing item. Maybe you hate baking, well then Shari’s Berries is perfect! They have amazing treats (their chocolate covered strawberries are amazing) and they deliver when you need them to. It can be a bit pricey, but it’s worth it for the quality product.

Etsy.com — Come now, haven’t we all sat on Etsy for hours pouring over all the cool handmade stuff? There is a lot to be had on Etsy and most of it is from small business owners, which is an amazing way to support local business and/or small business. Which makes this a win/win all around! Your loved one gets an awesome, one-of-a-kind gift and you’ve made a small business owners day by purchasing their items! FYI: I have a pretty cool shop on Etsy called JuiceyCreativeWorks.etsy.com, make sure to check it out!

When In Doubt, Spread Love and Joy!

Really for me Christmas is not about the gifts, sure it’s a blast getting and giving gifts, but Christmas has always been about time spent with family, that feeling of joy that abounds in the world. I know for a lot of people, Christmas can be a time of stress or sadness. Those people need love too. One thing you can do is make another’s Christmas holiday merry but donating to Toys For Tots  or find your local giving tree and pluck a card off of that and give gifts to families in need. It’s easy and it really does warm your heart.

This year there are many people suffering, whether it be out in South Dakota by the pipeline or in places like Flint, Michigan or all across the world in places like Syria and Afghanistan. No matter what anyone celebrates, December should be a time of love and joy and whatever we can do to help others is welcome. There is always donations to places like Planned Parenthood or the Red Cross. Whatever you support, try your best to give if you can. And if you cannot give, spread the word and spread cheer.

Happy Holidays, whatever one you celebrate! And if you have suggestions on places to shop or donate, please add them to the comments below!

Posted on

The Female Perspective: Some Of My Favorite Things

Welcome! This is a weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website! Or find me on Facebook at @JLMetcalfAuthorArtisan!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc


I thought for a bit about what I wanted to write about this week, I’ll admit to being still a bit heartsick over the election results and I’m not ashamed to admit it. While this is not a political blog and I do not want to get political, I also can’t pretend to be business as usual. So I decided to do another post about some things that make me happy in the hopes that it will cheer others or even inspire them to share what makes them happy as well!

Also, it’s a bit of a gift guide too since it’s that time of year again folks!

Christmas is my favorite time of year. It’s a time that has always felt hopeful. One year is nearing its end, while another looms before us, full of hope and opportunity. I admit that I am a bit frightened as to what is coming for us in 2017 and beyond, but I will not allow my fear to drive me, I will keep hoping for better things on the horizon.

I won’t give up and neither should you.

And now, onto some of my favorite things!

#1. SOCKS! 

I admit to having a crazy obsession with socks. I’ve managed to temper it as the years have gone on mostly because I have such a massive collection I really cannot buy any new ones. That does not, however, stop others from indulging me in my obsession and I often get fun new socks for my birthday and/or Christmas. One of my favorite places to shop for socks is a Portland, Oregon shop called Sock Dreams. They seriously have a HUGE selection of the coolest socks. My favorites from there are by far what they call the “extraordinary tie dyed thigh high“. I LOOOOVE them so much I fear for the day they die and therefore only wear them sparingly! I really need to get a new pair one of these days.

SOCKS!
SOCKS!

What I love about them is that they have a wide range of prices and styles and their customer service is nothing short of spectacular. I have ordered socks from them to have them come, regular USPS shipping, in less than a week. It’s fantastic!

#2. Geeky Things from Think Geek

They have some of the funnest stuff around, from SHIELD logo yoga pants, to solar system glassware and more. It’s truly a plethora of geeky goodness. I can browse for hours when I am avoiding my real work and still not get through everything they have to offer.

Also, a Book of Spells Wallet!?!?! Are you kidding me??? So cool.

#3. Stuff on Etsy.

Who doesn’t love Etsy? It really is a wonderfully diverse and fun black hole of shopping exploration. With finds like a Narwhal Cardigan and or awesome prints of parody art by Dave Pollock, you cannot go wrong in terms of gift giving this year!

Photo By JL Metcalf
Photo By JL Metcalf

FYI, I have a nifty little shop on Etsy called Juicey Creative Works and it includes photographs, signed copies of my books and art by none other than Frankie B. Washington!

#4. Neighborhood Love Notes on social media

Inspired to create a love bubble around the world, I came across this just a day or so after the election. I thought it was such  beautiful and simple idea. Simple get some sidewalk chalk and write love notes to the world, to your neighbors on your sidewalk.

Let’s spread love and support for all people who may live in fear of the current events. While hateful groups feel emboldened to spread their bigotry via vandalism, let’s counter with colorful reminders that we are not alone in our fight against intolerance and our commitment to solidarity.

NOTE: You can do this anywhere, anytime, and anyplace! Modify, change, get creative. Just grab your crew and go.

Initially imagined by Ashley Horan, here are her own words from her Facebook page –

“A testimonial, and an invitation:

I was terribly unproductive today. I realized I needed to make something, rather than think about anything. Thinking about my queer and trans and Muslim and undocumented and poor neighbors, I realized that I needed to tell them – before doing anything else – that I see them and I love them. So I bought sidewalk chalk, and wrote love notes to my neighborhood.

As I was working, at least seven or eight kids in my neighborhood–none of them ones that I had known before –stopped and talked with me on their way home from school. They told me about their fears, their hopes, their dreams. One of them took the time to stop and create a square of his own.

Tomorrow, I am going to go to other places in the city where I know people are hurting and tell them in this way that I love them, too.

My unsolicited advice: go buy some sidewalk chalk, and meditate about who you love – rather than who you fear – for a little while. This will certainly not change the world. There is so much other work to do. But it saved my heart today.

Those of you who are part of congregations, religious communities, or other communal spaces where you will be gathering this week, an idea: one of my colleagues had the idea to do a “reverse offering” at her church this weekend, where she will pass out chalk to the congregation and charge people to go out and write notes to folks in their communities wherever they see the need. This is brilliant.

Please, if you do this in a communal OR an individual way, will you take photos and post them with the hashtag #NeighborhoodLoveNotes? Let’s spread the love!”

Ashley Horan
Ashley Horan

What could be better than that this time of year?

#5. You, Dear Readers

Yep, it’s true. For all those that read my blog, even if you never leave a comment, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I do this for fun and I do this in the hope that something I say inspires someone else to write their own blog, or to watch a movie I might suggest, or just to laugh a little when they feel sad. I take blogging seriously, even when it is a lighthearted blog like today’s. It’s important that we all feel heard and we all feel loved and I know for the last two years, it’s been a tough go for some/all of us. Let’s do our best to #SendLove to one another, to #BeLove to one another and to remember, we are all in this together. No matter who you voted for, we are all human beings deserving of love, respect and kindness. As I’ve seen online so many times (and apologies for the swears if it offends);

bb15ffce2a23d6645300e57abe84c483

As always, thank you for reading! See you next week!!!

And, please, share what makes YOU happy!

Posted on

The Female Perspective: Show Me Something Good, Please

Welcome! This is a weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc


The news has been pretty bleak as of late and I find it hard to not allow that to bleed into my writing, but this blog isn’t about politics or the latest shooting tragedy or anything like that. It’s meant to be a fun (and hopefully lighthearted) take on entertainment, pop culture, whatever, all from this feminists’ perspective.

In that spirit I realized I wanted to read about some good news for a change so here are a few fun snippets, courtesy of The Good News Network, of human beings doing cool stuff to hopefully put a smile on your face.

Also, baby animals. Because really, who doesn’t smile at baby animals??? Cold hearted ninnymuggins is who!


Man Donates To Pet Shelter Like a Boss

A Canadian man buys and then donates 570 bags and cans of pet food to the local shelter because,

“Because I could, and the animals needed it, basically,” he told The Telegram. “I thought it was the normal thing to do.”

We need more of this kind of thinking in the world. Now some happy and well fed critters are being fed because one man decided it was the right thing to do.

Woman and Baseball, A Perfect Combination

Most women have heard it before, “Baseball is for boys,” and we nod and go along to our gymnastics or softball games. The fact is, if nothing else, A League of Their Own proved that women could and should be playing baseball. Not only that but young girls should be encouraged to give it a go!

Baseball for ALL is a great cause that stresses that not just boys can play the popular game and in this short article, it’s never too late to start!

Boy Hugs Dog and Nothing Bad Happens

If you’ve watched the news, you’ve probably seen this video snippet of a young boy who secretly hugs a dog every day, he was caught on video (obviously) and has now been invited to play with the lucky pup whenever he wants! See, good things happen when you open up when you are kind and loving!

Stuff On My Cat

Have you seen the website Stuff On My Cat? It’s hilarious. I highly recommend it if you need a giggle. It’s fairly self explanatory, you know, people put stuff on their cats and for some reason, it’s always funny.

Stuffonmycat.com
Stuffonmycat.com

I wonder why that is?

Tiny Hats For Tiny Pets

Oh thank you Buzzfeed for showing me this, it totally made my day! Now I must make a tiny hat and put it on my cat and combine my two loves, tiny animal hats and putting stuff on my cat. It’s truly a win-win situation.

https://www.buzzfeed.com/margaretjung/yes-you-can-make-tiny-hats-for-your-pets-and-its-adorable?utm_term=.kuXNok1Q5#.bgR53djJB
https://www.buzzfeed.com/margaretjung/yes-you-can-make-tiny-hats-for-your-pets-and-its-adorable?utm_term=.kuXNok1Q5#.bgR53djJB 

Last But Not Least…

This may have not been my best or most informative blog yet, but I sure hope it put a smile on your face, as it did for me. It’s a reminder that not everything in life is bad and that even though we must be ever vigilant to the bad that rises up into our faces seemingly every day, there is a whole heck of a lot of good in our world too.

Please feel free to share some of your favorite posts, blogs, tweets, etc and share the smiles today. Let’s all try to smile and love one another, no matter what we believe or who we love, let’s all be human together.

Baby Sloth says Hello!
Baby Sloth says Hello!
Posted on

The Female Perspective: David Bowie

Welcome! This is a weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.


January 10th, 2016.  David Bowie died Sunday. He had just turned 69 two days earlier.

ead4e7e8cab9b1e4bcd8173e68851efc

I am not someone who gets emotional when celebrities die, they’re human like everyone else and if I didn’t know them, why would I get sad? This one is different. This one feels so personal. David Bowie changed my musical life, along with Nine Inch Nails and Pearl Jam and Nirvana I stepped into a whole world of music that was unlike anything I had been listening to up until that point.

I can go back farther than my teenage-hood music. Truth be told I had loved Bowie since I was a kid watching “Labyrinth” over and over and OVER again. He was the owner of the “Bowie Bulge” (an inappropriate joke but one that I think most of you get) and he was so beautiful I wanted him to be coming after me, I wouldn’t want to escape like Sarah did in the movie, I would stay with him forever at the marvelous ball and we would dance and he would sing to me. I thought he was magical. I thought he was beautiful.

Reise ins Labyrinth, Die USA 1986 Regie: Jim Henson Darsteller: David Bowie Rollen: Koboldkoenig Jareth
Labyrinth, 1986

Then I heard Ziggy Stardust and I KNEW he was magical.

These last few days have seen a deluge of Bowie videos and memories from all sides. Some are funny (like a skit Bowie did on Ricky Gervais’ show Extra), some are awe-inspiring (like the acapella version of “Under Pressure” with Freddie Mercury, I got chills, listen to that one here) and some are just plain fun to watch again (his Christmas duet with Bing Crosby is the best). David Bowie was an actor, a musician and an artistic genius who cared nothing for boundaries like gender or sexuality. He paved the way for Madonna, Lady Gaga and so many others.

I got the pleasure of seeing Bowie live once many years ago. He played some random music festival that featured Moby and Busta Rhymes. I was there for Bowie really and he did not disappoint, though he did go on stage almost an hour early because Busta couldn’t make it, so I actually almost missed seeing Bowie if not for my friend and I’s intense desire to see Busta Rhymes in concert for no other reason than we thought it would be pretty dang amusing.

My friend to this day says I started crying when Bowie came on stage. I don’t remember crying but I do remember being completely in awe of this man I had thus far only heard through speakers. He sounded exactly the same in person as he did on his records. He was beautiful, he was art, he was everything I had hoped for and more.

One of the best gifts I’ve ever received is a mirror that same friend made me with pictures of David Bowie all over it. That mirror has moved numerous places with me and I have repaired it more times than I can count. It hangs in my bedroom as I type this. It is a perfect homage to the man that I always thought was immortal and I guess, in that cliche way, he is. His music lives on. His beautiful, beautiful music. His legacy.

david-bowie-06

I read an update from author Elizabeth Gilbert on Facebook and it helped me clear my own thoughts about why I was so sad about this mans passing, it’s not even sadness so much as being completely in awe, overwhelmed at the legacy he’s left behind. As an artist you dream about leaving behind a memory that thousands (if not millions) of people have. I’m sure not everyone has a David Bowie memory but I can say pretty assuredly that most people know either what song they love or what song they hate by him. They know who he is.

For the last 18 months (we learn only today) David Bowie has known that he was dying. He kept that information private, while spending his final months doing what he’d done his whole life — making outrageously original, beautiful, complicated art. He made a gorgeous album. He created a show, playing right now in New York. And then he released this, his final video, just a few days before he died — on his 69th birthday.

“Look up here,” he sings, “I’m in heaven.”

Can you imagine, to be making art like this (fearless art that both comforts and challenges) right up to the moment of your death? How do you do that? How do you BE that? To work with your death so imaginatively, in order to perfectly time out the last beats of your life? What a magnificent creature of creation, right to the end. 

I am sad today, but mostly I am overwhelmed by awe. This is what it means to be a great artist.

From the beginning, this was a man who showed us how to do life differently than anyone had ever done it before, and now look how he has done death.

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.

Inspiration, to me, is THIS.

Goodbye to the master, and onward for the rest of us.

~Elizabeth Gilbert

For me, David Bowie opened up my mind to a different type of music. He, along with Nine Inch Nails and Pearl Jam, made me see that there was more music in the world than Debbie Gibson and Tiffany. There were people like The Beatles and The Doors, people who may not always sound “pitch perfect” but who’s weirdness was a part of their music, it’s what made them shine so brightly. I remember hearing “Hearts Filthy Lesson” and just about having my brain explosion. The discordant, jangled song still to this day haunts me.

One of the best-worded responses to David Bowie’s death was from actress Carrie Brownstein on her Twitter page, it perfectly summed up the grief that I am feeling.

“It feels like we lost something elemental, as if an entire color is gone.”

If you haven’t had  chance to hear some of his newest work, released as the perfect farewell to his fans just 2 days before his death, take a moment and listen to what’s being called “classic Bowie”, and you’ll find that these songs take on an added dimension when you realize that he knew he was dying and he was still as weird, as off-kilter, still as beautiful and revolutionary as he had always been.

Thank you David Bowie for all that you have given this world and thank you for making my musical world broader and better.

“Goodnight, sweet prince/and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest”

Hamlet by Shakespeare


What’s your favorite Bowie song? “Rock and Roll Suicide” is one of mine. Tell me yours in the comments.


 

Posted on

The Female Perspective: How “Harry Potter” Changed My Life

Welcome! This is a twice-weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.


I was reading about the upcoming illustrated edition of Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone and it made me think about how much Harry Potter has changed my life.

“Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living, and, above all those who live without love.”
~J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Let me start at the beginning, I wasn’t always a Harry Potter fan. In fact, I rallied against it for many years before a good friend (yes, Celeste, it’s you) and my dying Grandmother made me see that this might be a series worth checking out. Boy were they right. I admit to being 100% wrong on this one.

The world is a better place because of Harry Potter and his gang.
The world is a better place because of Harry Potter and his gang.

By the time I read the Harry Potter books JK Rowling was well into the series and in fact, I was able to read the first 6 without having to wait. Then I, like the rest of the world, had to wait for the final book, Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows. I remember that day vividly. I was in CVS on my way to work and I happened to see copies behind the register. I eagerly bought one (even though my mom had pre-ordered a copy for me, I couldn’t wait to pick it up from her house, I had a total moment of the right nows for that book. As in, it had to be in my life right now). I remember getting to work and having about 15-minutes to spare before I had to go in so I looked at the book. I almost didn’t want to open it because I knew once I did I would never have that first moment again. I actually sat for a moment, my hand on the cover and took a couple deep breath’s, preparing myself for the awesome that was sure to be inside.

I then suffered through 6-hours of work!

Once I got home all I did was read, for hours. I read the entire book in that one day. I was done with it by midnight of that sunny Sunday and I was a crying mess. Never before (or really, since) had I read something that touched me so deeply. That made me feel all the feels. That made me so achingly sad and happy at the same time.

An image of Hogwarts by artist Jim Kay who did the new illustrated edition of "Harry Potter & The Sorcerers Stone"
An image of Hogwarts by artist Jim Kay who did the new illustrated edition of “Harry Potter & The Sorcerers Stone”

I love books. I LOVE them. I will never ever replace my library of beautiful pages and paper with electronics. Never. I will always carry a book with me when I go places. I will always enjoy looking at my books, touching them, reading them under a dim light. For me, reading the Harry Potter books was proof of how magical books can really be. I had forgotten that magic in the hustle and bustle of grown-up life. Now, it seems quite silly that I could ever forget how books can transport you to a new (and sometime, better) world.

What struck me about Deathly Hallows was how final it was. I know that Rowling has said since that she would never say never to revisiting the Hogwarts crew but for so many, that was the end game. The final tale to be told about our beloved Harry, Hermoine and Ron. So many of my favorite characters died in those thousand or so pages, so many friends I wished I could meet and so many creatures and adventures I wished I could have … and I did, thanks to Rowling and her ability to craft a story of beautiful words, wonderful people and even more amazing tales.

I’m going to keep going until I succeed — or die. Don’t think I don’t know how this might end. I’ve known it for years.”

~J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

I think my favorite part of the final book is when Harry finally goes to confront Voldemort in the woods. He uses the Deathly Hallows to resurrect the people he loved who had passed on. They urged him on, they kept him stumbling down that hill to an impossible fate. To a choice that no child should ever have to make.

Harry Potter: Why are you here, all of you?

Lily Potter: We never left.

Harry Potter: Does it hurt, dying?

Sirius Black: Quicker than falling asleep.

James Potter: You’re nearly there, son.

Harry Potter: I’m sorry. I never wanted any of you to die for me. And Remus, your son…

Remus Lupin: Others will tell him what his mother and father died for. One day, he’ll understand.

Harry Potter: You’ll stay with me?

James Potter: Until the end.

Harry Potter: And he won’t be able to see you?

Sirius Black: No. We’re here, you see.

Harry Potter: Stay close to me.

Lily Potter: Always.

~JK Rowling, Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows

To this day, I cannot read that passage in the woods (or even see the movie) without crying. It’s so powerful. For all Harry’s bravery and smarts, with all the love that surrounds him, he is still afraid and he wants his family around him. It’s a comfort to imagine that all those that we have lost in this life are still here with us, maybe not in ghostly form, but at least nearby, urging us on, keeping us going, keeping us brave because we are loved and they are always close.

By JK Rowling
By JK Rowling

So how did Harry Potter change my life? Easy. Those books made me see that magic can exist wherever you expect it least (look at Harry, he was in a hopeless situation when that dang owl showed up and everything changed).  I learned that the true measure of a man/woman/etc is how they treat others; that true friendship means sometimes standing up against them when they are wrong.

More than anything, it taught me that the power of love is always, ALWAYS greater than hate (take that Donald Trump) and that no matter what happens, those you love will be with you forever.

JK Rowling also made me a better reader and a better writer. The lessons I learned reading her words and how she crafted them together influenced my own writing and every time I read, every time I re-read Harry Potter I become better at my own craft. If I ever got the chance to meet her I hope I would be able to say that. More likely than note I will go deaf and mute at the sight of her and others will have to speak for me!

What about you? Did you have a mind-blowing Harry Potter experience? Do you love the books? Hate them? Are you like me and going to snatch up the new illustrated edition as soon as you can? Sound off in the comments! Tell me YOUR Harry Potter story.

Posted on

The Female Perspective: Ten Years Of “Six Feet Under”

Welcome! This is a twice-weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.


The cast of "Six Feet Under"
The cast of “Six Feet Under”

Over ten years ago now I started watching a show called “Six Feet Under.” I had no real expectations for it. I was watching because of two things;

  1. Alan Ball created and wrote it and I simply adored American Beauty.
  2. It was about a funeral home and that sounded morbidly wonderful to me

What I didn’t expect from “Six Feet Under” was to be completely entwined with the lives and disasters of the Fisher Family. I had no idea that it would take me on a five year ride of ups and downs, sadness and happiness. Fear and misery. As an author, this show changed my perspective on what real writing could be. What TV writing could be.

On August 21st, it was the ten year anniversary of the finale of “Six Feet Under” and as usual, that number made me feel old. Where did that ten years go? What have I been doing?

Living my life.

I’ve had my own ups and downs, my own misery and fear, my own depression and anxiety. In that time I’ve re-watched “Six Feet Under” more than once and what I realize each time I watch it is that it holds up. This show holds up. Sure the cell phones are old and some of the references antiquated but not in a way that screws up the story, it’s all wonderfully charming. Let’s take a few minutes to chat about the characters that make up the Fisher family.


“We used to say that Nate was Marilyn Munster and that everybody else in the family was much more overtly strange. Nate seemed normal. But as the series went on, that was very clearly not the case.” –Alan Ball


 

Nate & David Fisher (Played by Peter Krause and Michael C. Hall)

Brothers that could not be more alike. That’s the simplest way to describe Nate and David. When we first see the Fisher brothers, they are snippy and at odds with one another. David is clearly artificial, clearly hiding something and clearly unhappy to see his big brother. Of course, the reason Nate is there in the first place is for the funeral of their father, also named Nathaniel Fisher, who was killed in a car wreck.  Nate is only there to be present for the funeral, he has a good life (or so he thinks) for himself back at home in Seattle and he wants nothing to do with his bizarre family.

The Brother's Fisher.
The Brother’s Fisher.

That all changes when his mother Ruth asks him to stay just a little bit longer. Nate’s inability to turn his mother down would change all their lives in the most wonderful way and also leave the audience devastated by the end of the show’s run.

Nate is a free spirit, he seems normal at first but quickly we realize he’s as screwed up and as selfish as the rest of his family. At times I hated his character, other times I loved him and Krause played it all to perfection.

David is another matter, he is reserved, wound tight and cold. Then we start to see the ice chipping away, we start to see the secret underneath that dark suit and cold eyes. David is ashamed of himself, ashamed of his life choices and what bonds these two brothers it the fact that they are actually both ashamed of themselves and neither was as loved or adored by their father as they thought. Both felt slighted by the man they barely knew.


 

The Trailer For The First Season Of “Six Feet Under”


 

Claire & Ruth Fisher (played by Lauren Ambrose and Frances Conroy)

The women of “Six Feet Under” are no less complex and riveting as the men. We first encounter Claire as a screwed up teenager, high on meth, who now has to deal with the fact that her father is dead (she does not do well but luckily for her, Nate helps her out. Being the understanding brother who knows all about drugs himself). Once Claire sobers up we find that she is a confused girl who simply doesn’t have any idea who she is. Nate had left town before she was grown, David remained unattached and both her mother Ruth and her father Nate really didn’t have much to do with her. Claire was left to her own devices and she didn’t do so well. Throughout the series she goes through quite a few ups and downs, picking bad relationships, trying to find her voice as an artist and finally, leaving home to become her own person.

Ruth Fisher … Oh Ruth. Ruth starts out reserved and confused and in mourning for a husband even she didn’t really know. Her life had become a routine, stark, bleak and boring. We find out quickly that Ruth is not all she seems, she’s had been having an affair and when her kids find out, there are fireworks! But Ruth is more than a widow and mother, she is a woman who, after a lifetime of raising kids and tending to her husband, she has to figure out who SHE is (much like her daughter Claire is doing). I love that their search for self parallels so beautifully. I love that by the end of the series, Ruth is strong and capable (after quite a few mishaps) and I always love when Ruth finally snaps and sets her children right.

Mother and Daughter Fisher.
Mother and Daughter.

The Finale

For me, the finale is nothing short of brilliance in TV. Instead of tidying up everyone’s life and presenting us with a finished package, Ball and series writers take it further. Since the show itself is about death, why not kill off everyone? No, it’s not some bloody shootout, it’s life. It’s reality. It’s freakin’ haunting.

I recently re-watched the last 10 minutes of the finale and it still brings me to messy, ugly tears. It’s poignant and it’s truth. It’s a perfect finale for a show that only spoke truth. I mourn it’s passing and the fact that we only got 5 short years with the Fisher family but then I also realize, we got 5 years with the Fisher family and that is a blessing.

RIP "Six Feet Under"
RIP “Six Feet Under”

Did you watch “Six Feet Under”? Did you love it or hate it? Why or why not? Tell me about it in the comments!

Posted on

The Female Perspective: Humanist Versus Feminist: Is One Better Than The Other?

Welcome! This is a twice-weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.


Teach Humanism.
Teach Humanism.

Recently, Sarah Jessica Parker went on record with Cosmo magazine as saying that she is no longer a feminist but a humanist.

“As [playwright] Wendy Wasserstein would say, I’m a humanist. I’m enormously appreciative of the work that my mother’s generation did. We are the beneficiaries of a lot of disappointment, heartache, discouragement, and misunderstanding. But I see a lot of people trying to sort out their roles. People of color, gays, lesbians, and transgenders who are carving out this space. I’m not spitting in the face or being lazy about what still needs to be done — but I don’t think it’s just women anymore. We would be so enormously powerful if it were a humanist movement.” ~Jezebel

I read and re-read that paragraph a couple of times, the entire time nodding my head in total agreement. Why? Because darn-it, she is totally right. We would be enormously powerful if we all banded together to forward the cause of humanity. Not just one small section of it. Don’t get me wrong, I am not turning my back on my ladies and their needs, I am instead opening my arms up to everyone who needs support and equality, minorities, homosexuals and the transgendered community. If we all simply chose to work together instead of separating ourselves from one another, imagine how much louder, how much more powerful our voices could be?

SJP hit it right on the nose.
SJP hit it right on the nose.

They could shake the world.

And then they’d shape the world.

YES!
YES!

What Is Humanism?

I’m SO glad you asked!

Humanism is a philosophical and ethical stance that emphasizes the value and agency of human beings, individually and collectively, and generally prefers critical thinking and evidence (rationalism, empiricism) over established doctrine or faith (fideism). ~Humanism as defined by Wikipedia

Isn’t that a beautiful idea?

Don’t get me wrong, I am proud to be a feminist and I am proud to fight for my ladies wherever I can but at the same time, I see the division, the cracks, in the feminist community and it seriously bums me out. How are we ever going to accomplish our goals if we divide off into various factions? How are we going to come together and fight for our beliefs if we think a woman who wants to be a mother and a wife is somehow less than a feminist who is single, childless and working a high-paying job? Am I less of a feminist because I ask my boyfriend for advice? For comfort? For support?

NO.

If you stand up for women. For their rights and their equality in the male-dominated work force and beyond, than you are a feminist. You are a feminist whether you have kids, don’t have kids, work a corporate job or go to school full-time. There shouldn’t be levels of feminism. There shouldn’t be division.

What’s that old saying? “Together we stand, divided we fall,” and let me tell you, that’s completely true. I would be nowhere without the love and support of my family, friends and boyfriend. I would not be doing what I love every single day and I would not be able to do that without the blood, sweat and tears of the women who marched before me.

The thing is, if we joined forces with all the other equality movements out there we could be louder and stronger than any of us have ever been before. It seems so simple when I write it but at the same time, as we all know, it is much harder than that. We as a species need to learn that accepting help is okay, respecting others ideas is great and working together is Earth shattering.

I am proud to be a feminist but I am even prouder to be a humanist.

Capt. Picard knows where it's AT!
Capt. Picard knows where it’s AT!

What do you think? Is one better than the other? Do you believe in division or togetherness?

Sound off in the comments!