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Preface to A New Start

Preface to A New Start

One day short of my 8th anniversary, I was laid off.  I find myself feeling relieved. There were seven good years, and after the stress of the last year or so, I am grateful for the chance to regroup and start again. It was past time for me to move on, and this works.

It has been almost a month, and my mojo is returning. I’m catching up on all the things that I didn’t have the energy or inclination to do over the last year. My hair and nails are getting healthier, and my dentist is making progress against the acceleration of gum disease. I am even getting poised to attack the “my brand” tasks (very uncomfortable for someone like me).

I have not yet decided the exact direction to take going forward, but am inclined to try something different. I could start my own business. I could turn a heap of text with rather bad dialogue into a real comedy novel. I could move into a different industry, or try a different role. When I think back about what I loved best about working at my old company, it was really about meeting a wide range of people who were able to rally around some core values in order to achieve something. I would like to find that again, but perhaps in a completely different context.

This is just a kind of landmark post, but I intend to blog again soon, if only to get back into the habit of writing. It doesn’t flow the way it used to, and the solution for that is always the same: write more.

For now, just feeling grateful for the privileges:

  • a little wriggle room to refocus
  • a clear, clean conscience
  • decluttering the home office
  • sleeping in a little, reading more, family time
  • “spring ahead Monday” at home!
  • the feeling of anticipation toward what lies beyond this new turn in the path

Looking out

up up and onward

Truth Be Told – in Atlanta Oct 29th

Truth Be Told – in Atlanta Oct 29th

Gregorio Smith has announced the Atlanta premiere of his controversial documentary film about growing up a Jehovah’s Witness, TRUTH BE TOLD. Due to the recent publicity of several child sex abuse cases against the religion, this film exploring the oppressive hold the Watchtower Society has on its members is particularly timely. TRUTH BE TOLD will be screened exclusively on Tuesday October 29, 2013 at AMC Phipps Plaza 14. Get your tickets now!

TRUTH BE TOLD – a new feature-length documentary – lifts the veil on the seemingly benign Jehovah’s Witnesses religion to expose a profit-driven, isolationist culture characterized by fear, totalitarian corporate leadership, intellectual & spiritual intimidation, suspension of critical thinking, failed prophecies, doctrinal inconsistency and improper handling of physical and sexual abuse allegations within the church.

See former Jehovah’s Witnesses candidly discuss growing up inside the religion. They reveal experiences including the effects of proselytizing door-to-door, shunning non-observant family and friends, suffering the discouragement of pursuing dreams like gaining a higher education, missing other societal holidays and customs. Ultimately the film reveals why Jehovah’s Witnesses have the lowest retention rate of any religion with only 37% of those raised as Jehovah’s Witnesses continuing their affiliation with the religion.

This exposé – the title of which refers to the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ perception that their beliefs are ‘the truth’ – is the first feature-film directed by Gregorio Smith.

Trailers, excerpts, production stills and other content are available on the official TRUTH BE TOLD website:
Direct link to trailer:
TRUTH BE TOLD on Facebook:
About the Filmmaker
Gregorio Smith is an independent filmmaker and writer. His work has been featured in the Staten Island Film Festival, Anthology Film Archive, Dallas Video and Film Festival, Denver Underground Film Festival, Bowery Poetry Club and other forums. His work has also been covered by The New York Times, Boston Globe and other media outlets. He is a graduate of Baruch College and a member of the International Documentary Association.
Mr. Smith was born and raised a Jehovah’s Witness. He describes TRUTH BE TOLD as ‘immersive, informational, expository and controversial …an honest glimpse into the culture of growing up in the Jehovah’s Witness religion.” TRUTH BE TOLD is the director’s sixth film and first feature.

See details and trailer here (

Truth Be Told

Grey Heron

Grey Heron

The grey herons like the grounds of where I work.

This one has a million little feathers dripping down its long neck. What an amazing bird.

New Fungi in the Backyard

New Fungi in the Backyard

This place seems to generate new lifeforms every year! The oaks are covered with about four different kinds of fungi. When it rains for a few days, all kinds of things spring up. I’ve posted about mushrooms before.

Today I found a new variety of mushroom in the oak leaves. They look almost like coral and they are covered with tiny little black winged insects. Any guesses?

Tanks on a Train

Tanks on a Train

On my way home from work today, I saw this and had to pull over and take a photo with my phone.

I don’t recall ever seeing tanks on a train before. As I passed under the bridge, I could see that the entire train carried only tanks. Tanks and more tanks.

Tanks: 5:58 pm Chamblee-Tucker Road
Voices Through the Whirlwind

Voices Through the Whirlwind

Just when I had loads and loads to blog about, I got knocked down by oak pollen. I just knew those trees were hostile. There is too far too much to tell, so here’s just a very quick summary.

  • Equinox Weekend – Inconsolably depressed, and for no good, acceptable (rational) reason.

    Spiraling outside my will. Surrounded by a wall. Falling down a well.

    But then… the thunder quieted a little and – between the soundcracks of the whirlwind – I began to hear multiple voices in my spirit.

    … wake up… wake up… wake up, love… look who’s here to see you

    Friends. Light. Comfort….

    Take heart…. open your eyes… Arise!

    And then the gifts arrived, one after another…

  • 3/24 – Dinner at the fantastic Rathbun’s Restaurant with Joseph and Marie-Claude and David. Friend vibes overwhelming – like an angel rescue. Readers of this blog will already know how much I admire Joseph and his work. I hadn’t seen him since I was last in Paris, and if anything, we’re more simpático now than we were then. It was totally lovely to meet Marie-Claude at last, and so fun to sneak out for a smoke with David. Even our waiter was fun. Oh! The food! They had yummy Wellfleet clams, and the Lamb Scaloppini was to die for. Oh! The conversation. I was totally relaxed and free. I haven’t had so much fun in ages. Just what I needed – thank you, cosmos.
    Heidi, Joseph, David, Marie-Claude
    Heidi, Joseph, David, Marie-Claude

    John, Heidi and Joseph
    John, Heidi and Joseph
  • 3/26 – The big event – Joseph’s terra incOgnitO gallery opening at David’s beautiful Wm. Turner Gallery in Atlanta.

    Take a look at the art! I’m writing an essay on the artwork (stay tuned), but meanwhile listen to this interview. Since Joseph’s art was on the cover, they also had a copy of John’s book there. Very nice.

    J Trinity -Joseph, Jerry, John

    Friends turned up! Jerry was embroiled in conversations brilliant. Robert and Sloane (who appeared with a baby! how did they hide that little gem from us?!?!?) dropped in and on such as day as that there is much hugging. Geoff and Curzio got in some good conversations with Joseph and John, and I drank champagne and reveled in my happiness level. We went out for snackies afterwards and I got to meet David’s wife – a very cool woman who is – unfortunately – allergic to Facebook. Wah. I was able to speak at greater length with Marie-Claude, and hear all about their impressions of Atlanta. There were foot rubs! Perfect evening.

  • 3/27 – Jeff and Ann made a very brief swoop-in visit to Atlanta for an occasion, and we arranged to meet them with some of their friends at Manuel’s Tavern (prior to having dinner at Cafe di Sol). Manuel’s is the hangout of Atlanta liberals – yes, we exist! John and I showed up at the appointed hour, and it was hilarious because we wandered all around seeking but not finding. I had never actually met Jeff or Ann. I adore all of Jeff’s fiction (read him – he’s top notch – really, maybe the best living American writer) and we had all become friends via online interconnections, but I wasn’t completely confident about picking them out at a crowded bar/restaurant. John and I did several circuits around the place, garnering some curious looks, but didn’t see them anywhere. We saw a young woman standing outside, also looking around and waiting, but we didn’t think to ask her if she was looking for them, too. Finally, we walked down the street to see if they had decided just to go straight to Cafe di Sol – which turned out to be the old Cafe Diem where I spent far too much time as a graduate student. Nope.

    Finally, we went back to Manuel’s and ordered a drink at the bar. That was fortuitous, since we then became involved in conversation with two very charming men – one who lived in a part of France that we’ve wanted to visit (John cornered him for details), and another that I clicked with right away – he works at GA Tech and is originally from New York. We were soon trading stock phrases in northern accents and having a grand time. We all exchanged contact information…. Then, I had a sensation on the back of my skull, looked toward the door, and there they were, just walking in!

    And yes, the beautiful young woman – Desirina – a talented writer in her own right- had also been waiting. Along with were more creative cool friends Will and Sara – but I hardly even got to talk with them at all! Why? Why? Because the restaurant was too darned noisy, that’s why! The old Cafe Diem was always more subdued – it was easier to talk then.

    Sara, Desirina, Heidi, Ann, John, Jeff
    Sara, Desirina, Heidi, Ann, John, Jeff

    John and Jeff huddled – it sounded like it was probably a fun conversation, but I only got little bits of it. I’m sorry for that, because I would have liked to talk more with Jeff, but I can’t complain because I had a fabulous time talking with Ann. She brought us issues of the magazine she edits – Weird Tales. Yes, that’s right – THE Weird Tales. Why I don’t already have a subscription to that, I have no idea (that’s been rectified). The magazine is on the ballot for a Hugo this year. Even against the steep competition, I think they’re going to take it. Ann is an amazing woman – I love her, and she is henceforth considered to be my sister, with all associated benefits.

    Ann with Digital Kitty
    Ann with Digital Kitty

    Click! Click-click – CLICK! Thank you, benevolent deities, inc.

  • 3/28 – Ok, now I’m officially over-socialled and crashing fast, but there’s more! Dear friends Mark and Marty threw a rock-climbing birthday party for their son – this was in addition to the new puppy, lucky kid. John wasn’t feeling well, so I packed up Ben and off we went.

    This is the second year they’ve done this, and there’s a confluence between me, the rock-climbing place, and the presence of pounding rain. As I approach this building, it’s pelting rain. Once I enter the building, the rain dies down and stops. Silly, you say?

    Yes, but oh, it goes further! I accompanied Mark to go fetch the pizza and ice-cream cake. Again, as we approached the building – RAIN! Once inside… no rain. It made me feel a little like Tyrone Slothrop in Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow. Sometimes even magical paranoia can be fun. We had a low-key and enjoyable afternoon. I got exactly three photos before my cellphone died. Great expression, Marty!


    Oh, Mark: Linen which?

  • Well, then it hit. The pollen. Pollen! Pollen! More Pollen! It knocked me out for most of last week, and I’m not quite recovered even yet. But how could I let a shining week like that go by without comment?

    Thank you to my beautiful lovely smart creative wonderful friends of the spirit. You make me remember.