How to be unforgettable

How did Toni Morrison influence your life?

At this time in my life as I’ve allowed myself to fall in love againI would say her words on love touch my soul in profound ways.

Every great author and some who never achieve world-wide acclaim has affected our lives in a multitude of ways. Toni Morrison’s work is in a class by itself. Maybe right up there with Maya Angelou.

I will let her words speak to you in honor of her memory.

“Love is or it ain’t. Thin love ain’t love at all.”

“Something that is loved is never lost.”

“To get to a place where you could love anything you chose, not to need permission for desire, well now that was freedom.”

“Love is divine only and difficult always. If you think it is easy you are a fool. If you think it is natural you are blind.”

It is the courage of authors like Toni that have opened their hearts and bared their souls, that gave me the guts to write the stories that I write. My memoir LOVE The Beat Goes On is so personal and revealing it took me years before I would publish it.

“Make up a story. For our sake and yours forget your name in the street; tell us what the world has been to you in the dark places and in the light. Don’t tell us what to believe, what to fear. Show us belief’s wide skirt and the stitch that unravels fear’s caul.” Toni Morrison

So I went on and wrote about a 50 year-old-woman and her 20-year-old lover in Target in the Sun. And then I exposed the lives of several male prostitutes in Mexico writing in the first person as Layla, in Lie To Me, again opening myself to major criticism, but also an award for Contemporary Fiction Social Issues.

It’s not easy to reveal yourself because that’s what I do when I write. Yes, my books are “fiction” but as in the current Daniel Silva book The New Girl, our stories are often based on fact. Some hide it better than others.

“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”  Toni Morrison

This sums it up for me:

Lynda Filler photographer

Answered on Quora

France’s World Cup win is a victory for immigrants everywhere!

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I’m sitting at my computer this morning in Paris, France thinking about how life often gives you exactly what you need to follow your life’s purpose. If you are a follower of my blog or a first-time viewer, let me share with you that I’m passionate about social issues.

When I had to choose a direction for my University degree in Ottawa, Canada, I chose social work. I remember the textbook, of all things. It was huge and thick and hardcover. Lugging it around seemed like I was carrying the issues of the world with me every day. But in essence, at that time, the issues were swept under the rug. We didn’t have social media to shine a light on racism, immigration, #MeToo, workplace inequality, wage disparity, universal healthcare, poverty, sex, and child-trafficking. I could go on and on and on.

I came to the realization this year after publishing many books and novellas, that in my action series or even romantic thrillers, I find a way to build my stories around world events, social issues. I shine a light on the problems in ways that keep my fans engaged, but I also humanize things like racial or gender discrimination, exploitation, government corruption, immigration, the Mexican people, and many more subjects.

I never completed the degree in Social Work. One day I put down the book and cried. I’d been reading about prostitution, and never opened it again.  I felt I could work for years as a social worker and never make a difference in peoples’ lives. I’ve only recently been thinking about this with the event of the World Cup. Each book in my Code Raven Series reflects on things happening in the world and how Luke Raven uses his vast personal fortune to deal with things in ways the governments never could. The issue closest to my heart, partially because I live full time in Mexico, is the racism experienced by the Mexicans in the United States. I know discrimination, illegal immigration, separation of parent and child–these are very real challenges the world faces today; and it’s not only in the United States of America.

I have a son and two-year-old grandson in Paris. I look at my darling Félix and wonder about the world he will inherit. When I made my plans for Paris, I had no idea the World Cup was being played. I can get caught up in writing and forget the world around me. I’ve written about Paris, France and it’s racism and the migrant camps. The violence of terrorism and the migrants living in tents, trying to find a country that will and can accept them is, unfortunately, a worldwide issue. Next month DISPLACED will come online with Samaar-codenamed Luci. I worked hard on that plot, and by its title, you know that the novella centers around immigration; but the story is a fast-paced action/thriller with a strong human interest element. I cried in sections during the writing of that book. Being in Paris while France won the World Cup is my reward for writing this story!

Why? Because I am here, walking the streets, feeling a tremendous collective and inclusive energy. When France won the semi-finals I was out in the streets wandering past the cafes, it was totally incredible! I shared the passion, the excitement and the pride of the French people.

Now it’s up to all of us to learn from this and carry the love for our fellow man into the world. After all, only WE can be the difference that can change the world.

 

https://edition.cnn.com/2018/07/15/opinions/france-world-cup-win-immigration-diversity-joseph/index.html

 

Why didn’t I go to the police?

 

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I was 16 the first time. My girlfriend was dating a cop and he had a work-mate. She suggested we double date. The details are unimportant, let’s just say that before it got critical I talked myself out of the situation with promises of a future date. On a positive note, I look back on it now and know that’s when I realized I could have a career in sales!

The second time was my divorce lawyers—two brothers. Yes, my lawyers. I was 21. And after that, it was the photographer who wanted to shoot lingerie for my modeling portfolio. In those days, I would say I was a good Catholic girl—I’d even been a nun for a year! But I grew up quickly and really, I don’t think I ever thought of it as rape or assault; it was more of men I knew or trusted always trying to get to “third base” with pretty women.

I come from a different generation. I wasn’t a hippy but many around me were. Pot was prevalent, as was free love. Was I sexually harassed? For sure. And did they get to “third base?” Sadly, sometimes it seemed easier to just give in.

Today the stakes are higher. And the situations have become more controlling, frightening and violent. We can thank easily accessible debasing porn, the degradation of women, and the widespread sexualization of teenage girls. Society accepts and expects nudity from women. It’s almost the only way a young woman can be a success in the media today. It’s hypocritical but factual.

When I was young, you never talked about these things. Everyone had “an uncle” who looked at you weird. We talked about it amongst the cousins, but for the most part, it never seemed to go further than a “feeling” that something wasn’t right. Sexual assault was very much a behind-closed-door family event.

Harvey Weinstein is no longer on my radar although he has certainly stirred up old memories in many women not only from my generation but all generations. I always had to fight for equality in totally male-dominated fields like fashion: retail and wholesale. The bosses were men. And we knew, as women, that we had to move quickly and try to never be alone with the one that gave us the “look.” And that was 40 years ago.

But there are different levels of assault or abuse—the ones from people you know, and extremely violent attacks from a rapist. And like a bad marriage, a bad boss or someone in a position of power that can control your destiny, it’s a very frightening experience that can leave you damaged for life. I think I was one of the lucky ones. I let it all go a long time ago and have no desire to revisit any of it except to make a point. There is nothing new about what is coming to light in the media today.

For years men have been sexually assaulting their wives. We all know a woman who was hurt by her husband. She forgave him, and he hurt again—emotionally, physically and/or sexually. We’ve lived with it our whole lives only we never really talked about it.

Why am I writing about this today? Terry Richardson a world-famous photographer—famous for his sexually explicit photo shoots, has been accused of molesting, masturbating, assaulting for years. And the industry allegedly knew it. Some magazines took the allegations seriously and stopped working with him–but only in the last few years. Others didn’t. Sound familiar? Today Huffington Post reported:

Condé Nast International, the company that publishes Vogue, GQ and W, confirmed to HuffPost it will no longer work with fashion photographer Terry Richardson, who has been accused of sexual assault or harassment by multiple women. The news was first reported late Monday night by The Telegraph, which obtained an e-mail to country presidents from Condé Nast’s executive vice president and COO, James Woolhouse:

 Mr. Woolhouse wrote: ’I am writing to you on an important matter. Condé Nast would like to no longer work with the photographer Terry Richardson.

’Any shoots that have been commission[ed] or any shoots that have been completed but not yet published, should be killed and substituted with other material.

‘Please, could you confirm that this policy will be actioned in your market effective immediately. Thank you for your support in this matter.’

Condé Nast International, which confirmed the wording of the email to HuffPost but declined to comment further, was one of a number of companies that continued to work with the controversial photographer for years after women came forward with accusations of sexual assault and harassment

 

In 2001, model Liskula Cohen walked out of a photoshoot for Vogue after she said Richardson asked her to get completely naked, while he was also naked, and pretend to perform a sex act on another man. A woman named Anna told Jezebel in 2014 that he pressed his penis against her face during a shoot in 2008. Former model Charlotte Waters told Vocativ that he ran “his tongue up and down her bare ass, demanded she squeeze his balls and even jacked off into her eye” when he photographed her in 2009.

In 2014, model Emma Appleton shared a message purporting to come from Richardson in which she was offered a Vogue photo shoot in exchange for sex.

A spokesman from Condé Nast U.S. told HuffPost Tuesday morning that “Condé Nast has nothing planned with him going forward,” adding that “sexual harassment of any kind is unacceptable and should not be tolerated.” (a little late to be saying that Condé Nast. Worried about lawsuits??)

Many in my generation–baby boomers–felt powerless, angry, and defeated; but we knew there was absolutely nothing that would be done. It was his word against ours, so we had to let it go and live with the memories.

It’s so much more than sexual assault. It’s emotional assault. It can be debilitating and last a lifetime. You can heal the body, but memories linger forever. Do you think all this talk is going to change this type of male predatory behavior? I would like to believe things will change, but I don’t. I think it will be pushed underground like all other vices that have been declared criminal. This type of behavior has been illegal for a long time, and no one stood up for the victims before some very powerful men were exposed this year.

So, what’s going to happen? Tons of lawsuits. Victims will be more open and get the therapy they need. Will those on the fringes–not yet exposed–seek counseling, and change their ways? I doubt it. Maybe they will think twice or be more careful of how and when they stalk their victims. And then again, maybe they won’t.

 

 

 

Photo Canstock

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/terry-richardson-conde-nast_us_59ef3c58e4b0d14acdcc7a73?ncid=inblnkushpmg00000009