Tonight I Can Write The Saddest Lines

poetry out loud - day title saturday
Tonight I Can Write The Saddest Lines
Written by Pablo Neruda
Post Created by Jk the secret keeper
Post Created on Friday 18th October 2013
Posted On Saturday 19th October 2013
Poetry Out Loud

Tonight I Can Write The Saddest Lines” by Pablo Neruda [read by Andy Garcia / Music from: "Il Postino]

Tonight I Can Write the Saddest Lines
Pablo Neruda

Write, for example,’The night is shattered
and the blue stars shiver in the distance.’

The night wind revolves in the sky and sings.

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.

Through nights like this one I held her in my arms
I kissed her again and again under the endless sky.

She loved me, and sometimes I loved her too.
How could one not have loved her great still eyes.

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
To think that I do not have her. To feel that I have lost her.

To hear the immense night, still more immense without her.
And the verse falls to the soul like dew to the pasture.

What does it matter that my love could not keep her.
The night is shattered and she is not with me.

This is all. In the distance someone is singing. In the distance.
My soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.

My sight searches for her as though to go to her.
My heart looks for her, and she is not with me.

The same night whitening the same trees.
We, of that time, are no longer the same.

I no longer love her, that’s certain, but how I loved her.
My voice tried to find the wind to touch her hearing.

Another’s. She will be another’s. Like my kisses before.
Her VOICE (!!!). Her bright body. Her infinite eyes.

I no longer love her, that’s certain, but maybe I love her.
Love is so short, forgetting is so long.

Because through nights like this one I held her in my arms
my soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.

Though this be the last pain that she makes me suffer
and these the last verses that I write for her.

What We Don’t Know About Trust

tell me a story
What We Don’t Know About Trust
TEDTalk: Onora O’Neill
Notations by Jennifer Kiley
Created 26th September 2013
Posted Thursday 10th October 2013

Onora O’Neill: What We Don’t Know About Trust

Video Published on Sep 25, 2013
Trust is on the decline, and we need to rebuild it. That’s a commonly heard suggestion for making a better world … but, says philosopher Onora O’Neill, we don’t really understand what we’re suggesting. She flips the question, showing us that our three most common ideas about trust are actually misdirected.

About my Very Tortured Friend, Peter

poetry out loud - day title saturday About my Very Tortured Friend, Peter
Written by Charles Bukowski
Post Created by Jk the secret keeper
Post Created on Friday 27th September 2013
Posted On Saturday 5th October 2013

Poetry Out Loud

About my Very Tortured Friend, Peter by Charles Bukowski [read by Tom O'Bedlam]

About My Very Tortured Friend, Peter
By Charles Bukowski

he lives in a house with a swimming pool
and says the job is
killing him.
he is 27. I am 44. I can’t seem to
get rid of
him. his novels keep coming
back. “what do you expect me to do?” he screams
“go to New York and pump the hands of the
“no,” I tell him, “but quit your job, go into a
small room and do the
“but I need ASSURANCE, I need something to
go by, some word, some sign!”
“some men did not think that way:
Van Gogh, Wagner—”
“oh hell, Van Gogh had a brother who gave him
paints whenever he
needed them!”

“look,” he said, “I’m over at this broad’s house today and
this guy walks in. a salesman. you know
how they talk. drove up in this new
car. talked about his vacation. said he went to
Frisco—saw Fidelio up there but forgot who
wrote it. now this guy is 54 years
old. so I told him: ‘Fidelio is Beethoven’s only
opera.’ and then I told
him: ‘you’re a jerk!’ ‘whatcha mean?’ he
asked. ‘I mean, you’re a jerk, you’re 54 years old and
you don’t know anything!’”

“what happened
“I walked out.”
“you mean you left him there with

“I can’t quit my job,” he said. “I always have trouble getting a
job. I walk in, they look at me, listen to me talk and
they think right away, ah ha! he’s too intelligent for
this job, he won’t stay
so there’s really no sense in hiring
now, YOU walk into a place and you don’t have any trouble:
you look like an old wino, you look like a guy who needs a
job and they look at you and they think:
ah ha!: now here’s a guy who really needs work! if we hire
him he’ll stay a long time and work

“do any of those people,” he asks “know you are a
writer, that you write poetry?”
“you never talk about
it. not even to
me! if I hadn’t seen you in that magazine I’d
have never known.”
“that’s right.”
“still, I’d like to tell these people that you are a
“I’d still like to
tell them.”
“well, they talk about you. they think you are just a
horseplayer and a drunk.”
“I am both of those.”
“well, they talk about you. you have odd ways. you travel alone.
I’m the only friend you
“they talk you down. I’d like to defend you. I’d like to tell
them you write
“leave it alone. I work here like they
do. we’re all the same.”
“well, I’d like to do it for myself then. I want them to know why
I travel with
you. I speak 7 languages, I know my music—”
“forget it.”
“all right, I’ll respect your
wishes. but there’s something else—”
“I’ve been thinking about getting a
piano. but then I’ve been thinking about getting a
violin too but I can’t make up my
“buy a piano.”
“you think

he walks away
thinking about

I was thinking about it
too: I figure he can always come over with his
violin and more
sad music.

The Secret of My Endurance

poetry out loud - day title saturday
The Secret of My Endurance
Written by Charles Bukowski
Video Poem Read by Charles Bukowski

Post Created by Jk the secret keeper
Posted On Saturday 28th September 2013

Dedicated to C.D. for Guiding Me
“The Secret of My Endurance”

Charles Bukowski reads The Secret of My Endurance

The Secret Of My Endurance
By Charles Bukowski

I still get letters in the mail, mostly from cracked-up
men in tiny rooms with factory jobs or no jobs who are
living with whores or no woman at all, no hope, just
booze and madness.
I get most of their letters on lined paper
written with an unsharpened pencil or in ink
in tiny handwritings that slants to the left

and the paper is most often torn
usually halfway up the middle
and they say they like my stuff,
I’ve written from where it’s at,
they recognize it truly, I’ve given them some
chance, some recognition of where it’s at.

it’s true, I was there, even worse off than most of them.
but I wonder if they realize where their letter arrives?
well, it’s dropped into a box on a wire fence
behind a six-foot hedge and a long driveway
to a two car garage, rose garden, fruit trees,
animals, a beautiful woman, mortgage about half
paid after a years residence, a new car-
two cars,
fireplace and a green rug two-inches deep
with a young boy to write my stuff now,
I keep him in a ten-foot square cage with a
typewriter, feed him whiskey and raw whores,
belt buckle him pretty good three or four times a week.
I’m 60 years old now and the critics say
my stuff is getting better than ever.bluish daisies

Why Do We Sleep?

tell me a story
Why Do We Sleep?
TED Talk: Russell Foster
Written by Jennifer Kiley
Created 21st August 2013
Posted Thursday 19th September 2013
Russell Foster: Why Do We Sleep? TEDTalk

will this help u sleep anoes freddie

Freddy Kruger Nightmare on Elm Street

Point #1

We think of sleep as something we need a cure for
rather then treating it as something we all need.

Point #2

Lack of sleep causes weight gain.

Point #3

The body craves carbohydrates.

Point #4

Sustained stress due to lack of sleep.

Point #5

Glucose gets thrown into the mixture with sleep loss
which eventually leads to diabetes.

is this your face in nightmares  iotbs kevin mccarthy

Kevin McCarthy in Invasions of the Body Snatchers

Point #6

Try not to drink caffeine late in the day.
Preferably not after lunch.

Point #7

There are morning people and evening people.
I find that morning people are just horribly smug.

Point #8

Mental illness and sleep.
Sleep disruption is associated with mental problems.

Point #9

Sleep was irregular.
Stayed up late at night and slept during the day.

Point #10

Genes are connected to normal sleep.

don't sleep  tnotbs ds

Donald Sutherland in [newer version] Invasions of the Body Snatchers

Point #11

Genes connected to mental illness
smashes your sleep.

Point #12

High risk to develop Bipolar with sleep disruption.

Point #13

Lack of sleep exacerbates symptoms of mental illness.

Point #14

Take sleep seriously.

Point #15

We use to understand the importance of sleep.

Point #16

If you get enough sleep,
it improves your moods,
mental health.

Spontaneous — A Need To Talk

Spontaneous — A Need To Talk
Tupac Shakur Wrote His Own Death

Written by Jennifer Kiley
Post Created Monday 2nd September 2013
Posted on Monday 2nd September 2013

While searching out something to help me understand what I am feeling at this moment, I came upon an article on Tupac Shakur, who wasn’t diagnosed but there are beliefs he was bipolar. It shows in his lyrics and street-rap. The up and down moods. I have been in my own up and down spiral. Manic and now depressed. There is not direct reason or evidence you notice. It comes on suddenly and smashes the world inside and around you.

Tupac Shakur

Tupac Shakur

Every thing becomes so heavy. The pain shuts you down. Nothing else matters. Pushing the world away. Wanting to run away, feels like the only thing to do. There’s been too much stimulation from the high I have been in. Playing games with Shawn. Making them up as we go along. Being inventive. It was exciting and fun. I let myself enjoy the moment. Rather then being so driven. But now the energy has been pulled away from me. The excitement has disappeared. Now I just want to poof! disappear into nothingness.

 It took five attempts till they killed him

It took five attempts till they killed him

Here is a small section of what I read from the first article, which inspired this post, I chose in PsychCentral’s Blog Post: Tupac Shakur & Bipolar Disorder

Wordsworth and Coleridge define poetry as, “The spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings,” and written by someone “possessed of more than usual organic sensibility, but also thought long and deep.” Tupac Shakur’s confessional poetry swims in powerful emotion mixed with straight truth found in his sensibility brought forth through deep thought and contemplation coupled with observation of the world around him. The need to seek and manifest truth sits at the heart of Shakur who was often loathed for his hard core vision of truth rooted in his ongoing “spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings,” which flow in his rhythmic lyrics, his beats, and his tone. Honest self-expression that overflows with emotion and carries “organic sensibility” and “thought long and deep are unveiled:”


Now as I stand here, a man here

Not a perfect one, but a searching one

Seek in another, blazing time

Sound crazy but I’m actually trying to escape my mind….

From out the darkness I struggle to see the light ….

But all of them will dream

That I did it my way

In the event of my demise

by Tupac Shakur

They claim that I’m violent, just cause I refuse to be silent

These hypocrites are having fits, cause I’m not buying it

Defying it, envious because I will rebel against

Any oppressor, and this is known as self defense

I show no mercy, they claim that I’m the lunatic.

by Tupac Shakur

Sometimes when I’m alone I Cry, Cause I am on my own.
The tears I cry are bitter and warm. They flow with life but take no form
I Cry because my heart is torn.I find it difficult to carry on.
If I had an ear to confiding, I would cry among my treasured friend,
but who do you know that stops that long,to help another carry on.
The world moves fast and it would rather pass by.
Then to stop and see what makes one cry,so painful and sad.
And sometimes…I Cry and no one cares about why.

My feelings are he knew he was going to die. Several attempts had been made before his life ended, being taken out in an ambush. He was beautiful and sensitive. Tupac Shakur’s words were honest, sensitive and direct.

What is the point of life if you don’t live it honestly, sensitively and direct. Don’t waste your time trying to make life pass by filling it with ways to “pass the time.” BE REAL IN THE MOMENT. Going mindless and numb from car crashes, to near drownings inside, what is the point of being alive if you aren’t alive.

At this moment, I am in a depressed state. A bipolar depressed state, which comes with a side of thoughts and strong urges to commit suicide. I feel like I have pulled back from who I am. Trying to be someone else. I have no real idea of what that means but I feel like I have lost myself. The sky is falling like a meteorite. It’s going to crash through the earth’s atmosphere and like the scene in the film ‘Donnie Darko,’ a jet engine falls from the sky and crashes in through the roof over his bedroom. It kills him. Don’t worry, it’s a weird film and you know this from moment one of the film. Highly recommend if you like quirky and Jake Gyllenhaal.

The place I am going is where life happens. We are never expecting some of what happens. It can be sudden and drastic, life altering change. I love who Tupac Shakur was. His life was real. He lived real. It can be dangerous but it is also exhilarating. It makes you want to live but it makes you want to die, too. At least for those bipolar and some other forms of brain malfunctions.

I have lived the life of a cat and used up many of my lives through car crashes so bad, no way should have survived. I did through the acts of miracles. One person didn’t and another friend and I broke our necks. He is a painter/artist with exhibitions behind him and before him but breaking his neck incapacitated him. He is now able to draw and do some artwork. Mine has effected me by giving me extreme pain. I finally had to endure neck surgery and had a disc removed and a plate put in to secure my neck from paralyzing me. I came split seconds away from almost drowning three times. Was rescued each time, just before I would have inhaled water.

One is never assured a perfect and safe life but we have been given this unusual opportunity to experience all of our senses, at least most of us have. Being depressed and feeling suicidal is an intense experience. In Bipolar In Order, you learn to accept these feelings of being down as part of the experience of being bipolar. Learning to go through the feelings are part of your being alive. Let the feelings be with you. Instead of a curse, I’d rather see them as an intense learning experience.

Ride the wave of depression, just watch out for the under toad, as the son in ‘The World According to Garp’ would say. He always thought the undertow in the ocean sounded like the under toad. That’s what it became to Walt, who ended up having a very short but loving life with a great imagination that was nurtured. The author of ‘Garp,’ John Irving, also, wrote the book ‘Hotel New Hampshire.’ One of the characters, Lily, had a particular saying. It was: “Keep passing the open windows.” Obviously, this line is a euphemism for don’t kill yourself.

It really isn’t a good idea even though it seems so at the time. It does bring on a powerful urge to want to check out from this life but it is only temporary as a bad idea for a solution. Most of the time it is because you can’t handle the strength and intensity of the overwhelming feelings of being lost, feeling hopeless, and feeling like there is no one out there, when deep down you know there is. If you feel you need a hotline, I will post some contacts at the bottom of this post. Don’t give up. You think if you don’t matter, why put yourself through horrible feelings of pain you know are always going to make return visits and always bring new more horrible surprises of deeper and darker downward spirals. “This to shall pass.”

It makes me wonder if Tupac wasn’t setting himself up with his words and songs. These are just my own observations coming from how intense he was in everything he did. He was right out there. He may have set himself up subconsciously to be killed rather than having to do it himself. I am just theorizing. My thoughts are not based on anything I know for a fact. I just know how it feels to be self-destructive.

I have written myself out of the dark place I was falling into. It can be worked through. Everyone needs to find the way that works for them. Some people run or walk their dog. Others paint or cook. What you need to do is find a constructive way to be with your depression and the strong urges to want to end your life. That is what suicide is, besides just a call for help or an escape from the pain or a hopeless situation. You want to feel you’re not alone.

If you are being bullied because you’re different, gay, lesbian, transgender or any other feeling different, you are not alone. We, who are different are here and we all want to help one another. Bullies enjoy feeling the power over others and try to steal yours by insulting you, putting you down, trying to make you feel less about yourself, or they may even get violent. They need to be stopped and you need to turn to someone to help you through this. There are many people you can contact who will help you. It may be a matter of needing someone to help you understand what is happening inside you and how you feel inside about what is happening to you.

Just do not choose the option to kill yourself. Take away killing yourself as an answer to making the pain and hurt go away. I promise I will post numbers and other choices of contacts. Use them if you need help.

If You Need Help. You Are Being Bullied. Or If You Are Feeling Depressed And Thinking About Harming Yourself Or Thinking About Suicide. Please Do Not Harm Or Kill Yourself. There Are Better Ways To End The Pain And Hurt. I Have Listed IMALIVE. A Site Online Where You Can Chat With Someone If You Are In A Bad Place.

Other Ways To Help Yourself Through The Depression Or Feeling Pain And Hurt Is Through Creating. Find What You Like To Do That Helps To Calm You Down And Find Relief From The Pressure You Are Feeling. Please Contact A Hotline Or Go To The Online Chat. I Hope You Find This Helps. Just Stay Safe. Don’t Let The Bullies Win. They Are Not Worth Letting In. You Are More Important Than They Are. A Great Film To Watch If You Are Being Bullied Is The Movie “Bully.” Please Let The Good People In Who Want To Help You. Be Careful. Remember You Are Not Alone. We Care. Reach Out. Let Someone Reach Back.

The Numbers to Contact are below:
TALK: 800-273-8255
SUICIDE HOTLINE: 800-784-2433

logo imalive  chat

chatnow  iamalive


IMALIVE — Live Chat

Please if you feel in crisis and need someone to talk to use anyone of the above contacts.

Sometimes You Just Feel Invisible

a divider for post no. 5 love fav new one thinner

Sometimes You Just Feel Invisible
Written by Jennifer Kiley
Illustrations of Family Companion Animals
Photographs by Shawn MacKenzie
Post Created Wednesday 17th July 2013
Posted On Saturday 20th July 2013
X-Treme Haiku Saturday

Schroeder-the Jekyll & Hyde of Cats-kisses & snuggles switching instantaneously to bites & growls. And then there's Saki-our Amazon Parrot-my protector-she bites me when she thinks I am in danger. OUCH!!! One of her satisfactions is when she imitates Snoopy on his Sopwith Camel dive-bombing The Red Baron-in this instance replace TRB with Shawn-cannot get near me when Saki is sitting on my shoulder or near me in anyway. A true love/hate relationship with Shawn who gives her peanut treats whenever Saki asks. Now look at the love between S & S. It is a labour of love. In this photograph, Saki has only just started to fly over to us. Her life before us was trauma filled & neglect. Loved Shawn first but switched over to me. Now we are symbiotic & copacetic & share everything-Food & Love & Snuggles & I get a Heroic Protector who sleeps/sits on me when I write or doing anything at all. A Love Note for My Two Favorite Cuddlers.  1280x960

Schroeder-the Jekyll & Hyde of Cats-kisses & snuggles switching instantaneously to bites & growls. And then there’s Saki-our Amazon Parrot-my protector-she bites me when she thinks I am in danger. OUCH!!! One of her satisfactions is when she imitates Snoopy on his Sopwith Camel dive-bombing The Red Baron-in this instance replace TRB with Shawn-cannot get near me when Saki is sitting on my shoulder or near me in anyway. A true love/hate relationship with Shawn-who gives her peanut treats whenever Saki asks. Now look at the love between S & S. It is a labour of love. In this photograph-Saki has only just started to fly over to us. Her life before us was trauma filled & neglect. Loved Shawn first but switched over to me. Now we are symbiotic & copacetic. We share everything-Food-Love & Snuggles. I get an Heroic Protector who sleeps/eats/sits/snuggles/dances on me when I write or do anything. A Love Note for My Two Favorite Cuddlers. Kisses-Jk [One of Their Two Mums] ps. I am not Invisible to them. They need me as I need them & want me in their lives.

Sometimes You Just Feel Invisible
By Jennifer Kiley
17th July 2013

Sometimes you just feel
Invisible no sight no
Depth of shape no dimensions

Vision forward moves
Past forgotten locked in lost
Memories committed done

Frozen locked in time
Tripping tricking psyche deep
Confusion delusions thoughts

Trapping murderers
Vanquish shadows’ reflection
Innocence stolen destroyed

Perversion alive
Evil plans continue then
New images prevailing

Subconscious nightmares
Dreams retold when awakened
Bulldozers crashing breaking

Home protects safe place
Breathe panic out with symptoms
Expand light growing healing

© Jk 2013

Lakme-Delibes: Flower Duet — Joan Sutherland
Combining Art With Love
— Music Video — All Digital Art Created by Jennifer Kiley

a divider for post no. 5 love fav new one thinner

Eight Essential Steps To Freedom From Bipolar Disorder

colours multi psychedelic divider for posts new

Eight Essential Steps To Freedom From Bipolar Disorder
Post Created by Jk the secret keeper
Video Available Through Bipolar Advantage
Post Created June 9th 2013
Posted June 27th 2013

WARNING: This post is long. I have written an honest understanding what someone with Bipolar is living through. Definitely, listen to the video at the end of the page. What Tom Wooten has to say with the limited amount of time he has to speak is very enlightening. Tom Wooten speech on the Eight Essential Steps To Freedom From Bipolar Disorder on the video. This video was made in early in June of 2013. Posted by Jk 6.27.13 on the secret keeper

Newest video from Bipolar Advantage. The Speaker is the author of the book “Bipolar In Order” Tom Wooton and creator of Bipolar Advantage. To go to their web site click on highlighted text. Bipolar Advantagecreated the video Eight Essential Steps To Freedom From Bipolar Disorder. Please share your family if you are Bipolar. Friends. Therapist. Doctor. Significant Other. Yourself if you are bipolar. Or if you are just interested in understanding something about bipolar. This shows an alternative to the traditional methods of working with Bipolar. For some it may be just the right method that will work for you. I am not presenting this as an alternative to your present treatment. If you are on meds and working with a therapist and doctor and want to continue on that path, that is your choice.

I do not take Psych Meds which I had taken an assortment of since 1990 and began being given psych meds from the time was a young kid. I wonder why. I told my psychiatrist that I wanted to stop. I had it with them. They weren’t working. Some made me have seizures, others made me Faint dead to the Floor with little of no warning. Others made me feel like I had lost my ability to think. Still others put me into a coma for two days. The best part (actually one of the worse parts) was to make me gain an exorbitant amount of weight since 1990 and keep in mind I am not a binge eater or someone who eats often enough and I don’t really like sweets that often. The medication was suppose to help with my depression. I felt more depressed on them and suicidal. It all had to stop. I wanted my life back. After stopping, a few years ago, I have been able to think clearly, most of the time, except when I felt delusional. But that has since gotten under control from working with an exceptional therapist. Mostly, the delusional behavior was triggered by the traumatic experiences from my childhood and even into my adult past.

I have become more and more creative and I am driven to create and not in just one area. I get excited again. I find these make me feel what it really feels like to feel. I cried for the first time while working on writing and editing a post to the book I am publishing once a week on my blog “the secret keeper.” I told my therapist that I cried and she looked at me in joy. “Did you hear what you said? You cried. You cried.” She was so excited for me. Crying was destroyed for me by the abuse I suffered through the person I now call The Shadow Mother. Talking about her will come at some future time.

I lost any feelings I had left with those drugs that I now call poison. I felt like I had been set free. The best part about stopping is that I have lost a tremendous amount of weight without doing anything except not take my psych meds. I am getting closer to my ideal weight, the one my doctor has set for me. I may, eventually, even go under that weight. My cloths drop off of me. Need a whole new wardrobe. Slowly, I am adding a few things at a time. I look in the mirror and the face looking back is thin. I don’t always recognize her. She looks pretty fucking good to me. I was always pretty thin my whole life. I was a stick figure when I was a kid. In my twenties, I didn’t eat and I actually weighed 113 pounds. I am 5′ 10 1/2″ tall with large bones. I was way under weight and I didn’t think I was thin enough. But that is another issue, also, that I will write about when I can get my head around it.

Now, I will need to get into better shape. Losing weight tends not to take care of the tightening of the skin or building up the muscles. But I am having a complete health and physical make-over that will help with all the damage the pills and the weight caused. It gave me diabetes. I am sure it is partially responsible for my short term memory lose problems and the bipolar probably contributes to that, too. This is what getting off that poison has done for me. I started reading every book on Bipolar when those who cared for my psychological well-being finally announced to me that I did have Bipolar. That actually came from my new therapist. I asked if I could see my psych records. We were both amazed that Bipolar had been in my records almost forever but no one felt that I should know. A psychiatrist who was prescribing my meds in the early 90s gave me a prescription for Risperidone. I was having racing thoughts when I tried to sleep. It was suppose to help. It is, also, used to treat Bipolar. Why I never asked to see my records before two years ago, who knows. I certainly do not lack curiosity. I am part cat.

I had insomnia most of my life from the time I was a child. I was put on Valium then. Red flags that I didn’t understand. When my new therapist gave me the diagnosis, I was stunned. She was, too. She had felt I was bipolar but until she saw it in writing she wasn’t able professionally to say anything. I had other diagnoses that clouded my judgement so I never really studied anything about Bipolar. Also, curiously enough, I believe it was intentionally being kept from me, and still is being denied by certain psych care givers. They even have gone so far as to ask my present therapist to remove certain additions she made to my therapy records that mentioned Bipolar. I think they are afraid of a law suit. They were improperly treating me with the meds they prescribed. It was the combination. They forgot about administering mood stabilizers. That was a major cause in my suicidal ideations that were almost constant for a very long time. In clearer words for some, I felt suicidal almost all the time.

From the day I learned about my diagnosis, I have kept up on anything related to bipolar. I started out by reading and collecting Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison’s books. The first one I started with is: “Touched With Fire.” The best, I felt for me. It was all about the creative artist who suffered from Manic Depression, now called Bipolar. It clarified so many aspects of my mind and my life. I may have the symptoms of bipolar since I was rather young, somewhere in my teens and maybe even younger but it manifested itself in states of continual depressions and insomnia from a very young age.

Here are some of my symptoms that have been around for a long time: Racing Thoughts. Fast Talking. High Creative Energy and in many areas of creativity from writing, playing music, composing songs and lyrics, a profession performing musician and singer which unfortunately gave me intense stage fright and I needed to be stoned to perform, theatre, orchestra as a student and adult, art, painting, choirs. In High School I excelled at painting. I started painting as an adult but stopped all of my creativity abruptly after I started seeing a particular therapist. He buried my soul. Gullibility. Staying Awake Far Beyond a Recommended Level for Anyone’s Body. In my early twenties, I worked but I, also, would party all night, doing bar hopping, dancing all night, drinking, doing drugs, anything that was around that would get me high. The drugs and alcohol actually started when I was a teenager. Alcohol, I would go to the bars when I was 16 with my fucked up oldest brother and his friends and I would keep up with them. My favorite game was to see who could down a whole pitcher of beer without coming up for air. I won every time. Illegal drugs, pot especially, I started using when I was 19. It was the enlightenment for me. Therapy came shortly after that.

The symptoms continue: Forgetting to Eat. I ate one meal a day in my 20s and was bulimic and anorexic. I didn’t and couldn’t keep the food in my body. It made me feel sick and uncomfortable so I got rid of it. Irritability. Delusions. Minimal Amount of Sleep and I Think I Can Do It All. Working on More Than “Prescribed” Number of Projects at a Time. (This is my therapist idea that I should work on only three projects at a time.)

When I follow the three projects at a time treatment plan, I do okay. But the projects can get away from me sometimes and I find I am out of control and trying to do more than I want my therapist to know. In college, I was committed to doing way beyond someones limits. I was a student assistant for three academic departments. I tutored students where English was their second language. I tutored students who were in High School on how to improve on taking their SATs. I worked my way up the College Newspaper’s totem pole until I became the Editor-in-chief. I took on an insurmountable number of projects. I became the student liaison to the Academic committee. I was doing honours seminars plus taking my other classes. I lived with my psychology professor (whom I was in love with), her husband and 11 year old son, whom I loved, also, and took care of him like he was my own. I spent more time with him than his parents were able.

I was an active member of the Philosophy Club. I worked for my Philosophy Professor so I was the liaison for co-coordinating activities. It was an extremely active club. We had regular (famous) speakers every week, where we would all have dinner before the meeting and speech. College was exciting. I was stoned half of the time. I, also, discovered through my first love affair with a woman that I was a lesbian. At first, that was very exciting but two weeks later after the first time we made love, she moved out of the state and transferred to another college, abandoning me. I pretty much lost it. I tried to date other male friends from the college paper but I couldn’t let them touch me.

That’s when I decided for the unknown number of times I tried, that I wanted and planned on committing suicide. Oh, yes, I forgot to mention that, another symptom of Bipolar/Manic Depression. My first suicide attempt was when I was a teenager, just out of High School. I wanted to kill myself because the only person I loved had left me for a man and got married. I took the whole bottle of pills. I wrote my suicide notes. One to my friend and one to my mother. I lay myself down at the wrong end of the bed. Just as the pills starting to take effect and I was starting to drift off, I realized I would never have consciousness again. Did I really want this to be the last moment of my life? My answer, through the fog in my head, was NO. I forced myself get up and head to the bathroom. On the way, I passed my parents’ open bedroom door. I tried to call out for help but I was stopped. Maybe by fear or I didn’t want them to know. I just couldn’t call out for her.

I entered that bathroom alone and made myself get the pills out of my stomach. When I felt there wasn’t anything left, I returned to my room and tore up the suicide notes. To this day, I have no knowledge of what I may have written. I lay down under the covers and put some music on softly and tried to go to sleep. The next morning, I had the worse buzzing in my head. I couldn’t hear anything. I asked my mother to call the library where I worked on Saturday and tell them I was sick. My boss didn’t believe her. She knew my friend was in town and that I was faking being ill. I did not know my friend was in town until she called me later. She wanted to see me. I did go to her parents house. The buzzing full blast inside my head. And I spent the afternoon with her without saying a word about what I had done the night before. But that wasn’t unusual for me. I never told anyone how I felt. She never knew her marriage and leaving the area made me suicidal and abandoned.

Back to the present and my reality of today. I, sometimes, will find I am working on an excess of five to ten things at a time. And I do get into trouble if I do this. Today that happened. It wasn’t intentional. I thought I could work all night and not worry about getting to sleep at my usual time of 5 to 6 am, sometimes later. I had the day to sleep in. But I suddenly had a call from one of my doctor’s offices that I could see this Doctor, I needed to see for pain, that same day. In approximately four hours I would need to get ready for that appt. I accepted the appt. time. Got off the phone and proceeded to continue finishing the editing job I was working on. I figured I could finish it in 15 minutes and I would get at least 4 hours of sleep. I do power naps well. That 15 minutes turned into over an hour. I just couldn’t stop. It’s a Bipolar thing. When you start something, it is impossible to put it down until you have accomplished what you set out to complete. I managed to get about 3 hours of sleep. I felt okay. Went to my appt. Came home, let my bird out and we made a power shake together and shared it.

From that point on I lost what happened next. I was on overtime, feeling exhausted, had the chills and it was in the high 70s. I still opened my laptop to try and work. Instead I watched Roger Federer lose in the second round at Wimbledon. He is my favorite tennis player ever. Lost everything after that. Do remember my partner bringing me dinner. Couldn’t even sit up to eat it and she brought me some chocolate. I did share my zucchini dinner with my parrot. My partner and I decided to put in “The Hobbit” but I became obsessed with finding this non-existent post I thought I lost. I couldn’t believe I lost a day and mixing up the dates of my posts. This was a mistake on my part going to that doctor’s appt. But I felt it was important and making a bad decision happened for awhile now. Going to the Doctor’s was important. I am preparing for another surgery in a short time. But I should have known I didn’t have enough sleep already from the night before and this just added to its lack.

Advise is to follow your therapist’s treatment plan and to get enough sleep. I thought I would be able to catch up but there is no such thing as catch-up with Bipolar. You get behind and you stay there. A practical lesson to learn which I thought I had under control. There was no post I hadn’t published with the date I was looking for. Because I was so out of it by then I did not realize the date I was looking for was that day. I had already published that post. It took me hours and wasted energy and time to figure that out. I felt so stupid but also why didn’t my partner tell me. Of course, she had no idea what it was I was looking for but because I was losing it and was becoming so irritated, I had to release the pressure. But for some reason, I tried not to vent on her. At least I stopped that and I solved the problem of the non-existent post.

Missed the whole movie of “The Hobbit” by crashing. When I woke I felt like someone crushed my body. I felt ill and over-heated. I had two blankets over me and a hoodie sweatshirt with hood up while I slept. I stripped everything off me, which seemed like it couldn’t happen fast enough. I got up to go use the bathroom to splash cold water on my face. This is the fucked up moments of a Bipolar, which I actually do not have that often, at least not recently, thank the Goddess and many more people.

bipolar sleeping bordered

Getting back to other symptoms I do experience: Finding Creative Ideas That Seem To Come from Nowhere. This I believe comes from the help of my Muse. Losing My Temper for What Appears to Be No Reason. Pressure builds up suddenly and quickly. Needing to Be Heard Right Away or I will forget my thoughts. Grandiosity is one that I don’t get too carried away with, at least I don’t think I do. And More That Are Not Coming To Me at the Moment. Getting Confused. I would put on the list Losing Track of Time. But Being Bipolar I Already Came Up With A New Idea to Replace It. I think being Bipolar makes one Extremely Sensitive to One’s Environment and We Notice Everything. We register Good Ideas All the Time. If You are an Artist, You Just Somehow Know What Would Make A Creative Project to Put Together. You work piece by piece as it Develops. Most Times Bipolars Are Usually Right, so we think. But We Are Not Infallible. Our irritability can cause us to get into heated discussions but just as quickly we lose track of why we got into the out of proportion discussion and let it disappear as if it didn’t happen. I do have a tendency to Pout. I am working on a post called “The Bipolar Pout.” It’s like having a tantrum then totally shutting down and won’t talk or move.

Being Creative is the Greatest Rush of Bipolar. I feel in the Flow and my mind is sharp as anything. Pieces fall into place like I psychically knew what came next and let my mind be led to that step by step until all was finished, checked and rechecked for accuracy and the littlest of details. Editing is a huge part of the creative writing process.

It is good to read about Bipolar, as many great books as you can find. Have a great therapist and people close to you who understand and you can talk to. It is important not to isolate. I discovered Bipolar Advantage and Bipolar IN Order not long into finding out my diagnosis. I, also, became friends with someone on Facebook and WordPress who gave me great reading material about what the psych meds were doing to me. They can kill some people by poisoning the organs in your body. Shutting down the kidneys. Damaging your heart so that it will fail. They are harsh to the liver, the pancreas, the brain most of all and other parts of your body.

I may have pain for other reasons in my body but I am, also, taking care of the pain. But giving up psych meds has made me feel alive again. I still am working on getting our government to legalize the use of medicinal cannabis to treat the illnesses of the body and to also treat Bipolar. I would have some lesser issues that are hard to deal with on occasion. If I had the proper cannabis, that does not get you high, to treat my depression when it happens or the other symptoms that I mentioned above. It would be very helpful.

Also, those who do need regular medication would be able to use medicinal cannabis and get off of the pharma poisons. I have a friend who is going through withdrawal right now from the psych meds. She is feeling amazed at how good it feels. She is getting her joy for life back. The withdrawal isn’t easy but once you are through to the other side, you just need to find better ways to cope with your symptoms.

Practicing the program of Bipolar IN Order also helps. It makes the symptoms more manageable. It teaches you to bring down the levels of control of your symptoms so they do not get out of control. You learn to better judge when you are going beyond the safe limits, so you know when to bring those symptoms under better control by simply identifying when you need to refocus what you are doing. Being depressed may be the most difficult part of bipolar to work with and the hypo-manic or manic states that take you out of control.

But for the moment I want to concentrate on depression. I have learned to live with my depression. Lately, I haven’t had many episodes and the ones I’ve had were related to when I woke up. I’d feel the urge to pull the covers back over my head but eventually I would push myself out of bed and once I was functioning the depression slipped away. In the past, and maybe in the future, I may feel the depth of depressions and the dark hole one goes to. But now I allow myself to experience what goes on in my mind and body. When I feel suicidal (and I haven’t for awhile now-a miracle for me,) but I let the feelings exist. It is like flowing with creativity. One of my methods of working with the depression is to create. More specifically for me, I write. It can be a poem or thoughts or I work on a post for my blog or I write to the brother that I trust.

He is the only brother that I trust and he listens to everything I write to him and I am really open up with him about everything. He is very encouraging when he writes back. He wishes me to feel better and he accepts that I have had a traumatizing life which started in my childhood. When I told him some of the things that happened, you know abusers are very good at keeping their secrets and they don’t let anyone else know or witness what they are doing, my brother was so shocked that I experienced what I did. He had no idea. This was something just recently. I didn’t tell anyone. There is so much hidden inside my psyche and after all the therapy I have had since I was a teenager, no one really knows most of what happened. I do write some of it on my blog but it is like the iceberg that sunk the Titanic, the majority of it is under the surface and still secretly and quietly fucking with my mind without even my awareness.

I meant it when I said I have finally found the right combination of people, activities, and conditions in my life that make it work. I, also, have finally found a therapist who actually gets me. I would say she is the best therapist I have ever had and I make sure she knows that on a regular basis. This past week, she bought my partner and I a pizza. It was for letting her come to our house after I had some major surgery recently and I couldn’t go out to therapy. Who is that thoughtful, kind and generous. I should add, she is the first person that has been in my home that I know for almost twenty years. (Now that is quite a long story but partially has something to do with my agoraphobia.) Cable people come all the time but that is different. Comcast and I have a strange relationship.

I, also, have some of the best people in my life that help me to find my confidence and make me feel good about myself. My partner has even in her own special way given me so much support through our time together, and now I think she even sees me in a different and better light. My bipolar does drive her a bit crazy. If I looked from her perspective I can see what she endures and I do understand. I am working really hard on it and all my other psych issues. This list you will find in the latest DSM-V, which has grown. (That was a joke. Not about the DSM-V – that really is a real joke and fucking dangerous. It is about to make every one appear to be mentally ill. I prefer Mentally Creative.)

There is, also, a very special friend that found me and I found her. She gives me something so special that I never had in my life before. It is so special that it can not be described in simple language. She knows who she is and I love her, with the good kind of love, that she has been teaching and giving to me. It fills you up, that kind of love. My life has turned around just knowing her. What she gives, you just don’t find anywhere. I am so honoured that we are friends.

There is something important that I learned, it is very important to let those you care about and love, know how you feel about them. I try to do that everyday. That really helps with the healing and the love you feel is more times amazing than anything else you can experience.

I realize this is long. Part of being Bipolar, but, also, relevant to write about for my recovery and it might just help if read in small sections, those who deal with Bipolar on a regular basis and for those who have no idea what Bipolar really is and what it really does to those who live with Bipolar. Those who are bipolar and those who live with us in their lives. I refrain from using the word suffer. I know it can cause suffering but I would rather focus on the incredible gift it can give to someone. The Creative Element alone to me is worth having this genetically imposed state of being. The rest just sucks and hopefully listening to the following video and hearing some of what I wrote will help with that aspect. But I think and feel Creative and that gets me through. Written by Jennifer Kiley

bipolar is awesome

Now for what is on this Video on the Eight Essential Steps to Freedom from Bipolar.

Bipolar Disorder: Crisis, Managed. Recovery.

Bipolar In Order: Freedom. Stability. Self-Mastery

The Eight Essential Steps Explained in the Video are:

(1) Functionality:

(2) Freedom Stage Loop:

(3) Recognizing Our State:

(4) Behaviour Inventory:

(5) Disordered Reactions:

(6) Accounting For Time:

(7) Introspection:

(8) IN Ordered Responses:

When these steps are working then you will be able to Expand Zones and achieve Self Mastery.

Expand Zones:


These all may fluctuate but living with Bipolar IN Order is a better way of managing your life than feeling like you are never going to know when you will go into Crisis or Lose Control. Self-Mastery and Expanding the Zones of what you can handle is a Life giving force rather than going along with the doom and gloom of the way the Psychiatric Community would rather have you living with Bipolar Disorder and loaded up on the poison of psych drugs. (ONLY MY OPINION)

All of the Eight Essential Steps are explained in the video as much as is possible with the restraint of time that is allowed but they are clearly explained enough to understand them. Going further into the program of Bipolar IN Order with Bipolar Advantage will give you a more in depth understanding.

I am in no way suggesting that anyone taking psych medications should stop their drugs and turn to Bipolar IN Order. This is just something to listen to and think about and to discuss with those who are helping you manage to keep you Bipolar under control.

Now it is time to listen to the video: Eight Essential Steps To Freedom From Bipolar Disorder.

Eight Essential Steps To Freedom From Bipolar Disorder

A comment I want to make is something my new therapist has said to me and reminds me often when I tell her I don’t understand what is wrong with me. Her response is, “You have lived one of the most fucked up lives. You were traumatized and abused in every way possible when you were a kid by people who were supposed to care for you and love you. You lived in hell then and the abuse followed you when you became an adult. You kept getting re-abused your whole life. Even by therapists you thought you could trust and you should have been able to trust. You have experienced traumatizing lose beyond anything anyone can imagine. And you wonder why you have been and can be so fucked up. Give your self a break. You are actually getting better. I can see the changes in you since we started working together. You needed understanding and unconditional acceptance. You found that once a long time ago from someone special. She dies and leaves you alone and abandoned to those who torture you. The good thing, now you are finding that again. You have people who believe in you and give you confidence and acceptance.” She always laughed before she would tell me all of this. I don’t always get it or remember it when I ask the question, “What the hell is wrong with me?” In such an incredulous way, I ask that question.

So the Bipolar isn’t so bad compared to the nightmare I lived in as a child. I escaped through dissociating. A wonderfully, brilliant invention of the mind to help one escape. Thank you. Jennifer Kiley Jk the secret keeper

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“Stories We Tell”

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“Stories We Tell”
New Documentary by Sarah Polley
Post Created by Jk the secret keeper
Created June 9th 2013
Posted June 12th 2013
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sarah polley actor writer director shooting new documentary : stories we tell"  680x478

sarah polley actor writer director shooting new documentary: stories we tell”

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Stories We Tell: A post by Sarah Polley
August 29th, 2012
Filmmaker Sarah Polley about her new film, Stories We Tell.

Today in Venice my latest film, Stories We Tell, will be screening for the first time. Until now, thanks to the extraordinary decency of many people – including some journalists who have known the story for years and kept it secret – I have been able to keep its contents under wraps.

Knowing that people will now write about the film itself as well as the story it is based on, I’d like to explain a bit of the process that lead to the making of the film and why I’d like the film to speak for itself. I realize that I’m not nearly accomplished enough to write this kind of blog without apology. The world is not waiting for my next film! But because I am hoping to not do any press or interviews about the film for its festival life, I do feel I owe an explanation to the journalists who have helped me keep this secret and been respectful of my process for some time.

Here is the story of how this film came to be, and why I hope people will write about the film itself and not only the story it is based on.

In 2007 I was on set in Montreal, shooting a scene for the film Mr. Nobody. I received a phone call from a friend warning me that a journalist had found out a piece of information about my life that I had kept a secret for a year. I got in touch with the journalist and begged him not to print the story. It was a story that I had kept secret from many people in my life including my father. It took some time and many tears to convince the journalist not to print the story within the week, but I left that conversation convinced that it was not a secret I could keep for long, and that if I wanted the people in my life and outside my life to know the story in my own words, I would have to take action.

I flew to Toronto that night to tell my father the news. He was not my biological father. This had been confirmed by a DNA test with a man I had met a year earlier. I had met my biological father almost by accident, though I had long suspected based on family jokes and rumours that my mother may have had an affair that led to my conception.

My father’s response to this staggering piece of news was extraordinary. He has always been a man who responds to things in unusual ways, for better or for worse. He was shocked, but not angry. His chief concern, almost immediately, was that my siblings and I not put any blame on my mother for her straying outside of their marriage. He was candid about his own lack of responsiveness towards her and how that may have led her to the point where she sought out the affection of another person. And then he began to write. And write and write and write.

He wrote the story of their marriage, her affair (which he put together from other people’s memories), and his relationship with me. He wrote about our need to tell stories.

My biological father, at my behest, had also begun writing the story of his relationship with my mother. He is a fine storyteller too and one of the most interesting people I’ve ever met. Each of us had a deep and growing need to tell the story, different parts of it, in different ways, with emphasis on different details, in a way that reflected our own experience and what was most important to us as we are now.

My siblings began telling the story to their friends. Journalists who heard the story from various sources began calling me and asking me to be interviewed about this discovery. Everyone who heard the story seemed to want to own it. Up until then many people had mused aloud to me that the story would make a great film. I disagreed. While it had huge relevance and emotional impact for the people close to it, I felt that this story was in fact quite common. I felt I had seen this film before. However, the process of watching a story take on a life of its own, mutate, and change in so many other people’s words fascinated me. And as the story was told, or perhaps because the story was told – it changed. So I decided to make a film about our need to tell stories, to own our stories, to understand them, and to have them heard.

Personal documentaries have always made me a bit squeamish. I’ve seen some brilliant ones, but they often push the boundaries of narcissism and can feel more like a form of therapy than actual filmmaking. (Though I could listen to anyone’s therapy session and be entertained, I think.)

I’m not claiming that my film lacks self involvement but what I wanted most was to examine the many versions of this story, how people held onto them, how they agreed and disagreed with each other, and how powerful and necessary creating narrative is for us to make sense of our bewildering lives. I wanted the story told in the words of everyone I could find who could speak about it. Whatever my own feelings are about the events that are outlined, about the many dynamic and complicated players or the stunning, vibrant woman my mother was, they are ephemeral, constantly out of my grasp, they change as the years pass. (I declined to use a “voice of God” first person voice over narration because it felt false, self involved, and besides the point.) But I found I could lose myself in the words of the people closest to me. I can feel and hear and see their histories, and I wanted to get lost, immerse myself in those words, and be a detective in my own life and family.

Anything I want to say myself about this part of my life is said in the film. It’s a search still, a search for meaning, truth, for whether there can ever be a truth. I have a lot of trepidation about doing interviews and being asked how I feel about it all. I worry about seeing my deepest feelings about my life taken out of context or shortened or made to fit into someone’s already written story. And I have spent five years deciding, frame by frame and word by word, how to tell this story in this film. I’d hate to see my inability to think before I speak wipe out years of work with one stupid comment that I haven’t thought through.

I have decided not to do any interviews about this film until the film is released theatrically and I hope that doesn’t offend, or that journalists who are assigned to cover the film understand this choice after seeing it. I’m sure it’s annoying to not have a new angle or a different quote than other journalists and I’m really sorry to create that problem for the people who decide to write about it. But I desperately want, at least while the film is on the festival circuit, to have people experience and write about the film before the story – or to experience the many stories that this story has become as opposed to just my version of it. It is, after all, why I made the film in the first place. It’s oblique I know. The film is much less oblique than this fearfully written blog. I’m trying to preserve as much of the experience of viewing it for the first time as I can for those who wish to see it, for better or for worse.

I learned so much along the way. I got to know my mother who died when I was 11 in a way that isn’t usually possible for people who lose parents young. I got to know so much about my family, about filmmaking, about trusting collaborators to keep making the movie when you need to just walk away for a time (for this I have to especially thank my editor Mike Munn, my DOP Iris Ng, Producer Anita Lee and Production Coordinator Kate Vollum, as well as others, who all kept on making the film while I hid in a corner for periods of time). I also learned that people can be more decent and ethical than you imagine. Several journalists, including Brian Johnson and Matthew Hays (and more recently Gabe Gonda, the arts editor at The Globe and Mail), have known this story for years. And while they very much wanted to print it, they all respected my wish to keep this story private until I was ready to tell it in my own words. I think arts journalists in Canada are made of good material generally. I’m so thankful to them for letting me have the space to explore this on my own, ask the questions I wanted to ask, and let this film come out into the world. I never could have made it if I hadn’t had that space and time.

Making this film was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It took five years and tormented me. I didn’t want to make it, and I wanted to give up many times along the way, but I also didn’t want this story to be out there in the words of someone other than the many people who lived it. Now it will be written about in many other people’s words, and I’m finally at peace with that. With the inaccuracies, with the new insights that I may not have arrived at on my own, with the broken telephone that happens when “concentric circles of people,” as my biological father says, begin telling their own stories without experiencing the original versions. That is what the film is about anyway and after five long years I’m actually looking forward to its arrival in the world, and the inevitable mess that comes from a story being told and retold.
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“Stories We Tell”

There’s family, there’s history and then there’s the truth, but as Sarah Polley explores in her beautiful and uniquely moving documentary “Stories We Tell,” all of those terms carry different weight depending on the eye of the beholder. Begun as a project to investigate her own family background, “Stories We Tell” blossoms into a riveting portrait of a family still carrying secrets, heartache and accepted truths that sometimes fly in the face of reality. But Polley’s entire point is that one person’s “reality” is someone else’s “fiction” and her brilliant film almost deconstructs itself as it goes along, calling into question its own presentation of the “facts” yet never feeling academic, and always wholly emotional. It’s the rare documentary that we’d argue contains “spoilers” which aren’t just part of the narrative (though it’s more enjoyable if you’re in the dark a bit,) but the presentation itself. One of the most intelligent documentaries we’ve seen in quite some time, at times enlightening and profound, the film proves the simple truth that the “Stories We Tell” about our own lives can’t always be trusted.
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Sarah Polley Examines Her Own Family In Lovely, Fascinating ‘Stories We Tell’
Venice Review
by Oliver Lyttelton
August 29, 2012

Sarah Polley has a secret. It’s a secret that, remarkably, she kept under wraps to all but friends and family until the film screened at the Venice Film Festival this morning. It’s a secret that’s seemingly informed her two directorial efforts to date, “Away From Her” and “Take This Waltz,” and is the subject matter of her third film, and first documentary, “Stories We Tell.” And it’s a secret that’s led to her finest work as a director so far.

It’s also a secret that is so important to the film that it would be virtually impossible to discuss it without giving it away. So, while Polley has written about it online today, knowing it going in might theoretically hamper your enjoyment of the film, the spoiler-phobic should be warned that from here on out, we will be giving certain things away. Be assured that fans of Polley’s work to date will be delighted by a documentary that serves simultaneously as a gripping mystery, a moving record of a family and a fascinating investigation into the nature of truth, memory, and the documentary form itself.
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Made up of interviews and what initially appears to be archive home movie footage (in the manner of Jonathan Caouette’s “Tarnation”), the film begins as a portrait of the director’s actress mother Diana Polley, and of her marriage to Polley’s father Michael, which ended when Diana passed away from cancer when Sarah was eleven. To build up this picture, Polley has interviewed her father (who was also an actor for a time), her siblings, and her parents’ friends, who paint a picture of a vibrant, complicated woman in a relationship that was loving, but not entirely happy.
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stories we tell photo
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And then comes the secret. Her brothers and sisters had long joked that Sarah didn’t look much like her father, and when she turned 18, began to make enquiries, discovering that her mother may have had an affair with a co-star when she was in a play in Montreal around the time that Sarah was conceived. Polley is eventually intrigued enough to seek out Canadian producer Harry Gulkin (the Oscar-nominated “Lies My Father Told Me”), an old friend of her mother’s, to ask. In fact, Harry reveals that he was the one who had an affair with Diana, and suspects that he’s her father. In fact, having now met her, he’s sure of it.

On one hand, Polley tells this story as truthfully as is possible – through the words of those who it involves, or who were there for the aftermath, like her four siblings. Indeed, the bulk of the film’s narration comes from a lengthy essay her father wrote after the fact, read in his own dulcet tones (Polley shoots within the recording studio as he does so, charmingly showing her directing her father, and her own nervous energy, in the process). At the same time, by the very nature of the film, she’s editorializing, manipulating the narrative for maximum shock value, and shooting reconstructions of what initially looked like archive Super 8 footage, with actors playing her parents in their younger days, and the real-life participants playing themselves in more recent times.

But to her credit, Polley doesn’t just acknowledge these liberties, she makes them an intrinsic part of the film, to the extent that she openly questions her own motivations for making the documentary. She’s essentially encouraging the audience to ask questions about how possible it is to closely recreate and document the past, and whether a documentary can achieve those goals.

It’s fascinating stuff, doubly so because of the clear parallels with her previous directorial efforts. Her real story is reflected both in the late-in-life adultery in “Away From Her,” and the fallibility of monogamy, and the risks of not making the leap into the unknown of “Take This Waltz.” (Interestingly, her sister comments at one point that after discovering Sarah’s news, all three Polley daughters were soon divorced). She keeps herself mostly off screen, and yet the director is exposing just as much of herself as anyone.

Which makes it all sound quite high-minded, but the film’s plot, if you can call it that, grips like a thriller, and Polley takes care to introduce the participants as characters rather than as her relatives. And all of her “characters,” from wisecracking older brother Mark to the Albert Einstein-ish Harry to the quiet, repressed, impossibly generous Michael (the source of much of the film’s emotion) are hugely entertaining, and are simply a pleasure to spend time with.

There are some issues. Shying away from introducing her interviewees clearly at the beginning means that even by the end, you’re sometimes struggling to work out how they relate to one another. And the film drags in its conclusion, stacking multiple endings on top of one another. They all contain good material, but one does start to shift a little in the seat. But for the most part, it’s a film that tickles both the brain and the heart, and by some distance Polley’s most consistent, and best, work as a director to date. [A-]
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A Clip from Sarah Polley’s documentary on “Stories We Tell”

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Identity Is Not Just Who You Are

Identity Is Not Just Who You Are
Post Created by Jk the secret keeper
Post Created June 2nd 2013
Posted June 5th 2013
4p identity poster
Josh Whedon ’87 Delivers 181st Commencement Address @ Wesleyan University

May 26th 2013

Award-winning writer, director, and producer Joss Whedon ’87 delivered the Commencement Address during the 181st Commencement Ceremony. Watch a video of his address or read the text just below video of this speech. He created Buffy, The Vampire Slayer. Serenity. Angel. Firefly. The Avengers. Much To Do About Nothing. Dollhouse. The Cabin In the Wood. Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog. And much more…

Joss Whedon ’87 – Wesleyan University Commencement Speech – Official

Joss Whedon '87 Delivered the Wesleyan Commencement Address 640x424

Joss Whedon ’87 Delivered the Wesleyan Commencement Address

“Commencement address—it’s going well, it’s going well. Thank you, Jeanine, for…making me do this. This is going to be great. This is going to be a good one. It’s gonna go really well. Two roads diverged in a wood, and… no. I’m not that lazy.

I actually sat through many graduations. When I was siting where you guys were sitting, the speaker was Bill Cosby—funny man Bill Cosby, he was very funny and he was very brief, and I thanked him for that. He gave us a message that I really took with me, that a lot of us never forgot, about changing the world. He said, “you’re not going to change the world, so don’t try.”

That was it. He didn’t buy that back at all. And then he complained about buying his daughter a car and we left. I remember thinking, “I think I can do better. I think I can be a little more inspiring than that.”

And so, what I’d like to say to all of you is that you are all going to die.

This is a good commencement speech because I’m figuring it’s only going to go up from here. It can only get better, so this is good. It can’t get more depressing. You have, in fact, already begun to die. You look great. Don’t get me wrong. And you are youth and beauty. You are at the physical peak. Your bodies have just gotten off the ski slope on the peak of growth, potential, and now comes the black diamond mogul run to the grave. And the weird thing is your body wants to die. On a cellular level, that’s what it wants. And that’s probably not what you want.

I’m confronted by a great deal of grand and worthy ambition from this student body. You want to be a politician, a social worker. You want to be an artist. Your body’s ambition: Mulch. Your body wants to make some babies and then go in the ground and fertilize things. That’s it. And that seems like a bit of a contradiction. It doesn’t seem fair. For one thing, we’re telling you, “Go out into the world!” exactly when your body is saying, “Hey, let’s bring it down a notch. Let’s take it down.”

And it is a contradiction. And that’s actually what I’d like to talk to you about. The contradiction between your body and your mind, between your mind and itself. I believe these contradictions and these tensions are the greatest gift that we have, and hopefully, I can explain that.

josh whedon received honorary degree from wesleyan university 2013

josh whedon received honorary degree from wesleyan university 2013

But first let me say when I talk about contradiction, I’m talking about something that is a constant in your life and in your identity, not just in your body but in your own mind, in ways that you may recognize or you may not.

Let’s just say, hypothetically, that two roads diverged in the woods and you took the path less traveled. Part of you is just going, “Look at that path! Over there, it’s much better. Everyone is traveling on it. It’s paved, and there’s like a Starbucks every 40 yards. This is wrong. In this one, there’s nettles and Robert Frost’s body—somebody should have moved that—it just feels weird. And not only does your mind tell you this, it is on that other path, it is behaving as though it is on that path. It is doing the opposite of what you are doing. And for your entire life, you will be doing, on some level, the opposite—not only of what you were doing—but of what you think you are. That is just going to go on. What you do with all your heart, you will do the opposite of. And what you need to do is to honor that, to understand it, to unearth it, to listen to this other voice.

You have, which is a rare thing, that ability and the responsibility to listen to the dissent in yourself, to at least give it the floor, because it is the key—not only to consciousness-but to real growth. To accept duality is to earn identity. And identity is something that you are constantly earning. It is not just who you are. It is a process that you must be active in. It’s not just parroting your parents or the thoughts of your learned teachers. It is now more than ever about understanding yourself so you can become yourself.

I talk about this contradiction, and this tension, there’s two things I want to say about it. One, it never goes away. And if you think that achieving something, if you think that solving something, if you think a career or a relationship will quiet that voice, it will not. If you think that happiness means total peace, you will never be happy. Peace comes from the acceptance of the part of you that can never be at peace. It will always be in conflict. If you accept that, everything gets a lot better.

The other reason is because you are establishing your identities and your beliefs, you need to argue yourself down, because somebody else will. Somebody’s going to come at you, and whatever your belief, your idea, your ambition, somebody’s going to question it. And unless you have first, you won’t be able to answer back, you won’t be able to hold your ground. You don’t believe me, try taking a stand on just one leg. You need to see both sides.

Now, if you do, does this mean that you get to change the world? Well, I’m getting to that, so just chill. All I can say to this point is I think we can all agree that the world could use a little changing. I don’t know if your parents have explained this to you about the world but… we broke it. I’m sorry… it’s a bit of a mess. It’s a hard time to go out there. And it’s a weird time in our country.

The thing about our country is—oh, it’s nice, I like it—it’s not long on contradiction or ambiguity. It’s not long on these kinds of things. It likes things to be simple, it likes things to be pigeonholed—good or bad, black or white, blue or red. And we’re not that. We’re more interesting than that. And the way that we go into the world understanding is to have these contradictions in ourselves and see them in other people and not judge them for it. To know that, in a world where debate has kind of fallen away and given way to shouting and bullying, that the best thing is not just the idea of honest debate, the best thing is losing the debate, because it means that you learn something and you changed your position. The only way really to understand your position and its worth is to understand the opposite. That doesn’t mean the crazy guy on the radio who is spewing hate, it means the decent human truths of all the people who feel the need to listen to that guy. You are connected to those people. They’re connected to him. You can’t get away from it.

This connection is part of contradiction. It is the tension I was talking about. This tension isn’t about two opposite points, it’s about the line in between them, and it’s being stretched by them. We need to acknowledge and honor that tension, and the connection that that tension is a part of. Our connection not just to the people we love, but to everybody, including people we can’t stand and wish weren’t around. The connection we have is part of what defines us on such a basic level.

Freedom is not freedom from connection. Serial killing is freedom from connection. Certain large investment firms have established freedom from connection. But we as people never do, and we’re not supposed to, and we shouldn’t want to. We are individuals, obviously, but we are more than that.

So here’s the thing about changing the world. It turns out that’s not even the question, because you don’t have a choice. You are going to change the world, because that is actually what the world is. You do not pass through this life, it passes through you. You experience it, you interpret it, you act, and then it is different. That happens constantly. You are changing the world. You always have been, and now, it becomes real on a level that it hasn’t been before.

And that’s why I’ve been talking only about you and the tension within you, because you are—not in a clichéd sense, but in a weirdly literal sense—the future. After you walk up here and walk back down, you’re going to be the present. You will be the broken world and the act of changing it, in a way that you haven’t been before. You will be so many things, and the one thing that I wish I’d known and want to say is, don’t just be yourself. Be all of yourselves. Don’t just live. Be that other thing connected to death. Be life. Live all of your life. Understand it, see it, appreciate it. And have fun.

Original Graduation Song


“Develop and protect a moral sensibility and demonstrate the character to apply it. Dream big. Work hard. Think for yourself. Love everything you love, everyone you love, with all your might. And do so, please, with a sense of urgency, for every tick of the clock subtracts from fewer and fewer.” ― David McCullough Jr.

“Read. Read all the time. Read as a matter of principle, as a matter of self-respect. Read as a nourishing staple of life.” ― David McCullough

“Unlike any other creature on this planet, human beings can learn and understand without having experienced. They can think themselves into other peoples’ places. Of course, this is a power like my brand of fictional magic that is morally neutral. One might use such a power to manipulate or control, just as much as to understand or sympathize. And many prefer not to exercise their imaginations at all. They choose to remain comfortably within the bounds of their own experience, never troubling to wonder how it would feel to have been born other than they are. They can refuse to hear screams or peer inside cages. They can close their hearts and minds to any suffering that does not touch them personally. They can refuse to know. I might be tempted to envy people who can live that way, except that I do not think that they have any fewer nightmares than I do.” ― J.K. Rowling