Thursday, February 22, 2007

Introducing Keneritz Media

There was a time in my life when I thought I'd marry the girl I met in ninth grade and move to California to be a famous actor; she'd be a college professor of math or science. It didn't happen as poetically or romantically. I lost contact with her when I transferred high schools, occasionally receiving updates from a mutual friend.

I didn't move to Hollywood with my first serious girlfriend, but escaped to New York City. There were a few people and situations that lead to my decision to move to the East Coast. It's all water under the bridge, and washed out to sea by now.

I miss performing on stage, film, and performing or reading scriptures at my Methodist church down south. Life was different back then. I didn't have to deal with an octopus of a director until college, even though I'd been warned long before of people in the business who only wanted to take advantage of unsuspecting younger actors. I think of the monologue from the play Small Craft Warnings by Tennessee Williams, when the character has tried to fool an older man into believing he's one thing, when he's clearly the other. In my recasting, my former drama professor from college is the fraud.

I don't know what happened that I stopped auditioning, training, and pursuing the craft of acting. I can't wholly blame dirty old predatory women and men in the industry as to why I have abandoned the profession after so many years of joy experienced in front of a live audience.

The number of bad Hollywood movies and TV shows is reason enough to dust off the headshots and résumés and start auditioning again. I know I still have it. I've had to rely on my acting, directing, and persuasive talents in uncreative corporate jobs and in social settings. Why not get paid for it expressly as an actor? I've nothing to lose.

I'm in the early stages of forming a production company, and joining forces with two friends as they create their own production companies. Together, we'll work on short films, documentaries, and eventually feature film projects as actors, writers, and directors.

I've named my future company Keneritz Media. My grandmother's nickname for me is Keneritz. Folks ask, "Why Keneritz?" The story is that my younger brothers and I have similar sounding names as do three of my cousins. One day Granny was calling out to me and was temporarily stumped as to which "Ken" I was. She said, "Hey, you, Keneris!" The assembled family in her living room looked around, and after laughing, realized she was pointing at me. I phoneticized the mistake to Ken E. Ritz, and began using it as a poetry pen name. It sounded very Hollywood razzle dazzle, but didn't capture the warmth and closeness of what Granny represents. Away with the spaces and punctuation, and Keneritz was born.

My ideal world is where I'd write short stories, novels, and screenplays. I'd adapt the short stories and novels for the screen, and either sell, direct, produce, or act in the screenplays. At the end of the week, I'd drive away to a country home with room for a pony and dogs.

Fictional Voice

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Best Doctors in New York City

I now have information that will transform my medical care in the next few weeks: Best Doctors in New York.

I sent out an e-mail request to friends on Tuesday, and by midnight Tuesday, I received the directory which rates doctors and hospitals in the metro New York City area.

I have not been happy with recent doctors and specialists I've seen, including the spin-the-bottle primary care physician I chose, based solely on his proximity to my apartment, which has made me feel helpless and frustrated.

One of the specialists I sought for unexplained headaches was thorough and nice, but his receptionist reminded me of Evillene from The Wiz. The headaches have since disappeared; I know the prescription glasses and keeping myself calm more times than not, contributed to my healing. He's not on the list, which doesn't make him a bad doctor, but I wonder if I'd have had to endure an MRI, MRA, free trial and prescription medications had to known about the list beforehand.

The second specialist I knew would not be on the list. He's definitely on my list of doctors with bad office and bedside manners, and I've encountered some nightmarish doctors when I didn't have medical coverage. This guy treated me like I was on an assembly line -- get 'em in, get 'em out (from the time I checked in at the front desk and departed). I previously regarded the quick check-in as professional and courteous, when in fact it wasn't.

What's got me in an uproar with this guy is that I feel he's recommending an outdated and terribly expensive procedure that I think could be done with laser surgery, prescription medication, and improved living.

I no longer feel as if the weight of the world is pressing down on my shoulders. I recommend everyone taking advantage of such lists. I've been on club, bar, and lounge guest lists for free admission and drink tickets- this is a better list. I like the above list better because I'm not on it, but trained, licensed, and reputable medical professionals that discerning New Yorkers have evaluated and offered their honest opinions.
Knowledge is power.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Mass Transit in New York City

In all the years I've lived in NYC, I've not traveled by bus as often as I have in recent weeks since I began teaching Adult Basic Education at Union Settlement in Spanish Harlem.

I usually walk across Central Park, down Fifth Avenue, and then onto East 104th Street. I had a change of heart recently when the temperature dropped well below freezing, and the thought of imitating a mime walking against the wind wasn't appealing.

For the past three or four weeknights, the bus I take at 5:50 p.m., has not arrived on time, and I've had to walk my regular route. I'm not complaining about walking, my intention was to use the two-way trip as exercise. A simple thing as the driver adhering to his schedule (I've seen few female bus drivers) irked me while standing at the bus stop as others passed me by.

I can now say that the eastbound evening M3 and M4 buses are worse than the downtown C or 1 train. Anyone uptown heading downtown on either of these two lines should expect a wait and plan accordingly.

My brisk walk across Central Park North cleared thoughts of pointing a shoulder-launched missile at a series of tardy bus drivers. (Wouldn't want to annihilate innocent passengers even if they were the cause of the delay.) I saw various shades of red as I cursed the drivers and anyone else involved in my having to walk to class when I clearly intended to ride across the park.

I wondered if affluent people dealt with similar delays. I think not. A rich person wouldn't ride a city bus, but might take a leisurely stroll through Central Park, not bolt across the north end of the park like a child that's had too much caffeine or chocolate (as I imagined I might have looked as I fussed and rebuked the driver responsible).

I hopped on a downtown bus on Fifth Avenue -- I was determined to ride a bus even if it was for a few blocks to satisfy something within me. Was I feeling grand and entitled earlier tonight? Did I flashback to Morgan Freeman opening the door for Jessica Tandy in Driving Miss Daisy? Maybe, maybe not.

I was definitely cross about something, but couldn't put my finger on it. I arrived to class late and was asked why I'd shown up when all other instructors had the week off due to something, other, or another with the New York City School System and the DOE.

The two students who made it to class tonight and I analyzed poetry and how to recognize and repair sentence fragments after I ranted about the differences between my schooling down south and the chaos in place here in NYC.
* * *
I don't aspire to be rich, but definitely want to be able to take a yellow cab without wincing at the ever-increasing base rate on the meter, or take a towncar instead of the bus or subway for a night out on the town.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Morningside Editorial Services

“There is no great writing, only great rewriting.” Louis D. Brandeis

No matter how strong your writing may already be, all writing can be improved through proper and effective editing. A good editor can make the difference between creating something that is compelling or something that is forgettable, between producing your best possible work or something that is mediocre, or even between having your work published or rejected.

At Morningside Editorial Services, we offer expert editorial services by an experienced team of editors that includes professional writers, college professors, public relations practitioners and former journalists. Our editing experience comprises short stories and novels, college research papers and Ph.D. dissertations, newspaper and magazine articles and features, résumés and cover letters, and business marketing and promotional materials.

We work with you to improve the content, prose, style, tone, grammar, syntax and structure of your writing and written materials. Our services include:

Manuscript critique – We provide professional analysis and evaluation of all aspects of your short story, novel, article or report, with specific recommendations for improvement.

Copyediting – Our word-by-word proofreading and editing of your written materials will enhance the content, structure, clarity and prose and ensure that grammar, syntax, spelling and punctuation are correct and meet professional standards.

Résumé and cover letter writing and/or editing – we can improve your existing résumé or create a new one for you and help you to put together a powerful, effective cover letter that will get your résumé noticed.

Our team approach ensures that you will be assigned an editor who understands your specific writing needs and has experience professionally critiquing and editing similar work professionally. It also means we can offer you competitive rates for our services and a rapid turn-around on your writing assignments.

To find out more about how we can immediately improve your writing, contact Morningside Editorial Services.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Bad Medicine

Why do so many doctors have bad bedside manner in New York City? In recent months, I've visited several doctors for a few ailments. The lack of common courtesy is obvious while sitting in the waiting room, and later across from their desk.The receptionists are just as aloof as the doctors they work for. I don't scare easily, but it's been enough that I've wanted to close the book or magazine I that I took with me for the obligatory wait, and head out the door.

I used to have a calm, caring, and soft-spoken primary care physician when I worked in corporate America and had a premium insurance provider, but I'm currently at the mercy of a state-provided healthcare plan, and the differences in the doctors have been enlightening.

One doctor in particular is abrupt and treats clients as if we're on a conveyor belt, or perhaps it's just me and my discount healthcare. I don't like feeling as if I'm in the way, or that I'm a second thought in anyone's life. I especially don't like feeling as if I'm a guinea pig as residents hover at the foot of the hospital bed before an outpatient procedure which happened recently.

Doctors should be graded and ranked by patients in a magazine or on a website similar to Consumer Reports for all to see.

Morningside Writers Group - Fiction, Screenplays & Comics

Morningside Fiction Group has two available seats at our roundtable. There are currently three men and one woman. We would like to keep an equal female to male ratio, but wouldn't turn away dedicated, serious, and talented male writers with a body of work.

If interested in applying, please visit the following link: Morningside Fiction Group Apply

Morningside Graphic Novel Group has two available seats at our roundtable. There are currently three men and one woman. We would like to keep an equal female to male ratio, but wouldn't turn away dedicated, serious, and talented male writers with a body of work.

If interested in applying, please visit the following link: Morningside Graphic Novel Group Apply

Morningside Screenwriting and Playwriting Group has one available seat at our roundtable. There are currently three men and two women. We would like to keep an equal female to male ratio, but wouldn't turn away dedicated, serious, and talented male writers with a body of work.

If interested in applying, please visit the following link: Morningside Screenwriters Group Apply

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Blog of the Day & Granny's 90th Birthday!

Today's Granny Gums' 90th Birthday, and I received a gift. I was chosen as Blog of the Day: Fuel My Blog.

Family Photos

Inside multicolored homemade and store-bought albums are a collection of photos that are moments frozen in time. The clear adhesive pages hold the images in place, arranged by year, theme, and family importance. The uncomplicated architecture and furniture a sign of the times, and the framed photos lining the living room walls keeping watch over the family and frequent visitors. The past when dreams were still ahead of us and we thought that each dream would come true. Fading images and clothing styles that show us in a different physical and emotional space as we trace the faces with an aged finger on the laminated pages.

Some of the memorialized are friends and classmates we once thought would always be there to share life's defeats and triumphs. These were simpler times when people seemed innocent and unassuming, unaware of what awaited them on the succeeding pages. A sleeping baby in a bassinet and the miniature sailor alongside him grinning brightly, as he probably was instructed to do. An expectant newborn waiting on the edge of an ornamented sofa for his mother's return, quiet and patient. A son's love for his mother as he looked into her face, and her misguided quest to find a husband and substitute father for her only son. A young mother teaching her son to tie his shoes while he listened attentively to interspersed life lessons.

The smiling, laughing faces captured on celluloid betray over the years. A time capsule to a forgotten era when family members got along without much preamble. Family ties were strong from the onset until the first argument shattered the delicate porcelain; slamming doors and raised voices echoing in the wake of hurried escapes. Harmony was expected after that last disruption, betrayal, or lie. Bruised egos and misunderstandings were common, apologies far more difficult to attain. The ones who were closest to us knew each button to push and emotional landmine to avoid when necessary.

Photos capture moments in time that can't be repeated; each smiling face posed alongside either an ally or an enemy depending upon the occasion and guest list. Sometimes memories betray those in the picture, but the pictures never lie. Not all were happy to be there, not all wanted to be there, bunched together while the official photographer snapped several pictures to record the auspicious event.

The frozen faces reveal innocence and naiveté that faded over the years. The past can be a mirror into what a family meant to each other and the neighborhood. Our mind wanders to a distant place that seems otherworldly, as if aliens inhabited the homes, churches, and community centers displayed in the dated photos. The musty and discolored pages won't disclose their secrets of how and when this family disintegrated. The best intentioned family can fall prey to the ravages of time, hidden agendas, unresolved anger.

Sometimes the missing photos are the ones that hold the key to our true identity; a photo that couldn't have been taken under the cover of dawn as a petite grandmother pushed her grandson in a wheelbarrow in his footed superhero pajamas from a rental house down the street to the house her deceased husband built and paid for years ago. Missing photos of births, miscarriages, abortions, and deaths - a life's cycle of photos, smiles, and experiences to pass on to subsequent generations.

There are those who refuse to look into the eyes and faces of the photographed, for fear of competition, comparisons, and haunting. No one wants to compete with dead relatives that met unfortunate ends, forever held in awe or prestige by surviving relatives. No one knows if the deceased, had they survived, would've achieved greatness or succumbed to the family legacy. All is fair in love, homage, and conjecture.

There were family members who didn't like taking photographs because of animosity, their ridiculed looks, and loss of control. One or two family members rallied the troops, positioned and posed everyone, and snapped the photo. People came together on a variety of cultural, religious, and spiritual holidays and celebrations. Birthdays and their requisite family and neighborhood parties brought out the best and worst in the host family and guests. The birthday boy or girl was usually the best dressed and the center of the table and celebration, but sometimes a parent of an invited guest tried to upstage the celebrant, dressing their child or children in their Sunday best. A family conference off to the side remedied the situation, and the offending guest was cut in half in the photo or wasn't included at all.

Looking closely at the assembled photographs, one can see the tension in the faces and distance in the body language. Smiling faces tell lies, and sometimes those lies are carried to the grave. The smiling faces on parade, which one will reign supreme? Family secrets are bargained and traded at family gatherings, in the heat of the moment, and with children who shouldn't have been told. Children should listen and learn, and not be burdened with adult matters. It was irresponsible of his mother to disclose her nephew's paternity to her son, regardless of what her sister had said or done to tear the fabric.

The colors fade in color photos, blacks become gray and white collect age spots and airborne contaminants. In an ideal world, the pictures, personalities, and demeanors would be frozen in time, but that wouldn't be realistic. Time must march on, people age and change. It's unfortunate that time travel isn't possible; more people would travel back in time when places were less expensive, inhabitants less demanding and complicated. Without dreams, hopes, and faith, families would not survive. A family dream reborn and recycled for the longevity of the family is the best gift we can offer.