Friday, September 27, 2013

examples of an effort to avoid frustration by being creative

About a year ago, I was in one of my bouts of anxiety and depression.  Not severe enough to warrant pharmaceuticals, and yet persistent enough to stifle me from doing the things I know I should have been doing.  I became "conscious" enough for a moment to make a decision.  CHOOSE A DIFFERENT RESPONSE.  Do something differently.  I had a large stack of magazines and I told myself, look through them, and each time you find the word "love," cut it out.  Admittedly, its a lot easier to find the word "LOVE" when you look through "Oprah" magazine or even "Vanity Fair" than you will looking through "GQ" but its there.  I ended up with quite a collection.  Then I asked myself, "now what?"  So I went back through all of the magazines and cut out pictures of flowers, balloons, candles, hearts, and other words like "happy" and "joy."  Then I found a piece of poster board, grabbed some glue and set to work just putting it all out there.  I worked non stop for a few hours and ended up with something that I was pretty proud of, as far as exercises in avoiding frustration go.  I even had it framed.  I kept the box of cut outs that were left and a few months later, I repeated the exercise.  It became cathartic as well as allowing my mind to be semi-focused on a task that allowed the creativity in me to come to the surface.  And thats the important part.  I needed to get out of my cycle of inner monologue and be able to really hear the whispers of my own creative impulses.  Its helped me quite a bit since then.  And it doesn't hurt to realize that all you need to do is LOOK for "love" to find it.  The last of these projects I did featured none other than Oprah Winfrey herself, along with her mantra "Live your best life."  Its worth repeating.

Monday, July 22, 2013

a story for sharing....

This post is a children's story I wrote inspired by some of the conversations I have had with my nieces.  I am hopeful to have it published.  (ANYONE who has contacts with literary agents, children's book publishers, graphics artists and illustrators, PLEASE feel free to share!)  And as always, I appreciate your feedback!  The artwork included is something I put together for creative inspiration.

The More You Get, the More You Get
(copyright 2012 by Brian Todd Barnette)

Once there was a young prince who had everything.  Whenever he wanted or needed anything, anything at all, there was a team around him who would rush to happily assist him.  All he had to do was ask, and the team of helpers would figure out a way to make it happen.  The Prince was a nice guy, so his team never minded helping him. For the Prince, it was a great way to live.

A very special birthday was coming up for the Prince and he was thinking about what he wanted.   He knew he wanted something REALLY special.  He wanted something that he would think was THE BEST GIFT in the world.  What could that be?

To find out, the Prince sent out a request to his team.  

“Find me the BEST GIFT!  The BEST GIFT in the world!” The Prince had called a meeting and issued a proclamation.

The Prince’s team was excited.  Whoever helped to find the BEST GIFT was sure to win favor with the Prince.  That would probably mean a promotion!  The castle began to buzz with activity and planning.  Experts were sought to find out what was considered THE BEST that the kingdom had to offer.  And they would present the gifts to the Prince at the start of a week of festivities to celebrate the Prince’s birthday.

As the birthday week approached, the Prince became really excited!  How great would this week be?  Surely his team knew him and knew what he would enjoy, and if asked for THE BEST GIFT in the world, they would find it!

The whole kingdom was filled with anticipation.  They loved the Prince and were happy to help him celebrate.  It meant a lot of work, but they took pride in it.  And if the Prince was happy, that made them feel good too.  The day that the celebration was to start, all the loyal subjects had cleaned the castle extra well and had put up extra special decorations.  The whole crowd was ready!

The first to showcase the gifts were artists.  They brought paintings and collages.  They brought mobiles and sculptures.  The whole castle was filled with art of all kinds.  It was all so spectacular!  The Prince thought this was a great start!  He had never been so impressed before by such wonderful art!

The next to give their gifts were florists and landscapers.  They had created such amazing bouquets of flowers, and even landscaped the castle grounds with topiaries and gardens bursting with color!  It was all so spectacular!  Such pride and care had been taken to please the Prince.  And the Prince was very pleased!  So far so good!  

Then came the musicians. All manner of ensembles from trios to orchestras, choral groups and choirs, singers and players of every kind of instrument you could imagine!  To make it even better was that there were dancers performing to all of the great music.  It was all so spectacular!  No matter where he turned, the Prince was surrounded by musicians, singers and dancers all celebrating!  He felt even more excitement than he could have imagined.

Just when the Prince didn’t think the celebration could get any better, the chefs and cooks of the kingdom brought in every type of appetizing treat he could dream of.  Platters of the finest cheeses, breads and fruits with cream and honey, pastries, cakes and pies, cookies and more and more!  It was all so spectacular!  So many treats, many iced and decorated and all of it so delicious!  The Prince felt like he could fly!  So far, this was the best celebration ever!

The Prince’s team was also very happy.  They just knew that one of these gifts would be considered the BEST GIFT and the Prince would lavish them with praise.  It was a job well done.  They decided to ask him what he thought was the BEST GIFT?

So the team went to the Prince’s Royal Assistant.

“Has the Prince decided yet what he thinks is the BEST GIFT ever?”  They could hardly wait to find out.  So the Royal Assistant went to the Prince.

“Your Highness, you have such dedicated subjects.”  The Royal Assistant said to the Prince.  “They all tried to outdo themselves to find the BEST GIFT for you.  They have presented you with so many great gifts!  What do you feel is the BEST GIFT?”  The Royal Assistant was ready to make the declaration and continue the celebration.

The Prince was deep in thought.  The kingdom had indeed pulled out all the stops and brought together so many unbelievably talented artists, and performers and professionals to help him celebrate and find the BEST GIFT in the world.  But he couldn’t decide.  How could he possibly choose just one of these gifts?  What was he to do?  He made a decision.

“I need help.”  He declared to his team.  “For the rest of the week, we will invite all of the Royal subjects of the kingdom to come and look at the art, walk through the gardens, listen to all the musicians and watch the performers and finally taste all of the wonderful treats.  Then they will all vote, and I will truly have found the BEST GIFT in the world.  I will make a formal declaration and reward the winner!”  The Prince was happy to have help in making such a difficult decision.

“So be it!”  The Prince’s Royal Assistant then invited all of the subjects of the kingdom to come to the castle and see the art.  They walked through the gardens and enjoyed the grounds.  The musicians played beautiful music and the singers sang such beautiful songs.  The dancers and performers put on such a wonderful show.  Then the whole kingdom sat together to enjoy the most delicious treats that they had ever eaten.  They had all come together to help celebrate with their beloved Prince and they had never had so much fun.

When the week was coming to a close, the Prince’s Royal Assistant asked each member of the kingdom what they thought had been the BEST GIFT.  But none of the members of the kingdom could decide.  If one chose the flowers, then another chose the music.  If one liked the treats the best, then another liked the art.  There were so many great choices.  The Royal Assistant was getting a little worried.  The Prince would still have to make up his mind all on his own!

Just as the last of the royal subjects was giving their opinion, a small girl from the kingdom asked to speak with the Prince.  She had one more thing to give to him.  The Royal Assistant was happy to have another moment to delay telling the Prince that no clear winner had been declared.  He took the little girl into the main hall and presented her to the Prince.

The little girl walked up to the Prince, and she curtsied her best curtsy.  “Yes, my little lady, what did you have for me?” The Prince smiled at her.

The little girl threw her arms around the Prince in a big hug and simply said “Thank you.”

The Prince was astounded.  “Why are you thanking me?” he asked.

“Simple.  You shared all of your wonderful gifts with us.  This was the best party I have ever been to.”  The little girl had actually never been to a party before, but that didn’t matter.  It had been the best party.  The entire kingdom had come together and enjoyed spending time with their beloved Prince and with each other.  They had all happily tried to find the BEST GIFT for the Prince.  And the Prince had happily decided to share all of the great gifts with his kingdom and he had valued their input.

The Prince was so happy he thought he would cry.  He decided right then and there what the BEST GIFT was.  He learned that sometimes, the BEST GIFT in the world was the one you GIVE.

For the Prince, it was a great way to live.

Notes on GIVING;
No one is saying that it isn’t nice to receive.  Everyone loves to get gifts!  And they should.  It means that people are thinking about you, they like you and they want you to be happy.  That’s a great thing.  When people do give you gifts, receive them with a happy heart, be grateful, and say “THANK YOU.”  It will make the person who gives the gift feel joy as well.  That is important too.  It feels good to give, especially when we give to those that we love.  The happiness goes both ways.  It feels good to see other people happy when they know we care about them.  It is important to be a joyful giver of gifts and a gracious receiver of gifts.   Next time you feel a little down and need to feel good, consider doing something nice for someone.  Give them the gift of your love and attention.  You get the gift of feeling good too!  That’s a great way to live!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

an ongoing work....

I have learned so much lately about professionalism, who I can and cannot trust, and what my desire is as a creative individual. Of course there is MUCH left to learn. But I hope that my gratitude outweighs any residual bitterness or feelings of betrayal. Life is just too beautiful. I have begun substitute teaching back in the town in which I grew up and went to school myself, for most of my life. Its an education in itself for ME. So many beautiful kids, so much potential. Each with their own pace, their own struggle, and their own gifts to give. I hope they each find someone in their lives who truly believes in them and offers support and encouragement. Before I venture off on a tangent, the idea behind this post is from the first screenplay that I tried to write. It was a short script I wrote as an exercise for someone I met through a "film maker" conversation. It was produced and actually went to the showcase at the 2012 Cannes International Film Festival. I can still barely believe it. While the director changed a few elements and added a few of his own (naturally) the basic part of the story remained. The idea is that someone has died and stands before three spirits who represent his idea of the Trinity. He feels, according to how he lived and believed, that he is to be judged. That is his expectation. No such judgement is being offered, more a review of his life. Yet, he believes, as he lived, under judgement. It is an idea he cannot release. I reflect on the meaning I was trying to convey today. How do I live? How do I view the world? How do I see my actions within the world? Do I feel the need to justify my actions? Am I being judged?

The resulting short film made from my script continues to tour Film Festivals around the world, recently the Greek and Cyprus festivals. I remain grateful for my words becoming actualized by someone's vision. I am posting the original version that was my script. I hope you enjoy it. Let me know. No judgment. (NOTE: the formatting did not copy well, so please forgive the layout.)

Canonize Me

Brian Todd Barnette

Copyright 2011 by BRIAN TODD BARNETTE

open on various vistas of sun-lit clouds.
 narrator VO
 There is an ancient story of the most beautiful prayer. A learned man was traveling into the city and he passed by a poor man. The poor man was muttering with his eyes closed and his head lowered in prayer. The learned man rides on. On another visit to the city, he passes the same poor man again and again hears him muttering in prayer but this time he makes out what the man is saying. The poor man is reciting the alphabet over and over. "You there," the learned man says to the poor man. "What is it you are doing?" The poor man replies, "oh, please forgive me. I am not an educated man and I do not know the prayers that you must know. I recite the alphabet and I ask that the Lord rearrange the letters into the words that He finds pleasing." At this the learned man scoffs and feels in his heart a feeling of disdain for the poor man. Immediately an Angel of the Lord appears and addresses the learned man. "From this day on, YOUR prayers will no longer be heard in Heaven, for it is this prayer, the prayer of the most sincere that we find pleasing and sings in the heart of the Lord your God." The learned man is left humbled. For it was the intention of the poor man to please the Lord that rang the bells of Heaven.

increasing light from out of frame results in total wash out of scene; 

 fade to black
 fade in
 interior - all white room - 

POV of man opening his eyes. 

 There are muffled voices and all we can see is total darkness with silhouetted figures. There are three figures in the room, walking slowly back and forth and they are each backlit by a single color of light, one is red, one is blue and the other yellow. 

 Holly (to the others in the room) 
I think we have him. (to the man) George? 

 fade to black

fade in
interior - dark room - no particular time - 

 Small dark room with no detail except a table and a chair on one side which faces three chairs on the other. George Goodman sits on one side of the table. Beside him is a leather briefcase. He sits facing the three figures back-lit by the primary colors. Back-lit in red is what looks to be a tall woman with long hair but is very obviously male wearing woman's clothing, this is Holly. Next to Holly back-lit in yellow is a young woman, Martha, pretty but plain and holding what appears to be a baby wrapped in a blanket. Martha is rocking and patting the infant though we do not see or hear it. Seated next to Martha is a very shabbily dressed man, mid to late 50's in age, who has the appearance of a "homeless" person, slightly dirty, ragged clothes including a military jacket with the name "Emmanuel" on it. He is back-lit in blue light. This is Jésus. 

 George, there is great love here for you. Are you aware of that?

 George Goodman looks slowly and drowsily from one to the other. 

 What's this? Am I dead? 

 Dead? That's not for us to say. You are no longer among the physical. But you are still in a state of what we call "separation." This is not part of your physical experience but you have yet to make a transition. 

 George appears weary and lets out a sigh. 

The young woman, Martha, holding the infant does not look up and he has yet to meet her eyes. Jésus has a look of total calm and regards George with a soft and easy expression on his face. 

 You still have a simple consciousness. Some things may take a moment to understand. 

 Am I to be judged? I was a good man, I was practically a Saint in my life. Surely that must be evident.  

Holly has a slight smile. 

 Judged? No. The idea of "Counselor" may be appropriate. We must decide what happens next. The next step. Next in time. That is up to you. 

 And who are you then? You seem familiar as if I should know your names. What do I call you? What is the last thing I can recall? 

 What do you recall? Where were you before you were here? 

 I'm not certain. There seemed to be a large crowd and a lot of noise. 

 Behind George a six-paned window appears and on it a scene exterior - civic park setting - daytime - southern town George is giving a speech. The sound is muffled and unintelligible to us. He is at a podium on a lawn with a crowd standing around him, in the near background a municipal building. The crowd is a mix of people who periodically clap during the speech. Flanking George are men in suits and ties. Clean cut, wearing "campaign" style buttons. We understand that this is a rally or political "meet and greet" of some kind. There is the sound of gunfire and then screams. 

 Window scene goes black. 
 interior - same small room - continuous 

 Is that the last thing you recall? 

 No. There is something else. I can smell disinfectant. I hear engines and traffic. Something smells burned as well. It feels crowded. Someone is yelling.

 The scene in the window changes 
 interior - ambulance - daytime 

 POV of George looking up as several EMT's are working feverishly over him. The siren wails and the EMT's shout directions back and forth. We can see a bloody shirt being cut off and pulled to the side and just below POV we can tell George is wearing an oxygen mask. One of the EMT's is putting an IV in George's arm. 

 The window scene fades out. 


 George looks at Jésus. 

 George (to Jésus) 
Do you not talk? 

 Holly and Jésus exchange a look. Martha does not look up but continues to gently rock and pat the infant. 

 And what about her? (motioning to Martha) Does anyone else talk to me here? 

 Now isn't the time for frustration or for being angry. They have actually tried
many times to talk with you. Let us do what it is we need to so that a decision
can be made. You will be given all the information you need. Call me Holly, I can counsel you. Jésus will guide you as well. Martha cannot look directly upon you and speaks to you through us.

 George (in a quiet voice) 
Why does that make sense? Where have I been told that before? 

 You made the statement that you lived the "life of a saint." What do you mean by that? 

 If I am no longer in physical form, it must be that I am no longer "living." I
think I was shot. I don't think I survived it. I thought that after we die, we
are judged for our lives. I am certain I was an honorable and just man. I feel as if I am to be jedged then I need to say that I know I was a good man. 

 Can you explain? 

 George is surprised by the sudden involvement of Jésus and turns to address him

 Well, foremost, I treated everyone I met with compassion and respect. I was awarded for it on many occasions in my life. Humanitarian awards, special recognition for working with non-profits, donations to my church and to the community... 

 Ah, yes. The George Goodman legacy. You raised money for several organizations
and helped champion the scholarship for a school. The "George Goodman" Academic
Achievement Scholarship for your Alma Mater. I believe you insisted on naming it after yourself and also being able to have first right of refusal on any new products created by the participants when developing their senior projects. Did you not end up making more money by having an authorship rider on the patents created over the years? More money than all the endowments you made in sum

 It takes money to make money. That program created several civic leaders and
leaders of industry for the city. It created jobs and kept people working. 

 I am sure you can justify it. But lets talk more about the manner in which you treated others. Do you recall what you would tell friends and co-workers about those who pan handled or begged in the streets? 

 Well, I supported soup kitchens as well. And homeless shelters. 

 George has a flash of recognition. He looks at Jésus with wide eyes. 

 You! I remember you! You stood outside of the homeless shelter and wouldn't come in. This was years ago. You refused to go inside to get anything to eat or seek shelter. It was cold that year. 

 Another scene plays in the window of Jésus outside of a big brick building. exterior - dirty city street - daytime - date undetermined Jésus is having an exchange with a man in a suit that we only see from the back. Jésus is obviously bundled up against the cold. He is smiling but shaking his head nervously. He reaches out to take the hand of the man in the suit who recoils and pulls away. 

 The window scene fades out.

 I remember you asked me to just go inside and bring out something for you to eat. I recall that it made me feel a bit angry. There was help for you just inside. All you had to do was walk in! 

Do you recall what you did? What you thought? What did you tell others about that exchange? 

 George hangs his head a bit sheepishly, as if the memory now fills him with a bit of guilt. 

 Well, what I remember is feeling indignant. As if all that we did was still somehow not enough for you. I didn't understand why you wouldn't just go inside. Some part of me wanted to drag you inside. I feel shame now, but I was mad at you. I told my colleagues that some people were beyond helping. I know that isn't so. It was my pride saying that. 

 Do you recall what you said to me under your breath? 

 George (voice cracking)
 I said "so starve." 

 There is an old proverb. "True charity sees the need, not the cause." The man you met that day, the man I seem to you, was a war vet. He was suffering from a post-traumatic stress. He found it almost impossible to go into strange buildings. He had seen several of his fellow troops ambushed once and they were all killed. He himself barely survived. He had been left for dead. Upon his return to 
civilian life, he was never able to accept the help that had been offered him. He only found help at alocal church that had to close after a fire. He lost his only refuge. And the way you now recall dealing with him, was a chance for you to welcome him. And inasmuch as the way you treated him, you treated the Divine. 

 Jésus pauses. George cannot look at him. He looks down at his own hands folded on the table. >>although there is much that Jésus is saying, his tone is always loving and kind. He never raises his voice.  

Jésus (with compassion) 
Do you understand the idea of seeing the Divine in others? That the way you treat others is an opportunity to interact with the Divine. And rather than take the opportunity to bestow kindness and understanding, you treated me from your pride and with indignity. You wanted someone to pat you on
the back for helping build the shelter, yet one personal act of kindness was lost. 

 At this point, Martha begins to hum softly as she rocks and pats the infant.
With a sweet voice she sings what sounds to George like a made up song. 

 Martha (singing to the infant, without looking at anyone else in the room) 
I love you, you're perfect. I love you, that's everything. You are part of me, I am in your
heart, you are in my heart. You are loved. 

 George looks on with a puzzled expression. He turns to Holly. 

 And why do I know you? Did I have an encounter with you? 

 Do you remember any reason why you and I would have crossed paths? 

 No offense, but I don't know any lessons I could have learned from...well...anyone like you in my life. I don't have anything against....people like you. To each their own, I say. I know I never did anything to put you down. 

 In your life, do you remember someone who worked in one of the companies from whom you sought campaign suppor when you were running for city councilman? There was someone you met, someone who headed the public arts council? 

 I think so. You always wore a neck scarf right? Always a neck scarf with a butterfly motif? I do remember now. I remember you catching me staring at you and I told you that the scarf reminded me of a picture I had seen in a magazine. I tried to make you feel...OK. 

 The person you knew me as was trying to make a difference in the community. I
wanted to create a public art space. To encourage kids and young people to find
their self expression through art. Do you remember that? Do you remember what you told the Mayor about the kind of people who worked with the public? 

 Vaguely. I think I had told the Mayor that even though I had nothing against you, the public may base their perceptions on his projects on how you....looked...and that may leave a negative image in their minds. But I wasn't the ONLY one who thought that! You must admit, most people would have felt uncomfortable not knowing how to relate to you! Should they think of you as a man? As a woman?

 In the world beyond yours, there are no such things as either men or women. There is neither free man nor slave. We are all one. We are all spirit. We appear to you this way now because we are part of what you accepted. You spent your life as a Catholic, but you didn't even fully experience that path to God 

 How was I not a good Catholic? 

 Its not about being a good Catholic. I am speaking about your experience of God. There are as many paths to God as there are individuals, but you never even fully experienced the one to which you say you were attached. You say you lived the life of a "Saint" and yet you never even looked to a Saint for guidance, for comfort. You didn't pray the prayers, you stopped taking communion, you had not
made the sign of the cross in years. Whenever you were inside the most beautiful church in the state, your mind was a hundred miles away, in a small corner office, thinking of anything else. 

 a new window scene comes into focus. It's a small office. 
 interior - non-descript office - daytime We see "Holly" sitting at a desk, looking at a small hand mirror, adjusting the scarf around her neck. As she looks up she sees a man standing in front of her.
We see him only from the back. The smile fades from Holly's face and is replace with a solemn, almost "hurt" look and she lowers her head. interior - same small room - continuous George looks down at his hands again. He seems to be lost in thought. 

Martha begins to say the "Glory Be" prayer 

 Martha (to no one) 
Glory be to the Father... 

 George looks at Martha as she recites this prayer to the infant, which we have
still yet to see or hear. 

 A new image appears on the window behind George. 

 interior - undetermined location - undetermined time/date 

 A simple image of a pair of hands holding the rosary. The hands are not
discernible as either male or female. 

 Martha (VO) ...Glory be to the Father, 

 The scene in the window fades out 


 Martha without without without end Martha goes silent again. Jésus (quietly, not looking at anyone) And so it is. 

 I am beginning to feel like my life is being reduced down to a few instances
where I just didn't do it right. But I feel like that's an unfair assessment.
I really did try my best. (sighs heavily) 

 >>George regards Holly silently. Holly smiles at George again with a look of deep compassion. Her eyes are soft on him. George looks over to Jésus without expression. Jésus offers the same smile as Holly and brings his hands together as if in prayer and bows his head to George. George looks at Martha. She has yet to look up at him or engage him directly in any way. She hums softly but has a
small sweet smile on her face as well. 

 And what of her? When did I meet her in my life? What circumstance where I gave a sincere effort yet Was there a time I faile to completely honor her? 

 You need not be defensive. This is for your benefit. For you to understand fully what happens next. There really is great love here for you. 

 No. I do NOT feel it. I feel condemnation. I feel as if I just do not measure up. How does anyone measure up. What are we cut out for? Who can be perfect? 

 Who indeed? Whats perfect is the process. In any moment you strive to be even incrementally closer to Truth. That is perfect. That is all we must do. 

 And her? (indicating Martha) I am searching my memory. But she has not looked
upon me. How do DID I know her? 

 What do you feel happens next? What is after your experience of life? Where are you going? 

 What? I get to choose? Do you mean Heaven or Hell? I would choose Heaven!
What is it? Where is it? 

 Your "life" experience is the only one in which you have a separate sense of self. An identity of self outside of the All. Heaven, as you know it, is just a concept for the physical realm. To be part of the "ALL" is beyond your comprehension, It is a level of wholeness for which you do not have words or any point of reference. All you knew of as YOU will be no longer. Your mistakes, your hurts, as well as any feelings of separation. As waves are not separate from other waves but all part of the ocean. Though the circumstances that created them may be different, they all return to the ocean. Without want or need, you can return to Source. Hell is another concept for the physical realm, and in truth, it is a feeling of total separation from the All. Its a feeling of disconnection so total that you will never feel whole. 

 But sameness is hated in our lives. To be individual is the goal. It is rewarded. How can perfection turn that idea on its head? 

 But you do not have the capacity to understand how it really is. In your world, pure white light is made of the reflection of all spectrums of light. There are really endless levels within the pure white light. In your world, the absorption of all light actually becomes the deepest black. Perfection is the reflection of pure light. Inclusion, light and perfection. Separation is the absorption. Darkness, separation and lack of any characteristics. Simple but you may understand the opposites of a spectrum. 

 George seems lost in thought again. His brow is furrowed and he seems borderline exhausted. 
Martha begins to sing again. This time it's a song from the 1970's that had been refashioned into a soda commercial. As she finishes the first chorus, George, in a flash of recognition, looks again at her, wide-eyed. 

 Martha? YOU! I remember you! You helped me produce my first speech while we were in college! You were amazing. So beautiful and so dedicated. I think we even dated! (to the others) Is that her? Is that the same young woman? 

 You have part of it correct. She fell in love with your drive, your ambition and the electric atmosphere you created wherever you went. She believed in your vision. She felt at her young age that she could actually make something of her life. She had come from a family where the mother was long suffering and the father was silently aggressive. Abusive with indifference. She was on the edge of becoming alive. Do you remember what happened between you two? 

 George face begins to crumble. He becomes overwrought with emotion. He doesn't cry but his words are almost strangled in emotion. 

 We went out after a debate. We had too much wine and made love. I woke up thinking that she would become a burden. She looked at me with such admiration and expectation. 

 What did you say to her? 

 A new scene appears behind George in the window.

 Martha sitting at a canvas. The canvas is actually blank. A door close behind her. 
 CLOSE UP on Martha's face, and her eyes close and smile fades. 

Window scene fades. 
 Interior - same small room- continuous 

 I told her that we could not be a couple. She wanted too much. She needed me too much. I needed more excitement than she generated. I told her she needed to learn more about the world. 

 It may be hard to hear it this way, but she didn't keep the baby. 

 George (choking) The baby? 

 She conceived that night. She had a very difficult pregnancy. You don't recall
that she dropped out of school because you were riding a wave of acceptance and
support that would carry you to many successes in your life. How could you know
what happened to one young woman? You knew her only briefly. 

 George (still emotional) 
What happened to the baby? 

 She was almost to term. She miscarried. Her family had turned their back on her and she felt guilty that she was not able to even become a mother. She had thought having a baby would bring into her life all the love she felt she wanted to give. And she lost her only son. In her grief, her life took a turn for the
worse. She escaped into drugs, selling herself and eventually into an unfulfilled life living on the fringe. Most people just didn't believe in her. In her goodness. In how much love she really could offer. The rest of the details aren't important. 

 Then what can I do? What are my choices? What happens now? You say somehow I will know or I will choose. Heaven or my concept of it is I get to forget all my mistakes? Hell means I get to remember them compounded? I don't want to be separate, I want things to be right. 

 Holly (indicating the briefcase that has been beside George the entire time.)
 In your memory are all the things that can be done differently. All the times you thought you were right but were still coming from a profound sense of YOURSELF only. Not selfish, but not concerned for anyone other than yourself either. You can choose to rejoin Source. Say good bye to all that was and experience paradise in Source, or you can... 

 George (interrupting) 
Can I do it over? Can I do it again? Can I take the chance that I DO know better? I CAN bring others closer to truth. Can I do it again? 

(he gets more emotional and impassioned.) 

 Holly and Jésus share a solemn glance and then look at Martha as she continues to rock the baby. 

 You can choose so. You must choose freely. It happens when you decide. To rejoin Source is a final choice as well. All the effort will be over. 

 Then I choose to do it again! I can make it work. life is full of opportunitie to make it right. To bring us all to the Truth. For all of us to reflect the light. Life would not have been created if it wasn't possible. Too many of us agree that its worth it. 

 Martha (indirectly) 
The choice must be free will. 

 George (grabbing the briefcase) 
Then I choose it. I choose it all over again. 

 Light comes from the window scene and grows brightly until the whole scene has been engulfed in the light. It recedes a bit and we see Holly, Martha and Jésus stand. Martha drops the blanket open and we see it is now empty. Jésus and Holly come to stand on each side of Martha. Jésus has a tear in his eye. 

 The choice is always the same. 

 They go back and live separately. (pause) They always choose "Hell." 

 A new scene appears in the window. 

We see a newborn being held in a doctors hands. 

 interior - hospital delivery room - undefined date 

 We see a baby crying, covered in birth matter, being cleaned by a nurse. From off camera we hear the doctor then the mother over the cries of the infant. 

 You have a healthy baby boy. 

 Thank God. 

 Fade to black.