Thursday, December 16, 2010

Finding Peace in the midst of violence.

"Unspoken Words" will be completed soon.
We must shoot a few more scenes of the feature-length-film(which will be released in theatres, next year) I was (in my last post here, months ago), not at liberty to name. I would describe the character I portray--Benetha--as a hard-drinking, hard-smoking woman who is quite cruel to the 13+ foster-children for whom she "cares". I have a large supporting-role in a film that will feature several well-known actors and is directed by award-winning film-maker, Henderson Maddox.
The violence committed throughout the film is all on my part.If you know me personally, then you know this is pretty challenging for me: swearing, committing gun violence, and beating and abusing others (even while playing someone else).
The film manages to end with resilience being seen in the characters affected by Benetha.... and a sequel is already being planned!
How does "Unspoken Words" affect my committment to my Pacifism, as a way of life?
It means committing to the depiction of extreme violence, with my prayer and hope being that, for all who see Benetha and are repulsed by her, especially if they wrestle with any of the issues she faces, they will say "I don't ever want to be her." and then they may choose to make different choices in their own lives.
My hope & prayer for anyone who reads my blogs--this one, or "Lisa Allender Writes", is that you have a safe, healthy, happy, and prosperous Holiday & New Year!
Peace, kids.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Piece of her mind. Peace in my heart.

Guess what? About two weeks ago, at the callbacks, I got the role I discussed in my last entry here at "Practice What You Peace".
I'm currently eating, sleeping, and drinking "Benetha", the name of the human being I hope to morph into(in the Feature-Length Film I cannot yet name), very soon.
She is quite different from me, and for that, I am grateful.
It will be challenging--a true journey--to become someone so filled with hate.
In discovering her hate-filled spirit, my hope and prayer is that my own spirit will be even more filled with the love that Benetha cannot seem to find, or feel.
Here's to stepping into another person's shoes.
May we all do so, and step lightly, and with hope.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Cruel Characters

A new Feature-Length-film being cast in Atlanta, which I auditioned for, has me:
Preparing for a callback which entails creating a Foster-"Mother"(I use the term "mother" quite loosely, here)who is a mouthy, cruel, selfish bigot who earns her dollars by "fostering" poor African-American children.
What causes someone to behave in a cruel fashion? Sociopathy? Spite? Previous abuse?
In terms of outcome: it. just. doesn't. matter.
Hurt children, lost children, children who are left without self-esteem, who hear only barks from a headache-y, drunk mother, and who endure beatings, are damaged because someone damaged them, and the "reason" or explanation" behind it, matters not at all.
God--the Peace that lives within us-- cannot abide anger and hate.
Try to be angry or hateful in your thoughts, and try to commit a gentle gesture, like a hug.It's very hard to do.
And try the reverse: Think peaceful thoughts while trying to be violent.
So, let's stay in "Peace" mode, kids.
The world has enough cruelty, already.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Acting as a Spiritual Endeavor

Verrry tired. Soo tired, in fact, that I posted my entry for my "Lisa Allender Writes", in my "Practice What You Peace", (see entry, below).
But when I realized I'd posted here(I subsequently posted it where it belongs, at
Lisa Allender Writes, my main blog), I figured I'd share a mysterious moment, about this preparation in acting...I am:
Discovering that preparing to play a heroin-addicted mother of three girls(for a
short film, entitled "Just Us") is a spiritual endeavor.
Discovering the Mother's spiritual burdens, and my own.
I have had to release my preconceived ideas about both addiction, and what it is, to doing my research, I came across an essay written by a woman who lost her very young sister, to heroin. She commented how she'd "mothered" her sister, and how their own mother, had abandoned them. Given that my character in this film, does EXACTLY that--abandons her daughters, (because of her own descent into heroin addiction), I felt it was "destiny" for me to read her essay.
I think of it as the Universe "answering" me as I searched for words to fill my head,as my heart swells with the anger and harshness, and the incredible sense of loss I know she--the Mother I must create-- must feel.The loss of her family, her daughters, her sanity, her health--and eventually--her own life.
I posted a note--a "tribute" of sorts, at that site,to this young woman's essay and to her sister.
RIP, Ms. Kyndall Znidarsic. Much Peace to her sister, Nicole DelBuono.

Poetry At Callanwolde, last Wednesday, August 11th

Meant to post about last Wednesday's lover-ly evening at Poetry of Callanwolde.Kodac Harrison, in my opinion, the South's greatest songwriter-as-storyteller and poet man and guitarist, never fails to please.I was delighted to see Rupert Fike in attendance, as well as old pal, the very energetic and readying-herself-to-graduate GSU, Ms. T.J. Annunziata, and Professor Bob Wood from nearby Georgia Tech, too.
Fellow writer(she specializes in "flash-fiction")Ellen Lindquist joined ol' pal, Dan-Dan and me, and we listened intently to Kodac.After his Feature, Kodac sat down near me, and Ellen and he and I enjoyed hearing newbie poets read, at the late-night Open-Mic.Really, realy cool stuff, on a verrry hot evening.Ruth Windham always does a great job with the hospitality(cold drinks, and sweet and salty snacks)and the encouraging introductions.
Earlier on Wednesday, I stopped in at Outwrite, picked up a naughty card for a friend's birthday, and when I didn't find him at home,left him a HAPPY BIRTHDAY card, and some jasmine-tea, at his door.
I then met up with Atlanta director, Reggie Price, of the short film we are shooting soon, "Just Us". Reggie also wrote the screenplay. The actor who'll play my "baby-daddy", fellow-SAG-member, Louis C. Robins joined us, and the young actress who'll play my oldest daughter, beautiful Ms. Vitelle Webb, stopped in, too.
We took photos, and looked over location, etc.(The film will be shot in Forest Park, Georgia, soon).
So Wednesday was a great day, and this past weekend was great(see my earlier post, below!), too.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

God in Different Places

Lately, I find God in different places. In the scent of fresh-baked bread at the Alpharetta Farmer's Market, I thanked Him. In the patting of soft fur (a Bull Mastiff curled up near a doggie-biscuit booth at this same open-air market), I thanked Him. I thanked Him for the Southern Rice Salad from Chef Frank, and the shiny green bell peppers, fresh from the farm.
Later today, in the swirl of an ambulance's siren as I waited, reviewing lines at an audition, I paused to thank Him.I paused to breathe, to thank God for my own, healthy father, who remarked after his first(he's suffered and survived four) heart attack, "I heard the ambulance, Lisa, and thought: it's coming for me...")
I thanked God when I emerged from the audition, feeling it went well, feeling I had lived a great day, and looked forward to a great evening. An evening of pizza, with dear friend Susan H., and hubby Hansoo, at Antica Posta in Midtown, near Georgia Tech/Atlantic Station area, here in Atlanta.
And I'm home, readying myself for bed, thanking God for a gift of another day, well-lived.
Peace, kids.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Meditation and The Rosary

It's early Sunday morning, and a great time to pray.
The Rosary can be a useful tool for prayer.
Many folks do not realize it is a way of providing a focal point for meditation(much like Greek Orthodox "worry-beads", and Muslim "prayer beads"), which aids in concentration.
I personally love saying the Rosary just before dawn. It feels like the world is beginning all over again(even if only in my small part of this world)and saying it feels like hope.
Here's one of the prayers said, in a Rosary:
The Hail Mary

Hail Mary, Full of grace, the Lord is with Thee.
Blessed art thou amongst women,
And Blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Pray for us sinners,
Now, and at the hour of our death,
Try meditating on "...the hour of our death..."
and see if you don't have a greater appreciation for life. :)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Saying My Peace.

It's not easy to post about Peace, in such a non-peaceful world.
Even as an Idealist, a Pacifist, I have my days and weeks of wondering,
"Will any of what I'm doing, ever make a real difference?" or "Will my legacy only be that I tried, but ultimately, I, and everyone like me, will fail----the world's peoples will continue to rail, to fight, to war with each other?"
There's no "clean" way to Peace, I am discovering. Sometimes, it means shouting back, but more often, it means whispering--even while others yell. It means holding one's hands up--not in surrender--but with a defensive stance, ever-ready with words of reason, and as clean and clear a heart, as one can summon.
This is where I am, right now, kids.
It's why I've not posted an entry at my beloved "Practice What You Peace", in so very, very long.
I'm troubled by the recent news that civilians are still being gunned down in the wars in Afghanistan, and Iraq. I'm troubled that it does not seem to matter WHO is President, these atrocities still occur.I'm troubled that loved ones in my life, still yell at me.For no reason, except that they are angry, and show little respect towards me.I'm troubled that it seems no matter how much I try to "still" the critic in my head, I still feel "inadequate", and not enough.That the humility I often feel, is simply insecurity, not the nod to the humility of Jesus Christ or Dr. MLK Jr., or Gandhi or other leaders of Peace that I desperately wish it were.
That maybe my life won't matter, in the end, for much at all.
That maybe none of this matters.
And then, as if on a cue from the cosmos....I think of my niece's smile, or the warm breath of my doggies, or when I'm in an audience, scanning the room, and seeing the eyes that focus in laser-like intensity on a poet reading their own words, and I think that while life is often hard--harder than as children we'd ever imagine it could be---it also has innumerable sweet moments.
And that's the reason, I guess, to keep on advocating for Peace.
For human, and civil rights, and justice, for ALL peoples--no matter their color, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, that the good moments, may always be (one day) much more plentiful, than the bad.
Here's to Peace.
And to no yelling.
Peace, kids.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


Two Saturdays ago,I was involved in a weekend retreat that was inspiring, uplifting, and filled with the hope that one day, we will all actually not only get along, but be engaged with each other, and engaging...
Fr. John ("A Persistent Peace") Dear is the controversial, peaceful priest who's been arrested dozens of times in his quest for accountability from our government and others, and in his vow to be active for Peace. His call is to "Follow the God of Non-Violence, and Peace, Jesus."
I was delighted by the eclectic mix of people attending. Most were members of the Roman Catholic faith, though several noted they no longer "practice [their] faith", even though they find much to love and celebrate in Pax Christi("Peace Christ", a Catholic-based Peace & Social Justice group). Many others were attending a peace retreat for the first time, including a dear friend of mine, Diane, who I invited along to experience what I have felt myself, the past five years through Pax Christi, and the dedicated disciples of Peace this group has created.
Fr. John spoke at length about his own path--his arrests at military bases(it's important to note he supports "the warrior, not the war"), his anxiety over what he sees as a reigniting of our military-prowess(military spending, specifically on nuclear weaponry, is up, currently, under President Obama--even more so than with the former President, George W.)and his sadness over the deaths of so many innocents(all victims of war--both "us" and "them").
He quoted from poet, Edna St.Vincent Millay:
"I shall die..." and from Auden, "Death with a capital D..."
Fr. John has been greatly influenced by Thomas Merton:
"Don't place your hope in results."
And greatly influenced by his dear friend, and former roomie in jail, Fr. Daniel Berrigan:
"You are not attached to the outcome, you are attached to God." and
"Be human, be non-violent."
Fr. John reminded us:
"Be detached from the result. We commit to non-violence, and peace, because it is the right thing to do."
In other words, even if we do not see peace immediately (or even in our lifetime), searching for, and working towards peace, is the way. It's the way of Christ.
It's the way of Gandhi, the famed, peaceful Hindu who said he read Jesus'
"The Sermon on the Mount" everyday, for the last 45 years of his life.Gandhi said it was "The greatest spiritual story."
Gandhi also said "Jesus is the most active example of non-violence in the history of the world. The only people who don't know Jesus is non-violent, are Christians."

Fr. John invoked Dr. Martin Luther King, too, saying that Dr. King realized "on the night before his murder by the U.S. government", this:
"The choice is no longer violence or non-violence, it is non-violence, or non-existence."
Prescient of Dr.King, indeed, yes?

Fr. Dear asked us to begin in our own hearts.
Isn't that where all truth begins, kids?In our conscience, in our own hearts?
In Catholicism, it states "Your conscience first, then your church."
I believe Fr. John is conscience, personified.
I gained tremendous insight into what I can do, every day, to make a difference, in Peace, in my own, (tiny) life.
I will be more loyal, more attuned to those around me.
I will continue to offer help to those in true need.(we all believe we are "in need", but look around--there are always others much needier than us).
I will hear, and respond.

I will "Cultivate an interior of non-violence", as Fr.John asked.

Fr. John reminded us to watch out for the "Three D's":

Those "Three D's " have, I believe, held us Americans, and maybe others in the "West", too, in a kind of thrall:
*It's "cool" to despair--to be "dark, and edge-y".
*It's considered intellectually "superior" to doubt everything(especially God). I know, because I was what I called a "Cheerful A-theist/Non-theist for nearly 18 years, and I was, frankly, rather smug about it.
*It's still a "might-makes-right"--a domination-- mentality for many, especially here in the "West".
Our good ol' USA has flexed muscles and grasped for power in brutal ways(Central America, Africa, the Middle East, I could go on and on),but we do have the power to change not merely the perception--but the reality.
I urge you to read Fr.John Dear. Whether you are a "believer" of God or not--your belief in a peaceful, kinder, more connected world will soar, as you realize it can become a reality. We have only to ask for--and reach for--it.

Special thanks to: Joe & Mary Jean Goode, and Sr.Sally White, co-founders of PCSJ, and all the Pax Christi St. Jude members who contributed time, talent, and treasure to this outstanding event. Big hugs to Fr. Bob Cushing, who was with us that weekend, visiting from southern Georgia's St. Theresa of Lisieux.

Peace, kids.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Follow the directions in the title here...for more info, kindly read "Lisa Allender Writes", my other blog, at:

Peace, kids.