From page to screen: TV's The New Yorker amuses, inspires

Last month, Amazon Prime launched the new original series “The New Yorker Presents.” A fan of the magazine and its podcasts, I added the show to my watchlist and let it sit, assuming it really wouldn’t satisfy when I sought good television programming.

I’m not sure what I expected from the 91-year-old publication, known for its unrivaled literary, arts and political coverage, but it wasn’t this.

This digital cultural magazine, in its first season, brings The New Yorker to life in a way that will inspire writers and artists and inform the masses. Each episode is short, not even 30 minutes, and therefore doesn’t explore any subject in great depth. The first takes on “The Truman Show” delusion, where people believe their lives are reality shows; the FBI’s foreknowledge of 9/11; and a short film with actor Paul Giamatti as caffeine-addicted author Honore de Balzac:

The second episode presents an honest, unbiased documentary on child bull riders, writer Edwidge Danticat looks at racial violence using the art of Jacob Lawrence as a backdrop, there is a poem and much more.

“The New Yorker Presents” is time well spent.

I feel you… And you and you and you

Recently, I was discussing (OK, commiserating) with some cousins about why some people have good relationships and others don’t. The discussion delved into how people who feel too much often do so to their own detriment. And then I saw the story below on Facebook.

If this describes you, you might not be crazy after all.

Empath Traits: 22 Signs You Are A Highly Sensitive Person
By Barrie Davenport
Have you ever walked in a room and had a wave of negative energy wash over you?
Have you had a conversation with a stranger and could tell, without them saying a word about it, that they were deeply troubled or sad?
Do you ever feel so profoundly moved by something beautiful that you start to cry?
If any of these ring true for you, you might be an empath — a highly sensitive person who has a more heightened awareness to subtle stimuli.
See more at:

Don't Fool Yourself: Sometimes You're (Not) Right

There was something about her I liked—something that said, “This woman is real. She is who she claims to be, nothing more or less. This woman could be a good friend some day.” Of course, I wasn’t interviewing her for an opening as friend-of-Leslie, but for a position as an editor at the newspaper where I worked.

As standoffish as I can be, not intentionally mind you (not usually), I sometimes leap to “friendship” level too soon in a relationship. While not always wise, I have developed a few life-long friendships.

This woman, however, wanted none of me. She avoided me at every turn, and then I became her supervisor. It didn’t begin well not only because she loathed me from jump, but also because I am a—insufferable and now recovering—perfectionist.

“The question is not what you look at, but what you see.”
Henry David Thoreau

In the most thoughtful and humorously honest way anyone has ever spoken to me, she confessed her extreme distaste for me I looked overwhelmingly sad, she explained. (She was right. My grandmother had just died and I was embalming myself in the kind of grief that proves it’s possible to yank someone inside out, to cause the scraping of her organs against every tactile and sentient entity within millimeters of her person. My gallbladder slapped mercilessly against my blazer when I walked.) At the same time, she perceived me as emotionally icy because I wore my hair a horrific bun-like style that revealed my prominent, Sade-like (sans sex appeal) forehead.

Eventually, her loathing of me abated and a profound friendship blossomed. Years later, she’s even claimed to have learned things from me, like diplomacy takes time we don’t have. (I can’t say I’m proud to have taught her that; but in my defense, clocks tick like sonic booms in the news business.)

“All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.”
Edgar Allan Poe

Perceptions and first impressions fascinate me. Oftentimes they are spot on; sometimes they are nowhere near reality.

I’ve been described as the cheerleader type (I wanted to play football), as pious (I could teach you a few words), as heartless (it pains me they even think that way) and as highly intelligent (remind me, is it the earth or the sun that rotates?).

“We’re finding that everything is evaluated as good or bad within a quarter of a second,” according to psychologist John Bargh, PhD, in David Myer’s “The Powers and Perils of Intuition.” Myer goes on to say our “micro thin slices” of encounters can tell us something.

The question is this: Is that something accurate? Perceptions were off a bit when it came to these contestants on Britain’s Got Talent:

The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool.
Richard P. Feynman

I immediately dismissed “Reynaldo” upon meeting him. I couldn’t put my finger on what it was I didn’t like about him—his thin smile and the way he said just the right thing or the way he stood supporting-beam straight. Yet we lived in the same building and I couldn’t help but run into him day after day. Eventually though, I let my guard down when I should have thrown a right hook. He turned out to be the red line at the nuclear plant, dangerous.

A friend of mine, a beautiful mother of six children with a high-powered, kick-butt-no-time-to-take-names job, gives nearly everyone a second, third, fourth… chance and she succeeds at life. Watching her makes you want to love the loud, the lunkheaded, and the lonely just the same. I don’t always succeed, or even have the courage to do so; but when I look to her overwhelming openness, I recall Acts 10:34 (ESV), “So Peter opened his mouth and said: ‘Truly I understand that God shows no partiality.’”

There’s a saying, “You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.” But shouldn’t we give people a chance to make a second impression?

Should I have given Reynaldo a second chance? Why not? Validation can be good for the spirit. It was the third and fourth chances that gave me problems.

The key is to live… smartly and with God.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths (Proverbs 3:3 KJV).

More to consider:

The Powers and Perils of Intuition:

5 Early Warning Signs You’re with a Narcissist:

Safe people:

Beware the one-legged chair

Enter a lecture hall on any university campus and you might find a left-handed desk — two if the college is particularly prestigious. Though left-handed and clumsy, I typically sought the desk (left-handed or right) that provided the most cover. There, out of the line of scrutiny, is where I sat throughout my undergraduate years.

Sit in the back, and the professor’s is sure to call on you. Sit in the front, and you’re expected to know the answer to his questions. The second-to-last row? Now, that’s where the action isn’t.

Perhaps I’m giving the impression I am shy. I am not. I am what “They” call an introvert with extroverted tendencies: I enjoy the company of colleagues, friends, and family — the jokes, the chatter, the affable (usually) debates, the dinners and movies, and, sometimes, the attention… until I don’t. My extroversion gives way like a chair with one leg that collapses on itself, and suddenly I need to fade into the background or out of sight.


Earlier this month, I learned just how many legs uphold my chair.

I said “yes”

A little more than an hour after the meeting for a spectacular cultural organization in town, the lovely and highly capable publicist was asking if I could, in nine days, stand in front of roughly 300 influential business and community leaders to introduce a video presentation by a man of local prominence. Breaking routine, I said, “Yes.” What the heck, I thought? The organization does good work, and I’m still riding the waves of change.

No big deal, right? At least not until I hung up the phone. My heart embarked on a marathon for which it had not trained. I stood up, turned in a circle, and sat back down. Then I told one friendly acquaintance after another, looking for…? I don’t know. Maybe I was looking for excuses that could release me from my hasty acceptance. Yet none were given. They only encouraged me.

Days later, I told family, friends, and members of my small church group, where I received more blasted encouragement and the advice that whatever I write be authentically me. Sufficiently inspired, I set aside a few minutes the next day to write my little intro speech.

Over the next few days, I tweaked and practiced and prayed, practiced, prayed, and tweaked, until the very lengthy video I was to introduce arrived in my inbox. Again, I tweaked and practiced and prayed all the more.

Rehearsals were the afternoon of the big event, but there was no need for me to attend, the publicist and I agreed, as my introduction was short enough that it would be fine….

Fine… my phone rang two hours before I was to speak. Rather than introduce the video, she asked, can you do the entire presentation?


I said, “yes.”

Solid foundation

It was 3:40 when I arrived for the 4 p.m. event, talking to my brother (a minister) and my pastor along the way. One prayed with me. The other promised to pray.

At 3:53, the capable publicist and I finished updating the presentation. At 3:55, she showed me to my seat, pointing out a bathroom as we went.

That is where I glanced over the newly crafted work prior to presenting it before the media and those who put years and considerable assets into the organization they so loved. There is where my emotional nerves turned physical. Where my bowels churned and my lunch backed up my throat, but there wasn’t time to release the distress. It was 3:59. I had one minute to be in my chair where I would wait for VOG (the so-called voice of God) to introduce me.

Thirty-six minutes later, he did.

Over the prerequisite clapping, I heard the type of high-pitched whistle that could only come from a friend. I walked up to the podium and prepared to stutter. What happened next surprised me.

I knew the speech

by heart. Not all of it, of course, but enough to look about the audience with seeming confidence as I spoke. What I saw were friends: The colleagues that refused to provide excuses; the family who told me they loved me; the friends who saidhelping-a-friend they expected nothing less than success; the church group who prayed. Spread throughout the crowd, there were there in spirit. They were the legs to my chair.

They held me up.

Balancing act

A couple of years ago, a friend learned her chair had only one leg. This pronouncement from a therapist was a warning that she was in peril of collapsing. The prescription? Build her cache of friends and confidants.

Now look down. How many legs are on the seat on which you’re sitting?

One Leg ChairAre you in peril of falling? Three or more, and you’re doubtless confident the chair will sustain you. Anything fewer and you’re performing an acrobatic feat.



©Leslie Green and Wildemere Publishing LLC [2017]. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is to Leslie Green and Wildemere Publishing LLC with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Summer 1975 – Part 2: The Barbie Doll Trial

Have you ever witnessed children whose energy is so contagious you cannot help but soak up their joy? They sing and bounce happily in their seats in the grocery cart; they smile and wave at passersby because a returned smile is all the affirmation they need that all is right in tiStock_000000869552_Smallhe world. I was that child. I skipped down the street to Captain and Tennille’s “Love Will Keep Us Together” or “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head.”  But then something changed.

I’m not sure who appointed the judges and jury or how I came to sit in the defendant’s corner on the Lee brothers’ front porch. Yet there I was, standing trial for “doing it” with David, the 10-year-old boy next door.

A wise-faced high-school kid pounded his makeshift gavel, calling court to order. First up was Angela, who eagerly provided her testimony. “I stopped because I heard them doin’ it,” she said. I wondered how she could lie so easily, so convincingly. She kept going, “Then I looked in the window and saw David on top of Leslie. They were naked. They were doin’ it.” The other kids giggled.

As David stood to give his testimony, a hush overwhelmed the children. They listened as he detailed horrifying particulars of how we “did it,” describing events I did not believe possible. I wasn’t that girl. Sure, I liked boys but I didn’t even kiss them — not yet. My stomach tossed and churned as I searched for someone in the crowd who would come to my defense; yet no one did.

“Get up,” I thought. “You don’t have to stay here for this. This isn’t real. Get up and go home.” The path was clear.

All I had to do was stand up and walk across the porch past the potted flowers and the kids with their biting grins, get down the stairs, down the street and back to my home where Snoopy and Teddy the Bear where waiting for me in my purple room.

But my friends were not my only betrayers that day, my body turned against me as well. Root bound, I remained planted on my concrete perch like a tree jutting from the sidewalk of Manhattan. I looked to the judge, a large boy with warm eyes that seemed to say, “I’m sorry but this is the justice system and you are a necessary victim of it.”

“I am very little inclined on any occasion to say anything unless I hope to produce some good by it.” ― Abraham Lincoln

Finally, I got my chance to speak. “They were dolls,” I said unconvincingly. “David was playing with the dolls.” And that was all. Why? Fear of public speaking, fear of what the other kids would think if I said something wrong?

More testimony poured forth from indistinct forms and voices ominous. Each child’s words are vapors to me now, just cookie-cutter lies the collective was anxious to devour. The trial lasted Payback. Internet Concept.either ten minutes or four hours after that before the jury — comprised of some older children whom I now assume were acting out their high school civics lessons — gathered to deliberate. As they pondered, something occurred to me: David and Angela set me up. This was revenge for his missing teeth.

Before I could speak up, however, the jury declared they had a verdict. When I replay the scene even now, I see myself refusing to stand, arms folded across my chest, when the boy-judge called my name. “You have been found guilty,” he said, “by a jury of your peers.”

I did not cry or scream of my innocence, then. It was done. Instead, I went home and played on the swings in my backyard, played HORSE with my brother, and put the Barbie’s back in the closet where they belonged. Still, I took the verdict to heart. Obviously, I did something wrong, I thought. It wasn’t until years later that I came to understand silence is a form of acceptance. I was guilty, alright, guilty of inaction.

“If I were to remain silent, I’d be guilty of complicity.”

— Albert Einstein

The world we navigate as adults is not much different from the playground or the school lunchroom. There are bullies, liars, vengeance seekers, and the lemmings that follow them. There are also confidants and earthly protectors. I met the latter when my parents shipped us off to see our grandfather.

Missed the first story in this series? Read Summer 1975 – Part 1: Kung Fu Fighting

Read “Summer 1975 – Part 3”

© Leslie Green and Wildemere Publishing LLC [2014]. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is to Leslie Green and Wildemere Publishing LLC with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.