Wednesday, August 7, 2013

For Adrienne - Love, Adriane

There are all sorts of heroes among us.  We can easily recognize the many iconic figures of the twentieth century: they are scientists, activists, educators, journalists and tech-wizards.  They are the people who forged a way, so that we might enjoy a better life.  Perhaps if this were a newspaper article, then I suspect that these types of individuals would be the headliners.

But, let's be honest, this is nothing even remotely close to journalism.  I am a story teller.  And generally speaking, I love all kinds of people.  Even the people I disagree with add some margin of color and flare to my everyday existence.  I value diversity and individuality: and I tend to absorb these encounters into my writings as well as into my soul.  

But there are times when I feel a bit lost in the mix.  And I fear that I am fading into the shadows of mediocrity.  When I begin to feel down and out, hopeless or afraid, there is one thing I know will snap me out of the funk.  And last night, I reconfirmed this theory as soon as I sank into the couch and pressed play.  

Then the story began, just as I had memorized it a hundred times before.  A woman escapes the dull and frightening aspects of her reality and impending pregnancy, by stirring, mixing, kneading, rolling and re-inventing her sole passion: baking pies.  We are able to hear her thoughts as she creates off the wall pies that reflect whatever she feels, hopes or fears.  Waitress is an off-beat comedy that will forever go down as one of my all time favorite films.  

It is a simple enough story, but the direction, screenwriting and acting are what set it apart for me.  And each time I watch this film, it speaks to me as if I were watching it for the very first time.  Throughout the film, the main character Jenna, occasionally writes a letter to her unborn child.  The letters are brutally honest about her life, fears and are not what you'd expect to hear from an expectant mother.  

This film is important to me for several reasons; it has a unique style, humor, direction, and perspective that is unlike anything else I've seen.  The visual poetry of entering the main character's mind through her quirky pie inventions, is just not something I have seen in another film.  And so, I think this film is important to me, not only because it is just a great flick, but also because Writer and Director Adrienne Shelly stayed true to her unique vision and wrote a truly timeless love letter to her own real life daughter.

The tragic and untimely death of Adrienne Shelly was truly devastating, not only for her husband and daughter, but also to me: one of her biggest fans.  It is horrifying the way she died, and so tragic that she never got to see what an enormous success her little independent film would become at Sundance Film Festival and far beyond. 

But, just as her lovely protagonist would occasionally write a letter to her unborn child, so too,  have I decided to write today, for Adrienne.  I have loved this film ever since I first saw it in the theaters, back in 2007. 

It has helped me get through some very difficult chapters in my own story, through its' poignant and perfect central theme: start fresh. 

Whenever my life seems a little dull and I begin to feel trapped, I remember the scene at the diner, when old Joe (played by Andy Griffith) takes Jenna into his arms and says, "This life will kill you. Make the right choice; start fresh. It's never too late. Start fresh." 

Often times in life, we get caught up in destructive patterns, funks, fears and our own self-perceived prisons.  That is why I created this blog: as a way out.  Behind Bars is my way of poking fun at myself: for all the many times I may feel imprisoned by the time I am serving; all the while hoping to get closer to where I would like to be.   

And if it gets to be too rough.  If I can't take it anymore, I will think of the film that never ceases to disappoint or cheer me up.  Adrienne Shelly's final contribution to the arts and to the world through her perfect words: "Start Fresh." 

Thank you Adrienne.  One day, I hope to write something even remotely as inspiring as you did in Waitress.  You are not forgotten. 

Love, Adriane


Golden Globe Cocktail
(courtesy of

2 oz Skyy infusions Blood Orange Vodka
a squeeze from a lemon wedge or two. 
Serve over ice with a twist. 

Theatrical poster.  




  1. This is a great film! Music is for me, what Adrienne's pie recipes are for her - therapy. We all need something like this in our lives! Thanks for sharing! :)

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