Archive for the ‘Journalism’ category

My Father’s Day Gift!

June 23, 2015


On Father’s Day I was talking with my mom and step father when he asked if I had seen the article in the Santa Fe New Mexican by Anne Hillerman. I hadn’t seen the article, so he brought it to me. I said “oh my gosh, you read it and didn’t notice my name!? That’s a photo I took of her!” We all laughed! It was a pleasant surprise to see the photo I took of her next to her article with a credit line with my name. The photo is not actually a headshot, but it was awesome just the same. The online version has the full photo.


Crime Writing: Here is to a Killer Future

June 19, 2015


Yeah… I would say crime writing is a viable option for me. I knew that before I worked and attended day one of “Finding Your Inner Sleuth.” It was a great day. I love learning and with every bit of knowledge I get, I feel more and more empowered. I want to be both a physical and intellectual monster! I’ll be Queen of Iron and Ink!!!

All of the presenters did a great job today! I had such a good day. My bosses keep pushing me to write a book, and I’m getting closer to jumping. I love that I have found my place in the world of writers. I fit in there like hand-n-glove. I learned some interesting things from Detective Mark Manary, Christine Barber, Dr. Irene Blea, Laura Sanchez, and Don Bullis.


I’m looking forward to working in Albuquerque again tomorrow! I wanted to share some of the photos from today and a few of the more interesting things I learned. Here is to a killer future of crime writing!!!


Interesting things about Detective Mark Manary:

å He went into homicide work because he is the survivor of an unsolved cold case. In 1989, his father was murdered.

å His career in law enforcement started as a military cop with the Air Force.

√• He went to a Handwriting Analysis School, where he “learned so much about writing and the use of words.” 💜’ed that!!

å He is President of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP- Albuquerque Lodge#1).

å He had to read and look at data for six months straight to get up to speed on the West Mesa murder cases.

√• His first step as lead in the 118th West Mesa Murders Task Force was to secure the records room. He allowed only two keys. 💜’ed that!!!


Interesting things about Author Christine Barber:

√• She is an amazingly smart woman, former journalist/editor, and friend who I have known for years. 💜 her!!!

å She took the show hands down today!!!

å Her current research into the West Mesa murders will likely give Detective Mark Manary great tips.

√• She is working with an anthropologist who is using scientific techniques to conduct soil analysis for potential West Mesa murder burial sites. 💜’ed that!!!

√• As part of her research for her new book “Rules of Survival,” she has completely emerged herself into the world of sex workers in Albuquerque.

√• She is now publishing the “Bad Guy List.” It is a freaky scary, but informative printout which highlights Albuquerque’s criminal activity.

√• She knows a lot more than anyone I know about serial killers, sex acts, what they cost, who is involved, and the dark fate of Albuquerque’s sex workers.

√• I met Christine years ago… not as an archivist, but as a writer. I invited her to the archives to conduct research for her book “When the Devil Doesn’t Show.” That book is about David Parker Ray, the “Toy-Box Killer” from Mountainair, New Mexico. He was a suspected serial killer. Though no bodies have ever been found, Ray is said to have murdered at least 60 people between Arizona and New Mexico. Together, Christine and I uncovered possible burial locations on mining property owned by Ray.

Bitter Sweet Belladonna

November 12, 2014

I have uploaded a new and improved theme and gravatar for my web site. The new site design features my Poison Ivy cosplay and a quote from Ambrose Bierce… “Belladonna, n.: In Italian a beautiful lady; in English a deadly poison. A striking example of the essential identity of the two tongues.” Awesome!!

You have to like the works of “Bitter Bierce” right? His satire is remarkable! He was an American military man. Later, he was an editor and journalist who also wrote short stories. He was known for his “nothing matters” motto. Ironically, as a writer, I’m sure everything in his world mattered. A look at his writing will reveal that he was hurt by someone he loved.

Bierce would have liked the comic book character Poison Ivy. Unfortunately, she was birthed with ink in 1966, over 50 years after Bierce was last seen somewhere in Chihuahua in 1914. Poison Ivy is a fictional, toxic woman he would have appreciated.
“You’re dead and buried, darling. Sorry love. You’re plucked.”

••••~Poison Ivy’s game over lines from Batman: Arkham Asylum 🎮

A Life Filled with Words

July 31, 2013

In August of last year one of my close friends in school emailed me. It was Becky’s 20 years class reunion and she thought about me there. Over the years there have been a few friends who have remembered my love of writing. I always appreciate those who take the time to remember. I have been writing since I was just a little girl.

I have always been over analytical, contemplative and poetic. I am a writer. Am I a good writer? Well~ I must leave that up to my audience to decide! When my friend Becky emailed me in August of 2012 she said “this weekend was our 20 year class reunion! Yearbooks and school newspapers came out! Of course your beautiful poetry was in there so here it is………. You’ve always had a way with words!”

I love to be remembered for having a way with words. Below are images she sent to me. It was amazing to see what I wrote so many years ago. I was writing for the Elk’s Call Newspaper back then. It was a student newspaper at Pojoaque High School. I really enjoyed layout and design. I am indeed a knowledge eater with a huge brain and a deep appreciation for the written word.

Poem by Felicia Lujan_1990s

~From Opposite Ends~
a poem by Felicia Lujan in the 1990s

Article by Felicia Lujan_1990s

~Do Teens Have the Narcissus Syndrome~
an article by Felicia Lujan in the 1990s

Preserving A Historic Glimpse

June 23, 2013
Preservation Project Complete

~Supplies used for the
newspaper preservation project.~

A couple of weekends ago, I successfully completed the preservation of a newspaper which is over 100 years old. It was a really interesting and fun project for me. It did take a while, but I’m sure my girlfriend and her father will be happy with the results. It took me a little over a month to complete the physical and digital preservation of the 1897 newspaper.

The newspaper features a special illustrated history of the famous Battle of Puebla. The battle is the main reason that people celebrate Cinco de Mayo and the Mexican victory over France in 1862. Some of the accounts I read say that the battle lasted around four hours, but the Mexicans successfully defended their city and two forts against the French even though their troops were outgunned and outnumbered.

I preserved the newspaper by: removing it from an acidic enclosure; cleaning it and brushing off some mold; humidifying and flattening the pages; taking 25 HDR photographs; placing the pages in acid free, oversized bags; and housing the bagged pages in an acid free, oversized brief case with handles.

Tonight I created a short video so that you can see the lovely art work which was featured in this newspaper. It was well worth preserving the right way. I really enjoy helping people and was so happy and honored that my friend asked for my help.

Preserving History

April 20, 2013

~• 1867 illustrated newsapaper periodical (periodico ilustrado) titled “5 de Mayo de 1862” •~


“Any fool can make
history, but it takes
a genius to write it.”

••••» Oscar Wilde


I enjoy doing things for people. It makes me feel good to help others when I’m needed. Recently I was asked by two friends to help them preserve some newspapers. One had an awesome newspaper that is close to 120 years old. The other is former journalist with an accomplished record who is looking to preserve a historical first.

I take pride in being an archivist and I’m glad that my professional knowledge can extend beyond the confines of a repository. I spent the day preparing for preservation endeavors by picking up the supplies I need. Since newspapers are highly acidic, it is good to do whatever can be done to preserve them.

I had an idea last night with regard to the digitization of the newspapers. Hopefully the idea is successful. I will try a new technique to make an access copy. Indeed I was born to be an archivist. I do love what I do.

Among the Gifted

April 2, 2013

I was very honored to be asked to develop a design to promote the 2013 Tony Hillerman Writers Conference. This is my second promotional design for WORDHARVEST. The first one I designed was for the Hillerman Prize. Over the last week, I worked to complete a flyer for Anne Hillerman and Jean Schaumberg.

Anne and Jean founded WORDHARVEST 11 years ago, which is “devoted to the art and craft of writing.” WORDHARVEST sponsors the Tony Hillerman Writers Conference. I can’t wait to continue learning from these well known authors, and maybe one famous scriptwriter that I have never met. Anne and Jean have put together a fabulous array of gifted writers. This year, the conference will feature Anne Hillerman, James McGrath Morris, Kirk Ellis, Craig Johnson, David Morrell, Margaret Coel, Christine Barber, Linda Jacobs, Steve Havill, and many others!!

It would be awesome to talk with James McGrath Morris. He is the author of Pulitzer: A Life in Politics, Print, and Power. As a former journalist, I have to read that book and get a special autograph from McGrath Morris. Joseph Pulitzer was a “media baron” who settled in St. Louis. The baron “transformed American journalism into a medium of mass consumption and immense influence.” How can I not read a book about the rise (and arguably the fall) of a champion of the Democratic Party? The media powerhouse is said to have “used his influence to advance a progressive political agenda and his power to fight those who opposed him.”

I would also love to meet the Emmy award winning screenwriter/producer Kirk Ellis. Ellis was the writer and the co~executive producer of John Adams (the HBO mini~series). He is also working on Blood and Thunder, which is an epic drama about Kit Carson and the Navajo Wars. In 2009, Ellis agreed to work on the adaptation of the Ernest Hemingway book Papa Hemingway: A Personal Memoir by A. E. Hotchner. You know I have to meet him right?! I adore Hemingway. Ellis also worked on the TV mini~series Into the West: Hell on Wheels and Anne Frank: The Whole Story.

I really can’t wait! Here is the design I came up with for the conference. It is sure to be a great!

~Designed by Felicia Lujan~

~Designed by Felicia Lujan~

Of Kisses: The Story of Tongues

February 13, 2013

Of Kisses by Felicia Lujan
Kissing has been an essential part of relationships further back than many can remember. I am interested in how the passionate kiss and views on kissing have changed roughly over the last century. After being inundated with Valentine’s Day imagery, the timing for writing such a piece seemed appropriate. Is kissing a necessary part of falling in love? Can you love someone you have never kissed? What happens if couples stop kissing? Those are just a few of the questions which came to mind when I began to write this piece.

I believe that kissing is an important human need. I was able to identify several scientific and psychological studies which officially confirm this, but it isn’t really necessary to use these to agree with something all of us can simply feel. I’m not sure how many people would agree with me when I say that I find a kiss more erotic than sex itself. The mouth is a fascinating orifice. When we kiss we are face to face. There is no hiding. We are physically and psychologically connected in ways which uniquely identify us.

Over the last 100+ years the kiss and views on kissing have changed in thought-provoking ways. For the last couple of weeks my mind has been flooded with things romance marketing experts think will make me feel wanted and loved. The real question is what do I think makes me feel wanted and loved? I think that all the candy, jewelry, cards, gifts, and dinners are bizarre when it comes to romance. Why aren’t there more classes on the art of kissing? Why don’t we see ads encouraging lovers to make love? It’s because there is little money to be made by marketing those things. We have started to indulge more and more on chocolate and we are beginning to forget about psychological and fleshly indulgence.

Soldier Kissing Girlfriend Goodbye_Washington DC

“Washington, D.C.~ A soldier kissing his girl goodbye at Union Station” 1942~
Image No. LC-USW3- 011367-C
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division
Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

A kiss can indeed be integral to falling in love, especially when we are young. It’s not merely for physical reasons, it’s just that young people tend to have idealistic and preconceived notions about love and romance. Mature adults develop a deeper understanding of intellectual and carnal pleasures. The older I get the more my perception of these things changes, thus affecting my understanding of the kiss, love, sex, and that which I find sexy. At one time I did believe that you needed to kiss someone to fall in love with them. I can say without a doubt that education has stimulated my appreciation of that which is platonic. Not that I think those with platonic relationships should never or would never kiss, but my thoughts on that would only complicate this piece.

Between 1895 and 2012, the kiss has gone from conservative to liberal on the “osculating” rate scale. The Eau Claire Evening Telegram called kissing “osculation” in an 1895 article titled “Art of Kissing.” How many of you have heard that word before? My guess is not many! I prefer the word “frenching” myself. That 1895 news article claimed that the “kiss plays an important part in history.” A kiss was considered “commingled feelings of lovers,” or “a seal on the union of souls,” or “a signature to the contract of hearts.” I did find that the 1895 article confirmed my thoughts on the eroticism of the kiss. The author said that “on the whole, poets have been more enthusiastic over kisses than oven love itself.”

The Daily Iowa Capital newspaper published “The Delight of the Kiss” in 1896 and called “osculation a theme of the great poets and writers.” One writer goes as far to say that kissing isn’t really kissing at all. Dr. Taylor “declares” that tribes “rub noses” and he says that the “prevailing salute” used by “over half the world” is actually “smelling” or “sniffing.” I find it funny that after quoting Dr. Taylor and discussing the “prevailing salute,” the author quotes Aristanetus the ancient Greek epistolographer. Aristanetus once said that a kiss was “the sweet mingling of souls.” Here we can again see the deeper connection which surpasses that which is physical.

In the 1940s, journalists were still referencing the kiss with that mechanical word. In 1941, Walter Winchell speculated that there were “still people who” didn’t “know the joys of osculation” in the Daily Mirror. At this point I had to wonder if most didn’t know the joy because they were straight scared of that word? It doesn’t exactly push my mind into romance mode. What about you? He then goes on to talk about how a “Chicago gent once sued his wife for divorce because she kissed another man over the telephone.” Hum? Maybe it was actually a connection of minds that man was more troubled by? I’m sure Winchell didn’t exactly encourage others to kiss by saying that people were in legal trouble for kissing in parked cars, on doorsteps, or God forbid in “broad daylight!”

By 1962 the “public” paranoia about kissing was peaking. Gazette Mail ran an article which was simply titled “Public” and the headline was followed by a big question mark. It would be interesting to look at intimacy issues of the time period to see if there is any correlation to anything other than “how people are brought up.” This makes me wonder if the roots of candy and all the other Valentine’s Day junk got their start here? Dr. Robert O. Blood was questioned for this gem. The article says that “some people who might otherwise be disposed to show affectionate regard in public have learned not to do so through bitter experience.” The article features a large image with a caption which reads “Hello Kiss at airport between JFK and Jackie on her arrival home from Greece embarrassed him.” Really?

She Gets The Kiss

“She Gets the Kiss”
c1898~ Image No. LC-USZ62-66319
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division
Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

It wasn’t until 1978 that I was able to see that the views on kissing had really transformed. The Winnipeg Free Press ran an article titled “A kiss is just a kiss…or is it? Kissing customs changing.” I was happy to see the change, though that damn mechanical word was still there. The article read “kissing has gone through several metamorphoses through the years. The on-screen style of smooching has progressed from proper, closed mouth kisses and a let-your-imagination-be-your-guide fade-out to today’s erotic open-mouthed osculation, which leaves little to your imagination.” But isn’t this what everyone needed? In this piece we can even see a few pointers~ one of which recommends that we kiss with our eyes by “giving the object of your affection a loving, longing look across a crowded room.” There is that mind connection again.

The Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph published “The Kiss” in 1994. This is where it gets interesting because we start to see references to psychology. A quote in this article would seem superficial to most, but we must remember we are talking about a master of the mind. The “uniquely Freudian thought” which is quoted says “the kiss between the mucous membrane of the lips of two people is held in high esteem among many nations, in spite of the fact that the parts of the body involved do not form part of the sexual apparatus but constitute the entrance to the digestive tract.” Here we see Freud separate sex from the kiss and the mind. In the articles I found between 1895 and 1978, this had not been done.

Meet Me at the Fountain

“Meet Me at the Fountain”
c1908~ Image No. LC-USZ62-58857
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division
Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

Today kissing and the connection of love, sex, and pleasure has been studied by neurologists and psychologists worldwide. In 2012 an article by William Loeffler was published in the Monessen Valley Independent. The article had the words science, psychologist, scientific, biologists, anthropologists, and historians. I loved this one! The word osculation is only in the dictionary now! It has been replaced by scientific or psychological terms, which I am ok with. Loeffler interviewed a woman who wrote a book on the science of kissing for this piece. Her name was Mary Kirshenbaum. He asked her “but does all this scientific analysis take all the romance out of the kiss?” She responded to Loeffler by saying “it really doesn’t take the magic away at all, but it gives us a better understanding of ourselves.”

When it comes to a holiday which is intended for romance and “magic,” we should remember what is really essential to our happiness. The mind is what is actually behind the art of a kiss and the “seal on the union of souls.” If our minds are not in it a kiss is indeed just a kiss, sex is just sex, candy is just candy, and we lose the face to face intimacy that makes us feel wanted and loved. A kiss~ even if it is only in the mind can be more sensual and satisfying than the most expensive box of chocolates~ so indulge.

Hillerman Conference Afterthoughts

November 13, 2012

~Betsy and Felicia~

Saturday night I attended the final event of the Tony Hillerman Writers Conference. There was a closing dinner with an awards ceremony. The conference was wonderful. If there are any writers out there who are looking for new venues to network, develop skills, and explore creativity, I would highly recommend this conference. I kept thinking that some of my friends should really be there. This year the conference was held from November 8-10. It was indeed awesome. As always, I learned so much. The conference secured attendance from 10 states and 25 towns. There were also two people here from Canada. I was amazed because one of the attendees from Canada must have purchased at least 50 books during the course of the conference!

~Felicia Lujan and
Author Rob Kresge
(Former CIA Analyst)~

This year I really had the chance to get to know more about some people I met last year. I did enjoy learning more about Jean Schaumberg, Laureen Pepersack, Jenn, and George Watson. I worked closely with all of them over the course of the conference. I also spent some quality chat time with: Betsy Randolph (author, state trooper/spokeswoman of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol); Rob Kresge (award-winning author, former CIA analyst); Wolf Schneider (movie unit publicist and writer/editor); and David Morrell (award-winning author, co-founder of the International Thriller Writers organization). I learned something special from all of these people.

~Author/State Trooper/Spokeswoman of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Betsy Randolph talks about her new book Tokens of the Liars. Her mother Joyce is listening proudly.~

~Author Peter Joseph of New York
and his new book Boozy Brunch~

There was a vast amount of information covered each day. My writing is improving every year because of this conference. Following are some quotes, and interesting or useful things I learned this year.

~~~ David Morrell revealed that Marilyn Monroe was indeed a very smart woman. He has studied her as a “cultural icon.” I learned that she was “somewhat of a poet.” I didn’t know that. Now I want to track down her poetry. He told me that she was an orphan at an early age (which I knew). I wondered if this may be why he is interested in her? Morrell was also an orphan.

~~~Rob Kresge told me that he and any other person who has worked or works for the CIA has to run any manuscripts by the CIA Publications Review Board. This has to be done prior to publishing anything if the story is set anytime after 1947 (the year the CIA was born). Apparently this is to make sure no “secrets” get out.

~~~Anne Hillerman delivered a touching presentation about her father titled Adventures with Tony Hillerman. There were two quotes I really liked. Anne said “writing is like love~ don’t hold anything back.” She also said “don’t trust anyone who doesn’t watch the sunset.”

~~~Bill O’Hanlon delivered a presentation on e-books and e-publishing. He is a psychotherapist who has been featured on Oprah. From O’Hanlon I learned that there are over 1 billion Kindle devices in reader’s hands. He said that the Hunger Games book sold at a 4 to 1 ratio e-book/print, and that e-book readers read and buy more books. These two statistics were interesting~ in 2010 there was not one self-published e-book in the Kindle/ top 100 list and in 2011 there were 18 self-published e-books on that list.

~~~Peter Joseph delivered a presentation on traditional publishing. When I saw the “sample author questionnaire” he passed out I just about fainted. Some questions on the sample included: citizenship; hobbies; most unusual job you have ever had; website/blog URLs and traffic numbers; information about how you are inspired; and the names and/or occupations of family members, if newsworthy or relevant.

It was a great conference. Hopefully I will be able to participate from here on out. I do hope that this one will stay running strong.

1st Day at the Tony Hillerman Writers Conference

November 8, 2012

Today is the first day of the Tony Hillerman Writers Conference. We have the bookstore all set up and we are ready to host a slew of book signings from today through Saturday. This year I was considered an official part of the team. I am very happy to be on board with this wonderful group. This is true creative force. I had to have my picture taken by this sign, as I found it to be a rather powerful message. I’ll keep you posted. I have already met some very interesting people. I have also learned so much more about a few people I already know.     Until later~ F

~Felicia at the Tony Hillerman Writers Conference 2012~
Santa Fe, New Mexico

~Tony Hillerman Writers Conference Program~

Wakeless Love, Tragedy and Words

October 11, 2012

~~~My Newest ~ Old Books~~~
by Ernest Hemingway

I learned never to empty the well of my writing,
but always to stop when there was still something
there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill
at night from the springs that fed it.”
~~~~ Ernest Hemingway

I recently scored some new ~ old books. One thing I love to do is track down books that you just can’t find anymore. Because of the nature of my profession, these books technically are not old at all, still they are what I could easily call older. I mean you can still get a fresh copy of Ernest Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea for a contemporary English Lit class, but not one like this. When I found two treasures, I couldn’t help but notice the paperbacks were going for $1.65 back then?? Wow! Imagine that~ I would have no room to walk in my house if I could still pick up a book for a couple of bucks. How could I resist picking up the short story A Way You’ll Never Be? Or what about The Snows of Kilimanjaro with the last line of the story reading “but she did not hear him for the beating of her heart.” It is sad to see that this man~ so full of wakeless love was so very sad. He frequently mentioned suicide when writing and must have been contemplating taking his life since at least 1926~ tragically bringing his life to an end in 1961. I felt stricken with emotion tonight when I learned that two of his siblings as well as his father also committed suicide. Pleasure and pain go hand in hand for any writer, but these life changing events somehow explain his strange sadness. He was a deep man with a talent for pinning emotion laden words to paper. These books are a great addition to my personal library.

Marilyn Monroe Will Visit with Writers in Santa Fe

August 28, 2012
Post cards for the 2012 Tony Hillerman Writers Conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Post cards for the 2012 Tony Hillerman Writers Conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico

I am so happy and so honored to receive an official request to be a part of the 2012 Tony Hillerman Writers Conference team! This will be my second year. Last week Jean Schaumberg paid me a visit and dropped off some conference post cards. She told me that she and Anne Hillerman would like to have me back this year. Jean asked me which days I would be willing to work? Well— of course my answer was **everyday!!

This year, the conference will run from November 8 thru November 10. It is such a magical event filled with books, pens and paper, computers, connections, and great minds! The conference inspires me to push forward with my unique ways of expressing myself both in writing and orally. This particular conference has been bringing upcoming and successful writers/authors together since 2004. Jean (also of the School for Advanced Research) and Anne (Tony’s daughter and a former New Mexico journalist) are the women behind WordHarvest and the writers conference. The conference is hand tailored by these two phenomenal women.

Tony Hillerman passed away in 2008. Since I am always wondering about the man behind the legend, I decided to learn more about him. I have been taking the time to read through some of his early work as a journalist with a daughter who followed in his footsteps. I knew he was a reporter for many years when he was young, but I didn’t realize the vast amount of knowledge he had with regard to New Mexico politics in the 50s and 60s? It seems that was his cup of tea! He moved from writing about politics to writing award winning mysteries. This morning at 6:00am, I received an email from WordHarvest titled This Just In! Hillerman Writers Conference Updates. The newsletter said there will be a special event to remember and honor Mr. Hillerman. The presentation will be delivered by his daughter Anne and photographer Don Strel.

In the Bravos: News from WORDHARVEST faculty and alumni section of the email, I was super excited to see novelist/author David Morrell making a return with new research on *my* woman! It’s a sign!!! Ahhh— who believes in those things anyhow eh? Still— I am beside myself…. I met Morrell last year here in Santa Fe. He is the author of the bloody and intense Rambo. Morrell “is also a former professor of American Studies.” He will deliver his newest cultural-icon essay titled Marilyn Monroe: Legend and Tragedy. The only thing missing from this particular conference will be JFK, which in all reality is the real tragedy…


For more information, visit

Wordharvest Writers Workshops | 1063 Willow Way, Santa Fe NM 87507 | Phone: 505-471-1565


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Analysis of and Symbols in Hemingway and Gellhorn

June 10, 2012

Photo of Ernest Hemingway and Martha Gellhorn
at the Stork Club in New York City (1941)
Ernest Hemingway Collection (Accession Number EH05582P)
John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum
in Boston, United States of America

It’s hard to say the exact moment that you
fall in love with someone, but with him, I knew it
was his words, the ones I would never hear, the
private things he uttered.”
Martha Gellhorn—–

The love between Hemingway and Gellhorn was triggered by professional admiration and respect, as well as a profound connection. This inspired their professional endeavors as well as the sexual energy between them. This can be seen when Hemingway tells her “Gellhorn, you inspire the hell out of me.” The movie should have been titled Gellhorn and Hemingway, as it was really her story. It was a story of a strong and passionate female. Gellhorn was in a passionate love/hate relationship with Hemingway to the very end. The movie was about both intimate passion and professional passion.

When Hemingway and Gellhorn were preparing to go into a war zone during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), he fell in love with her persistence and drive. Inevitably it seems that those two characteristics which colored Gellhorn, were also some of those which drove them apart. They were “going to the front to fight Franco and the fascist.” As a war correspondent, Gellhorn covered several major wars. It is when she went to the arctic (Finland), and she left the home she an Hemingway had purchased together in Cuba that she began to pull away from Hemingway. He did not want her to leave him to cover that war, and he told her “stay here with me. Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.”

Gellhorn’s passion was one thing which attracted Hemingway, it is unfortunate that it was also her passion which drove him away. I found an interesting theme which ran through the movie and that was passion versus control. The theme can be seen in the interactions of Hemingway and Gellhorn throughout the film, and it is also seen with the International Brigades during the Spanish Civil War. While Gellhorn traveled as a war correspondent with these young men, she said that they were “compelled by passion and not government.” She and Hemingway likely understood this passion as they were both fueled by both intimate and professional passion.

At several points in the movie Hemingway comes forth as a protector of Gellhorn. She is capable and is not scared to be involved with war, yet this was still during a time in which women were seen as outsiders in such an environment. In one scene, Hemingway locks Gellhorn in her hotel room when she first arrives in Spain. He locks her door from the outside for the night and by the morning, she is livid. He tells her that men would have their way with her because she was the only blonde, and that “death unleashes the beast.” She says she “gets it” and agrees that she does not trust anyone. Hemingway tells her “the best way to know if you can trust somebody, is to trust them.”

Following are some of the symbols that I could derive from this film, as well as some of the quotes which I found memorable.


Music—– music was a powerful symbol in the movie. Music was a symbol of both healing and drive. The guitar was a specific symbol of healing and drive. The men strummed to come together, and they also strummed to go to battle. One of the soldiers had a guitar with a sign on it which read “this guitar kills fascists.” The same battle cry was heard continuously throughout the film, and the song was heard several times.

Whiskey—– whiskey is a strong symbol in this movie. In almost every scene someone is drinking. I think that drinking is symbolic of pain relief. When the brave Gellhorn saves a young boy crying in the street in Spain after a bombing, Hemingway tells her that she is not supposed to be doing that. In response she says “little boys aren’t supposed to see their mother bleed to death.” When the little boy (maybe 5 years old) is pulled inside and is in another woman’s arms, Hemingway gives the child a flask with whiskey. Apparently this is a gesture to aid the child, and kill the child’s physical and mental pain.

Bombs—– bombs are an obvious symbol of death, but in this film, they were also a symbol of connection. The traditional symbol could represent complete surrender, and the death/submission of egos as Hemingway and Gellhorn make love for the first time. Before this erotic sex scene, Gellhorn asks Hemingway way “is this what you want?” He tells her “this is what I need.” As they connect on the deepest and most passionate level, they become numb to the world around them as they are covered in ashes, as bombs fall around them, and as flames roar outside the window of the hotel room.

Scars—– the multiple scars Hemingway bears are revealed to Gellhorn after their first intimate scene. I think this was a very symbolic moment in the film as he seemed to reveal not only his physical scars, but his emotional scars as well. It almost seemed that his physical scars were nothing compared to the scars he suffered mentally throughout his lifetime.

Crow and Swordfish-—- there were two animals that I feel were strong symbols in this movie. There was a crow at the beginning and the end, and there was a swordfish at the beginning and the end. The crow was simultaneously symbolic of both Hemingway and Gellhorn. The crow is a symbol of intelligence/knowledge, and death. Both times when the crow appeared, Gellhorn could see a reflection of herself in his eye. Gellhorn was Hemingway’s intellectual muse, and she is reflected as such in that symbol. In the final scene, the crow appears to Gellhorn after Hemingway’s death. He appears to her as a messenger from the spirit world tapping on her window with his beak.

The swordfish is also a powerful symbol. This fish is a sole symbol of Hemingway. The fish represents his masculine energy, and sexuality with the striking phallic “sword” of this fish. The swordfish represents Hemingway’s personal battles- the battles with himself, and his battles with Gellhorn. In the beginning of the movie, Hemingway fights successfully to reel in a swordfish, and in the end of the movie, he gives up and lets the fish go. Hemingway had captured Gellhorn, but he had also released her.

Memorable Movie Quotes and My Thoughts:

Pauline Hemingway to Martha Gellhorn

My husband believes that if you kill enough animals, you may not kill yourself.”
—–I wonder if Hemingway really said that? Ironically, he did eventually kill himself.

Pauline Hemingway to Martha Gellhorn

Ernest likes to surround himself with exotic characters.”
—–Pauline could immediately sense their connection.

Gellhorn to a War Photographer

There is a human need to exert control when the world is spinning out of control.”
—–This statement was made as she seemed to be talking about both her career and her love for Hemingway.

Hemingway about Gellhorn

Bravest woman I ever saw.”
—–He makes this statement after Gellhorn hears a child crying in the street after a bombing in Spain. Everyone tells her it is a cat (?). She disagrees and runs into the street as bombers hover above. She saves the child from the street and from having to watch his mother bleed to death.


It’s hard to say the exact moment that you fall in love with someone, but with him, I knew it was his words, the ones I would never hear, the private things he uttered.”
—–This is an amazing quote. At this moment she realized she was deeply in love with Hemingway, regardless of anything else.

Gellhorn to Hemingway

Women get bombed the same as men.”
—–Gellhorn was talking about being a female war correspondent in a male dominated field.

Hemingway to Gellhorn

Stay here with me. Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.”
—–Another amazing quote. When she decide to leave and cover the warfare in the arctic, she began to pull away from Hemingway. He did not want her to leave him for her career.

Hemingway in a letter to Gellhorn

Love, you poison my typewriter. Since you have left, I have had hangovers they could name battleships after. Today I remember the heat of your naked body.”
—–Each time Hemingway is shown writing in the movie he is standing up. He is never seated. This was something that I did not know about him, and I assume that this is historically accurate (which is interesting).


When there was no war, we made our own. The battlefield neither of us could survive was domestic life.”
—–Maybe this is the hardest battle of all?

All in all, I think that this movie was great. I was not disappointed at all, and I would recommend it. I think sometimes we just need to go deeper to get a full bodied feel for what we are, or what we are not absorbing. Intimate and professional passion, symbolic imagery, love and hate, and highly erotic connections…. What’s not to like?

Zombie Baseball

May 12, 2012

On May 7, 2012, my nephew Isaiah went to go see an Isotopes baseball game in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He went with his 3rd grade class, and his dad (my brother) Thomas. They apparently had a grip of fun. My brother has started keeping what he called a “scrapbook” (wow – I didn’t know he had it in ‘im- what a lil brother of an archivist) for their “famous” moments. These guys have been spotted out by professional photographers a few times. A couple years ago, they were featured in a brochure for Cliff’s Amusement Park. They didn’t realize they were on the brochure until they visited the park the following summer. What no free tickets?? They were even on posters and what not screamin’ on a ride- 2 much! Following is a newspaper article which was published in the Albuquerque Journal on May 8, 2012. According to the article there were 5,000 kids from 60 schools and over 10,000 people at the Isotopes game. How did these three little baseball lovin’ zombiez get spotted by the photographer?
Haha! 🙂  🙂

Zombiezaya (face painting by Have On Art). A few years back this same business featured Zaya on a brochure with a Spiderman face painting.

Isaiah and James with Orbit, the Albuquerque Isotopes’ mascot

The Pojo Zombiez enjoy some baseball

Whiskey Dreams: Inside the Mind of Hemingway

May 10, 2012

I may be a person who reads farther into things than I should, but as a deep woman, it is really hard for me to take things at face value. Today I had two signs- they were signs that I think I needed to see, or maybe to feel. One of those signs was a post by a favored writing guru with a love similar to mine. That post reminded me that there was something that I had to do. Many of the posts on this site deal with digital initiatives and issues, which is the main reason I like it. Today I learned about a new digital initiative, and this one involves the mind of Ernest Hemingway. The Hemingway Papers are now available in a digital archive, and I know thanks to the author of Read, Write, Now.

The Hemingway Papers capture “the legendary writer’s reporting from the Toronto Star archives.” Article topics in this digital archive include: culture; sports; vices; and war. The articles were featured in the Toronto Star in the 1920s. I am yet to explore the pages devoted to “the curious case of the stolen Hemingway letters.” The site also mentions the Hemingway Letters Project which will be an attempt to digitize over 6,000 Hemingway letters over the next few years. Did this guy really have and/or write that many letters? I am madly in love with this man! Since he was interested in whiskey and rum-runners, I can’t help but wonder if he wrote best after licking the fire water?

Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961) was a Nobel Prize winning author and journalist. His work enveloped fiction and non-fiction. His various works were published from around 1918 thru the 1950s. When Paris was liberated during World War II, Hemingway was on the beach for the Normandy landings capturing history during Operation Neptune and Operation Overlord. From Illinois, to Kansas, to Madrid, to Pamplonato, to Italy, to Paris, to London, to Normandy, to Africa, to Key West, to Florida, to Cuba, Hemingway had likely seen it all. Maybe he saw much more than he could handle? He had a seasoned life, and sadly he still never seemed to peg down true happiness. He had several brushes with death throughout his lifetime. A couple were close calls. It was sad for me to learn tonight that after escaping a dark fate so many times, his life was ultimately ended by his own hands. In 1961, Hemingway moved from Cuba to Idaho and killed himself. It is strange that though I started reading his works as a middle school student, I never knew that? This was indeed a tragic loss to the literary world. With any luck for this amazing man, they allow whiskey dreams in heaven!

The Hemingway Papers

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