Category Archives: Uncategorized

Sexual Values In The Industry

Growing up a daughter of a screenwriter, I had no words to describe my intense discomfort with the entertainment industry. Years would pass before I found language to describe the pressure on girls and women to starve themselves, the relentless rating of physical attractiveness, the hype around sex and sexuality, the assumption that anyone would do anything to be tapped into the club. As a kid, I could have explained none of this. All I knew was that I’d never fit in, and I wished my father had chosen a different profession.

Many aspects of the industry feed directly and indirectly into a culture of rape. The sanctioned, artificial, forced sexuality woven into the fabric of the entertainment industry intensifies the problem, normalizing the sexualization of all interactions. I remember attending a party, and a man approached. He was in his mid 40s and when he leaned down to kiss my lips, I ducked my head and instead offered my hand. He took my hand in both of his and smirked. I still remember his words: “Sweetheart, you’ll never make it in the industry if you don’t change that attitude.” I knew that I didn’t belong in the industry, that the idea of being his sweetheart made me queasy, that whether I allowed him to kiss my lips was entirely my choice. Still, it was a gut-shot to be told that I was pathetically uncool. I was eleven.

Something creepy and dangerous lurked in the shadows, and I grew up on guard, waiting for it to pounce. This type of incident was a part of my ongoing experience in the industry and like most children, I didn’t question the values that my environment considered “normal.” And I was extremely lucky — when I said no, people backed off.

Today, I’m sick at heart as so many reveal how badly they’ve been hurt. I support and respect those who are stepping forward, calling out sexual predators in the industry. They’re showing courage on a level that awes me, and I hope that every survivor of every gender will speak out and be given the support they deserve. I also hope every person who ever used a sexual act as a power-weapon will be held accountable for the damage they’ve inflicted. Beyond the individuals, I hope the industry as a whole owns its role in enabling a sub-culture of sexual abuse.

As a child of the industry, I heard over and over that a good director understands how and when to begin and end a production. If the beginning isn’t compelling from the opening moments, the audience disconnects. If the performance stretches even one minute too long, the audience checks out. We need a new beginning, starting now, paving the way for a future of new endings. So cue the lights, fade to black, and stop. Just stop.

___

Hollywood High: Achieve The Honorable

Caroline Black, age 15, leaves her college prep academy for the local public high school. Growing up in a film industry family, Caroline is a misfit, and her new school opens her world. Written in reaction to witnessing gay boys bullied in high school.

Tightwire

A psychology intern, who grew up in a film industry family, goes through her rookie year of clinical training, working with her first patient, who ran away from the circus to find himself. Written in support of healthy sex and sexuality, in support of lesbian and gay parents, as a voice against the stigma of therapy, and as a window into the behind-closed-doors values of the film industry.

Visit Amy’s Author Page on Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/Amy-Kaufman-Burk/e/B00R0S66Y4

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Filed under Film Industry Values, Harvey Weinstein Scandal, NoMore, sexual equality, Uncategorized

Trump Protective Services

I’m puzzled by President Trump’s reaction to the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico — not because of decency, empathy, leadership skills. Sadly, he’s already proven that he lacks those qualities. I’m puzzled because narcissism is obviously a huge driving force within him, a core motivator, and Hurricane Maria’s devastation is an outstanding opportunity to feed his own narcissism. Had he jumped to help Puerto Rico, his ratings would have skyrocketed among people of all political affiliations. But he chose to enjoy a weekend of golf, and to dedicate a trophy to Puerto Rico in its time of absolute desperation.

I’m trying to figure out why he’d exchange an obvious chance for massive approval for a golf trophy. I strongly believe that he is entirely driven by his own internal currents (as opposed to the integrity of his country). Still, he blew off a spectacular opportunity for self-promotion, and I’m confused. Does he not understand that Puerto Rico is a part of the United States? Does the number of brown-skinned citizens make them unworthy in his eyes? Is his style of thinking so rigid that a radically changed schedule (trading a luxurious weekend for a rough trip to a ravaged island) requires more mental flexibility than he can manage?

Whatever drives him toward such a massive misfire, Puerto Rico is hanging on by its fingernails. I watched the footage of our president’s visit. I wanted him to step forward and do the right thing, to help these victims of a catastrophic natural disaster. Instead, I saw him toss paper towels into a crowd like party favors. I watched him compliment himself repeatedly. I heard his offhand comment about how Puerto Rico was eating more than its share of the country’s budget, as though they were somehow responsible for Maria’s costly path of destruction.

Before I became an author, I was a psychotherapist for over 25 years. One of the responsibilities I always hoped I’d never have to confront was filing a report with Child Protective Services, recommending that a child be taken away from the parents. Although I certainly worked with several difficult situations, I never had to take this particular action and I’m selfishly grateful, because I would have found it devastating. The criteria are simultaneously simple and complex: abuse and/or neglect. When I was in training, in my twenties, I thought carefully about what that meant, because recommending to separate parents from children is serious business. The abuse piece was a no-brainer. However, I learned that severe neglect can be as damaging to the psyche as abuse. The message from the parents to the child is crushing. You’re not worthy of care. You’re not worthy of notice. You’re nothing.

Our president’s lack of intervention in Puerto Rico is neglect in the extreme. If a parent left a child hungry, thirsty, without medical care, without shelter, without supplies — I’d report them to Child Protective Services as unfit. I’d be devastated not only for the child, but also for the adult who was so damaged that he/she/they inflicted such pain on those who most needed support and protection. If “Trump Protective Services” existed, I’d file this post today, saying he’s unfit to care for his people. As expected, I’d feel devastated.

But not as devastated as Puerto Rico.

*All of my profits from book sales in October, 2017, will go to my homeland in Puerto Rico.

___

Amy Kaufman Burk has published two novels. Hollywood High: Achieve The Honorable, written in reaction to seeing gay students bullied in high school, follows Caroline Black through tenth grade as her new high school opens her world. Tightwire, Amy’s second novel, continues to follow Caroline, this time as a rookie psych intern treating her first patient — a stormy, brilliant, troubled young man who ran away from the circus to find himself. Amy’s blog includes posts about a variety of subjects including the resistance, gender equality, LGBTQ+ ally support and racial equality. Amy collaborates with educators who include her books and essays in their classrooms.

To learn more about Amy’s novels and recent blog posts, visit her Author Page on Amazon.

https://www.amazon.com/Amy-Kaufman-Burk/e/B00R0S66Y4

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Take A Knee

Like many storms, it began with a shift in pressure. A professional football player, Colin Kaepernick, quietly knelt during the National Anthem. His simple action grew into a storm surge, gained momentum. However, this storm isn’t driven by winds of destruction, but rather by forces of integrity, a powerful cry against racial oppression. Last weekend, the path of this much-needed storm reached into the homes of millions as the National Football League took a stand. More accurately, they took a knee.

Since the presidential election, I’ve never felt so shaken by the leadership in my homeland. But I’ve also never felt so uplifted. In the face of such a divisive president, I’m deeply moved as people unify to march, speak, write, stand, kneel. Members of The House and The Senate — not all, but a significant number — keep their heads clear and focused, working for the greater good. Journalists uncover the facts, report with accuracy, allow the public to stay informed — all in the face of unprecedented hostility from our country’s administration. This situation is a marathon unfolding at the speed of a sprint, and people are stressed and exhaustion. Still, they march and vote and report and kneel.

In the past month, I’ve been awed by the quiet, determined, selfless acts of heroism in areas devastated by hurricanes. First responders, both official and unofficial, stepped forward. People who own small boats and rafts headed into dangerous waters, navigating around fallen trees, cars, debris, changing currents, through the shallow and the deep — bringing people and animals to safety. Others met the boats, and guided survivors to shelter. Even more have donated, and two people I’m privileged to know collected donations, loaded trucks with supplies and drove 500 miles into the pulsating aftermath of Harvey.

Every day, I’m motivated in a way I’ve never known. So every day, I’ll buckle down and write. When I need a break to clear my head, I’ll take a step back. When I’ve gathered myself, I’ll move forward into the storm. And when I need to stand tall, I’ll take a knee.

___

Amy Kaufman Burk has published two novels. Hollywood High: Achieve The Honorable, written in reaction to seeing gay students bullied in high school, follows Caroline Black through tenth grade as her new high school opens her world. Tightwire, Amy’s second novel, continues to follow Caroline, this time as a rookie psych intern treating her first patient — a stormy, brilliant, troubled young man who ran away from the circus to find himself. Amy’s blog includes posts about a variety of subjects including the resistance, gender equality, LGBTQ+ ally support and racial equality. Amy collaborates with educators who include her books and essays in their classrooms.

To learn more about Amy’s novels and recent blog posts, visit her Author Page on Amazon.

https://www.amazon.com/Amy-Kaufman-Burk/e/B00R0S66Y4

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Filed under Colin Kaepernick, Take A Knee, Uncategorized

Nine-Eleven

September 11, 2001.

The alarm blasted and I was on my feet, pulling on sweats, tying my hair in a quick ponytail. My three children — one in preschool and two in elementary school — scampered downstairs for bagels and scrambled eggs. They took tremendous pride in choosing their own outfits and complimented each other on the bright array of neon-red, sunburst-yellow and Ninja-Turtle-green seated at the kitchen table. My husband was upstairs, choosing a tie, listening to National Public Radio when the program was interrupted with breaking news. He took a moment to collect himself, then walked downstairs with an odd deliberateness, his tie hanging loose. We spoke quietly. Knowing our kids would hear about it at school, we told them. Their reaction was matter-of-fact, unworried, entirely age-appropriate.

All day, my phone rang. I was a therapist at the time, not yet an author, and parents from my children’s schools needed guidance. “What should I tell my kids?” “How much should I tell my kids?” “How can I help them feel safe when I’m terrified?” I talked to them about tailoring their answers to fit the needs of the child, about language that would make sense for different ages, about managing their own understandable fear.

In California, many of us were shielded from the immediate trauma experienced by the targeted areas. My family had relatives and friends in Manhattan, but we quickly heard that they were safe. Others weren’t so lucky. A nameless, faceless fear permeated our pretty little Bay Area town. Our new frontier catapulted us into a vulnerability that we had been privileged to deny until that day.

In the evening, I tucked my youngest child in bed and sang to her as always. But instead of my usual repertoire of The Beatles and my college fight song, I found myself singing America The Beautiful and The National Anthem.  My daughter curled up and closed her eyes, warm and safe.  I watched her sleep peacefully, and thought of the people in my homeland who struggled in the aftermath of a terrorist attack. Something stirred and I sat quite still, waiting to clarify a shift deep within. Slowly, the shift took on an emotional structure and I clasped my hands around it. I was a born again American.

Now, with the current administration at the White House, I feel more committed than ever to preserving the integrity of my country.  I feel the same fierce loyalty I experienced on that day in 2001. But this time, I believe that our own leaders are our biggest threats.

Today, the anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attack on my homeland, I’m renewing my vows to the United States of America. I pledge allegiance to the flag of the people, by the people, for the people. I stand, at the twilight’s last gleaming, with those who are targeted by our own government. I raise my voice for spacious skies and amber waves — for all races, all genders, all religions. I write for the day when we are truly indivisible, from sea to shining sea.

___

Amy’s Novels

Hollywood High: Achieve The Honorable

Caroline Black, 15 years old, leaves her college prep academy for the local public high school, which opens her world. Written in reaction to seeing gay students bullied, and in gratitude to the enriching diversity of Hollywood High School.

Tightwire

Caroline Black, now a rookie psychology intern, goes through her first year of training, working with a young man who is stormy, seductive, brilliant and complex. Written with respect for the human capacity to heal, in support of same-sex parents, and as a voice against the stigma of psychotherapy.

Amy’s Author Page On Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/Amy-Kaufman-Burk/e/B00R0S66Y4

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Filed under Never Forget, September 11, Uncategorized

Let’s Unite For Texas

I will be donating 100% of my profits from August and September book sales to the Houston Food Bank and the Food Bank of Corpus Christi.

We live in a time of division, of literal and metaphorical walls. Whatever your belief system, whatever your political affiliation, whatever your personal values, wherever you cast your vote in the election — I’m reaching out to each and all of you, to my friends and colleagues, and to yours as well. Texas needs us.

Partisan politics have become a divisive force, but natural disasters are nonpartisan. Fear, loss and hunger are nonpartisan as well.

Let’s unite for Texas.

My Novels:

Hollywood High: Achieve The Honorable

Tightwire

My novels are available as ebooks, only $2.99. They can be put directly on a Kindle, or on any device using Amazon’s Free Reading Apps.

Click on the link for my Author Page on Amazon.

https://www.amazon.com/Amy-Kaufman-Burk/e/B00R0S66Y4

Thank you.

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Filed under Hurricane Harvey, Texas Floods, Uncategorized

Pardoning Racism, Banning Trans, Charlottesville

When I was in tenth grade, I heard a rumor that a group of football players had beaten another student to death because he was gay.

Fights were common in my high school. Gangs fought rival gangs. Boys fought over girls. Girls fought over boys. Gay students were targeted constantly.

This particular rumor was about a boy I knew by sight, but not by name. We shared no classes, had no friends in common. I noticed him in the sea of 3000 students, because he had the most astonishing blond hair I’d ever seen. As he stood in the quad, his yellow mane tumbled down his back in a stop-in-your-tracks river of gold. He was six feet tall, string-bean thin, dressed in white laced up pants, platform shoes, gauzy shirts.

One day he was gone.

My high school had a transient population, a significant number living on the streets, so this boy’s disappearance was unremarkable. Still, I felt haunted by the rumor itself, and equally by the casual way the rumor circulated. I began to ask about him, but nobody knew anything. Most chilling of all — nobody knew his name.

Decades later, I told a journalist friend that I was writing a novel about that rumor. She suggested that I visit the archives, do some research, find out if the murder actually took place. I hesitated and to my surprise, I heard myself telling her that I wasn’t writing about the real person. As the words came out of my mouth, I realized I had carried this boy deep within me since I was 15 years old, and he had taken on mythical proportions. I was writing about a fantasy figure – a homeless, undocumented, street kid — a parentless boy, who died of homophobia.  During that conversation, my novel’s silent hero was born.

As I wrote the book, I considered what to call him. I knew he’d be a curious combination of an extremely minor character, and simultaneously the most powerful presence in the novel. Should I give him a catchy nickname like Dash? A stately name like Hamilton? A likable name like Timmy? A powerful name like Rex? As I rejected one name after another, I realized that his character was grounded in his namelessness. So I kept him nameless, and built the entire plot around his namelessness.

The novel was published in 2013, years before Donald Trump was on my radar screen as a serious political figure. But now, as I watch the post election culture unfold, the divisive values that my novel fights against — a mentality of hatred and rage, of  Us vs. Them — those values have become our day-to-day reality. Living in hiding from the ICE raids. Dreamers. Families torn apart. Refugees blocked. Latinos, Muslims, women, Jews, Blacks, LGBTQ+.  My country’s Commander-In-Chief actively legitimizes a process of divisiveness, which is also a process of dehumanization.

And it gets worse. Now our president has pardoned Joe Arpaio, a racist who used his position as sheriff to target the Latino population, to spit on immigrants. Almost in the same breath, our president has banned transgender troops, relegating the trans population to a lesser than full-human status. He gave a tepid (at best) response to the white supremacist fiasco in Charlottesville, betraying everyone who rejects the idea of a master race.  It’s been quite a week.

And it gets even worse, because each of these acts goes beyond the act itself. Our president is endorsing and perpetuating ideas which diametrically oppose the foundation of our country. In the newly Divided States Of America, all people are not created equal.

It’s another form of taking away their names.

I wish the election results had been different. I wish our administration didn’t define empathy and decency as a self-interested power surge. I wish so many people in my homeland weren’t hurt by their statements, their policies, their actions.  I wish the people in charge understood that gaining power by stepping on others never works for long. Eventually, they’ll fall and as they fall, they’ll drag several innocent people with them. They’ll all land hard, and some will survive while others won’t. Donald Trump’s name will be remembered, but most of the names of the innocent casualties will be forgotten, caught in a crossfire of dehumanization.

I wish for a day when nobody has to live without a name.

___

Hollywood High: Achieve The Honorable

A 15-year-old girl, Caroline Black, leaves her college prep academy for the local public high school, which opens her world. Written in reaction to seeing gay students bullied in high school, and in gratitude to the enriching diversity of my high school.

Tightwire

Caroline Black, now a rookie psychology intern, goes through her first year of training, working with a young man who is stormy, seductive, brilliant and complex. Written with respect for the human capacity to heal, in support of same-sex parents, and as a voice against the stigma of psychotherapy.

Amy’s Author Page On Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/Amy-Kaufman-Burk/e/B00R0S66Y4

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Filed under Charlottesville, Joe Arpaio, LGBT, racism, Trans Troops, Uncategorized

Moon Shadow

A moon shadow visited North Carolina. It traveled as only light can, streaking across the sky in a strange and majestic palette.  The sky held snakes of white, crescents of red, coronas of brightness. Darkness and light played with each other and against each other — fun and powerful, serious and strange.

In this moment, light was not meant for anything beyond its own essence — not for warmth, not to illuminate the way. Light was just light, valid in and of itself, a living entity.

August 21, 2017, a solar eclipse moved across the United States of America. From Oregon to Idaho to Missouri. Then on to South Carolina, and into my home in North Carolina. It will quickly continue its journey out of the United States, a rare trajectory, passport not required. This is bigger than any border patrol, a force not to be reckoned with, but rather to be acknowledged with tremendous humility.

Around two in the afternoon, the quality of light changed into something I couldn’t identify. I turned off the artificial lights to welcome the experience. Looking outside at the small forest in our back yard, some leaves still caught sunlight, but most held the deep green of night. The house turned dark, as though the light from the still-blue sky no longer spread in its usual style. By 2:45, the sky was still oddly blue, but the lawn was blanketed in shade, with odd patches of sunlight. Somehow, the atmosphere was both bright and dark, a layered complexity beyond my ability to comprehend. The air held a curious glow, a gold tinge. As I searched for words to describe what was unfolding, the eclipse was already moving on. By 3PM, the day’s second dawn entered my home and the light turned familiar.

I’ve rarely felt simultaneously so inept with writing and so comfortable with my own limitations. This eclipse was meant to surpass the scope of my abilities. Call it Nature, or God, or Science, or just plain Amazing — I find its power both astonishing and comforting. If another moon shadow ever decides to visit, I’ll turn out the artificial lights once again to give the eclipse the full playing field. I’ll look out on our trees and watch the leaves. I’ll feel saturated with light, with darkness and with gratitude.

____

Amy Kaufman Burk is a blogger and author of two novels. Hollywood High: Achieve The Honorable, written in reaction to seeing gay students bullied in high school, follows Caroline Black through tenth grade as her new high school opens her world. Tightwire, Amy’s second novel, continues to follow Caroline, this time as a rookie psych intern treating her first patient — a stormy, brilliant, troubled young man who ran away from the circus to find himself. Amy blogs about a variety of subjects including the resistance, parenting, LGBTQ+ ally support and a Rolling Stones concert. She also collaborates with educators who include her work in their curriculum.

To learn more about Amy’s novels, visit her Author Page on Amazon.

https://www.amazon.com/Amy-Kaufman-Burk/e/B00R0S66Y4

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Fire And Rain

Grieving for a friend is rough. Grieving for a suicide adds new layers of harshness. Grieving for a 21-year-old suicide defies words. For a week after the phone call, my emotional range was too elemental for language, a visceral spectrum of fire and rain.

I think of this young man relaxing on the floor of our family room, bantering with my son, and I hope he’s at peace. I think of him curled up in his favorite red blanket, asleep on our couch, and I hope he’s resting in comfort. I think of how he sang and danced with my daughter, strumming a wooden stirring spoon. I don’t know if kitchen utensils are available through eternity, so if he needs one, I hope he finds a way to send a message. I’ll figure out how to launch a wooden spoon into the beyond.

Since he was close to my family, his parents kindly invited me to speak at his memorial. I thought of his helping me learn the unfamiliar inflections of The South, how we laughed over my many miscommunications when I first moved from California. I thought of his vibrant curiosity, his questions, his eagerness to explore — from writing novels to urban development, from bovine medical research to gender equality. I thought of the outstanding meals he cooked with my daughter and son and I smiled, remembering the chocolate and avocado cake he and my son somehow decided they had to bake — and yes, the result was as appalling as my daughter warned them it would be. I cried as I wrote his eulogy. I practiced my speech and broke down every time. I paused, trying to translate my grief into words. But I could only feel fire and rain.

At his memorial service, I expected to deliver the eulogy through tears, but I didn’t. My voice held strangely steady. However, my hands shook so violently that they felt like an alien appendage, detached and overwrought. I looked over the large room filled with his family and friends — bewildered, shattered, alive — and the notion that he was dead, truly dead, felt utterly absurd.

He was a young man of action, so I wish him Godspeed. But I’m not sure what that means. Maybe he’s a powerful current in an ocean’s depth, or the foamy rush in a river’s whitewater. Perhaps he’s a different kind of force — the drive within a poet to write, or the push within a scientist to discover.

I hope he rests in peace. But I don’t know what that means, either. Maybe his spirit quietly enriches the minerals of the soil, or gently guides the first spring tendrils toward the light. Although these thoughts are comforting, I’m painfully aware that I can conceive of his eternity only in the limited terms of my familiar world. Eternity is a place beyond the parameters of my imagination.

So I’ll stick to what I know: fire and rain — rage and cold, heat and water, warmth and sustenance, life and life.

 

TO ALL READERS:

If you are suicidal or fear for the safety of another person, please reach out.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline  1-800-273-8255 

The Trevor Project Lifeline  866-488-7386 

You can also call 911 for emergency assistance.

___

Amy Kaufman Burk is an author and blogger. She has written two novels, both available on Amazon. Hollywood High: Achieve The Honorable follows a group of friends through one year of high school, as they navigate the challenges of adolescence. Tightwire follows a rookie psych intern as she treats her first patient, a young man who discovers that therapy can help him confront a past filled with secrets, and move forward with strength and empowerment.

Amy’s Author Page

https://www.amazon.com/Amy-Kaufman-Burk/e/B00R0S66Y4

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Filed under Grieving, Suicide Prevention, Uncategorized

Curse With Care

As a mother of three, raising two sons and one daughter into adulthood, I grappled with the expected challenges of their developing speech — too loud, too soft, your turn to talk, your turn to listen, let’s find words. As they grew older, words became more complicated, especially during their high school years in The South. I stepped in several times, not with my children, but with their friends. A handful of teenagers (all Caucasian and male) thought it was “cool” (or worse, normal) to drop homophobic, transphobic or racially bigoted comments. Invariably, they were startled when I explained that in my home, hate-speech wasn’t allowed. But they were more surprised by my attitude toward cursing. They expected cussing to be outlawed, a transgression under any circumstance. Instead, I chose a different approach: Curse with care.

Cursing in itself doesn’t offend me, but it carries responsibility. The speaker needs to take into account many factors. The environment needs to be okay with it. All words, including curse words, should serve a productive purpose. Curse words should never be used as weapons — to shock, to offend, to frighten, to intimidate. Curse words carry more risk than other vocabulary, so those specific words need to be chosen with extra care.

Since Anthony Scaramucci’s ten days in President Trump’s inner circle, I’ve been thinking about curse words. As a liberal democrat, I’ve struggled with the values and policies of Donald Trump’s White House since he took office. I wasn’t surprised to find myself appalled by Mr. Scaramucci’s beliefs. But I was quite surprised at how deeply offensive I found his language. My reaction caught me off guard because bluntly: I’m hard to offend with curse words.

Just like there are different styles of speaking, there are different styles of cursing. My problem was not Anthony Scaramucci’s words in themselves. It was the context, the layers, the implications, the undercurrent. He trash-talked people simply because he could, which is a type of bullying behavior. He was provocative for the shock factor, which is a form of using words as weapons. He was pointlessly crude, which is just plain obnoxious.

As a writer, words are my tools of the trade. I consider every sound, inflection, meaning, rhythm, cadence. I include curse words in my writing, but only when they make sense. I think carefully, choosing words that are true to the character and necessary for the integrity of the story.

Words matter. So I try to write and speak with care. And always, to curse with care.

___

Amy Kaufman Burk is a blogger and author of two novels. Hollywood High: Achieve The Honorable, written in reaction to seeing gay students bullied in high school, follows Caroline Black through tenth grade as her new high school opens her world. Tightwire, Amy’s second novel, continues to follow Caroline, this time as a rookie psych intern treating her first patient — a stormy, brilliant, troubled young man who ran away from the circus to find himself. Amy blogs about a variety of subjects including the resistance, parenting, LGBTQ+ ally support and a Rolling Stones concert. She also collaborates with educators who include her work in their curriculum. 

To learn more about Amy’s novels, visit her Author Page on Amazon.

https://www.amazon.com/Amy-Kaufman-Burk/e/B00R0S66Y4

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Filed under anthony scaramucci, curse words, language, resistance, Uncategorized

Mika, Joe, Lady Gaga

I can’t keep up with The White House.

As I work on this post about President Trump’s twitter attack on Mika Brzezinski, the next barrage of banner headlines is underway: Russian interference, Islamophobia, first-children crashing international meetings, more Russian interference. Each day, as I open my laptop to write, I wonder what calamity the next 24 hours will bring.

But as I scramble to keep up, I don’t want to lose track of Mika Brzezinski, because if those tweets were her “punishment,” I feel compelled to define her “crime.” First (and bad), she expressed an opinion different from President Trump’s. Second (and worse), she was critical. Third (and apparently worst of all), she’s a she. Tossing ideas around my head, deciding how to approach this post, my thoughts turned in a direction that surprised me: The Academy Awards.

In the aftermath of every night-at-the-Oscars, people revel in unbridled criticism. The tabloids trash outfits and hairstyles. Speeches are lauded and vilified. Subjects I find important (racism and gender equality) and those I find ridiculous (unflattering ball gowns) are reported as “Breaking News.” Usually, I find myself annoyed by the Oscar-aftermath, and I quickly move on. But I’ll never forget the 88th Academy Awards, when Lady Gaga and Joe Biden raised a collective voice against sexual assault.

Sexual assault is non-partisan. It can happen to anyone regardless of age, racial heritage, gender, political affiliation. The after for survivors is often private and hidden, and if they choose to come forward, many don’t find the support they deserve. While I respect Mika  Brzezinski’s public reaction to President’s Trump’s tweets, I hope she’s doing okay in private as well, because our Commander-In-Chief’s words were assaultive.

As a novelist, I ask myself repeatedly how I can effectively address real issues through pretend fiction. After careful consideration, I decided to include sexual assault in both of my novels. But again, I can’t keep up. Even if I wrote from dawn to dusk, every day, for the next century, I couldn’t cover the broad scope. This topic is loaded and layered, individual and complex, unique and universal. Possibly most damaging — it’s often forbidden. The gag order imposed on survivors, the code of silence among potential supporters, can be as emotionally damaging as the assault itself. And that’s why I chose to write about it.

I hope my novels (fiction) and blog posts (non-fiction) pave the way to open conversations, because a productive conversation forms a team. We don’t have to speak the same dialect, or identify as the same gender, or be in the same age group, or share partisan political beliefs, or worship in the same way, or look the least bit alike to form a strong team – case in point: Lady Gaga and Joe Biden.

I don’t wear make-up. My favorite sport is reading. I’ll never run for political office. I can’t manage to dredge up even a micro-fantasy about a blow-your-mind mic drop. And I’m joining the Lady-Gaga-and-Joe-Biden team.

You can join, too.

____

Novels By Amy Kaufman Burk

Hollywood High: Achieve The Honorable

A 15-year-old girl, Caroline Black, leaves her college prep academy for the local public high school, which opens her world. Written in reaction to seeing gay students bullied in high school.

Tightwire

Caroline Black, now a rookie psychology intern, goes through one year of training, working with her first patient – a young man who is stormy, seductive, brilliant and complex. Written in support of healthy sex and Marriage Equality, and as a voice against the stigma of psychotherapy.

Amy’s Author Page On Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/Amy-Kaufman-Burk/e/B00R0S66Y4

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