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An Open Letter To Benedict Cumberbatch

Dear Benedict,

Last night, I saw you perform Hamlet for the second time. Unlike so many of those around me, I did not travel to London just to see this performance. I come to London every year because London is the city of my soul.

Although I recognized your talent and have greatly enjoyed your work until now, I frankly was a bigger fan of Hamlet. As an author and English professor, Hamlet is my favorite play, one I’ve both studied and taught. I identify with that melancholy Dane on many levels, so an opportunity to see Hamlet in London, especially starring an actor of your ilk, thrilled me.

After my first viewing, it took me a week to even put my emotions and thoughts into words.

I was so deeply moved that I had to see it again before I returned to the States.

After my second viewing, I waited by the stage door in hopes of an autograph, determined to find the courage I didn’t have after the first. When you made it around to me, I tried my very best not to keep you any longer than necessary. I was just two or three from the end of the line, and I knew you would be leaving soon. After a performance like that, you must’ve been utterly exhausted, especially since you do that an unthinkable seven times a week.

You were kind enough to not only sign my program but also agreed to a selfie. As you moved onto the next person, some girls pushed me, and I cried out as I briefly lost my balance. You stopped and seemed very concerned, and you told them to be careful and not to push.

You went on to sign their programs, and I quietly muttered, “brilliant performance.” To which you sincerely responded, “thank you,” turning back to look at me. Sadly, in my timidity I had cast my eyes down. Although I met yours a second later, I had but a fleeting moment of eye contact before you looked away.

“Brilliant performance,” I said.

What I had meant to say was this:

Your performance was magnificent. Inspired. Remarkable. You captured Hamlet just as I have always seen him. Raw. Broken. Desperate. Drowning in pain, in such profound despair.

Your delivery was exquisite. Your grief, piercing. Your impassioned anger and sadness deeply touched me. You embodied Hamlet in a way I’ve never seen.

What I had meant to say was that I was in awe to be in the presence of an actor who possesses the level of dedication necessary to deliver such a performance, not to mention the talent. In awe of the focus and effort you must have to become the prolific actor you are.

Before I saw you as Hamlet, I considered you a fine actor.

Now I realize you are an exemplary actor.

What I had meant to say was Thank You for taking the time to sign our programs and pose for pictures. Even though you had given so much of yourself on stage, you took the time to do that for us, and what’s more you were so kind while you did it.

My humble utterance of “brilliant performance” held all of the above and more I’ve not the talent to effectively express in words, despite my profession.

Although I can’t say I have seen everything you’ve done in your career thus far, I have seen many. I have enjoyed them all. I have felt them all. Now, I have a new-found, deepened respect for you as an artist.

I look forward to seeing more of your work in the future, and I can only hope to have the opportunity to express my admiration in person one day. On that day, I won’t cast my eyes down, but I will hold your gaze and fully be present in a rare moment when two human beings truly see and understand one other.

Until then, I wish you continued success, happiness at home, and peace within.

Quite sincerely,
Christine Rose

Benedict Cumberbatch and Me

 
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Posted by on August 28, 2015 in Personal

 

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Goodnight Sweet Prince: A Reflection on Hamlet

Barbican Theatre's Poster for Hamlet

Last week, I had the absolute pleasure of seeing Hamlet at the Barbican Center, starring Benedict Cumberbatch. This show has been sold out for over a year. People fly in from all over the world just to see this performance because they are huge fans of Benedict Cumberbatch, mostly from his work in Sherlock

Me? I’m a bigger fan of Hamlet. After all, my degrees are in British Literature with a focus on the Renaissance Era, and Hamlet is my all-time favorite play. I know it inside and out. I’ve seen many adaptations and portrayals by some of the greatest actors of our time. 

Before I saw Cumberbatch as Hamlet, I liked his work. I could even say I loved his work. He’s brilliant as the high-functioning, sociopathic, consulting detective, Sherlock Holmes. I’ve also seen a few of his films since then, and I have not once been disappointed. I recognized his talent, and I considered him a fine actor among many.

After Hamlet, my respect and admiration for him has grown exponentially.

Benedict Cumberbatch as Hamlet

His impeccable delivery and eloquent execution left me breathless. The emotional depths to which he delved required ardent focus, profound dedication, absolute courage, and extraordinary talent. His heartfelt performance touched my very soul, as he captured the essence of the melancholy Dane like no other I’ve seen. He must’ve been emotionally and physically exhausted after such an exceptional performance. I know I was. Exhilarated and exhausted all at once, humbled at being in such close proximity to creative genius. The remnants of which still heave my heart a week later.

Such passion and intense emotion left me feeling drained, and strangely sad. No, not sad. It’s a feeling I can’t quite describe. Since that night, I’ve been trying to articulate the sensation and label it, but I have yet to do so.

Still, it lingers.

When I can’t find the words to express my experience, I have a tendency to talk and talk and talk, trying out words here and there–rather, trying on words to see what, if anything, defines the emotion, gives voice to the thoughts.

After the show, I watched the hordes of “Cumber-babes,” as they call themselves, crowd around the stage door to wait for him to emerge. Many other actors came out and walked past the hundred-or-so (mostly) women pressing themselves against the crush-barriers, who hardly glimpsed in their direction. I wondered how they felt. Perhaps they felt as invisible as I did, or more so since they just performed in the same play as Cumberbatch, only without acknowledgement of their own talent. Without fans wanting their autograph.

On the other hand, perhaps they were relieved they could get off work and just go home to their privacy and families.

Maybe a little of both.

As I made my way around the edge of the crowd, I saw Leo Bill, the actor who played Horatio leaving. No one even looked at him, but I said, “Well done,” as he passed me. He turned, surprised, and replied, “thank you” with the sound of soft gratitude.

I wish I had talked with him more.

Then another passed. An older actor named Karl Johnson who played King Hamlet and the Gravedigger. Someone I wouldn’t know by name until now, but I certainly recognized him from many films and TV shows throughout the years (Rome, Mr. Turner, among many others). Perhaps not the celebrity of Cumberbatch, but still a well-known, working actor in British theatre, TV, and film.

He passed by everyone without notice and disappeared into the London night. I wanted to talk to him, too; but I didn’t. He was far from me, and I didn’t want to chase after him. Maybe others thought the same.

I had a chance to get Ciarán Hinds autograph and picture, as most everyone had left after Cumberbatch made his appearance, but I didn’t. I couldn’t shake the feeling that I would just be bothering him (even though he was signing and posing for others with a genuine smile).

I felt humbled. Inadequate, somehow.

My groupie days died with the cassette tape, but I found myself still in awe of these people. Just people, like you and me. People with drive and focus and talent. I’ve met my share of famous people, having worked in both the literary and film worlds, but there is still something quite intimidating about it for some reason.

I’ve respected Hinds’ work before this (Rome, Game of Thrones, among many others), and his portrayal of Claudius was excellent. Still, I couldn’t bring myself to say, “Well done.” I couldn’t speak loudly enough to ask for a picture or autograph. I tried once, but my words were so soft, they dissipated in the misty London air.

When it was all over and I parted from my friends, who had been assertive enough to get autographs and/or pictures with Cumberbatch and/or Hinds, this indescribable feeling really weighed on my heart. 

Benedict Cumberbatch as Hamlet


There I was, alone on the tube. It was near midnight in this remarkable city, and I had just seen the best performance of Hamlet in my life. I had just made new friends. I had just been in the presence of profound dedication and talent, and I was humbled. I was invisible. I felt as if my own flesh would melt, thaw, and resolve itself into a dew, or perhaps it already had. 

This amazing night full of passion and profound depths of emotions quickly became empty, a stale promontory.

A week later, I’m still grasping for meaning, for understanding.

Certainly the proximity to such creative genius, both in the timeless work of Shakespeare and Cumberbatch’s impeccable execution of the melancholy Dane, held up a harsh mirror to my own life and creative failures. Missed opportunities and overall insignificance. Shame and self-loathing. 

Yet, I yearned to be in that theatre once more. I longed to capture the swell of emotion as my soul cried and laughed with Hamlet. Instead, I replayed his soliloquies over and again in my mind, trying to hold on to every word, every moment of ecstasy.

I again saw the tears fall on his cheeks, watched his eyes crinkle with laughter, clutched my own heart in his palpable grief. I spoke “To Be or Not To Be,” emphasizing the words as he did, attempting to remember each intonation, each accent, each eloquent syllable.

If only I could bottle such perfect moments and taste their bittersweetness again and again when I’m feeling low. If only I did not have to say goodnight to that sweet prince. If only I could be illuminated by his brilliance. If only some rosemary would bring me remembrance. If only I could for once not merely be in close proximity to greatness, but that I could grasp it, absorb it, become it.

After writing the above, I’ve realized that perhaps it’s none other but the main, facing my mediocre reality after experiencing the emotional depths into which Cumberbatch took me. 

It’s merely the decompression of a touched and troubled soul, longing for inspiration once again.

The rest is silence.

 
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Posted by on August 20, 2015 in Books & Reviews, Personal

 

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London KidRated 10/10!

Check this out friends and followers! The brilliant Stanley Laney gave Rowan of the Wood a KidRated score of 10 out of a possible 10!!

Watch for yourself:

Stanley doesn’t give out 10s easily, either. In fact, the only other thing to have ever rated a 10 by this London Kid was the hike over the O2 Dome.

Not even a cool practice operation on a stuffed animal with a proper veterinarian rated a 10…that’s just how highly Stanley thinks of our Rowan.

Cheers, Stanley. xo

 
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Posted by on August 21, 2014 in Books & Reviews

 

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Ukiah Corner Gallery Art Show

Edgar & Me

Edgar & Me

For the entire month of July, my visual art and books will be on display in the front window at the Ukiah Corner Gallery. I’m ever so excited about this! It’s the first time in my life that my visual art has been on display in public.

There will be a reception for this month’s featured artists, me and one other artist, during the town’s “First Friday” celebration, which actually occurs on the second Friday this month because of Independence Day.

July 11, 2014. 5pm – 8pm.

So far, the response to my work has been overwhelmingly positive. While completing several of the pieces, I’d post them on my Facebook page in progressive images. From the background through the finished work, followers and friends got to see the painting transform in stages.

Due to the great response, I’ll be offering prints to several of the pieces. All of my available art is listed in this public photo album on Facebook, and it will soon be on art sites like Fine Art America and our Etsy page. In this Facebook photo album, examine each piece of art more closely along with its description, medium, and price for the original.

UCG1I’m accepting commissions at the moment, too. Email me if you’d like to see my rendition of your favorite author or musician…or even a cityscape or landscape.

See these paintings close-up in my Facebook photo album entitled Original Art & Prints. Leave a comment here or there and let me know your thoughts! Email or message me directly if you’re interested in a print, and I’ll get a quote to you ASAP. I’m working with photographer and founding member of the Ukiah Corner Gallery Elliot Little to get high quality prints made for those who are interested.

If you’re in northern California, stop on by the Corner Art Galley during the month of July and see them for yourself! Remember, the opening reception is July 11th between 5 and 8pm. Although I will unfortunately be at another scheduled event in Colorado (busy! busy! busy!) during the reception on the 11th, there will be plenty of other artists to speak with.
UCG2UCG3

 
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Posted by on July 2, 2014 in Books & Reviews, Personal

 

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Elimination Diet: Days 1 & 2

20130908-154651.jpgAbout two months ago, I started really looking into my diet and seeing what I could do to minimize some chronic health issues. This all was soon before I was leaving for England for six weeks, so it was mostly experimentation with some new recipes and tracking GI activity, mood swings, and energy levels. Through this trial dietary change, I discovered that I’m quite likely fructose intolerant and have a significant intolerance to onions. Those were the most glaringly obvious ones, but I know there are more. However, there were too many variables without going on a proper elimination diet. After reading some horror stories of gluten, sugar, and dairy withdrawals, I decided to wait until after my trip to the UK to do one properly.

I told myself not to worry, as I’d be walking so much in London I wouldn’t put on any weight. For the first two weeks, I stuck more or less to my new reduced-gluten/dairy/sugar diet and ate a lot of whole, fresh foods. Then I went to Ireland and spent a week with family, attended a wedding, and ate a lot of PB&J, fresh carrots, and sweet potatoes. I had such a lovely time with my sister and her family not worrying about food, I vowed to lose my anxiety around caloric intake for good. Well, I paid for that, even with all the walking. Upon returning to London, I put away my food diary and calorie counting app and just ate when I was hungry. Sometimes yummy things like Cornish pastys and vegetarian bangers and mash, others even yummier things like muesli (totally addicted, btw) and stuffed zucchini. Overall, except for the chips here and here (how can you visit England without indulging in chips!) and a half pint of Guinness here and there (how can you visit Ireland without indulging in Guinness!), my diet was still quite healthy. The difference was in the amounts, I’m afraid. Without counting calories, not to mention my inability to comprehend how much 100mg was, I stopped with portion control.

After four weeks of not counting calories, even with walking or cycling between 4-10 miles a day, I knew I had put on weight. To my horror upon my arrival home Thursday night, I saw that I had put on TEN POUNDS! And to think two months ago I was freaking out over three.

Not okay.

Strangely, I’m not terribly upset about it. I know it will come back off as I get settled and move through this proper elimination diet. In fact, just after the first day, I was already down five of those ten, likely water weight and other GI issues from the antibiotics I briefly took after my emergency root canal. I keep reminding myself I did what was necessary to survive in a foreign country alone. Pass the muesli please!

OMG, I sure do miss muesli.

I’m on day two of The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen’s 28-DayElimination Diet, which means I’m still in green smoothie fast mode. The book, The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook, which includes the complete 28-day Elimination Diet is on its way from Amazon,and I’ll have that by Tuesday with more information. As of now, I’m following their website for guidance. I’ve had nothing but green smoothies for about 48 hours, and I feel pretty good. After having a smoothie with an apple and pear in it, I confirmed my suspicion of fructose intolerance. Throughout my life, whenever I have an apple or a pear I feel inexplicably tired soon thereafter, and often hungrier than before I ate it. The same happens in the green smoothies containing these high-fructose fruits. As I don’t have the book yet, I’m not really clear at how much of these smoothies I’m supposed to have, but since I’m also dealing with jet lag, I’ve decided to have them as often as I’m hungry.

I’m feeling rather good so far, although I’m anticipating some withdrawal symptoms from wheat and sugar, especially, over the coming weeks. Things are moving through my body again. I feel happier than usual, but sometimes tired in the middle of the day still tired. I’m listening to my body and relaxing or napping as needed. Mental clarity and the ability to focus comes and goes, so I’m still finding it difficult to read. I am looking forward to eating some solid food again tomorrow. I think I’ll start the day with some roasted sweet potato along with another green smoothie to break the fast, then perhaps Spiced Pumpkin Soup for lunch after some Blueberry Syrup with Rice and Quinoa for a midmorning snack.

I had my final mocha Friday morning, and I won’t be having another until the challenge phase in four weeks (EEEEK!!!). Still not quite sure how I’ll survive that long without my beloved mochas, but I’m determined to lose these 10 lbs and discover if food allergies/intolerances is exacerbating or even causing my life-long struggle with depression and anxiety. No doubt the foundation of those things are in the trauma, as I’ve been diagnosed with Complex PTSD, but it can’t hurt to see if I can make those dark clouds a little lighter while I work on recovering from the traumas.

Please consider joining me on this journey to better health.

I’ll be checking in often to give you updates of how the diet is working for me and to share some yummy, healthy recipes. Plus, Ethan and I are finishing up Spirit of the Otherworld this and next month, the fifth and final Rowan of the Wood novel. It should be available by Christmas.

May you all find peace.

 
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Posted by on September 8, 2013 in Healthy Living

 

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Reuters, Baby!

Today I am thrilled to repost this fabulous article on me from Reuters, courtesy of the lovely Julie Mollins. Please RT, post on your FB wall, and share far and wide! Cheers!

Original Source

Excerpt:

(Reuters) – It’s no secret that good storytelling involves characters who are in opposition to generate controversy — but author Christine Rose has taken this a step further by developing an opposing second identity as O.M. Grey.

Grey is author of the sexy, paranormal “Avalon Revisited” steampunk novel about English King Henry VIII’s brother Arthur, who is depicted as a vampire. Grey also has a steampunk persona in real life, with a multimedia blog that offers candid advice on romantic and erotic troubles.

The entrepreneurial Rose, however, is the author of “Publishing and Marketing Realities for the Emerging Author,” and co-author with husband Ethan Rose of the “Rowan of the Wood” young adult fantasy series, which won the 2009 Indie Excellence Award for Young Adult Fiction.

“I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t,” Grey said.

“I’m able to compare that with my other persona, Christine Rose. As Christine Rose I take a more traditional route. I’ve seen a lot more success with Olivia (O.M. Grey).”

Read the rest of the article here.

 
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Posted by on August 18, 2011 in Emerging Authors

 

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Mind the Gap…in Service

After leaving Cabourg in Normandy where my transportation was limited and dependent on my friend, I was really looking forward to being alone in London where I could continue my work of regaining my balance and be able to get around on my own.

FAT CHANCE.

Well, I exaggerate. I can get around here, but it is an exercise in frustration. In Texas, one drives everywhere. In Paris, the Metro is seamless and convenient, unless you want to travel after 1am. In London…O.M.G!

Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on July 31, 2011 in Personal

 

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