Merry Christmas!

Best wishes

to you and yours for the holidays!

– from Ben

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An Odyssey and JYC

A humid afternoon found me not structuring the plot of a new novel as I needed to, but rather waiting for the doors to open outside the iconic Gate Picturehouse in London’s hurrying Notting Hill. Because today they were showing The Odyssey, the biopic of the life of diver, explorer and underwater film-maker, Jacques-Yves Cousteau (1910-1997).

Merriam-Webster defines an “odyssey” as a long wandering or voyage usually marked by many changes of fortune, and as much of the film took place aboard (or beneath) his creaky converted minesweeper Calypso, the title fitted like a hermit crab in a discarded shell.

This charming, polite but driven man brought the underwater world into the homes (via TV, not flooding) of millions worldwide. By adding a demand valve, he revolutionised the design of the SCUBA system (Self-Contained-Underwater-Breathing-Apparatus), vastly increasing divers’ underwater times. (Curiously, the film skipped this important point!)

Sublime Footage

I hoped for glorious footage in director Jérôme Salle’s 120 minutes and I wasn’t disappointed. Whether it was the frozen monochrome of the Southern Ocean, pulsing tropical reefs, or a humpback whale and calf, it was so real that I almost felt the undulating sea grass of the Mediterranean seafloor brushing my weight belt.

Beyond mere flora and fauna, what was brilliantly captured was the majestic infinity of the oceans. Equally impressive were the opening scenes where an old sea-plane danced with its shadow above a sunset ocean (in a subtle foreshadowing of later tragedy).

Interactions

JYC (as he was known by those close to him) was expertly played by Lambert Wilson who has a passing resemblance to the great man. We met JYC’s family, including increasingly lonely wife Simone (played by Audrey Tautou) and son Philippe.

Message

Sooner or later it had to happen and what started as a journey of discovery eventually reconfigured itself into an environmental message. Perhaps the treatment was a little overt—it felt like an after-thought—but given the state of our oceans, it was essential.

Conclusion: Four Stars

I’d recommend Odyssey. It’s a film about an important man and a critical topic.

Make-An-iPhone-Video Lecture: Lessons in Fun!

I attended a “how to make great videos with your own phone” lecture recently! See, I have plans…

I’d like to make some great videos – the kind you see popping up on youtube everywhere. Actually, I’d be happy with making just regular videos to cover my stage work from good angles without technical flaws.

So I trundled along to an informative lecture by Alex Pell, founder of Dashboard Media, at the amazing WeWork Old Street building in London on this very topic. Here’s one of the helpful tips he recommended, shown in a recent video.

It looks like I’ve got a lot of learning to do – just my kind of fun!

Alice Kuipers on CTV Morning Live Literary Segment

Click to watch

Bestselling and award-winning author Alice Kuipers  appeared recently on  CTV Morning Live Literary Segment to discuss three favourite books and why she recommends them. Click the image above to hear her.

Upcoming interview: Alice released her new young adult novel, Me (and) Me in Canada on April 11, 2017 and will join us soon to speak about the inspiration behind it!

Alice Kuipers, the award-winning author of 40 Things I Want to Tell You, Death of Us and Life on the Refrigerator Door, is an expert chronicler of the teenage heart. Born and raised in London, England, Alice now lives in Saskatoon, Canada, with her partner, the writer Yann Martel, and their four young children.

Alice’s website is full of tips and hints for writers. Find her at www.alicekuipers.com or on twitter.

Alysia Seymour Reviews Something in the Air

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Alysia Seymour has posted a review of Something in the Air on her blog.

Something in the Air is a sweet and emotional read with an unexpected ending that…pulls at the heart-strings”

“Ben Starling does an impeccable job”

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Ben on Radio: When You Wrap Up your Past, You’ll Unwrap a Perfect Present

Screenshot 2015-07-05 18.35.31Carol Graham interviewed Ben on her radio program, Never Ever Give Up Hope, on November 15, 2015.

Carol says: From losing his partner to ovarian cancer to his passion for saving marine life, Ben’s life experiences inspired him to intertwine them into his short stories and his novel.   His passion for life and love are evident in his stories. His compassion is evident in his interview.”

Do you live a fear-based or love-based life?  

Listen to his interview to get the answer:

When You Wrap Up Your Past, You’ll Unwrap a Perfect Present

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BEN white_headshotIn this interview, Ben also talks about the challenges our oceans face today, life lessons learned from boxing, a guardian angel named Edington, and a short story from his collection, Something in the Air, available on Amazon…

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Christmas Wishes from Ben

starfish morgue

Best wishes

to you and yours

for the holidays!

– from, Ben