|Biography of Susan Polis Schutz
Over 14 million books have been sold containing Susan's poems, and her poetry has been published throughtout the world in textbooks, magazines, and newspapers. In addition, poems by Susan have appeared on more greeting cards than those of any other writer in history. Susan's accomplishments of the past, remarkable as they are, do not compare with her triumph as a film maker in Anyone and Everyone, her very first film.
She began her writing career at age seven, when she put together a handwritten newspaper in Peekskill, New York. As she grew older, and friendships were strengthened through sharing all the emotions that fill young lives, she wrote some of her earliest poems as a way of expressing her thoughts. Following high school, Susan enrolled in Rider University in New Jersey and earned degrees in English and biology. From there it was on to doing social work and teaching school in New Jersey and Harlem New York for several years. She then attended graduate school and continued to write. During this period in her life, she fell in love with a young physicist, Stephen Schutz, the man who later became her life partner inspired some of the most touching poetry of contemporary times. Together they founded Blue Mountain Arts publishing company in 1972. In 1996, together with their oldest son Jared, they started the well known bluemountain.com ("Blue Mountain") electronic greeting card website that became the 10th most-visited wesite in the world along with Yahoo and AOL.
Susan has been a reassurance, a guiding light, an inspiration to believe in yourself, and a reminder to reach out for your dreams. And though she has evolved as a human, she has not changed as a humanist. From the very beginning, Susan was endowed with a love of life and a devout wish to make the world a better place. She has always been a staunch supporter of equality between the sexes and an advocate of the elderly. Much to her credit, Susan, together with Stephen, was an environmentalist years before it became commonplace to be one. Behind the scenes, the two of them have been involved in peace - oriented groups, worked for civil rights and against the threat of nuclear war.
This is the Story behind the film
in Susan's own words:
"It took two years to make the film Anyone and Everyone but the path to making it started over ten years ago. Right after graduating from Princeton, my son Jared, told my husband Steve and me that he was gay. Steve and I had always respected gay people, but when it came to be in our immediate family, we were totally shocked."
"Since Jared wasnít "out," we were not able to discuss his being gay with anyone, so we werenít able to reach out to people to better understand our feelings."
"During the next few years I watched Jared and some other gay children suffer greatly because they felt so alone and confused. Jaredís facial muscles were contorted, and his mind tormented. And as the mother of this wonderful boy, I suffered with him."
"It was at this time that I decided to try to make a film that would show that anyone and everyone could have a gay child. A friend or relative might have a gay child, a viewer might have one. No one should be judgmental. I also wanted to tell the stories of the conflict, fear and anguish felt by the families and their gay children, when their gay children came out to them. Often even the most supportive parents had mental barriers to get through before fully accepting their gay child on a personal level."
"I attended, as a filmmaker, a meeting of PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) in New York City and listened to parents who, in tears, told how upset they were to learn that their child was gay. Everyone at this meeting was so honest. Their emotions were raw. I felt sad that people were forced to be so unhappy just because they were gay. And personally, I felt terrible that my own son wasnít able to come out to anyone."
"I worked with my producer, Agnes Chu, to do research to find families from all walks of life who had a gay son or daughter. I attended PFLAG meetings in places from NYC to Wyoming to San Diego. Universally, as each family member remembered back to the time when their son or daughter came out to them, even as long ago as fifteen years, tears flowed from their eyes. Often we had to stop the camera as we all gained our composure."
"It is a lot easier for gay people to come out now than it was 15 years ago. However, there is still prejudice. In some cases the prejudice is flagrantly overt, in other cases through more subtle biases of the mind. And there remain antiquated laws and unequal rights that inhumanely and negatively affect gay people all over the world."
"In my own family, two years ago, our son came out to family and friends, and recently, he came out publicly. Jared is now running for Congress in Colorado."
"Unfortunately many families donít have as happy an ending as my story has. Gay children still have a high risk of suicide. Many communities, churches, and families, as you will hear about in my film, completely ostracize gay people to the point that they are terrorized to admit they are gay.
"I hope that Anyone and Everyone will accomplish its mission and help make it easier for all gay people and their families to live a perfectly normal life that is respected by everyone."
-- Susan Polis Schutz
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