Saturday, June 26, 2010

Make the Buzz Stop - World Cup Chat

I'm confessing to dork factor - that's me in Sweden in 1974. Yep, sixteen years old - first picture is at the Wickman family summer home. Second pic is in Norway - me with Gustav and the father, Arne. Cool people who really showed me a good time as an exchange student. That was my first experience with World Cup Soccer. Television was a bit bleak (truly -Fred Astaire musicals were a highlight) , but soccer ruled and at the time Sweden had a contending team (I believe). My memory's a tad vague on that point. Nonetheless, it was all consuming.

Thank God for technology - I tivod the USA vs. Ghana game today and could zoom through it quickly. Ghana dominated, but the USA tied things up. Then extra time - total bummer - Ghana kicked butt and that's the way it goes. Rah for USA - L.Donovan was great but his killer right foot couldn't do it all. Maybe in four years..........who knows??

It's rather amazing to think about how many people in this world are watching soccer. Very cool - brings the world together in a peaceful situation. Let's sing "Imagine" with John Lennon.

So, cheers for the USA. Now who should I root for?? Hmmm............
I have to say, in the world of sports writing - I'm enjoying the Wall Street Journal - they
are awarding best acting awards to the soccer players who collapse on "injury" and then are back for the next play without a limp. Yeah......right.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Laugh Riot Read

My sister introduced me to Jen Lancaster's writing and I'm hooked. I'm also envious. Her style is my style only on steroids. Funny, snarky, colorful - her sentences are laugh out loud snortingly hysterical, and her footnotes are not boring.
Pretty in Plaid follows her life in fashion - through Girl Scout days, Jordache jeans in the eighties, and the ubiquitous navy suit for all upcoming career gals. Yes, comparisons to the Love Boat are made, and slowly Jen works her way in shoes to almost the Manolos. I laughed out loud as she, the political science major, realizes college never prepared her for collating and faxing. How do these machines work?
If you are looking for a light summer read and chuckles galore, I recommend author Jen Lancaster's collection:
Bitter is the New Black: Confessions of a condescending egomaniacal, self-centered smart-ass, or why you should never carry a Prada bag to the unemployment office.
Bright Lights, Big Ass
Such a Pretty Fat
and her latest, which I have not read yet: My Fair Lazy
(Her blog is funny too: )

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

E-Reader Epiphany

Price cuts for e-readers. It's war and I'm still in the paper world. However, I thought I'd comment on something I know nothing about.

I'm a late adopter on most technology. Gasp, I still don't own a cell phone and it's almost become a talking point of amusement to not have one. I will someday. I just don't choose to throw my money at some provider who's giving me the privilege of constantly saying, "Huh?", "What?", and "Call me back", or just hear a plain "click,silence". Did my friend fall off the cliff? Oh, it was just the black hole of Luna and I635.

Anyway, back to e-readers. As a writer, this is a huge, huge publishing conundrum. Should I write for the e-market? Or are the key dollars still in hardcore paper publishing? Tough to say and I've read a ton on the subject with no conclusions.

Amongst friends, some love, love, love their Kindle,et al and download everything. Others say, "It's great for a trip, but when home I stick with old fashioned sales from Half-Price Books or free material from the library." I personally do not like to download and read on the computer. I have not tried any of the e-readers, but the concept doesn't thrill me yet. I truly get tired of being on a computer all day at work. My desire to point and click is nil by 5 pm.

Other friends have e-readers and the novelty has worn off. They are back to tangible books. Another had a Nook, was excited to get her Nook, and after two weeks returned it - not so thrilled after the trial shot. And she's a super duper reader.

The jury is still out from what I understand. Pricing for actual e-books is still up in the air. Recording sales, piracy issues, and the whole cutting up the market segment pie is worrisome to publishers. Apple and the iPad lurk - appealing to younger market trendsetters, it can literally upset the cart.

I'm reading every article (on old fashioned news print) and seeing what shakes out. I just wish I'd bought Amazon stock and Apple stock a long, long, long, long time ago.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

A Cappella Awesome

She stood on the stage of the Meyerson Symphony Hall and sang a cappella - For Good from Wicked. It was an amazing performance and a testimony to the acoustics at Dallas' premiere theater. Wow!

Idina Menzel is a superb talent and an entertainer. For one hour, she enthralled her audience with self-deprecating humor, charm, and a clear voice that interpreted sultry, sassy songs. Cole Porter's Life of the Party and Lady Gaga's Poker Face were just a few of the songs, plus she threw in some Police's Roxanne into her music mix.

I was the tall girl in the back of the church choir who never soloed, and realistically was never actually asked to sing. I was part of the charity program: "Here, you can ring a bell, when I point to you," said the choirmaster. Can't sing, can't dance. So what's a girl to do? Well, be a patron of the arts. I go to shows and support folks who can open their mouths and gloriously sing. Grateful for musicians, songwriters, and performers, I gladly pay to hear someone like Ms.Menzel, who shared her craft, never looked at her watch, and seemed to be enjoying her time in Dallas.

Idina Menzel did not disappoint. It was an astounding evening and of course she sang her showstopper from Wicked, Defying Gravity. I, along with everyone in the Meyerson, soared with her every note.
(I was in the cheap seats and I don't have a fancy phone to take pictures or record performances. Thus I'm grateful to the Dallas Morning News contributor above. I give him full credit for the photo and yes, by scanning it in I'm cheating. But we do pay a full subscription for the DSM and they keep raising rates. I hope they paid him for this picture. Thank you readers for understanding. The written part of the blog is all me.)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Arts in Fort Worth, Tony's on TV

Confession - haven't been writing much or editing either. No good excuses. Flat out - been swimming/water aerobics and exercise is beneficial and healthy. Been reading a lot - sometimes it goes in spurts and, currently, I have a pile of extraordinary material ( The Passage, Pretty in Plaid). Busy at work which involves me sitting at a computer screen for seven and a half hours straight. (okay, yes, I take thirty minutes for a bag lunch and peruse the Wall Street Journal).

Sunday - I chose to view other artists, and treated myself to a Fort Worth day. Strolled through the Kimbell and enjoyed their Asian art on display. Then lunch (!) - tasty turkey on walnut bread plus assorted salads. Yes, I chose their "small" platter and no dessert. Onward to the Amon Carter for a true treat. Ansel Adams:Eloquent Light featured sixty photographs from a master. Black and white vision, patience, and beauty.

Walked briskly back to The Magnolia Theatre at The Modern to see the film Please Give. Artsy angst. It did seem long, but it had some great lines and I love the actress, Catherine Keener. I'd say it was a mixed reaction from fellow film-goers. One man said to his wife, "Now can we go see the A-Team?" Yikes.
Finally, Sunday night, my husband relinquished control of the big screen and I watched the Tony Awards. Love them - great productions, excellent presenters, the winners gave eloquent speeches, and I'm ready to head to New York to see everything. Chatted with my father and we agreed - Come Fly Away - Twyla Tharp choreography to Frank Sinatra music - wow!
So, I might not be creating art at this juncture, but I'm sure appreciating others' talents.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Crazy Hair

Turns out I don't have to dig into the depths of my brain to create a look for a character. It bounces into the living room in the form of eldest son. No, he's not in a band. Merely a whim. Woke up, decided to get a mohawk.
I have to say, as someone who's worn pretty much the same boring hairstyle her whole life (well, my sorta bangs are a tad less crooked than from age six), drastic hair change is out of my comfort zone.
However, this mohawk really got me thinking about his mood, reactions from others, and a full character image.
I see some crazy hair developing in the next chapter I write. This could prove quite amusing.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Recommended Read

Sometimes I visit the library with a purpose. I have a certain author in mind or a book title to find and that's my goal. Most times I browse the stacks and let titles catch my eye or a cover intrigue me. Then I pull out the book, read the blurb, and make a decision. Depends on my mood. I read many genres, often with no rhyme or reason. And yes, sometimes, I want a short book. Other times, I want to hunker down with a tome.

Invisible Boy by Cornelia Read leaped into my hands the other week and I devoured this book. It's so much fun to crack open a story by an unfamiliar author and get drawn into a tale, a voice, and a style.

Madeline Dare is helping a friend clean up an old family cemetery and shockingly finds a small skull and bones, rib bones that show being crushed. Police are called and the mystery commences. Who was the child? Why was he tucked into a corner of this cemetery? Madeline is ultimately hit by a car, threatened, and afraid for herself and family. Yet, her wisecracking sense of humor sends the story into high gear and the pages turning.

When I closed the book, I smiled and said, "Wow." Invisible Boy proved to be a rolicking read, and I shall look for the author's other books. Her style is current, a tad snarky, and tight. This gem was a find, and I shall return to the library seeking other jewels on the shelves.

Have you read a book lately that had that Wow! factor?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Lucky Charm Kick Start

Franz Kafka wrote, "I had a close look at my desk just now and realized that it wasn't designed for quality writing."

I like my little corner of the house. Here's my cork/white board to my left. I pin cartoons, postcards, and jot due dates for submission deadlines.
Upper right from where I sit is a photo Ray took from the top of the John Hancock building in Chicago. It was a gorgeous day and reminds me about perspective. View plot, characters, etc from all angles.

My gargoyle guards the top of my bookshelf and ponders my every word.

This book, from the library, got me thinking about authors. Jonathan Franzen sits in his lucky squeaky office chair - it's battered and worn. Anthony Bourdain counts on nicotine. Jane Smiley uses hot water (i.e. bath or shower) to re-think plot points. Isabel Young hangs pictures of people she doesn't know - boxes bought at a yard sale. Rick Moody reads a set of "Oblique Strategies" instructional cards - writer prompts or phrases. Jonathan Lethem utilizes lists and lists of names (good idea!). And finally, Neil LaBute plays an old classic album In the Wee Small Hours by Frank Sinatra.
The lucky charms/processes must work. These authors keep cranking out quality product.
What's your talisman??