Thursday, July 31, 2008
Remember when I did NaNoWriMo last year and I sent out an email to friends and family that would keep me accountable and honest and writing? The idea is that even if you don't do anything, just having told you will keep me writing because I won't want to lose face for not doing it. And best case scenario, you'll send me emails every now and again to nag or support or see how I'm doing. Well, the fact that I did that was a huge factor in my success last November (I didn't finish a novel, but I did write the requisite 50,000 words in one month).
A friend suggested a few days ago that I take August as my own personal NaNoWriMo month and write 50,000 on TCB. No matter what I do, I'll be further along than I am now, so it seems like a good idea to try. NaNoWriMo last year was tough. I was working full time and in order to write 1,500+ words every day, I neglected cleaning the house and going out with friends, etc. But it was very, very good for me. So, despite everything, I'm going to give it a shot.
So, you don't have to do anything. Just having written this email letting you know what I'm going to try to do is a huge thing in and of itself. BUT, if you'd like to send me emails or give me little calls throughout August nagging me or seeing what my progress is, please do. I'll appreciate it, even if I sound stressed out and tired. I promise. You may have to remind me I said that.
Thank you and love,
I saw this last weekend while in BR. I love Bollywood movies and I love Natalie Portman, so this is a win-win video, though it's VERY, VERY strange, especially the end. Speaking of videos, a friend told me to check out Katy Perry's "I Kissed a Girl" video because it made her like the song a bit less. It's a glossy, pretty video, but pretty stereotypical and obvious. And waaay too gratutitous. Then again, it is for a song called "I Kissed a Girl," which goodness help us all, is way to catchy no matter what else you want to say about it. Wanna see something that's much more unexpected and cool (though, just like the first linked video above, VERY strange)? Go here to see the glorious She&Him in their video for "Why Do You Let Me Stay Here."
Saw Wall-E last Sunday and without bothering with spoilers, let me just say - I cried pretty much the entire movie. Yeah, really. Partly cause my eyes tear up when I'm cold but mostly because I couldn't get over the humanity of the machines in this movie! And the childish, inhuman quality of the humans. One of my favorite movies. Ever. Proof yet again that the Pixar folks are GENIUSES. This is what happens when talented people think.
A friend sent me a forward of homonym humor that she got from her aunt and I was cracking up for an embarassingly long time afterwards. Here's a few:
When two egoists meet, it's an I for an I.
Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.
A chicken crossing the road is poultry in motion.
A lot of money is tainted - it taint yours and it taint mine.
When a clock is hungry, it goes back four seconds.
It's a good thing I don't mind being a dork cause I'm REALLY looking forward to Breaking Dawn tomorrow evening/early Saturday.
Wish me luck on my own personal NaNoWriMo [Guess that would be PerNoWriMo, actually] starting tomorrow!
Sunday, July 27, 2008
I agree that Ledger's more than a "promising" actor because he fulfilled his promise in several films that will be his legacy. But I disagree that even had he lived, Ennis Del Mar would have been his most memorable role/performance. I think it would have been one, one of the top memorable performances. But who know what more he would have done had he lived. Dark Knight demonstrates that. I can't say which is a better performance, Ennis Del Mar or the Joker. BUT, I think Ledger's turn as the Joker definitely proved he had MANY more astounding roles in him.
But it's nice to be reminded of all the wonderful performances we are left with and to know that while they may not be all we want, we're so lucky to have them.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
I saw an item about Hasbro suing the creators of Scrabulous and put a note on Facebook asking why Hasbro didn't just buy Scrabulous. I mean, clearly Scrabulous infringes on Scrabble and Hasbro's online rights. Clearly. But it's so popular, it only makes sense to keep it going. And then, a good friend linked to an article that answered my question and shamed me deeply. Why the shame? I worked for an intellectual property law firm for six months and I *know* why Hasbro doesn't just buy Scrabulous. I just wasn't thinking. But you know, it just goes to show I was never suited for intellectual property litigation (or support thereof). [And you just thought my "not working at law firms" comment was random bitterness! No sirs and ladies, I assure you, it is not random at all.]
For the record, running through water fountains with a bunch of kids while wearing a dress and watching a free public screening of Big Fish is a *lot* of fun. Just why I come to BR to party.
Friday, July 25, 2008
Thursday, July 24, 2008
If you're a reader/reviewer, how do a find *one book*, one special book, in *all those books*?
I'm asking cause I got to thinking while looking through my 1,500+ friends on MySpace, most of whom are writers and I got tingly and overwhelmed looking at all those gorgeous glossy photos, all of those books. How do we stand out? How do we get that book into a reader's hands?
Wanna hear the good, the bad and the ugly here. What do you think?
I submitted some rocking 6-word memoirs to Smith, so go check them out. Eh, they're kinda personal since they are memoirs, even if they are rather short. But I have to get used to being just a bit emotionally naked for when TCB is delivered unto the defenseless world.
My SYTYCD predictions for tonight? I think Comfort and Mark are going home. We'll see. I'm still stunned by Kherington last week, so what do I know?
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
There's sooo much to write about! First, let me say that I will be writing about Dark Knight at the end of this blog, so consider everything else I say in between now and then SPOILER space!!
I've been a subscriber of Entertainment Weekly for years. Recently, they underwent a major facelift. I really like the new look and all that it's brought with it. One of my favorite parts of EW these days is Mark Harris. In the July 25 issue, page 18, he talks about the Katherine Heigl debacle(s) in a kick-ass, cunning way I can only dream of. I was cheering by the end of "Heigl Kicks Heinie" (giggle, so do you Mr. Harris). Here's my favorite line from the essay: "And I like the fact that her mouth - which is not even slightly ugly - is connected to her brain." Thank gawd Heigl has a white knight in Mr. Harris - she doesn't need one, but it's nice to have somebody recognize that she's not talking shit just to talk shit. "My God," Harris says, "do we really want our stars to be that boring? .... Being honest - what a shockingly inappropriate tactic!" When I went looking for the link, I saw that EW has the essay on the front page. They're smart cookies, they are. Even when I'm poor, I pay for my EW, and everything they're doing lately ensures that I'll keep doing so. (There's also a great article on Sugarland in the same issue).
Then, a friend of mine sent me an email linking to this NY Times essay written by my friend Margo Rabb, "I'm Y.A. and I'm O.K." A must read, even if you never plan to write Y.A. because it has a lot to say about genres and publishing and advertising that writers need to hear. Also, as someone who does write Y.A. and also writes other stuff, I'm tired of Y.A. being so disrespected. In the essay, Margo quotes someone saying to her, "My God. That's such a shame" when she tells the person her book is Y.A. WHY? Young adults are the people who still actually read books, after all. Teen-driven books are selling HUGE, getting made into movies and are actually being talked about. There's a lot to be said for a well-respected literary book...if anyone reads it to say anything. If anyone pays attention. But why can't you be a great writer and write Y.A.? Why is it inferior, or selling out? Read the essay.
And this is REALLY cool. A while back, I heard about a book called "Not Quite What I Planned." It's 6 word memoirs by known and unknown writers from the staff of SMITH Magazine. I zipped through 50 pages of it while waiting in the drive through at the bank. It's a quick, powerful, engrossing read. Coolest of all, there's a website and they have ongoing 6-word memoirs as well as calls for submissions on specific topics. Here's some of my favorites so far:
"I asked. They answered. I wrote." - Sebastian Junger
"I still make coffee for two." - Zak Nelson
"Almost a victim of my family." - Chuck Sangster
"Tombstone won't say 'had health insurance.'" - Dean Haspiel [Amen!]
"Made a mess. Cleaned it up." - Amy Henderson
"Boy, if I had a hammer." - Tim Barkow [Amen again, though I don't know what Dean meant.]
Was VERY sorry to see that Estelle Getty died yesterday. I'm really not ready to lose any of the Golden Girls, but especially not Sophia.
Now to Dark Knight. Spoilers - you were warned before, so don't be surprised. Alright, LOVED it. Probably not a surprise if you've heard any of the reviews. Like when I recently saw I'm Not There, I was so engrossed in the movie, in Heath Ledger's performance, that I forgot he was dead. Literally forgot. His Joker is the creepiest, saddest, most frightening villain I think I've ever seen. An anarchist with no compassion, no true history, an ADD kid grown up and stripped of his ability to care about what happens to him or to anybody. Someone who starts fires just to watch them burn. The emotion and the thought behind the plot are completely sound but then there are also those incredible, breathtaking action sequences. Ledger's performance, no matter how stellar, would have faltered if his villain hadn't been given truly devious and diabolical things to do and man did they give him diabolical plans (can YOU answer the essential question: that boat or my boat?). I barely breathed for the last half of the movie and it ALWAYS had my attention, despite it's length. I will say, having thought about it for almost a week, that I think they could've slimmed the movie down and could've saved most of Harvey Dent's transformation into Two-Face for another movie. Two-Face is a good enough villain for his own movie. As it was, the transformation felt a bit rushed, almost disrespectful. A bit bewildering after the emotional upheaval of all the come-backs and the crap-not-coming-backs. That's my ONLY criticism, however. For a while at the beginning, I was more amused than I should've been by Christian Bale's Batman rasp (always been a BIG Bale fan, since Newsies, even if he doesn't like that movie, I do and always will) but then I just bought it, hook, line and sinker. I can easily imagine Oscars for this movie (not just a posthumous one for Ledger), can easily anticipate that it will become a "classic," and I firmly believe that it's better than the original Nolan Batman flick. Really. I don't know HOW he's going to top it with his next, but I'm firmly convinced that if he can't top it, he can make a very, very solid installment to bookend it.
So, whew, after all that. NOW, I'm re-reading the Twilight books before Breaking Dawn comes out, anticipating the movie AND Harry Potter in November. And tonight, I'm going to be smack-dab in front of SYTYCD (REALLY not pleased that Kherington got kicked off last week. She's one of my favorites) with my cell phone only accepting calls from my mother and Julie and only if they want to talk about SYTYCD. Password is: paso doble.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Also, I thought I could just be content that Jessica was out of the competition on SYTYCD and leave it at that. But I was sooo grossed out with her explanation performance (it was a performance and a pretty obvious one at that). All I have to say is this is VERY GOOD timing on her part. She gets to sit like a pretty martyr in the audience instead of working her ass off and she STILL gets to go on the Top 10 Tour. All along, I thought she was the weakest dancer and wanted her off the show, but I still thought that she was probably a sweet girl who handled the criticism well. Now I think she's just grossly, sickly sweet and is waaaay too conniving. Whether or not she's injured, however it was decided to go with this arrangement, Jessica is a very, very lucky girl. Let's hope she continues to be lucky because I think she's too afraid to let her talent speak for her and THAT, regardless of her dance ability, will always keep her from being a great dancer. She has to stop being afraid of being successful on the strength of her ability and she has to learn to step up. When someone cares about you and your talent enough to criticize you in a constructive way, GET BETTER, use the criticism.
I'm going to miss the results show tonight. Which is just as well, probably, because at this point, I like everybody on the show and I'm gonna be sad no matter what.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Well...now that they're (in 9 minutes) about to split up all the dance partners and mix things up, Jessica has now taken herself out of the competition, claiming an injury that the producers only just found out about (all the way since the disco routine, apparently). Comfort's back. I'm going to accept this with good grace and just be relieved that she's off the show and Comfort's been given another chance.
I'm off to enjoy now.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
My neighbors and I had a porch sale on Sunday and made a bit of extra cash. It's nice, having a group of close-knit neighbors, hanging out and looking out for each other. I'm thinking this is something I generally don't ever want to live without again. Papa bear's in town for business, so we had a fun adventure where I wanted to yell at an airport cop a little high on false authority AND THEN almost hit a bicyclist who wasn't obeying traffic laws OR looking as she zipped in front of us in the dead of night. That was pretty scary. We were both pretty shaken and tired after that.
I watched "I'm Not There" with my roommie the other day and was so blown away and confused (let's be honest here) that I watched a good half of it again with the commentary on. FASCINATING. Then I read the Wikipedia article on Bob Dylan and downloaded a bunch of his music (I'd already had a lot, but I got some great covers, etc). I'm an enormous Heath Ledger fan (have been for over a decade) and was really upset about his death earlier this year. Yet, he's such a wonderful actor, I mostly forgot about being sad he was gone while I was watching him. I wasn't thinking, "I'm watching Heath Ledger, who's no longer with us," I was just soooo embroiled in his character and the story. Gives me hope for "The Dark Knight," which I've been kind of wary of watching.
Speaking of movies, I'm excited to see "Mamma Mia!" but very, very sad that my own mamma mia and I won't be in the same city so we can see it together.
So here's something REALLY cool. My good friend Anna (Nana) has started a blog/webcomic called The New PolyAnna. I'm thrilled with the comic. It's uncanny how much the artwork reminds me of the "real" A and W. I begged permission to link to it here. I hope everybody checks it out and enjoys, especially as she adds more strips (HINT, HINT, Anna).
And via After the MFA, here's a great website devoted to not so much promoting proper grammar (though that too, probably) as mocking those instances of wretchedly improper English grammar, English Fail blog.
Saturday, July 12, 2008
It's been soooo long since I've gotten good and sweaty on a dance floor. At the end of the night, my chest tight from other people's cigarette smoke, my legs sore, my hair soaked through, I wondered how it's possible to let go of such a necessary thing. Long monogamous relationships and new cities aside, how did I ever fool myself into thinking I was too grown-up for things like this?
Oh yes, it might've been all the 19 year olds or the drunk zombies who wanted to dance with us. Or the fact that when a dance partner I liked found me, he was finally age appropriate but liked to tease me because I couldn't name the artists of the songs we were dancing to. How do you explain anything on the dance floor? Let alone that for every activity and mood of my life, there is a kind of music, a song, a musician. And the *only* time in my life I like rap and hip hop or barely tolerate electronic is when I'm dancing. Just like I only want classical when I'm writing or focusing on something. And there are only like 3 songs from musicals on my playlist, though I absolutely ADORE musicals. There is a limited, limited amount of rap and hip hop in my playlist and what's there has been vetted by good friends or physically installed by someone else (example: Flight of the Concords was introduced to my playlist by somebody or other checking out my iTunes and immediately making me 2 cds - Patty Griffin, Emmylou Harris and Flight of the Concords, I think he's a bit schizo).
So my taste is extremely eclectic, but I generally don't remember the name of musicians unless I fall in love with the music and take the time to find out a bit about them. Or I play them endlessly. I do like stories behind the songs, but there's so much music in the world to listen to and only a few musicians can have my heart.
And that, guy on the dance floor, is my explanation for why I didn't know the artists' names, though you chose to believe it's because I'm too young to remember the old-school stuff. It was a bit refreshing, though, to be teased for being too young, after dissuading 19 year olds and drunk zombies all night.
Coolness in the form of a website: something to feed my addition for new (to me) music. Cassette from My Ex, a website that has a story behind relationship-based mixed tapes AND includes the playlist and music for the tapes. I'm a happy, happy girl after that find.
To finish up, on another note, I think I should buy a lottery ticket today cause it's getting kinda eerie how things that I have a feeling will happen keep happening. It'd be nice if it paid off in a pleasant way.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
I woke with a giant’s hand pressing me into the bed, a dream still trapped in my cottony mouth and my heavy head. It was a swirl of dizzy colors and feelings, and then it was gone. So reluctant to wake, but so sore, I wondered if it had been a good dream or a bad one, slapping the pile of sheets bunched up on the side of the bed, just like if you’d just woken a second before me. You weren’t there and I listened for the rattling plumbing and running water of the shower. When I didn’t hear it, I frowned and sat up. Maybe I already knew. Maybe I’d always known.
Running my hands down my sleep-worn face, I felt strands of your hair on my fingers. It dispelled the post-dream paranoia a bit and I smiled, brushing them away as I climbed out of bed. “Merrie?” I called for you while I made the bed, but the silent house had that stillness that proves instincts and senses aren’t as dull as we’d like to think. We know things even when we don’t know we do. A ragged scrap of paper fluttered to the floor when I straightened the bedclothes. I leaned over and retrieved it, my skin erupting in gooseflesh when I read the single sentence.
The circus goes away for the winter.
My breath sharpened, shallowed out and I was gasping with shame and panic. My eyes spun around the room it hasn’t happened for years, where’s that inhaler and everywhere, I saw the details of your absence, sudden and staccato where is it where is she. Your camera gone from its place on the bookshelf. In the closet, a large gap on your side, an army of dangling hangers. Dammit, breathe, just breathe. I thought I saw one or two stirring, still swinging from your touch and I heaved to the window and flung aside the curtains. Your car was gone from the driveway alongside the house.
I fell by the window, dread rattling in my chest with every brief breath. When was the last time it happened, Thomas? Your calm voice, steady hand. I think I was twenty, maybe. You held his inhaler. Maybe we shouldn’t fight like this again, you shouldn’t get so upset. Shutting the drawer, your other hand rubbed soft circles on my back. Okay, now?
No, baby. You’re gone. I am not okay.
I crawled to your side of the bed, your note safe in the cave of my hand and I unearthed the inhaler from the drawer of the bedside table—under receipts, empty checkbooks and loose prints of your photographs—right where you’d put it years ago, after my last attack. I inhaled deeply and collapsed against the bed.
The note tickled my hand. Your handwriting, but it didn’t make any sense. It was summer, not winter, and why would you write about a circus at the moment you were leaving me. Had you really left? Were you coming back? I looked around the room, sitting square in the patch of light that always fell across the bed first thing in the morning. I could see, plain as day, how your face looked in that light. I didn’t want to believe you were just gone, couldn’t. You’d taken the car and the camera for a job, I decided. The clothes, the clothes were gone because…
The moment I saw you, I knew you were never going to stay. I’ve always known.
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
I had the post epiphany crash, where you're paralyzed by fear. But it was begun by a weird cleaning frenzy that began about 1 a.m. However, the positive is that I have now thrown away a lot of stuff and set aside stuff for the neighborhood porch sale coming up. I'd like to streamline my stuff. I have too much of it.
And I read a lot today. That's never wasted. Realized something else about the book, when two of the characters come together. It was the end of the initial short story TCB started out as and it's one of the few things that's remained relatively intact. And it's all wrong, I realize today. I'm excited about all these new things. I just feel like there's soooo much to do, both with TCB and with life in general. I'd like to lose myself in thought a bit, like I have been doing, cause that's important. But I'd also love to JUST WRITE. That thought circulates in my head a lot lately: "JUST WRITE, EMILIE." That literally is the answer to all my worries and problems. It always has been.
Got some errands and correspondence tackled, too. So, not a wasted day. Just one where I didn't do what I would've liked to have done. I walked over 5 miles yesterday, though, so that's something I'm happy about, too.
So here's something cool that Frank Warren, founder of PostSecret said that I saw on GalleyCat. I think he deals very well with the issue of honesty in memoir and confessional writing/art. I reminds me a bit of David Sedaris talking about the same issue in the post-Freyian memoir debate. I'll try to find a link to that at a later date. Off to bond with SYTYCD and to
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
I fuss with iTunes a lot when I'm "supposed to be writing." Cause I'm nuts about music and what I want to do with my iTunes library is more clearcut than what I want to do (and feel capable of doing) with my book most times.
Then, just now, I had an epiphany. A true smack-me-now epiphany about TCB. And guess what? Oh hell-no-but-yes, I'm changing the point of view. Yes, really. Oh dear gawd. It kinda occurred to me in a corner-of-my-eye sort of way while I was playing with music. Kinda like when you're driving and you think you see something, then you turn up the radio and try to convince yourself that what you saw was a heat mirage or something. And then the thought, too good to remain un-thought for long, was thought again, more forefront this time. And I think it was the puzzle piece I was missing (or one of them). But click, it's going to mess everything all up and then fix it all over again. I got so excited and mad, I jumped up and ran out of Cheers, Jamey shaking her head at me and knowing exactly where I'm at. I swear, especially today, the two of us are the anchors of this place. She's on one side and I'm on the other and together, we hold it down.
So here's the thing. My novel has three sections with a set number of chapters in each section and within each chapter, three parts. It's three threads, all different chronologically, and these will change within each section, but there will always be three alternating threads in each chapter. Essentially, I got the idea to change the p.o.v. for one of the repeating threads (the third, specifically following a character named Thomas) from the sort of general third limited I'd been using throughout. And then, in a willful bit of unconsciousness, I automatically jumped to the conclusion that the p.o.v. for the two other threads would have to adjust slightly. The kicker is that they're already almost exactly what they need to be to function appropriately with the change I've just realized. I'd always sort of imagined Thread #1 to be third limited p.o.v. and Thread #2 to be much more omniscient. Anybody wanna guess what Thread #3 has now become in this revolution?
The cutest puppy is outside.
But oh yes, that is off topic. It's a puppy, though. Which is always on-topic for me, apparently.
So I have some part-time work coming up that I'm excited about. It will involve me being in Baton Rouge one or two days a week, exciting. That happened yesterday while I was visiting folks up north-ish in the good ol BR.
Saw Wanted and it was just as delish as I'd hoped. *This* is the "old-fashioned" goodness of summer blockbusters, back at last, at least in this movie (though the summer does look kinda promising). Used to be I saw at least one movie every week and this is probably only the third or fourth I've seen this year. Since moving to Nola where the theaters are "better" and I've been working in the industry, somehow I've gotten out of my sweet old habit. Wanted addicted me all over again and now I'm excited to see WALL-E and Get Smart. Angelina Jolie is her best bad-ass self in this, yes, and James McAvoy spends 90% of the movie incredibly ugly in a good way (as in, yay, a good actor doing his thing). The story is predictable in the I-feel-smart way rather than the this-plot-is-incredibly thin way. And fun. Did I mention fun?? Some really incredible stunts and great driving (I love me some great movie driving) and it's a movie that has a tone, builds the texture of its world and keeps to it. Gives me hope for the inevitable sequels.
I actually made a schedule for myself and did alright keeping to it. Was more productive than I would have otherwise been.
But before I sign off and get back to being productive, let's just talk about dreams for an instant. Recently I've had two incredibly detailed dreams that feature celebrities I really like (the first, Natalie Portman and the second, Drew Barrymore and Justin Long). The first also deals specifically with my career and the second very prominently about my love life. A few days after I had the first dream, involving Natalie Portman (who wanted to option TCB for herself to play the lead), I told my sister about it. She told me, "I had a dream recently that I visited you on the set of a movie you'd written." I woke up thinking, "Yeah, Natalie Portman would make a good Zolly. WEIRD, but obviously the Universe speaking to me and telling me to write. Signal received, Universe. Loud and clear. In the second dream, I was retained as Drew Barrymore's stand-in (I've been told I look a bit like her my whole life) and in my dream, Drew Barrymore and Justin Long broke up. So today, I found out that they really did! Hmmm. Universe - this message is not quite so clear. Unless you're trying to convince me that my dreams come true, therefore my Dreams (a la First Dream) will come true. Okay, I'm satisfied with that interpretation. Just send me another Eerie Dream if that's not the right one.
Back to productivity land. I've got LOTS of rewriting to do. Again.
Thursday, July 3, 2008
Also, right after I posted the last bit about commercials and anniversaries, etc., an enormous ad popped up for Sonic, all by itself. I do not lie (see above) or exaggerate (much).
The really good news is that I'll never have to worry about being unable to find Pear's *anywwhere* because Australians aren't going to let that happen. Smart people. LOL. Thank you, sleepydumpling.
UPDATE: I found their official website and asked them where to buy it in the South. :)
So something I did not discuss on the 1st that's been on my mind. July 1st, 2008 marked a decade that I've been in Louisiana and I'm coming up on a year in New Orleans. Anniversaries and such really matter to me and for a long while I was trying to contemplate a fitting celebration. Being un(self)employed has drained my finances and energies for a big celebration, but then I realized that *every day* here is a celebration for me. Sorry to be corny, but it's true. Every little thing about living in New Orleans reminds me that, for perhaps the first time in my entire life, I'm home in a place not because of who else lived there but because of the place itself.
Also, the 1st is a very good friend's birthday and I forgot to send her felicitations. Will go do so immediately.
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Well, apparently Pears Soap, which I got into because I bought it at Walgreen's once is no longer carried by any Walgreen's in the known universe AND is only made at ONE FREAKING FACTORY in India. If anything happens to that one freaking factory in India, no more Pears soap. And I have to wait till I have money again to buy an entire case of the stuff (no joke) before I can get anymore. But at least I can get some more, which is not the case with Vintage Vanilla.
When I am a rich and famous writer (a la JK Rowling), I will use my powers not for good or evil, but to coerce Gap and that one freaking factory in India to make Vintage Vanilla and Pears just for me. And maybe the people I like. Maybe.