Friday, January 27, 2006

Tar Pits

Pre-outlining. I’ve been a little bit stuck, you maybe noticed if you’ve read much here lately.

I posed a question over at Artful Writer, wondering what particular story chunks other writers need in hand or mind before they’re ready to outline (or write, as in the case of those brave and/or brilliant souls who can get there without foreplay).

Problem was, I had plenty of chunks, but it still wasn’t happening. (Guess what– outlines don’t write themselves. There were a few mornings I woke up, checked the computer and was surprised to find this out.)

A friend suggested a stream of consciousness exercise to help determine which of my story ideas would spark me most. That helped. I ended up combining two of them, which fleshed out the whole deal in my mind a lot more.

A lot more.

‘Cause suddenly I can feel the world of my story hovering just outside the realm of the world I live in. It’s 3-D and I can sense the sounds and colors and life over there. It exists and I made it.

Too ethereal for you? It’s kind of like sensing the neighbors in the apartment next to yours. You haven’t been inside, but you have a vague idea of what their pad looks like and who they are.

So, it looks like I’ve pulled myself up onto the bank of the tar pit, but I’m not out of danger, yet. There’s a T-Rex breathing hot on the back of my neck, goes by the name of “Laziness.”

And if I don’t watch out, he’s gonna bite me on the ass.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

La la la... The Theme Meme

Thanks to Michael Starrbury over in Apartment Two, we now have the "Top Ten Television Themes" meme to procrastinate with. So, without further ado and in no particular order, ten T.V. themes that make me smile, tap my feet or feel anticipation of some sort are:

The Partridge Family
All in the Family
Makin' It
Laverne & Shirley
Twin Peaks
Ally McBeal
Malcolm in the Middle
Two and a Half Men

(Not a comprehensive or well-thought-out list. List subject to change at any time.)

Tagging Brett, Shawna and -- since he's at least partially responsible for the happy that hits me when I hear the Cheers theme -- Ken. Have at it!

Friday, January 13, 2006

*Ahem!* Meme meme!

MaryAn tagged me with the scribosphere meme, so here goes:

ONE (1) earliest film-related memory:

I guess I was 4, or thereabout. I remember walking past lobby cards clutching what was, to me, a huge bag of popcorn… entering the theater and looking up at that enormous screen in anticipation of a Disney movie (which shall remain nameless, so that I might remain ageless…)

TWO (2) favorite lines from movies:
(Only two?! Are you trying to kill me?)

Saturday, Donny, is Shabbos, the Jewish day of rest. That means that I don't work, I don't get in a car, I don't ride in a car, I don't pick up the phone, I don't turn on the oven, and I sure as shit don't fucking roll! Shomer shabbos!

~ ~ ~

You know it's funny. We started out like this, Helen and I. We had blank walls, we hung things, we picked out tiles together. Then you know what happens? Six years later you find yourself singing "Surrey with a fringe on top" in front of Ira!

THREE (3) jobs you'd do if you could not work in the "biz":

Interior Designer
Public Relations Manager

FOUR (4) jobs you actually have held outside the industry:

Camp counselor
Singing telegram

THREE (3) book authors I like:

Richard Bach
Nick Hornby
Diana Gabaldon

TWO (2) movies you'd like to remake or properties you'd like to adapt:


Stop laughing. They were magical when I was a kid, but the magic was disappointingly gone when I saw them as an adult. I’d love to rework the stories so they’d be magical to me again.

ONE (1) screenwriter you think is underrated:

Cameron Crowe

THREE (3) people I'm tagging to answer this meme next:

  • Brett

  • Tina

  • Ryan

  • Addendum: Since Michael Starrbury over in Apartment Two was kind enough to tag me with his "Top Ten Television Themes" meme, I'm tagging him with this one, though rigormortis has long since set in and the maggots have had their way with it.

    Monday, January 09, 2006

    When I was a kid, Grandma drove a cranberry-colored Mercedes sedan.

    Doubt it was as cool in reality as in my recollection, but I sure loved that car.

    Grandma was an elementary school science teacher back then and used to take me to the natural museum for little field trips when I was the only grandchild old enough to go. (Thanks to her, I didn’t flip out last year when some tiny black snakes found their way into the house while my husband was out of town.)

    Sometimes I’d swing by Grandma and Grandpa’s condo on a lunch break from my first post-college job. During one of those lunches, back when PRETTY WOMAN was in theaters, Grandma told me, “I saw that Julia Roberts on television the other day. She’s really not that pretty. She reminds me of you, dolling.”

    Snort. “Thanks, Grandma.”

    “Oh, you know what I mean.” Chuckle. Dismissive wave.

    Grandma’s married name is Ethel Herman, yet despite the similarity of name to one of this country’s first divas, Grandma’s never been known for her lovely singing voice.

    Except, perhaps, to Grandpa.

    One big family dinner, Grandpa was mid-sentence when Grandma sang a verse, apropos of nothing. The whole table went quiet. Grandpa forgot what he was about to say. Then he smiled and said, almost to himself, “Oh, she sent me.”

    Grandpa did it right. About eight years ago. He was 86 and in generally good health. Fell asleep on the sofa and just never woke up.

    Grandma is probably doing it tonight. That’s what the hospice folks say. I remember how frustrated she’d get back when she was sharp enough to feel the Dementia coming on. The last few times we visited, she barely opened her eyes long enough to enjoy her great-grandchildren. If Grandma were a dog, she’d have been permitted a humane and dignified exit years ago. However, she’s a demented old lady in a nursing home who, apparently, has decided to take matters into her own frail hands and has stubbornly refused to eat since Saturday.

    You go, Grandma.

    Tuesday, January 03, 2006

    Champagne Wishes and Caviar Dreams

    I wore pink on New Year’s Eve. (It’s the new black. Or-- crap, maybe that was that last year…)

    Our evening was spent at one of those affairs you start talking about weeks in advance, wondering about the food and entertainment long before the big night arrives.

    Munchie, age 7, remembers last year’s gala event – we found a Stooges marathon on cable. But Malfoy, now 4, conked out early on the last night of 2004. This year, however, she was determined to stay up and watch the sparkly ball fall down.

    The popcorn was popped to perfection and my husband saw to it that the juice boxes were never empty. Munchie and Malfoy provided running commentary (“Ooh! Mariah Carey is beautiful!”)

    Party-hopping is never a good idea. That’s how we found ourselves subjected to the dulcet tones of the Philbins’ Winter Wonderland

    The minutes ticked by like hours and as midnight finally approached, we almost lost Malfoy. I tickled her awake just as the first ripple of anticipation rolled through Times Square.

    With my pink pajamas wrinkling beneath squirmy little-girl tushies, we all counted backward and watched that sparkly ball fall down.

    Rather than explode in a cacophony of fireworks, Suburbia stuttered and sputtered, then quickly simmered down, so Sully, the 150 lb. lap-dog kept his barking-at-nothing to a minimum. And my husband -- resplendent in black sleepy-shorts and a T-shirt -- kept his yelling-at-the-frigging-dog to a minimum as well.

    So, this one wasn’t a champagne and caviar New Year’s Eve. No sparkling gown, no Spago, no limo. I’ve had nights like that before and I expect I will again.

    But my wishes and dreams from those days led me to this place. And Wolfgang Puck can’t compete with sleepy little girls. And a limo is no match for a big, warm human pillow…

    …which is where I’m headed right… about… now.

    (Happy New Year!)