Monthly Archives: June 2008

From Cheers with love

So it’s been a while, my digital friends. Where have I been, what have I been doing?

Firstly, I should say that before I left Nola to go to Atlanta, I was lucky enough to catch a free New Orleans Bingo! Show at Tipitina’s. Whewwwweeee! This was *just* what I needed, doncha know? Despite the fact that it was P-A-C-K-E-D and I’m extremely claustrophobic (does claustrophobic mean dislikes strange drunk people touching her?), it was an amazing show. Loud and chaotic, filled with personality and phenomenal music. So many, many people have been telling me that I have to see the New Orleans Bingo! Show over the past few years, but it hadn’t happened yet. I’m glad this was my first show, their first show at Tips, it turns out. Who cares if I was set to leave for Atlanta SUPER early in the morning — I was out swaying and sweating with hundreds of folks to their delicious tunes.

The trip to Atlanta started a few hours later than I’d planned and except for a tiny bit ‘o rain (aka buckets and buckets, but only for about 2 minutes at a time) was uneventful. Here’s the rub – the job I’d been hoping for in Atl was not to be, though I hung out for a week to see if the tides would turn. Got to spend some time with my parents and work on the novel (or attempt to work on the novel, Butt In Chair, as they say). At the end of the week, the owner of my Atl Cheers knew me by name and was sad to see me go. I did not make it out to the Claremont Lounge (“Where whores go to die”) as recommended by somebody or other, but it was still a good trip.

And let me tell you, while I was happy to be with my parents and in a new environment, I was so homesick for Nola that my whole body hurt! It was a relief to get back, physically and emotionally. It would’ve been different if I’d been busy working, I think, rather than ruminating, but everything happens for a reason.

Spent a bunch of time with somebody or other upon my return, sent out resumes to more film jobs and even managed a quick jaunt to BR and dinner with bestest buddy while I was there.

And you know what I did this Friday night past? I went out and extra’d for the movie Mardi Gras, dressed up for a “Maxim party” that felt rather more like a lock-in and met a few fun folks there, most in the same boat.

Got to catch up with my buddy Clarence on Saturday – go check out his link because dude’s got some fabulous books out.

Good news is that I’m doing a bit of freelance, which makes me happy and doing alright on TCB. Also, the new roomie is fantastic thus far. He held the fort while I was gone and nothing seems too badly singed. Bad news…I’m determined that there is none. Everything has a silver lining!

So some stuff I’ve been thinking about.

Katherine Heigl withdrawing her name from Emmy consideration. Whoa. Personally, I am a HUGE Katherine Heigl fan and have been before probably anybody else (yes, even you folks who think you “discovered” her on Roswell), since I saw My Father the Hero waaaaay back when. Anybody who’s watched her career knows that she’s got moxie (for good or for better) and she doesn’t follow the tart of Hollywood playbook. She’s pulling ballsy moves more akin to male counterparts, making her moves publicly and loudly. But because she’s a woman, she gets called ungrateful and a bitch. She’s walking a fine line, the razor’s edge. I think she’ll be a winner in the end. I think now that she’s done a few smarter-than-your-average-still-box -office-gold rom-coms, she’s going to be getting better and better scripts and she’ll be choosing smarter and stronger roles (though, love her or hate her, most of her character selections have been *smart*). The article I linked to was just a random selection, but I love that a Grey’s “insider” decried her for her lack of loyalty to the same writers who made her a household name, the writers who accommodated her movie schedule, etc. Let’s look at this for a sec. Yeah, the role made her a household name, but part of that package is her own acting. And even before the Emmy nominations became public, folks were speculating whether the Grey’s writers were sabotaging her because they had to accommodate her movie roles by giving her stupid plotlines through the season till the end. AND let’s not forget that Heigl’s popularity due to Grey’s and her movie roles reflects back on Grey’s in a good light and keeps viewers loyal (I don’t watch the show, I should confess). I’m a writer, so I understand that writers are so essential but generally poorly respected in Hollywood. But I think Heigl should be given some props for speaking her mind. Love her or hate her, this is no blonde bimbo touting the company line. I suspect that she’s in danger of alienating some of the folks that have helped her with her best roles, but that her private relationships with these folks will likely win out. There’s still ONE role I’m dying to see her play. I’ll let you know if it happens, but no more on that for now.

This is from a while ago, but it’s still interesting. Haven’t heard much about the memoir, but hurrah for writers surviving over horrible people in their pasts!

And I continue to be fascinated by Emily Gould’s (mis)adventures and Gawker’s intriguing obsession with her. From GalleyCat, some speculation about a manuscript that’s doing the rounds and the potential fears of some editors/publishers in taking her on.

In the meantime, thank goodness for my neighborhood and my excellent neighbors. Also, my friends and mentors. What would I do without you people?

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Soooo tired, happy and excited, but also sad

Yeah, you try keeping up with all that emotion. 🙂 It’s tough.

The movie’s winding down. Tomorrow’s my last day. Trying to get everything wrapped up at work, new roommate getting settled AND about to rush over to Atlanta to try and get that short film job. So, best case scenario, I won’t be back for 3 weeks, so I have to pack accordingly. Today is my friend Jenn’s birthday and some friends of mine from BR are coming to Nola tomorrow and it’s probably my last chance to see one of them for a loooooong time. So, I’m a little emotional and crazy right now.

From Maud Newton’s blog via After the MFA:

“Recently I’ve been writing nonfiction about some of these experiences. Initially the essays felt like a distraction from the larger, far more urgent (pretend the last four words are encased in giant quotation marks) work of my book, not to mention uncomfortably revealing. But now I believe getting them out of my system is helping me focus on the story I’m really trying to tell.

The vast accumulation of crazy things I need to fictionalize and fit into my novel somehow had become the major impediment to finishing the book — the reason the story was so unwieldy and bloated. I’m guessing this is a common problem for first novelists.

Now I’m trying to stay mindful of Twain’s advice: “A successful book is not made of what is in it, but what is left out of it.”

Yeah, I think I needed to hear that today.

Then, through GalleyCat, I found out about this organization called the Girl Effect that has an amazingly touching and thought-provoking video that will pop up as soon as you go to the website here.

Also, the mystery of the huge memoir that Gawker and GalleyCat were so obsessed with has been solved. Here, via GalleyCat.

Who knows when I’ll write again. They’re demolishing the office I work in tomorrow morning, so probably no Internet and tomorrow evening will be hectic. Probably Sunday.

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Via Gawker

A portrait of Tom Lefroy, potentially the love of Jane Austen’s life, one of only two known images of him, was found at an antiques fair. I liked Becoming Jane, which dealt with Austen’s perhaps love affair with Lefroy and it’s the moment I started liking James McAvoy (I’d been on the fence before). I absolutely fell in love with Pride and Prejudice and Lefroy is supposed to have been the basis for (swoon) Darcy himself. Yes, I know, stereotypical, but it is Darcy, for pete’s sake. I love that Colin Firth is so indelibly linked with Darcy that he played the character twice (Pride and Prejudice BBC and Bridget Jones’s Diary).

In other McAvoy news, his movie Wanted looks awesome. And, also via Gawker, there’s a clip of a man going beserk in an office that turns out to be a viral marketing video for Wanted? Eh? It’s a fake and I’d like to think that I would’ve known it was a fake, but… who am I to say? I already knew it was a fake when I saw it. LOL. It’s kinda ingenious, I expect. Someone says, “Hey, did you see that clip of the guy going nuts in his office?” (or links to it on a blog…) and then everyone goes to look and sees, WHAM, a big ad for Wanted on the right of the video clip. Also, I think McAvoy’s character is an office worker before he discovers he’s a super duper assassin man. I don’t care if their advertising is slick and sick, I still want to see this movie.

Also, via Gawker (they have some good stuff up today), Britney Spears has chosen her burial plot. Oh Gawker, you sick funny deviants:

“We like to imagine that the service, before she is entombed in Hollywood Forever, will consist of mournful piano renditions of her hit songs like “I’m Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman” and “Lucky,” while her two sons, wearing sailor costumes, slowly waltz.”

No calls or visits tonight, friends, SYTYCD is on. You know what this means. Or you should, by now, if you love me at all.

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My favorite wrap gift

Life is crazy at the moment. The movie is ending and I was anticipating a scary and thrilling period of unemployment, but now it looks like I’ll be going to my hometown to work on another, quick film. Yay! Exciting. But it’s all happening very fast and I’m having to straighten out how life here is going to work without me while I’m gone. I have a new roommate, one of my cats is on 4 prescription medications right now and has to go back to the vet in about a week and luckily, I have the most amazing neighbors ever.

And here is a picture of my favorite wrap gift so far. One of the guys here, my buddy Mr. Bad (as he calls himself), came into the office with a block of oak and said, “Here’s a present for you, don’t say I never gave you anything,” as a joke (I think, I hope). I said, “Thanks, I really want it and I’m getting everybody to sign it.” So I went around and got all the guys left in my department to sign it. I think it’s my favorite wrap gift.

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Twinkies

Yeah, I’m hungry and there’s no food in the house. Watch this video about “cloning” Twinkies at home. Worth watching for the 13 year old name-brand Twinkies. LOL.

Happy birthday to my papa bear.

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First lighthouses, now pyramids

First a lighthouse went missing, now a “missing” pyramid was found. 🙂

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Early morning amusement

From the Mirrormask IMDB page:

According to an interview with ‘Neil Gaiman’, the original computers used to do all of the CG were named after the Beatles (John, Paul, Ringo, George). Later a fifth computer was required, so it was named Yoko. Soon after the fifth computer was introduced, the network crashed and could not be restored properly (“the computers refused to talk to each other”). A new server and computers were purchased and named after The Ramones (Joey, Jonny, DeeDee and Tommy). Gaiman said “I wish I knew more about the history of The Ramones; the computers performed brilliantly, vibrantly and died an untimely – and early – death”

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Writing today from the belly of a hurricane

At my current job, in a tiny plywood office with an ENORMOUS fan blowing all the paperwork around me. I guess that would be a tornado instead of a hurricane, but it reminds me of the way the trees bend in the wind when a storm is brewing up.

So, I am in love, love, love with Patty Griffin. Like the best music, I feel like I found her myself, like she’s speaking only to me when she sings. This woman’s voice is so incredibly powerful and tender, full of yearning and grit. It’s a little bit all Patty all the time in my house right now. Especially her song “Trapeze,” which instantly went into the soundtrack for TCB. “Rowing Song” is also really good and she has amazing covers of “Tracks of My Tears” and “Moon River.” This woman is phenomenal. I had goosebumps listening to her last night and I actually sat still and closed my eyes to listen, which I almost never do when I’m at home. I’m always multitasking. I sat there and thought, “The universe does always know what I need and look, it gave me Patty Griffin.”

**

A few days ago, I watched August Rush, and I have to say I liked it a lot. I’d heard some bad things about it and it was sentimental and rather implausible, but I’m a sap for movies like that. I love Keri Russell too. And Jonathan Rhys Meyers. And Terrence Howard. And Alex O’Laughlin, who was in Moonlight (so sad! damn CBS!) and plays Jonathan Rhys Meyers’ brother here. Lotta goodness, right there. But it occurred to me later that, like Sleepless in Seattle and other great examples, the two romantic leads probably share less than a total 45 minutes of screen time. So many romantic stories are so concentrated on how two people get together after being so distant. And that’s probably appropriate. But I like stories like The Cutting Edge where the romantic leads spend LOTS of time together, fighting and being their horrible selves before they finally get together. LOL. I have no problem imagining those characters spending their lives together. I wonder what that says about me. Anyway, the music’s great in August Rush, as you’d expect it to be in a movie about music.

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A lighthouse in Cape Cod became a mystery when it went missing in 1925 (believed to have been destroyed). It was recently discovered that it was moved to Point Montara, California. The juicy story broke in Lighthouse Digest. Lighthouse Digest! How amazing is that? They still don’t know the details of how they moved it to California.

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Reminded me a bit of A Rose for Emily, but two locals lived with a decaying corpse – no one knows how long just yet. A former teacher of mine is mentioned in the article, so there was a random moment of pride in there, mixed together with the horror and disgust.

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I’m amused watching everyone speculate about the “Mystery Memoir” on GalleyCat. Here’s the latest, getting increasingly rabid.

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Here’s something interesting from Gawker about bloggers writing about their kids, oversharing and all of the things I worry about as a newbie blogger.

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And Gawker again, talking about stealing news stories. Haven’t read it yet, but it’s bound to be amusing.

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For the first time in a long time, a full scene came to me while I was brushing my teeth (or whatever I was doing) and I jumped for a notebook to scribble it down by hand. Pretty invigorating. I miss how handwriting feels, the freedom I feel writing that way as opposed to the computer. TCB is coming along slowly, but I am so very happy with the 70 or so pages I have. Even the ones I know that need a lot of cleaning up. I’m finally on the right track with this damn thing. 🙂

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Poetic justice, they say

So, some college kids trashed Robert Frost’s house and part of their punishment was they had to attend two sessions covering Frost’s poetry.

I think it’s a great idea, but I don’t think two sessions is nearly enough. Why not a whole semester’s worth of classes? Probably cause they couldn’t get somebody to donate their time for a whole semester to teach the class. But still. I think this kind of punishment takes some real time to impact.

At the end of the article, the kids are described as declining snacks to leave as quickly as possible – seems to me like they didn’t learn anything and they’re just eager to get out of the room.

But it’s something. A beginning.

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I love my library

A good library is important in my life. The New Orleans library is excellent. When you think of how they’re still affected by the storm, that says a lot. But I swear one or more of the librarians is keeping tabs on my checked out books and is renewing them for me. I could’ve SWORN I had books due this Friday and now they’re due in two weeks. LOL.

The New Orleans library hosts a book sale on Saturdays and a few Saturdays ago, I was down and out, completely grumpy and I found one of my favorite books of all time, The Catswold Portal, in the original paperback, good condition (a little faded) for 10 cents. There’s nothing that lifts my spirits like that. Even though I have a copy of just about every edition of this book, I bought it anyway for a possible future gift for somebody. And it can replace the original copy I have that someone spilled coffee on (you shall remain nameless in blogland, but know I still hold you accountable, you know who you are).

Which reminds me of a post I wrote on MySpace about a truly transcendental book find. I’ll repost it here now:

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

a moment
Current mood: exhausted

So…

I won’t go into a lot of detail, but for personal reasons, my life has been pretty painful and lonely lately. I won’t depress you with that, I’m here to talk about something else, a moment that made me happy and took me OUT of that.

We all love books, huh? I think I’ve assembled 888 people here who genuinely love books.

Have you ever read a book you loved, especially as a child, and then lost it? That book you look for at every book sale, in every used bookstore, thriftstore, etc.?

For my mom, it was Five Smooth Stones, a book about an interracial couple written during the 50s or 60s, I believe. For her 50th birthday, my dad and I found this book online and gave it to her–it was $50 because it was hard to find, etc. Ironically, later that same year, I found another copy of it at the Friends of the LSU Library book sale (awesome book sale, happens every year over 3 days) for 50 CENTS. And, I’ve found a copy of it every year since then (always for 50 cents) and compulsively, I have to buy it. Of course, now you can find the book pretty cheaply online, so I can’t even profit from my compulsion. BUT, my mom has 4 or 5 copies of her favorite book. 🙂

Well, now I will tell you another saga of booklove.

I read this book, a pulpy Christian-ish (i.e. C.S. Lewis) adventure book while I was in 3rd grade. It was in my elementary school library. I have always remembered really loving this book and I had a vague idea of the title.

Maybe 2 years ago, I found a book/author that was likely THE book, but I couldn’t tell from the materials (descriptions are almost always leaner for out of print books). I couldn’t buy a copy because the cheapest you could find even a crappy copy of it for online was $100. Yeah, it’s that rare.

So I pushed it to the back of my mind, along with Dragon Sword and Wind Child, another book I love that’s translated from the Japanese and impossible to find online for less than $100. Right now, I can’t justify spending that much on a book, as much as I love it.

But I kept thinking about it. I kept thinking how it’d be cool to use my publishing contacts to get this book back into print and how I could use my screenwriting skills to write the screenplay and then it’d be an awesome movie. Walden Media would love it.

Over Christmas break, I stayed with my parents for 10 days and I discovered that there was a copy at their local library (the BEST library system in the world). I re-read it and sure enough, it WAS the book I remembered. I read the whole thing in a few hours before I left town the next day (it took that long to get ahold of it). My passion was renewed, but I didn’t know how I was going to afford a copy of it.

So, three months later I’m at the Friends of the LSU Library book sale, on the last day, which is half-off day. I’ve found a few cool things over the first two days, but nothing mind-blowing. AND I almost always find something mind-blowing and exciting at this book sale (over two years, I bought almost the entire collection of Rod McKuen’s poetry books for my mom). I was a little disappointed, drifting through the kid’s section where I’d found some cool Oz books and copies of the Narnia books in the original numbering (you know, when The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was #1). I found more of those books and (COOL!) some Choose Your Own Adventure books. I was thinking about heading for the register when–

I see it. The book. I GASPED and SNATCHED that book up so fast all of the people around me were craning to see what I’d found. I trembled as I peeked to see how much it was. The blood was pounding in my ears. It was 20 cents–10 to me because it was half off day.

But better yet, it was:

the SAME edition I’d read in 3rd grade and
in PERFECT condition
for 10 CENTS!

I almost started crying.

I consider myself more spiritual than religious and I don’t often say (or think) things like this, but…it was one of those moments (silly as this might sound) where you could kind of feel the hand of a generous god on you and I just got this wave of:

“You know, right now, your life SUCKS. It really does and I’m sorry for that, but it’s something that will make you better. Here’s something to show you that despite everything, you are SUPPOSED to be RIGHT where you are in place and time, feeling EXACTLY what you’re feeling.”

And that, in a not-so-nutshell is why I love books.

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