Saturday, July 30, 2011

Writers Belong In Jail

A novel idea proposed in a New York Times article by Tony Perrottett. He begins with the story of the unsavory character Marquis de Sade and his prolific/horrendous writing because of incarceration and follows through with several writers who did so because they were so restricted in their freedom. Especially from the internet slaves of email etc.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Faustina and the Lesson of Voice

I sat on the cold hard floor of the Getty museum with 20 other adults, trying to sketch a marble statue. The subject was Faustina the Elder, the Empress and wife of Antoninius Pius, Emperor of Rome. We made several different sketches with different instructions from the teacher/artist. Each person made four drawings. Some of the sketchers discovered they were natural artists, others did not. I learned the latter.
At the end of the exercise, the instructor had us lay out our sketches for everyone to see.
We were all sketching the same marble statue and for the most part, all the drawings represented Faustina the Elder, BUT...they were all so distinctly different. Apprx. 40 drawings of the same object all interpreted differently. Some were classic, some comical, some primitive; others emphasized lines and the geometry of the space, others were embellished with background.

The lesson was apparent-this was VOICE, the indescribable, coveted, VOICE. It can't be imitated, it can't be copied. It is only truly voice if it is original. Drawn from what is at the core, only us. Nothing else.

Friday, July 22, 2011

While I Was at the Getty Villa...

I just spent three days studying antiquity, art acquisition and preservation at the Getty Villa in Malibu California. It was a fantastic experience and I loved every moment of it.
While I was there...the beginning seeds of a new story began to emerge.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

I Met My Antagonist Character Yesterday

I drove to SLC for a wedding and while heading for the freeway, I saw my character Kels. She was sassy, confident and lost. She was crossing the street that I was turning on. She wore white hotpants that barely covered her cheeks, knee high white boots trimmed with fur and had an unbelievable attitude apparent from behind. I never saw her face but I did see her do a sidekick to trigger the crosswalk sign.
I was anxious to get home but in hindsight I wish I would have followed her, even asked her if she needed a ride...but I didn't, cause I knew she'd be trouble.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Then and Now

When I was in the battle trenches of motherhood, time alone was as splendid as ceasefire. But times have changed and now, time alone, is more of the norm. So much, that I reach out to spend time with others instead of being alone.
My half-week in Malibu was by myself so I called Melissa and was lucky to spend two of my free nights with her.
My upcoming week in Century City at the SCBWI-LA was also going to be spent alone--until I learned a dear friend and her daughter have to be in LA. I offered my hotel room for the company I will enjoy. A simple call to the Hyatt and they changed my king size room to double beds. I'll work and concentrate hard during the conference then hopefully will have friends to dine with at night. Life is good and inclusive.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Fabulous Book Information

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Passion in The Raft of the Medusa

The little woman who was referred to as starting the Civil War was visiting Paris in the spring of 1853 (McCullough 216). She spent her days exploring the city and once while in the Grand Galerie of Le Louvre, she made this astute observation concerning the paintings on display: There were too few from a distance and close up that were "glorious enough to seize and control my whole being." Harriet Beecher Stowe felt that too many artists, "painted with dry eyes and cold hearts, thinking little of heroes, faith, love or immortality."

I ponder the impact of Uncle Tom's Cabin and think that it was written with all the passions she claimed were missing in the great paintings worthy of hanging in the Louvre. However, there was one painting that she spent one hour just looking at. It was Theodore Gericault's The Raft of the Medusa. It's a remarkable painting and shares the emotion that emerged from the paintbrush and the pen.

I will be contemplating how to write with tears, a warm heart, while thinking of heroes, faith, love and immortality. What a book it would be.

WIP 21,959

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Matthew's Drama Students

I met a man named Matthew who is the drama teacher at a middle school for performing arts in Hollywood California.
I asked him if he came across some incredible talent. Yes, he did and though he found that there were a lot of talented kids, he encountered only rarely, the few talents that were so outstanding that he recognized them right away. It seemed the kid was born that way. Matthew may be right, but by the time he sees the students they've already been developing/honing their skills for 12 years.
I wish I was the kind of talented writer with the knock-out voice. Pure, gifted, talent - but I think it can be something developed or that it is always something developed. How do I know how long she's been working on that voice. Pure writing may just look like it's a pure gift.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Current WIP at 18,935 Words

AND an email from a senior editor who is taking a collaborative work to acquisitions. It may be a long two months of waiting, hoping and praying. I'm not going to think about it...I'm not going to think about it.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Writing Collaboration

Sometimes when Becca, Annie and I sit around a table and I'm reading my words, I get this wonderment that someone takes me serious.

Creativity is a precious thing and flourishes in the right environment. I'm thankful for the precious few moments I share with these women.

16, 415 words in the current WIP.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

14,800 Words in the New WIP

I've never written like I'm writing right now. I have the whole plot mapped out. The idea/plot has been percolating for many months. I even put it on the back burner, literally forgot about it, re-found it, realized it had possibility and started working on it again. So I started writing it. Went for a walk on the beach and the innuendos, ins-and-outs came in that one hour time.

I knew what was going to happen so I was free to write the scene I felt like. I've written the very last scene, the in-betweens and now I just go through and fill in what is left out. It's an amazing way to write-it's how I write short pieces and usually how I wrote my newspaper columns. But the length required for a YA novel--I was incapable. Until now.

I gave the premise, peppered with written, unedited scenes to my two writing partners and they both gave nods of approval. Working hard.

A Masterpiece

I found this creation on the beach while walking home with my mom from a delicious dinner at Chez Loma. I continued my walk, then returned to take a few photos. I wish I'd seen the master at work. He took a simple element: sand, and turned it into an enjoyable artifact. I wasn't the only person taking photos-wanting to make it last, because it was after all, a sandcastle.
The creation out of sand got me thinking about the simplicity of words and how the right combination can make us laugh, cry or change our lives. Yet words are just representations put to symbolic lines, dots, arches. Unlike sandcastles, the right combination of words can last forever: the constitution, marriage vows, ancient texts, famous speeches. Yet, so much that is written will, like sandcastles, get washed away with the outgoing tide.
This comparison makes me want to excel at building great word combinations with the power to endure.