Sunday, April 23, 2006

Dark Screen, Dark kitchen, Bright Literary Light

Yesterday, I finally changed my internet service provider. Well, to be technically correct, I didn't accomplish this great leap forward by myself, the man in my life did most of the work. And, wonder of wonders, he actually followed the available step-by-step instructions. So, last night, I tried to send out notices to everyone in my email address book. But I couldn't. My Norton Antivirus kept saying it wouldn't send "encrypted" messages. Then the Norton site refused to open and give me more information, so I gave up temporarily. This morning I turned on my computer and the screen was dark. Yikes! Before cardiac arrest set in I thought I should check the easy things. It turned out that t.m.i.m.l. had turned off my monitor screen before he left.

One problem solved, but another darkness problem has occurred and I hope it will be just as easy to remedy. It's a rainy Sunday morning and when I turned on the kitchen lights, the last two fluorescent tubes flickered and went out. I think I'll live with a dark kitchen today since I'm feeling lazy and don't want to tackle taking out the ceiling panels and then walking to the hardware store in the rain.

In between my movie watching adventures, I have been doing some reading. I finished Zadie Smith's White Teeth but I wouldn't give it four stars since I think the last third of the book is very weak. I also think she's the queen of digressions, but maybe that is just sour grapes on my part. What I would recommend is "The Wreckage" by Michael Crummey. If I were a reviewer, I'd give it the maximum number of stars available because it's a very fine novel. I hadn't read anything by this writer before, but I'm certainly going to look for his "River Thieves" which was a finalist for the Giller Prize in 2001.

Maybe a quiet wet and somewhat dark Sunday will be just what I need.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

More Movie Madness and Rama Lama Ding Dong Too

I've seen two more movies in the last couple of weeks and I'm happy to report that both Capote and Narnia are excellent.

The actor who played Capote gave an amazing performance and it's no wonder he captured the Oscar. He must have watched hundreds of clips of Capote, the strange man who pretty much invented a new genre when he wrote In Cold Blood. It's a chilling book. The movie also shows Capote's somewhat parasitic reliance on and attachment to the killers. I suppose though that many writers mine other peoples lives, or their own lives for the sake of their art.

I don't know a lot about C.S. Lewis's life or where his inspiration came from. But, while I haven't read the Narnia books, I do remember reading C.S. Lewis's Screwtape Letters when I was in my teens and being quite impressed with the wiliness of the older devil. I did see the movie about his wife Joy and their relationship some time ago and it seems that C.S. Lewis was fated to meet his love very late in life, and then she died before he did.

If you are wondering about 'Rama Lama Ding Dong' - its appearance is the result of my pecan pie intake. Monday night I was at a C.A.A. executive meeting, wearing my secretary hat, and I had the pie for dessert. When I came home, I went on-line and began chatting with my friend Dorothy. By then, all the sugar was giving me such a high that I entered the extreme silliness state. Dorothy and I began exchanging typed riffs of nonsensical and sometimes bawdy song lyrics. It's something we used to do when we worked together and stress and tension was high. I remember we started it after I'd dealt with a violent incident.

Who put the Ram in the Rama Lama Ding Dong
Who put the Bop in the Bop She Bop She Bop

Shoop Shoop Shoop

Duke Duke Duke, Duke of Earl, Duke Duke Duke of Earl

Mama's Got a Squeeze Box

Loui Loui

A Tisket A Tasket A Green and Yellow Basket

It kept us from becoming basket cases, or maybe it didn't, but now it's a 'tradition - tradition'.

I've decided to refer to my almost-daily walks that nearly always include a stop at Tim Hortons as my tradition. It sounds so much better than saying I have a habit.

Make it a double double, please.


Thursday, April 13, 2006

A Circular Life

Many, many, many years ago, when circulars were sometimes printed using a Gestetner machine, I was an envelope stuffer. It was my first paying summer job. The company was trying to sell hearing aids and the owner was mailing an advertisement to everyone in the city. He obviously didn't know anything about marketing.. He also didn't pay much and I can't remember the hourly amount I received. I do remember coming home with navy blue fingers every afternoon.

Circulars have changed and so has the marketing approach. Last night I spent a little time stuffing envelopes at my daughter's office. It was a volunteer effort. I was there and had to wait for a ride so I offered to help. The advertising is targeted, as they say in marketing, and the gorgeous info flyer will be sent out with a newsletter and a fridge magnet. I hope it will be very successful.

I think my glasses are still at the office so this wee blog is in large print. Maybe marketers should consider printing most things in larger print since Canada has an aging population. Last week, I received a flyer from the real estate agent who sold me my apartment. It was printed in 8 point font, I just know it was because I've set up brochures and you just can't get so much print into the available space unless you are using 8 or less. I had to peer closely at it and after trying to struggle through the first paragraph, I put the flyer in the circular file.

Happy Easter and find an egg for me will you. I can't see a darn thing.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

A Little Song, a Little Dance and No Seltzer

My life is rolling merrily along at the moment. It wouldn't be safe for me to do anything more than a slow dance, or some of the belly dance movements I remember that don't require too much bending of the knees, but I did sing in the shower.

Even receiving a rejection letter didn't really dent me for too long because on the very same day I got a gorgeous mug from Kelley Armstrong. It was a perk for participating in NaNoWriMo. Kelley gave presents to her board members who completed the challenge.

As for the dance part of the headline, my daughter and her family went to see Tap Dogs Monday evening. Both Nancy and Sam are tap dancers and they reported that the performance was amazing, so maybe I'll help fund the same type of outing again next year, if the troupe returns to Kitchener.

Alice Munro will be interviewed on TVO this evening and I won't be home to see it. I only found out when the interview would be on after I agreed to attend a C.A.A. executive meeting tonight. Right about now, I wish I was a good liar in real life because I'd love to find an excuse to stay home, but ethics are prickly things and they get in the way of that kind of lie. Maybe it will be rebroadcast sometime when I'm home.

In between seeing movies with the new man in my life and reading books about writing and doing the necessary and tedious things, I've managed to get a little writing done. At the last possible moment, I submitted a story to the Ten Stories High contest and I've revised a bit more of my novel.

I've also been reading Elizabeth George's book about the novel writing process, "Write Away, One Novelist's Approach to Fiction and the Writing Life." My writer friend Arlene recommended the book and I found it was available at the library. Of course I don't agree with everything she suggests about the way to approach novel writing. I may be a bit too left-brained, or is it right-brained or maybe muddle-brained? to follow such thorough step-by-step processes for every aspect of the novel. I do, however, agree with some of her final words and here they are verbatim:

"You will be published if you possess three qualities - talent, passion and discipline.
You will probably be published if you possess two of the three qualities in either combination - either talent and discipline, or passion and discipline.
You will likely be published if you possess neither talent nor passion but still have discipline. Just go to the bookstore and pick up a few "notable" titles and you'll see what I mean.
But, if all you possess is talent or passion, if all you posses is talent and passion, you will not be published. The likelihood is you will never be published. And if by some miracle you are published, it will probably never happen again."

Tough words - where is that discipline switch again? Oh yeah, it's all in my head. Back to work.