23 April 2014

Famous Take Away 300 Years = Oh!

I'm the kind of reader that doesn't think overmuch about the things I read.  I rarely take the time to parse sentence structure, or understand the author's hidden motivations in writing a certain scene.  However, I don't want to be beaten over the head with bad grammar or causes either.  Just give me a good story.  But recently, I couldn't help noticing a connection.

I read this book:

And then this one:

And I couldn't help but compare them to books like this:

And any other book where a commoner falls for a noble and doesn't believe anything will or could ever come of it.

In our society, we've taken movie stars or rock stars and made them into the the nobility of Europe from centuries past.  Dating a star is every bit as impossible for the everyday Jane as it was for a maid to rise from her station to marry a Lord.  I would even guess that the odds are the same then as it is today.  And now, just as then, we have novels about it to tell us how wonderful it would be to marry a star.

Even the novels that point out the hardships of superstardom do it in such a way that make the stars themselves untouchable by the common person. Every common person except one.  It just makes me wonder.

And then I think, "Who cares!  It's a story I'll read over and over and over."

15 April 2014

Gifts For Me. Gifts For Them.

The other day my husband was late coming home from work.  I texted him.

"Where are you?"

"I can't tell you.  I'll be home soon."

"What?  Why can't you tell me?"

"You'll see."

I was in the kitchen when he breezed through the door, fists full of shopping bags.  They were not the kind of bags I'm used to seeing coming through my door.  They had strange and exotic names on them, like Dillards.  He ushered me into our room and dumped his bounty on my bed, gesturing like a proud papa.  "For you."

He'd bought me a new summertime wardrobe without telling me anything about it.  And let me tell you, my husband has great taste.  Mostly because he never looks at price tags.  If he likes something, he buys it.  End of story.  He was smart enough to forbid me to look at the price tags of anything now splashed on my handmade bedspread.

An hour later, I asked him to run out and get a small gift for his mother and mine, as they share an important day.  He called me eight times.  EIGHT.  

"Should I get flowers?"

"What kind of flowers?"

"How about a card?"

"No.  Cards are lame."

After he came home with his hard won gifts, I laughed at him.  He can buy me an entire wardrobe without once asking my opinion, but heaven forbid he buy flowers without my approval.

09 April 2014

Urgent vs. Important

While at Writing for Charity, Maryrose Wood gave the keynote speech.  She wrote this series

about a girl that becomes a nanny for children that have been raised by wolves.  Good stuff.  She also teaches creative writing at a University in New York (but silly me, I've forgotten which one she said).

The gist of her speech, for all of you who really, really wanted to go to a writing conference and just didn't get the chance, was this:

Don't put off what's Important for something merely Urgent.

Urgent = anything with a notification system.  If it beeps, flashes, or demands that you look, it is Urgent.  That includes texts, emails, tweets, phone calls (does anyone besides my mom actually call anymore?), or more of that sort.  The Urgent things that cybernetically take us away for sometimes minutes, sometimes hours, days and weeks with their pings and flashing lights.

Important = the things that are easily ignored that we have to discipline ourselves to do, but that bring a sense of fulfillment once accomplished.  Writing falls under that category for most authors.  I would suggest anything spiritually minded also belongs in this category.  The Important is easy to mislay, or put off because it doesn't push its nose into our business.  We have to seek it out.

Ms. Wood had us all close our eyes and focus on breathing, only on breathing, for five minutes.  If we found ourselves thinking of something else, we were to derail our distraction and get back on the breathing train.  She says she does this exercise each day before she begins writing, and that it's amazing how ideas jostle and beg for attention when she's done.  It makes her writing sessions much more productive.

Her speech gave us meat to chew on while also providing cotton candy to entertain.  She is living proof that not every writer is socially awkward.