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Friday, November 30, 2012

Peace On Earth Starts Here

It's been very cricket-y around here lately. I don't mean that a bunch of British guys in cream colored dockers and argyle sweaters have been running back and forth between the top and bottom of this blog smacking a ball with something that looks like a canoe oar. I mean it's been quiet. Cricket-chirp quiet.

Russo is up to her perfectly coiffed and hair-pieced head in final exams. Maegan has been fairly awash (see what I did there? See how I alluded to the fairies in Maegan's book with the word "fairly"? Umhmm. You wish you were so clever) in animal ailments as an itinerate vet's assistant, and I--well, I've actually been here on this blog, because my life is so very gob-smacked with children that I've gotta have someplace to come chillax and talk with adults and get my brain stretched on topics other than whether or not my environmentally safe laundry detergent is really getting the ketchup and cupcake and grass stains out of my kids' clothes.

See, for me this blog--and all of my other little writing nooks--is a place of peace. It's a place where I can turn my brain inside out, dump out the contents, see what's been rolling around in there for the last week, chuck the drek, expand on the good stuff, and save the questionable for another day. After that, it's like I've been swimming in a vat of Smart Water. I can live again.

Creativity in life is absolutely essential--even if you don't think you're a creative person. It takes creativity to enjoy a sunset, or even to figure out your menu for the day. You grab onto those juices to decorate for the holidays, shop for gifts, write a story, tell a joke, or find a way to compliment someone you love even though you really should tell them that in fact, yes, those pants do make them look fat.

Creativity is all over our lives, and once we've used it all up through the stress of life, we have to find a way to recharge it. Writing does that for me. As do singing, cooking and baking for my family, dancing, drawing, and above all, laughing. What does it for you? Do you have a place to go to recharge? Even just a mental place? Because you are allowed to do that. To find those peaceful, happy  things and embrace them in your life. In fact, the people closest to you in your life should encourage you to find those places. Their life will be easier if yours is. As yours will be if theirs is. I'm sure all y'all love each other enough to help each other with that. (If not, find a new posse, dude.) (Just kidding. Pretty much.)

Here are some of my recommendations for a bit of creative recharge, and good ol' escapism:

Books:
Good Omens  by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
Beauty by Robin McKinley
The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle
The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone

Movies:
The Decoy Bride



Without a Clue


Got any good recommendations to add to the "Peace and Joy" list?



Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thank you for your support

It's Thanksgiving time which means I've made a mess out of my kitchen. This weekend I did a trial run of cooking a turkey. Yeah, that didn't work. The turkey caught on fire. I don't even know how that happens but it happens with me.

Let's just say, I have some free time on my hands after being kicked out of the kitchen. So, I started to think of all that I'm grateful for in this world. One of the things that I kept thinking of is YOU!

Thank you so much to every single person who reads this blog. Thank you for taking time out of your day to read our writings. You support us and we're so grateful.

Thank you for commenting on our posts. Your comments make us smile.

All of our blogging friends are incredibly talented. We're grateful to have your support.

Happy Thanksgiving, my friends.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Carry a Notebook

Most writers like to have writing implements with them at all times. You never know when a good idea, perhaps The Idea, will strike. I've filled up at least one small spiral-bound notebook - plus various scraps of random paper - with character notes, lines of dialogue, descriptions, plot points, grocery lists, etc. I usually carry a small flip notebook, like the ones you see detectives use in 1940's crime movies. When that gets used up, I have a lovely Moleskine my friend Cassidy gave me.

I saw Skyfall this weekend (Edward who? I'm Team 007). I always get story ideas when I go to movies, and this was no different. For some reason, I had forgotten to toss my trusty notebook back into my purse. It's never wise to let those clever story ideas go when they decide to show up, so I pulled out a pen and started scribbling away in the dark. Kids, always carry a notebook, because this is what happens when you don't:


These story notes have now been safely transferred to the official Story Notes Notebook that lives on my desk. What's the weirdest place you've ever scribbled story ideas?


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Don't give up on your dream

I have learned a valuable lesson-no matter what happens you cannot give up on your dream. Yes, this lesson seems obvious. It's even something that I blabber on and on about but sometimes stress makes you think stupid stuff.

This past week I had to take my yearly blood test. And just like every year before it's an afternoon filled with drama. Last year, the phlebotomist had a hard time finding a vein in my arm. Instead of waiting patiently like every other person I did something ridiculous. I took the needle from the medical professional and found my own vein. Yep, a bad girl past does have its advantages.

I must've caused quite a controversy because this year I saw a sign in the lab that read, "Under no circumstances are patients allowed to draw their own blood."

I couldn't stop giggling. Yep, guess I left my mark at the lab.

I dunno about you but I hate getting my blood drawn. Do you ever have something that no matter what effort you put in you cannot win? The dream seems hopeless and you want to quit.

For me the thing I haven't been able to succeed at is my blood work. For the past six years, I fail the test. My family has history of heart disease. I refuse to die of heart disease so I take drastic measures to pass my test. No matter what I do, I fail my blood test.

This year, I almost gave up. The night before the test I told Jameses, "I quit, I refuse to fast. Why even bother when I'm going to fail anyway."

He convinced me try just one more time.

Guess what-I passed my blood work. My heart and veins are heart disease free.

I had no idea that I was 12 hours away from passing one of the hardest challenges of my life.

Is there something that you want to give up on? You have a dream that no matter what you do it seems hopeless? My friends, try just one more time.

Who knows, you could be one step away from achieving your dream.


Friday, November 9, 2012

Music on a Funky Dunky Dubby Fall Day

Good day, my friends. It's early morning and I'm looking out my window at heavy, full-bellied clouds scudding up against our mountains, and a lovely little storm front scattering the remaining leaves all around my front yard. I love this time of year. It's supposed to snow this afternoon. A totally cool day to spend indoors listening to music as you work. Or stare out the window. Either one works.

Since I am your friend, I'd hate for you to go music-less on a day like today (assuming the weather is anything like moody where you are), so I want to share with you a clip of the amazing Ben Lapps. Because everyone should start their day listening to a 15 year-old slap/finger guitar prodigy. I want to hire this kid to serenade my mornings:



Pay no attention to the skimpily-clad flowing-haired young woman behind Ben. Yeah. The one flipping her hair around and acting like she doesn't know she's on camera. No. Pay attention to Ben. Because this boy not only has great skills, he has a great vibe. Cool. Calm. Unaffected. And full of joy. I hope he stays that way.

Next is a clip of a young woman playing three instruments at once: a violin, a piano, and a stringed instrument of Asian origin whose name I have no knowledge of. It's a short little clip. Which matches her short little shorts. Seriously. Let this serve as the Surgeon General's warning: Gazing Too Long At This Musician-ette's Babydoll Shirt and Shorty Shorts May Be Hazardous To Your Health And Relationships. BUT THAT'S NOT WHAT'S IMPORTANT HERE. No. it's the music. This is clever. And the young woman shows enough proficiency that I'd like to find out her name and hear her full-on rocking-out on the violin. Or piano. Or Asian stringed-thingy.



And finally, this may not be your thing, but anytime I hear about dub-stepped violin music, I pretty much have to listen to it. And okay, this isn't really dub-step. It's kind of a dub-steppy bass line. But it's fun and the scenery is awesome. This is Lindsey Sterling--a terrific violinist/dancer/whackjob, wearing a fabu sleeveless-sweater-hoody-vest that I'd like to own. She's flitting around in an ice-covered-tree forest. Check it:


Yeah. Cool. Kind of want to go there.
*sigh*

Happy Fall Day, dear people. Hope it is crisp, innovative, and glowing.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

What are you fighting for?

Before I forget, our writing friend Scott is launching a new writing class. Here are the details if you're interested. http://www.sleye1stories.com/2012/10/new-weekly-writing-class-coming-to.html He also offers an online writing class which I'm a part of and love.

With that said, this week I've had to realize that there are some circumstances you cannot control in life. Someone very dear to me is losing his eyesight. He's not even thirty yet. I don't write this for sympathy, I'm just trying to understand it. This guy is tough; he was two belts away from a black belt. Yet, his retina is detaching. He had to give up his karate dream to fight for his eyesight.

All the while, I sit here and think about our own dreams. My friends, there are something’s that are out of our control. The only way through the trial is to keep moving and embrace a positive attitude.

We all have faced something freaky. I guess the trick is to learn from the freaky. Our struggles make us a fighter and this is something to be treasured.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Happy Guy Fawkes Day! (And May the Force Be With You)

Remember, remember, the 5th of November, the gunpowder treason and plot. 
I know of no reason the gunpowder treason should ever be forgot.

Today, in case you weren't aware, is November 5th. If you're reading this from across the pond, then Happy Guy Fawkes Day to you! If you celebrate it, that is. I'm not really sure if Guy Fawkes Day is still a thing . . . If you're not reading this from across the pond, but you're a V for Vendetta fan, then that little shout-out was for you too. If you're reading this from across the pond and you're a V for Vendetta fan, then you get a gold star, fortune and glory. 


In other news, you may have heard that Disney bought Lucasfilm from the man himself this past week for about four billion-with-a-B dollars (money that George Lucas will use to establish an educational foundation). This gives Disney complete control over the STAR WARS franchise, and they've announced they will release a new movie in 2015, with two more following every couple of years. 

This, my friends, is the best news I've heard in a long, long time.

I know cynics say this is all about the money. Well, DUH. Of course it's about money. Disney hasn't lasted this long by making stupid business decisions (at least not consistently). But for me, someone who grew up watching these movies and living in that world and wanting to be Princess Leia and who still uses the Luke/Han dynamic as inspiration when writing the relationship between the two main characters in my book, this is HUGE. 

Opinions about the prequels are across the board, but mostly negative. I actually enjoyed them, but they failed big-time at capturing the wonder and quality of the originals. Mr. Lucas lost perspective on his own creation and sacrificed characters and story in favor of the latest and best special effects. But the universe he established is still limitless. New material from fresh minds can only be a good thing, much like J.J. Abrams's fantastic STAR TREK reboot. We've already seen that Disney can do sci-fi/fantasy well in the form of JOHN CARTER* and it's not difficult to recognize elements of Edgar Rice Burroughs's John Carter of Mars novels in the original movies. Can you imagine a new STAR WARS movie directed by Spielberg, or Joss Whedon, or even Andrew Stanton? That's something I'd stand in line to see. 


*Never mind that they totally abandoned it marketing-wise before it ever hit the ground. I'm trying to be positive, here. 


Friday, November 2, 2012

What About Bob?

PRE-POST ANNOUNCEMENT! Before I begin today, I'd like to announce something we're REALLY excited about here on Gnomes. You've all heard of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) wherein participants write an entire novel in a month--generally the month of November. Well it started last night at midnight. And we have decided that we want to participate. Woot! But we're doing it our way, and we're calling it: LoGnoBloWriNoMo (Local Gnomes Bloggers Write a Novel in a Month). And  we are taking this SERIOUSLY people! You can tell by all the caps I used when I wrote SERIOUSLY. But it's also low stress: write what you want, when you want, how much you want. Or not. We totally respect all those people who cram out entire novels with plots and everything in a mere 30-ish days, and who don't cheat and come up with it all beforehand, and who all get published and as famous as JK Rowling and stuff. But you know, who likes stress? Sooo. There will be a little tracker over there (see? over there ->) to the right, showing you our progress. We even have a theme. Which is: "Paranormal Love-Triangle. Or possibly Love-Square. And It Could Include Paranormal Turnips and Things Like That." Yep. That's the theme. Cross your fingers for us! Unless you are participating in NaNoWriMo. That would just make it hard for you to type.

On to today's post!

A little while back my youngest dude asked me if he could write something for one of my blogs. This is a very creative and non-linear child, and if you've ever met him or know anything about him (he is regular fodder for my Facebook status updates) you know this is an opportunity not to be passed up. So I said yes, and then waited for the staggering work of heartbreaking genius that would emerge from his little cerebral cortex.

Well, a few days passed and the dudester came to me and said, "I have the post for your blog." Awesome! I asked him for it and he told me he'd email it to me, because he's all techno-savvy, being a a nearly eleven year-old boy.

And this is what he sent:



Eeeyeah. 

So I asked the boy if he was sure this was what he wanted me to post ("yes"), what it represented ("art. duh."), and what he wanted me to do with it. 

"Post it on your blog! Have people write stories about him. His name is Bob."

Oh.Kayyy.

Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Bob. He has no life story. No biography. No curriculum vitae, if you will. My son wants him to have one. Please, please, won't you donate your brain cells to this worthy cause and provide Bob with a life? It can be short, since he clearly is. You may record your epic writing in the comments section of this post. Little Dude is waiting with 'baited breath and chocolate covered oreos.

Give Bob a life! Think of it as your own personal mini NaNoWriMo!

Bless you.