Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Ha ha. Ouch.

HBO's documentary on Fran Lebowitz was so good, I lost track of time and missed Conan's monologue.
 The girl is witty.
A few vinegary shots from Ms. Lebowitz:

Very few people possess true artistic ability. It is therefore both unseemly and unproductive to irritate the situation by making an effort. If you have a burning, restless urge to write or paint, simply eat something sweet and the feeling will pass.
Fran Lebowitz

I prefer dead writers because you don't run into them at parties.  Fran Lebowitz

Monday, November 22, 2010

An Excerpt from my WIP

The autumn.

I love the autumn.

The maples. The maples!

This one is in my backyard...I can see it from my office window.

I've discovered the seasons influence whatever I'm working on...especially this season.

A raw paragraph, which may be edited, deleted, or stetted,  from a Work in Progress:

Miss Howard looked at her watch. She had forty minutes. She walked purposely past the community garden in the park, a brave little project begun by young, eager do-gooders. There, the season’s beauty lingered. The giant sunflowers, seeded heads cocked, looked down at her, the asters screamed purple, the Heavenly Blue morning glories having scaled the chain link, preened in the pink morning light.  A monarch fluttered past, bound for Mexico. The brash beauty of the golden maples and scarlet dogwoods demanded she stop, and admire.  While poets were besotted with spring, Miss Howard found the fall to be most poignant season of all. Every year she saw more clearly the effort the natural world put forth-- the last, stubborn throes of bloom--before winter killed and cut. Every year the wistful earth seemed to draw her closer. She might bother with Mall Walkers and a dozen pills everyday--calcium, the vitamins, the fish oil, the Lipitor, the aspirin, the Celebrex—but one autumn soon, the beautiful, fatal earth was going to welcome Miss Howard. She would be ready.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Attention Must Be Paid

Apparently, scientists needed evidence that Living in the Now is beneficial. Hence, this article from the NYT science section Wandering Mind is a Sign of Unhappiness:
Whatever people were doing, whether it was having sex or reading or shopping, they tended to be happier if they focused on the activity instead of thinking about something else. In fact, whether and where their minds wandered was a better predictor of happiness than what they were doing.’s in keeping with the religious and philosophical admonitions to “Be Here Now,” as the yogi Ram Dass titled his 1971 book. The phrase later became the title of a George Harrison song warning that “a mind that likes to wander ’round the corner is an unwise mind.”
Or, to put it in the positive, a focused mind is wise and happy.
“Flow” — immersing your mind fully in activity— is key.

Writing, for example.

Which leads me to a clumsy but apt transition...a favorite quote:
If you dedicate your attention to discipline in your life you become smarter while you are writing than while you are hanging out with your pals or in any other line of work. --Russell Banks

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Tomorrow: Community Writing Workshop

I'm leading tomorrow's Writing Room Workshop: "Out of Your Head and Onto the Pages."

For the price of a Cappuccino,
you can write in class,
and share your in-class creations.

Sunday, Nov. 14, 2-4 pm. Bobby Pearse Community Center, N. Main Park.

These second Sunday $5 workshops, sponsored by the Emrys Foundation and Greenville Parks & Rec, are designed to stimulate creativity and generate ideas. We’ll use a some in-class writing exercises to inspire new work. 

The focus for tomorrow's workshop are beautiful sentences. Great first lines*.

Smart gripping scene starters. Openings-- those shiny cut jewels! 

The stuff's too good not to share. A virtual workshop, maybe? 

*As noted in my previous post on great first lines:

Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.
-- One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Scarlett O'Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were.
--Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell

In the town, there were two mutes and they were always together. - Carson McCullers, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

The Grandmother didn't want to go to Florida.-- Flannery O'Connor, "A Good Man is Hard to Find."

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. - George Orwell, 1984

They shoot the white girl first. - Toni Morrison, Paradise

I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day in January of 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974. - Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex

It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn't know what I was doing in New York. - Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

Monday, November 8, 2010

Autumn Shift

Already it is Autumn and I noticed the birds very dilegently scarffing up the seed and the squirrels frantically stuffing themselves.

One squirrel, an adolescent one, judging from his slight, wiry body and his unbushy tale, came all the way up to the front porch and helped himself--as you see from the photo-- to the jack-o-lantern...turning a fairly friendly pumpkin to a zombie flesh eater.

I came across this description of the Fall from my local Yoga place:
The energy of the tree is beginning its retreat down into its core and roots to prepare for Winter's cold. All unnecessary energy is conserved and protected, and what is no longer useful is let go. It is a symbol of the beautiful process of transformation--of ongoing change.

Fall is a time for examination, for letting go of what is burning our energy up unnecessarily. Metal, the element associated with Fall, is a symbol of detachment and dividing what is essential from what is not, so that we are purer in the end.
I think that's a lovely description of Autumn.

Part of my energy, to prepare for the winter, is being directed to reading...a favorite winter pasttime...[a favorite summer pastime, too.]

I read and recommend Freedom by Jonathon Franzen, mentioned previously... I'm reading The Best American Short Stories of 2010, edited by Richard Russo, and recommend it also.
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