February’s small stones

I'm still writing small stones every day. This month we're calling them Mad March. In February they were February Favorites. Since I was working a day job over at Northrop Grumman during February, I wasn't sure I'd have the energy to keep them up. But I did and here they are: A new month, with hope for a world less chaotic. If only we didn’t have a leader who incites all the turmoil rather than calm. The groundhog saw his shadow today, which means six more weeks of winter. I think that’s a good thing. How about you? So busy, so distracted from my writing work, and so tired. Having a day job takes its toll. I saw the sun coming through thick fog this morning, leaving the tree leaves sparkling with green iridescence. Lady Gaga can do it all – sing, dance, play the keyboards, fly through the air, and move incessantly during the 15-minute Super Bowl half time show, that is, until she dropped the mike. After a long day I’m enjoying being home with my husband. We have … [Read more...]

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A month of culture

After seeing the movie “A Bigger Splash” yesterday, I felt the need to discuss some of the cultural events I’ve been to lately. Though reading is a huge part of my writing life, so are opera, theater, museum exhibits, and films. I think authors can gain perspective and insights from watching as well as reading. The events we watch “show” us life, which may be harder to discern from reading a book. “A Bigger Splash,” starring Tilda Swinton and Ralph Fiennes, is a treat for the senses besides being a complicated love story. Fiennes, who barely stops talking, is a bundle of energy and movement throughout, while Swinton captures our attention by hardly uttering a word. The remote Italian island of Pantelleria where it is set is spectacular. Unfortunately, that’s all I’ll tell you – except that the food looks so beautiful and delicious, you’ll walk away very hungry. I don’t want to spoil it for you in hopes you’ll see it yourselves. “Disgraced,” a Pulitzer Prize and Tony winning pl … [Read more...]

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So how was the writing workshop?

Back from four long days at the UCLA Extension Writers Program's Novel Revision Techniques workshop. And when all is said and done, I must say I got a lot out of it. The instructor, Mark Sarvas, was well prepared and he enthusiastically imparted his knowledge of novel revision. It was hard to tell that this was the first time he had ever taught this workshop. As a result I’m very tempted to sign up for his Novel IV class that starts in April. His best advice is: Read Like a Writer He also encouraged us to keep reading novels all the time. The class was really grueling. It included lectures on these subjects: The Many Drafts of the First Draft Revision Tools Structure Scene Character Language The Essential Revision Questions Mark used The Great Gatsby over and over again to illustrate his points, and believe me, he is an expert on The Great Gatsby. He reads it at the start of every year. As much as I like the book – and I like it even better now that I know some of … [Read more...]

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