Her morning elegance

31 January 2009 | 14 Comments

This is lovely and so imaginative. And very simple — an idea, a detailed storyboarding process, and then still frames shot from a single camera and animated. Read more about it.

Simple can be so wonderful. Complicated has its place, but this simple approach is perfect for this song. And more than that — I can sense the influence not just of the song, or the artist, but also the animators, the actress, the photographer. I can feel them all present in these moments of music video. The personal, professionally done. That always appeals to me.

Friday pint

30 January 2009 | 4 Comments

Every Friday I transfer posts here from the Virtual Pint archives.

Sporadic posting here in my corner of the internet this past couple of weeks, due to being Miss Busy Pajamas. Thanks for your patience.

Here is today’s tray of pints:

  • Hope for the elections and everything else (April 2005) — I posted this as part of a big roundup I did about hope nearly a year ago, so perhaps some of you haven’t yet seen it. It seems timely, coming as it does only days after an election and inauguration that have inspired more political hope in me than I’ve had in a long time. Maybe because I already see evidence of action. Back in 2005, all I had was hope.
  • Continuation (May 2005) — When the story goes on in non-sequential ways.
  • Life/story (May 2005) — Balancing the daily details with the story. This one was unexpectedly hard to transfer over, since I had to rebuild all the links and was caught quite unaware by how much I miss my beloved cat.

But it’s okay. Death or not, love is good and the world is wide and the sun is always shining on some part of it. Today that’s enough for me. I hope wherever you are and whatever the day may bring you will be wonderfully enough for you.

They knew our names

27 January 2009 | 3 Comments

This is a beautiful story.

I did a post about this over at Humans At Work, in which I said: The power of human beings to make each other feel special–¦ imagine how these kids felt on that bus trip home. When I do, it makes me cry, and it makes me glad to be human.

Thank you, President Obama

25 January 2009 | 2 Comments

Saying, “It is time that we end the politicization of this issue,” Barack Obama has rescinded the “Mexico City Policy” that put brutal strings on family planning assistance in developing countries receiving US financial aid.

This is a great thing. So many women (and by extension, their families) have been hurt by this inhumane policy. There’s no way to undo that, but today, at least, there’s a little less damage in the world.

The previous administration’s need to impose its morals on the world reminded me of a little kid sticking its chin out and saying It’s my ball and you have to play by my rules. But human beings are not baseballs; their futures and their health are not to be bartered. As Obama said in his inauguration address, “The time has come to put away childish things.” It looks like that includes the notion that we have any right or responsibility to be the world’s moral police. Good. Let’s keep growing up.

If you’re not aware of the new White House website and blog, go check it out. And here’s what I had to say about it over at Humans At Work.

On the highway

24 January 2009 | 4 Comments

When I was writing “Dangerous Space,” I listened to songs I thought Mars and the band would like, and — especially — songs that Duncan Black might write and sing.

Here’s one: Audioslave, “I Am the Highway.”

It’s a song about relationship: for me, it’s the relationship between who I am in the everyday world, and who I am when I write.

I love my days and nights. They are sometimes tedious, sometimes very hard, often joyful. Nicola is here. People read my stories, and sometimes the stories come to life inside them. A bad day in my life is a bad day, but it’s my life and I love living it.

But here I am limited. Here sometimes I am so much less than I am. I don’t think I’m unusual that way, but that doesn’t really help (grin). I don’t like being less brave, less clear, less ready to throw my head back or throw my arms around someone, less generous, less passionately engaged… I love Nicola and my family and friends, I love this beautiful world so much, but I am not always happy about being tied to reality.

When I write, I am everything. And for those moments it is real, even if I cannot bring it with me into the real world.

I am not your rolling wheels
I am the highway
I am not your carpet ride
I am the sky
I am not your blowing wind
I am the lightning
I am not your autumn moon
I am the night

I love being everything.

click here if you can’t see the player

Friday pint

23 January 2009 | 2 Comments

Every Friday I transfer posts here from the Virtual Pint archives.

I bought these first two posts over to this blog last May when I wrote about being a writing ally. But there are many new folks here on the blog since then, so here they are.

After I did these posts, I went missing from the virtual pub for nearly 4 months. Nicola and I quite suddenly and unexpectedly bought a new house, sold ours, didi some fairly hefty renovations to the new place, during which we moved, and about a week after that I traveled across country to do a guest teaching gig at my old high school. Leaving Nicola up to her ears in boxes and contractors and suchlike. It was a really special time for both of us.

But it worked out. And it certainly did jar some things loose, which was part of the point for both of us. Not to shake up our relationship, but ourselves — and then see how we would settle and re-form.

One thing it did was make me a little nostalgic for the people inside my head. As you’ll see in the last post.

Enjoy your Friday.

And now it’s time for the boots

21 January 2009 | 1 Comment

New U2 — “Get On Your Boots.”

Best played loud.

click here

Laughter is eternity if joy is real.
You don’t know how beautiful you are.

Praise song for the day

20 January 2009 | 7 Comments

I thought this was beautiful, and true, and right for the day. Well done to Elizabeth Alexander.


Praise song for the day
The inaugural poem by Elizabeth Alexander

Praise song for the day.

Each day we go about our business, walking past each other, catching each others’™ eyes or not, about to speak or speaking. All about us is noise. All about us is noise and bramble, thorn and din, each one of our ancestors on our tongues. Someone is stitching up a hem, darning a hole in a uniform, patching a tire, repairing the things in need of repair.

Someone is trying to make music somewhere with a pair of wooden spoons on an oil drum with cello, boom box, harmonica, voice.

A woman and her son wait for the bus.

A farmer considers the changing sky; A teacher says, ‘œTake out your pencils. Begin.’

We encounter each other in words, Words spiny or smooth, whispered or declaimed; Words to consider, reconsider.

We cross dirt roads and highways that mark the will of someone and then others who said, ‘œI need to see what’™s on the other side; I know there’™s something better down the road.’

We need to find a place where we are safe; We walk into that which we cannot yet see.

Say it plain, that many have died for this day. Sing the names of the dead who brought us here, who laid the train tracks, raised the bridges, picked the cotton and the lettuce, built brick by brick the glittering edifices they would then keep clean and work inside of.

Praise song for struggle; praise song for the day. Praise song for every hand-lettered sign; The figuring it out at kitchen tables.

Some live by ‘œLove thy neighbor as thy self.’

Others by “first do no harm,” or “take no more than you need.”

What if the mightiest word is love, love beyond marital, filial, national. Love that casts a widening pool of light. Love with no need to preempt grievance.

In today’™s sharp sparkle, this winter air, anything can be made, any sentence begun.

On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp — praise song for walking forward in that light.

Things feel possible

20 January 2009 | 2 Comments

In November, Nicola and I drank champagne as we watched Barack Obama win the election. Today we drank tea as we watched him become the 44th President of the United States.

I went to the gym early this morning. It’s foggy here today; I felt that I might be the only person for miles, until I saw people standing like shadows at a dark bus stop. I was alone at the gym. I drove home in a still and quiet world.

Then I turned on the radio and heard millions of voices in the other Washington. And you know, here we go… I imagined that someday I might meet President Obama and shake his hand, and I began to cry in the car for the wonder of it all, and the fierce hope I feel that maybe things will be better. Not just for me and Nicola, but for all of us, everyone in the world.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends — honesty and hard work, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism — these things are old. These things are true.
– President Barack Obama, from his inauguration speech, January 20, 2009

When one is a new president sending one’s first official greeting to one’s people and the world, the words one chooses are important. Honesty, hard work, courage, fair play, tolerance, curiosity (what a marvelous word to include!), loyalty, patriotism — these are good words. Today is a good day. Things feel possible. Things feel new.

In which the screenwriter shares her vision

19 January 2009 | 5 Comments

I have this character in my head. She keeps appearing places: on trains, in the city, on the highway. I see her out there. She is heroic, but not like any hero we’ve ever seen.
– Debra Winger in this interview with The Guardian

I am proud of the women in the screenplay I have in development. They are as real as I can make them. They pass the Bechdel test. I love them, as I love all the characters of my fiction — and thank goodness, because I would hate to spend this much time with people I don’t like, real or not.

And they are young women. That’s what’s required for this story, and fair enough.

So here’s what I hope — that writing them well helps get the movie made, and helps me establish myself as a professional screenwriter. So that I can write the literally dozens of stories I have in my head for women in their 40’s, 50’s, 60’s… stories of adventure, bravery, sex, love, action, suspense, big feelings, small everyday moments, across the spectrum of human relationships. Not sweet old lady stories; not stories where women play someone’s mommy or grandmommy in the background. We get enough of those. The stories in my head are muscular stories of intriguing, compelling people who come in grownup female packages and do things that apparently will startle the hell out of the men who run Hollywood.

I want to do it for Debra Winger.

And Meryl Streep.

And Emma Thompson.

For every woman who has ever had to choose between playing bullshit roles or playing none at all.

For every woman over 40 who loves the movies but wonders why no one who looks like her is up on screen kicking ass and taking names, living large, being sexy, being frightened of something besides old age or loneliness, and maybe, just maybe, being the hero every once in a while.

That’s what I’m going to write. And I can’t wait.

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