Hi guys. Sorry I’ve been MIA for the past couple of weeks. January turned out to be a roller coaster, what with losing Sam and my workload at the newspaper changing quite a bit. I haven’t slept much and wasn’t feeling particularly creative or motivated, hence the blog hiatus. Now things are starting to feel more normal again.
I did write a query letter for “There With You,” but I did not send it to anyone. That will happen in February for sure. I zombied my way through a book club hostessing job (I am told I did not appear to be a zombie, which means my acting skills aren’t half bad), did some hard core pre-spring cleaning (washing curtains = hard core) and started organizing things for my parents’ garage sale in March. So, everything considered, I was somewhat productive. If I was going to a shrink, though — and maybe I should? — I’m pretty sure I’d be told that all of this “productivity” is me trying to distract myself from being sad.
That’s too heavy for this post. Here’s what I managed in January:
Because I am a full-tilt nerd, I was super excited about Jan Reid’s “Let the People In: The Life and Times of Ann Richards.” At times this biography rattled in my hands thanks to all the name-dropping Reid does, having worked with the governor and circulated in the same groups of people. But when that stuff wasn’t redundant, it served a purpose. Ann Richards was a badass. Flawed, yes, but a badass nonetheless. It was hard not to imagine how different the world might be had she won a second term instead of losing to George W. Bush. She is absolutely someone I’d invite to my fantasy dinner party.
“The Testament of Mary” by Colm Toibin is an 80-page novella that I first read about in Entertainment Weekly. In it, Mary, mother of Jesus, recalls the events leading up to her son’s crucifixion and the way her life changes after. This is, of course, a fictional bit of writing. I’m sure that it’s caused a stir, though, since Mary acknowledges that Jesus was conceived with her husband, how she didn’t much care for his friends/future disciples (and how they don’t much care for her, since she’s not telling them the story they want to hear as they write their accounts of what happened) and how she feared her son had gone mad with the idea of power. It’s fascinating. And very sad.
My BFF Dianna gave me a copy of “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield for Christmas. It’s like a concentrated dose of “The Artist’s Way,” with short, quick, to-the-point advice for breaking through creative blocks. I know I sing the praises of “The Artist’s Way” on this blog a lot, and I stand by it as the motivator for unblocking me so that I could write my book and get this blog going, but it’s definitely a commitment. Pressfield gives all the same advice in 150 pages. If you keep stalling out on “The Artist’s Way,” I highly recommend “The War of Art.”
I had big plans to see as many of the Academy Award nominees as possible, but that sort of fizzled out. I got to “Les Miserables” at the beginning of the month, and it was just wonderful. I saw the stage version last year, and remember tearing up. I left this movie a weepy mess. The ending… gah! I just wanted to go hug the screen.
Months ago, Dianna and some of my coworkers were raving about “Beasts of the Southern Wild.” I borrowed it from the library to see what all the fuss was about. Man, what a good movie. I was totally riveted, so much so that my dinner got cold because I was so engrossed that I forgot to keep eating. Any tale of finding value in/preserving a culture in the face of adversity is important, but this cast — especially Quvenzhane Wallis — makes “Beasts” all the more powerful.
The British Library has recorded audio of how they believe the pronunciation of Shakespeare’s works sounded at the time they were written. It’s pretty awkward.
I knew P.L. Travers hated what Disney did to “Mary Poppins,” but here are 10 more authors who hated the movie versions of their books.
If classic authors were on Twitter, a hilarious image that originally appeared alongside a New York Times article.
Coming up in February
Sending those queries. Sleeping. A visit from Dianna (yay!), who hasn’t been back to San Antonio since she left 20 years ago. Sleeping.