Monday, June 27, 2016

Blame it on whatever you want, you still have to WRITE!

Hello all!

I collect magnets. The snarkier the magnet the more likely I am to have it on my fridge.  I especially like magnets that talk about a writer's life.  I recently picked up one that says, "Write Drunk, Edit Sober." Now of COURSE I do both in a sober condition.  (I found out long ago I can't type when I'm inebriated...to say my drunk typing looks like monkey's work is an insult to monkeys.)

A few years back a friend of mine gave me a magnet that says, "I hate writing. I love having written." That's a quote from my sound bite sensei, Dorothy Parker.  I have found that quite true the last couple months. The early spring found me tapping away furiously at three separate book projects.  Now, in the last several weeks, I haven't written more than a few thousand words and I probably won't keep any of those.  Two of the three projects I want to have published by year's end.  That may not happen if I don't get my butt in gear.

Sure, I've had a lot going on.  I had hand surgery....twice.  We moved our daughter, our youngest out of town, out of state, to another city to be closer to her fiancee. Oh, and yeah, she also got engaged at 19, so there was that.  I continue to worry and pray for those in my family who are struggling with
mental illnesses, and I struggle with my own sense of purpose and self worth.  

It's when I let all of this pile up in my brain that my couch and Netflix are my solace and the very idea of writing becomes an actual, physical pain.

This summer, however, my mother and I are back on the Farmer's Market circuit, her selling her art and me selling my books. As I talk about my writing I find myself thinking about that quote from Dorothy Parker.  I love talking about the things I've written. The projects I have sitting on my desk, in my inbox, those are the things I need to write and those are the things I loathe and hide from when I get home.  I bury myself under a blanket. I run errands that really don't need doing. I actually cleaned one of the bathrooms in my house...willingly.

My lack of willpower (and that magnet) make me think of so many other talented people, some of whom are reading this blog and some of whom I've parted ways with long ago because I chose one path for my writing and they chose another and somehow that made me evil in their eyes.  There are so many talented story tellers out there who have shelved their work and moved on to simply live life and think, on occasion, about writing they once did.  (And yes, E, I'm talking about you! Finish the book!)  There are others who continue to live the writing life. They go to conferences, they meet people, they drink wine and talk about writing but they never quite finish that project. 

Why?  Why does this happen?  We writers, we have stories in us. We have the tools to take those stories from our brains and share them with the world. Why don't we do it?


Writing itself is a pain in the butt. There's no other way to put it.  Well, wait, there is. Rick Springfield, believe it or no, was once asked how he felt about writing. The person asking the question was talking about writing lyrics, but I believe Rick's response fits all writers:
Preach it, Rick.

"Writing is actually like having a lover.  Sometimes it's incredible and sometimes it can give you a headache." 

I couldn't agree more. Actually, someone needs to put THAT on a magnet for me. There are thousands of stories out there that will never be told because the act of sitting down, focusing, and then actually putting words to paper or screen is actually really, really difficult.  Some shut it out completely.  Some dabble, and put on a great show.  Some take time off and come back to it. And some, and these are the people I really admire because they succeed, very much like my friend Ilona Fridl (who will be guest blogging in the near future again as she has given the world another lovely book) who soldier on, who work every day, and who get it done.

So yeah, I had hand surgery. I moved my young daughter far away.  I got tired. I got sick.  I got worried.  I let that stand in my way.  And I can't do that anymore. I may be on the verge of a new chapter in my writing career and now is not the time to let myself be weighted down by how difficult the job is. I need to get the job done.



Friday, June 3, 2016

A Review you can Use: The NIce Guys

Good Friday evening!

It's the summer movie season and the multiplexes are full of animated critters and wise cracking superheros.  And that's fine.  But if you want something that doesn't involve either, I have a winner for you:

The Nice Guys.

Set in 1970's Hollywood, "The Nice Guys" is a rare gem these days:  It's a comedy that's actually funny and a buddy movie that makes you think more of bickering with your brother in the back seat of the family station wagon on a hot summer driving vacation than of polished, prepackaged Hollywood buddy pairs.

Russell Crowe is Jackson Healy a muscle for hire guy living on the underbelly of Hollywood and hurting people for a living.  Ryan Gosling is Holland March, a less than attentive private investigator and single dad to Holly (played charmingly by young Anguorie Rice).  This team of unlikely mystery solvers comes together to find Amelia, a young girl who is somehow connected to a missing porn film and a string of deaths involving everyone else involved in that film.

I'm a huge Russell Crowe fan, I've never made any bones about that. However, I've NEVER been a Ryan Gosling fan. Ever.  I always thought of him as something mildly attractive movie directors used to try and pretty up a set.  Not this time out. Gosling is hilarious and his timing is great. He and Crowe play off of each other as if they'd been doing it all their lives.

Is this the next "Citizen Kane?"  Hardly. "The Nice Guys"is what a summer movie should be:  frothy fun with a bit of naughtiness that gets you out of the heat for a couple hours. Given the prolific vulgar language and the nudity, violence, and all the other whatnot in the movie, this is one to get the sitter for.  But grown ups, especially grown ups who lived int he 70's and don't mind a little slapstick with  their crime movies, this is a winner.

One should note that once again, Russell Crowe did what he does best:  He fit the role.  Literally.  He gained some sixty pounds, putting in a very physical performance at a whopping 268 pounds.  (Most of which, 52 pounds, he's lost since filming wrapped.)  He wanted to be the polar opposite of Gosling physically, and he managed that.  Speaking simply from a health vantage point, as someone who
struggles with losing weight, I hope 1)  That there's a sequel next summer and 2) that Mr. Crowe opts for a fat suit or something that'll be easier to shed.

All in all, however, this is a fun movie that doesn't pretend to be anything other that what it is: a good time with a few solid laughs.  That's what movies used to be before they all tried to change the world or be all "aware."  

Four out of five stars kids. Go see it if you still can find it in theaters.  Support fun at the movies!  Support men wearing something other than tights!  Support characters who solve crimes without superpowers!  Support movies that don't have talking animals!

Bring on the sequel!