Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Back when I was Nancy - Surviving Sweet Suburbia

While the other kids were getting their jollies playing Running Bases or Dodge Ball, I got mine by being Nancy.
They thought I was reading. Again. And they'd do their best to lure me away from my latest caper. Sometimes I'd go. After all, what eleven-year-old girl could resist a rousing jaunt on a pogo stick? It went something like this: bounce, ouch, bounce ouch. Soon I'd return, fresh Flintstones band-aid across my chin, to the pages where I'd catch up with my boyfriend Ned. (What a hottie.) Or Bess, George and I would rush off to such eerie places like the haunted bridge or the moss covered mansion. There was usually some great mystery to perplex/entertain us. But, naturally, despite the danger and the odds, we'd not only survive but solve the case. Talk about brave.
I guess you had to have guts to be a kid, back when I was Nancy. We had toys like Click-Clacks; those giant plastic balls that you had to swing up and down 'till they met and clacked. One summer I was the reigning Click Champion. This was also the same summer I had black and blue polka-dotted arms. We baked chocolate chip cookies using just a 60 watt bulb. This was when I learned that water treats burns better than butter does. We had our Sit 'n Spins, which was generally what we chose to ride just after we'd consumed large amounts of Wild Berry Kool-Aid. What kid doesn't need a good purple hurl every now and again?
Yet when all was said and done, I'd retreat, back to the streets of River Heights with my dad, Carson Drew and good ole' Hannah our housekeeper. Where it was safer, in between those pages, then it was to be a real person, growing up in sweet suburbia.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Thou Shalt Be Politically Correct

On news that the Bible has recently been edited to reflect a more popular vernacular, this blogger's tongue is firmly planted in her cheek today. The following account is purely fictional:

Writer: So, Mr. Publisher, I have this manuscript. The working title is: The Bible.
Publisher: Hmm. Interesting. Word count?
Writer: 774,776, give or take.
Publisher: Steep. Whose your target audience?
Writer: Mankind. Um, scratch that. Make it PEOPLEkind.
Publisher: Genre?
Writer: It's a compilation, really. Some memoir stuff, some mystery. Something for everyone.
Publisher: (flipping through pages) Has this thing been through editing yet?
Writer: Well...
Publisher: See here! (points to paper) You can't say "virgin." Perhaps we use the phrase "young woman" instead.
Writer: Ya think?
Publisher: (pointing again) And here. What's with the "booty" reference? "Spoils of war" is far less offensive.
Writer: To who, uh whom?
Publisher: Look, today's readers are a highly sensitive bunch. We have to be careful not to rock any arks.
Writer: You're the expert.
Publisher: With a little tweaking we'll get this baby into every house of worship across the country. Maybe even across the world.
Writer: Holy smokes!
Publisher: Pardon?
Writer: (sneezes) Nothing. Allergies.
Publisher: Gesundheit. Um, I mean, bless you.

Happy Holiday's to one and all!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

There's Always Womb for Two

No, no. I'm not about to expound on the curious, although cuddly trend of the Hollywood mommy-folk these days. Ya' know, where they all seem to be spitting out twins like pairs of designer shoes. I'm talking about the incubation period of a novel, to which I've likened to that of being with-child.
So here I am, growing a book in my belly when it dawns on me that we are not alone. Inspiration is odd that way, arriving in unexpected doses, tag-teaming, piggy-backing and riding on the coattails of another idea when you're already busy trying to finish fleshing out the first one.
I take it the Concept Fairy regards this as a rather charitable act. And perhaps it is. Believe me, I've been on both sides of this creative coin. It's far worse to be barren, sitting with a blank page and very little in the way of fresh words springing forth. It isn't pretty gang. Searching for something new to say or a unique slant on an already covered topic is hard enough without benefit of that elusive artistic nudge.
So what if that nudge comes when you are already nudged-up, right?
I'm guessing that's what notebooks are for.
The trick now is to turn these thoughts, characters, scenes and dialog into something that resembles a best-seller. Easy enough, you say? Not so fast..I figure if I have a couple of ideas brewing so do about a million other writers out there. 
That Concept Fairy gets around.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Neither Hair nor There

I visited the salon just the other day. It resembled New York City's Times Square on Dec.31st, 1999. Folks rushed about in various stages of what I refer to as Headiting. (Take a little off here, add a smidge there.) This particular establishment will happily layer you up or laser you down. No matter. It's whatever your little heart desires. Hair or bare, they really don't care.
Got me to thinking about this culture of ours. Left or Right, Yanks or Mets, personal preferences aside; there's one thing upon which we can surely agree.
We are a society that is follicularly fixated.
Evidence can be found almost everywhere. Take Broadway, where the musical "Hair" debuted in 1967 and is still being performed in revivals to this very day. And what about that famous fairy tale "Rapunzel?" That chick had an enviable (albeit tangled) mane. If I say "the Rachel" I'd bet you know what I'm talking about. Then there was the exhaustive year, circa 1970-something, that I spent fashioning my Farrah flips.
Who could forget that line uttered by Travolta in Saturday Night Fever. "Ya know I work on my hair a long time and you hit it. He hits my hair."
Anyway, I asked my Headitor what I needed done this time around. She shot for a bottle of $28.00 conditioner, the latest and greatest in taming the testiest of tresses. "We're gonna need at least an hour to get this situation under control," she said. In the end no hairs were split or left unturned.
And that's the buzz for now, gang.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Author X's and O's - Getting Stoned and All

As you may (or may not) recall, when we last met with Author X she was dangerously close to comitting manuscript suicide. Her creative well had run dry. She wasn't exactly feeling the loving.
Enter Friday Night. Apparently she received some super-dee-duper (Barney reference brain warp) feedback from an editor at a small press she's been chatting with. An offer may be close at hand.
"We need to celebrate," she told me. "Do something big."
"How big?" I asked.
"Soooo big. I mean, this is IT. Right?"
I hated to be the one to tell her. Far be it for me to kill anyone's buzz. I suggested ordering a pizza. With toppings, since this was a special occasion. Or perhaps a Happy Meal would be fitting.
"Are you for real? Come on! I said BIG. Do you not get Big?"
Bless her oblivious heart. Of course I agreed to dinner minus the golden arches. And of course this is a good thing. It's what  I call a stone. Of the stepping variety. If we are so fortunate, us writerly type, these will pile up, form a path and lead us to our salvation.
Stones are the little victories. But maybe, just maybe, after a  winter of cold, snowy rejections, one stone can kill a nasty ole' case of the writer's blues.
I'm collecting them too. Building the road. Getting high. Sometimes, getting low. But going along either way.
So we celebrated. Had Dijon mustard on our hot dogs. Hey, I get Big.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Register This

Apparently while I was sleeping/working/playing and carrying on with the otherwise mundane business of life yet another trend was taking root.
The Registry.
Hang on, now I'm not from the stone age. Back when I got married we did not chisel our desires in bedrock. But it was not considered common practice to make any requests at all then. Pretty much, you got what you got. And you liked it or lumped it. (Or returned it, as was often the case.)
Now the bride-to-be, mother-to-be, or anything-to-be can politely make her wants and needs very particularly known.Get me one of THIS in pink, size small and a half. And two of THAT, in the oasis pattern. Thank you most kindly.
Sigh. I miss The Surprises. I remember the days when you opened a shiny package and had absolutely no clue what was inside. Wasn't that half the fun?
I can't help but wonder why it seems I can't be trusted to choose a gift all by myself. Am I that much of a bumbling idiot that picking out an alarm clock or a layette will leave me wandering the store in circles with drool running off my lip? (Don't answer that.)
So if this is the wave of the future - fine, I can roll like that. I'm compiling the writer's registry as we speak. Details to follow. What? I'm an author-to-be. Starting a trend. I know. It may take a few minutes to register this. No worries. I've got all day.