Monday, September 17, 2012

Top 10 Shoplifts from a Writing Retreat

The Setting:  Poudre Canyon, Colorado, a small town called Rustic.

The Cast:  Writers, Locals, and Vern, The World's Greatest One Armed Bartender

The Plot: Writing Retreat, Karaoke, and Drunkigami

In other words, the perfect storm of shoplifting....

1.  Hey. I'm pretty sure I could walk if I wanted to.
2. You know, there's a fine line between romance and horror.....
3. Finally, I'm gonna get one new shoe.
4. Yeah, I have to listen to that to write the fight to you listen to to write the sex scenes?
5. That's out waitress right there.  She;s dating the band.
6. In my secret life, I'm a pole dancer.
7. Hey, how do I drunkspell this?
8. What I heard: "I like it when he drops his pants." What was said: "I like it when he drops his mask."
9. I believe that is inverse blasphemy.
10. Oh look, she's slurring in American Sign Language.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Manitou Springs Artwalk Shoplifts

Lifted from pals while walking around lovely Manitou Springs:

~~But do you like pate'? No, I like Chef Boyardee.

~~Yes I have a line. I draw it at borscht. (I also have a line, I draw it at Chef Boyardee)

~~I need a new Jackalope. My other one got eaten by moths.  I put mothballs in its ears, but it didn't help.

~~At least Jesus doesn't drunk text. ( I am so sure there is context for this but I for the life of me can't remember it...)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

A Week in 16 Minutes

Just watch it. And yes, it was like this and scary. And took the full 5 days not 16 minutes.

What. A. Week.

I am sitting in my house....

Not a terribly exciting way to begin a blog post, right? The editor in me is cringing at the words.  But I am leaving that as the beginning of this post simply because after this last week I am ever so grateful that I CAN say them. Especially in light of the fact that so many in my little city cannot.  Around 350 households cannot.

Waldo Canyon Fire. What an INSANE week. The editor in me wants to kill those caps too, but fuck it, I'm leaving them.  Unless you were here, experiencing all the crazy, there's not really a way for me to communicate it to you, and the fact that I am resorting to the interwebs equivalent of shrieking it to you really says it all.

So. Fire. Big fire. Evacuations. Homes lost. Lives lost. Peace of mind lost. And at the same time I want to cry for the sense of community found.  I have a deeply conflicted relationship with my little city -- so liberal yet so conservative, so many creative people, and yet such a small town mentality at times.  And I am sometimes known to speak badly of her, Colorado Springs, out of this sense of conflict. Love and hate.  That coin got flipped hard this week, and then I tossed the coin out. It's broken, that coin. Landed on the love side and stuck there.  My little city. Mine. With all its flaws and all the stupidity that I find so aggravating.  And I learned just how protective I am of it, as I cried, repeatedly, for this place and its people. My place, and my people. Loved deeply with all her flaws.

And I am so fortunate -- yes I was evacuated, but I don't think my home was ever in any real danger.  I came back yesterday to a fine sheen of ash over pretty much everything I own, and I cried again because while I have a few days of cleaning ahead of me, some people's homes are gone.  Gone.

I am so very fortunate.

I am especially fortunate to have so many people in my life who give a shit about me. Who called to see if they could do anything to help while I was evacuated.  Who gave me a place to stay while I was evacuated. Who got to my house before it got really bad, when I was too far away, and got my cat, and my son's car, and my just purchased case of wine and my really expensive scotch. (And on that note, I REALLY think the reason my whole neighborhood did not go up like so much tinder is that I had friends scavenge my very well stocked liquor cabinet, thereby removing much potential accellerant. You're welcome, Holland Park).

I gathered some shoplifts to share as part of this post, but frankly, they are all so damned poignant that they make me want to cry -- even my own pithy remark about having left duck in my freezer, which, I assumed, would take only a few hours to roast to perfection in the event that my house did go up, so planning a post house fire bbq seemed like a good idea.  Yeah, it's in bad taste, yeah it's too soon, and yeah I still think it's funny as shit, but I'm gonna leave the shoplifts until I have a better sense of humor about it all.  Which will probably be next week. I don't do sad well or for long periods of time.

I have some funny posts half written, and want to talk about the awesome event I had a small part of last night (Jene' Jackson's Nights of Wild, a curated event that grew out of her awesome book The Oat Project), and my thoughts on dropping the F-bomb while on stage, but I think I'm done for now.

All of you who play such an important role in my life -- and if you are wondering if I am referring to you, then you can assume I am -- I love you all. Thank you.  Just for, you know, being.

Monday, April 23, 2012

PPWC 2012 Roundup. Part 1 of N

By the gods I am tired. Bone tired. Nodding off at my desk tired. Crazily, insanely, wonderfully tired. PPWC 2012 is over…and what a PPWC it was.

Let me preface this by saying I realized a week or so ago that I always capitalize the word conference when I use it in reference to PPWC. “Are you going to Conference this year?” “Remember that crazy thing we did at Conference, in, oh, 2010?” That is because for me, PPWC is THE conference against which all others are measured, and in comparison to which many others pale. Some only slightly, because there are a lot of really amazing conferences for writers in the world. But for me, this is The One. MY Conference.

Why? Because it is friendly. The faculty (of which I was a member this year) is approachable and knowledgeable. Because it is packed with sessions which really are designed to help further a writer’s career. Because repeatedly, as a conference, it actually DOES further people’s writing careers. I am going to do a little research, so that there are numbers involved with this assertion, but a great many people I have met over the years have made the transition from writer to author BECAUSE of this conference (and of course their talent and unrelenting commitment to making the transition).

It’s also fun. Big silly memorable fun. More on that in another post.

Let’s talk a bit about the business part. The career furthering part for a bit. Faculty: Jeffery Deaver. Yes, of Lincoln Rhyme fame. Robert Crais. Yes, of Elvis Cole fame. Joe Lansdale. Of (OMG fangirl sqee) Bubba HoTep fame. May I just interject that I have now shaken hands with a man who has shaken hands with Bruce Campbell. One degree baby. Donald Mass, top New York literary agent and vanguard of the traditional publishing industry. And Mark Coker, CEO of Smashwords, from the full other end of the publishing spectrum and vanguard of the new model in publishing upon which my own business rests. (Mark freaking Coker, in front of whom I dropped quite possibly several F-bombs. In my defense, there was wine and excitement involved).

Given my new business endeavors, I am pleased to have been taken seriously by folks such as these, as well as all the seekers who are looking to make the transition from writer to author. But more importantly is how inspiring all these folks were. How accessible, and how willing to dispense advice and coaching, and personal inspiration. How much they care about what people do with words, and about books in any form and about the people who write and want to write books. No snarky condescension. No elitism. No running away after dinner to avoid the hoi polloi. These folks yukked it up in the bar with the hoi polloi. And beer. Or martinis. And were real and available and just plain awesome.

And here’s the coolest part – they love PPWC. Across the board at Conference after Conference the feedback is that authors, agents and editors, big ones, prominent ones, LOVE the atmosphere of PPWC. For all the reasons I just listed, plus one more very important one: the parent organization of Conference, Pikes Peak Writers, does a bang-up job of preparing writers to approach the publishing industry in a professional manner, with attention not only to good ideas which are well written, but also to the business side of publishing, from pitching technique, to synopsis writing, to being able to discuss a marketing plan in broad strokes on short notice. These things matter. A lot.

I keep thinking I should diversify – go to other conferences more than I do. But frankly I’m not all that certain I need to. I love MY Conference, and while I am sort of happy that it is done for the year and I can get some sleep now, I am also sad because I will not get this same feeling of exhausted exhilaration again for another year. Happysad. But I have come away validated in my choices and charged up for the next phase in my own writing and in my small company.

So, much love for PPW and PPWC and all the volunteers and faculty who make this Conference what it is. My happysad self is off to sleep, in preparation for putting it all into action.

Friday, February 24, 2012

20 in 48

So, for the most part, I try not to be one of Those Moms -- you know, the ones who think their kid is incredibly brilliant and talented and won't shut the hell up about their young genius.  You know who I'm talking about -- hell  you probably know That Mom.

But every once in a while I fall trap to it.  So prepare for a That Mom sort of post.  My son, who I normally refer to as The Boy in blogs and public postings (such as on Facebook), turns 17 on Saturday February 25.  So keep that in mind when you are reading the rest of this post (if you make it that far -- I assume I've already scared a good portion of you away).

The other day he issued a challenge on his Facebook page.  In return for liking his status, he promised to create a movie about the future life of the person, with title, description, and main character casting.  Cool meme, no?  I haven't actually seen it as a meme, but it has potential.

He looks up at me yesterday and he says, clearly pained, "I have 24 'likes.' What the hell am I gonna do?" or words to that effect.  I said...'get crackin' (we're a 'keep your promises' kind of family).

And so he did.  He has completed 20 of the promised 24, over the course of two days.  I am...incredibly impressed.  Now I am NOT saying this is a stunning body of genius level writing, nor am I saying that every single idea my little genius boy had deserves to be a movie.  In fact there is some eidence one might have been lifted (inadvertently) from a forthcoming Dakota Fanning flick, but I am willing to give the benefit of the doubt.

What I think is pretty awesome, though,  is the level of thought he put into each one, trying to come up with a unique plot that would appeal to each of the folkshe was writing to, and also, how good the log-lines are.  Like seriously, I had to learn this skill.  How dare a 17-year old nail the concept.

At any rate, I share, with his permission, the 20 concepts he came up with in 48 hours.  I corrected capitalization and the spellings of actors names (where I noticed they were wrong, I may have missed a few) and a few spelling errors. Otherwise, this is what The Boy spent the last two days workingon (hopefully he did his Trig homework too...)

Hope you enjoy it as much as I have....

Title: Talk Nerdy

Synopsis: after a scandal, a model loses her job. Now, the only way she can get work is as a booth girl at sci-fi conventions. She begins gaining fame and gets invited to the booth babe competition at the biggest convention in the country
Actress: Zooey Deschanel

Your title: Those Bright Lights (the musical)
Synopsis: an actress who has spent most of her life undiscovered and doing community theater is discovered by a Broadway producer. Now she has to leave her friends and family behind to face the big apple and the biggest play in a decade
Actress: Meryl Streep

Title: The Mistress
Synopsis: as the mistress of a wealthy businessman, the main character lives a comfortable life. But when the man turns up dead, she's the only suspect. Now she has to fight for her innocence in a world where nobody is inclined to believe the mistress.
Actress: Sandra Bullock

Title: A-student
Synopsis: as a student at his high school, the main character got good grades and was fairly popular. Now, when he returns as a teacher, he has to struggle to fit in and rescue the school from its poor administration and failing students.
Actor: Daniel Radcliffe

Title: Militant Media
Synopsis: in a distant future where all forms of news are completely controlled by the state, a former editor leads a band of rebels to open the only free press on the planet
Actress: Ellen Page

Your title: Oh, The Good Times to Come
Synopsis: a woman in her mid twenties is diagnosed with a terminal illness. Her priorities change from partying constantly to spending the last year or so with family and friends. Her significant other donates an organ to save her life, but complications arise and now neither one has a high chance of survival.
Actress: Dakota Fanning (in five or so years)

Title: The Best of Times
Synopsis: a successful lawyer living in LA loses the biggest case of her career and as a result, her job. Now she has to struggle to get back on her feet by discovering her affinity for acting.
Actress: Nicole Kidman

Your title: Single Mother
Synopsis: in order to save her child who's been kidnapped by drug lords, a mother has two options. Come up with half a million dollars, or kick everybody's ass.
Actress: Angelina Jolie

Title: Radioman
Synopsis: after coming home with a purple heart, a young marine has difficulty adjusting to civilian life until he accidentally becomes a political radio host.
Actor: Channing Tatum

Title: The Matchmaker
Synopsis: in the near future, couples are paired up to create genetically perfect offspring. When a long-time proponent of the system, a statistician who works on pairing people, falls in love with a rebel who fights the system, his world is turned on its head
Actor: Ryan Reynolds

Your title: Head Trauma
Synopsis: after a near-fatal car accident, a woman wakes up in the hospital thinking she is her 17 year old self. Hilarity ensues
Actresses: Betty White is who the world sees
Emma Stone is who she sees herself as

Your title: Business Casual
Synopsis: a businessman's wife is dying. In order to save her life, the main character must train to regain the strength of his youth to compete in an underground prize fighting ring.
Actor: Clint Eastwood

Title: Gunman
Synopsis: a lowly mob accountant becomes a hilarious victim of circumstance when he is mistaken for the mob's top hitman.
Actor: Michael Cera

Title: Dead on Scene
synopsis: a reporter is doing a story on a new virus at the local hospital. it turns out to be the start of the zombie apocalypse. Now she has to stick with her annoying cameraman, who's prepared for this his entire life, in order to survive.
Actress: Courtney Cox

Title: Junkyard: Earth
synopsis: a young man from Brooklyn moves to a small town. the only thing that keeps him from going insane is his time spent at the junkyard putting old cars back together. but when he finds a piece of ancient mayan tech, the fate of the earth falls in his hands.
Actor: Josh Hutcherson

Title: Swordmaiden
Synopsis: a sword wielding barbarian badass is fighting to save her homeland from a rival clan. She soon realizes that her army isn't interested in being ethical
Actress: Ali Larter

Title: Hands of Fate
Synopsis: when the main character goes to sleep, she sees a person die. But when she sees one of those people on the bus the next day, she confronts her ideas of fate and control.
Actress: Annasophia Robb

Title: Reform
Synopsis: a stuck up rich girl gets what's coming to her when she is sent to a reform school in southern England
Actress: Nikki Blonski

Title: Metallet (Norwegian for "the metal")
Synopsis: a guitar player from a little-known band leaves his life behind to move to Norway in search of the ancient gods of metal music
Actor: Joseph Gordon Levitt

Title: Revelations
Synopsis: a young Christian girl is shaken from her faith when she is visited by God who reveals new information about Christ
Actress: Rachel McAdams

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Pretension: It's What's For Dinner.

Setup: The Boy needs my help identifying some actresses in order to create and cast fake movie descriptions for people who liked his status on FB promising to do so.

Me: Well what about Rooney Mara.

The Boy: I don't know who that is.

Me: American version of Dragon Tattoo.

... The Boy: ...

Me: Ok, what about Mila Kunis

The Boy: Yah, she's smokin'. But she doesn't really fit the direction I'd like this character to go.

Me: ...

The Boy: What?!?

Me: That's pretty pretentious...

The Boy: ...

Me: You are fake casting for fake movies and you are worried about character direction? That's pretty pretentious...

The Boy: I know...maybe I should go to film school....

Yeah, I totally lift full conversations from my kid....don't worry, I have a pre-paid therapy fund for him.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Weird Business Metaphor Shoplift

Yeah, I creep around the office eavesdropping on conversations -- which in my defense are taking place in cubicles and bullpens and near the coffee machine.  So, you know, right where I can hear them by merely stopping on the other side of a wall and remaining still and quiet...uh....So. Today I passed a group sitting at a table in a bullpen, all staring blankly at the guy who said this:

"So, the way I see it is, it's like a boat.  And we are either all in the boat or we aren't all in the boat."

So, he's in the boat.  Or maybe some of them are in the boat with him, but some of them are not in the boat.  Maybe some of them were wise enough to get into the lifeboats.  Some liked like they wished there were another boat around.  Maybe they are all in one boat but he wants them to be in another?

I kept walking -- better that we were two ship that passed in the night than me getting into whatever boat he was trying to con all his team into.....

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Well, that was the inverse of smart.

Audrey Hepburn is my kryptonite.

That is all.