Here, in Venice, the “Devil” is (definitely) in the detail. The new metal door recently installed in the much older building, though a little out of place, appears perfectly functional and looks like it is good operating condition.
What needs to be pointed out here is that Venice, Italy is a city, situated just a few feet above sea level and so those cracks in the wall may be caused by the overwhelming presence of sea water in the immediate vicinity.
Furthermore, Venice may also be a bellwether locale, for the distinct possibility that our sea levels are rising and this phenomena may be causing and will cause problems along some coastlines in the near future.
I have no idea how the concept of time developed among primitive man, but it is definitely clear that today we are very aware of the concept of time; and in fact, have broken down the passage of time way beyond the concept of days. Today, we have broken the passage of time into hours, minutes, seconds and even fractions of seconds. This allows us to calculate many aspects of speed and physical performance, but also allows us to reflect on how we spend the 24 hours that encompass a whole day, which is the amount of time it takes our planet earth to complete one full rotation.
With this knowledge it is also possible for us to deduce how much of our lifetime is spent asleep. If we sleep eight hours a day, then we know that a third of our life is spent in the sleeping mode. This may seem like a lot, but it should be noted that any attempt to shorten this ratio usually results in catastrophic results for the person involved. With this in mind it is always good advice to get a “good nights’ sleep” no matter where you are.
You might say that writing memoir is like pirating your own life.
Quotation From Toni Morrison
“When I taught creative writing at Princeton, my students had been told all of their lives to write what they knew. I always began the course by saying, “Don’t pay any attention to that.” First, because you don’t know anything and second, because I don’t want to hear about your true love and your mama and your papa and your friends.” by Toni Morrison
Good-bye To The Memoir
Everyone seems to start out writing memoir, and perhaps…….the unfortunate ones get successful at it. Look at Jack Kerouac. His second novel On the Road was a smash hit. It even got him on national TV……but at age 47, Jack was dead, victim of severe alcohol abuse. Jack London didn’t fare much better after his series of successful fiction and non-fiction titles. I’m sure everyone has read the short story, To Build a Fire, but how many know that he died at a young age of 40 from a complication of various medical problems including alcoholism.
Now it’s also very possible that having the name of Jack may have lead to the early demise of these successful authors, but no matter how you feel about this premise, I still think that evolution beyond the first person narrative is a good thing for a writer. Just by looking at the lives of famous authors, you might postulate that writing the truth can be a difficult thing to outlive.
Say Hello To an Octogenarian Novelist and College Professor
Her name is Toni Morrison and she teaches fiction writing at Princeton University. She is also a Nobel Prize (1993 for Literature) recipient and her 11th novel, called God Help the Child, is due to be released this month and is probably already on the bookstands. (Sorry I haven’t been to a bookstore lately, so I can’t verify this.) In a recent interview with her old editor and collaborator, Alan Rinzler, Toni delves into how it is important for young writers to get away from the old concept of “write what you know” and venture into the brave new world of “write what you don’t know”. This may be an invaluable piece of advice for writers regardless of age or experience level.
Maybe It’s Better To Fib A Little
So, what’s the moral of the story here. Well, it goes like this. If you fib a little bit, then you might live longer. It’s kinda like eating hard candy and drinking red wine. That is when done in moderation these things, which are supposed to be bad for you actually relieve some of your stress, thus leading to a longer life.
This surreal painting is simply called Giant. It was done by the master illustrator and painter, N.C. Wyeth. Just in case you’ve never heard of Newell Convers Wyeth he is the first generation of that famous American triad, which also features Andrew and Jamie. If you ever get a chance to see this painting in person, go do it. You won’t regret it, for this is an impressive, large oil painting that will most likely completely take over any space where it is exhibited.
The Korean protest against the showing of a movie, called The Interview, is kind of old news now, especially after the tragic events that just unfolded in Paris, France, just a few days ago. Still, I would like to explore how SONY inadvertently explored some new ways of releasing a film…and how they surprisingly recouped most of their production costs (estimated are at around 44million), once they did decide to go through with the Christmas Day release.
On Nov. 24, about a month before its scheduled theatrical release, SONY got seriously hacked. Within a few weeks, SONY announced that it would not release The Interview, even though the Dec. 11 West Coast premiere did take place. Then, right before Christmas, SONY had a change of heart. They would release The Interview both in the theater and through online venues like Google Play and Video on Demand. Though the cinematic showing was limited, the online streaming and downloading of this feature length movie then go forward, as planned.
Some Facts and Figures
As of Jan. 6, the Interview has pulled in 31 million through Video On Demand and another 5 million through its limited theatrical debut. I’m sure the film would have done better at the box office under normal conditions, but right now the film sales must in what can be best called a salvage operation. The film cost only 44 million to make, but add distribution and marketing and now you have a film that runs close to 75 million. And this doesn’t even touch the expenses that were run up, after the SONY Corp. got so badly hacked, for there’s no telling what that cause the entertainment giant.
Has the Interview Enhanced Online Viewing
Even so, there is a definite silver lining in this cloud. And that would be how the enhanced VOD sales, courtesy of a very, ticked off head-of-state in North Korea, saved this movie and perhaps changed the playing field, when marketing a feature length movie. This was happening even before the ‘Interview’ fiasco, but even more than before, producers now must be taking in and discussing how to maximize both types of viewing and sales, when releasing a new movie.
Summing It Up
I’m sure this is big news to Netflix and its upstart challenger, Amazon Prime, who both have tapped into the online streaming market, while completely ignoring (thus far) the virtual reality of showing a full-length movie in a brick-and-mortar movie theater. I can’t help to contemplate that the news that Woody Allen is now in cahoots with Amazon Prime, somehow indicates that dual (theater and online ) releases may in the (near) future plans.
One might think that recent Hollywood feature productions would be the major inspiration for my latest short story, a take on Little Red Riding Hood. But a much more likely influence are the cartoons that I saw as a youth, especially the Fractured Fairy Tales segment occasionally aired on the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. For some strange reason unbeknowst to me, fairy tales never seem to lose their timeless qualities.
Growing up in the sixties, I was a great fan of Saturday morning cartoons. In fact so popular was the medium that some animated programs, the Flintstones and the Jetsons come to mind, were shown during prime time hours. However, when dealing with the adaptions of fairy tales to the TV medium, Rocky and Bullwinkle were not the only culprits. Influences from the Grimm Brothers, Hans Chritian Andersen and other folklorists would occasionally appear in other venues as well, such as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Betty Boop and etc. And then there were the feature films that Walt Disney made, such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which were really forerunners to recent releases likeSnow White and The Huntsman and The Brothers Grimm.
Snow White, Then and Now
My Literary Effort
My literary effort is entitled A Forest Tale and it is free this week at Smashwords. I wrote it for an anthology at Bette Noire that was devoted to the modern retelling of old fairy tales. The story was rejected in the final round, but it did receive a nice letter from one of the reviewers, (a rarity in my literary experience). The story is set in royal China and characters include a lady in red, a big bad wolf, a pompous king, some hunters and a diplomat from a faraway land. So here it is for your own reading enjoyment.
More often than not successful writers, tend to make mostly practical suggestions to newbie writers. Commonly these witticisms contain such mundane advice as don’t use too many adverbs or leave out such over-used words as very, far out or nowadays. Fortunately, every now and then, a lucky writer sneaks in a tidbit of literary comment that transcends these basic grammatical axioms. For example, Stephen King’s classic line, “kill your darlings” has been most likely encountered by just about every practitioner of the English language on at least several occasions.
Following are some of my favorite comments by writers. You have probably heard of most of these guys and gals , but you may not be aware of their cherished little snippets of words. Hopefully, at least a few of these timely lines of wisdom will sink into your brain and create a microburst of energy within your gray matter.
Start as close to the end as possible. by Kurt Vonnegut
Employ an unreliable narrator, preferably one who doesn’t know he is insane and has no recollection of such events as digging into a grave to rip out the teeth of his recently departed lover. by Edgar Allan Poe (note: this comment has been falsely attributed to Edgar Allan Poe, but still ranks as good advice)
Let the audience add up two plus two. They’ll love you forever. by Ernst Lubitsch, screenwriter
Grab ‘em by the throat and never let ‘em go. by Billy Wilder, screenwriter
It is always prudent to remember that one is not Tolstoy or Dickens. by Tracy Kidder and Richard Todd
Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print. by George Orwell
Try never get drunk outside yr own house by Jack Kerouac
Remember there is no such thing as nonsense. By Andrew Motion
Every one’s probably heard of this Elmore Leornard quote, but I’ll include it anyway….Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.
And last but not least! Ignore all proferred rules and create your own, suitable for what you want to say. by Michael Moorcock
What’s Up With Kindle’s Direct Publishing Select Program?
Kindle’s Direct Publishing Select seems to be gaining popularity with a growing number of authors and more importantly…..also with readers. However, it should be noted that various publishing companies and some literary agents do not share the same opinions. Following is a quick glimpse at a few writers who have opted for participation in the Amazon e-book program and how they have done with their literary titles.
Submitting to Curtis Brown
As a literary agent for Curtis Brown LTD, Nathan Bransford developed one of the most widely read literary blogs around. Large numbers of prospective authors followed followed his timely remarks and comments, hoping to obtain the right piece of advice that would propel them into the fast lane of literary success. I was one of those people and I even went as far as to submit a query letter concerning a completed manuscript. All I got was a “Not For Me” rejection, but the general insight on the submission process that he provided was most helpful. This was information published on his blog that could be read by everybody.
From Literary Agent To Sub-published Author
While a literary agent, Nathan began publishing his Jacob Wonderbar series of sci-fi space travels aimed for younger readers. Not long after Mr. Bransford left the West Coast agency and took a job writing for CNET. He still writes the Wonderbar books and blogs as an author instead of an literary agent. As a result his posts are less frequent but still very informative. The development that has caught my eye was a recent announcement that he is writing a novel which will be self-published in the near future. This is a most interesting turn of events that illustrates how quickly digital self-publishing is making inroads into the mainstream publishing world. This is just one example, but I think it shows how important digital e-publishing is becoming to authors.
On Friday February 15, 2013 an asteroid, half the size of a football field is due to pass about 17, 000 miles from the surface of earth. In astronomical terms that is a “near miss”, but including to all sources, including NASA, no unusual side effects are expected from the extra-terrestrial object, which has been officially named asteroid 2012 DA14.
Something Strange Going On Here
The strange thing going on here is not the so much the close passage of the asteroid, but rather NASA’s PR effort in explaining the science behind what will happen on February 15. One of those unique events is a teleconference tomorrow on Feb. 7th explaining what can be learned from the approach of this asteroid. Also of note is a second animated video that was put together by the NASA Jet Propulsion laboratory, just yesterday. Again NASA is using visual images to downplay the presence of DA14, but in reality, these graphic depictions may be actually having the opposite effect. Stay tuned this may get interesting.
Strangely enough, I attended high school in the city of Baltimore, when Johnny Unitas was still playing quarterback with the Colts. So as a result, I still haven’t got used to the fact that the Colts are now in Indianapolis and a team called the Ravens plays in Baltimore. Nonetheless, congratulations goes out to the new World Champions.
About The Playing Surface
When I did live in the “Big Easy”, I once had a two day job, setting up the Louisiana Superdome for a car show. The playing surface or carpet had already been rolled up like a Swiss chocolate and was sitting out of the way at the edge of the indoor stadium. And I must say that the green carpet sure looked thin. I would hate to be tackled on such a floor covering. Maybe the Saints need a real grass stadium.
I have always been a great admirer of Bill Walsh and his West Coast offense that featured Joe Montana at the helm. I guess that put me on the 49’ers side for yesterday’s contest. Believe it or not Sunday’s championship featured two brothers as head coaches, who were born less than two years apart. Both seemed to be channeling some of Bill Walsh’s offensive ideas, but after all is said and done, congratulations are in order for older brother John, who lead the Ravens to a narrow victory.
Yesterday, I had a moment of sad regrets that left my mind racing and me pounding the table with my fist. No…… noboby died, I didn’t lose my job nor did I get evicted and be forced to move into a homeless shelter. The cold hard truth is that my laptop computer died.
Immediately, I started thinking how I could replace the invaluable electronic device with a new updated model complete with all the latest bells and whistles. In fact, this has been a move that I have been contemplating for quite some time. Only lack of funds and an old outdated Gateway that refused to die kept me using by old faithful friend.
Things Look Different This Morning
Today, the urge to buy a new internet device is not so much an overwhelming event, as it was yesterday. I had originally planned to make the purchase next month after I move. This morning that still seems like a good idea. The damage to the computer is not fatal and my hard drive is probably OK. I have power to the laptop, but the screen is black. Other more impressing problems like doing my laundry and going grocery shopping have arisen and taken the place of the computer with the black screen.
Chance Upon A Good Read
After my computer went down, I was lost as what to do, especially since there is limited TV reception out here in the wilds of Northern New Mexico. By chance I came upon a good read, titled The Snow Lion’s Turquoise Mane. The collection of very short stories is subtitled, Wisdom Tales from Tibet, and the text is written by Surya Das, a well known Buddhist teacher, who is referred to by the Dalai Lama, as the “American Lama” . So I guess I can say, all is not lost.