You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2010.

One thing to realize about being an unpublished (and social media savvy) writer is that you are hooked into a whole network of people who are experiencing dizzying highs and crashing lows on a daily basis – it’s like the stock market on a week when a mortgage crisis looms and an economic stimulus package is announced.

A partial request has someone up; a reject has thirty people down; and the news has come—once again—that the sky is falling.

Remember those Zoloft commercials for people who are depressed or who suffer from social anxiety? Forget them. The real money is in targeting hopeful writers and the people waiting in line to audition for American Idol (because, let’s face it, some days the odds seem about the same).

You may be thinking this is a bitter post. It’s actually not. I had a great week and spent much of the weekend reading two fabulous books by two dear friends. I’m a chipper camper.

But Monday is coming. And with Monday, my slightly unhealthy relationship with my gmail will commence again.

But it’s alright. I know you’re there with me. We’re all in this leaky boat together.

My mind is officially blown. By awesomeness. An entire song devoted to the awesomeness that is the series three episode “Blink”.

I can’t skate. I’ve only ever played street hockey. Badly. I don’t enjoy watching hockey. I did once watch a friend try out for the girls’ hockey team. I did not enjoy it. I was being supportive. Have I mentioned that I can’t skate?

That makes my reaction to the above advertisement all the more embarrassing. Yes,I tear up. At an ad for Coke. I don’t even like Coke. Or hockey.

But every time that ad comes on I feel like kicking a little butt and painting my face.

Well done.

A little Molly Johnson to get your weekend off to a good start.

I recently started putting together a new iTunes playlist for the barest shadow of an idea I had and, even though it was darker than most of my ideas, it ended up having a lot of lighthearted Molly Johnson songs on it.

The playlist for Hemlock featured one Molly Johnson song: a heartbreaking cover of Streets of Philadelphia. The original (Bruce Springsteen) version is one of my favorite songs* and it took me months after buying Molly Johnson’s Messing Around album to listen to that particular track. When I did, it was instant love.

* And am I the only one who things Street’s of Philadelphia by Bruce Springsteen is the perfect song for Sirius Black?

“What is it?” His voice sounded so serious on the phone that I rushed right over after class.

“Nothing, just… Come on inside.” He leads me downstairs and I sit on the couch, tense and unnerved. Jeremy almost never worries – certainly not about me – and I think it must be something truly horrible for him to be watching me with such care.

He takes a seat across the room and rubs his forehead. “Douglas Adams is dead.”

My jaw drops. Words come out. Lots of incoherent syllables and, then, “No. Can’t be. It has to be a mistake.”

“Hun, he died of a heart attack.” Jeremy stands up, takes a half step towards me, and then changes his mind. He doesn’t like emotion and my face is full of it.

“But – but he’s only 49. It’s gotta be a different Douglas Adams.” The note of desperation, small and trembling, in my voice is slightly pathetic. Jeremy shakes his head. “He’s really dead?”

Jeremy nods and I burst into tears.

After awhile, after the torrent subsides, Jeremy lets me sit on his lap as I scroll through a news story he bookmarked for me. A black and white photograph of Douglas smiles up at me and my heart feels like it’s breaking a little bit. “There’ll never be another book,” I whisper and the words feel heavy.*

There will never be a line I haven’t read before – something new to underline and memorize. Douglas Adams is dead and all I can do is stare at the screen in disbelief.

In the interest of disclosure: this post was written before the announcement of And Another Thing‘s publication. I recalled it this morning –walking along and wondering if I’d ever be able to read a Hitchhiker’s book not penned by Douglas Adams–and decided to repost it here.

Sometimes, when I need cheering up, I watch Libba Bray’s promotional video for Going Bovine. Seriously, how can you not love it?

Over on AW, someone recently asked an interesting question: Which movie has the most powerful ending? (My answer, incidentally, was the original Night of the Living Dead.)

That question was fresh in my mind, five minutes ago, as I slipped Circle of Friends into the DVD player and promptly stopped the movie to write a blog post (please note that the rest of this post will contain major spoilers for both the Circle of Friends book and movie – including the endings of each).

Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy has placed on my “top five” book list for the better part of a decade. It’s one of two books on that list which I read after watching their film adaptations.

When adapting a full-length novel into a two hour running time, there will always be changes. With Circle of Friends, most of the changes were absolutely necessary. My two favorite supporting characters didn’t get screen time? Tough beans. They didn’t impact the main plot. The three friends have known each other since they were children instead of meeting at university? Makes perfect sense to try and cut all those “getting to know you” song and dance numbers.

But then we come to the ending and it gets a little tricky. If the original ending doesn’t fit the Hollywood mold, is it too big of a risk to justify producing the film? If the boy doesn’t get the girl, does that make it too difficult to market?

In both the film and the book, shy, awkward Benny Hogan falls for handsome Jack Foley. Jack, for a variety of reasons (none of them particularly good), has an affair with Nan, one of Benny’s best friends. In order to make film-Jack more sympathetic (and more appropriate to leading man material), he sleeps with Nan just once . In the book, his affair with Nan is drawn out over several weeks and is partially the result of annoyance that Benny has less time for him in the wake of her father’s death.

In the book, Benny goes through all of the hurt, humiliation, and bewilderment to realize that a life with Jack would have been a life of watching and waiting. She eventually accepts him back into her circle of friends but he’s on the outside –- not close enough that he’ll hurt her again.

In the film, Jack tries to make amends and she eventually forgives him. The ending scene is actually an implied sexual rendezvous (ironically at one of the locations where Jack slept with Nan in the book).

It may seem like a small chance but, for me, the change in the ending alters the central theme of Circle of Friends. The movie is about forgiveness and love—the boy and girl getting together despite the odds. The book is about a young woman discovering herself, learning that she isn’t just good enough for the handsome boy who swept her off her feet, she’s too good.

Then, again, perhaps I just read too much into things. In any rate, the DVD is still waiting. I’m going to settle in for two hours of lush Irish countryside, cute Irish (or fake Irish) boys, and some spectacularly bad hair on the part of Alan Cumming.

I cannot listen to “Try a Little Tenderness” (Otis Redding) without picturing Ducky’s epic dance scene from Pretty in Pink. Indeeed, when I listen to the song on my iPod, I’m always slightly surprised when I don’t hear the (perfectly timed) knocking from the furrier next door as occurs in the movie.

Salem was almost entirely inspired by a line in “Every Little Bit” by Patty Griffin.

Very early on, the song became Mac’s theme but about halfway through the first draft, I realized that the love interest in the song wasn’t either of the male characters who had appeared in the draft up to that point.

It’s funny how a morning turns a love to shame
Disguised and disfigured and you thought I tasted like rain

I kept going back to that line and, every time I listened to it, Salem became a little more concrete.

Thank you, Mr. Tennant, for four wonderful years.