"" Writer's Wanderings: January 2006

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

A Different View

[Apologies to those of you who read regularly. We were without internet for two weeks traveling through Argentina and the Antarctic. Yes, you will be hearing about it. Here's the first...]

Rain dripped off the end of my nose as I watched my footing on the catwalk at Iguazu Falls in Argentina. We were treading carefully on the Superior Walk, the higher level of trails for viewing the falls. Even through the mist and the rain, the falls were a spectacular wonder of nature (will post pictures and review on my website soon)—tons of water spilling down more than 200 different waterfalls. While they aren’t as tall as Niagra, they stretch over a wider area.

Just like Niagra, however, the Iguazu Falls are viewed from two sides—the Argentinean and the Brazilian. Of course there ensues a debate over which side is better. Some argue that the Falls are best viewed from Argentina, others say Brazil. As our guide put it, “It’s a different view.” We heard that phrase a lot.

“Take the lower circuit. It’s not necessarily better. It’s just a different view.”

“Be sure to go out to San Martin Island. It’s a different view.”

“For a different view, go down to the river.”

Every time we rounded a corner and saw the Falls from a new angle, we laughed and said, “It’s a different view.”

And our guide was right. Everyone had their own opinion about which was the best view.
But isn’t that how the world is? Everyone getting “a different view?”

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Where do babies come from?

In FAO Schwartz there is a baby nursery similar to what you might find in the maternity ward of a hospital. A half wall is topped off with Plexiglass to allow you to view two rows of bassinettes each containing a brand new life-like baby doll. The sales clerk is dressed like a nurse and will pick up the baby of your choice and bring it out for you to hold. Then if you so choose, you may purchase the darling bundle for a cool $80.

This unique marketing idea could create all sorts of complicated issues with the age old question, "Where do babies come from?"

"Mommy goes to the hospital and they help her get the baby," Mommy explains.

Little Janie sees the babies behind the window just like at FAO Schwartz and turns to Daddy. "How much do these babies cost?" Daddy just shudders.

Now little Janie wanted a baby sister but Mommy shows her a little baby brother. Janie knows that when you buy something at the store, if you have a receipt you can return it.


"Yes, dear?"

"Where's the receipt for Baby John?"

"Receipt? Why do you want a receipt?"

"I'm gonna take him back and get a sister."

Of course that's more of an exchange. She probably wouldn't need a receipt.

Shhh! Don't tell her.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Hearts Anonymous

Hello, my name is Karen and I have a problem. It came with my computer. It's Hearts and I can't stop playing it. I do limit my playing time and use it as reward for goals met in my writing. My true problem arises with Pauline, Ben, and Michele--the other players (computer generated). I think they look into my hand sometimes. How else could they know I hold the queen of spades alone and then play a spade for me to suffer the consequences of having to play it and be penalized?

I find myself talking to Pauline. She seems to love to take all the tricks and leave the rest of us with 26 penalty points. "That wasn't nice, Pauline...You already played the ace of hearts--didn't you?"

Of course Michele always wants to send me the queen of spades when she has it along with the king and ace. That would be fine if I had all the high cards in the hearts suit. Then I could be like Pauline and take all the tricks. Michele's very sensitive though and I hate to yell at her.

Ben just sits there and chuckles at us girls but we get even with him every so often. We gang up on him and let him take the queen of spades along with all but one of the hearts. "Gotcha, Ben. It's not so funny when it happens to you, is it?" Of course if we do it too often his penalty points add up and the game ends sooner.

Do you see my problem? Instead of talking to myself, now I'm talking to computer generated card playing friends. I think I'm safer going back to talking to myself. It's a little more conventional.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Love, Janis

Janis Joplin and James Dean. I will never understand the need to esteem them. James Dean was just getting his career started when he died tragically--0nly three movies, albeit in one year and with two academy award nominations--but he has become a Hollywood icon. Maybe that's because he didn't have time to make a continuing success of his life...or a mess of his life as so many actors have done.

Last night we went to the musical, Love, Janis. We left at intermission. I didn't appreciate the psychedelic music when I was in college at the time and my tastes haven't changed. Besides, it's TOO LOUD! I could have sat through the music (my fingers were in my ears to reduce volume--Bob hates when I do that). And I would have sat through the music if the story was intriguing or compelling but it was the story of a girl gone wild in pursuit of...well, I'm not sure. I thought it was great music but as the story unfolded I couldn't tell if it was the music or the high she got from the recognition and the crowds and the drugs.

It was watching the actress down some pills with a bottle of alcohol and drape herself across a chair as if in a drug induced stupor that sealed the decision to leave. I knew what was going to happen. There wasn't going to be any redemption--just more drug influenced music and ramblings about how great she was at defying the conventional way of life. It was sad to think of what might have been if she'd have used her talent without the drugs but I couldn't garner enough sympathy to sit out the second half of the show. I knew the ending. She overdoses on heroin.

Now what is there I'm missing here? This was someone great? This was someone who changed the world for the better? This was a dope addict who played loud music and, as her mother noted, screamed when she sang. She wasted the talent she had. What's to admire? It's just a sad story.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Roller Coaster Rides

I'm embarking on a roller coaster ride. That's what happens when you submit your work to editors/publishing houses. My agent sent out ten proposals for my book, In A Pickle. Thus begins the clackety-clacking as my coaster car begins its trek out of the loading area.

I don't do real roller coaster rides at amusement parks any more. I can't stand the feeling of free falling and, in today's new modern contraptions, I don't want to be zipped upside down while twirling through a corkscrew and free falling at the same time. Whew! Just the thought of it makes this morning's coffee churn.

For me, the fun will be in the survival, not the ride. So, here I am facing the roller coaster of submitting my writing for publication, teeth clenched against the inevitable ups and downs. I'm not even going to think about those corkscrew turns. I'm already out of the loading area and through my first couple of free falls. I'm going to have to cut back on the coffee and hope the ride isn't too long. Survival will come with a contract clutched in one hand while the other one unbuckles the seat belt.

Monday, January 02, 2006

King Kong

We went to King Kong yesterday. To be blunt, it was an exercise in bladder control. By the time the commercials and trailer run, you can add almost 15 minutes on to an already long movie. We sat down at 3:45 and didn't get out until almost 7:30.

Was it a good movie? It's a remake. The original was a good movie. This one made fun of the first and the second. It was comical but way overdone. At one point I wondered how much footage of Jurassic Park they had inserted. It seemed to go on and on.

The computer generated Kong was interesting to watch. They did a great job giving the ape human qualities--right down to the sign language exchanged with his little Barbie doll as they watch the sunset and sunrise.

I guess I'm a bit cynical but, you know, if a writer did that much narrative storytelling, she'd be told to cut it out and move the story along. At least when you're reading a book, you can take a potty break and pick up where you left off.
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