Monday, January 28, 2013

Two Hundred Years of Mr. Darcy

Pride and Prejudice is two hundred years old!  I adore this book (and there are a couple posts about it from the Rubies here and here) and I thought the best way to celebrate Jane is with Jane.  Here are a sample of some of my favorite Austen quotes.

"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife."

"A lady's imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment."

"My idea of good company is the company of clever, well-informed people who have a great deal of conversation; that is what I call good company."

"Nothing is more deceitful than the appearance of humility. It is often only carelessness of opinion, and sometimes an indirect boast."

"If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more."

"Every man is surrounded by a neighborhood of voluntary spies."

"Next to being married, a girl likes to be crossed in love a little now and then."

"We have all a better guide in ourselves, if we would attend to it, than any other person can be."

"I am afraid that the pleasantness of an employment does not always evince its propriety."

"One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other."

"Seldom, very seldom, does complete truth belong to any human disclosure; seldom can it happen that something is not a little disguised, or a little mistaken."

"To look almost pretty is an acquisition of higher delight to a girl who has been looking plain for the first fifteen years of her life than a beauty from her cradle can ever receive."

"We do not look in our great cities for our best morality."

"One man's ways may be as good as another's, but we all like our own best."

"Husbands and wives generally understand when opposition will be vain."

"What is right to be done cannot be done too soon."

And this one, to live by: "Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery."

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


Today I'm over at the Ruby Blog talking about one, five, and ten year goals.  Come on by and tell me where you want to be when you grow up!  (Not that growing up is a prerequisite, because maturity is so overrated. Especially since my ten year goal involves donuts.  Just sayin'.)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Delinquent Blogger

Hello, world!  I really have been quite hermit-ish and a terrible slacker at the blogging lately.  You can blame this on my shiny new (kinda secret cuz I'm too chicken to share it just yet) project.  Or you can blame my silence on the fact that some lovely soul sent me a box of books and I've read seven of them in the last five days (no joke).  Or you can blame it on the fact that I recently discovered Dr. Who is broadcast on BBC America (who knew this and didn't tell me???) so I've been loading up my DVR with the joy of The Doctor.  (Who's your favorite companion?  You can tell me.  I don't judge.)

But perhaps the best thing to blame it on is the fact that I just haven't had much to say.  Just me, sitting here, reading books, pondering the joys of travel through time and space, and being generally quite boring.  (I even did my taxes.  If that isn't boring, I don't know what is.)

What about you darling people?  Anything new going on in your worlds?  Any fabulous new books discovered? 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Get Your Writer Binge On!

Greetings, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls!  It's that time again.  The Third Annual Ruby Slippered Sisterhood Winter Writing Festival! 

There are prizes, but the real prize is the words on the page - so if you're a writer sort (or you've always secretly wanted to be a writer sort) there is no time like the present to join in the amazing camaraderie of the RSSWWF.  You can visit the Ruby blog today to announce your goals for the festival (publicly admitting them is a really good way to keep yourself honest) and then swing on over to where we have hosted writing sprints at all hours to help fire you up and keep you hammering away at the keyboard. 

Go forth and be brilliant, writer-friends!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Bachelor Drinking Game!

It's that time again, boys and girls!  The time when twenty-five eager young wannabe daytime talk show hosts/future Dancing with the Stars "stars"/romantic hopefuls descend on a mansion at an undisclosed location in LA to find love on national television.  That's right!  The Bachelor is back!

This year Bachelor Ryan is in the driver's seat (much to the squealing delight of the bachelorettes and the show's producers who made sure every "bigger in Texas" reference imaginable made it into the opening footage).

Now, I am fascinated by the phenomenon that is The Bachelor, but I have to say it is a show that doesn't benefit from sobriety, so I hereby introduce The Bachelor Drinking Game! (I'm certain I'm not the first to come up with this - the show BEGS for shots.)  Are you ready to play along? 

Here are the rules.  Players must drink whenever any bachelor or bachelorette mentions:
  • Embarking on a journey.
  • Being initially skeptical about finding love this way, but KNOWING it is possible now.
  • His or her future wife/future husband.  (Doubles for "I believe my future wife is in this room.")
  • "Stealing" someone away for a moment.
  • Describing any location as "the perfect place to fall in love".
  • Being there for the right reasons/not the right reasons/the wrong reasons.
For advanced players (if you have a high tolerance), also drink whenever:
  • Anyone cries.  (Warning: Only for Professional Drinkers.)
  • Anyone gloats over receiving a rose.
  • Any of the ladies look visibly homicidal during the rose ceremony.
  • Anyone in the rejection limo says some variation of "I just want to be loved."
  • And finally, since we have a bevy of southern ladies every year, let's add a shot for every "Bless her heart."
Get ready for those Tuesday morning hangovers, ladies and gentlemen!   It's time for romance, ABC style.

Maybe next week we'll look at dating Dos & Don'ts as taken from this season of The Bachelor.  So far we have DON'T Serenade Your Prospective Sweetie the first time you meet (cuz it's just awkward, even if you have a really pretty voice and will probably have a very successful career in Nashville).  DO tell him your name.  DON'T repeatedly mention Fifty Shades of Grey and do a dance that begs for a pole in the middle of the living room.  But DO (shockingly) show up for your first meet in a wedding dress.  (I still can't believe that worked, but The Bride does seem kinda sweet underneath all the alcohol and layers of tulle so just goes to show you never can tell.)

Happy Trainwreck Romance Viewing, boys and girls!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


A couple weeks ago (when I was drowning in the holiday frenzy), I tripped across this BBC article about the "new" phenomenon of co-authorship.  This can be done in several ways - collaboration, writing teams who combine to form one pen name, or a contracted writer doing the grunt work for an established "brand" author.

None of those sound appealing to me.  I'm not a collaborator.  Does not play well with others.  Or as Einstein put it:   "I am a horse for a single harness, not cut out for tandem or teamwork... for well I know that in order to attain any definite goal, it is imperative that one person do the thinking and the commanding."

Writing teams have been working together to create worlds in television for decades, but the idea of someone being hired to write as James Patterson or Robert Ludlum (a sadly deceased genius whose name keeps popping up on new books every year) feels different to me.  It feels somehow shady.  Like they're trying to trick the reader into a book under false pretenses, perhaps.

Or perhaps that mild aversion has something to do with the stories I've heard about how in the early days of romance publishing, romance authors did not always "own" their pen names, and their publishers could then put out whatever books they wanted and say that you had written them.  But this time the deceit is on the part of the authors themselves.  And is it deceit at all if they are telling the ghost writing authors what to write?  Ghost writing is downright common in biographies and memoirs, so why does it feel so different when it is fiction? 

I have good friends who are contract writers and they are delighted by the work, but it sounds so stressful and stifling to me.  The idea of being hired to write someone else's book.  Because I feel like when it comes right down to it, ownership of the words is sometimes all we have.  They may not be brilliant.  They may not be read by eleven bajillion readers who are slavering for the next Wilbur Smith, but they're mine.  I'm not sure I could write someone else's book.

What about you?  What do you think of co-authorship?

Friday, January 4, 2013

Fix It Friday: Les Mis EXTREME CLOSE UP Edition

**Standard Warning: SPOILERS.  Many, many spoilers.**

Okay, so I love love love the music of Les Mis and I bawled the first time I saw the play, and I was delighted by some of the casting choices (did y'all see who the Priest is? Did you?!) so I was prepared to LOVE the movie. And I sort of almost maybe did. Ish. Except... not really.  Here's the thing:

When you have constant abnormally extended close ups of highly emotional people singing and nothing else in the frame is in focus so you are forced to stare at them for long periods of time while they emote into the camera... it's kind of like the cinematographic equivalent of a little kid running up to me and saying "Look at this!" as they shove something so close into my face I can't process it. So no matter how awesome their drawing or toy or whatever is, I can't see it. And no matter how AMAZING the actor's performance is, I can't emotionally process it because it is RIGHT IN MY FACE and I just want to step back to get some perspective. The cinematography KILLED that movie for me. Which is so so so disappointing because everything else about it was so brilliant. If they had just moved the camera back a few feet, I would have been in heaven. I would've cried. As it was... Performances? Brilliant. Emotional resonance? Absent.

They completely wasted the opportunities gained by having it be a movie not a play.  No "phantom faces in the window" during Empty Chairs at Empty Tables.  In fact, no chairs and tables, because why would we want to see anything except Marius's extremely close and freckled face as he cries?   Why would you want to be able to see the city or the way "the pavement shines like silver" during On My Own?  Even ensemble songs were a series of extreme close ups from different characters so we really never got a sense of people singing together.  And weirdly, the one song that might have benefited from Extreme Close-Up Cinematography (Bring Him Home) was shot with Hugh Jackman in profile, a middle shot from a lower angle so it's not even a "god" angle.  Almost no establishing shots were used so we lack a sense of where people are in relation to one another or where they are in the world (the exception being Stars, which I thought was beautifully shot... one song out of thirty, should we call it a victory?).  They wedged in a new song (meh, probably wanted to get it nominated for an Oscar) and eliminated the "could it be you fear to die?" verses of Drink With Me (which is one of my all time favorite moments in theatre, so I'm a little tetchy about that one). 

And yes, I realize the musical transitions are all right there in the score if you want them, but while having walking music is helpful when people are moving sets and hustling on and off stage, in film it makes it seem like the music is happening to the characters, rather than springing out of them.  It's a subtlety that was completely missing.  No single note of music was sparked by emotion, emotion was cued up on schedule by the music (which makes it seem forced and false).

So the take-away from this one... Converting a play to a movie is more of an art than just putting a camera in the middle of the stage and having everyone sing right into it.  And sometimes an emotional connection with your audience depends on their ability to absorb what you're saying to them. So be nice. Give them a chance to breathe.  Give them enough distance to let their eyes focus, a chance to take it in. Because shoving your emo-ness in their face (cough, Twilight) is not nearly as emotionally effective as restraint and subtlety.