Monday, November 29, 2021

"Into the Woods" and Sondheim

I can't remember how I first learned of "Into the Woods", quite possibly sifting through the Broadway section at a music store back in the day. 
Also back in the day, someone set up a theater going group in DC. You could meet up, have dinner with folks, and then go to a show.
A community theater staged "Into the Woods" downtown at a church. I joined the group and we dined, and watched the show. I still remember the actress who played Little Red Riding Hood. 
It was, like smaller productions often are, perfect but still there are so many things that watching it live bring to the experience, even when you've heard Bernadette Peters sing the show.
The movie version is kind of a mish mash to me, some people are chewing scenery and some people are very earnest. But there are delights within it. 
Mr. Sondheim had other works, but that is the one that spoke to me the most. As others have said, there are giants in the sky.

Monday, November 22, 2021

Thanks and Things

I told someone last week I often enjoy working the day after Thanksgiving. This comes with many caveats. I do not mean retail. While I have worked retail, I have managed to avoid peak shopping stuff from that side of the counter. 

No, I mean office type jobs. Places where having someone nominally there is useful, but much of the normal things are quieter. I often got my email sorted and got to all the things that days with conference calls and team IM's meant I couldn't focus on. And because it was a weekday, I got two days of non-work after.

This week can be about food or not. Family and friends or not. Gathering with others or not. 

The roots of the focal holiday has its roots in two disparate groups navigating how to coexist peacefully and figuring they might as well eat while they discussed that.

Food can be both necessary and a wonderful demonstration of love, and so holidays that center food also often center gathering in groups. 

I am grateful this year for many things, even as I adjust to the newer holes in my life.

Vaccines, family and friends both near and far, those willing to work with me to gather in ways that are comfortable and safe for us all, for books (so many delightful books), and for my cat who has proven a wonderful companion both pandemically and not. Also my writing mojo which got a lovely jumpstart from NaNoWriMo. There's more, of course. 

I hope whatever shape your week takes, you find some space to do and/or be something you are grateful for.

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Three Interesting Things

1. L. D. Lewis wrote a recap of Fiyahcon from the planner side.  I always appreciate her frankness with numbers.  
2. This piece is from a few months ago, but it looked at why being seeing as desirable for your race can be just as icky as the opposite. 
3. And you know I love deeply specific questions about the DC area, like is Iverson Mall making it?  
Bonus: The reading salon I did on Saturday was recorded, so you can watch it here.  

Monday, November 15, 2021

RIP, Ms.Mayer

Petra Mayer was part of the NPR Books team, and as such we had attended many of the same local book events, and I had even chatted with her about the romance book club. 
She was a regular fourth chair on "Pop Culture Happy Hour" and had written, edited, and wrangled good portions of the book coverage on NPR. She was unafraid of genre fiction, and willing to wade happily and deeply into romance, YA, fantasy, and various combinations of the above.
She grew up in DC in the neighborhood I now live in, and was among other things a cat guardian.
My sincere condolences to her loved ones and colleagues. 
I'm gonna go read a nerdy romance in her honor.
Here is a link to when she was featured on Faces of NPR:

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Three Interesting Things

1. This look at whether some brains are more prone to dancing doesn't go terribly in depth, but was interesting nonetheless. 
2. This reflection of what went right and wrong with a trip while vaccinated was interesting.  
3. This piece about the Rose Queen of Texas is a look at the work involved in an unusual tradition. (NYT link.)

Tuesday, November 09, 2021

Indie Author Day on Saturday

Hey Folks, 
Saturday is Indie Author Day, and me and some of the other folks from the Inclusive Romance Project are gonna do a reading.  I'll be reading from Repeated Burn, and the lineup is pretty cool, so if you need some more indie authors to check out, this is a great way to do so.  The list of participating authors and straming link is here:
The reading is going to be broadcast on You Tube, so easy to join. 

Monday, November 08, 2021

7 Things I Learned From "ER"

I finished a complete "ER" rewatch earlier this year.  And well, it seemed time for a seven things post.  
1. "ER" was in some ways, much like "The Wire" or "Parks and Rec" in that it was very interested in demonstrating how the large systems that we create are often populated by (some) people doing good work, and stymied by funding and processes. 
2. "ER" told me I never knew whether I was going to get the caring doctor or the distracted doctor.  It was often impossible to tell from the outset whether the demanding patient would turn out to be right that something was wrong, or wrong, but the demanding patient rarely died by being ignored by the distracted doctors.  
3. Doctors on "ER" often had disagreements on the best course of action, with both each other and with patients. Much of this was honestly because the human body is unpredictable, and sometimes it was because having multiple possible health concerns makes many things a judgement call. 
4. Doctors who mean well have about the same success rate as doctors who don't.  Some of this is just the function of fiction, of course. 
5. Doctors who are sticklers for process will abandon it when presented with the right set of circumstances.  
6. Privilege will always serve you.  For a show about a department serving the underserved, it showed again and again how privilege was a great thing to get if you could.   
7. "ER" managed to figure out a way to get Scott Grimes and Angela Bassett to sing on their doctor show.  So the next time I suggest your show needs a musical episode, I don't want excuses.  
Also, this may go without saying, but if you choose to rewatch the show, be ready for a number of sexual assault storylines, rampant unpunished workplace sexual harassment and racism from credited and recurring characters, multiple fatphobia storylines, and an non-zero number of the surprise twist is that they are LGBTQ storylines.  

Thursday, November 04, 2021

Three Interesting Things

1. I found this description of ambient trauma useful.  We are all experiencing some level of ambient trauma right now, and while having the term doesn't fix it, it helps to appreciate the strange times we are in.  
2. I was pointed to this study that looked at how games like Tetris can help in dealing with intrusive memories from traumatic events
3. I saw a post about a bride's brother trying on her wedding dress, and tried to track down the source of the photos and found several stories where this had happened.  And one where it's the groom's brother.

Monday, November 01, 2021

7 Things About NaNo

1. There are always the takes. Real writers don't need NaNo (National Novel Writing Month) to write.
Counter: The qualifications for being a writer are...*checks notes*...writing. If you write in November (or April or July) you are a writer. If you write other months, you are a writer.
2. November is a bad month. 
Counter: It may be. I think having a ridiculous non-day job goal during a busy period of my day job actually kept me balanced. But if it's a bad month for you there's camp in April or July. There's people all over the internet running writing challenges about any time you can think of. 
3. People can't write anything decent at that pace. 
Or: Drafting processes vary, but I actually do better at that pace. I've tried writing faster and had mixed results. I've written slower and the draft quality is not better. Knowing this about yourself is useful data, but the only way to know is to try.
4. Most people never finish their NaNo book. 
So, this is probably true. But, the stats for drafts when you gather folks up and start asking around are dire. I know these days it seems that everyone has written a book. They haven't. Lots of people started. Less people finished. This is a feature of projects that require a lot of time and energy. Not everything works out.
5. I can't not edit. 
Counter: Those of you who know I am a fan of messy first drafting know this is not my process. But if yours works better with constant editing, then cool. Do that. Work the way that works best for you. (PS yes, I have tried this method. Neither of those drafts ever got finished.)
6. I hate zoom/discord/slack/Twitter/etc. 
First let me gasp. (I kid.) But if you hate the various virtual meetup choices being offered, you are welcome to plan another. And you could also just write and not meetup. (I know, gasp.)
7. I'm a long term NaNo fan, NaNo got me my first completed draft, and several of my published works were NaNo of Camp NaNo projects. Not all of them were. And not all of my NaNo projects turned into something that had promise. But each of those projects was worthwhile to me to embark on. And I learned about my process. If it isn't for you, you don't have to join. But if it is, it might be a lot of fun.