Speaking of ideas, if you are a parent; well, there's no better (at least, not by much) place to turn to for ideas than a conversation with your kids. Did you know, they say the darnedest things? Crazy.
For example, a conversation I had the other day with my eldest son Elias (he's nine):
A strange low grinding noise comes from the refrigerator as we're standing next to it. He looks at me, startled.
Elias: (nervously)What was that?
Me: Oh, don't worry. That's just the demon that lives in our fridge.
*It's probably needless to mention here that I am absolutely the best Mom in the world, ever.*
Elias: (skeptically) Sure.
Me: No, really. His name is Zeul.
Elias: (joining in the joke) No, it's not. It's Argol.
Me: No... there is no Argol. Only Zeul.
From here, things bantered for a while in a way that I can't remember specifically, more's the pity. Eventually, though, we decided that Argol is here on a visit, staying with his cousin Zeul. Since Argol is from a small far-off section of the nether regions (as it were), he is not familiar with the ways of demons here in America. Much hilarity ensues:
The door opens. Zeul walks in, looks around, and shakes his head in despair.
Zeul: Argol... you were supposed to eat your victims, not string them up and rip out their entrails! Now I'll never get this mess out of the carpet!
Argol: (puts his hands up with a slight shrug, endearing grin, and extremely vague Eastern European style accent) Oooops. Is my bad!
*audience laughter and applause*
Cultural clashes, always good for a laugh. I think we've got something here.
See, it's a joke. Because this post is about ideas. See? See??
I am so funny.
Where do writers get their ideas? It's a common question, more common than it should be. Many people think ideas are reserved for a certain type of creative mind; more specifically, one that is not theirs. I know, because I used to believe that too.
A bit about my writing: I've got a play published, and have (as of- what time is it?) four others all but done, pending the workshopping process. And I've started a fifth. These five other plays have all been written this year. It's only the end of May.. :D. Before this, I spent a lot of time working on a radio show (here), still a work in progress, and corresponding novelisation thereof (here), also a work in progress. Many short scripts, unfinished ideas, even a few songs here and there. And whatever else pops into my head.
Beware the creative process, my son! I used to never get ideas. Never. I'd hear so many other writers say they had a ton of ideas- where, I wondered, were mine?
Turns out, they were biding their time...
All I did was start writing. I swear, that's all I did! One little idea; which is now my currently published script. It wasn't even my own inspiration (the idea was, but that's a different thing). Wrote it, edited it, completed it. Done now, right?
I wrote this five years ago. My brain has not shut off since.
It seems, all you have to do to get ideas for something to write, is to write.
Now, anything can set me off and running. Usually, I find the title first. Then, I figure out what it's about (could be anything; one of my latest was inspired by the brand name of someone's camper I saw while driving to Michigan).I've got a whole long list, half of which I'll probably never get to; I've actually set aside an entire notebook (the pen and paper kind) to flesh these things out. Never thought I'd be here.
If you never get ideas; if you cry vast pools of self-pitying tears because you feel you'll just never be able to have any, not ever, no, never: try writing. Just write. Write anything. And look around you; you never know what's there waiting for you to find.
I was moved to write this today, just a quick post on the subject although there is so much more to be said.
What do I believe? I believe in US.
I know, cheesy romantic comedy, right? But I don't mean just us as in two people, or anyone specifically; I mean the human race, as a whole.
Humans are capable of the most horrifying acts of atrocity, and the most astounding, selfless acts of kindness and generosity. The entire spectrum. I can't ever get too depressed and bogged down at the former when I have only to look around and see examples of the latter.
Humans are amazing.
We venture to learn more about the universe, and at the same time deny its existence. We built the pyramids, and deny that we were capable of doing so. We make a difference in each other's lives every single day, yet when something major happens, we think, "I can't do anything about it."
But we can. We can do anything.
I don't believe in much; but I believe in us. In humans. We are amazing creatures.
And we have only just begun.
Let's keep going.
A pox, I say!
I suffer (suffer) from cystic acne, which is why this post is mercifully devoid of pictures. At least, my dermatologist says it's "cystic acne"; I think more that I suffer from "mini volcanoes that pop up randomly", but I guess that doesn't have the same ring. Wait. It has a better ring. Who names these things, anyway?
One of these volcanoes has popped up randomly on my forehead. These things are huge (I'm talking inch diameter), and last for several days. So I get to walk around with a big target on my head for a week or so. Very, very embarrassing.
It got me thinking. I've seen those pictures, just saw one recently, about women in other cultures who are mutilated for simple things we take for granted here in America. All they did was stand up for themselves- sometimes it wasn't even in a particularly overt way- and now they are horribly scarred for life. (again, no pictures- these are as easily found as cystic acne photos).
And here I am, crabbing about a zit???
I feel horribly selfish about all this. AND YET... every time I look in the mirror, this thing is there staring back and mocking me.... and I feel horribly self-conscious all over again, to boot. So now I feel twice as bad!
And then I feel three times as bad for spending this much time thinking about it!! Argh!
But now I'm wondering... is it actually okay if I'm stressing about this? Granted, vanity is one of the seven deadly sins or something like that; at any rate, it's frowned upon in our society. But then again, it's glorified at the same time. And we're programmed, to an extent, by nature to judge people's worthiness by their appearance. Or at least their mateability. I've already got a mate who I am happy with, but how many people out there don't appreciate approval from others (of either sex), even when they already have someone who's going to tell them they look great no matter what? (And I do. Great job, hon. Keep up the good work. Go get 'em, champ).
I guess what I'm saying is that, all things considered, perhaps vanity may be in some way justifiable.
But it doesn't make it any easier to deal with. Go away, zit! GOAWAYGOAWAYGOAWAY!
I'll shut up now.
Just a quick post; this really has nothing to do with writing, but everything to do with tenacity.
I've had a piano for some years now, but I haven't kept up with practice like I should. Then I started giving my kids piano lessons, and realized I'd better get going again if I want to keep ahead of them... For Christmas, I gave them both the three book set Piano Music for Little Fingers, geared for ages 4 to 9. As of now, my daughter is working through the Primer and my son just started Book 1.
And I just finished Book 2! HA! Take that, children's piano book! I win! Hai-karate chop! Bam! And all that stuff!
I'm a little excited.
Only thing is...what do I do now? I'm still not really ready even for beginning piano scores, and there aren't any more books in this particular series. Guess I'll have to scour the library.
After I finish my air guitar solo. Woo-hoo!
Starting off this blog with a bang- I meant to post this Saturday. Ah, well. That's how it goes.
Nevertheless, I wanted to make sure I reviewed this excellent show. I took my elder son to see it Friday evening. It was Mommy-Buddy date night and did we have a great time- especially him, as he was out two and a half hours past his bedtime. Plus he got a candy bar. I was also out past my bedtime; but I didn't get a candy bar.
Suddenly, this doesn't seem quite fair.
Anyway. The show was a high school production, put on by high schoolers at the Batavia Fine Arts Centre here in Illinois; which, it turns out, is the same thing (essentially) as the high school auditorium. So, high school high school high school.
It was: amazing.
I've seen one or two of the kids in other local productions, so there were a few initial minutes of "Awww, look how much they've grown!", then I settled in and started noting away. And there was a lot of great. This show had a lot of fantastic (well, for high school, anyway) technical aspects, so it was decently impressive that way; it certainly served the show well in setting itself apart from the typical high school production. The sets involved myriad television monitors, on which were shown both live and taped sections of the show; asides, monologues, and dialogues with the actors. Other than the monitors, they were fairly minimalist, composed mainly of platforms and such for the actors to walk on and move about when necessary. As there were a lot of different scenes in different places, this worked quite well; the monitors also did some work here, showing public domain photos to place us in certain locations.
I remember my days acting (if you could call it that) in high school productions. Badly painted flats, actors with (for the most part) more enthusiasm than talent (if you were in my high school productions and are reading this, you were definitely one of the ones with talent); we were lucky if we could afford rented costumes. We didn't even have microphones. So: wow.
The plot was also fascinating, if a bit far-fetched. Based on the Cory Doctorow novel, a group of teens becomes caught up in a terrorist attack on San Francisco. They are captured by the Dept. of Homeland Security, imprisoned, and questioned (i.e., tortured) for days on end. The lead, Marcus Yallow, is released on the caution that any future toe out of line- even to telling anyone, including his parents, what really happened to him- will result in his again being captured and, this time, never being released. Though shaken, he decides to fight back and gets his fellow teens to join him in creating an underground online resistance.
Perhaps I am naïve in believing it far-fetched in this day and age; perhaps it really could happen. Well, I mean, it has happened; we've all seen the news (we have seen the news, haven't we?). Terror suspects have been captured, questioned... tortured. It's a horrible, brutal, real thing. What I find far-fetched is the idea of it happening to teens. To kids. This I find unreal. In our government; in our society; I just can't believe we'd go that far.
Hopefully, I'm right.
The other thing I have an issue with, and this is purely a personal thing is the idea of not trusting anyone over the age of 25. Damn. 25?? Really?
Okay, this is just an idea expressed by the characters, so I'll let this one go. I remember being a teenager; oh, how well I remember. 25 seems so far away. Seems like you'll never get there; then one day you blink and here you are on quite the far side of 25. When did that happen? And where's my senior discount? My cardigan collection? My walker with the flames painted on the sides?
Oh, and get off my lawn.
The sets were great and the story interesting. The main thing I must rave about, however, was the acting. It was really, quite very, GOOD. These kids obviously believed in the story they were telling, and had worked incredibly hard to put it out in the best way they could. The hard work showed, in the best way possible.
Special mention must be made of Johnny Hohman, who played Marcus. Perhaps I'm remembering incorrectly- there may have been a scene or two I don't remember- but as far as I recall, he was onstage the entire time. This was roughly a two hour show; and his concentration didn't lapse once. By the second act, the whole audience (barring the two clueless people who, of course, were sitting right next to me, and who were talking through the whole thing) had been sucked into that concentration and were watching with rapt attention. An impressive feat.
But I must also make mention of the entire cast. Many if not all of the kids played several parts, and so they didn't get much of a break either. I've been in several shows, and, while I enjoy being onstage, it must be admitted I like my lazy break time chilling backstage as well. Not so for these kids. Lesson taught.
This production is done. Being a high school show, it only ran for two nights, more's the pity, but then it would be quite a bit much for these kids to put forth so much crazy wonderful effort into both this and their schoolwork. I heartily recommend this show, if only on the strength of this production; if it plays in your area, give it a go. It should be mentioned that, although I brought my son, it's not a kid's show. It's rated PG-13 I think, and he's nine. I hemmed and hawed over whether to bring him, but I felt awkward seeing a high school show on my own (I know one of the kid's mothers, but still). So I asked, and he was interested, so I took the chance, and he really really enjoyed it. It sparked some discussion on the way home, which is what a show like this is all about. I believe he was just at the edge where he was able to deal with what he saw, even if some of it went over his head (at least, I hope some of it went over his head), but that's an individual case for each parent to decide.
Congratulations to the cast and crew for their hard work, and to Dominic Cattero for helming this excellent production. I look forward to seeing what you come up with next.
Well, hello there, internet!
My name is Rebecca. I am a writer living the dream (well, a dream, certainly) here in the Chicago suburbs. Currently, I am fortunate enough to be able to devote my time to my family: my super sexy awesome husband, super sexy awesome me, and my super duper awesome three kids. One might say that I am out of work, but it never feels like it.
Even without my family to keep me busy, I'd never be out of things to do. How could I? Life is amazing! There's so much to see and experience and do and be. There are so many things I want to try every day.
Which gets to be a problem. I've tried several different forays into the blogosphere and only one of them has stuck (see my project links below). I like a lot of different things, but to stay with them for any real length of time, without moving on to the next shiny pretty? Apparently, it's asking too much. Not to mention, I enjoy the internet, but I have this peculiar habit of "walking away from the screens" and "doing things". I'll try and post this blog regularly; but I make no promises.
The purpose behind this blog, and the reason why I think it will stick, is that I like doing and trying a lot of different things; but what I usually want to do, above all else, is writing. Other things are what I do; but a writer, like a mother, is what I am.
Dang it. I couldn't am something more lucrative?
Oh, well. Who needs money, right? Right?
...Anyway. I am hoping this blog will help me keep in practice. I'll be posting here about my various writing projects, as well as different thoughts, reviews of things, and updates on what-I-did-today if it happens to be particularly interesting. Hopefully people will be interested enough to read; if not, at least I keep in practice. That's a comforting thought. Right? ...Right?
So let's get to it already! Caffeinated chipmunk..AWAY!! Ping! Ping-pingpingpingpingping!
My writing on the internets so far:
-The Family Fruitcake- My only published work, a family Christmas play (I don't like the title, but there it is). The synopsis is rather poorly written; I promise the play is not.
-Tales of the Seamstress- A blog accompanying my steampunk adventure radio show; I wrote and created it, and am currently novelizing (really? That's a word?) the whole thing as well. Both are very good and I don't mind saying so.
-The Threads of Time- The aforementioned steampunk adventure radio show. It's not perfect, as I've never written for radio, but it's a work in progress, and it's getting better all the time. I'm really very proud of it.
Writer, dancer, actress, mother, me.