Thursday, March 27, 2008

At least THAT'S over...

I did my first reading ever yesterday. I was soooo nervous, but thanks to a beer beforehand and a wonderful support group of friends in the corner, I think it went off okay. I even got some twitters from the audience, which I didn't expect.

Much love to those who came (including our resident editor, moonrat).

Friday, March 21, 2008

Ready for a life change...

All - I caved and called my first choice school today - San Diego State. And I've been accepted! So, I'm totally freaking out but... Cali here I come!

Cyn - you better start thinking about what taco places to show me. Ha!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Goodbye, Dave.

Arthur C. Clarke died!

I read 2001: A Space Odyssey in middle school and then proceeded to read all of the sequels. I loved it. I never thought of myself as a sci-fi nerd, but I actually really really enjoyed it.


Friday, March 14, 2008

It was a different call.

I got a missed call on my cell phone when I was in a client call. I got all excited, because I thought maybe one of the schools had called me to accept me! Then I listened to the voicemail, and it wasn't.

Instead, I am probably now going to be doing a reading within the month.

I've never done a reading.

I have nothing to read.

I trip over my own words.

Nothing is polished

I'm frightened as shit.

I'm going to puke.


Thursday, March 13, 2008

The beautiful thing about book to film...

I've been sitting on this for awhile now, but I've been waiting for an official announcement before I made a post. Which there just has been. So...

Ball Don't Lie the film, directed by Brin Hill and based on a novel by my friend, author Matt de la Pena (who also co-wrote the script), will be featured at Tribeca Film Festival.

The film, according to Hollywood Reporter, is part of the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival, and according to them, is the "most notable" among the films being featured in this category. A coming-of-age story about a foster kid who dreams of becoming a basketball player, the movie stars some pretty big names, including Ludacris, Rosanna Arquette and Nick Cannon (and according to IMDB, also includes that Aussie chick from Lost, the girl with the scary black tears from Heroes and the chief of surgery from Grey's. Ha, I know I'm a loser and probably watch too much TV.).

Tribeca is awful about keeping their website up to date, but tickets, if you're a New York local and wanted to drop by, will be available for purchase there sometime starting mid-April I believe. The festival runs from April 23rd to May 4th, and Ball Don't Lie will be screened several times throughout its duration.

I've been following the production of this film for awhile, via its website. It's exciting to see something like this unfold, because I suspect, a lot of writers sort of dream of this. I mean, okay, yeah most of us think of these other ultimate goals - besides just publication (and oh, how I'd love to just reach that goal), but crazy wild things like landing on the NYTimes Bestseller list, winning a Pulitzer or a Man Booker, getting a favorable Kakutani review... Those are all THE goals.

But I think having a book made into a movie is another kind of accomplishment. There are so many more people out there who watch films than read books. Which means that your story, that world you created and love, will be reaching so many more people. And if you write for the reason I write -- to touch somebody -- then that's a big deal. Plus, it hopefully also translates back to book sales. People picking up your book that otherwise wouldn't have thought to.

So Tribeca is a huge first step for this movie. What an awesome film festival to be part of. And from here, who knows?

I'm so very excited for Matt. Only because, you dream right? You write this little story that occupies your heart and at that time, it's just yours and you live it and breathe it like no one else can or ever will. And when you're published, you hope other people will take your words and feel it the way you do, love it the way you do. You hope you've done that world in your head justice. You hope you've resonated with people. Made them feel something. But then when it's on camera? On a screen? Even though it stopped being yours the day you released the book into the world, on screen, it truly becomes everybody else's. The actors, the directors, the people viewing it through the lens. The people watching. And suddenly, this thing, this story, this idea, all of that world that was born from a first sentence, a first word, a first stroke of a key - it's become real somehow. No, no. Not real. But alive.

And that, to me, is crazy beautiful.

Congratulations Matt, and to all of those people who helped bring Sticky to life.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The waiting game is driving me nuts...

I'm waiting on MFA program responses. Doing that thing where I go on the blogs every day to see who's been accepted where.

I've been accepted into New School, and supposedly I'm supposed to make a decision by March 15 (rather early, considering all other deadlines are April 15). But I haven't gotten the letter in the mail yet and now I'm thinking it's all a dream.

I'm waiting on 6 more schools -- UC Irvine, San Diego State, San Francisco State, Sarah Lawrence, Brooklyn College and Rutgers-Newark.

As far as I know, SFSU, Brooklyn and Rutgers have all sent out phone acceptances already, which makes me think I may have already been rejected and I just don't know it.

UCI, SDSU and Sarah Lawrence, people haven't heard from yet.

I'm pulling my hair out.

Moonie wants me to just stay in New York so she hopes I don't get in anywhere else. =P Mean, that Moonrat is.


Also, I have some good news about somebody else to share. But I'm waiting to get the official go ahead before I say anything.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Laugh out loud.

I never post about passages that make me laugh out loud. I should. Because I can't write funny, and I love it when authors make me giggle.

This made me giggle:

"What is the reason for Batman? The why?"

"It's revenge."

"That's interesting," Sammy said. "See?"

"And he was driven mad."


"And that's why he puts on the bat's clothes."

"Actually, they don't go so far as to say that," Sammy said. "But I guess it's there between the lines."
--[pg. 95, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay]

Hee hee hee. I can SO see this being a convo pulled straight from Overheard in New York.

Friday, March 7, 2008

I know I've been quiet...

Just fyi... I'm so quiet recently because I'm 1) busy at work and 2) freaking out quietly over MFA letters that don't seem to be coming...


Diaz and Danticat both won their respective categories last night at the National Book Critics' Circle Awards.

Congrats to both, well-deserved. I could say more, but you all know how much I love both of them.


Wednesday, March 5, 2008

I have all of 30 seconds to post (work is kicking my butt), but I thought this should be posted --

Tonight is the National Book Critic Circle award readings. It's open to the public, but I also can't find anywhere that tells us who's reading ("check back later!" the website tells me brightly). But it's free, so worth it to go, possibly. Plus, my girl Edwidge was nominated, as well as Junot Diaz who we all know I think is wonderful. :)

Tishman Auditorium
New School University
66 W. 12th St. at 6th Ave.
6 PM / Free

The awards are being given out tomorrow night.

List of nominees found here (sorry, I should have posted this a long time ago).

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Vanessa Redgrave doesn't look like the rest of them though.

I just watched the movie version of Atonement. I actually was wondering how they were going pull off this adaptation, since the book's power hinges on the metafiction aspect. How were they going to make that twist happen?

Ah, by an interview.

Well, not quite the same.

The movie was entertaining, if wrenching. It took some interesting adaptations -- retelling of scenes from two perspectives, a murkiness during the war scene. Backpedaling. These were strong ways to portray what McEwan had written, I thought.

The part with Robbie in war was whittled down considerably. Which is fine, since no one really needs this to turn into a war epic, though I could have had a couple more scenes to really sort of drive in the "suckiness" factor. How to get out of prison he had to go through all this war crap, which really came across in the book. In the movie, you just kind of follow him as he's walking around aimlessly. But there's this really wonderfully shot scene on the beach where the camera just follows the soldiers and pans around as scenery comes in and out. The background music syncs up harmoniously with the singing soldiers. Very well done. I didn't LOVE Robbie the way I did in the book though, and that's probably because we didn't spend enough time with him.

Briony. Still hate her. Hate her weird awkward quiet blue eye-ness. Also, shhh, don't tell anyone, but I watched a pirated version of this film. Decent quality, but it meant I was missing subtitles. So my favorite scene with the French kid... I didn't get any of the words. So I can't tell you if it was as affecting as it was on paper. Somebody else let me know.

Oh god, Paul Marshall is deliciously disgusting in this film.

Okay, but the ending -- that's what's important. You know what, the more I think about it, the more I like the idea of the book. I really appreciated the ending, I just couldn't stand the beginning section. The movie, in my opinion, was weak on the ending. It still works, but having read the book, it doesn't do it the same way for me. And, you end missing the central point of the book -- the intellectual part of it. About atoning for one's sins, making things right. About rewriting the past. It lacks the power that the book did. But I suppose for a movie, where most people are going to just see the plot, it works. It doesn't need to be as intellectual. And Vanessa Redgrave does a good job. But it's clearly not nearly as effective.

I enjoyed the movie -- liked the little touches. The staccato of the keyboard. The creepy music. Briony as a creepy child. It was heartbreaking. And it was a great adaptation. So even though you lose a little of what makes the moral of the book so great, it was done well, I thought.

By the way, part of me wonders how differently I might have reacted to the movie had I not read the book. But I guess I'll never know.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

At the end of the day, it's still fiction.

Okay, I'm DONE with Atonement.

[Caution: a lot of spoilers. You should assume that with any post on any book I'm reading, because I keep this blog to keep track of my thoughts around particular books. But because of the nature of this book, I am SPECIFICALLY warning people who have not read it.]

So, I got tipped off into how this was going to be because Vivian told me it was metafiction (blast you!). And obviously, the section where Briony gets this letter from this magazine that she sends her novella to, it gave it away too.

I don't know.

I really like the CONCEPT. And I also really like the THEME. But I truly hated those first pages, not because the language wasn't good, but because it was so flipping self-indulgent. And okay, once I've gotten through the rest of the novel, I get that it's purposeful -- it's the first attempt by a younger Briony attempting to do a Woolf thing. I get that there's supposed to be a shift in voice between part 1 and part 2. But I just HATED it. I hated the characters so much that I elsewise never would have gotten through the novel.

But part 2 I loved. And part 3 with Briony as a nurse -- it was well rendered. That section with the boy with his brain exposed? My favorite scene in the entire thing. So touching and different.

And I liked, a lot, the ending, even though I saw it coming. Once I knew that it was fiction, then I knew that Briony would have changed a tragic ending. It was inevitable. But I liked it. I liked how McEwan ends it, hits you over the head with the whole atonement thing, and at the same time, gives you a reminder of what it means to be a writer:

The problem these fifty-nine years has been this: how can a novelist achieve atonement when, with her absolute power of deciding outcomes, she is also God? There is no one, no entity or higher form that she can appeal to, or be reconciled with, or that can forgive her. There is nothing outside her. In her imagination she has set the limits and the terms. No atonement for God, or novelists, even if they are atheists. It was always an impossible task, and that was precisely the point. The attempt was all.
--[pgs. 350-351, Atonement]

It's fascinating to me, this idea of writers as God. That as writers, we seek to make sense of a world that makes no sense -- ESPECIALLY if we are atheists or believe there is little rhyme or reason to this world. As writers, we struggle to give meaning to that which has no meaning. And we try to right the wrongs that can never be righted. Because in novels, there is a world order. A morality. No one wants to read a story in which there are no learnings, no lessons, in which the world doesn't have rules that follow that which we believe should be how the world moves. And why shouldn't an author try to be God and find redemption? What else do authors do but work through all our many issues with ourselves and the world?

But it's all a fiction. That's the point. We can write and write, but at the end of the day, it's our own fiction.

So I really appreciate McEwan for this. For crafting something so clever to bring to life this idea. The twist saves it for me. And I get it. I see how he's put this together. So it was redeemed.

But. Really. Nearly 200 pages to get to that "crime"??? I get it, but I still wish he'd been edited with a closer hand in the beginning. It drove me nuts, and it's only the obsessive a-type I am that saved me from dropping the book altogether.

Okay, next: I'm going to watch the movie :)

p.s. I am very sad Robbie died. I loved him.