A Writer’s Film

The-Magic-Of-Belle-Isle-Morgan-Freeman1Often, I keep track of films I watch that have a serious writer’s theme to the storyline.  Most recently it was The Magic of Belle Isle staring Morgan Freeman and Virginia Madsen. First off, I highly recommend this to any writer.  It’s a charming look at how imagination can and is a part of our lives, along with the story of a struggling writer. Plus it ends well and is a charming, charming story.

f03e818295b65975c3f4c94054b4314dOne of the things that got to me most about the film was the relationship Morgan Freeman’s character, Monte, has with his typewriter. At the start of the film he says “She’s a black-hearted whore, and I’m done with her.” Slowly, with the pushing of nine year old Finnegan O’Neil, he starts to write again and by the end of the film, you know he is back in sync with the machine.  There is a line where Finnegan asks Monte why he doesn’t use a computer.

Monte’s response. “I’m going to answer your question in return for blessed silence. Look at that machine. I like that you have to write a bit slower on a manual, I like the way it sounds, I like the way the letters bite into the paper, I like that you can feel as a genuine human being doing the work.”

Sometimes I forget the magic of using my typewriter. I haven’t had the inclination to pull out the Royal (he/she needs a good name instead of just Royal unless I want to envision Royal Wilder from the Little House on the Prairie series).  I actually haven’t had the inclination to do a lot of writing to tell you the truth.  However, whenever I see typewritten words or poems I just inwardly sigh in happiness. When I see someone using a typewriter I want to hug them. And when I see the love of a typewriter expressed in a film, it just makes me want to write to the screenwriter and thank them for making my day.  It doesn’t happen often, because honestly, there are not that many writer-esque films. So when I do see one, I pay attention.

1002004004848400Another film that made me want to start using my Royal (somebody help me name the darn machine) was Shadows in the Sun staring Joshua Jackson and Harvey Keitel.  Along the same lines as Monte, a line by Harvey Keitel’s character says Weldon Parish: “Typewriters make you think about the words you choose more carefully, because you can’t erase them with the push of a button. ”   (side note: great ideas, very cheesy film)

For some reason, even though I know all of this it’s nice to hear it in a film, or a book, or some random post. Little writer’s reminders are nice.

liberal_arts_2012Lastly, just because we are on the subject of writer’s films, I want to mention a new film that I HIGHLY recommend along with The Magic of Belle Isle.  This film is an independent film by actor Josh Radnor titled Liberal Arts.  I won’t go into a description because you can read about online everywhere. Just watch it.  If you love inspiration from all around, classical music, good humor, humor on life and college, and just an all around good feeling when you get done with a movie, then you need to see this.  It’s charming and you just want to meet Josh Radnor when you get done, especially since he wrote, directed and starred in the film.  So so very good.

One last thought.  I think the typewriter used in The Magic of Belle Isle was an Underwood.  I had the opportunity of having my grandfather’s machine, but it didn’t work and he ended up finding someone that liked those kind.  While I still wouldn’t really want one, man, those have got to be one of the coolest looking typewriters around.

Signing off

~Kate

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Truer Words Couldn’t Be Spoken

 Photo by Kevin Winter – © 2014 Getty Images – Image courtesy gettyimages.com

Photo by Kevin Winter – © 2014 Getty Images – Image courtesy gettyimages.com

The mind of a writer can be a truly terrifying thing. Isolated, neurotic, caffeine addled, crippled by procrastination, and consumed by feelings of panic, self-loathing, and soul crushing inadequacy. And that’s on a good day.  ~Robert DeNiro via the 86th Academy Awards teleprompter

Now, the really question is, how many good days are there for a writer? I caught this marvelous quote right way the other night while watching the Oscars, and I’m not the only other person who latched onto this statement. Type it into Bing and you will get several blog post pop up with this same quote used as the topic of Monday’s posts. It is a truly powerful statement in regards to writers.

In fact this statement is so true that you know only a writer wrote it for Robert DeNiro to say.  My mother stared at me and at the television, her jaw dropping  because it is so true in regards to me. I have actually been mulling over a post regarding the real issue of being a writer is because of our own fears. So this is apropos. What keeps us from writing are those moments of procrastination, panic, and self-loathing. We drink coffee or tea like fiends , and often we don’t have good days.

Unless you are talking to another writer, you definitely feel complete and utter isolation. Desolation. Non-writers do not understand what is going through our heads and there is no point in trying to explain. Non-writers stare at you, a blank expression on their face, and that’s when you know you are neurotic because obviously it only makes sense to us.

We fail to send in our manuscripts and query letters because we are ‘crippled by procrastination’ and dealing with ‘soul crushing inadequacy.’  “I’ll never be able to write like ____________[FILL IN THE BLANK].

Then there we are at two in the morning pounding out this idea that CANNOT wait till daylight, our eyes heavy and dark. WE wake to circles under the eyes from lack of sleep, staggering to the coffee pot before we are even lucid, only to look over what we had written in the dark and think to ourselves, ‘Utter crap!’

Rewriting over and over, tweaking even after it’s ‘done’ and ready to be sent off to editors, agents, or publishers. It will never be perfect. Twenty years in print and we will still want to change something that everyone else is perfectly fine with. We are never satisfied.

Even this post will be tweaked before the “publish” button is clicked, and three days from now I will want to change something.  (I wrote this yesterday in ink; I’m typing it now; and I’ve already changed a couple things)

The mind of a writer is a terrifying thing. What is going on in there leads to nightmares and moments when you space out trying to solve some plot twist. Random scraps of notes that are all gibberish to the ordinary person, but are pure gold to the author, frequent our lives and flat surfaces. We fill our notebooks with random odd sayings and pieces of conversation that we just might use someday, in some book that has yet to be written. We hoard our dictionaries and thesauruses. We keep books for varies pieces we like that we might include in a passage here or there.

And those are the good days.

Bad days are more frequent, in my opinion, and lead to giving up saying you’ll never write again. Days you want to rip up every typed page or shut down your blog because, hey, you’ll never write again. Depression where you are in such a funk that every living thing avoids you. The bad days feel like the depths of despair and there is no light at the end of the tunnels.

Oh, but we are writers, and it’s a wondrous thing.

Signing off

~Kate

The Lure of Officer Statham – Flash Fiction

A bit of flash fiction for you, my lovelies.  You know I love throwing out bits from my characters, as I seem to do it on a more regular basis.  This is about my two main gals, Rena and Mia.

After longingly staring at one of our local police officers who I swear looks like the actor William Levy from the back, and thinking about Mr. Statham, who happens to be a police officer, I came up with this little piece.  Enjoy you all on this lovely October Friday.

I don’t have the patience for finding a back picture of William Levy, so this’ll have to do.

Jason Statham in a suit

Jason Statham in a suit

Rena stacked her books and grabbed her Americano as Mia held the front door of her store open.

“Think that will last you a couple days?” Mia asked.

“It should.  I will probably have them back to you by the weekend most likely.  Thanks for loaning them to me.  Oh, hello, Rafe,” Rena said with smile at the tall Scottish man.

“Rena, love,” Rafe smiled, but arched a brow at the books she was holding.  “Quite a stack you have there.  Plans to read a bunch?”

“Oh, I have some research to do and Mia always loans me some of her books.  Besides, one can never have too many books……,” Rena’s words trailed off as the Police Chief’s black cruiser drove slowly by the shop and parked at the police station next to the city building.

Mia frowned at Rena.  “What are you staring at, Rena?” she asked then made an agreeing sound of pleasure as she followed Rena’s gaze.

“Jason Statham,” Rena answered with a feminine sigh.  She bumped Mia’s shoulder in their typical friendship move then leaned against her a bit as both women looking longingly at the officer who stepped out of the shiny black car.

Rafe, startled, looked at both the women.  “The actor?”

“No, but he looks just like the actor so that’s what all the girls in this town call him.  See?” Mia answered absently, then jerked her head in the direction of the man dressed in his police gear.  The man seemed oblivious to the stares from several women around Main Street as he grabbed several things from the front of his car.

Jolene Baker, the city clerk, stood out front of the city offices watering the pots of vibrant fall mums.  Her watering can was poised over the overflowing pots as water poured indiscriminately all over the sidewalk.  Up the street at the deli on the corner, two high school girls were overcome with a fit of giggles as they watched the handsome man.

Rafe looked back and forth between Mia and Rena, then at the women in town.

“Is this a common occurrence?” he asked.

“Hm?” Rena asked.  She reached up and fluffed her hair in the universal gesture of a flirting female.

“Does town stop dead when he’s around?” Rafe asked again.

Mia glanced at Rafe then laughed.  “Pretty much.  At least all the women stop dead.  Town’s a bit quiet today, so I’m only counting five women staring, not counting me or Rena.”

“Five? Who are the other two?” Rafe asked and looked around.

Mia jerked her head at the hairdressers three doors up where two more women were standing at the open screen door.  “Shawna and Louise Pratt.  Shawna’s the hairdresser and Louise is old enough to be his mother, but honestly, who wouldn’t look at that?”

“As I always say, ” Rena said, “Jason Statham has it made.  Men want to be him and women want to be with him.  Chief Harte is no exception.”  Rena sighed and turned  to Rafe as Chief Harte stepped inside the station.  “And if you think he’s all we get to drool over, you should see Officer “William Levy”.”  Rena made air quotes around his name.  “His real name is Jeremy Ross, Officer Ross, but he looks just like this super sexy actor who was on a reality dance competition show, so that’s what I call him.  His assets are just divine.  Ooh la la, il est tres magnifique.”  Rena kissed her fingertips in a completely Gallic gesture.

“The sad part of it all is neither one of the officers notice any of the available women,” Mia said with a pout.  Then she had the grace to look chagrined at Rafe’s raised brow.

“Okay, I don’t actually mean me because of dating Phil, but I can appreciate.  Just like I can appreciate how you look.  I’m talking Rena here.  She’s been making eyes at him all summer and he doesn’t notice one whit.”

“Who, the Chief or the officer?” Rafe asked.

“Either one,” Rena said with a sigh.  “Well, I must be going now that he’s gone inside and will be there for a while. No point in waiting around for him emerge again.  By Mia.  Rafe.”  Rena waved and marched off down the street towards her car.

Sorry that was a bit of a longish piece.  But I hope you all enjoy it.

Signing off

~Kate

Journal Me Journal You

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Mr. Statham’s caption : A lot on my mind, about time I write it down…

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I am  stealing borrowing the two above pictures from Mr. Statham (not the real Jason Statham, but a friend who I swear could be the Man and I mention him in a post from three years ago if you click the highlighted name).  He just posted these tonight on Facebook and I immediately fell in love with them and told him that I was going to use them for a blog post.  My only comment is, that journal is empty! and I think a fountain pen might be needed.  Just saying. But, then, does Jason Statham use a fountain pen? Probably not.

I have not met many men in my life that write in a journal.  Granted, I don’t know tons of men, and most of the ones I do, are old…. So I find it kind of cool and sexy  in a writer-esque sort of way to see that a guy is writing in a journal.  And the mood in the setting is just so very Poe and The Raven to me. (the candles and the moodiness of the look) I can’t explain why I find this so inspiring, but I do.

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My ‘midnight’ writing and guest (my dachshund). Not quite as cool, but I have my fountain pens and my Paris pictures and star light…

I am not one to have much of a ‘setting’ when I write.  I write when I get a moment, though as of late, my journaling is at midnight.  I do a lot of midnight entries.  Since the 19th of September, I have spent half my midnights writing in my journal.  Dealing with guy trouble and thoughts that are too big to write about in the day.  Generally more macabre at that time, but I’m more inclined to get to the heart of my troubles when I’m tired and it’s dark out.  I can ‘sob’ out my issues when no one is around.

Writing in my journal is so very private in a way. I know I wrote not long ago that I was inclined to take my journal with me wherever I went (read the post HERE), and while that’s true, I still like my thoughts private.  When something is really troubling me, I like to be along with my thoughts and not feel pressured to get my writing done.

Part of the reason for my midnight entries, which are dated that way as well, are because my life is hectic. I do not have much time in the day for sitting down to voice my thoughts.  I’d love to, but I rarely have time. The few times I do, it’s right after lunch when I have a cup of tea in hand and a few moments to spare.  But at night I stay up. I am such a night owl it’s scary sometimes. So I write. I also play on Tumblr and read emails, but I like to write then.

Adding to this slightly disjointed post, pardon, but it is after midnight. I never said my thoughts were clear at this point…..  It’s always interesting to see the journals people use.  Mr. Statham’s is clearly a guy’s journal.  Brown or black leather, smooth, simplistic, unlined pages, simple pen.  Totally masculine.

But then there’s me.  Right now my journal is a flowery composition book.  As will the next two journals after this one. I need lines because I write on a slope. I need composition books because they are big enough to get my point across without going through two journals a year.  I ramble so I need plenty of room to fit in everything.  And I have been using my fountain pens religiously to write with.

Fountain pens are kind of sexy.  Trust me.  Especially filled with the different inks.  Right now I’m in a Burgundy Mist and Sepia mode.  I just got through black and a unique mix of the Burgundy and black because I was too lazy to clean my pen before I filled it…  Colors reflect my mood.  Sepia is my conservative mood, while Burgundy….. well no boring thoughts were conceived when writing in a wine colored ink….. cue naughty wink

And now I have written a blog post, instead of writing in my journal like Mr. Statham. Now it’s late and I have sleep that is needed, so I shall close.  I’m curious about you dear reader.  If you are a man, do you keep a journal?  What do you write with?  What type of journal do you use?

Girls, what about you?  Tell me, do you like plain or fancy journals?  I’m curious too as to when you like to write.  Do you like writing in the morning when you wake up, thoughts fresh and clean, or do you like to get down and dirty at night?

And because well, I can’t resist, the lovely, handsome, every girl wants him…

Mr. Jason Statham (because I don’t feel I should post my friend’s picture without his consent. But trust me, he really, really looks like this guy)jason-statham12

Signing off

~Kate

The Styles We Are And Our Characters Are

Daily Prompt: The Clothes (May) Make the (Wo)man

Wow, this prompt made me immediately want to write.  I went off in my mind on a tangent that had nothing to do with my own style, but more on my characters I write about.  However, I think my style is partly who my characters are, so let’s start with me.

My winter attire, though the hat was is my ex bf's at the time. I do not have the hat...

My winter attire, though the hat was is my ex bf’s at the time. I do not have the hat…

Have I mentioned I live on a farm?  Well, you get it again.  I live on a farm.  It’s small, and it’s more of what you would classify a micro farm…. it’s only an acre, but it is a farm nonetheless.  So, my style, unfortunately is mostly jeans and a shirt.  Summer, well, the shorts come out.  Boots are a must, either pull on or lace up. This is all more necessity versus what I’d like to wear.  I’d much rather be in dresses, skirts, frilly floaty things.  Not exactly farming clothes.

I saw a girl this last spring in a coral mini-dress under a long white lacy dress with a jean jacket.  I thought, wow, I’d love to pull that off.  She looked hip and cool and fun.  Something I would like to wear.  But unless I’m in the city, this type of style won’t work.  Someday, I think I’d like to be able to have a really cool look, since I’m a writer it’s almost a requirement.  I need to have My thing.

Garnet Hill’s newest catalog. (I need this one)

Now, my characters on the other hand, have style.  Mia, my bookstore owner is a serious Garnet Hill dresser.  A smidge on the frumpy, but utterly stylish look.  Loose shirts and organic jewelry.  Leather belts and ballet flats.  Heck, I’ve even used one of the Garnet Hill models as my Mia.

From Sundance’s home page

Then for Rena, my farmer girl/herbologist/semi-writer/sort of me, is a total Sundance  girl.  You know, Robert Redford‘s catalog?  I love Sundance.  Don’t own a single thing, but want to immerse myself in the clothes, jewelry and accessories. The style is definitely earthy and kind of free spirit.  But it’s me.  And Rena is pretty much me, without all the mess that is me…. though some is through in for variety.

Then there’s Regina.  I have come up with her style yet.  She’s cool though because she is a published writer.  She has her spiky hair and her big signature rings, but I haven’t placed what she wears yet.

Cover of "The Weekend Novelist"

Cover of The Weekend Novelist

I read a part of a book on writing a novel, The Weekend Novelist by Robert J. Ray, where  the author said, go through catalogs. Dress your characters.  Pick out things that they would wear.

Since doing that, I have had so much luck writing a characters.  They have personality because of style.  And I want the funds to have those styles myself.  I think, someday when I publish my book, whatever one it is, I’ll splurge on an outfit and some Sundance jewelry.

But style is crucial, and I love fashion, even if I can’t always apply it to myself.

This prompt made me smile and I was so excited to write it since I’ve had my clothing catalogs around the house more frequently as I drool.  You can check out the companies I like by clicking on the pictures. I’d love to know how other writer’s dress their characters.  Where do you get your inspiration and styles?  Tell me in the comments.

Signing off

~Kate

When He Woke That Morning – Flash Fiction

When he woke that morning, it was one of those perfect summer days where the sky is so blue, the sun so bright and the smells so summery.  He couldn’t resist.  He got out of bed, brushed his teeth and took a shower.  He stopped in the kitchen for a moment to eat one of the fresh peaches on his counter.  He grabbed his house key, credit card and cell phone and strapped it to his wrist.

He stepped out the door and took a deep breath then he started running.  Right up Main Street.  It was a slow morning, so there were not very many cars.  He ran leisurely.

He waved to Mrs. Dunbrowsky who took one look at him and screamed before running into her house and slamming the door.  He frowned but kept running.

By the time he came to the center of town, three other women had screamed at him, one pulling her young son inside, shouting that she was going to call the police.

He didn’t know what was wrong with everyone.  And it got even worse in town when cars screeched to a halt, more screaming ensued and there was even a couple shouts from the men at the coffee shop.

When Officer Brown arrested him, he still wasn’t sure what all the fuss was about. 

Old Joe White sat with his coffee on the corner and watched all the action.  It was nice when the sleepy town got a bit crazy.  And seeing Tim Walker run down the street naked as a blue jay had been definitely some action.

I don’t know how the subject of someone running naked down the street came into my conversation with my father, but I pictured something like this and couldn’t stop laughing.

Enjoy!

Signing off

~Kate

The Best Storytellers

I have been thinking about the best people to tell a story, and it doesn’t have to be a novel story, but just a really good bit of life, love and yeah, whatever.  I love good stories.  I love something that really makes me think and wish I was a part of that story.  Well, recently I have come to the conclusion that singers and songwriters are the best storytellers.  They have three to five minutes, with rhyming stanzas that have to tell this concise story.

Think about some great songs out there that tell a story?  The first one that comes to my head is “The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia”  or ……. Okay, well my mind is blanking, but besides the epic actual story songs, most songs have a story in them.

Let me share some lyrics of two songs that I have been playing on repeat practically. Please don’t harass me because one is a Maroon 5 song.

The Man Who Never Lied” ~Maroon 5

Sometimes honesty is the worst policy
Happy ever after, happy ever after
Let it go, oh oh, you never need to know, oh oh
I don’t wanna be picking up all of these tiny little pieces, tiny little pieces
Of your heart. Won’t do it anymore.

I was the man who never lied
Never lied until today
But I just couldn’t break your heart
Like you did mine yesterday”

Now those are pretty profound.  You see this guy who doesn’t want to lie to the girl and give her this happy ending that isn’t true.  Well, that’s how I see it. Others might see it different.

And the next

“Babel” ~ Mumford & Sons

“Press my nose up, to the glass around your heart
I should’ve known I was weaker from the start,
You’ll build your walls and I will play my bloody part
To tear, tear them down,
Well I’m gonna tear, tear them down”

The lyrical quality of these words, and yes I know, they are lyrics,….. but the thought of a guy tearing down the walls of a woman’s heart is kind of magical.  And the words, the story itself is so concisely unique.

I am a big fan of music and the story some songs tell. Yes, just about every song I really love has to do with love and romance, but sometimes the uniqueness of the song and the story it tells in the simplest words are what get to me.  The Script is a band that I find is really good at telling a story in their songs.  Mumford & Sons, One Republic, Maroon 5, those modern bands tell great stories.  John Denver, Glen Campbell, Neil Diamond are some great classic type storytellers.

What say you?  Do you think that singer./songwriters are some of the best storytellers?

That being said, don’t diss my books.  I just always return to music.

Signing off

~Kate

Flash Fiction — Dragonfly Wings

Close up of a dragonfly on a Lotus Flower Bud ...

Close up of a dragonfly on a Lotus Flower Bud on green background – IMG_7149 (Photo credit: Bahman Farzad)

The woman cackled as she held her mortar and pestle grinding up the iridescent dragonfly wings.  This last ingredient would be the killing touch to her potion.  The fine hairs would cause her victim to choke, drawing blood and making the poison infuse his throat.  He would pay for his actions.  He would die an agonizing death.  And she would laugh.  She would stand over his convulsing body and laugh at how easy her revenge had been.

 

I went to a symposium this last week on dragonflies and damselflies.  While there, one of the things that caught my attention was how dragonfly wings are made up of a material similar to our nails.  Very hard and durable.  I also found out that there are microscopic hairs on the wings, which is why other predators do not eat the wings of dragonflies.

I thought this was very interesting and I thought to myself, what a great bit of information to use for someone making a poisonous potion.  Supposedly the hairs can irritate the throat.  What better way to kill someone off than by having them ingest something that could damage their throat and maybe make the poison that much more affective?  So, hence, this little flash fiction piece.

Signing off

~Kate

If You Only Knew What I Put In My Journal

What I need to put on my journal

What I need to put on my journal

Lately I’ve taken to carrying my journal every where I go, whether I write in it or not. I just want it with me for that time when a thought strikes my head and I have to put it down or fear losing the idea.  However, along with having my personal ‘space’ with me and the convenience that comes from having it around, there is also the danger of someone reading something of mine that I would much rather keep private.

The only reason that came to mind, because most of the time I don’t even think of someone reading my journal, was because I came out of the store the other day and my bike (bicycle) was surrounded by a contingent of high school boys from one of the camps.  My journal lay neatly in the basket, ready for anyone to crack it open.  See?  I am quite unconcerned about where I lay my journal. It’s not wise.

Had anyone cracked it open they would think I have a very active love life.

” I was fantasizing about arriving unannounced at Stephen’s. Oh I would love to surprise him.”

“Owen… I have sexy ideas for him.”

“Tony has gained weight, but he still looks as sexy as ever… (and I won’t add in what else I said because it’s too hot for paper)”

And that was only the first 4 entries into the new journal.  Now, only one of these is actually real.  One is a character, and the other, well is just me appreciating male beauty.  Sue me, I’m a single gal with a lack of eligible men around.  A girl has got to have some fun.

I shudder to think of what those boys might have though had they flipped through the journal.  And I am sure I would shock the pants off most people with what is in my other journals that I’ve completed.  Heck, even some of them I turn bright red when I read it and go, uh wow, so that’s what I was thinking.  I go from innocuous to more graphic than I’d want anyone to ever know.  It’s my personal journal so I fill it with everything.  Literally, everything.

One time a friend of mine was talking about how she had her journal with her in her purse wherever she went, and because she liked Nancy Drew, she had taken an old cover of one of the books to use as the slip in cover of her journal.  She pulled the journal out of her purse and handed it to me to look at.  Unconsciously I started flipping through the pages before I was slammed with the knowledge that I was just flipping through someone’s private words.  I immediately slammed it shut, admired the cover and hoped that my friend hadn’t thought that I was reading her words.  I didn’t see a thing, M.  I promise!  But we sometimes forget how easy it is to look at someone else’s thoughts.  I had never thought of how vulnerable my personal thoughts were.

I still don’t think about it all that often. I much prefer dragging my journal with me wherever I go.  I just need to remember in the future that sometimes it’s more accessible than I might want.  I wonder if anyone else has felt that way.  That they like their thoughts close at hand, but if they were to ever fall into the wrong hands….. Whew, can you imagine what people might think of you?

As per the photo for this post.  Tumblr.  I adore Tumblr, on a side note, for fun pictures like this.  I like thinking that the things I write about people would be jealous and wish they had come up with the idea first.  Granted, I don’t think my ideas are all that spectacular, but hey, one can dream.  And besides, the statement on the book is accurate.  Some of my thoughts are things you just wish you might have come up with….. because they are so odd you could study me for science…. Ha ha ha.

Signing off

~Kate