Friday, July 20, 2012

LA Bound

My bags are packed and waiting by the door. Tonight I hop a plane for Los Angeles. John and I are going to spend some quality time with his sister and parents for a few days. Then its off to the Romance Writers of America National Conference in Anaheim.

I've been to regional conferences but never a large national conference. I can't wait to meet new people, experience new things and learn like crazy. To make it extra fun I'm actually conducting a workshop for authors about media relations. Better yet, I am sharing a room with two of my writing friends from Central Ohio Fiction Writers and I know it's going to be epic.

Stay tuned for more details about my experiences in sunny California!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Movie Magic: Safety Not Guaranteed

This week's inspiration is the independent film Safety Not Guaranteed. John, my sister Casie and I went to see this movie on the strength of its excellent trailer. Check it out below.

The stand out part of this movie is the dialogue, which is witty, sharp and riveting. This is the story of a sad girl who meets a crazy guy and finds out that crazy is all a matter of perspective. Love, regret, growing up and getting by weave back and forth neatly between the lines. That the movie manages to capture your heart and imagination, while delivering moments that are hilarious is a true feat.

The premise on which the entire story  sits is a classified ad that reads:

WANTED: Someone to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. You'll get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. I have only done this once before. SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED.

Everything about this ad, from the words to the topic, make me want to know who wrote it and why. It's no surprise that a ragtag group of reporters head off to the beach community from which it originated to figure it out. The smart banter between the characters, the way they grow and change and an unexpected twist ending are surprising in every wonderful way imaginable.

I learned three important lessons for my own writing from this amazing little film:

1.  Comedy and drama can be entwined together with well developed characters.
2. Dialogue can carry your audience through and keep them on the edge of their seats.
3. Unexpected endings leave your audience dreaming of new beginnings. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Five years of Summer Institute... Magic and Inspiration

This week my second post is not a book review. I know I promised I'd be reviewing a book every week, but this week I haven't read anything new. That's unusual. The reason for this strange behavior is that I've been busy sharing the week with almost 600 friends at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio.

For the fifth year in a row I'm attending Summer Institute, a regional gathering of families who belong to the Unitarian Universalist Church. Once a year this magical community springs up and exists in time-outside-time. You may have seen me tweeting strange things this week about youth with multicolored hair, tie-dying, a class I'm teaching and how much I love this beautiful little campus.

The first year we came, we made friends with two other couples who both live hours away from our home in Columbus. Reconnecting with these couples, hearing about their lives, sharing our children, laughing until joy is the only emotion left and reinforcing friendships that have become some of the most important in my life are part of the experience.

New friends are also part of the mix. People from our church who we know, but don't necessarily get to see and connect with regularly is also hugely gratifying. I've met brand new people from five states who have offered me a hand, a smile or wisdom.

I'm also teaching a class this year on promotion and social media. You might have seen me tweet about that, as well. The class is completely engaged and so excited to learn about how to use social media to get the word out about their causes, churches and businesses. Their enthusiasm makes me want to do better and do more.

The best part has been watching my children connect with their communities, both other kids they wait all year to see and older youth and adults who are causing them to question and grow in new ways.

While I haven't had much time to read or to get much writing done-- we go from dawn to midnight around here-- I have rarely felt so inspired. Every person here has their own story. Every story, real and imagined, is aching to be told. I have a feeling I'll be writing like crazy in the week to come. Maybe that's a way I can keep the magic alive.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Power Outage Interupts Schedule

If God made the world in seven days, why did it take eight for AEP to get our power back on? Apparently, the downed trees in the neighbor's backyard took out a transformer that affects only about 20 houses on our side of the street. This was not exactly top priority with more than 680,000 customers without power across the state. Understandable. But so not enjoyable when your house is affected.

At any rate, this note is a bit of a dog-ate-my-homework kind of apology note. The lack of posts this week does not reflect a lack of commitment to the blog or love of the readers. It simply reflects a lack of air conditioning and internet service.

Today is Saturday and I am back on schedule. I'm currently thinking of writing a fantasy world where it is never 94 degrees inside my house. Ever.