Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
The room was dark and the air a stifling mix of dust and sweat, but I wouldn’t have traded anything to be here. In fact, I had paid to be here considering the ticket, the taxi and the hotel I was staying in during acting camp. It was a glorious week of lines and pines, weeping and peeping…which I suspected was the cause for landing me in the mess I was in right now.
“So how long do you think it’ll take for them to miss us?” Logan asked.
I didn’t know what hurt worse. My arm when we fell through the trap door and got stuck, or the fact that Logan sounded so eager to get out of here. We had been practicing a scene. A love scene of all things, when the floor beneath us gave way and we fell through the stage. I suspected foul play even though it had collapsed twice already during the week when it was clear no one was by the switch. The set was as decrepit as it was cool, AND a perfect opportunity to pull a prank. They had been happening all week, though were usually a little less dangerous. Hair gel in place of toothpaste. Cellophane on the toilet seat. Logan and Lance had been trading off pranks all week, and this time I had gotten caught in the middle.
Not that I minded too much seeing as who I was currently stuck with, though my arm had seen better days. Logan was awesome in every possible way. Dashing and charming, with more than a few muscles–though they had failed to pry the hatch open once we fell through. I wasn’t much help.
“How’s your arm,” Logan asked, and I heard a shuffling sound and then a hand reach out for my arm.
I tried to keep my voice steady. “It’s fine. You don’t have to–” He put his hand against my shoulder and pushed gently.
“Liar. No wonder you’re here. You need all the acting classes you can get, Deb.”
“As much as you need a lesson in humility.”
He laughed. “Who needs to act when the truth is so much fun.”
“You’re telling me you enjoyed getting tossed through the stage and trapped with all the bugs? At least it’s dark so I don’t have to see what’s crawling up my leg right now.”
To his credit, Logan ran his hand down my leg and tried to brush aside whatever creature was trying to befriend me, making some very unsettling noises. “How can you be so calm?” he barked as I heard him brushing his own legs. Just to be sure.
“Good acting,” I said, taking a deep breath. I had been holding it ever since the bug first attached itself to my leg, but I didn’t want Logan to think he had been trapped with a complete baby.
“Huh. Well, congratulations,” he said, and I could hear the admiration in his voice. “Maybe there is a thing or two you could teach the rest of us. Like the scene you were just helping me with? Why don’t we finish what we started while we wait for someone to find us.”
“It could take all night.”
“Practicing or someone finding us?” he asked.
“Yes,” I smiled.
“Hmm. I like the sound of it either way,” he said and slid the hand at my shoulder around my back. “So where were we.”
“You were proclaiming your undying love although it sounded more like you were dying than proclaiming.”
“Well, let’s see if I can’t get it right this time.”
It took two hours for someone to come and get us. By then, Logan had perfected his art.
Oh, yeah. I wouldn’t have traded this scene for anything.
Next week: Tell me about your first kiss. Perfect? Not so good? Good, but perfect because it was still a kiss? Do tell…
Monday, June 28, 2010
I thought about this long and hard and realized that perhaps there’s a reason why the “hot” genre stays hot for so long and why publishers get caught in the current trends in the first place. It’s not just that the economy is making publishers skiddish of new and upcoming authors, titles, and concepts, but that they’re caught in a vicious circle perpetuated by both themselves and the consumer.
Publishers are indeed interested in selling what’s hot but perhaps the reason that they stay so hot is because that’s all that’s being offered. I mean when you look around at the teen books, what choice do they have when the gluttony of books are all paranormal? And read they must! The book world itself is feeding an unending frenzy, because until the teenagers decide they’ve had enough of what’s “available” and stop buying any books…period… the current books being sold will continue to be popular. I’m not saying they aren’t and that I haven’t read a few myself, but it’s kind of like this:
Candy factories used to make delicious scrumptious candies and have salesmen take them from door to door and get orders for them. They were expensive, but oh what a treat. Then someone realized that they could make more money if they simply put them in stores.
From there, others found ways to make them even less expensive but taste just as good and call them candy bars. Now even kids could afford them and they could be packaged to last longer. The expensive candies became less in demand because the candy bars were taking away their business and forcing them to cut back on their availability. Over time the were only a few select stores carrying delicate treats (like See’s) making it harder for us to indulge. That’s all well and good, because I do like candy bars, but I still love See’s candy (as do my kids). I also know that I would buy more if there were more stores around. But there aren’t more stores because no one’s buying. But no one’s buying because there aren’t more stores around. Hmmmm….see what I mean?
All the talk about e-books makes me a little hopeful and yet still invariably wary. Yes, I can see how it would certainly broaden readership and help the overall book industry, but for me it’s kind of like ordering a box of chocolates through the mail. I can’t sample the chocolate before I buy it, so I’m taking a risk that the taste of the book—I mean chocolate—will be to my liking. And if it isn’t? Well, I can’t exactly turn around and offer it to someone else the same way I would a printed book.
So, what to do? Do I follow the trend so I can be published, hoping that I can then use my name and connections to bring the book out that I REALLY wanted to write? Or do I hunker down and wait for the small audience that will one day grace my store and enjoy the delicacy I have to offer.
I applaud the publishers that are taking risks on new authors, new titles, and working to expand the genre for readers of all ages. But I also look forward to the day when blood, gore, and magic aren’t the major sources our teens have in order to find something exciting to lose themselves in. I mean, personally if my child is looking for someone to emulate, I would rather not have it be a vampire or a werewolf, or even a wizard…which I guess is why I’m writing the story that I am. Yes, those things are fun, but then you’ve heard the saying, ‘too much of a good thing?’ Personally I’m there, and am now looking forward to finding that salesman (or woman) out there who will be willing to help me (and others like me) sell books of varying topics, and in a way that makes them available to everyone in the package that they want.
So what about you? What are your reasons for writing? What are your intentions? Do you love writing enough to have only a few select readers? And do you even care if you get paid? Or are you writing to please the current trend because it’s all about creativity and hey, you need to support your habit.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
“Dad, can you drive me down to the sandwich shop?”
“But you just had lunch. All this running is giving you an appetite.”
I laughed. “I’m not hungry, Dad. I need to turn in an application for a job. I’d walk down, but I don’t want to be all sweaty and stuff by the time I get there.”
“Oh. Well, you’ll need your social security number, and a list of references–”
“I got all those Dad. I just need a ride.”
“Huh. When did you get so independent? I had to practically force your brothers into the car and pay the manager to hire them myself.”
I laughed, thinking about how stubborn my brothers could be and the endless possibilities that awaited them if they would simply put their determination to better use. At least that’s what Dad was always saying. Not that any of them listened. Or had missed their crucial conversation with Dad that would make them a believer.
Like the one I had.
Dad grabbed his keys while I waited anxiously by the car. Anxious…excited…ready to overcome my latest fear and enter the world of the working class. I took a deep breathing knowing that nobody got very far by being afraid. Or lazy, although sometimes I wondered if laziness was just another form of fear. I mean, Dad barely took any time for himself and he wasn’t afraid of anything. The times when he wasn’t doing anything is when he seemed most unsure of himself.
Just like I felt the night he changed my life.
We got into the car and Dad drove the few miles to the sandwich shop that I hoped would be my home away from home for the next few months of summer. Maybe longer if I could balance my schedule just right. On the way I thought about how I had gotten to this point and just how much my Dad had already helped me and didn’t know it.
“Dad, you asked me how I got to be so independent. Do you really want to know?”
He looked over at me with surprise and smiled encouragingly. “Of course.”
“Do you remember the time I wanted to run down the mini-mart by myself? It was night and I was a little nervous, but you said something that made it all right. Something that changed my life.”
“Really? Just one thing?”
“Well, no, I guess you’ve said a lot of things, but there was one thing that pretty much summed it up. I asked you if you were worried about me going down alone and you instantly shook your head no. I was kind of hurt at first thinking you didn’t care about my safety, but then you said, ‘Why would I be worried? If anyone wanted to hurt you they’d have to catch you first and you’re too fast for that to ever happen.’”
He smiled and I could tell he was thinking back to that conversation and how his words had been misconstrued. We both knew he had been making a joke and yet there was an element of truth to what he was saying. I was a runner, and he had just called me fast. Complimenting me on my abilities while trusting me to take care of myself. It was like I was a whole new me, without the constant need for fatherly protection. Instead of feeling scared or abandoned, I felt empowered. Strong. And I knew that I could do anything…because my father believed in me.
“Well, it’s true,” he said. “Although you know taking a job means less time for running. Maybe even missing a meet or two.”
“I’m sure I can work out something with the boss. And I’ll get my run in on the way to work each day. That’s what you did for a while. Remember when the car broke down? You rode your bike to work. I figure if you can do it so can I. Just not today,” I smiled.
“Yes, I think you’ll manage things just fine. You’re a pretty smart girl for being so young.”
“Only because I have a pretty smart Dad.”
My father was my hero, but not because he saved anyone’s life. He was my hero because… he taught me how to save my own.
Now it’s your turn to share your own experience about your father. Experience, thoughts, comments, or perhaps a story of your own that we all need to hear. Remember you can earn a jewel for your blog by linking back to your own story. All part of our Treasure Tuesday enticement.
For those who aren’t ready to share and need some time to think, consider next week’s prompt: The room was dark and the air a stifling mix of dust and sweat, but I wouldn’t have traded anything to be here…