Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Real Stories

Just discovered a show on Animal Planet called "The Last American Cowboy." Those of you who have read my westerns know I'm in love with the American West. I have no idea why, it's just a facet of my psyche. So when I saw the show on the TV guide, I had to Tivo it.

It's about modern ranchers in Montana, and what they face in getting their cattle to market and preserving their land for the next generation(s). Classic storytelling. I wish the characters had more to say for themselves, and there was less narration, but the scenery alone is worth watching. God's country isn't North Carolina (sorry folks), but Wyoming, Montana, etc. If you have cable and get Animal Planet, give it a watch next Monday.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Remembering last winter....

I swore last winter than I'd welcome summer and its heat and humidity with open arms. I lied.

Just looking at pictures from one of our unusual snowstorms cools me off. I'd like to turn the AC down to "freeze meat" and huddle in a sweater, but there's no way the system could do it, not with temperatures running well over 100 degrees F for days on end. It's just not fair. The day it hit 105 (last Saturday), I was ready to move anywhere but here.

Not kidding.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


I find it in the oddest places. Obituaries. Hunting and fishing articles in the newspaper. Dreams. People watching. Snatches of conversation. Trees. Playgrounds. Water. Memories. Art galleries. Museums. Legends. Myths.

It's everywhere. Turning it off is not an option. Sometimes I have to stop the car and make notes, just so I can get an idea out of my head and pay attention to my driving. ( I REALLY need to pay attention.) I don't text/talk on my cell and drive, but I do have conversations in my head with fictional characters. I don't think it's against the law, but it probably should be. I've been known to sit through red lights because I'm so involved with the people who are crowding my thoughts, I don't see the street. I'm sorry and hereby apologize to all the polite people behind me who should have honked, but didn't.

Although I started writing on a computer in the 1980s, I kept notes and ideas on paper, written in pen or pencil. Even today, that tactile feel of a pen in my hand, poised over a clean sheet of paper, is a gift. The anticipation of seeing the words on the lines gives me goose-bumps. I can't wait to see if the voices coalesce into a cohesive story. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't.

The journey is the rush. I don't believe in writer's block. Even when the writing is dreck, a dead-end of all dead-ends, I'm having fun.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Roman Polanski Freed

The Swiss have refused to extradite the director. The same man who plead guilty to a sex charge (one out of 13) committed against a 13 year old girl. Polanski is now a free man.

I'm so mad I could spit nails. So much for having his day in court. The case has been tried in the press so extensively, it's probably impossible to find an unbiased jury of his peers, but please - can we at least pretend we're civilized and a people of laws? I expect better from the Swiss, who have always seemed remarkably unflappable and even-keeled. Who would have thought the list of big names in the film industry backing Polanski would have swayed a Swiss judge? Not me.

There's a higher jury that will judge Polanski, and I wouldn't want to be him when he appears before it.

Monday, July 05, 2010

This is Daytona on Saturday night (actually, early Sunday morning, July 4). Wow is all I can say. What a wreck-fest. Slick track, old tires, who knows what caused a race to become a demolition derby? While some fans cheer the mentality that a driver either wins or destroys his car, I want to see racing. Side-by-side is even better. But for heaven's sake, keep your fenders on and all four wheels on the track!

Friday, July 02, 2010

Tough Girl Heroines

I enjoyed the Swedish movie, THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO. The book, The Girl Who Played with Fire, less so. I don't think it's the translation, but rather the wandering bits that have nothing to do with the story. I don't care about every item of furniture that Lisabeth buys at Ikea for her multi-million dollar apartment. The movie, I have a feeling, cut to the heart of the story and kept the pace going where the book lost it. Perhaps, because the author died before the books were published, the publisher didn't feel free to do wholesale cutting of the manuscript. That's fine.

What I do admire is Lisabeth's calculating paranoia, her refusal to be kicked and not kick back (or be raped, and not rape back), and her inability to turn her back on someone she almost cares for. Carol O'Connell's Mallory character is very much like this - although Mallory was raised, after an early harrowing childhood wandering the streets of New York looking for her mother, by a loving police detective and his even more loving wife. While Mallory has every opportunity to rise above her early nightmares, she can't, or won't, do it, and remains pretty much a very icy fish indeed. Lisabeth's hard shell can be cracked.

I admire kick-ass heroines, as they're called in the biz. But there has to be a glimmer of marshmallow underneath all the take-no-prisoners bravado. Otherwise, the character's just plain psychotic.