Showing posts from May, 2011

Rain of Steel

Bureau of Ships Collection, U.S. National Archives. According to the Veteran’s Administration, approximately 850 World War II vets are dying every day.  There are only about two million left.  Last year, I chaperoned a middle school field trip to the Warhawk Museum in Nampa, where we got to listen to some of them describe their experiences.  Their hair was white and thin, their skin wrinkled and spotted.  Their hands shook, their joints were rheumy; their eyes watered.  Some were soft-spoken, some loud.  They couldn’t always hear the questions we asked; they couldn’t hear each other.  But at the end of the day, they stood arm in arm – brothers in arms still, though the war ended sixty-five years ago. I imagined another in their ranks:  one who might have stood by their side.  I like to imagine that he would have stood by mine.  I don’t know.  He was my grandfather.  He died in 1984, but forty years earlier, he was in the Navy, playing his part in the largest amphibious attack durin

A Writer's Top Ten List. Not.

I’m feeling a bit churlish, a bit negative – probably because I’ve been fighting a headache all week and losing.  When my head feels upside down and inside out, sometimes my thoughts follow suit.  I’m not Alice at the tea party; I’m the Mad Hatter.  Keep that in mind as you read my Writer’s Top Ten List*. Don’t write.  Talk about writing; fantasize about writing.  You would write if you had time. While you are fantasizing about being a writer, imagine the fame you will achieve.  Think of the buckets of cash you’ll make.  Plan to quit your day job.  Spend plenty of time imagining your story on the big screen too.  (I’ll bet Brad Pitt would fight Tom Cruise over the leading role.  ( Squeal! )) Don’t waste your time reading.  Especially avoid the classics.  Plots from movies and television are great fodder for story ideas. Don’t worry about grammar, spelling and punctuation.  (That’s what Spell Check is for!)  Also, the publishing houses have editors that will fix your mistakes. 

What is Truth?

My family and I are going to see the Broadway musical, WICKED, tonight.  The story, based on the book written by Gregory Maguire, is part prequel, part retelling of the WIZARD OF OZ from the viewpoints of Glinda the Good Witch and The Wicked Witch of the West.  In WICKED, we see a very different version of events than those depicted in L. Frank Baum’s classic.  I won’t spoil it by telling you more.  I suggest you see it and decide for yourself which version is “the truth.” But it’s funny timing.  I’ve been thinking about truth a lot recently:  Particularly in books, but also in other forms of entertainment.  Think, for a minute, about the way we talk about things we have read, watched or heard: Did that really happen? You can’t make this stuff up. That’s hard to believe! It’s right out of a novel. It’s stranger than fiction. You can’t believe everything you read! Ain’t that the truth! We’re obsessed with the “truth” – but not in an honest way.  Ironic, isn’t it? W