Monday, February 15, 2010

Valentine's Day Sunset

On Valentine's Day my husband and I first stopped at a local winery, Kendall-Jackson, for a quick wine tasting and then we drove to Bodega Bay to catch the sunset. We both brought our cameras.

We ended the evening with a quick dinner and then went to the Aroma Roasters in Railroad Square in downtown Santa Rosa to catch the music of Misner & Smith. Sam Misner is the son of one of my writing buddies. Sam and Megan have great voices and their harmonies were wonderful. If they are ever in your area I suggest checking them out. These two are worth getting out to see.

Hope you had a wonderful Valentine's Day too!

Valentines in the Sand

The day before Valentine's Day my husband and I drove along the coast to Stinson Beach. I was on the lookout for possible Valentines. I drew a few hearts in the sand and later turned them into cards.

I was delighted to discover some naturally occurring hearts in the sand.

These are the Valentine's I made from what I found.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

I've Got Sunshine on a Cloudy Day

The other day my daughter Krissy and I drove into the foothills near our house. The skies were filled with ominous clouds in every color from deep slate to baby blue. For a moment the sun broke through and illuminated the trees and vineyards along the road we were on. I snapped this photo on my iPhone and then played with it in Photoshop which was a lot of fun.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Happiness IS The Warm Puppy!

This is the front of the Charles M. Schultz Museum.

Snoopy and Woodstock share cookies and conversation.

Today I met my Low-Fat Fiction writing group on a field trip to the Charles M. Schultz Museum. We gathered first at The Warm Puppy, the little cafe attached to the skating rink that Schultz (nicknamed "Sparky") built in the city of Santa Rosa. I'm told he came to The Warm Puppy every day for lunch. It was a bustling spot today, that's for sure. We sat at our table and watched all these folks skating through the big plate glass windows. My daughter Krissy told me I needed to go to "my happy place" since I've been a bit of a grump the past few days. The Warm Puppy was a good place to start.

I loved the awning in the shape of a hat. (We could have used this in the rain today!)

Next we trooped across the street through the rain and toured the museum. Photos were only allowed outside in the courtyard. I discovered by watching a video in a recreation of Schultz's office that when he gave Linus his blanket he coined the term "security blanket"—something he was most proud of.

This is the "Crossword Linus"

Constucting (or deconstructing—I'm not sure) Charlie Brown

We were looking at the cartoon strips as an economic way to tell a story—a perfect example of Low-Fat fiction. Schultz was a master at this. I was in awe of his confident lines. I got to see him speak once when I was in high school. We took a bus from Mill Valley, where I grew up, to Santa Rosa. Schultz stood in the front of a classroom and spoke about his creative process while drawing large Peanuts characters in chalk on the board. Without hesitating once he drew Charlie Brown upside down. No erasing. No going over the lines several times to get it right. He just drew it. I was in awe then and I still am now.

Even the restrooms get into the spirit of the place with their comic tiles!

On the grounds of the museum is a labyrinth. I'll have to come back and walk it sometime when it's not quite so soggy.

The museum trip, and hanging out with my writing buddies, did a lot to get me back into my happy place.

Friday, February 5, 2010

One Ticked Off Boomer

After sharing with you here how excited I was about actually finishing my first screenplay (and thank you all for your kind words of encouragement) I sent it off to a company that does professional critiques of screenplays. They call these evaluations "coverage". I was anxious to get some feedback from people in "the business" in order to have time to fine tune my script before the end of March when I'm scheduled to pitch it at the Northern California Screenwriter and Filmmakers Expo in Napa. I am new to this so I expected criticism and I anticipated the feedback would be blunt. I did not, however, expect to be bludgeoned. It has taken me a week to pick up my bloodied body and heave my butt back in my writing chair. But...I'M BACK!!

Once I stitched my body parts back together I was able to look more objectively at the criticism. Some of it was actually quite helpful—things like tightening up descriptions, raising the stakes for my protagonist, showing more rather than telling. They thought my main character was appealing and that I did a good job of balancing pathos and humor. They liked a lot of the "tart" dialog. What kicked me in the gut was the last comment I received, "Without the involvement of Nancy Meyers or Meryl Streep no one is going to make a movie about a 60-year old woman."

Really? NO ONE?

Now I realize that we live in a youth obsessed society and nowhere is this more evident than in Hollywood. And I love the movies Nancy Meyers makes, like "Somethings Got to Give" and "It's Complicated". But is hers the ONLY voice people are willing to hear? I adore Meryl Streep but she's not the only Boomer actress out there that people will pay money to see. Is she?

And this comment wasn't about 60-year old men. Look at Clint Eastwood (79) and Harrison Ford (67). It was a comment on WOMEN—specifically, that women as they become older are no longer interesting or worthy of attention.

Have you ever been so angry that you couldn't even form words? So offended that steam jetted out from your ears like a cartoon character? Okay. Welcome to my last week.

But the words are returning and I'm finding a way to channel the steam. I just finished revising my screenplay and sent it out for a new "coverage" from a different agency. I beefed it up and trimmed it down and think it's better for the makeover. But I'm not backing down from the premise of the script. I'm not kicking my heroine to the curb. She refuses to undergo plastic surgery and she's thrown off the invisibility cloak. In her honor I've donned my suit of armor and I'm prepared to charge ahead into the future.

They may have heard the phrase, "Don't mess with Mother Nature." They're about to hear the phrase, "Don't mess with Baby Boomer women."