Monthly Archives: November 2012

Signs It’s Going to Be a Lovely Day

There are those days when you wake up and you can smell how much your day will suck. For me, those days happen more than the alternative: those rare days when something clues you in that, hot damn, it’s going to be a good day. Such as:

  1. You turn on your car radio and a classic Prince song is just beginning. Nothing like “Little Red Corvette” to kick things off.
  2. You somehow manage to balance concealer, powder, and foundation in the perfect storm to fake flawless skin.
  3. You find twenty bucks you forgot you stuffed in your pocket/purse/car.
  4. You actually have a moment while drinking your coffee where you taste it rather than chugging it to get on with the day.
  5. Your kids get up the first time you tell them to.
  6. You find something you forgot about but love in the back of your closet.
  7. Even better, you find something that was once too small but now fits.
  8. You catch your dog or cat still asleep with that cute scrunchy face thing.
  9. You get to see that amazing orange color just as the sun rises.
  10. You find yourself with 5 extra minutes before you take off running to just breathe.
  11. You remember to kiss the people you love for the day for real, not out of habit.

What are your signs of a good day, Cakesters?

XO

A

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Authorial Thankfulness

 

 

 

 

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Farm Sanctuary

Farm Sanctuary. Today, inspired by a high school friend, I adopted a turkey. Silly? Probably. A drop in the chasm of turkey carnage? I know. But it is something. And often times the holidays are just about doing something, no matter how small.

rescued farm animal at our farm animal sanctuary

Happy Thanksgiving, Victoria the Turkey.

If you get a chance, read about my Thanksgiving plans over on The Baraza. For the more serious minded, take a gander at my first contribution for Cinefilles.

Happy Turkey (or no-turkey) Day.

XO

A

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In Times of Tragedy

Since the election earlier this month, my Facebook and news feeds have blown up with signs of pettiness–those gloating over victory, those calling fraud, and the most disappointing, those calling for secession. The last one indicates how little people know of history and the workings of government. It also indicates how even those we call friends can become divided.

Last night in my hometown, a group of wounded veterans and their families on route to a celebration were struck by a derailed train. Thus far four are dead and sixteen wounded. Today for the first time since November 6, I see my local friends and those who grew up here sharing prayers, thoughts, and grief. I get to read stories of the fantastic nurses and EMTs who were able to do their jobs and beyond. People are organizing food for the families and donating blood.

While I regret that it took this to stop all the biting commentary, it restores my faith in my friends and neighbors that we aren’t so caught up in our own crap that we can’t still come together.

As we enter the holiday season, I ask my readers to keep this in mind. The world is certainly a dark place. But it should not only be in times of grief that we come together. It should be to create times of hope.

XO

A

PS. Because of health issues, I am unable to donate blood. If you are able, particularly those with type O, please go out and donate. Someone somewhere really needs it.

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Pixar Storytelling

Image by John J. Kimball.

To call the Pixar people the makers of cartoons is to undermine what they have accomplished. Pixar’s films represent consistent, inventive, funny, and touching storytelling, something for which all mediums want. They grapple with complex issues like loss, identity, growing up, and embracing change in ways that never seem trite. Watch, for example, the first ten minutes of up. How many movies so honestly and tenderly capture romance?

When news broke that Michael Arndt, the writer of Toy Story 3, is writing the new Star Wars movie, I knew things were headed in the right direction. Here is someone who took loved character and maintained their dignity while still making them entertaining and managing to surprise the audience. Of course, it may also mean that I cry my eyes out for the last 25 minutes of the film. So be it.

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Texas-Sized Ambition

My writing has with scant exception focused on places other than my home. Settings have varied from Australia to Medieval England to the midwest, but never have I tackled the Lone Star State. Avoidance isn’t so much the issue as that I have never found much to say about it. Texas is everything and nothing like the perception and I am at once too close and too removed to deconstruct it in a meaningful way.

The story of my life, though scattered all over the map, is primarily set and informed by West Texas. For most people that location alludes to Friday Night Lights and with good reason: the book, film, and show capture much of the essence of this part of the whole. For a more articulate dissertation on this, take a gander at Jacob Clifton’s analysis. He is spot on, although his experience somewhat diverges from mine even though we are roughly the same age and know many of the same people. (I’m not sure I can term Clifton a friend so much as an uber-intellectual I had the pleasure of knowing on a friendly basis during the formative years of my adolescence.)

A few weeks ago I found myself at the fall festival for my daughter’s private school. Standing in 90-degree heat, surrounded by an artificial facade of autumn, my synapses began firing off in a frantic, desperate way. My memories of childhood and adolescence seemed to smash cut with the present day. It was as if I suddenly had a hyper-real vision of West Texas life. After years of avoiding writing about Texas, I now had something I had to say.

This month as I tackle my novel-length work, I am also tackling my own identity as place and, by extension, many of my demons.  My first week word tally comes in at about 5,000, which is not fantastic, but the work is a greater challenge than I anticipated. I have cast myself as a shape shifter, morphing from insider to outsider, critic to worshiper, visitor to native. I find I am on the thin fence between reality and fiction, balancing as best I am able.

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Just Push Play: Just Because

After two months of blogging every day, I realized I needed a break. Thus this week things have been quiet on Generation Cake. Behind the scenes, I’m working on the Novel in a Month project (which I’m talking about over on the other blog). My daughter’s private school has moved from being a thorn in my side to a possessed tree branch in my gut–when I have the strength, I’ll write about it. I’m preparing an exciting new endeavor which I cannot reveal too much about at this time, but will say is muey intrasante. The new Mumford and Sons is fantastic. Life is sweet.

For some reason this past week, I have had a couple of songs that I am just feeling to the max.

How weird is it that Madonna line dances (with a splash of hip hop) in this video? Or that the guys are break dancing and line dancing? It’s like Footloose by Madonna. Bonus points for her literally walking in place on the road to nowhere. I totally dig it. Even without the video, I love the baseline.

 

Margo’s voice + sad lyrics + low key melody = brilliant.

 

Without a doubt, this is my favorite Radiohead song EV-ER. I crave it. The video? Epically cryptic. What does he say?! What!? What!? My guess? The same thing Bill Murray says to Scarlett Johansson at the end of Lost in Translation. Obviously she takes it better than these people.

XO,

A

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Generation Cake Says . . .

Ignore the political stickers and focus on the kitty. Vote for whatever you can live with, especially if you are one of those people who keeps blowing up my FB and Twitter with your political rants. Put your vote where your mouth is.

And be thankful you get that choice.

XO

A

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One Month, One Novel

Participant 180x180 (2)The task is set and the game is on–30 days, 50,000 words. My first serious attempt at a novel length work. Over the past few weeks I have had the seed of an idea rattling in my little redheaded skull. What will perhaps be most challenging is getting out of my own way and telling my inner critic to shut the f up. To keep myself focused, I am taking a literal page from Writer’s Digest of famous advice.

What's the single best piece of writing advice? I encourage all writers to join me in this quest–take the challenge. What have you got lose?

Please stop by throughout the month for more updates and inspiration.

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