A fun thing is happening today for the first time in the five years we’ve been doing the 8LW blog: my birthday is falling on my blog posting day! And just to double the fun, this is also the birthday of another of the Eight Ladies (hint: her first name is Michaeline!). She’s celebrating a super-special birthday year, but I’ll let her tell you about that if she’s so inclined. Let’s just say that number is so last year for me.
To kick off my celebration, I thought I’d share a few of my current favorite multi-media things with you. I’ve been enjoying a long birthday weekend that has included indulging in all of these, some possibly more than once. Spoiler alert: some of them involve story.
Netflix and Awww: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
Have you heard about this teen rom-com on Netflix originals? It’s based on a YA book by Jenny Han. I don’t read much YA, so I hadn’t read this book or its two sequels before watching the movie – something that’s almost unheard of for me. But I’d heard good things about the movie and really wanted to settle in with some popcorn on Saturday night and watch a light-hearted romance. This movie gave me all the feels. And I loved the way it toed the line of some of the age-old tropes, but then didn’t go there. That kept it fresh, witty, and really respectful of teenage girls. When’s the last time you saw all that in a movie? Continue reading
Lumberjacks in Love (2008 production): Chase Stoeger, Doug Mancheski, Jeff Herbst, Jane McAnanney, Fred “Doc” Heide. Photographer: Len Villano
I’ve been on vacation to my home state of Wisconsin, and I spent almost a week in Door County, the area at the farthest end of the peninsula. It’s been a destination spot of locals for decades, thrilling the population with every form of cherries, cheese curds, ice cream, and beer, which everyone can wear off swimming and boating in the area’s waterways, as well as hiking through the county’s many parks and forests.
There is also a very fun musical theater group that performs in Peninsula State Park every summer.
Northern Sky Theater has written and produced at least one original play every year since 1988, and by now they have more than 50 plays in their repertoire. Continue reading
I mentioned it last week, but I’ve been travelling in the States for a couple of weeks, and been absorbing story right through my skin!
(Official trailer from YouTube)
Thursday, I got to see A Wrinkle in Time. My mom mentioned that I loved the book as a kid, and I do seem to remember reading it more than once. None of the details stuck, but the essence? Oh, yeah. The movie brought back all those feelings, and those positive messages of love that the book gave me through my mixed-up tween and early teen years.
First, a quick review of the movie: Continue reading
This is a poster for Black Panther. The poster art copyright is believed to belong to the distributor of the film, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, the publisher, Marvel Studios, or the graphic artist. Its use in this post qualifies as fair use under the copyright law of the United States.
I did my part to help Marvel Studio’s Black Panther pass the $1 billion mark at the global box office by heading to an afternoon showing last Friday with a group of my co-workers. The movie, coupled with a relaxing lunch, was a bit of a reward for recent months of hard work at the Day Job. Suffice to say, it was an entertaining reward and it didn’t take any arm twisting to convince us to agree to a few hours away from the office.
Although I don’t go to the movies very often – I think Frozen was the last thing I saw on the big screen – my boss had seen the movie the week before and liked it so much she wanted us to have a chance to enjoy it too.
The co-writer and director of the movie, Ryan Coogler, is originally from Oakland, and it was kind of fun to pick out familiar landmarks in the movie scenes that were shot in the Oakland area. While I couldn’t quite see my own office building, I did catch a glimpse of glowing-top of the local Tribune building a few blocks away.
The movie itself was visually stunning with its bustling cities, vast open country, and the futuristic Wakanda. It included a lot of strong-willed, kick-ass women, a number of technologically Bond-esque moments, and some eerie parallels to current world politics and social issues.
Also, it was fun. Continue reading
Like so many old films, this one is about to tell you a story about one Christmas in Connecticut. (Image via Wikimedia Commons)
Christmas time is another natural story time – there’s something about a long winter’s night that makes one long to hear a tale. And storytellers are ready to oblige!
Out of all the dozens and dozens of Christmas films out there, I keep returning to the 1945 Christmas in Connecticut. I’m not sure where I saw it first; it must have been Turner Broadcasting System, back in the 80s.
OLD FART TANGENT: What do kids do these days for random input? When I was a kid, you could depend on a potluck from old TBS – old movies I’d never heard of, but there was nothing else on during a lazy Saturday, and I’d start watching, and before I knew it, a whole movie had gone by. These days, there’s so much choice that one feels it’s very important to make the Right Choice, and so one might spend more time looking up movie reviews than actually viewing movies. Or maybe that’s just the perfectionist in me. But there were so many good movies I would have never seen if it weren’t for an afternoon of boredom.
ANYWAY. Christmas in Connecticut is a Christmas comedy whose theme is about lies that seem to make our lives easier, and how the truth sets us free. On top of that rather ponderous base is a light and fluffy confection of a story. It starts with food. The Germans blow up a boat (1945, remember?) and two stranded sailors float on a raft. Our Hero, Jeff, dreams of the feasts he’ll eat when they finally get rescued. And they do get rescued, but no feasts for Jeffy-boy – he’s got to make do with milk and maybe a raw egg for a special treat until his digestive track gets back to normal. In pursuit of solid food, he Continue reading
I promised to report back on last weekend’s craft marathon, otherwise known as Four Days of McKee—three days of the legendary Story seminar and a further day dedicated to the Love Story.
It was physically grueling. I can’t remember the last time I spent four eleven-hour days in a row sitting in a lecture theater, and it’s been more than thirty years since I had to take notes longhand. I treated myself to a new notebook and pen for the occasion.
It was mentally challenging. I had mixed feelings about Mr KcKee’s teaching style (to say he has strong opinions, robustly expressed, would be to understate the case), but no reservations about the quality of his analysis. Even though much of the material was familiar to me and I only made extended notes where I thought it necessary, I still filled more than sixty pages and went home every night with a head full of new ideas.
I could blog for the next year or more about the things that I learned, but three nuggets top my list of things to chew on, because I think they will be especially useful to me when I get on to writing Alexis’s prequel story. All three were superbly illustrated during the final session of Story—a six-hour scene-by-scene analysis of Casablanca and again during Love Story’s breakdown of The Bridges of Madison County.
Have you ever seen the columns in entertainment magazines where they show two celebrities caught at different events wearing (gasp!) the same outfit? The column writer typically opines about who wore it better and why. A quick google search showed that these columns do, in fact, exist in the digital world, opening up the floor for everyone with a keyboard and an opinion to weigh in on the matter.
We humans love our comparisons. Remember compare and contrast writing exercises in elementary school? Comparative Literature? Ever been given the advice to pitch your book by comparing it others already out in the marketplace?
Recently, I recalled a high school lit project that required us to pick a topic from a list of maybe 10, develop a thesis around it, and use the books we’d read by that point in the course to support it. I chose to write about whether classic books or movies made from classic books were better. (Spoiler alert: It was a literature class. This one came with a built-in answer, especially if you liked getting A’s as much as I did.) So, yes, using two classics, A Tale of Two Cities and Wuthering Heights – both books I loved in high school, by the way – I came to the astonishing conclusion that the books did a better job of presenting themes, metaphors, and character studies. Continue reading