May you always walk on cloud nine
Today is George’s 71st birthday! I wish it were a national holiday. We could celebrate by sitting cross-legged while learning how to play sitar. However, I can’t sit cross-legged due to spinal fusion surgery so I’d have to stand and play the tambourine.
There are only a few songs that make you stop whatever you are doing or thinking and experience the moment. “Here Comes the Sun” does that for me. Of course, the majority of George’s songs does that to a fanatic like me but that song I’ve heard since the womb. Today’s kids have heard Mozart in utero. I heard the Beatles. So there.
Ray Bradbury died this week. and his death couldn’t have been timed more perfectly. I had been out of the routine of writing every day because as most insecure writers feel, I did not know if what I think means anything new or important.
A quote by Bradbury flashed through my mind a few days ago. Sometimes that happens before I learn of someone dying. I don’t think it’s a sixth sense, it’s more kismet. The quote is from Zen in the Art of Writing:
His routine was to write a thousand words in the morning (the landmine) then spend the rest of the day editing (putting the pieces together).
About 3 years ago I was mesmerized by an English teacher friend who had been corresponding with Bradbury for years. I thought I’d give it a try and send him two of my poems. He sent them back to me with this note scrawled:
He included the next item which is my favorite piece. It’s a brochure about Fahrenheit 451 in Spanish. You can see the ragged edges, where he cut it to fit into the envelope I included with my poems:
Here is the play he invited me to, Falling Upward:
Although I included an envelope, I mistakenly forgot to include a stamp. Luckily Bradbury had a stamp of Edgar Allan Poe, whom he referred to as “Ray’s Papa.”
In a story he tells on his website about how he became a writer, he talks about meeting a magician named Mr. Electrico at a carnival:
It was then, Bradbury said, that he knew he must lead the creative life. And through that creative life, he did exactly as Mr. Electrico commanded him.
Hi! I’m Flat Stanley! One day a billboard flattened me (don’t worry, there’s a happy ending) so I’m able to travel the good ol United States through snail mail. Thanks to my friends Bud, Mark, Tom, Gwen, Mary Katherine, Rowdy, Sarah, and Steve, here are pictures from my travels.
Special thanks to blogger Slim Paley for helping make the pictures look extra special!
I convinced these young men that Hunter was alive and well and within these 4 walls. They all got up to talk to him like teen girls with the Beatles in 1964.
I learned from the documentary that he had a sweet side which you can see in the way he touches his chin in an episode of To Tell the Truth. Both of his wives said he had a vicious side, like when he screams at one of them to find his g–damn medicine.
I also learned that Ralph Steadman, Hunter’s illustrator, is not a crazy person. I mistakenly thought so based on his work as you can see here:
He appears normal and well-spoken, like a nice gentleman you pass in the supermarket as shown here:
So to get over the dreaded writers block that possessed me over the holidays I’ll do what Hunter did with the Gatsby.
Instead of writing I rewrite.
I checked out classics from the library by authors like Bradbury, Faulkner, Conan Doyle, and Fenimore Cooper. What a way to feel like the author to retype their words, to see what they saw and what made them get it all down on paper. You don’t get that by just copy/pasting.
So because of Hunter sneaking into my dreams I remembered the most vital part of writing: rewriting. I’m ready for more trips into the subconscious as long as the Steadman drawings stay at home.
I was in the mood for an artist’s date yesterday and in true form, I planned nothing ahead except for bring with me a free movie pass I won in a raffle.
Without checking to see what was playing, I went to the theater to see what movie was starting next. One couple bought tickets to Midnight in Paris. I’m not a movie goer so I’m not familiar with anything on the silver screen that doesn’t involve Harry Potter. The couple said it was a Woody Allen film. I’ve loved his movies for many years but got creeped out with him marrying Mia Farrow’s daughter, but I thought I’ll give it a shot.
And what a shot it was. We hear but not see Owen Wilson as Gil Pender talking to his fiancée (Rachel McAdams) about how tired he is of being a hollywood hack and how he wants to live in Paris to write a novel but she wants to stay in Malibu. They are in France on business with her parents so they take in the sights.
Gil goes for a walk at midnight and on a whim he gets picked up in a cab from the 1920s with some partygoers. At the party he meets Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald, while Cole Porter entertains on the piano. The Fitzgeralds take Gil to a bar where they meet Hemingway then see Gertrude Stein (Kathy Bates) where he gives her his novel to critique. By the way, Picasso is with Stein analyzing a painting I swear looks like something my 7-year-old concocted, but hey, it’s Picasso.
This is the kind of movie I’d write. Or it would at least be in my dream journal. It was like walking through all of my lit and art courses in college. If this movie existed back then, I’d have straight A’s, no problem. We want to see the people we study come to life.
After the movie I felt inspired as an artist so on a whim I walked to Michael’s. I still felt like I was in the movie as I walked by an Italian restaurant as a street performer sang, “It’s a wonderful night for a moon dance.” I walked straight to the artist supplies and saw sketchbooks on sale, so I picked one up with some charcoal pencils. I plan on using these at the beach today like Reginald Marsh as he sketched by the ocean.
What a terrific unplanned artist’s date’ it’s something we all need to unblock our creativity. I give this movie a rating of all the stars Vincent Van Gogh ever painted.
First check out the site – it’s chock full of pictures of the author’s homes and gardens, vacation pictures from around the world, and incredibly high-heeled shoes. What sets Slim apart from the other home design blogs is her witty commentary and soundtracks. Think if Martha Stewart, Elaine May and Vivienne Westwood had a baby. That’s Slim.
Then go to Apartment Therapy’s site here to vote. Scroll down to vote in the poll, then scroll down to the bottom and input this info into the comment field:
Name: Slim Paley
It requires registration to vote, which might be quick or a little finicky, but please be patient. It’s worth it.
California is enjoying a heat wave in January: 75 degrees. It’s practically swimming weather but the ocean is too cold and the pool doesn’t open until May.
Cool off with these works of art I discovered on happenstance while driving with a friend through downtown Racine at Christmas time. They are made of snow and a few icicles. Don’t get too close, you’ll shoot your eye out.
Look at those teeth. I forgot how dangerous icicles are when my daughter tried to grab some off the building and they all came tumbling down. Visions of Ralph in A Christmas Story making up how he shot his eye out with one of these things danced in my head (though it really was the BB gun).
GET OFF THAT!
We leave the kittens and dive deep down in the sea to find fish and flowers. Or goldfish in a tank with plastic decorations. Either way the detail is amazing.
Even deeper in the sea we run into King Neptune. Thanks to Spongebob and Patrick he found his crown.
Back up to the surface we find a pirate looking for Belle City (Racine’s former name) on the shores of Lake Michigan. If he’s a literary pirate, perhaps he writes poetry met with snapping fingers:
Hey if a bird sat on this hand, will it be worth two in a bush (thanks Geico)?
This is my favorite because it tells a story. Perhaps the cowboy returns home from russlin’ up cattle and his dog spots him walking up the dusty road. The man kneels, the dog covers him with kisses as the first one to greet him home. There are no bad days when a dog welcomes us home.