About the book: Personal demons can be a killer
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Blog: From the land of Empyrean (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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About the book: Personal demons can be a killer
Blog: E is for Erik (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: beaver relocation project, don draper, Harts Pass, pop culture, mad men, Add a tag
Mad Men)/Beaver Relocation Project mash-up as the theme for this week's strip. I'm pretty sure the concept flopped, but I DO really like the suave beaver and his stylin' suit! Add a Comment
Blog: DRAWN! (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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On Thursday 5th March 2011, I received a letter from the lawyers representing Lions Gate who make Mad Men:
They have told me to stop selling my caricatures of Don Draper, Joan Holloway and Peggy Olson. If I carry on I will be threatened with legal action. Also I have been asked to take all my Mad Men images off the internet.
When Stanley Chow does it, he gets bullied by lawyers.
I wonder if there’s a way to see the offending images.Add a Comment
Blog: Ypulse (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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Millennials are growing up in a time of uncertainty. They aren’t sure when (or if) they’ll find a job after high school or college, how they’ll pay their bills, or where they’ll be in five years. Looking to the future is scary, so instead,... Read the rest of this postAdd a Comment
Blog: OUPblog (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: *Featured, Arts & Leisure, Business & Economics, Current Affairs, Psychology, Science & Medicine, TV & Film, AMC, Godfather of influence, influence, Mad Men, persuasion, Robert Cialdini, Six Degrees of Social Influence, cialdini, Add a tag
With the season five premiere of AMC’s Mad Men coming this weekend, we thought we’d use this opportunity to introduce you to one of the most highly respected scientists in the field of Persuasion. As a matter of fact, many people consider Dr. Robert Cialdini as the “Godfather of influence”. What better way to do that then provide you with the forward he wrote to a just-released book, Six Degrees of Social Influence: Science, Application, and the Psychology of Robert Cialdini. Enjoy his words below and enjoy the premiere.
By Robert Cialdini, Ph. D
The capacity to persuade — to capture the audience, convince the undecided, convince the opposition — has always been a prized skill. But, thanks to relatively recent developments, it is no longer only an elusive art, the province of those with an intuitive grasp of how to time an argument or turn a phrase just so. For most of us, this is welcome news. After all, one problem with an art form is that only artists can truly manage it. But, what about the rest of us? Must we resign ourselves to fumbling away open opportunities to move others in our direction because we so frequently fail to say the right thing or, worse, say the right thing at the wrong time? Fortunately, no. As is evident in the pages of this book, the delicate art of personal persuasion has been transformed into a solid social science.
There is now a substantial body of systematic research into how people can be moved to agree with a request. It is worth noting that the persuasive practices covered in this work rarely concern the merits of the request itself. Instead, they concern the ways in which the merits are presented. There is no question that having a strong case is crucial to success. But having a worthy argument or set of arguments is not enough, because other worthy (yet competing) arguments are likely to exist as well. So, although making a good case is important, it’s the person who can make a good case well who will gain the lion’s share of assent. For the optimal persuasive effect, our focus should be on methods for communicating our case in the most effective manner.
Before encountering that information, though, a brief foray into the past is in order. The renowned scholar of social influence, William McGuire, determined that in the four millennia of recorded Western history, there have been only four scattered centuries in which the study of persuasion flourished as a craft. The first was the Periclean Age of ancient Athens; the second occurred during the years of the Roman Republic; the next appeared in the time of the European Renaissance; the last was the 20th century, which witnessed the advent of large scale advertising, information, and mass media campaigns (McGuire, 1985). Although this bit of background seems benign, it possesses an alarming side: Each of the three previous centuries of systematic persuasion study ended similarly when political authorities had the masters of persuasion killed.
A moment’s reflection suggests why this should be. Information about the persuasion process was dangerous because it created a base of power entirely separate from those tAdd a Comment
Blog: A Fuse #8 Production (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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No picture available (the one on the left here is from a rather fabulous video) but word on the street has it that there’s to be a Hunger Games Barbie doll. So there’s the expected outcry, of course, but I’m thinking this one through. First off, Barbies are the number one most tortured dolls in America by my count. Every day is a Hunger Games day for your average Barbie. Seems to me that G.I. Joe couldn’t handle the horrors Barbie has seen. So with that in mind, sure. Make her Katniss. She’ll just end up bald in a toilet somewhere anyway.
- It’s Mad Men time again. Have you been keeping up with what Sally Draper is reading?
- Alan Moore is one of the finest graphic novelists living today. He also does a helluva duck quack. Observe The March of the Sinister Ducks.
- Would librarians ever have to pay for the right to read a picture book aloud in storytime? The Annoyed Librarian poses the question.
- Yay! The Kate Greenaway Medal shortlist is up and running (and we have most of those titles here in the States). Yay! The Carnegie Medal shortlist is up and running (far fewer here in the States . . . what does that mean about the state of U.S. publishing?).
- Daily Image:
You know, if this New York Public Library gig doesn’t work out, at least I now know that there are street libraries willing to take me in.
Pity the pay’s so lousy. Thanks to Mike Lewis for the link!Display Comments Add a Comment
Blog: Drawing a Fine Line (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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Mad Men fan like I am? Season 3 will begin this coming Sunday night. Woohoo! I LOVE this show. Everything about it.
Visually, its a knockout. Here's an little article about the new season's fashion trends.
And this! A Simpsons parody on the opening credits. Too funny!!
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Along with what seems like the entire rest of the world, I am 1) of the opinion that "Mad Men" is currently the best show on television, and 2) am blogging about my opinion that "Mad Men" is currently the best show on television. You don't have a blog unless you are blogging about "Mad Men." Even The Millions succumbed (and click through to check out their nifty re-design BTW).
Meanwhile, much like "The Wire".......... hardly anyone is watching "Mad Men." Don Draper and the rest of Sterling Cooper set personal best ratings for Sunday night's premiere with 2.8 million viewers. To put that number in perspective, twice as many people watched A RERUN of "How I Met Your Mother." Don't get me wrong, "How I Met Your Mother" is quite a legen (wait for it) dary show, but COME ON, PEOPLE.
I know not everyone gets AMC, even fewer get it in HD, there are a lot of people Tivo-ing the show as they catch up with the Season 1 and 2 DVDs, and sundry other reasons for the low ratings. But still: it hasn't been since... well, "The Wire" that a relatively sparsely watched show has received such massive attention.
"Mad Men" has gotten me thinking about all sorts of topics - the way it unfolds so luxuriously, the way it looks (which has been influential in everything from fashion to antiquing), the social issues, the lurking specter of the '60s cultural upheaval, and what is surely the best opening credits sequence in television history (a notable departure from "The Wire," which was arguably the worst title sequence in television history).
Iconic shows tend to "get" something about the times in which they're airing and tap straight into the cultural zeitgeist. "Dallas" became a hit just as a certain Western actor was about to move into the White House, and J.R. Ewing's barely disguised glee for financial greed was contemporaneous with Michael Milken and the savings and loan crisis. In the '90s, "Seinfeld," "Friends," and "Sex & the City" progressively reflected the rapid gentrification and "youthing" of America's cities.
"Mad Men" is still a ways off from being an iconic show, except among critics and the 2.8 million people who are apparently watching it. And yet there's something about the show that is really touching a cultural nerve, especially in the cities. It's telling that AMC particularly focused its advertising for "Mad Men" directly in New York City.
In some sense, the mere fact that "Mad Men" is so relatively unpopular and yet has such fanatical devotion among its core group of fans is already reflective of our time. We're living in an age when audiences for movies and TV shows are splintering further and further. Even without factoring for inflation, the highest grossing movie of all time came out twelve years ago. The most watched television event, in percentage terms, was twenty-six years ago.
But setting aside its cult status, I think what might be most appealing abut the show is the way in which the characters of "Mad Men" are living the still-relevant cultural upheavals that have left such a lasting impact nearly 50 years later (women in the work place, creeping but primitive awareness of racial issues, etc.) just as the characters remain blissfully unaware of the upheavals as they're living them.
One of the most scathing articles I've seen about "Mad Men" was in the London Review of Books last Fall (via The Elegant Variation), in which Mark Greif lamented that the show was "an unpleasant little entry in the genre of Now We Know Better." He writes:
"We watch and know better about male chauvinism, homophobia, anti-semitism, workplace harassment, housewives’ depression, nutrition and smoking. We wait for the show’s advertising men or their secretaries and wives to make another gaffe for us to snigger over. ‘Have we ever hired any Jews?’ – ‘Not on my watch.’ ‘Try not to be overwhelmed by all this technology; it looks complicated, but the men who designed it made it simple enough for a woman to use.’... We’re meant to save a little snort, too, for the ad agency’s closeted gay art director as he dismisses psychological research: ‘We’re supposed to believe that people are living one way, and secretly thinking the exact opposite? . . . Ridiculous!’ – a line delivered with a limp-wristed wave. Mad Men is currently said to be the best and ‘smartest’ show on American TV. We’re doomed."
Greif does spot the most cringe-inducing of the "wink winks" in the show's history. But if the whole point of the show were these winks and nudges... yeah. It would suck. Only: it's not, and it doesn't.
Firstly, I would argue that the "Now We Know Better" genre is much preferable the "It Wasn't So Bad Really" revisionist history genre where protagonists from racially and sexually awkward times are blessed with modern day awareness and sensitivity so that we can feel okay about them. As Ta-Nehesi Coates writes, the virtual omission of black characters in Mad Men perfectly reflects that world:
"I actually think it's a beautiful, lovely, incredibly powerful omission. Mad Men is a show told from the perspective of a particular world. The people in that world barely see black people. They're there all the time--Hollis in the elevator, women working in the powder-room, the Draper's maid, the janitors, the black guy hired at Leo Burnett--but they're never quite seen. I think this is an incredible statement on how privilege, at its most insidious, really works."
Also, in order for a "Now We Know Better" genre to work... don't we actually have to know better? What is most enjoyable about these moments of awkwardness on "Mad Men" isn't that they're closed cases but that the characters are dealing with issues that are still roiling our own times. It's not as if we've closed the book on anti-semitism, racism, sexism, and homophobia.
Tumultuous change is in the air in the offices of Sterling Cooper, and yet the characters are completely unselfconsciously unaware. Peggy Olson is just ambitious and competent, she does not self-consciously think of herself as a trailblazer in the workplace. Pete Campbell doesn't see himself as the last bastion of New York aristocracy. They don't sit around talking about how the times they are a-changin'. They're just people living their lives. That unselfawareness perfectly encapsulates how we are living through our own tumultuous time in the present: with no idea how everything is going to turn out.
What do you think? Does the Don Draper stare and the rest of "Mad Men" capture your imagination or does it leave you cold? Display Comments Add a Comment
Blog: Here in the Bonny Glen (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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A perk of living on the west coast is that by the time I get up on Monday morning, the East Coasters have written their morning-after-Mad-Men posts. I don’t know about you, but I love the dimension that internet recaps and essays have added to my television viewing. First I get to talk an episode over with Scott, and the next day I get to consider the insights of other ponderers. Beats a water cooler any day.
Here are my favorite of the Mad Men regulars:
• The Footnotes of Mad Men. Want to see the Volkswagen ad Don is heaping scorn on? Unclear on what’s the big deal about a Hermes scarf? This blog is what an American studies course looks like in the 21st century—or should.
• The weekly open thread hosted by Ta-Nehisi Coates at The Atlantic. Thoughtful, intelligent discussion in the comments.
• The TV Club at Slate: author Patrick RaddenKeefe and Slate editors Julia Turner and John Swansburg post letters to each other in which they take turns probing the night’s themes, twists, and tensions.
Got any Mad Men must-reads in your reader?Add a Comment
Blog: Books, Boys, Buzz (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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I do a far amount of travel around the southwest, usually with my nose buried in a book because it's good, interrupted reading time. But last week I went to New York, through international terminals, and had a grand time people-watching and people-listening! (Yes, we writers DO get snippets of ideas this way).
Sitting at the Los Angeles terminal, I noticed a guy passing by, and did a wait-I-know-him thing. I watched him veer into the newspaper shop, and since I wanted a bottle of water for my flight, anyway, decided to covertly follow.
But one good glimpse and I realized he wasn’t my kids’ former soccer coach or the guy who doesn’t water his plants on the next block...but one of the guys from the TV show, Mad Men. (Cool!) Which happens to my husband’s and my new favorite show.
For those unfamiliar, here's a photo from the show:
And here he is, actor Bryan Batt. As “Sal,” the character he plays.
But no, I didn’t talk to him. I did enough celebrity gushing when I met author Janet Evanovich at the Romance Writers of America conference last summer to last a lifetime, thank you very much! I just bought my water behind him (he seemed nice to the sales person) and went back to my gate. And then texted my husband!
Fast-forward a few days, and I’m at the JFK terminal in New York, waiting to board a flight to San Francisco. And I see people taking pictures with some guy with bleached blond hair. I look at him and did another, “Oh, yeah, you’re somebody,” but I admit, I had to ask someone exactly who.
It was Guy Fieri, from the Food Channel, who hosts Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.
I watched his show once, and really liked. But I went around craving fried hash brown potatoes and gravy for a few days afterwards--which wasn’t really in my best interest! Anyway, he was on my flight, and later the flight attendant mentioned to me that she’d traveled with him before, and he was a great guy. Always good to hear!
So now I was down to my last flight, San Francisco/LA. I was now too tired to check for celebs, but was lucky enough to get seated next to a TV comedy writer, who--no surprise--was sharp and funny. I ended up giving him a copy of one of my books because he said his good friend was trying to write a young adult novel.
I came home and wondered how many celeb sightings and interesting conversations I’ve been missing with my head in a book? Who knows?
So tell us...have you ever had a celeb sighting in an airport or on a plane? Or met a particularly interesting person seated beside you? Or like me, do you often spend your flights reading?
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Blog: Drawing a Fine Line (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: Clear Bags, NYTimes children's books, Corel Painter, Paper Garden, Mad Men, Add a tag
They also publish a more comprehensive list.
Amazing, the range of art styles and talent, writing styles, types of stories, themes, etc. etc. Lots of creativity going on here! And lots of inspiration if you're a fellow children's book illustrator.
I've been a childen's book illustrator as well lately, but the "educational publishing" kind. Which means I can't show any of the art. (sad face) I've been having fun though!
Also just finished a building rendering, but don't think I should share until its safely in the art director's hands. Dontcha just hate when you're busy making art, but can't show any of it?
I'm itching to get back into doing children's book work full time. I've been off on a 'colored pencil' tangent for a while, which is fine, but I can't neglect the other halves of myself for too long or they get cranky. Actually, I'd like to put together a whole new fresh children's book portfolio. I KNOW. How many times have we all said that, then laughed. But seriously.
I'd like to develop a digital style in addition to my colored pencil style. These days, if you want to have steady work, it really helps to be able to work digitally. I can, with Photoshop, but its pretty basic stuff. I would in no way consider myself at this point to be a "digital illustrator" (although this most recent piece I'm working on and can't show has largely been done with Photoshop.)
I downloaded a free trial version of Corel Painter a few days ago, and am really impressed! Painter's strength is that it can mimic lots of traditional media, and comes with loads of brushes and special effects. Of course the first thing I tried was the "colored pencil" thing, and it was pretty good. I was just using a mouse, and think that if I was using my Wacom and pen I could have done a lot more. There are pencil tools, palette knives, watercolor brushes (wet & dry) and even a "salt" special effect (you know, where you sprinkle salt over watercolor to make a texture). Its super cool!!!! So I just may have to ask Santa for this for Christmas.
I'm still working on making note cards. Oy. I visited my local paper shop, The Paper Garden, for some card stock, then ordered clear bags to package everything in from Clear Bags. I've done some, but its a slow, "feed each card through the printer one. at. a. time" kind of operation. I'll get there, its just s l o w.
Mad Men is over for the season. I'm already going through withdrawal. But what a great last episode, eh what? Wow. Add a Comment
Blog: A Fuse #8 Production (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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Lest we forget that book banning and free speech issues are conversational topics appropriate beyond the brackets of Banned Books Week, a recent news item has me lost for words. A federal appeals court has ruled, and this is true, that an Ohio high school teacher “has no First Amendment right to make assignments about book-banning or to select particular books for her students.” Come again? Well apparently a teacher decided to do an assignment on banned books with her class (of high school students, recall). So they each picked a book that had been banned. . . and then their parents found out. So because she was distributing racy literature like, oh say, Heather Has Two Mommies, the teacher’s contract was not renewed and she lost her appeal. You may read more about the case here. Thanks to Leslea Newman for the links.
- Now that’s interesting. I had not heard that Jacqueline Woodson’s novel Locomotion had been turned into a stage play. Once in a while a book to theater adaptation just makes perfect sense. This is one of those cases. I suppose verse novels make excellent adaptations. Huh! Food for thought.
- Funniest dang thing I’ve seen all day. Bar none.
- Feeling the absence of my Top 100 Novels poll results? Well, much of my information came from Anita Silvey. Now Anita turns it all around by starting a blog of her own. Called Book-A-Day Almanac, the premise is that she will recommend a children’s book every day for a year. At the end of the year, she’ll then turn those posts into a book. Shoot. That’s a good idea. Clearly I’ve got to get around to turning my own polls into books. Thanks to 100 Scope Notes for the link.
- I really like this habit I’ve gotten into, doing audible reviews of books for the Katie Davis podcast Brain Burps About Books. In a given year I can properly review only so many books. Katie’s site allows me to give some weight and consideration to I might otherwise have to ignore, like Kimberly Willis Holt’s gorgeous The Water Seeker. That’s this week’s review on Katie’s newest podcast 6 Comments on Fusenews: I speak for the trees . . . and oatmeal, last added: 11/1/2010
Blog: Nathan Bransford (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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This week in the Giants I mean publishing
Holy cow is it an exciting time to live in San Francisco, and most especially to live two blocks away from AT&T Park during the World Series. I've almost gotten used to helicopters buzzing overhead, having to reassure my dog that the world is not about to come to an end when military jets do flybys, and my wife and I have gotten quite adept at high fiving deliriously happy/drunk Giants fans in the neighborhood.
Only I'm going to be in New York next week, so I hope the neighborhood is still standing when I get back. Go Giants!!
Oh, and last thing about the Giants, but I find it so funny that the national news about the series usually takes the tack of, "Wow, those liberal San Francisco hippies sure do like their oddball baseball team!" I'm not sure whether to be offended or proud.
Meanwhile, first actual publishing update is that I'm still way behind on queries and manuscripts. No need to follow up.
And it's Friday, so that means it's time for Page Critique Friday. The page up for critique is posted in the Forums. UPDATE: my critique, and more on avoiding choppiness and semicolons, here.
News in publishing!
The big news this week is that B&N unveiled a color Nook that looks pretty darn impressive, if you ask me. Retailing for $249, the Nook Color runs on the operating system Android and has a "Stunning 7 inch VividView™ Color Touchscreen shows more than 16 million colors on the best-in-class IPS** display. Incredibly clear, sharp text and images from an unsurpassed high resolution display at 1024 x 600 delivering 169 pixels per inch (PPI). Reduced glare and optimum brightness for reading indoors or outside. Backlit for eady reading day or night.” The Nook also is going to have a feature where you can access entire e-books while in a bricks and mortar B&N store. CNET came away impressed.
Meanwhile, one of the popular features on the Nook was the lending feature that allows you to lend some books to friends, during which time it is unavailable on your own Nook. Amazon will now offer the same feature on the Kindle. Mike Shatzkin has some analysis about how Amazon had ridiculed the lending feature when B&N unveiled it.
And speaking of Amazon, indie publisher Dennis Johnson of Melville House made waves this week when they pulled out of the Best Translated Book Prize that was partially sponsored by Amazon, citing what Melville House sees as Amazon's "predatory and thuggish practices" and that "Amazon’s interests, and those of a healthy book culture, whether electronic or not, are antithetical." In a blog post, the organizer of the award says that Melville House's books will still be considered, and that he's "sorry that Dennis has chosen to try and undermine the awards in an attempt to make a political point." Writing at Publishers Lunch (subscription required), Michael Cader notes that Melville House books are still sold on Amaz
Blog: Nathan Bransford (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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Now, if you are stopping by the blog for the first time, this may not be such a big deal. But know this: I LOVE TV. I love TV like Tyra Banks loves models screaming at her surprise arrival. I love TV like Chris Harrison loves rose ceremonies. I love TV like Don Draper loves almost but not quite unattainable women.
You get the picture.
The decision to cut the cable wasn't the result of some high-minded, erudite reasoning, like waking up and realizing that TV was rotting my brain. (That dream about Jeff Probst interrogating me about my job performance at Tribal Council? Totally normal!)
My wife and I just noticed something one day: we weren't really watching TV anymore. And cable is a really, really expensive thing to pay for if you're not watching it.
In my old job as a literary agent, on weekdays I was working from 7:30 in the morning to 8:00 at night, and I was spending a huge chunk of that time reading. On the weekends I was writing from morning until night. After a day of reading and writing, it's not particularly relaxing to end it with still more reading. TV was the perfect antidote.
And it just so happens that my time as an agent coincided with a Golden Era of Television, with both reality TV and scripted shows that raised the bar for what was thought possible on television. It was really easy to get sucked in when there was such excellent entertainment to be had (and also The Hills and The Bachelor, which were non-excellently but deeply entertaining).
But now that I no longer read for work, I have rediscovered this crazy indulgence called reading for pleasure. Including books published before 2005! Before 1930 even! I'm even re-reading books I've read before! It is amazing!
And I'm sorry to say that I'm feeling like TV overall just isn't as awesome as it was five years ago, with many reality shows feeling stale and only a few scripted shows that are really killing it. At this point there are only three shows that I feel like I can't miss:
Parks & Recreation, Modern Family, and Mad Men.
Two of those are on network TV, and one is on hiatus.
Hence: basic cable for us. It still gives me the chills from time to time when I realize I can't watch ESPN, but the truth is that I'm too busy with other things anyway. For anything else I can't get on network TV, there's Netflix, Hulu, and iTunes. We're saving a ton of money, I'm re-reading THE GREAT GATSBY, and I couldn't be happier.
How about you? Have your TV habits changed at all, and have you thought about cutting the cord?
Regarding the reference to Jeff Probst and Survivor, which is produced by CBS, which is the parent company of CNET, which is where I am employed: the opinions expressed herein are purely my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of CBS. Display Comments Add a Comment
Blog: Beth Kephart Books (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: the writing life, the writing process, Mad Men, special features, Add a tag
An impromptu gathering at our home last night—two dear friends and our son coming in and out from a party of his own. Late into the night (rather, earlier today), the conversation turned not to books, but to writers and to writer talk.
It was suggested (by one) that the writerly process is too internal to be of any communicable interest. That what goes on inside a writer's head should stay right there, in a writer's head—the poem or the story or the book ideally speaking exclusively for itself. Process talk has inherent wings in the field of design (how did the green swan-footed couch come to sit beside the pink silk lampshade?) or in film (who doesn't luxuriate in the "Mad Men" special features? who doesn't want to know every last thing about that series' how?) or in the kitchen (which spice and how much and what is the chemistry of baking powder?), but not in writing, where the obsession is the writer's alone and the gist, the longing, the choice making, the fears, the megalomania do not make for relatable tales.
I didn't sleep the rest of the night, retracing the contours of this conversation in my head. I considered how long it takes to produce a story, even, that is worthy of another's glance—of all that time in between that is only choice making, only process. I thought of this blog, which is nothing if not process talk—the splintering off of obsessions, the dwelling with them, the fervent hope that what is said will be of some inherent interest.
I thought of you, reading this blog. I thought to say, Thank you. And happy new year.
Blog: Ypulse (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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The other day I caught this extensive list of YA authors who Twitter on readergirlz (an update on an earlier one started by YA author/twitterer Mitali Perkins on her blog.) It was a rad, encouraging list (go authors!), but what particularly caught... Read the rest of this postAdd a Comment
Blog: Biblio File (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: Neil Gaiman, random, Harry Potter, Mad Men, Counting Crows, youtube, Add a tag
Ok, here are just a few internet goodies I discovered this weekend.
First off, the Harry Potter Musical. Seriously, block off 2 hours of your time and watch this full length musical that crams most of the Harry Potter series into one story. Parts are hilarious (lines, prat falls, and the fact that Ron is ALWAYS eating). There is some language, so I wouldn't recommend it for younger audiences, but it's well done. (I have the "Voldemort is Going Down" song in my head. The vocal/band balance is a bit off in the first few videos, but stick with it.
Also, I just noticed that the original cover for Neil Gaiman's The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish is the same as the album art of Counting Crow's This Desert Life. Is this a revelation or did everyone else know this 10 years ago?
AND! For all you twitter-ers out there, did you know the entire cast (characters, not actors) of Mad Men is on twitter? Start following Peggy Olson, Ken Cosgrove, and of course Don Draper and everyone else. I think Sally Draper's feed is my favorite.
Blog: Beth Kephart Books (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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Tell me why you love "Mad Men", the AMC TV show that vivifies 1960s Manhattan, the dawn of a certain kind of advertising, the red pucker of big lips, and unblinkered gazing into another's eyes. All right, perhaps you haven't seen the show, perhaps this post is thereby to you seemingly irrelevant, but nonetheless, I have climbed onto this cliff and I will stay here until I explain:
I love "Mad Men" for its subtlety. Yes, subtlety. I know we are talking ad men and 1960s style TV, but I claim subtlety as the reason that all writers out there should be watching this show—sitting up straight and taking note of how the hard stuff gets done.
There are, for example, those leitmotifs. There is the submergence of the same, the way the show seems to move on, spiral forward, until suddenly the show's past is its present again—an old argument surfaces, a familiar sweater appears, a longing is ripped back open, and the whole thing burgeons with the messy complication of life and how life is lived. I am not going to fight you, Don Draper says to his wife in one episode. I'll say what you want me to say, but I won't fight you. And there it is—an answer to a question, all a viewer has to know about what has gone on behind the scenes in a household that is permanently unsteady. Somewhere off stage, an argument we had seen coming but did not fully witness has been had. Agreements have been made. The rules have changed.
One of the hardest things about writing well is recognizing that life is never neat, never only present-flowing, never summarily concluded. Writers have to honor that fact without burdening the reader with knotted tangents. "Mad Men" honors the messiness of life while being one of the most gorgeous and most carefully crafted TV shows of all time.