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1. When Wild Things Happen:You've Seen the Difference and It's Getting Better All the Time

This is For You -- and anyone else -- Out There in the world that stops, drops and listens to a song, a poem, a story, the words drawing us in and reminding us of something more than dialogue and setting and plots and lyrics and music to make true connections in the oddest of synapses and crevices.



I should quickly explain the reason why the song "I'll Stop the World and Melt with You" triggered so much Cosmic Thought last night. Cryptic is good for our mss, not our friends. {}

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Saturday night. One child out. The younger girl with us. We originally intended to go see WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE but we decided to wait until both girls could see the movie together and with us.



We decided on a lovely Japanese dinner instead. My daughter has been craving for sushi for weeks. It's not my favorite but I Did It For Her. The restaurant was elegant but comfortable and the food was delicious (if you think, like my daughter does, that eel rolls are delicious; I went for the safer selection of chicken teriyaki). Everyone was happy (except for the eels that sacrificed their lives for the happiness of my child).

eel rolls

Driving home last night with our younger daughter in the back seat, we put on our favorite Saturday night radio show: WFUV 90.7 FM, Vin Scelsa's Idiot's Delight. (Nan, I bet you know about Vin since we grew up in same area. Does the name ring a bell? He was part of the 102.7 WNEW-FM when Rock Lived there for the important years of our growing up.) {}

VIN SCELSA

For reasons I am trying to find out (via Vin Scelsa's message board), at appx 11 pm, Vin played "I'll Stop the World and Melt for You." (I should back up here. When we had the show on earlier in the evening, author Jonathan Lethem was Vin's in-studio guest. We had dinner plans (with the daughter) and then we had an hour to go to the Book Revue-- yes the Book Revue [info]nanmarino came to see Buzz Aldrin a few months ago and shared her book, Neil Armstrong is My Uncle and Other Lies Muscle Man McGinty Told Me, with the world-famous astronaut and the very same Book Revue the world-famous writer Melodye Shore, [info]newport2newport, shared a few special moments with me on her visit to Long Island far too long ago.

BUZZ ALDRIN
Yes, Nan, [info]nanmarino, that's your photo! I hope you don't mind seeing it again!Thank you!

(A special note here to Mary Cronin, [info]maryecronin: I can never leave a bookstore empty-handed. Last night's treasure? Two collections of poetry by Mary Oliver to add to my overstuffed poetry book shelves-- not that I am complaining.)

When we left the store at closing time, Vin was in the middle of a long, musical set. "Stop the World" played. My daughter was electrified. "Love this song!" she told us. "It's on my IPOD. I play it all the time!" I had no idea she knew the song. It was wonderful to be able to sing together. I was sorry we were close to home when the song ended and we had to get inside to let the dog out. I didn't get to hear Vin explain -why- he played the song. Was it a random call or was there a specific meaning behind its selection? (With Vin, you never know.) {}

I told my daughter we would have to rent VALLEY GIRL and watch it together. "Stop the World" always makes me think of Valley Girl and Nicolas Cage as the weird, gothic boyfriend to perky Deborah Foreman's Valley Chick. Used to love that movie and it will be fun to see it again with my daughter. "Stop the World and Melt with You" will forever conjure up images of that last scene as Cage and Foreman drive off into the sunset.



The night is winding down. I was in my office late last night. The house, so hushed and serene and quiet. My favorite part of the day. Alone with my files and keyboard and music.
I turned on the television and flipped around until I stopped at PBS and the movie ADAPTATION. I've always meant to see the movie from start to finish but it's never happened. And there it was with one hour left and there was.. Nicolas Cage, of all people, playing the screenwriter in ADAPTATION. (The scene where Cage's character is abused by STORY'S Robert McKee in the midst of his infamous writing seminar is classic and a must-see for all writers. Now I HAVE to rent two movies: Valley Girl and Adaptation!)



I wanted to know the actors' names in ADAPTATION. I clicked onto its IMDB site and poked around.

Here's where it gets weirdest of all.

I had NO idea ADAPTATION was directed by... Spike Jonze!
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SPIKE JONZE

How much more breathtakingly wired could this all be?

"Melt the World" segues into Nicholas Cage segues into Adaptation and Nicholas Cage and Spike Jonze segues into WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE directed by Spike Jonze!

Where the wild Things Are

It was all just tooooo weird. (Okay so now there are three movies that circled into my life last night: Valley Girl, Adaptation, and Where the Wild Things Are!)

And it was all because of a random moment on a radio station and sweet music that brought together mom, dad and daughter in a moment of sweet harmony.

It's crazy what a song can do, isn't it? {}

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"The book has no story. There's no story." (Alright. Make one up.)

...except every word in this story, my story, is true
and even if you didn't live it,
you've felt it
and if you've felt it,
now it's your story, too
and if you didn't write it,
you can read it
and that makes all the difference in the world.
That's the wild thing about writing and reading.
Your stories are true for someone, somewhere.

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2. What I'm Listening to Right Now (and I like it a lot) The '59 Sound (Gaslight Anthem)

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3. All Kidding Aside, This Child is Throwing Up because He Knows He Screwed Up His Daddy's Show

...and he's frightened.

I'll say it over and over until I'm blue in the face. You can't lie to kids. They are smarter than adults. We have to protect them from the grown-ups because the grown-ups know how to manipulate, trick and deceive. Kids want the truth.

Promise me YOU The Writer will give it to them.






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4. Knowing your Audience. Or... do you?

Sharing a sister's dilemma. It's fodder for thought for those who think writing for children is easy.

We want our audience-- today's child-- to relate to our work and words.

How far do we go to connect to how they think and what they say? Are we selling out or reflecting truths?

I know one child does not speak for many or all.

But.

Yesterday, my almost-10 year old niece received an updated/amended invitation to a Halloween gathering at her Very Good Friend's house.

Whether I believe this or not, the Halloween Party mom said she had no idea the girl was printing up this edited invite to give out to friends at school.

The original invite did not include a mandate for choice of costumes.

In this follow-up version, the girl told her friends:

"We are now all going to dress alike.
We are all going to dress as a pimped-out ref."

A...what?

I don't even know for sure what a pimped-out ref IS.

But I think I get the point.

A PIMPED-OUT REF?

One mom read the invitation as she cleared the papers out of her daughter's backpack after school yesterday. A chain of phone calls ensued, one mom calling another to ask what this was all about.

I need to add these ten-year olds all have cell phones and MacBooks and closets bursting with designer jeans. This is not a negative characterization. This is what they are (or have). They're all charming and sweet and curious and lovely, the child you all were once upon a time.

I don't want to sound like an old fuddy-duddy doofus.

But are these the kids that are going to relate to my middle-grade novels? I've searched my characters, and not one of them has ever suggested her friends dress up as pimped-out refs.

I know. I know. If it's authentic and organic to the story, it works. It might date a book but it is reality.

But still. Behind closed doors, I don't know these girls and now I worry they are not going to want to read the books I write. They are probably not going to find a pimped-out ref anywhere between my pages. Does that make me yesterday's news?




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5. Not Guilty (well, maybe a little bit)

Oh yes. I have moved into Cliche Territory. But no one loves a good Jewish Mother joke as much as... a Jewish Mother.

This is a guilt-free post. My first and last. Guilt is my middle name. It's in the DNA.

Yes, I've been neglecting you, Live Journal. But that doesn't mean I don't love you.

Okay. I am guilty. Live Journal has allowed my wings to stretch and my words to soar. Why do we always hurt the ones we love best?

Yes. It's true. As much as Twitter and Facebook have become integral facets of our writers' community, I will always think of Live Journal as my child. And a Jewish mother will never turn her back on a child. You can never do anything wrong. It's our fault you went crazy, robbed a bank, cheated in school, cut your beautiful hair into that unattractive mullet, got a ticket for talking on the cell phone while driving (because of course you were talking to your mother at the time, darling, blame it on me).

And so now I will tell you All that Is True: Live Journal, you are my favorite child. DON'T TELL YOUR SISTER! May G-d Strike me dead if she ever finds out! ;>

If Guilt is a foreign object to you, if nothing ruffles your feathers-- how do you live like that? I have no idea-- let me invite you into the Twitteleh world. This is what Jewish Guilt feels like: Don't worry about me. I'll be all right. That's right. You don't have to call your mother. Don't write. I'll live. I don't want to obligate you.

But let me ask you before you run off to be with your, sniff, new little friends:

Are you hungry? Can I get you something? You're schvitzing. Are you hot? Here. Sit closer to the air-conditioner. I'll sweat. It's all right. I'm your mother. What? You're cold? I don't need my three sweaters. You do. Put them on right now. Over my dead body will I let you shiver. Tired? Sit down so I can rub your toes. Take a nap. I'll watch the kids. Better you should rest. You don't want circles under your eyes, do you? So tell me: Is there anything I did right today?







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I'll be back. I'm JoNoWriting!

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6. Sharin' some Sharon Birthday Dreams

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May you find joy in your every dream

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...and may some of those dreams end up as books on shelves with YOUR name on the spine!

Happy Birthday, [info]saputnam! (with great thanks to [info]newport2newport for always remembering to remember her friends) {} {} {}

-Pamela, still reflecting on the inner peace found in my recent Cape Cod journey and sorting out the emotions I carried home in my heart

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7. A Little Help for a Friend and Colleague: HARLEM BOOK FAIR July 17-19, 2009

HARLEM BOOK FAIR

Picture book author looking to share booth this [email protected] popular Harlem Book Fair. http://www.qbr.com/
Interested? Know someone who would be? Looks like a great promotional and selling event.

Please E-me: Writer Ross at g mail dot com




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8. Gone Too Soon (not that anyone's untimely death could be identified as Gone Too Late)

As the hours of this day passed, it troubled me that as hard as I tried not to get pulled into the vortex of death's calling card, I could not avoid the siren's call of sorrow.

It's the fear of death that compels so many of us to create, to make a lasting impression, to make the art we love and make it matter.

And yes, when someone young dies, we cry "Oh gone too soon. Gone too soon."

I'll just cry that Someone is Gone. I don't even love that my little girls are no longer little girls. Childhood: gone too soon. And confession time: I miss my childhood, too. I didn't know there would be endings then. I don't like knowing that now. I don't want this to ever end.

Life: Gone Too Soon.

Found this clip-- a lovely montage of Michael Jackson's life-- produced for BET but never aired.

Feel it.






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9. Collecting Lives on A Ribbon of Highway

So many people in this world I'll never know
So many states I've yet to see
Do you ever worry time will slip away before you get to do it all?
I do.
I carry a notebook
and carry the faces and places of where I've been with me
I try to remember it all
and even if no one else gets to know their stories
at least, for that one moment, I feel a connection
I step outside myself
and see there's more to life than all I think I know
Yes,
I'm searching for connections
on this ribbon of highway
Words are not photographs
I can't paint you
I can't capture your image
but I can write what I see in you
and who I think you are
I hope that's enough
I hope someone out there is going to remember
I once existed
I hope someone out there is thinking,
if only for an instant,
Hey.
What about... her?
I wonder what she's thinking?
Do you ever wonder if people care
about your life?
And will you matter
One Day?
You do.
You do.






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10. AND THE TWEET GOES ON

Tweeting my Own Horn (Something I rarely do, so humor me)

I participated in an innovative editor-author chat yesterday on TWITTER. I was not the editor. I was not the author. I was a face in the twittering crowd. I had not heard of the book before the Twitter Chat announcements.

Executive Editor Nancy Mercado of ROARING BROOK PRESS and debut novelist Nan Marino (NEIL ARMSTRONG IS MY UNCLE AND OTHER LIES MUSCLE MAN McGINTY TOLD ME, pubbed by Roaring Brook, May 2009) talked business and books over the wires-- and invited anyone within twittering range to tune in, turn on and Twitter the morning away with them.

After the chat, journalist/reporter Karen Springen contacted me via e-mail-- unbeknownst to me, she followed the chat and read my Twitter comments-- and invited me to share my thoughts with her for her upcoming article in Publishers Weekly and their Children's Bookshelf.

Journalists have ways of making me talk. I like being interviewed. (Second time in a year. As if I had something to say that mattered. Hah. See The Class of 2K8 Blog for an intellectually stimulating interview with one Very Aspiring Writer. Cough phlegm ahem.)
;>

So there it is. I'm in the box. I've been quoted. Again. What's next? Could Bartlett's be far behind?

Curtain up, light the lights...
Read on: http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/CA6664354.html

And the Beat Goes On

One word leads to another. One action, one reaction.

Writers watching out for one another, creating ripples of notoriety, passing the pipe, re-tweeting information and articles and moments that matter. Thanks to author, poet, screenwriter, and renowned blogger Gregory Pincus for making this world a whole lot brighter for this writer tonight-a. {} (And no, that is not to be cataloged one day in The Collected Poems of Pamela Ross.)

Here's Greg's professional blog--THE HAPPY ACCIDENT -- devoted to the Power of Positive Social Media on the Wonderful World Wide Web.
What's that address again? (I feel like a voiceover actress on a radio commercial, but as any totally shameful, self-serving writer knows: repetition works!): http://www.thehappyaccident.net/chatting-and-happy-accidents/

The Take-Away, or as your teachers once asked: And what did we learn today?

Don't be afraid to reach out to fellow creative spirits on the web. You give, you get, you listen, you learn, you buy, you sell, you write, they read. One need not be a Socialist to be social. It does pay to connect dots. Hands across the water and all that.

Remember when you thought your 45 rpms would last forever?
Don't be afraid to turn the page of history, uh-huh.








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11. I Sing the Body Acoustic

From TALKING POINTS MEMO tonight, an inspiring essay penned by M.J. Rosenberg:

"On Sunday night Pete Seeger's 90th birthday was celebrated with a concert at Madison Square Garden.

It was great. Bruce Springsteen, Dave Matthews, Ben Harper, Richie Havens, Joan Baez, Billy Bragg, Rufus Wainwright, Arlo Guthrie, and a dozen or two other headliners performed.

And Pete Seeger, of course.

But here's the amazing thing. In my life, I have never been to a concert (let alone a lefty concert) at which the name of the President of the United States was cheered. At previous concerts I've been to over the decades, the names of Kennedy, Johnson, Carter or Clinton were no more likely to be cheered than those of Reagan or Bush.

I mean, who cheers Presidents at concerts? Traditionally, names of Presidents go unmentioned. Or they are booed.

Springsteen said that he never saw Seeger more happy than at Obama's inauguration, noting that Seeger saw Obama's ascendancy as proof that he, Seeger, had "outlived the bastards."

One more thing. The 30,000 people in the audience wildly cheered a letter from Obama saluting Seeger.

Two incredible things there. One, a President salutes a life-long radical (and also has him perform at his inauguration). Two, an audience of aging hippies and 20-somethings goes nuts every time the President is mentioned.

I can't believe I've lived to see the day.

Happy Birthday, Pete Seeger. The America of your music may be in the process of being born."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
And in the end, what keeps audiences listening but a true voice with a story to tell.
All the writing classes in the world will tell you that.
When will we ever learn?
Unplug your voice.
Write in the raw.
It's just you and all those words in the air. Words longing to mean something to someone.

It's not easy to write the truth. It's not easy to sing the truth.
But when you can, you do it. Some are born to do this. Some can learn. If you want it, you can dream it. Oh Yes You Can.
Even if it takes you 90 years.

Three cheers For You.






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12. Fire in the Fingertips

You know it. You know that moment when you are in the zone and the words are so hot you can barely touch them as they fly out of your brain and melt the keyboard as you engraven them onto the screen. You're not G-d and you're not writing The Ten Commandments but you may as well be Moses weeping at the foot of the Burning Bush as a power you never knew you had writes words you never knew you knew.

This performance IS that moment for me. Maybe I can't put it into words any better than I've tried. But I can =show= you how it feels when I am one with the page and the words and the characters and the story and the moment and the music and the whole flipping universe.

at the ninth minute into the song, you just know Bruce and Roy on the piano are not IN their bodies, oh they are so somewhere else...



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13. Idiot Sa-FONT?

Is it my eyes telling me something I already know ("You need glasses, babe") or did the fonts of the Live Journal entries change on your screen too?

Is it time call tech support... or Lenscrafters?



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14. Philip Glass and The Cyclone (or Why Control Freaks Probably Do Not Appreciate Roller Coasters)

From the fascinating documentary I watched tonight on a late night AMERICAN MASTERS on PBS:

The art music of Philip Glass. He had me at the Cyclone-- one of his beloved Coney Island pastimes. For me, the Cyclone was like a mythic King Kong beating his chest at the top of the Empire State Building. I feared and cherished the vision of the iconic roller coaster that was a part of my childhood horizon. Its presence is integral to the Brooklyn landscape of my imagination. I could not imagine the beach and Surf Avenue and the Boardwalk and my memories without its existence. While Coney Island may be a tourist attraction today, to me it has always been a piece of my puzzle, my map, my DNA. When I drive through or around the city, I still see the World Trade Center where it should be, long after its corporal body fell to the ground.

When I was too young to know better, I let myself be persuaded to take my first ride on the Cyclone. Maybe I was promised a reward for my acquiescence-- like a ride on the Wonder Wheel or Carousel. Those were the rides I adored and went on time and again. All pleasure. No pain.

The Cyclone requires faith and release of control. Once you're strapped in and the horrific ascent up to the apex of the coaster begins, you're in and there's no turning back. (Even as I write these words, my stomach flip-flops remembering what it felt like to be locked in that seat.) Internally, I felt ashamed of my panic. Like a baby with separation anxieties. I wanted to conquer the fear and so I caved in, strapped in, and I took that ride.

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I have never screamed so silently before or since. It's April 2009 and The Cyclone Lives. It has to. Without it, Coney Island would breathe its last breath. It IS Coney Island-- but I am very content to stand on the street and let others scream for me. That's music to my ears.

Here's a sample of the ride that killed the joys of roller coasting for me forever (with the sweet bonus of experiencing the ride with the master composer). I'd rather be..er... writing than riding.



Glass said music is not something he creates but, rather, hears. He just writes it down. The notes are out there.

Creativity is turned upside down in his art: Music should be seen, images should be heard.

I like that.

I do not like roller coasters.
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15. Alert: Robert Pinsky on Poetry as Performance Art: Noon Today on the Radio

Former Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky on Monday's LEONARD LOPATE show on WNYC this afternoon. Tune in at 12:00 noon on your good old-fashioned radio (820 AM here in NY) or stream the show live here:
http://www.wnyc.org/shows/lopate/episodes/2009/03/30
http://www.wnyc.org/shows/lopate/episodes/2009/03/30/segments/127389

If you're reading this too late to listen to the live show, you can access Leonard Lopate's daily segment archives at the links above.

Isn't it ironic? I was just talking about Poetry and Performance this morning and now... this. I swear sometimes I think I've picked the wrong business and need to set up a Psychic Friends' Service. All of the coincidences I suffer gladly day-after-day have to mean something, don't they?

I think I'v found my Saavy! Yoohoo, Ingrid Law! Can a non-13 yr old find a saavy later in life?-- and do I know how to scumble it wisely?

Talk Naturally:
edited to add: From WNYC, a few minutes of the radio interview, recorded for our viewing pleasure:

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16. And the Beat Goes On

Where I'm Coming From:

I can't say exactly what made me click on John Lundberg's blog on today's HUFFINGTON POST. Maybe it was an e-mail alert that Lundberg had uploaded a new blog. Maybe I was reading the Sunday New York Times Arts and Leisure section and something caught my eye about new movies and word of the upcoming release of HOWL, a movie starring James Franco as a young Allen Ginsberg and the obscenity trial brought in the U.S. after the poem's publication.

Or maybe it was the Google search that blipped from HOWL to Ginsberg to (how? how? I can't remember!) writing ABOUT music to watching a clip from the Colbert show with his guest, music essayist and blogger Carl Wilson (http://www.zoilus.com/) talking about his love-hate affair with Celine Dion's music in his book LET'S TALK ABOUT LOVE: A Journey to the End of Taste (pubbed in the 33 1/3 series by CONTINUUM BOOKS (and yes, they've already pubbed a Bruce Springsteen title, darn it).

Slow down. It just came to me. I chanced upon Carl Wilson's blog after a separate Google hit directed me to a YOUTUBE clip of actor James Franco talking on the Red Carpet about the book Franco was reading and loving: Yes, it was Carl Wilson's LET'S TALK ABOUT LOVE which I am SO going to buy when I have a few extra shekels; the completist in me will also have to dig in and pick up the Bruce Springsteen title which seems to be more about the BORN IN THE USA album/tour than about Bruce.

(I should also note here that in a great confluence of great worlds colliding, great actor James Franco-- have you seen him in MILK? Oh my g-d-- is the son of children's author Betsy Franco. I also learned from one of the Google hits that James Franco is taking creative writing courses at my alma mater, NYU.)

Deep breath.

Talk about following the bouncing ball! That was one long and winding road to get to what I'm really thinking about tonight but as I've mentioned time and again, half the beauty of blogging is understanding why you started writing that certain random something. It may not always make sense but when it does, I admit the connections and directions a mind travels is a wondrous thing to behold.

So. Turn the page. The journey continues. (Just see if AAA could make a better TripTik than me.) ;>

And the Beat Goes On.

Prose. Poetry. Pulse. Though not the first to get there, The Beatniks famously brought music and speech together, making jazz out of words and words out of jazz.

Makes me wish I could be a Beat Chick. Who knows. Maybe. One day.

I can't write music but I hear it. I hear it in everything I write. Even if I never intend those words to be read outloud, I don't think I can help but write with the rhythm I hear tracking in my brain.

Now would be a good time to play songs from my favorite Dylan album: BLOOD ON THE TRACKS. (Favorite song: YOU'RE A BIG GIRL NOW.) Because even if the stories I write seem confessional and drenched in real-life blood, they're not necessarily MY confessional or MY blood-- but they are the character's confessions and dripped in the blood of her voice. Think how many times has someone in your family asked you: "Did this really happen?" as if to ask you to pinpoint the date and time in your life the "fiction" you write about took place, as if all diary entries were based in reality, as if everything you write is true. No. Get it. That's why it's called art. Writing. Creativity. It happened. To Someone. Someone YOU made up from some artificial bubble that burst one day and turned into a real-life character with a real-life story to tell. If it's on the page, it's real. Play it as it lays.

Producer and composer David Amram worked with Jack Kerouac and together the made stories sing. (And what editor hasn't urged a writer to make her words sing?)

Even if the only music is in your head.

And if you take nothing else away from this jazzy, hip-hop slop of improvised thoughts today, listen to the advice offered by David Amram, speaking for the Beat Voices of another generation: Flush away people who tell you your art is hopeless. Family and friends may love you but if they tell you to the dream is not worth pursuing, you're hanging out with the wrong people. {}

Yeah, baby. That.

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Dylan and Ginsberg hanging out at Jack Kerouac's grave






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17. Art, Craft, Rough Draft

So much loss and pain and fear Out There
You have to find strength to love your art even when the lights are low and the joys are rare
Find beauty in those slivers of light, those intensely personal, small moments of glee.

I worry time is slipping away and all I want to write will never see life on a page
And in the end, what will matter of what I write? What will be important? The words I did say or did NOT say?

"The light that was in your eyes has gone away"

There's only one carnival of life... and this is your Last Carnival.






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18. Everything Old is New Again

Will this be you one day soon:
Future You: "We walked 15 miles for a new book. Yes. The kind with a decorative cover. And real paper that curls in the heat. And we liked it!"

Present You: Call me corny as Kansas in August. You can't wrap your arm around a download. I treasure the words within and I'll follow them anywhere (sure, even into an e-reader) but There is Nothing Like A Book, Nothing in the World. There is Nothing you Can Claim that is Anything Like a Book.

From today's Penny Arcade

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19. Lucky Days (Yours, Mine, and Ours)

are days we celebrate with lovely friends. No need to wait for birthdays to share the love. But just in case he's out there, reading Live Journal and not solving scientific equations to save the world, here's wishing a Very Happy, Very Lucky Day to my March 6th Compadre and Happy Birthday Boy, [info]docstymie Jeff.

Here's wishing you a "sloppy, but not too sloppy" day filled with love, luck and lots of laughs. Here's a little something from the Boss and The Ross. {} Something to kick this March 6th into gear. Go on. Open your present!

You, too. Yes, that means you. Dance Party!






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20. Do the Write Thing

No, really. I get it. I'm being tested today. Why else would I
1: fall down in the ice this morning, cutting open the skin on my knee (right), slamming my left wrist (the one that broke the fall), and adding salt to the wound of my already cryptically-pained right arm
and
2: open my computer only to be greeted by mangled internet browser messages and a corrupted e-mail inbox?

It took a few hours of Aleve, cursing, phone calls to tech-types, inserting a lot of files, praying for luck, and...I'm back. Oh no. Nobody Puts Baby in the Corner.

And it's all in keeping with the way things have gone down here this year. A string of highs and lows, days spent riding the roller-coaster of life.

I'm spent and brain-challenged and laughing at myself for a change. That's the good news.

And because I'm in the mood to live up to my childhood nickname-- Chatterbox-- and because I'm in the mood to share another silly highlight of my silly life, what follows is the e-mail I sent to my dear friend Audrey yesterday (minus her personal information, of course). I'm just so glad my computer is working and I didn't lose anything except time and my temper.

Laughing is truly a healer.

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009:

D Day? Red Letter Day?
No, not what you think. Nothing to cheer about. Maybe something to smirk about. Do (Doo?) as I Say, Not as I Do (Doo?) day.

So in the string of One of Those Days that seems, in reality, to be One of Those Last 12 Months:

I was in Target, returning unused, unopened items from S's birthday party.

I am returning all those little impulse purchases I knew I wouldn't need but bought anyway. The cell phone rings. It is the nurse from S's school. The child is asking to come home because she has.. sshhh.. the ugly ol' D... as in diarrhea. Like Elaine on Seinfeld who stops to get her candy before rushing to the hospital to see her sick boyfriend, I got my $13 back and then dashed over to S's school. I bring the child home and get her up to the bathroom so she can continue exploring her D problem. I check the cabinets and discover in dismay there is no Immodium-D (DDDDDD, again!) in the house. I tell S I will run to CVS (so many letters, so little time) to get her what she needs.

I'm gone 20 minutes. When I get back, I give S the Immodium and tell her to get into bed and relax. This kid is like me. We need to be near our bathrooms. I feel bad that I passed on this horrible trait to her. We have weak stomachs, we two. We share the reading and writing genes as well, so at least I gave her something that is positive in her life.

I had not planned on being home this early in the afternoon. With my extra few minutes, I looked around the first floors and felt nauseous, surrounded by dust and all the slushy feet dirt dragged in from the snow on shoes and paws. I do not know how to clean floors. I was not born for stuff like this. I am clueless around mops and brooms. I can handle vacuums and paper towels and Fantastick and Windex but that is where I draw the line. I had no DESIRE (a "D," out of the blue) to clean but I had less desire to stare one more moment at the DISGUSTING dirt and dark decor draped all over the floor. (I know. I am pushing my luck with you.) {}

And I scrubbed and dropped Mop and Glo and wet another mop and tried to make the floor a little presentable. I should not be doing this with my arm. Yes, my damn, damaged arm. But you know how stubborn I am and when I get something in my head, there's no turning back... Er.. no denying my duties?

Speaking of Duty: {}

Charlie has a nasty, obnoxious, annoying bad habit. The dirty dog refuses to make outside in the snow! He hates it. You know why? I just thought of this: because HE IS A DIVA. Can men be divas? Is he a DIVO? Either way, the little fluffernutter is so spoiled that g-d forbid he should have to do his thing in a few inches of cold, hard snow. What does he think? He's a person?? (Uh, yes he does.)

It had been a few hours and I knew it was time to let the Divo outside, unless I wanted something more to clean up INSIDE the house and that is a fate worse than DEATH for me. I do not like touching the stuff. I do not like cats because I am not into seeing or smelling their waste in kitty litter. I get ill thinking about it.

I slid open the deck door and called for Charlie to go outside. The cold air felt delicious on my sweaty skin. (15 minutes of housekeeping and this princess is done for the day!) Charlie came to the door, stared at me, stared at the tall banks of snow and the passage we made to get him to the stairs down to the ground. His body went stiff. Frozen. His tail went flat. That dog would not move. I begged him to go outside but he turned a Deaf ear to me. I sensed a puddle of putrid, smelly urine heading my way on the now-relatively clean floor.

Do dogs get it when their owners play them for a fool?! I couldn't get that boy outside to do his thing so I went to plan... D.

There was takeout Chinese food in the refrigerator. I ran to the kitchen, searched the shelves and snap, came up with a great idea. I grabbed a big, juicy cold dumpling. Charlie followed the aroma and jumped all over me. He wanted that dumpling so bad he could taste it. And then I made him a Deal. And we bartered.

Do not repeat the following Dialogue to anyone.

I said: "Charlie, you go outside. You make your doody. You get a dumpling. Outside. Make doody. Come home. I give you a dumpling. Go. Go. Outside. Go. Make doody!"

Do you get the feeling he wasn't listening to me? All eyes were on The Dumpling.

I was really getting mad. I started to lift him to physically put him outside but Charlie thanked me with a dirty growl. I had never seen his anger like this. I could hear him telling me: "Get off me woman and give me that dumpling on the double!"

His little mouth began snapping. My desperation was mounting. I picked him up, put him out in the snow and shut the sliding door! I know. Call me Evil! The Devil! Charlie finally looked as if he was giving in. He leapt three feet, expressed himself for a second on the top of the deck (despite my screams to GO DOWN, don't do it on the deck, stoppppppp) and that was it. The dog was not moving. Not one more inch. No more bathroom-ing. And I so wanted him to go. You don't know. I saw Charlie ogling the food in my hand. I opened the door, tired and pooped and Defeated and Done. Done with the Divo Dog! I had had it. I just wanted to sit DOWN and get to my Desk. Enough. ENOUGH! My brain was scrambled. Maybe it was the fumes from the Mop and Glo. Maybe it was the image of S's diarrhea and the Immodium-D and the Chinese food and Charlie's anal retention all concocted into a mushy mess. SURRENDER!

In utter frustration, I shouted: "CHARLIE! NOW! GO MAKE A DUMPLING AND I WILL GIVE YOU A DOODY!!"

My daughter, S, heard me from upstairs. The kid was laughing hysterically at my dopey mistake! I made my Daughter laugh even in her Discomfort! I like pleasing her so...I guess being Temporarily Dumb has its benefits!

And as G-d is my witness, I don't think I will ever be able to eat a dumpling again.

Dats all, folks,
Pamela, who has finally come to the e-n-D of this Ding-Dong Dog's Tale!




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21. Ship of Fools, Ship of Dreams

Because I do not want my Live Journal to wash away due to neglect, I am unlocking the gate and opening the door and exhaling my blank thoughts into the white space.

If this were a movie, I'd be pacing, ripping papers and tossing them into a trash basket. I don't smoke but an actress playing me might want to take a drag and then stub the end into an ashtray. She might even look out the window behind my desk and stare into space. An appropriate score would gently accompany this montage of frustration. I think it might be a song without words because that's what I am right now. (All Celine Dion-wannabes need not apply for the job!) The Titanic sinking, empty of ideas and rowboats and the Captain is going down with the ship!

(Have I ever mentioned my fear of black water at night?)

Was it legend or reality that the orchestra continued to play as all hope was lost for the passengers of that unsinkable vessel?

I am the music and I am the musicians, playing for time while the water rises and my dreams cling to the deck.

And yet, fade to black. Cut. Clear the set. Nightmare Over. Here I am to say while it would be easy to let go and find something else to do, like professional wrestling or data entry or money laundering, I am here, clinging to the iceberg (with my fanciful buddies Leonardo Dicaprio and Kate Winslet) and, courtesy of Maya Angelou, "still I rise" to say:

Hope Floats! I won't let go. I can't let go!

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Does it always have to be about something? Can words just be offered As Is, like an irregular shirt or pillow case? None of the above is supposed to make sense; if it does, I am in more trouble than I thought!



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22. event passed: My Friend, Children's Book Author MURIEL HARRIS WEINSTEIN on XM RADIO at 4 PM EST

https://xmro-secure.xmradio.com/xstream/login_servlet.jsp

You can sign up for a FREE, 3 DAY TRIAL right now
Takes seconds to complete
NO CREDIT CARDS
I am listening ONLINE as we speak

CLICK ON TO CHANNEL 116
KIDS PLACE LIVE
"The Absolute Mindy" Show
(a kids' arts and entertainment radio channel)

MINDY THOMAS, the host/DJ, will be interviewing Muriel at or around 4 PM

If you can, tune in
Muriel's first picture book, WHEN LOUIS ARMSTRONG TAUGHT ME TO SCAT,
http://www.amazon.com/When-Louis-Armstrong-Taught-Scat/dp/0811851311/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1234904621&sr=1-1
was just published by CHRONICLE BOOKS
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It is amazing
Has received amazing reviews
(No surprise there. I watched it grow)

TUNE IN, please, if you can

Muriel is a special friend
Muriel has stood by my side through so much

I would love her even if I didn't think she was one of the most truly gifted authors and poets I have EVER met. I don't say those words lightly.
*******************************************

MORE ON XM KIDS PLACE LIVE:
something to think about as another stop on your book promotional tours:

From a WASHINGTON POST ("Outsiders Guide to XM Radio") article:

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Mindy Thomas is music director and on-air host of "Absolutely Mindy" on XM Kids. (Photo by Leslie Walker, Washington Post)

Just down the hallway, in another soundproof room, Mindy Thomas holds forth. Thomas is one of the deejays on the XM Kids station and -- judging from the plentiful crayon art on the walls -- a minor demigod among kid-listeners everywhere. Mindy's show, "Absolutely Mindy," features her playing a kid who lives in a drawer. She also reports on a fake state called Califlordia, and regular listeners call in to report on fake traffic and weather.

In fact, Thomas is a adult who is dressed in fleece and has her hair in a ponytail. Her workspace looks like a 8-year-old child's bedroom, except for the panels of flat screened computers that help her monitor what's going on air, and what songs are in the queue. Every couple of minutes, she fiddles with a mouse and occasionally rearranges her playlist, much of which comes from XM's database of nearly 3 million songs. Like people who deejay in other genres, Thomas is the curator of her own music. Some of the songs include theme songs from kids shows and movies, or The Beatles's "Octopus's Garden," which would be new to young children. Occasionally, listeners or parents write in with their own suggestions. One of her most-requested "tunes" is a guy banging on his toaster and singing about toast.


Muriel told me Jane Yolen was a recent guest on this show. (Have to check for archives.)
I just heard "The Donkey Song" as per a request from a kid in Missouri. "Hee--Haaaww" never sounded so breathy and sexy. It was pretty darn funny.

If you are a Sponge Bob fan, you'll find plenty of friends and be in good company on this show. ;>
http://www.wikio.com



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23. Tevye knows all: "Get off my land. This is still my home, my land. Get off my land."

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Think YOU'RE mad about the new Facebook Word Grab that allows their bear claws to ruffle through our tents?

Yes. You're angry. Dopey, stupid policy.

But no one says RAGE like this woman. Ignore the labels on the clip. We know better. This is one disgruntled Facebooker. Her tantrum translates into:
"Get your damn, filthy paws off my Facebook content!"

Can I de-friend her quietly? Will she know?






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24. LOSE YOURSELF. This may shock you: I Love this Song. "You can do anything you set your mind to"

...and I'm working on memorizing the lyrics so I can rap along with the music one day. Swear. Who will sing with me? I'll play weddings, bar mitzvahs, SCBWI conferences... ;>

"You better lose yourself in the music, the moment
You own it, you better never let it go
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime"

I know. Innocent on the outside. All Brrrrrooklyn on the inside. ;>



Laugh all you want but this song moves me and makes me want to own the stage. Makes me want to write until my fingers bleed. Makes me want to go for... it.

That elusive "it."

That's the "it" that gets you up in the morning and keeps your brain on fire and keeps the muse working overtime until... until... until...

sidebar: In a Valentine's Day surprise discovery, I just realized my last three Live Journal blog entries have used the word LOVE or LOVING in its title. Isn't that romantic? Ahem.



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25. That 70s Life: Loving Judy Blume is Forever

Tonight I find myself thinking about the girl I left behind in the 70s. Or did I? (To be sure, I'm talking about me in the third person. I didn't leave a baby girl behind on a door step, although my mother used to pretend that was where she found me when we were in locked-horns, battleship mode. Read in the wrong light, that first sentence sounds as if I abandoned a child. But no. No need to call Child Welfare on me. The Only Child even Potentially Left Behind was Me, circa early 1970s.) ;>

When I write, what echoes do I hear but the voice that cried about pimples and parents, bad hair and bad boys, dreams and desires and the totally self-inflicted pain of thinking there was no one out there who would ever understand me?

Judy Blume didn't know I existed when I was 12.

When I read her books, I thought she did.

Part One:


Part Two:


Sidebar: Judy Blume makes me laugh (not for the first time, naturally) in the 2nd segment when she warns moms (I guess that would be me, now) not to TELL their children to read her books because it was something we loved. No wonder my 13-year old daughter rolls her eyes when I beg her to read FOREVER. Let the children come to the books on their own. Snap! She's right. Because if =I= love something, whatever that may be, it is a universal truth that Child 1 and Child 2 will automatically reject it! Oh Judy, you're still teaching me things. As in I will never, ever name anything or anyone "Ralph." Which means, of course, my children will.


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