What’s On My Mind
I enjoyed this recent video from Random House giving an insight to how their designers approach creating book covers. Thought you might enjoy it, too.
This past weekend was Phoenix Comicon ’13.
It was an incredible weekend. Much geeky fun was had by all. Even up to the point when we all had to evacuate the Phoenix Convention Center.
Yep. That’s right. Evacuate.
I was sitting in room 132, listening to Michael Stackpole, James A. Owen, Peter Orullian, Terry Brooks, Brandon Sanderson, and Timothy Zahn talk about worldbuilding. My husband and children were on the other side of the building, learning how to build a dalek. And then, just as the worldbuilding panel was finished up, the lights on the ceiling flashed and a siren (that sounded a bit like the alarm on the Enterprise) sounded. We all looked at each other. What do we do? Well, luckily, there also came an automated female voice instructing us to leave the building in an orderly fashion at once.
So we did.
Here’s a video fo how those sirens sounded:
Brandon Sanderson was still talking about writing as he left the worldbuilding panel, and I got to ask him a couple of questions. Very cool.
But the very not cool part was that my phone battery had died just moments before the sirens sounded.
I had no way of getting a hold of my husband and children. Sad me. (I wasn’t too worried, though. I knew they couldn’t be far.) I asked the man standing next to me (not Brandon Sanderson) if I could borrow his phone. He said yes and I made contact with my hubby. Awesome! I told him where I was (just outside the doors) and he said he’d come to me.
But then security said everyone had to move across the street. And so the plan hubby and I made to meet was thwarted. Not awesome.
I asked a young woman passing me if I could borrow her phone to call my husband. She scowled at me (actually scowled) and said no. I was a bit shocked, really, because this was Comicon and people are Comicon are so cool. Except for her. She was not cool.
Then, I saw a woman in TARDIS socks and a Who shirt and I approached her with confidence. “May I please borrow your phone to call my husband?” I asked, and explained my phone battery was dead.
She said yes. She even dialed the number for me.
You know why?
Because Doctor Who fans RULE.
After I made contact with hubby and told him to stay where he was I was coming to get him, I thanked her profusely and pointed out my own Doctor Who shirt.
We smiled at each other, knowing inside how much better the world would be if everyone was a Doctor Who fan.
I was soon reunited with my husband and children, thanks to the kindness and generosity of the woman in TARDIS socks.
Dear Woman in TARDIS Socks who Let Me Use Your Blackberry to Contact My Family:
Thank you for being awesome.
The more years I live on this earth, the more I understand there is power in letting go.
Letting go of what you want. Letting go of what you’re better off without. Letting go of the outcome.
When my daughter was younger, she was very attached to her toys (well, she still is). She never wanted to give anything away, whether to sell in a garage sale or to give to a charity. Again and again I would tell her that if she’s clinging to what she has, her hands aren’t free to receive new things, different things, better things. Sometimes she understood. Sometimes it was a battle.
All that time I was telling her this lesson, I was also talking to me.
Writing — more specifically, revising — is teaching me this lesson now. This idea of cutting away what your story is better off without so there’s room for something new, something better — even though you love what is already there.
It can be painful, the letting go. But what I’ve found time and again is it’s always better, after. What comes as a result of letting go is always surprising, and always greater than what I imagined it would be.
In my first rounds of edits with my editor, I had to rewrite the ending of my book so it fit the new two-book structure we’d created. This was very difficult for me. I loved-loved-loved my ending. But it wouldn’t have made sense in the story arc if I’d left it as is. So I cut the chapter and wrote a new ending. That new ending completely opens up the possibilities for the second book.
If you never let go, there’s never room for possibilities.
It comes down to ego, I think, or maybe security. We think we know best and we close ourselves off to the suggestions of others. Or we want to stay with what we know, what’s safe.
Letting go involves releasing what we think we know, releasing what we think we deserve, accepting that we’re not as in charge as we think we are.
When I think back through my life, I can count several situations where I let go of my expectations and the outcome, and it literally changed my life. (And I do mean literally, not the actually not-literal way some people use the word.)
So, ask yourself: is there something you have a death-grip on today? What would happen if you released that grip? What would happen (could happen) if you let go?
The other day I was driving in my car, and a song I hadn’t heard before came on the radio. I liked it right away, the melancholic chords, the simple piano introduction. Then I listened to the words…and the chorus…and my eyes just about popped out of my head.
I was listening to the heart of my novel, ANOTHER HERE, ANOTHER NOW in a song!
That’s pretty cool.
I pulled out my phone and Shazam’d it (great app, btw). It was “Stay” by Rihanna, featuring Mikky Ekko.
Here’s a video of the song and lyrics. If you listen, you’ll hear the story of my characters, Danny and Eevee.
IN OTHER NEWS: I’m having a Sherlock-themed giveaway this week! Check out this post to enter to win. Only two days left, so enter today!
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of listening to the adaptation of Michael Frayn’s Copenhagen on BBC Radio 3.
Here’s the summary/description from the BBC:
“Benedict Cumberbatch, Greta Scacchi and Simon Russell Beale star in Michael Frayn’s award-winning play about the controversial 1941 meeting between physicists Bohr and Heisenberg, part of a joint Radio 3 and Radio 4 series of three Michael Frayn dramas for radio – including new adaptations of his novels, ‘Skios’ and ‘Headlong’.
Copenhagen, Autumn 1941. The two presiding geniuses of quantum physics, Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg meet for the first time since the breakout of war.
Danish physicist Bohr and his wife, Margrethe, live in Nazi-occupied Denmark; their visitor, Heisenberg, is German. Two old friends, now on opposing sides, who between them have the ability to change the course of history.
But why has Heisenberg – Bohr’s former protégé – come to Copenhagen?
Michael Frayn’s Tony award-winning play imagines the three characters re-drafting the events of 1941 in an attempt to make sense of them. A powerful exploration of the uncertainties of human memory and motivation.”
I found this production so fascinating! (And no, not just because it was two hours of listening to Cumberbatch’s voice.) The story is a swirl of science and interpersonal relationships. It touches on strong emotions but never gets heavy-handed. It is both minimalist and vivid. And my favorite part: the structure/writing, which at first is disconcerting, evolves into a form or example of the very subject matter Bohrs and Heisenberg tangle with throughout the play! *kabooom* There goes my writer brain. I LOVE that kind of meta, self-referential literary trickery.
If, like me, you enjoy when science and story collide (ha), you might want to give this production a listen. I highly recommend it.
You can listen to Copenhagen at BBC Radio 3. (Be warned: how long that link will be active, I don’t know.)