02.29.08

February 2008

Posted in Status Report at 9:31 pm by Amber

These statistics are all for short stories or poems.  Book reviews are not included.  This may end up being depressing so I may not do it every month.  🙂

  1. Sales in February: 0
  2. Rejections in February: 0
  3. Submissions sent out in February: 1
  4. Total stories/poems pending responses: 4

One of my goals this year is to write and submit more fiction pieces.  Of the 4 items I have out 2 were written this year and 1 went through major revisions. 

02.25.08

The Oscars and Postage Rate

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:57 pm by Amber

In years past my husband and I celebrated the Oscars by attending or hosting parties.  Most recently we’ve watched them by ourselves. 

I enjoy seeing the celebrities walk down the red carpet, trying to figure out who the date is, and wondering what question is going to come out of the interviewer’s mouth.  As the years have gone by the hosts for the red carpet have gotten worse which has taken the enjoyment out of it.

There were certainly some surprise winners.  I filled my ballot out this year on who I thought should win, not who I thought would get the award.  I’ll just say I’m glad I wasn’t entered into any betting pools.  The most surprising moment for me was when Jon Stewart escorted Marketa Irglova back on stage so she could give her acceptance speech. 

One winner in my book is Jeni’s Ice Cream.  We ate some after lunch yesterday and for dessert tonight.  The Winter Squash with Pecan Pralines does taste like pumpkin pie.

The postage rate in the U.S. goes up one cent in May.  It can take a while to hear back from submissions sometimes.  I will have to remember to use the Forever stamps on any submissions I send out in April (and possibly March!).  Towards the end of January I sent some items out and am still waiting to hear from the publishers.  The longest item I have out at the moment was sent in October 2007 and has an estimated response time of six months. 

While I wait – I write.

02.18.08

Ideas

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:23 pm by Amber

One question writers are frequently asked is “Where do you get your ideas?”  Some play the “what if?” game when a scenario strikes their fancy and a spin is put on it.  Other writers will say they get their ideas from dreams.  Or if they write horror they write about what scares them.

My own ideas come from a combination of the above but I’d say the main ingredient to any idea a writer uses is observation.  Overheard conversations while walking down the street or people watching are great places to start when feeling stuck with nothing to write about. 

The other evening I was driving home from my day job when I saw something out of the ordinary in my peripheral vision and I had to see what it was.  Waiting for the light to change gave me the opportunity to look over and see someone lying on the ground in the doorway of a bar. 

His pants were pulled down and I could clearly see his pale skin from the small of his back to his thighs.  This was unusual to see at 6pm on a cold evening.  A man stood in the doorway and threw a puffy blue jacket over the man’s head.  He went back inside the bar while the man straightened his glasses and removed the coat from his face.  The light changed to green.

As I zoomed off I thought two things, “There must be a story behind that.” and “I wonder how many people sitting here at this light missed what happened.”

02.17.08

James McBride

Posted in Event at 3:02 pm by Amber

I must admit the days have really passed me by.  I try to update the site each Monday and before I knew it, Monday had come and gone.

Spike Lee was the recipient of the Wexner Prize for 2008 and came into town last Monday to receive the prize and participate in some events surrounding the honor.  On Tuesday evening he sat down with his friend, James McBride, for a conversation in Mershon Auditorium which I was able to attend.  McBride is in the middle of a book tour to promote Song Yet Sung which he described as about a slave who dreams of the future – of chariots with rubber tires, and inspires a revolt.  It certainly got my attention.

It was interesting to hear McBride speak about working with Lee on a screenplay.  He received a call from Lee while on the road and McBride thought a friend was playing a joke on him.  Lee wanted to make a movie from McBride’s Miracle at St. Anna which was on its way to being out of print.  This is McBride’s first screenplay.  He’d write ten pages, give them to Lee, Lee would make comments and hand them back to McBride.  McBride worked on the changes and handed those pages back with ten more new ones.  It sounded like there was some give and take.  They’re the same age and grew up only a few blocks away from each other in New York which automatically creates a rapport.  The movie is planned to be released in October or November 2008.  I think it will be a good one based on the trailer I saw.  It has an international cast and subtitles. 

The book is about the 92nd Infantry Division stationed in Italy during World War II.  Two of the soldiers presently live in Cleveland.  Several times during the evening they were given standing ovations.  Harrison Dillard is a four-time Olympic gold medalist.  William Perry is most recently noted for raising $30,000 by himself towards the building of a Colonel Charles Young statue.  I haven’t read the book so I don’t know if the characters are real people or based on real people.  For the movie, four characters are given most of the screen time and they are based on combinations of real people with the imaginations of McBride and Lee thrown into the mix.

All four men went to the reception held afterwards.  Several people bought copies of the book while walking through the Wexner Center Bookstore and had them autographed by as many of the four as possible.  I initially went to hear Spike Lee but I found a new (to me) author and have added more books in my “to be read” pile.

02.04.08

The Moment When It All Changes

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:59 pm by Amber

Do you remember the first book you read that spoke to you?  I don’t mean the one that made you nod your head because you can relate to the story or the characters.  And I don’t mean the one that made you cry because the words were so beautiful.  There’s one book that makes you say, “This author is in my head!”

That book for me is A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers.  By the time I got around to reading the hardcover edition, a paperback edition with a new foreword was released.  I still read the hardcover book I had.  There are tangents in the telling of a scene that remind me of the tangents I have with my thoughts.  It’s like there’s something that sparks a memory and the memory has to play out before returning to the original line of thought.

 What book first spoke to you?