Monday, December 1, 2014

House of Cards, Noggin, Stephen Hawking, and Holy Moly, It's December

I don't know about you, but when I get overwhelmed with deadlines and doing All the Things (whatever those things might be), I usually find myself retreating to a corner with a book or TV show or magazine or soup can label that must be read. (Okay, that last part isn't exactly true. But if there's nothing else to read, I've been known to read labels or cereal boxes...)

The point being, I have a book due soon and a proposal and sample pages that are due as well and so of course I have been reading and watching things and sneaking in moments to fill the well as best I can. Plus Thanksgiving was here this year, and I made stuffing from scratch! And the leaves have turned amazing colors because it got freakishly cold very early for the Gulf Coast and now they've been falling off the trees in flurries like autumnal snow. Every time I see it,  my breath catches. So lovely.

In no particular order:

1. House of Cards!! Yes I know many of you have already become obsessed. In this house we are late to the game, but every time Kevin Spacy turns to the camera, I shiver and laugh and clutch my knees! It's Shakespeare gone to DC politics and backstabbing and pushing your enemies in front of an oncoming subway train. Robin Wright as Claire Underwood! Lady Macbeth with awesome outfits and heels. Love this show. Love. Love. And it's huge-- dozens of characters coming and going and power, power, power! Worth getting Netflix for.

2. Noggin - by John Corey Whaley. I'd bought it when I met him at Carson City Lit Fest back in June and read a few pages until work and life got in the way. But now I'm back (having just re-read Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A. S. King, which if you haven't read, you absolutely must), and I'm loving Noggin, too. More than just its high concept 'dying kid allows his head to be cryogenically frozen and wakes up 5 years later attached to another body' premise. It's about life and death and what happens when you stop out of the world for five years but everyone you love moves forward. Loving this, too.

3. Haven't seen Mockingjay yet or Birdman (which I really want to see!) but did squeak in The Theory of Everything-- the Stephen Hawking biopic. It was, at times, immeasurably sad, but for me this sadness wasn't for the reasons most people might state. Yes, I know it's one of those cosmic tragedies: one of the greatest scientific minds trapped in a body ravaged by ALS starting at only age 21. But for me, the saddest thing was the inevitable dissolution of a marriage. (and in full disclosure, this film is based on Jane Hawking's memoir) I sat there watching Jane fall in love with quirky, brilliant Stephen. And there she is-- also brilliant and in school and studying for a PHD in Medieval Spanish poetry. (okay, I know this is not a practical field, but it's her passion.) And it's 1963, and so you know what's going to happen. You know that she is going to by necessity and love, circumvent her studies and her passions to make sure Stephen becomes everything he needs to be.  And you know that eventually, this is going to make her feel lonely and trapped and bitter and terribly guilty because she loves him so much. And that unless she's a saint, eventually, they will part. And so that's what made me cry at the end-- and actually not until the very end where they scrolled those sentences of "what happened next" and I read that Jane finally got her PHD. Curious to see what everyone else's take on all this is...

4. And in other news, on 12/13, I'll be teaching a class at Writespace Houston on How to Find an Agent. We'll also be talking about what an agent does and doesn't do and why you might or might not need one. It's a quick 2 hour workshop. If you're just getting started in your career, then this might be the class for you!

Til next time...

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