Yes, This Will Be On the Test

Writing, Reading, Laughing

Sunday, September 17, 2017

A Writer Goes to Washington, D.C. - Part 3

And speaking of Hamilton...

The guy is all over D.C.


At Mount Vernon


Bureau of Engraving and Printing


The National Portrait Gallery


Couldn't resist

Isn't it amazing someone who was unfairly not much more than a mental footnote in our history lessons is now a super star!

There are HAMILTON clubs at junior high and high schools. Kids are drawing fan art of Alexander Hamilton and other characters from the show. I've heard raps ala HAMILTON on a myriad of historical figures by students who are invested in learning history. A must read is the amazing YA novel, Alex and Eliza, A Love Story by Melissa De La Cruz on our hero and his love. 

Alex and Eliza

I've been listening to the score since the day it came out. I do a really good George III.

In a few weeks, I will FINALLY get to experience the show.


History has its eyes on you, indeed!

Any other HAMILTON aficionados out there? Have you seen it? 

If you haven't seen the PBS special on the making of HAMILTON - you're in for a treat. 


Sunday, September 10, 2017

A Writer Goes to Washington, D.C. - Part 2

Another stop on my "never seen it before" Washington, D.C. trip was Mount Vernon - you know, the ole Washington place.


Officially wowed! The sense of history is palpable and the grounds ain't too shabby either. 


I might exercise more if I could get my steps in looking at scenery like this. Not a bad view from the back porch either!


I enjoyed super delish peanut and chestnut soup at the Mount Vernon Inn restaurant where I met a tour guide for the "Enslaved Persons" tour. Her expertise and passion for that piece of history inspired me to take the tour. I learned more during that hour than in all the classes I've ever taken on American history. The insight to the individuality of each enslaved person who lived at Mount Vernon was enlightening and thought provoking. It saddens me that history is taught in schools far too often as dates and events. It should be told as the story of the people who created and experienced those dry facts and data.

Lin Manuel Miranda got it right when he gave us HAMILTON! 

At the end of the tour we stopped at the enslaved persons memorial. 



I was fortunate enough to take place in a memorial service and read the biography of one of the Mount Vernon slaves as a remembrance. At the end of the reading of the biographies, a musician played the fife. When he finished he looked up and saw that the leader of the school group attending the memorial was someone he knew. He invited the man up to sing. 


I have never heard a richer, more soulful voice in my life. The tour guide sang "Let My People Go." When he finished the forest was silent. Tears were streaming down everyone's face, including the sassy group of teens he'd brought to Mount Vernon.

I went to Mount Vernon for history, and left with a spiritual experience. 

Sunday, September 3, 2017

A Writer Goes to Washington, D.C. - Part 1


I hang my head in shame. It's been a bazillion years since my last post. I'm happy to say I've been very productive in the writing realm - more irons in the fire. Whirlwind changes with ye olde day job - elementary education - slurped up the rest of my time like a shop vac. 

I'm dedicated to blowing the dust off my poor neglected blog and rejoining the conversation. I've missed you, beloved blogosphere. 


 This summer, I had the privilege to travel to Washington, D.C. for an arts in education conference sponsored by the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. 


(Is it me or does George look like he just finished a fabulous musical number?)

Aside from the conference I tried to visit places I'd never been before in the nation's capital. First stop - The Library of Congress - Jefferson Building. It knocked my socks off! I planned to spend an hour or so, but left five hours later. First of all, the building is gorgeous. Architecture, ornamentation, decoration, content - all yummy! 


Famous Reading Room


Publisher's Mark - the walls are covered with these!

My biggest thrill was being able to stand in the middle of Thomas Jefferson's library.





I have to admit, I got a little weepy being in the presence of such a magnificent literary collection by someone who revered and adored books.

"I cannot live without books."
Thomas Jefferson, June 10, 1815

As a person who writes books, and introduces the next generation to a love of books through teaching...
...I get you Tom!

Definitely put the Library of Congress on your D.C. "to do" list!



Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Heartfelt Goodbye

My heart goes out to the family, friends, and fellow fans of Carrie Fisher. Her wit and talent will forever be an inspiration. I'm so grateful my daughter had someone so special to call a role model. 




Goodnight, sweet Princess,
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

  

Monday, October 10, 2016

Another Fab Comic Con

Comic Con in San Diego this past July was its usual blast and a half. 



One of my favorite parts of Comic Con is Nerd HQ an offsite venue which is the brainchild of Zachary Levi. Besides providing a great spot to connect with other pop culture nerds, he hosts Conversations for a Cause. Proceeds from these celeb convos support the charity Operation Smile, an international medical charity that provides free surgeries for children in developing countries who are born with cleft lip, cleft palate, or other facial deformities.


I was lucky enough this year to score tickets to a convo with the funny, talented, and completely genuine Zach Levi as well as one with Scott Bakula who played Zach's dad on the series Chuck. Both conversations were super uplifting and positive.




My "find" of this year was stumbling across the Entertainment Weekly offsite panels in a small park next to the marina. I hit the jackpot scoring front row seats to see the 
Agents of Shield



and 

Nathan Fillion and Alan Tudyk talking about their hilarious web series CON MAN. 

By far the best part of Comic Con was cheering on friends, Stacey Lee and Elizabeth Briggs, exquisite YA authors, at their panel on diversity in YA lit. They were brilliant and insightful.




 The shopping on the convention floor is the 
essence of temptation. My favorite purchase of Comic Con 2016 was of course, Star Wars merch!


If you ever have the chance to journey to 
Comic Con in San Diego
GO - GO - GO!

Do you have any Comic Con stories to share?

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Making the Bold Choice

I have the good fortune to live in a family of artists. My son is an actor, my daughter a writer, their dad a scenic designer, and his husband a graphic artist.

Chats around the dinner table drift to subtext, intention, symbolism, and artistic risk-taking.

The winner of this summer's boldest choice goes to my son, Cameron Rose. He is part of the repertory theater company, Theatricum Botanicum, in L.A., founded by Will Geer. This summer he performs as Claude in Moliere's, Imaginary Invalid.

Claude is a fop, full of pretense and entitlement. So you're picturing something like this...



...right?

Now add to the over the top wig and chunky heels Cam's acting choice. His characterization of Claude is a man influenced by the chickens he grew up with on the family farm, embued with the physicality of head-pecking, squawks and wing flaps. 

And it works...to the point of hilarity.

The costumed visual would have been enough to incite giggles, but taking the farce to poultry proportions took guts. It could have fallen on its face and been "pooh-poohed" as too silly, but a slew of thumbs up reviews validated the bold choice.

Bravo!

As a writer, I'm taking a page from Cam's book. Take the risk. Don't settle into a comfort zone of storytelling. Stretch, reach, and go to a place that might not be in my wheelhouse...yet. 

The payoff just might be a delicious chicken dinner.

What has inspired you to bust through that glass ceiling in your writing?

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Streaming Gold

I have officially joined the ranks of the unplugged - cable TV unplugged. It was a choice that made me break out in hives at first. Whatever will I do without my weekly installment of Agents of Shield? 

Alas, my worries were unfounded. As a "streamer," I had to wait a smidge of time for Coulson and company, but when they did blip onto onto Netflix, I blissfully binge watched the entire season in a swoop.

I embraced and discovered shows that I missed when I was plugged in. Here are a scant few of my faves:

(How can you not love a show set in West Covina with musical numbers?)





and the list goes on...
and on...
and on!

There are more shows at my fingertips than I can possibly catch up with. 

Soooooo happy

Have you switched to streaming only? What gold nuggets have you discovered or finally caught up with?

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Celebrating Friends

There is nothing I enjoy more than cheering for the lovely work of friends in the writing community. This month my fangirl meter is in the red. 

Here are some shiny new releases I triple dog dare you not to ADORE. I'm going alphabetically by author because I could NEVER choose a fave among these kickin' stories.



Future Shock by Elizabeth Briggs is a nail biting sci-fi adventure that will make you run into the garage and burn your time machine. 

Fight the future. Face the inevitable. 







South of Sunshine by Dana Elmendorf is an endearing and courageous LGBT love story set against the backdrop of often narrow-minded southern mentality. 

In a town like Sunshine, Kaycee knows better than to fall for a girl.




Soul Conquered by Lisa Gail Green is the culmination of her OF ANGELS AND DEMONS trilogy. I never thought I'd cheer for a demon, but this story deftly blurs the lines between good and evil. 

What do you do when following your heart could lead to the apocalypse?




In Real Life by Jessica Love makes me want to repair the time machine I destroyed after reading FUTURE SHOCK and go back in time to encourage my teen self to be truthful about my affections. AND IT'S SET IN VEGAS! 

This is the moment that launched a thousand daydreams.




Bravo ladies for your wonderful work.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Why I'm a Star Wars Nerd

No one is happier to see all the Star Wars love happening right now than I. I've been a fangirl of a galaxy far far away since 1977 when A NEW HOPE 
(back in the day, we just called it STAR WARS) 
burst into the collective consciousness. I saw the film 21 times in the theater, every time flying my theater seat with red squadron to attack the Death Star.

Here are the top ten reasons this story entered my blood stream:

10. Vehicles: Who doesn’t want a land speeder or an X-Wing?

9. Hyperspace Travel: After commuting in L.A. traffic my whole life…

8. Countless worlds to explore: Itinerary – Hoth…Forest Moon of Endor – I’ll skip Tatooine, not a desert person.

7. Terrifying Villains: Vader (daddy issues-check), Emperor, Wampa Ice Monster, giant worm that digests you for 1,000 years...

6. Merchandise: I’m not going to lie, I’ve spent significant funds since 1977 on memorabilia. Come on! Everyone needs a pewter Star Wars chess set.

5. Complicated love story: Han and Leia

4. C3P0 and R2D2: I’ll take one of each please.

3. Lightsabers: Mine is blue.

2. Enigmatic mentors extraordinaire: Love Yoda, do I. Obi Wan is always good in a pinch. 

1. Luke Skywalker – Luke Skywalker - Luke Skywalker:
When the first movie of the saga released, I was leaving home to go to college. Identifying with Luke’s foray into the real world resonated with me. We came of age together, fighting the dark side and emerging with a renewed sense of self.

From this humble Jedi to all my brethren -
May the Force Be With You.


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

A Veteran's Lost Story

This year on Veteran's Day, I'm particularly reflective about my father. He passed away a few years ago and one of my greatest regrets was that I never pressed him for stories about his experiences during World War II.


He was only eighteen when my grandparents encouraged him to enlist in the army to discourage him from entering the priesthood. He spent the majority of his time during the war in the Philippines. The only story he shared was about hiding in a palm tree for days while the enemy marched below. 

I missed a golden opportunity for the untold stories he must have had tucked away. 

If you have a veteran or any tribe elder still in your life, don't make the mistake I did. 

Ask them for their stories.