Thursday, March 31, 2011

Greetings From Wacky Town

Last week after I posted about feeling overwhelmed in my writerly pursuits, I saw this amazing article in the New Yorker, all about therapy for screenwriters.

The "Letter From Los Angeles" segments, designed as if sent by a batty aunt*, sometimes make me skeptical, coming as they are from a New York POV.

The chosen topics often make Los Angeles sound like a bizarre and alien land consisting solely of entertainment professionals/possible cultists/fashionista yoga raw tofu-dies stuck perpetually on the freeway** ordering off the secret menu at In N Out while scheduling colonics, but I guess I really am a local now, because I didn't even think this article was strange. I was just nodding along like, "Well, of course. Yes. I wonder if this guy accepts new patients."

* Oh, frak. I just realized that for my niece Rose, I am that batty aunt

** That part might not be entirely inaccurate

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Kinda Overwhelmed - or - Who Will Save This Pitiful Creature?

One of my oldest friends called me up the other day for advice on how to get started with a possible writing career. She lamented the fact that it feels impossible to find the time. I definitely understand where she's coming from.

I work 8 hours a day at an office, and I have a 2-hour commute on top of it. Not a big deal, most of the time. If I want to write, I can do it in the morning before I leave. The problem is the Internet. (Stop me if you've heard this one before. Actually wait please don't because I'm going to ask for advice at the end.)

If I want to...

1) Email
2) Tweet
3) Blog
4) Check Facebook
5) Update GoodReads
6) Read other people's tweets, blogs, status updates and GoodRead reviews

Then I must necessarily do it...

A) In the morning before work -- but then when will I write?

B) In the evening after work -- but then when will I see my husband? When will I see my friends? When will I read books? When will I watch The Good Wife, The Amazing Race and L.A. Galaxy games? When will I get a break from the computer screen? WHEN WILL I HAVE TIME FOR ALL MY ANXIETY?

I love my job reading screenplays and creating character descriptions for roles being cast, and if it were just a matter of juggling my own writing and my job writing, I think I'd be okay. It's when you throw online networking into the mix that it all starts to make my brain -- and my sexy tendonitis -- beg for mercy. No matter what I do, or how I allocate my time, there are never enough hours in the day, nor is there enough caffeine.

I've really enjoyed making friends online (um, at the risk of sounding like an ad for Adult Friend Finder) and I don't like letting anyone down by not responding to messages, polls, emails, or questions in a timely fashion. I also don't like missing out on great discussions / controversies / information, but there are certain days when I know something's gotta give, and it can't be my husband, and it can't be writing.

I know this isn't true, but some days it feels like everyone else has figured out how to juggle all of the above; like everyone but me is metaphorically lounging beside a pool with their smartphones, getting tans and sippin' cocktails while I flail about, just trying not to drown. So what am I missing? How am I supposed to do this? Helppppppp.

p.s. Case in point, I've been updating this blog every Thursday and I'll barely make the deadline tonight.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Memories of Japan

I tried coming up with a good blog topic this week but the news out of Japan, most recently the sacrifice being made by the workers in the nuclear reactors, has been so incomprehensibly awful that I can't concentrate much on writing or reading.

My husband and I spent our honeymoon in Japan in 2004. It was a long held dream of ours to travel there, and I think we took more than 400 photos. We visited Tokyo and Kyoto, two extraordinarily beautiful and very different cities that, to us, represented the contrast between modern and traditional ways of life. Everyone we encountered was friendly and helpful and we loved our time there.

Worried about scams, or feeling overwhelmed by how and where to donate to relief efforts for Japan? Here's some quick info on legit U.S. Organizations Accepting Donations.

If you're like me and live in an earthquake-prone area, you might consider putting together an emergency supply kit. (And if you're lazy like me, they also sell pre-made ones on Amazon.)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Show Me the YA Version

Sara Shepard's popular series Pretty Little Liars was conceived as Desperate Housewives for teens, which got me thinking about other programming and properties that have been successfully re-imagined and reshaped for a younger audience.

Lauren Oliver's Before I Fall (which has been optioned for a film adaptation) is sort of like Groundhog Day for teens, and Carrie Ryan's dystopian future / zombie novel Forest of Hands and Teeth mixes elements of Cormac McCarthy's The Road with M. Night Shymalan's The Village for teens.

It works the other way, too. What is Lev Grossman's The Magicians if not Harry Potter for grown-ups?

Here's my (admittedly bizarre) wish list of projects I'd like to see redone in YA style:

1) Lost (Not in a Lord of the Flies or Survivor way, though -- I'm more interested in seeing the metaphysical aspects, the sense that certain people are destined to affect one another throughout their lives, plus time travel, obvs)

2) Inception (Entering people's dreams and altering their daylight decisions? Yes, please)

3) Prime Suspect  (How this would even remotely work I have no idea. But it'd have a strong heroine and be awesome)

Are there any films, TV shows or adult books you're dying to see adapted into YA format?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

How Do You Choose What To Read?

It feels like half the books on my shelf are ones I borrowed from friends or bought ages ago but haven't gotten around to reading yet. As I sit at my desk typing this, I can feel them glaring at me and going unread. They keep getting pushed aside for library books (due dates!), book club selections (due dates!), research (can't write without it!) or recommendations from people who tell me to "stop everything and read this now."

At the same time, I'm always looking for something new to read. How this is possible, I don't know, because the stack will never diminish if I keep up this way.

I mostly rely on the following to make my endless list:
How do you choose what to read, and how do you choose the order in which to read it?