The Oscar for ‘Best Picture’ Goes to …!

I am compelled to wonder if Solomon Northrup had not written ‘Twelve Years a Slave‘ whether there would have been a different Oscar-winning slave narrative last night, whether director Steve McQueen would have cast Lupita Nyong’o in a romantic comedy instead, whether confirmation of the beauty that is dark skin would be circulating at viral-pitch and celebrated by the mainstream fashion industry in the person of some other actor. I wonder.

‘Best Picture’ acceptance speech

Thank you, Solomon Northrop, for sitting down and recording your experience for the world to consider at a time when it needs it most.

‘Actress in a Supporting Role’ acceptance speech

How do we know that our story will not inspire readers, artists, movie-goers—humanity—more than a century beyond our existence?

Make a record.

Write!

Video source: The Oscars

Reposted from: 360degreesz


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Perspective and Depth of Foreign Languages

Maptia presents eleven words that are foreign to your language that she/he says are untranslatable.

I have needed a few of these words from time-to-time!

Untranslatable words.

Reposted from: http://9gag.com/gag/ajrVP9p

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The Importance of Saying No – by Linda Rodiguez

I have always had a hard time saying “no.” I like people, and I always want to help good causes. This has led to years of low pay in the nonprofit sector, tons of overwork, lots of volunteer hours, and on the good side, an awful lot of great friends. It also leads periodically to a terrible feeling of overload, that point I get to when I have so many urgent or overdue or essential tasks to do that I’m paralyzed. How do you prioritize when everything needs to be done RIGHT NOW?

When I get to that point, I have to move into To-Do Triage. I list everything that’s demanding my attention (and get the most depressing multi-page list). Then I move down the list, asking myself, “What will happen if I don’t do this today?” If it isn’t job loss, client loss, contract violation, child endangerment, arrest, etc., it doesn’t go on the much tinier list to be dealt with right now.

The trouble is that you can’t live your life in To-Do Triage. At least, I can’t. Not as a permanent lifestyle. Sooner or later, you have to learn to say “no.” Even when it’s difficult. Even when it’s going to hurt someone’s feelings (whether it should or not). Even when it’s something you’d like to do. At least, if you want to write, you will. Sooner or later, you have to learn to guard your time like a mother eagle with her nestlings. And sooner or later, you’ll find yourself having to relearn it all over again. At least, I do. (Maybe I’m just a slow learner, and all the rest of you can learn this lesson once and for all, but it keeps coming up in new guises in my life.)

I remember the first time I learned the lesson of no. I was a young, broke mother of two (still in diapers) who wanted to write. The advice manuals I read were aimed at men with wives and secretaries or women with no children or enough money to hire help with the house and the kids. Since there was three times as much month as there was money, hiring anyone or anything was out of the question—I was washing cloth diapers in the bathtub by hand and hanging on a clothesline to dry because we hadn’t enough disposable income for the laundromat. Yet still I wound up the one in the neighborhood who canvassed with kids in stroller and arms for the March of Dimes and the American Cancer Society.

One day someone who knew how much I wanted to write gave me a little book called Wake Up and Live by Dorothea Brande, who also wrote the wonderful On Becoming A Writer. As I read it, one sentence leaped out at me: “As long as you cannot bear the notion that there is a creature under heaven who can regard you with an indifferent, an amused or hostile eye, you will probably see to it that you continue to fail with the utmost charm.”

I began carving out time and space for my writing, and to do it without shortchanging my babies, I cut out television and most of my community involvement. This lesson had to be relearned when those babies were high schoolers, my new youngest was a toddler, and I became a full-time student and a single working mother at the same time unexpectedly. It returned to be learned again when my oldest two were grown, my youngest in grade school, and I took on running a university women’s center that also served the community. Every time it had to be learned in a different way with different adjustments. Once I’d given up television, that option was no longer open to me. At one point, I switched my writing to poetry because what time I could create or steal was in such small fragments that it made novels impossible to write.

Now that I’m writing novels again and publishing them (as well as poetry and freelance work still), one of the time-eaters is the promotion work we authors must all do to win the readers we believe our books deserve. It’s not something that can be skimped on, and yet the creative work of designing and writing new novels must go forward, as well. For a while now, each request for my volunteer time and work has had to be carefully weighed, and most reluctantly rejected. At this time, my major volunteer commitment is our local chapter of Sisters in Crime, Border Crimes, of which I’m president this year. Everything else must sadly fall by the wayside—and some people are quite unhappy about that, as if they had the right to my time and skills because I’ve given them in the past. I’ve had to learn to deal with that.

What about the time book promotion takes, however? With my first novel (this was never a real issue with my poetry books and cookbook), I said “yes” to every opportunity, every event, every guest blog, every interview, every podcast, everything. And I managed to write books during that time, as well—and had the worst winter, healthwise, in many years, having worn my body down. This year I’m trying to be more strategic about the promotion opportunities I accept. I’m still saying “yes” to most of them—it’s part of my job, and I know that—but I’m examining them more closely and deciding against some that I don’t feel will be as useful for me. It’s hard, but once again I’m learning that lesson, which is apparently one of my life-lessons—“no” can be the friend of my writing and is necessary at times.

Charles Dickens, who was one of the earliest and most successful self-promoting writers, put it best for writers in any age when he said:

“‘It is only half an hour’ — ‘It is only an afternoon’ — ‘It is only an evening,’ people say to me over and over again; but they don’t know that it is impossible to command one’s self sometimes to any stipulated and set disposal of five minutes — or that the mere consciousness of an engagement will sometime worry a whole day … Whoever is devoted to an art must be content to deliver himself wholly up to it, and to find his recompense in it. I am grieved if you suspect me of not wanting to see you, but I can’t help it; I must go in my way whether or no.”

Do you find it difficult to tell others “no” when they want your time? If you’re a writer, how do you create ways to balance the promotion and the writing?

Reposted from Linda Rodriguez Writes


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‘Daily Rituals’ Of The Brilliantly Creative

by Mason Currey

The Onion published recently called “Find The Thing You’re Most Passionate About, Then Do It On Nights And Weekends For The Rest Of Your Life.”The piece was satire, but it’s how many of us respond to the question Mason Currey raises in his entertaining new book, Daily Rituals: How Artists Work. “How do you do meaningful creative work,” he wonders, “while also earning a living?”

A product of the author’s now-defunct blog,  Daily Rituals, assembles the regimens of 161 assorted creative geniuses into a lean, engaging volume. Its brief entries humanize legends like Hemingway and Picasso, and shed light on the working lives of less popular contemporary geniuses, like painter Gerhard Richter, choreographer Twyla Tharp and illustrator Maira Kalman.

The book makes one thing abundantly clear: There’s no such thing as the way to create good work, but all greats have their way. And some of those ways are spectacularly weird.

Nikola Tesla typically worked from noon until midnight, breaking at 8:00 p.m. for dinner every night at the Waldorf-Astoria. Among the many peculiarities of this ritualized repast was his practice of not starting the meal until he had computed his dinner’s cubic volume, “a compulsion he had developed in his childhood.” Truman Capote, who wrote lying down in bed or on a couch, refused to let more than two cigarette butts pile up in an ashtray and “couldn’t begin or end anything on a Friday.” Louis Armstrong smoked pot (“gage,” as he called it) almost daily and couldn’t go to sleep until he had taken his dose of a “potent herbal laxative” called Swiss Kriss. “Armstrong believed so strongly in its curative powers that he recommended it to all his friends,” Currey writes, “and even had a card printed up with a photo of himself sitting on a toilet, above the caption ‘Leave It All Behind Ya.’ ”

The prolific Hungarian mathematician Paul Erdos believed that “a mathematician is a machine for turning coffee into theorems.” And indeed, if there’s a drug the artists in Daily Rituals can agree on, it’s caffeine. Soren Kierkegaard preferred his coffee with sugar, or perhaps it was vice versa: “Delightedly he seized hold of the bag containing the sugar and poured sugar into the coffee cup until it was piled above the rim,” his biographer observed. “Next came the incredibly strong, black coffee, which slowly dissolved the white pyramid.”

In addition to detailing peculiarities, Daily Rituals, as the name suggests, also tracks the ordinary routines some of the greatest minds in history employed to negotiate the daily grind.

James Joyce, we learn, woke daily around 10:00 a.m. He’d lie in bed for about an hour, then get up, shave and sit down at his piano, where he’d play and sing before writing in the afternoon and then hitting the cafes later that evening. John Updike, meanwhile, worked mornings, preferring to “put the creative project first,” as he put it. Of his discipline, he said, “I’ve never believed that one should wait until one is inspired because I think that the pleasures of not writing are so great that if you ever start indulging them you will never write again.”

“ Some of the creative feats mentioned in the book seem godlike. P.G. Wodehouse, for instance, wrote the last 8,000 words of ‘Thank You, Jeeves’ in a single day.

Mason Currey was the editor of ‘Metropolis’ for six years.

Charles Darwin boasts one of the book’s strictest schedules. After a stroll and breakfast alone, Darwin would begin a 90-minute work session around 8:00 a.m. He’d break to read mail with his wife and then return to his study around 10:30 a.m. for a second session. By noon or so, he’d have completed what he considered his workday, but the rest of his waking hours were no less regimented. He responded to letters, read and rested at regular intervals until bedtime, which arrived daily around 10:30 p.m. “Thus his days went for forty years,” Currey writes, “with few exceptions.”

Some of the creative feats mentioned in the book seem godlike. P.G. Wodehouse, for instance, wrote the last 8,000 words of Thank You, Jeeves in a single day. He was bested by William Faulkner, who once wrote 10,000 words between 10:00 a.m. and midnight. But these are exceptions to the rule, and there’s something reassuring about the way most of Daily Rituals‘ towering artists and thinkers struggle with the always difficult, occasionally miserable creative process.

It even tests someone as preternaturally prolific as Joyce Carol Oates. “Getting the first draft finished,” she once said, “is like pushing a peanut with your nose across a very dirty floor.”

Reposted from NPR book reviews.


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The Audacity to Write

BookGirlTV’s Tessa Smith McGovern interviews women’s advocate, bestselling author, and cultural critic Dalma Heyn. They discuss leaping from non-fiction to fiction writing, co-writing, and the courage authors need in telling autobiographically revealing stories.



Book Girl Exclusive Interview with Dalma Heyn Part 1

Book Girl Exclusive Interview with Dalma Heyn Part 2

Reposted with permission from BookGirlTV


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