Monthly Archives: August 2011

Flying Monkeys

One rainy Saturday afternoon, when my son was four, we sat down to watch THE WIZARD OF OZ together.  Having seen this movie roughly a zillion times in my own childhood, I was excited to share this cinematic classic with him.

Back then, my son wasn’t yet the expert moviegoer he is today, and he had the slightly annoying (yet also adorable) habit of wanting me to tell him what was going to happen in a scene before the scene played out.  So, I spent the entire film narrating it, like a living, breathing Spoiler Alert.

“Now, the little men are about to dance and sing a song about lollipops.”  I would say, predicting the film’s plot down to its smallest nuance.  And “Watch!  The Tin Man’s going to squeak.”

Then we got to the scene with the Flying Monkeys.  “This is the scary part,” I warned my son, pulling him closer.  “We might have to fast forward.”

“But I want to know what’s going to happen next, Mommy,” he demanded.

“Um,” I squinted at the screen. “I think…”

And that’s when I realized that I didn’t know what was going to happen next.  In the dozen times I’d seen THE WIZARD OF OZ as a child, even thought of myself as an expert on the subject, I’d never actually seen the scary parts.

Which brings me to wonder:  what are some of my other flying monkeys?  What are yours?

 

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Teaser Tuesday

Today, I’m trying out Teaser Tuesday!  Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. To participate you:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS!
(Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

And here is my teaser, from THE SUMMER I LEARNED TO FLY by Dana Reinhardt: 

“If what I was attempting by sleeping on Emmett’s notes was to bring him closer to me, it failed.  I went to work in the morning and took the trash out five times.  No paper cranes.  That evening I left a truffled sheep’s milk and a Dutch Edam with caraway seeds.  Both were gone the next day, but no sign of, or from, Emmett Crane.”

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What’s the Big Idea?

I have lots of ideas.  Folders worth of ideas. Filing cabinets worth of ideas.  Ideas for books, movies, TV shows, web series.  I even have ideas on how to run a presidential campaign (are you listening Obama 2012?).

I think of new ideas so often that my seven-year-old son has started to pick up my habit.  “Oooh, Mom!” he’ll gasp from the backseat of the car.  “I just thought of the best idea!”

Of course, not every idea I come up with proves itself to be a worthy one.  And sometimes, even a good idea will simply fail to capture my interest over time.

But among the many good ideas that I have, few of them are Big Ideas.  In that they will never be huge franchises and sorely lack potential for becoming action figures.

In the days when it’s all about the tent-pole, I am the person who like small ideas.  And I’m not talking about some low-fi indie film kind of small (though I like those too) I’m talking about high-concept Hollywood ideas that simply don’t have sequel potential.  And in today’s film market (and sadly in publishing, too) that’s really not enough.

I know I’m in the minority here, but usually, I just want to see a movie.  As in one.  I am also happy to read a book, about one subject, and then, if I like it, read ANOTHER book by the same author, about something totally different.

And yet, the world is looking for the writer who can produce A SERIES.  Because as everyone who saw the first CHIPMUNKS movie knows, none of us were able to sleep at night until we knew they’d be a SQUEAKQUEL.

That being said, in all likelihood, I’ll probably haul my son to a theater to see CHIPWRECKED (the third in the chipmunk series) because The Franchise has successfully done its job.  But if I have to endure hearing the latest Top 40 songs sung in chipmunk voice for 90 minutes, the least I can hope for is that on the car ride home, my son and I will come up with some great new ideas about the premise for CHIPMUNKS #4.

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Baby-Dialed

I don’t know the baby’s name, or even its gender, though I believe it is a girl.  What I do know is that the baby called again yesterday and left a message on our answering machine.

When I told my husband he said, “Oh, is it speaking now?” Because when you get regularly prank called by a baby, you find yourself keeping track of its developmental milestones almost by default.

In reality, the baby’s most recent message consisted of a smattering of cooing noises, but mostly the vague shufflings of that modern-day phenomenon known as the “butt-dial.”  Or in this case, the baby-dial.

I first became aware of the calls about a year ago when a strange phone number—identifying the caller not by name, only by a town, roughly an hour away from us—started appearing with regular frequency on our caller I.D.  At first I answered the calls, but was always met by hang-ups.   Then, for a while, I tried to ignore the calls, but found this was not an easy task since I work from home.

It wasn’t long before paranoia set in.  Was someone casing the house?  Did I have a stalker?  I started keeping track of what time of day the calls came in to see if I could establish a pattern.  Two of the earliest calls woke me (and my son–grrrr) up in the morning.  The latest calls came in no later than 8:00pm.

Finally, my irritation grew too great so I dialed the number back.  Voice mail.  An unfamiliar woman’s voice instructed me to leave a message, so in my politest, non-threatening if-she’s-a-stalker-I-don’t-want-to-provoke-her tone, I kindly asked 555-9483 if she would please stop calling this number.

One week later, her number appeared on our caller I.D. during dinner, and this time, my husband Andy answered the phone.  I could not for the life of me figure out why he was chatting so long with this Mystery Caller, but when his strange conversation was over and he hung up the phone,  Andy informed me that it was “Samantha,” his old college buddy “Steve’s” ex-girlfriend.   Samantha had received my message last week and she was calling us back to say that it was her baby who had been regularly calling us, since she sometimes gave the baby her cell phone to play with and “A” for Andy’s phone number was the first in her contact list.

Andy and I spent the next half hour wondering why Samantha even bothered to keep our number in her contact list since we hadn’t seen her in over ten years and even then we had only known her through the man who was now her ex.  And not that it would justify the phone calls, but the chatty baby wasn’t even his.

According to Andy, Samantha didn’t even seem all that apologetic for her baby’s frequent calls.

“But she’s going to take our number off of her contact list, right?” I asked.

Andy shook his head.  “Actually, she said she was going to keep it.”

“What are you talking about?” I cried.  “That’s totally crazy!”

But Andy just shrugged his shoulders.

And me?  I’m just waiting until the baby’s old enough to give it the 800 number for Child Services.

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The Hook-Up Whisperer

Don’t get me wrong—I LOVE being a writer and feel immense gratitude every day that my dream job is also my reality.  But, if I could do anything else in the world (no matter how wildly unrealistic) I would like to help teenagers find love.

They’d call me The Hook-Up Whisperer.  Or maybe Yenta to the Young.

And I’m not talking about writing an advice column for TEEN VOGUE or SEVENTEEN, I’m talking about becoming a full-blown Superhero of Love.

Look!  Up in the bleachers at the middle school dance!  It’s a bird!  It’s a plane!  It’s… a weird middle-aged lady advising me to forget about the fact that Liam McKeen has spent the night dancing with that Abercrombie & Bitch Carli Strasser and to ask dorky Hal Dunlap (that quiet kid who doodles on his hands and dips his French fries into mustard–eww!) to dance.  Is she INSANE?  Or, does her Been-There-Done-That Super Vision allow her to see things my 13-year-old self cannot?

Of course, this is just one scenario.  Wherever there is an insecure teenager pining over the wrong person or wanting to swap some spit but afraid to make the first move, the Hook-Up Whisperer will be there.

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Filed under Seventeen, Teen Vogue, teenage girls, Uncategorized, yenta

From the Write Angle

Check out the lovely interview over at From The Write Angle… on me!

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