Wednesday, September 28, 2011

XKCD on Sharing

Hover Text: In the new edition of The Giving Tree, the tree uses social tools to share with its friends the best places to buy things

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

How to Annoy Book Store Employees

Funny find by EW's The Shelf Life - workers from a recently closed Borders left a manifesto on book buyer behavior that irked the heck out of them.

I never worked in retail, but remember how quickly the list of annoying offenses by people dining out in the North End of Boston grew back when I was a waitress.

A few high(low?)lights:

  • -Nicholas Sparks is not a good writer … if you like him, fine, but facts are facts.
  • -We greatly dislike the phrase “Quick question.” It’s never true. And everyone seems to have one.
  • - Your summer reading list was our summer reading NIGHTMARE. Also, it’s called summer reading, not three days before school starts reading.
  • - Most of the time when you returned books you read them already — and we were onto you.
  • - “I was just here last week and saw this book there” meant nothing to us. The store changed once a week.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Hey Venice, Where Are My Pants?

Because you seem to have charmed them right off of me...

Ciao from Italia!  I am smack in the middle of an amazing Italy trip. It's been fun and inspiring, as well as relaxing - the perfect kind of break for a hectic year. Internet has been scarce (hooray!), but I have some Wifi and will start dripping the posts I meant to plan out before I took off for Europe.

There seems to be two general views on Venice from travelers – heart-palpitating love and sour loathing. Before my trip to Italia, I heard passionate tales from both camps. I’m officially on team love. It took about 5 minutes of rolling my wheely suitcase to my hotel down the twisty streets to decide.

Sure, it’s pricy, and tourists are everywhere, and people are dying to rip you off, but that’s nothing new to a New Yorker. I'm enchanted by the windows. The windows! And the door knockers. And sitting by canals with gelato. And the sweet bridges. Even better, it's more magical at night.

And even better, better - it's the Biennale! Art and gelato posts coming up once I get back to the States.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Pen Vs. Sword

Pretty close by my apartment along Central Park East, there's a stone bench and engraving commemorating Arthur Brisbane. I did a double take (a happy one) when I read the title under his name: American Editor and Patriot.

It's not every day that you get an entire bench dedicated to an editor. Statues in this country typically involve men on horses with swords, so I was pretty jazzed to see Mr. Brisbane looking down 5th Avenue all serious and editorial, like he can't wait to rip a few commas out of some copy. 

Now that editors are getting their fair shake, I'll just note that I hope my statue looks more like Andy Warhol standing in Union Square:

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Best Movie Poster Ever

Babysitter's Club meets Sweet Valley High with a splash of Goosebumps? Holy book covers from my middle school years!

Jezebel just posted this piece on Diablo Cody's newest flick, Young Adult. The logline reads like a sappy romantic comedy (YA author returns home to win over married high school sweetheart), but the movie poster is terrific. No goopy Charlize Theron eyeing her hunky ex devilishly. I'd much rather see this fun, campy ad hanging in my subway stop than the overly retouched, corny, super white teeth stuff that's usually on the walls.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Progress Report: Stick a Fork in Me!

Eight weeks ago I realized something. My approach to revising my manuscript was slow and tail-chasing - and I wasn't moving forward. So I set a deadline, and made a weekly goal to reach different chapters/pages. This meant no more going backwards, or reading my first chapter for the eleventy-billionth time. Instead, I jotted down any earlier changes that needed to be made in a notebook as I went along, and only moved forward.

Serious torture, yes - but this strategy really worked. Last night, after weeks of revising, I reached the last chapter. So I should feel like this, yes?:

Instead, I'm feeling more like this:

I'm technically not being punished for eternity since I chose to write this book and all... but I was hoping to get a glimmer of what doneness feels like. There's still SO much to do! Sisyphus be damned.

Instead of feeding myself chocolate all night at my pity party, I'm going to set some new goals. They are yummy ones, and look like this:

And to bolster my humor, I watched my favorite scene from What About Bob. Because how in the world is that bitty baby turtle going to eat that mean, giant strawberry? Baby steps, people! Baby steps :)

Monday, September 5, 2011

See, I Helped

My boyfriend (also known as The Scientist, or The Sci), just shared a Google Doc to-do list with me. We are taking a pretty lengthy trip to Italy in two weeks (!!!), and he's making like a Boy Scout and being all prepared. See if you can find where I started adding to the list...

Things to do before Italy
Copy and scan passports
Call CC companies
Find Italy adapter
Take Euros from my desk
Make itineraries for all cities
Put CSA on hold
Put mail delivery on hold
Write vacation note on Gmail
Train a squirrel to do cartwheels
Paint the couch yellow
Eat 500 jelly beans
Have a pillow fight
Floss our books

He's a sport, so I predict he won't revoke my editing privileges. Off to find some jelly beans!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Harry Potter and the Silver Fox

This week I went to a taping of the so-new-it's-not-even-on-TV-yet Anderson Cooper daytime talk show.

The set was gorgeous, and the show was pretty fun... until I found out who the special guest was. Then it was insanely awesome:

I may have screamed the words "Harry Potter" with the fervor of a tween at a Justin Bieber concert. Is it embarrassing to admit that I didn't react the same way when I saw President Carter on The Daily Show?

Anderson's daytime show (yes, we're on first name basis now) launches next week. If you're a Potter fan, I definitely recommend watching the episode with our favorite boy wizard. The interview was silver fox fabulous - very charming and witty on both ends. And I'm thoroughly sold on trying to get tickets to see Radcliffe on Broadway now. Well done, fellas.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Don't Put Carrie in the Corner

Like a good newbie, I recently picked up Stephen King's On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft.

The cover of the edition I bought is terrific. Isn't it great peeking into a writer's workspace? And as a silly aside, I also kick my legs up on my desk during my day job, laptop in lap - it's seriously the most comfortable way to work. But I digress...

Along with being an interesting and smart read, there's a lot of wisdom in it. I just got to the part where he discusses his breakout novel, Carrie. After outlining then writing a few pages, King crumpled up the story and tossed it into the bin. He couldn't connect to Carrie (a high school girl), and didn't see the story going anywhere. His wife ended up finding the pages and saw the potentional. She convinced him to keep going, and even helped out with some of the non-paranormal horrors teenage high school girls face.

Of all his early characters, King said he learned the most from Carrie White. The two main lessons being: 

"The most important is that the writer's original perception of a character or characters may be as erroneous as the reader's. Running a close second was the realization that stopping a piece of work just because it's hard, either emotionally or imaginatively, is a bad idea. Sometimes you have to go on when you don't feel like it, and sometimes you're doing good work when it feels like all you're managing is to shovel shit from a sitting position."

Point #2 really resonates with me, and packs a more powerful pow than the typical 'don't give up' rally cry. Before Carrie, King was trailer park broke, working intense, draining hours to support his family, and slipping in one or two hours of writing every day. All of these moments lead up to a dramatic win - the kind all unpublished writers hope to have one day.

I've put almost 2.5 years now into my first book. This personally rocks because I can't count on two hands how many projects I've started, then shelved. I'm proud that I keep going with this story, even when I wanted to chuck my laptop off a tall building. Or when a newer, shinier idea popped in my head.  Or when my day job got so busy, I was getting home at 9 most nights.

And when I finally hit save for the last time - even if the story never gets published - it will still be a sweet victory.

Will post anything else I see of note in Mr. King's book - I'm sure there will be many nuggets of wisdom to choose from.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Indexed on Plot

Love this post from the Indexed blog titled Desire Drives the Plot.  Way to break it down, sister!