Thursday, August 20, 2009

Take it from me

A song from Gilbert & Sullivan's Ruddigore that is vastly relevent to creative artists of all kinds:

My boy, you may take it from me,
That of all the afflictions accurst
With which a man's saddled
And hampered and addled,
A diffident nature's the worst.

Though clever as clever can be ?
A Crichton of early romance ?
You must stir it and stump it,
And blow your own trumpet,
Or, trust me, you haven't a chance!

If you wish in the world to advance,
Your merits you're bound to enhance,
You must stir it and stump it,
And blow your own trumpet,
Or, trust me, you haven't a chance!

BOTH. If you wish in the world to advance, etc.

Now take, for example, my case:
I've a bright intellectual brain ?
In all London city
There's no one so witty ?
I've thought so again and again.

I've a highly intelligent face ?
My features cannot be denied ?
But, whatever I try, sir,
I fail in ? and why, sir?
I'm modesty personified!

If you wish in the world to advance, etc.

BOTH. If you wish in the world to advance, etc.

As a poet, I'm tender and quaint ?
I've passion and fervour and grace ?
From Ovid and Horace
To Swinburne and Morris,
They all of them take a back place.

Then I sing and I play and I paint:
Though none are accomplished as I,
To say so were treason:
You ask me the reason?
I'm diffident, modest, and shy!

If you wish in the world to advance, etc.

BOTH. If you wish in the world to advance, etc.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

DVD catch-up

Once I finished my comedy short story, I went out and got some DVD sets I'd been wanting forever, like the second season of Pushing Daisies. Actually, that was the only set I went out and got. Such a great series, so original and unique. I'm so upset they cancelled it, and my only real hope was that they would be able to wind the show up well. The guy who made this was the same guy who made Wonderfalls, another great show that got axed far too soon. In that case they had enough time to turn the last several episodes into a mini-story-arc that wound everything up nicely. In Pushing Daisies they had more threads to work with, and not all could be closed. But they were left open well, and that was just as good. Ned's father coming back and no one knew it was better than him coming back openly.

I'm gonna have to watch the whole series front to back. Yep.

And then I was in BJs yesterday and I found a copy of Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog right on the shelf. With the musical commentary. Now I gotta go out and get the words to that. I already know all the words to the show itself.

I've had a couple of ideas for the Color of Silence story, hopefully one of them will pan out. But not tomorrow. Got jury duty tomorrow.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Sorceror

I just saw this last night, part of my growing interest in the works of Gilbert & Sullivan. It turns out my local library has a number of their shows on DVD or VHS. In addition to the shows I saw last week I got discs for Ruddigore (which unfortunately was the trimmed down version) and Yeoman of the Guard. I liked Ruddigore, in spite of the absence of certain songs. I got the libretto and found that the ending really is as quick as it happens in the show I saw. I thought there would be some kind of build-up to his sudden epiphany, but he really does just blurt out the solution! I can see where Victorian audiences would have had a problem with it, I have some understanding of what's going on thanks to Wren's book, but it isn't obvious. To be honest I don't expect to like Yeoman, any more than I did Princess Ida, as my tastes don't go for tragedies and Yeoman is supposed to be just that.

The Sorceror was definitely in the G&S vein and definitely an early work. I enjoyed all of it except for the ending. The only way to break the curse is for someone to die, and the sorceror is voted off the island and goes willingly to his death. If memory serves someone claimed that the proper ending would have been for everyone to have slept with the object of their affections, which would have been an unacceptable ending then and even now.

But I saw a perfectly fine alternate ending for the story. Why not have the sorceror drink his own potion? It could have at the very least broken the spell, and, if some sort of 'divine retribution' is called for, left him to wander the earth in the same unhappy state as Dr. Daly and Lady Sangazure had been.

But something should have been done about Alexis, too. He got off far too easily!

P.S.:I've had an idea for my 'color of silence' story, too.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

family matters

No, not the show.

For the past two weeks we've had my wife's uncle visiting us from Philadelphia, so there's been a lot of out and about with him, not to mention ice cream and wine and cheese parties, which we almost never have. He's 75 years old, and his birthday is nowhere near now, but that didn't stop us from throwing a little birthday party for him. My daughter made two cakes, although only one was for him. The other was for our 26th wedding anniversary, which is much closer to now than his birthday is.

The day he left to go back home was the same day my brother invited us over to a mini-family reunion at his house, much more centrally located on LI than mine. Which is good, as my other brother came from New Jersey, with his sons and other 'young persons', to paraphrase Pooh-Bah. My camera battery was uncharged, but fortunately I had my Blackberry, a device foisted upon me by my job but occasionally useful nonetheless. The only hard part was figuring out how to get the photos downloaded from it, but for someone with my skill set it wasn't very hard.

I sent my story, CHOT 2, off to my editor, mainly because she liked the first one, but maybe she'll put in a good word with my publisher if she likes this one. Haven't started work on anything new yet. Still haven't anything workable for the Color of Silence theme, plus I've had some work issues occupying my time when I wasn't doing family stuff. If my millions of loyal fans would just buy my books and make me rich, I'd get more writing done. Links for everything should be <-- just over there, on the left.

I found that my local library has considerably more Gilbert & Sullivan than I had first thought, they shelve them under Opera. So I've managed to see Patience (very enjoyable) and Princess Ida (not so enjoyable), and am now halfway through the Gondoliers, which is also rather pleasant. I'm afraid I have little taste for tragedy, so I don't imagine I'll enjoy the darker works as much as the lighter ones, but fortunately for me they did mostly light ones. I must say, though, it was rather odd to see the part of Archibald Grosvener, supposedly the world's most beautiful man, played by a man who wasn't particularly attractive. That may have been the joke, but I somehow doubt it. On the other hand, I have seen Sandra Dugdale in two productions, as Patience herself, and Casilda in the Gondoliers, and I do just love her voice. In Patience she played the role of the bewildered innocent perfectly. Plus I like her accent, and she's very pretty. I wonder what she's doing now. To the IMDB-mobile, awayyyy!

Sunday, August 02, 2009

new stories for old

Lots of good news on the literary front.

I heard that my publisher has been advised by her readers to accept not only my latest novel, St. Martin's Moon, but also two of my short stories, 'Ex Libris', written for last year's PARSEC contest and originally published in Triangulations: Taking Flight, and a new story written for this year's PARSEC contest which wasn't considered good enough. The contest word limit was 3500 words and my stories usually take longer than that to tell. The book's word limit is larger but I have trouble writing multiple versions of the same story. Next year's story theme is the Color of Silence. As my daughter pointed out, Silence is Golden, but I think they'll expect something rather more original than that.

I spent the better part of this weekend finishing up the largest part of my current WIP short story, a comedy sequel to 'Chasing His Own Tale', originally published as part of the Wyrd Wravings anthology, which will itself be re-released as a standalone story eventually. I know they have the cover art. They sent me theirs and I sent them mine. Anyway, 'Chasing His Own Tale 2', once titled The Inevitable Sequel but now titled Struck By Inspiration, has had the first layer completed, the dialog. I tend to write my stories dialog first. Many times I do a whole scene and realize that everything is dialog, not a thing about actions or what the characters are doing otherwise, where they are, or anything. I go back and add all that stuff after the fact, and that is what I expect to be doing in the near future: filling in the little actions as the characters engage in witty banter and do strange things.

I just noticed, I have 7 followers. Seven! This is fantastic. I figure at this rate, I'll be the most popular author on Earth when the Sun expands into a red dwarf and consumes the planet. You know what they say, 'slow and steady wins the race.'