Being a list of 5 things

1. Kinderbard – Songs for Children Sung by Characters from Shakespeare
Kinderbard is an awesome project to create that uses Shakespeare and music to inspire and educate children.

“We want to bring into the world the first in a planned series of books, music, and interactive apps containing songs for children. Each song is ‘sung by’ a character from Shakespeare, and is true to the quotation spoken by that character, and on which the song is based. Many of our songs address issues with which children can identify, such as anxiety, sibling rivalry, even bullying. Some are just silly or funny. But they are all lovingly created, and professionally performed, produced, and mastered.” — quoted from here

If you watch the video on the kickstarter page, you can see the love that has gone into making all of this. Daeshin Kim is organizing the project, while his wife is creating the art and his young daughter is singing the songs. The project is in fact inspired by the challenges the daughter had to face when the family moved to Paris and how music and Shakespeare helped her adapt to a new language and culture.

The project only has a few days left to gain funding, so I’m trying to signal boost and get others to join in. It certainly helps that in every interaction that I’ve had with Daeshin, he has been generous and kind, so I hope, hope, hope that the funds for this project come together.

2. Rereading The Martian Chronicles
The Martian Chronicles is a collection of short stories that have been strung together into a novel, which presents earth’s colonization of Mars. The first expeditions meet with challenges from the Martian natives, who are an advanced race in their own right. In one such story, “The Earth Men,” the company lands hoping to receive acknowledgement and fanfare in this first interaction with an alien race, only to find the Martians to be bored and annoyed by their presence.

As the colonization continues and more and more humans come to Mars, we see new kinds of stories, stories of people reshaping a stranger world, of strange people finding peace in solitude away from the red tape of Earth, of people fighting back once Earth tries to bring it’s red tape to Mars. Some stories are better than others of course — and certainly, being written in the ’50s, there’s not much space for women who are little more than background — but on the whole they are stories with interesting characters, stories that analyze humanity and society by situating it on an alien world.

I actually picked up the book to reread just a few days before Ray Bradbury passed away, the coincidence of which added a new level of poignancy to the reading. I remember being immediately smitten with the book when I first read it in school. “There Will Come Soft Rains” remains one of my favorite shorts stories, and in rereading it again now, I’m still amazed by the way he spun the story and how it still both moves me and gives me chills. Really a fantastic book — just one piece of evidence showing how amazing Bradbury was, and I’m already looking forward to reading it again someday.

3. Snow White and the Huntsman and the fabulous witch
I was going to write a post all about how, while Snow White and the Huntsman was a flawed movie in many ways, Charlize Theron was gorgeous and wonderful, bringing a haunted, unhinged depth to Queen Ravena (that pretty much carried the movie), and how I really do love the queen in the Snow White stories in general, because Snow in her purity is rather boring, but Gemma Files (aka [info]handful_ofdust) already wrote about it in her fabulous column and said it so much better than I ever could.

The only thing she didn’t mention is Theron’s fantastic costumes throughout the movie. Her gowns were amazing, like this one with the amazing headpiece and bird’s skulls around the neckline or this one that’s made with dung beetle carapaces or this one that looks like chain mail. Gorgeous.

Photo 184. Speaking of fairy tales…
I was introduced to this story at PANK Magazine by Rachel Rodman, called “Experimental Breeds: Bears, Clothed In Rumpled Hoods, Pipe “Rapunzel” To The Sleeping Pigs,” which fractures multiple fairy tales and mashes them together. It blew my mind. I mean, literally I was left sitting in my chair, slack-jawed, and unable to think properly — mind-blown. Go read it.

5. Pants
Yesterday, I arrived at work, only to immediately rip a hole in the seat of my pants. It was NOT awesome and set a bad precedent for the day. However, that evening I went to the mall to replace the pants that ripped, and … I ended up buying myself a whole new outfit, pants, shirt, sweater.

Considering the fact that shopping can sometimes be a stressful and/or depressing event for me, finding a whole outfit that works perfect, makes me feel good, and that I love is a really great feeling.

Don’t I look cute! For joy. (^_^)

[Cross-posted to my livejournal.]

Turkey and Pecan Pie and Writing and Writing and Card Games

I had a lovely, relaxing four day weekend with my family. In addition to a full weekend of fabulous food (half of which was gluten free) — candied yams, leftover turkey sandwiches, leftover turkey soup, cookies, brownies, and four different kinds of pie — we also participated in nightly rounds of 31 (a card game).

On Friday, we went to see The Muppets, which was fabulous. It was exactly what a muppet movie should be: fun, funny, wacky, and heartfelt. Also, “Am I a Man or a Muppet?” has to be the best song ever:

“Am I a man or am I a muppet?
If I’m a man that makes me a muppet of a man.
Am I a muppet or am I a man?
If I’m a muppet, then I’m very manly muppet.”

My whole family was singing this song and quoting from the movie for the rest of the weekend, and we are all in agreement that we want to own it.

When I wasn’t hanging out with the fam, I was on my computer either writing or being distracted from writing by the internets.

I’m currently at 26,700 words on my Untitled Werewolf Novel, which I’ve been trying to pound out in one go for Nano. I probably should have pushed myself a little harder on getting my word count up, but I kind of just let it be what it was in terms of progress. I have a right to have fun, too, and I did manage to get another 10,000 or so words down. I won’t be completing the Nano challenge this year, but I’m planning to keep working on the novel. Hopefully, I’ll manage to get draft zero completed by the end of December.

I am feeling fairly good about this Werwolf novel and there are some good scenes coming out. I can already tell that there is going to be some serious rearranging that’s going to have to take place in order to shift the emphasis on certain relationships and to make sure there’s conflict from page one. I’m not sure that I’m starting at the right place at the moment.

Draft zero writing is practically like outlining for me. Even though I have most of the novel planned out in my head, I spend most of my time figuring out who these people are and where they want to go. It become exploratory, which is an important step in the process. As I go along I insert notes into the text to help me know what I might want to change in previous chapters (such as putting more focus on the father-daughter relationship at the beginning).

In my next draft, I’ll be able to nail things down a little more solidly and will begin to share it with my writing gang.

[Cross-posted to my livejournal.]

Wish I were, wish I might?

From livejournal’s writer’s block forum: Do you wish you had grown up in another time and/or place? If so, when, where, and why?

No. If I grew up in another time, another place, then I would be another person. For all intents and purposes, I like the person I am. I enjoy my life. I don’t really see the point in wishing for something that can’t be changed. That’s a form of arguing with reality, which seems rather silly to me. Right now, my life is imperfect, but then every life is. Exchanging my current reality for another would mean exchanging my current joys, sorrows, and challenges for a new set of joys, sorrows, and challenges. My life would not be better or worse having grown up elsewhere — just different.

I do enjoy imagining what it might be like to have grown up elsewhere and elsewhen. That’s is what writing and reading are for.

In books, I can follow a character into a different life. Watch them live and make choices, having grown up in places and worlds and times that are often very, very different from my own. I get to see them make choices that I might not choose to make.

In writing, I get to not just follow, but create. I get to imagine and invent a world and characters to fill it. I get to try on their skin and walk around in it for a while. In that way, I get to superficially experience lives that are quite different from my own, and for me, that’s enough.

What about you? Do you wish for a life that is different from your own?

[x-posted to my livejournal. If you feel inclined, you may comment either here or there.]