Technical writers or non fiction writers scribble to pay the bills and for the love of the analytical or the exercise of truth or deception.

Fiction authors write to illuminate their world or escape it.

Whichever kind of writer, it's all about staying alive and helping or entertaining others.

The Writing Life

Like most writers, I have a love of reading and the power of words. When I was younger, I read everything I could get my hands on, but I don’t consider myself well read. I consumed books like a starved person, so quickly I hardly knew what I had read. By some strange process of osmosis, I learned from everything I read, but I cannot give you an erudite discussion of characters, plots, or authors. I can only tell you it’s lodged some where in the core of my being and informs my writing.

In addition to reading, I’ve spent a life time writing---from that first elementary school composition to my college days when I studied French literature and wrote explications de texte. Along the way, I fell into technical writing--to put food on the table and pay bills. In the 90s, I had the good fortune to take a dialog class with Sol Stein, former owner of Stein & Day publishers in New York and a prolific author. That led to his California-based writers’ group, Chapter One. It was a rigorous, ego-bruising experience, but I was intent on learning everything I could about fiction writing. A few years ago, I also had the good fortune to study with another writer, Louella Nelson, an experienced romance writer and teacher of fiction writing. She provided a different perspective and balance to my writing.

My novel, DREAMING OF LAUGHING HAWK, a mainstream, Sixties era novel, is available on Amazon in print and ebook (also available in Canada, Europe, Japan, and Brazil). Download a free sample. If you like it, I hope you'll download the book and post a review on Amazon.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Movie Review: Far from the Madding Crowd

It was a Friday night and I needed some escapist mind candy so I talked my husband into going to the movies.

There was a huge crowd of teenagers queued up at the ticket counters. I don't know what action-adventure or fantasy their minds craved, but mine needed something peaceful and far away in time--neither here and now nor impending sci-fi doom and gloom.

We checked into the nearly empty theater that was showing Far from the Madding Crowd based on Thomas Hardy's classic novel set in Victorian England. I've never read the novel so I wasn't quite sure what I was in for except some mindless romance.

The story is simple: a beautiful spirited young woman (Bethsheba Everdene) inherits a large, run-down country estate and sets off to become the new owner/manager. In this new life, she encounters three men: Gabriel Oak, the sheepherder who works for her; Mr. Boldwood, a well-to-do bachelor and neighbor; and Sergeant Frank Troy, a dashing soldier. The story revolves around the hardships she encounters and the men who want to win her affections. It is a romance and a study in relationships and personalities, but I have to say I found the characters somewhat two-dimensional. The dashing soldier was clearly cut from cardboard and neither his character nor his actions added up. Nor did it make any sense why Bethsheba would be interested in him except that he was handsome. Mr. Boldwood's character also seemed a bit disconnected from normal motivations.

All in all, it was pleasing mind candy, but it left you scratching your head in wonderment at the plausability of some of the characters' actions and the absence of adequate motivation. It was too much melodrama for me although I enjoyed the pastoral scenery and being removed from the realities of 2015.

2 comments:

  1. Nice review. Sometimes an escape is in order. I has a period of time in my life when I lived alone and all I did was work. I couldn't break out of the routine. Once a week, I'd force myself to see a movie and in the theatre the escape from reality was like a week's vacation. I'd get the huge popcorn bag, eat it all and then not eat anything at all for about a day. Yes, I was kind of weird for a while. Maybe it was my horrible diet!!!

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  2. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this movie.

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