Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Dave Navarro, tattoos, and the importance of staying true to your readers.

Dave Navarro wants more zombies.

Me too. I love zombie flicks and books, and if you watch The Walking Dead on AMC, like me, you probably watched the after show, Talking Dead.  Because can you ever get enough of walking dead people, really?  

On the after show, Rocker Dave Navarro was in the guest love seat, and I mean really, this guy is amazing; the hair, the clothes . . . the eyebrows!  But he's one of us. During the show, Navaro told the producer he'd like to see the show return to basics.  On our behalf, the vocally challenged and less tattooed viewer, Navarro became our delegate, and asked for more zombies.

Long live Navarro.

Navarro commented, whilst looking quite amazing in his rocker snap pants and Roman numeral knuckle tattoos,  that he found the pre-season series engaging, but mundane, the plot focused on the living and healing, their relationships. Dave said the producers forgot we tuned in to see walking dead people. The zombie sightings dried up. Shriveled. Left on the side of the road by Lori's smashed up Taurus.

Navarro was not pleased, and he let the producer know. 

And you know? Navarro's 's right.  I notice this divergence in many popular fiction sequels: in companion titles, often authors get caught up in personal subplots, whether it's narcissistic self-grieving for MIA vampires, or not returning quickly enough to the arena. As writers, we need to remember what's important.  Zombies. Vampires. Giving our readers the fix.

And, yes, more zombies.

Monday, January 16, 2012

"Everything that we see is a shadow cast by that which we do not see."

The title of this post could be the first line from any best-selling novel. But it's not: it's a favorite quote from a man honored today, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

And here's another quote:  Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.

I know, right?

And one more: A lie cannot live. Four words: simple, and profound. However, (and of course) the most enduring images and sounds of Martin Luther King Jr.'s life come from his "I Have A Dream" speech, the speech that inspired a nation, delivered at the Lincoln Memorial on Aug. 28, 1963. Clarence Jones helped draft the speech that day, and he was standing a few feet away when King spoke.

The 1,651 word speech--for those obsessed with word counts--introduces powerful, sensical ideology, including: Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.  Let us not, indeed.
The power of Dr. King's speech is a testament to the strength of writing, and how a well turned phrase can inspire action, and incite change. It shows us that words can change the world.

But probably, my favorite quote from Dr. King is this: Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase.

True, our life is a series of steps, filled with tall risers that can block light, and alter our view. Wise Dr. King reminds us, even today, that we must have faith in life, in ourselves, and in our people. And in the power of words.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Why librarians should be treated like rockstars and why maybe, they already are.

My local library is in a tither: cutbacks, hours slashed. Recently, 19 of our book wizards were let go, librarians shown the great literary door due to county budget cuts. The library board of directors say that there is no money to pay for weekend or evening hours, or to buy new book titles.

Luckily, in my area, there is a small library, independently managed, with their own board of directors, staffed by a superhero strain of librarians. They, deservedly, are a proud bunch. I travel a half hour to get there, and it's worth every tread I wear into my tires.

There, imaginations burst in the children's department. My kids run into the wonderland where the children's librarian staff has filled the wide room with homemade teepees and twisted limb trees made of brown painted bedsheets honoring our Native Americans. Next to the forest, a pint-sized purple castle is decorated with homemade puppets and shiny wooden turrets of gold, children strewn nearby reading Rick Riordan and Jeff Kinney. Playing chess. The ceiling tall windows, never bare, are painted with bright markers turning the panes into medieval stained glass.

It is a magical place.

As I handed the librarian my non-resident card to pay my fine (I like to keep the library solvent!) and renew my Friday read, A Need so Beautiful, I mentioned my admiration for the set-up. I told her how much I appreciated their vision, and hard work.

She stopped, tilted up her readers, and said, "People say there is a difference in this place, you know." She let her glasses drop back down, smiled a Cheshire grin, and handed over my books, sweeping her hand over the counter. "And isn't amazing that this is all free?"

There is a difference, and yes, pretty much, and though we pay taxes, it is all free, the books and the teepees and the painted bedsheet trees. But without a vision, without a path, a library is just row after row of oaken shelves lined with books. So, to all librarians who think outside of the binding: Thank You. To our family, you are all rockstars.