Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Friends Indeed

At this moment, I'm totally stressed out, and don't quite know which of the many crises du jour (du week? du month?) is the worst. Of course, some of these are only crises because of my own depression and waning ability to move forward at anything other than a snail's pace. But in my world, they feel huge and important. And then there are those crises that are real. As in capital REAL.

When I'm feeling like this, I love to look at pictures. That slice of a moment, captured in time for all eternity. {Provided you don't lose the negatives (in the past) or jpeg files (now the norm)}. I'm a visual learner, and that's how I process my world. Show me. That will tell me. And comfort me.

I've been very blessed to have generous friends who have shared their photography with me. I follow a lot of blogs, and no, I don't get to each one every day, but to me, follow means, “I really like this and I want to come back.” These friends' photos have now become my screen saver. I've put all the wonderful images on rotation, and as I sit at my computer, not able to do anything but sit there, I get to slip away to India, to the East Coast, to the Carolinas, to Coastal New England. I've been a witness to amazing sights that in my life-time I most likely will not see in person. Each of these bloggers has enriched my vision of our world, and I'm eternally grateful.

Today I'd like to introduce you to two of my friends.

Cheryl of Deckside Thoughts is a “don't miss” on my blog travels. She is genuine, and not only a photographer, but also a wonderful writer.  Most importantly to me, though, is her honest feedback.  I value that immensely.  

H of Little Sealed Packages has given me not only a glimpse into the moors of England, but many other places I'm now wanting to visit. She doesn't just put up photos, her narration helps you understand the history behind her images. If you're looking for someone to write your tourist brochures, she's you gal. When she does a post, I immediately want to go there. As in TODAY.

How do you choose to follow a blog?  What is your interpretation of "follow"?  I'd love to know.  I'm still fairly new to this world.  Have only been here since 2009.  Would love to hear your feedback on this subject.  (After you visit my amazing friends, of course!)

Friday, August 12, 2011

In Darkness Hides

I used to know the way
Traveled it often,
with joy-anticipation
A sunny path, with
enough obstacles
for an interesting

Now, light fades
darkness cloaks the way
trees who danced,
arms swaying to honor
bird's song, grasp-reach
ominous arms
seeking to snag-drag
at my will
while fear
snakes up my spine

The path
long forgotten,
overgrown, unused
where happy feet
in circles danced,
squishing the delicate
blossoming flowers
in their joyous
ballet travels
now tangled
with neglect

Won't you shine your light?
To guide
just need a tiny
to travel on
the road not traveled
in so long.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Novel Film Blogfest 2010, Day 3

As this short but sweet book-to-movie blog-hop comes to its close, I want to share with you what I would do were I the casting director for the film adaptation of one of my favorite books. Yes, its already a movie, three of them, in fact, but they did it so wrong with the 1974 edition, I just have to jump in with my ideas.

The Great Gatsby. Don't know how many times I've read the book, but my first time I do remember well. (Don't we all.) (..oops, sorry, been a long, hot summer...)This classic was assigned reading for my junior year English class. I think it would help you to know that the teacher of junior and senior English was NOTORIOUS for being strict. She didn't give As. You might be lucky to pull a B. (For more about her, read one of my first blog posts where I tell you why I'm even here, doing this blog thing.) (It's her.) She made us read the book, talk about the book, write about the book, and pretty much live and breathe F. Scott Fitzgerald for over a month. I was in heaven.

Because of all that work with the novel, the picture in my head of what each character looked like was pretty firmly implanted by the time I read it again. And again. As an adult, I discovered the 1974 Robert Redford version of the movie adaptation. I tried to enjoy it, I really did. But as some of my long-time readers know, I'm a bit of a control freak. It was hard to watch it when the wrong people were on the screen.

Were I casting it, Jay Gatsby would be played by Aaron Eckhart. He totally charmed me in Erin Brockovitch. Yes, it's a crush. Have you seen his eyes? When they are all on you...Where was I? Ok, Jay is set.

Daisy Buchanan. I don't know why, but I've never been a fan of Mia Farrow (who played Daisy in the 1974 edition).  Instead I'd pick Renee Zellweger. She'd made a great debut in Jerry Maguire, then continued to show us her range in other films. Have you seen Chicago? How many Hollywood actresses can actually act, sing, and dance all at the same time? Not many, in my opinion. Not that they're not trying...but Renee has the chops. And the delicate, waif-like look.  And in my head IS Daisy.

For Nick Caraway, I'd pick Jake Gyllenhaal. He also has great range, and I think he's right to capture Nick's “trying-to-fit-in-but-do-I-really” conflicts.  And, um, some rather pleasing physical attributes.

The rest of the characters can stay as they are. They didn't in any way stand out as “wrong”. So if you're looking for a casting agent, feel free to give me a call. I'd love to have a useful outlet for all the images floating around in my head...

If you could re-cast a movie, who would you choose? I'd love to know. And a big thanks for hanging around for the last day of Novel Films Blogfest 10. Click the button in my sidebar for more entries. We'll be back to our regularly scheduled program tomorrow.

Novel Film Blogfest 2010, Day 2

Yesterday I wrote about my worst book-to-movie disappointment. Today I'm going to be positive and talk about a successful adaptation. Ok, I'm at least going to try to be positive. I don't know if others have this same problem, but when I'm reading a book, there is a whole other world inside my head. I see it clearly, in color, and then Hollywood comes along and messes it all up. There is an exception, though. They've really done a great job with the Harry Potter movies.

I read all the books, trying to stay just a step ahead of my now 14 year-old book worm son. I was hooked almost from the first sentence and found her style so refreshingly engaging and no-nonsense. Her work is very accessible for those just beginning to enjoy reading for its own sake, and with enough funny twists and odd characters to keep the attention of video-game addicts and adults alike. (Pretty sure she even reeled in the video-game addicted adults as well...)

Adapting books so widely read by so many had to be a daunting task. I mean, one wrong step and you might have rioting crowds of kids to deal with. I was therefore very happy to see that they'd taken great care to follow the books so closely. And oh what a world they created.

I was just enthralled watching Hogwarts come to life. The dining hall, the head table of professors, the floating candles, the crazy staircases, the swooping owls...it was just so magical to see it just like I'd imagined it. And they didn't cast a single lead wrong!

It's been a joy to watch those kids grow up and learn acting right before our very eyes! We've watched all of the movies too many times to count, and eagerly awaited the finale.

Yes, of course they changed some things. They couldn't possibly put everything in a movie that only last two or three hours. But the screen plays did such a nice job of showing characters' internal struggles as well as the major events. To me, that is why most book adaptations disappoint. When I'm reading, I'm privy to the personal struggles and thoughts of each character. That's hard to pull off in a movie without narration, and without using long, clunky, expository dialogue.

Just give me my Quidditch, my snarling, angry books, and some every flavor beans. I'll visit that world whenever I want. Look out though, I'm after your invisibility cloak, so keep that hidden. Couldn't resist.

What movies do you think have done justice to their book beginnings? Chime in! There's still tomorrow to go, so it's not too late to join the party! Come back tomorrow when I share my dream casting for some of my favorite books.  

Monday, August 1, 2011

Novel Films Blogfest 10

I've been having such fun with Life is Good lately! In striving to visit all the A-Z Challenge participants by the end of the summer, I've met some wonderful new people and have found great new blogs to follow. That hasn't (as you've probably noticed) left me much time for writing.  I decided to shake things up and jumped into this blog-hop. These community events tend to motivate me, and what can I say, I do like a good party ;-) For the next three days many of us (42 at last count) are going to be writing about the connection between books and movies.

I'm always, always disappointed when a book I've enjoyed is made into a movie. They start by casting the wrong lead. I know it's wrong because I've been "looking" at that character the whole book, and he/she doesn't look like that! Then they change the plot, sometimes completely destroying the story I so enjoyed. I understand a bit about the Hollywood scene, after all, I read tabloid headlines in the check-out line ;-) but sometimes it baffles me what they get away with.

In my opinion, the worst offender in the book butchering category is “The Horse Whisperer”. I loved the book by Nicholas Evans.  It had shifting points of view, a unique story, and the easy writing style all combined to please me.  I grieved with Grace. I understood Annie's feelings. The subtle undercurrents of attraction to someone inappropriate, the drive to “fix” whatever problem comes her way. The worry about her only child.

Don't get me wrong, The Horse Whisper wasn't a bad movie. If I hadn't read the book, I probably would have really enjoyed it. But how on earth can you get away with letting the main character live, when in the book, he dies? That's not a minor change. That turns the story upside down and forever alters its impact. And in my opinion, not for the better.

What's the worst offender in this category, in your opinion? Whose book got butchered the most?  Please chime in!  Tomorrow I'll be talking about the best movie adaptation. (And it's NOT “Adaptation”, I guarantee you that ;-) I'd love to have you come back and chime in with your opinion. AND you could even use the button in the side-bar and hop aboard this party train. After all, it's only three days.  Madeleine of Scribble and Edit is waiting!