Friday, February 26, 2010

Natural Talent

I'm sure I've mentioned before that I'm facinated by true talent. Some of my favorite Oprah episodes are when she has young kids with special talents. When we visit Vegas, I'm happy to leave my husband and mother in a casino while I find an art gallery to stroll through, because it's so inspiring to me to be surrounded by so much talent.

So when my niece emailed me this YouTube video called Drawing Heaven, I LOVED it.

I was so amazed this kid could paint such gorgeous paintings. Wow! Where ever her talent comes from, it's an incredible gift.

Since I believe we all have our own special talents, I hope you all get to spend some time exploring yours this weekend!!

See you next week!


Friday, February 19, 2010

Pens and Paper Don't Crash

Technology. Who wants to live without it? Is there anything better than TiVo, GPS devices, cell phones, and computers? Really, sometimes it's hard to imagine life without these things.

But sometimes these things are more frustrating than they're worth. My GPS, which I LOVE occasionally decides to take me on these nice scenic drives for no reason that I can figure. Other times it tells me to make a turn or get off a freeway exit at the very last second forcing me to swerve into a lane. I can tell from the hand signals I get that other drivers don't appreciate my sudden moves either.

But my biggest love/hate relationship is with my computer. This week, I lost an entire novel. One second I'm working on a book, and the next my computer shuts off, because my new battery is apparently defective and when it says I have over 60% power, I actually have zero. This caused my writing program to decide to dump all my work and save nothing. Unless you're a writer, it's really impossible to explain the feeling of seeing your story disappear. But you suddenly feel like screaming, vomiting, crying, and dying at the same time.

I have to say, I did have a back up of this story from a month ago. Which is better than nothing, but since it's impossible to reproduce everything written since then, it's still devastating. However, being stubborn and refusing to believe the story was actually gone, I searched everywhere on my computer that might have a hidden copy. And amazingly, I found that my writing software made a timed back-up last Sunday.

I'm no longer Catholic, but still, I had to thank God and every saint, and angel I'd ever heard about in church.

Now, I remember actually typing on a typewriter when I was first contemplating being a writer back in my teens. I won't lie, it sort of sucked. You made a mistake, you had to use white-out or this paper strip that you typed over and it magically erased your mistake. But if you wanted to move a sentence around or add details to your work, forget it. You had to type the page over again. Maybe writers were better back then or more careful with their first drafts, but I can't imagine having to type and retype pages and pages of work. But the advantage with that system was that you NEVER lost your work. Once it was on paper, it was there on your desk forever.

Sometimes with all the digital stuff floating around, I feel like nothing is real. I don't really own music, it's somewhere out in iTunes cyberspace. Same with movies. And novels are next with the Kindle and other ebook readers. There's nothing real or tangible.

Still . . . I do love technology and wouldn't trade it for the way it was "before". But sometimes . . . I think it was less stressful then. No one texting you all the time and finding you even when you don't want to be found. No lost novels. And being able to blame the husband when you get lost, instead of listening to him cuss at the GPS lady. Ah, the good ole days : )

Now, off to continue with that novel -- the one I'm backing up four or five or maybe even six times!


Friday, February 12, 2010

Dead Fish and Rainbows

No matter where I go or what I'm doing, I try to learn something that will help me in my life. So, during my recent three weeks in Florida, I had three goals. The first was to meet with some readers and bookstores to promote EVENINGS AT THE ARGENTINE CLUB and I'm happy to say that I met this goal and had a great time doing it. Every book store I stopped at carried my book and Florida booksellers were enthusiastic about having books signed and happy to have book marks to distribute.

My second goal was to carve out writing time. This one is always tough when family members are in the same hotel room, but I got a little time to work in the early mornings or late evenings.

My third goal was part of my larger year-long commitment to relax, de-stress and try to enjoy today rather than letting my mind try to juggle 125 things that will be coming up in the next week or two. I did this by starting out my days with a quiet early morning walk on the beach.

On my first day, as I hurried along the shore trying to get the day's walk "in", I noticed all kinds of dead fish, clam shell-looking creatures, and sea trash littering the shore. Something must have happened to wash all this sea life onto the beach. I thought it was bizarre, but what did I know? Maybe it was a regular thing on this beach along the Gulf of Mexico. Later I brought my kids out to see what I'd found. They thought it was both gross and cool to try to figure out what kind of fish they were seeing while carving RIP beside the fish. Besides the kids, the sea gulls were loving life as they gorged themselves. The dead fish didn't seem so bad after seeing it through their eyes.

In the days the followed, I realized that fish washing up on shore was actually not a normal occurance. In fact, in the next two weeks, I never again saw this happen. Each day I'd see something knew. One day I saw hundreds of crabs in their shells washed up, and my kids and I spent my walking time tossing them back into the water. Another day I saw dolphins playing in the distance, another day all kinds of sea gulls and yellow beaked birds with black mohoks and pelicans seemed to have invaded the beach. I started to look forward to getting up to see what I'd see on the beach that day.

The last day I went out was cool and breezy. It had rained hard the night before, but I wanted to enjoy one last walk on the beach before I got on my plane home. As I strolled slowly trying to find my daughter a sand dollar, I looked up and saw the most amazing 180 degree rainbow. With no buildings or mountains like we have here in California to block it, the rainbow stretched out from the water to the beach hotels. I'd never seen such a long, beautiful, bright rainbow, and I was sorry I didn't have my camera to capture it.

As I made my way back to my hotel I thought it was interesting that the first day when I was uptight and stressed with a list of things I wanted to accomplish while in Florida I saw dead fish; and the last day when I was relaxed and happy and looking forward to returning home, I saw a rainbow.

Not that this was a deep lesson for me, but it served as good reminder that every day brings something different and I have to remember to be open to the good and bad that comes my way. Some days will be dead fish days and some days will be rainbow days - LOL. And really, what's wrong with dead fish days? It takes a little more time to appreciate them, but every day is here to teach us something new.

For me, since I'm totally anal and expect everything to turn out perfectly all the time, this was a good, very concrete and visual reminder that the rainbow is on it's way -- even if it comes at the very end of a vacation.


Friday, February 5, 2010

Have You See Avatar?

Finally, my son and I went to see Avatar. What an amazing movie! Okay, it was sort of a Dances with Wolves storyline with blue aliens rather than a Native American tribe, but that's okay, because we all know that there are no real new plots, so that didn't bother me.

I loved so much about this movie. The spectacular world of plants and trees that glow and light up when touched was beautifully appealing to watch. And the mystical qualities of this setting helped to draw us movie-goers into the world. The futuristic Avatar's capabilities were also awesome to see and imagine as possible. Besides, the very cool creatures were interesting to watch and compare to life on earth - they seemed to be a mix between a cat and a human with qualities of native tribes. Visually, I really enjoyed it, and the action scenes were fantastic.

But what I really loved about it was the message that if we come to really understand a group of people (enemy or just different from ourselves) we would never choose to destroy or harm them. Jake, the hero of Avatar is a military guy who is all too willing to help gather information about the Na-vi for the pupose of invading them and taking their home, until he learns to love their home and what it represents to them, as well as respect the people for their own unique qualities. It really makes you think about how many arguments and differences we might be able to solve between friends, husbands, wives, ethnic groups, and even countries if we took the time to really see deep inside the other person.

Avatar totally earned and deserves all the praise it's gotten. James Cameron has done it again - produced a grand scale movie that was amazing!

Anyhow, that's my opinion. What did you think?