Friday, June 18, 2010

World Cup Soccer

Gooooaaaaaaalllllll!!! Are you watching the World Cup? I'm catching as many games as I can. Definitely following the Argentine team, the USA for obvious reasons, and South Korea where my kids were born and became interested in their team when I was there in 2001 and watched them prepare to host the 2002 games.
I think I watch mostly, because nothing reminds me more of my dad than the world cup. He was a soccer fanatic. If he could have afforded it, he would have been one of the crazy fans in the audience covered in the Argentine flag with his face painted in blue and white. He loved, loved, loved watching the World Cup. He would go to the Argentine club and watch the games with other Argentines on a big screen and come home talking about how great it had been. He would record the games on VHS tapes - in fact, the reason we bought our first VCR was so that he could record world cup games in 1978 when the World Cup was played in Argentina.

My dad died quiet a few years ago, but when I watch the Argentine players' handsomely intense faces, I remember my dad cheering and shouting and it makes me happy.

Yesterday, Argentina played South Korea at 4am California time. I taped it and my husband and daughter watched it with me (my son only cared about the Lakers so he was in his room listening to the game on the radio - yay Lakers!). I thought it was adorably cute that my daughter was cheering for South Korea. I think my dad would have thought it was cool too. World Cup time seems like a time to cheer for your roots. Even many generation Americans cheer for Germany or England or where ever their ancestors came from.
Besides, it's fun!
Do you have rituals or events or times that you enjoy, because they remind you of someone special or a happy time in your life? I hope so. I think we sort of need these anchors in life that repeat every so often and remind us of who we are and the people we love.
Have a great weekend and Happy Father's Day to all the Father's out there!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Planning a Girl Scout Bridging Ceremony

I'm planning a bridging ceremony for my girl scout troop so today's post will be short. Like all ceremonies, there are more work than they seem. Not only do those involved in the ceremony have to "know their lines" and be prepared. But getting and buying the decorations and props, the food, making sure all recording equipment is working, all batteries charged. Whew!! Lots of work. That said, I love ceremonies. I didn't used to. As a kid, they embarrassed me. Sometimes they seemed boring. But looking back, every ceremony that marked something important, whether it was my first communion, high school graduation, or a sporting event it's there in my memory locked with all the feelings and emotions of that day. They were stepping stones in life that are wonderful to look back at.

I'm excited for my girls and tomorrow is going to be great for them.

Will be back next year with a more writerly post : )


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Update on the reading for the Pacific Review/Ghost Town Literary Magazine for Cal. State San Bernardino:

Tonight: Thursday, June 10th

Place: Tio's Tacos (one of the stranges places I've ever been to - all kinds of "art" made out of recycled materials. Interesting place to visit. 3948 Mission Inn Ave., Riverside, Ca. 92501

Readers: Patrick Sommerville, Anna Weatherford, Vicki Barras Tulacros

Time: 6pm

Sadly, I can't be there, but if you enjoy literary events, definitely be there. You can even arrive early and indulge in some tacos and a margarita! And stroll through the grounds and check out all the strange sculptures. There's actually a house made out of bottles there.
Have fun!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Entering a New Literary Universe

Last Saturday, I attended a literary festival called the Saturation Fest and Thursday we had our first reading at Cal. State San Bernardino to celebrate and promote it's lit mag of which I was one of the editors this year. I have to say that this is a whole new world for me coming from the commercial fiction world.

Readings I have personally done or have attended at bookstores are well attended depending on the popularity of the author. Celebrity authors or those with books on the best seller list, usually have a line of people at their signings and readings. Those in attendance are mostly readers, though occasionally, someone from the audience will come up to the author and admit they are writers or have a deeply buried desire to write some day. Mostly, though the focus is the author and the books she or he has produced, and the reason people attend the reading is to either meet the author, or to purchase an autographed copy of the book.

The literary/college reading, because there are a variety of short stories and poems in the magazine, does not focus on one author but on literature itself. The audience that attends has a stake in literature. They love the written word and are there because they are instructors, students, lit majors, or writers. Our reading Thursday night on campus was packed with people. And there was a very cool buzz in the room. The Saturation Fest was bit more bizarre and seemed to attract only a small fringe group.

I started to think about the differences between literary and commercial fiction and reading a bit about it on the net. Lit. fiction always seems to be described at "good" fiction while commercial fiction as less valuable. One site described commerical fiction as "designed to be read quickly, easily, without needing to think too much. It is built on the reader’s reactions to the words and the emotional impact those words illicit. Grammar, structure, and ideals take a back seat to the emotional impact of the stories words." Wow, really?

I think I know what she means -- sort of. Commercial fiction is designed to entertain so there aren't obscure topics that will require the reader to sit back when they are finished reading and ask themselves "what did that really mean?" And as far as grammar, structure, and ideals, I disagree if she means authors don't pay attention to writing conventions . When I first started writing, I took a workshop where the instructor told me to forget all I'd learned in college, and to stop reading literary novels and non-fiction books. That I should not worry about writing perfect sentences. Fragments were okay. And that I should write the way I talk (scary). I took her advice, but soon learned that I actually paid even more attention to structure and grammar. Every sentence fragment, every sentence not written properly was planned and designed that way for impact. So, yes, emotional impact is very important, but so is grammar and structure.

One blogger that I found who offered a good way to look at literary vs commercial was Tamim, a writer from San Francisco. He argues that the difference lies mainly in the experience you are expecting to have and I agree. To me, those that make the judgment calls on lit fiction being superior to popular commercial fiction need to reevaluate what they are basing their opinions on. I've seen great and poor examples on both sides. And I believe there are more points in common than not.

Wednesday, June 10th we're holding our second reading for Cal. State's literary magazine, Pacific Review/Ghost Town at Division 9 Gallery 3850 Lemon St., Riverside, 92501 at 6pm. The venue may change and I'll post an update if it does. Come out and see me and some of the other great readers!