Friday, November 04, 2005

Things to do if you're writing and writing.

- November, as some of you may already have heard, is National Novel Writing Month, and I've signed up to join in on the challenge, though I doubt I'll actually finish 50,000 words -- roughly a 175-page tome -- by November 30. Still, it gets me working. Flannery O'Connor, my latest heroine and a damn good short story writer, apparently wrote and revised her stories all the time, and she didn't give up or let criticism get her down too much. I spoke to my writing prof Sarah, and I'll be back in class on Monday. I'm trying not to get too discouraged. Sarah told me that, as time passes, I should develop a thicker skin when it comes to my writing. She also told me that I just don't trust that this is all going to work out for me, that I have the talent and that I have the ambition. She said I need to have faith in myself.
- If you need advice on the novel you're writing, THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE, the classic, essential guide to writing and grammar by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White, has just been re-released in a beautiful, illustrated, hardcover edition that keeps all the useful information you'll need. The paperback is still available, if you just want the writing advice, but the pictures by The New Yorker's illustrator Maira Kalman in this new book are really pretty.

- Speaking of things that are really pretty, Jake Gyllenhaal looks really, really good in the new Sam Mendes movie JARHEAD, which gives a soldier's perspective on Operation: Desert Storm. The movie also has Peter Sarsgaard and Jamie Foxx in it, and it could be good. But, um, I've known I was going to see this movie from the moment the trailer showed Jake Gyllenhaal shirtless, wearing a Santa's cap and holding an M-16.
- I worked with Shalewa earlier this week, and she recommended THE MOUSE AND THE MASK by Danger Doom to me. Since it looked like a Gorillaz-flavored rap album, I gave it a listen, and Shalewa, as usual, was right. If you like Danger Mouse or any rock-meets-cartoon creation, give this a listen.

- Amazon's offering some really good DVD box sets at incredibly low prices for a limited time. Of all the ones listed, the two sets I found most appealing were the first seasons of NIP/TUCK and THE WEST WING for under $20. I thought I'd pass the deal along.

- FORTY SHADES OF BLUE, featuring an award-winning performance from Rip Torn (of all people), opens at the Landmark this weekend. The movie won the Grand Jury Prize at this year's Sundance Film Festival. SEPARATE LIES, featuring Tom Wilkinson and Emily Watson, is also playing at the theater. Of course, the most controversial movie opening at the Landmark this weekend is WHERE THE TRUTH LIES, which battled the MPAA earlier this year over an NC-17 rating. The movie's being released without a rating, for director Atom Egoyan didn't want to remove the pivotal three-way sex scene featuring Kevin Bacon and Colin Firth.

- CHICKEN LITTLE's going to be playing in some Disney Digital 3-D production up at the Mall of Georgia, possibly on the IMAX screen, so I'm going to head there to see it. I love that, despite the fact that I fled Buford, I have to go back there sometimes to see movies in their ideal projection.
- Thinking over books to recommend a teenager this week, I decided to recommend J.D. Salinger's THE CATCHER IN THE RYE, the old standby, and Stephen Chbosky's THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER, which is a really good coming-of-age novel that was published by MTV Books a couple years ago. If you've not read THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER, you really ought to pick it up. Jenipher showed me this week that it's on several school banned-book lists nowadays, and that usually means that a book is worth reading. Have you ever rebelled and read something you weren't supposed to? What's your favorite banned book? If it were up to you, what book would you have banned?

No comments: