This last weekend I went to a writer’s conference in Eden. It was fun to hang out with some of my writer buddies like Heather Moore (who has awesome taste in music) Josi Kilpack, Annette Lyon, and Eric Swedin. It was fun to meet and re-meet other writer acquaintances, but the most fun I had was with artist Kevin Wasden as we met with Kate Schafer, an agent at Janklow & Nesbit Associates in New York.
Kevin and I used ten minutes to pitch our manuscript. I loved the surprise in her voice as she said, “This is something I would want to see more of . . . in fact, this is something I *do* want to see more of. I’d like you to send me the first five chapters.”
Now we all know, it is excessively bad form to give over a manuscript at a one on one meeting like this. Agents don’t want to lug around a ream of paper through airport security. Yet, we always bring the manuscript with us . . . just in case the agent is so excited she/he cannot wait to read it. My eyes trailed to the bag where my manuscript waited. She must have seen my eyes drop because she said, “I don’t want it right now . . .” to which I replied suavely, “Oh of course not. I wasn’t planning on giving it to you now . . .” Yeah, even the professionals make beginner zealot mistakes.
But I love that she wants to read more. I love that she looked genuinely excited about our project. I love that Kevin’s art rocks the foundations of the world. I love feeling reassured that I AM a good writer. I love feeling confident that on my laptop at this very moment, there exists a manuscript completely fresh from what’s available and yet something that will resonate to the human experience. On my laptop is a manuscript filled with potential. Thanks Kevin. Sidekick jokes aside, you are *my* total hero. WAHOO!!!
My friend, Sandra Tayler, wrote a brilliant post on live journal about school fundraisers. Having recently traversed the fundraiser nightmare, I could not agree more. I usually decline participation in fundraisers. I volunteer to speak at my children’s school for free and so feel that by saving them a couple of hundred dollars in my school visit fees, surely I am exempt from sending my children out to peddle unneeded and unwanted items to my neighbors (who don’t like me all that much anyway).
But this year, Murky had his eyes full of all the prizes he could win if he sold better than everyone else. This year, he felt a burning determination to become a salesman. I sighed the deepest, heaviest breath I’ve ever taken, and handed him a jacket as he went out into our neighborhood to torment people.
I did try to talk him out of it. I did explain that there was no possible way, in our little town, to sell enough absurd knick knacks to earn him the big screen TV. My husband joined me in this. But we failed. The child insisted. And so off he went, in a cluster of other boys that would put girl herds to shame there were so many of them. They did get orders and then promptly left the money on the sidewalk while they climbed trees and soaked themselves in the irrigation ditches.
To my sons’ credit, he sold a lot more than I ever would have imagined, and with a few lectures from my husband and me on the stewardship of other’s people money, actually turned the packet in with all money accounted for (even if the packet did have a major tear through the middle of it that had to be taped together, and even if one of the checks had dried dog saliva and muddy paw prints on it).
A few days later a couple of girls showed up in my store. Whenever a fundraiser is to be had, the kids in town automatically hit up the storeowners (me and my husband) They figure they give us business all year, we owe them when they want to sell something. The fundraiser was for some dance thing. The girls were selling something unique. They sold Little Ceasars pizzas. I spent a lot of money between the two of them. Six dollars a pizza that would come frozen and ready to prepare any time I wanted to make it. (we’ve discussed before the shame and disgrace I am to women everywhere as far as domestic skill goes . . . the idea of frozen pizzas that taste decent seemed ingenious)
Most of the money from school fundraisers goes to the company sponsoring the catalog. Very little of that money goes to the actual school. The pizza thing was different, but even in that I ended up in trouble since I bought from the first two girls and three others showed up later.
The fact that small children’s sad little faces are being used to manipulate me to make unplanned purchases drives me to the strait jacket.
I hereby declare the fundraiser fiends to be infidels of the worst degree. It’ll be a cold day in the hot place when I allow my kids to participate in another fund raiser. I’d rather mail a check to the school and be done with it. I’d rather do a weeks worth of writing seminars, literacy events and career day “my mom’s an author” stuff for each individual grade than deal with buying rolls of wrapping paper I don’t need.
I’m writing a letter to the administration since I found the PTA doesn’t get to choose fundraisers, but rather, the administration does. I’m letting them know I’ve banned them from my parent guilt-trip-duty.
“Ten Literary Characters I Would Totally Make Out With If I Were Single and They Were Real But I’m Not, Single I Mean, I Am Real, But I’m Also Happily Married and Want to Stay That Way So Maybe We Should Forget This.”
Rather than forget this, my husband is out of town. I just finished writing my latest novel and It’s a cold rainy day outside–the perfect cuddle-with-a-good-book weather. I will now intoduce you to the characters who I would totally make out with if they were real and I were single. (but they aren’t real . . . and I’m not single. Nor do I intend on ever being single, and if I start claiming them to be real (or myself to be single), then we know I am past therapy)
1. Mr Darcy from Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen). I know no one is surprised. Mr. Darcy is my comfort. He is my right when the whole rest of the world is wrong. I’d make out with him. I tell my husband all the time that Mr Darcy is his only competition. My husband is grateful Mr Darcy is fictional. He’s the perfect guy. He’s handsome, well educated, a man of good sense and taste. It doesn’t hurt that he’s fabulously wealthy and the owner of pemberly. A man with such reservation would likely be one passionate kisser. Yep . . . he’s choice number one. “In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” MMM-Mercy!
2. Mr Knightly from Emma (Jane Austen). I know I know . . . Jane Austen isn’t the only writer out there, but she’s the one writing guys I’d be willing to snog. Knightly has a great sense of humor (he puts up with emma’s antics after all) He’s also handsome, gentlemanly, a man of good sense and good fortune, but he’s also kind and good. I have to say I am incredibly attracted to goodness. It’s all fine and well for a man to be handsome, but a pretty face gets boring if nothing intelligent comes out of it. It’s all fine and well for a man to be rich, but money cannot buy my respect. He must be good–inherently good. But wait, we’re talking about making out with fictional characters so I’ll try not to digress into the inner workings of what makes Jules tick.
3. Nat Eaton from Witch of Blackbird Pond (Elizabeth Speare). I loved Nat from the very beginning when I was in seventh grade and in Mrs. North’s English class. I read that book so many times, it became tattered to the point of non recognition. Nat . . . you will always be my first love.
4. Jake from New Moon and Eclipse (Stephenie Meyer). I’m with Luisa. Why would Bella go for some cold undead guy (who I like too . . . but not as much) when she could have a hot wolf man on a motorcycle??? I don’t want to make out with edward. I’m in love with Edward, but I don’t want to make out with him. He’s too cold and I don’t like being cold. I would much rather the warm guy who make me laugh over the cold guy who makes me act like an obsessed idiot. (Besides Edward is such a control freak, a girl like me would never fly with a guy like that)
5. Matt from Eye of the World (Robert Jordan). I love Matt. I’d dance a jig with that guy. He’s got that foxhead medallion thing going on.
7. Abe from House on the Hill (Annette Lyon). He’s such a passionate amazing man. He’s lived through incredible things and rose above them all to become the great man he was meant to be. His hurt runs deep enough that I think he could use a good snog to help him get over it.
8. Westley from the Princess Bride (William Goldman) What’s not to love about a guy who always says “as you wish?”
9. Wolf from the Tenth Kingdom (Kathryn Wesley ) Maybe it’s just that he’s a wolf. I totally love Wolf. He’s sooooo funny and he’s got that sexy wolf thing going on. I’m betting a snog with that guy would be fun.
10. Rion from My Not-So-Fairy-Tale Life (me). I know I know. It sounds so narcistic, but I characterized Rion after my own husband, right down to the hazel eyes with the golden flecks, and the tiny crows feet in the corners of his eyes (indicative of a man who is always laughing with his eyes . . . light that is an attractive thing). I made him funny, compassionate, intelligent, righteous without being self righteous. I made him the man I chose to wake up to every day for the rest of my life. And I have to be honest . . . I don’t want to make out with anyone more than I do him. Let the snogging begin!
I tag Tami Norton, Karen Hoover, Candacew Salima, and Shanna Blythe
My family was given the opportunity to see the premiere of Chris Heimerdinger’s Passage to Zarahemla on Wednesday. So my husband and I rounded up the kids from school and drove to the city for a night out. The opening was impressive, the special effects were well done, ESPECIALLY considering the tight budget Chris worked with. The moment my son first laughed, I settled in to enjoy the movie. Audience reaction means a whole lot more to me than critic reactions. I’ve read the reviews and wondered if the Deseret News guy sat in the same theater I did, because the movie he described is nothing like the one I saw.
The audience reaction was totally positive. They laughed in all the places Chris meant them to laugh. There were several scenes where my ten year old and eight year old clapped and laughed and seriously just enjoyed themselves. Not many movies hold their attention the way this one did. The actors did a great job in their performances. The storyline wasn’t another lame lampoon at the Mormon religion, and you didn’t have to be Mormon to enjoy it.
The movie did not deserve the PG-13 rating it was given. There was some light violence, but nothing gory, nothing too scary. Bing didn’t cover his eyes once and he’s the coward in my group (man am I glad Bing doesn’t play on the computer and therefore will never know I confessed his secret so publicly). There was no language, nothing that made me uncomfortable sitting there in the dark with my three kids.
Here is the Salt Lake Tribune’s review By Sean P. Means :
The rap against most Mormon-themed movies is there isn’t much in them about Mormonism, just mild jokes about the culture.
Novelist-turned-filmmaker Chris Heimerdinger breaks Mormon Cinema’s green Jell-O mold in “Passage to Zarahemla,” ambitiously transposing settings from the Book of Mormon into a stimulating action-adventure drama.
Orphaned siblings Kerra and Brock McConnell (played by Summer Naomi Smart and Brian Kary), ages 16 and 11, are on the run from social workers and L.A. gang members, opting to hide out with relatives of their long-missing father in Leeds, Utah.
Kerra remembers the woods outside the McConnell farm, where she once played with an imaginary friend named Kidonni. Returning to those woods, Kerra finds Kidonni (Moronai Kanekoa), now an adult, is quite real – a Nephite warrior. She also discovers the woods contain a portal that links modern Utah with the jungles of ancient America near the Nephites’ capital of Zarahemla. Kerra reads up on the Nephites, via the Book of Mormon, while Kidonni prepares for an invasion from the evil Gadianton Robbers. But as the portal widens, suddenly the Gadiantons are running amok in Leeds, too.
Heimerdinger, best known for his “Tennis Shoes Among the Nephites” books, makes a few rookie mistakes – adding one song-driven montage too many, or occasionally getting too cute with the editing. But he squeezes a lot of visual flair from a minuscule budget, and laces his adventure with bits of comedy (like when the Gadiantons try to raid a mini-mart) and lots of warmth.
To his great credit, Heimerdinger explains Mormon beliefs to a potential crossover audience without watering down the LDS message. Not since Richard Dutcher’s “God’s Army” has a movie balanced its Mormonism and its entertainment value so well.
* WHERE: Area theaters.
* WHEN: Opens today.
* RATING: PG-13 for violence and some drug references.
* RUNNING TIME: 107 minutes.
* BOTTOM LINE: A popular LDS writer makes an assured film debut with a Mormon-themed fantasy adventure.
I encourage you all to go see it. And I encourage you to make educated choices in regard to the rating. It was not in any way deserved. There’s more pg-13 material in most commercials than there was in this movie.