Thursday, July 28, 2011

It only happens in the movies....???

I've found out (through a source I won't divulge...'cause I forgot who it was), that I could watch TV and movies for free on Hulu.  Now, with the price being with my 'range of affordabilty', I decided to check it out.  At first I went through the 'learning stage'.  I had to, like most other sites I come across, learn to navigate.  Since boating is not one of my skills, it was NOT smooth sailing at first.

I found out, that without a TV service I could keep up with my favorite 'soap operas'.  And that's what I started doing.  But curiosity got the best of me.  One day I accidentally clicked on 'Korean drama' and a whole new world opened up to me.  Another country is into 'soaps' too!  Did I surrender to my curiosity?  Do bears do 'do do' in the woods?   But since I don't speak the language, I read the dialogue (I love to read and I do it fast) in order to know what's going on.  Through these 'adventures' I got to see how other people lived, laughed, loved, were happy and sad and had problems and history that I wasn't aware of.  I traveled to places on 'location' shoots that I pictured entirely different.

At first, I did what I normally do.  While watching a 'fictional piece', I think 'would I have written it this way?'  or when watching it I look at the background and wonder why the director chose 'that particular location' to shoot in.  I sometimes watch the actors' eyes and faces for expression...and give them my 'thumbs up/ down' evaluation.  Sometimes I see the camera, that's focused on the face and begin to see the tears begin that turn into a torrent.   I'm amazing myself, what I'm getting out of it.

And Mr. Adventure here, that there are foreign films in other languages that I can use as 'teaching tools' to understand other cultures and people and help me with my writing.  Between the television series and the movies I've become more aware and seen a little slice of life from all around the world.
So far I've watched Korean films, Indian dramas, Vietnamese episodes, Chinese predicaments, Italian comedy, Spanish romance.  All around the world people are having a life...just like mine.  The language may be different but the 'feelings' are just the same. 

Through it all, I've discovered again, that emotions are the great equalizer and 'themness' the great barrier to understanding.  Do I keep busy?  If I get 'bored' (a word I'm not sure I know the meaning of)
it's no body's fault except my own.  There's too much to see on the Banquet table of Life.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The music in my life...

     Ever since I was a kid growing up in Cleveland, music in one form or another has always been an emotional experience for me...and I don't take it for granted.  It's become as much a part of me as breathing.  With it I've learned to:  Smile, laugh, cry, dance, clean house, and myriad of other things.

     First came the polka.  Both my parents owned accordions and that was one of their forms of entertainment.  Dad's was 120 bass that my cousin Julie brought back from Germany while she was
stationed there in the Red Cross.  Mom had an older 48 bass job. 

Through exposure, I liked polkas and waltzes.  I grew up with it, watched my parents have fun dancing (they were good), and since two of my much older cousins (Vic and Al) were taking accordion lessons, little Sonny (that's the nickname my dad saddled me with) wanted to take them too!.  But after learning the basics and having a good enough ear to know that I wasn't ever going to play Lady of Spain well,  I decided to bail on the lessons.  Enough, little superklutz!

     Then, somewhere in the back of my mind I remember that I belonged to a  choir for awhile.  That must not have lasted long either.  'Somebody' (maybe me) must have discovered that my talent was more in listening that singing.  I never could carry a tune in a bucket with spilling it.

     My next excursion into the 'business of making music' came much later.  A lady (who studied piano at the Grand Island Conservatory of Music) decided that with my long fingers, I was a natural to play the piano.  So I gave that a shot.  I still remembered part of what I learned during my 'accordian learnin' lessons' and for awhile I applied myself and could actually play some recognizable songs. 

     But 'life' decided that I wasn't going to be a piano virtuoso the piano lessons went kaput. But I kept working on my 'listening skills'.  I successfully learned 'music appreciation' on my own.  There wasn't a genre I 'tuned out' without making sure it was something I didn't like.  Some of it was a thumbs up...some of it fell under the heading of  No-way, but even with the 'likes' I found out I had to be in the 'mood' to listen to.  And once in a great great while, 'the sound of silence' is the only music I want to hear.

     Then many years later, my good friend Daniel, taught me even more about classical music.  I liked some of it but wasn't sure why.  Daniel was by 'interest', a 2nd violinist for the Reno Philharmonic Orchestra.  He used to discuss music, the different instruments and many things I didn't know about.  It was fascinating what went on behind the scenes in a symphony.  So with a violin he loaned me ( my long fingers again factored in again), I began taking violin lessons.  Now that was something that 'I' didn't give up by choice.  It's just that I lived by myself in an apartment and the neighbors flunked the "Violin Learning Practice Appreciation 101" class...and complained.   They nipped my blossoming violinist career in the bud.

     Over the years my taste in music is wide-ranging, much to the chagrin of some people who listen to what I play.  And I've turned into a 'tiger' since I've learned the joy of Internet Radio...and I can change the music ezily.   Now instead of 'making music' with my long fingers, they go flying across the keyboard.  And they know how to hold a dust rag, drag a vacuum and hold a knife to chop carrots.   I don't know what comes next...but I'll think of something fun!



Friday, July 22, 2011

It's funny how things happen sometimes....

Sometimes I wonder about the things that are happening in my life...and I wonder why they happen the way they do.  Is it an accident? I finding things that I 'need to know exactly when I need to know them'?   This is an example.  I have a friend who has written a book that inspires me a great deal.  Last night I was chatting online with a new friend who has also written a book.  Which made me think of a book I have in my bookcase, written by the brother/uncle of a mother/daughter duo that I used to work with. (I hadn't met the guy, but he thinks much like I do.)

This morning, I was thinking that it would be fun to sit on the couch, listen to piano music and relax while reading the last mentioned book.  When I got the book out, I found a letter I had written to Sylvia, my wife, several years ago when I was taking one of my f2k classes at Writers Village University.  This is what I said in the letter...

Hey, baby. Guess what!  Another letter. "Why the heck is he writing another letter?, she thinks. Because you're married to a writer...not a 'wanna be' writer...but a writer.  And you are an important part of it.  How so?  I need your opinion.  Why?

1. I want to write novels.  And I want them to make the bestseller list.  First of all, to make that happen it is going to have to appeal to both men and women, I have to make my characters BELIEVEABLE to both.  When I create a character of a woman I have to jump into her SKIN and have her say and do things that a women might say or do...otherwise it's going to sound like it's something that some 'dumb klutz guy' who knows NOTHING about women would write...and whoosh, there goes my bestseller right out the window.  Kaput.

That's where you come in.  You're a woman and you know what 'feels' right as a woman.  You might not have the same ideas as my characters BUT you are HIGHLY INTELLIGENT (and where you get the idea that I think you're stupid, I'll never know...because you can't be both at the same time) and you are WELL-READ.  You've read MANY books and I think that you are able to tell if it 'feels' right.  Probably you won't be interested in WHAT I'm writing...but I value you're insight and opinion.  So I NEED your help.

2. If I'm going to be successful, I'm going to have to 'create' my own style.  If I try to copy someone else's...I'm going to fall flat on my ass.  I don't want to write like 'anyone else.'  If I try to copy someone elses' style...I'll never be as good as the original.  I TRUST your opinion.  I trust it when you say something is good...from past experience.  Do you know why?  Because everytime you've said "'s perfect, don't change a word."...I don't and get good responses.

Look, I don't only want you behind me, but BESIDE me.  We're partners...right?

And I have another thought.  Our partnership is not only about MY dream.  What about yours?  Do you have one?  Tell me what...and I'll be there for you.  I have a suggestion...just something to think about.  You don't have to come up with a yes or no answer...just think about it.  I've listened to you and watched you over the years.  How about taking a correspondace course in Interior Decorating?  Not as a job but more as a hobby.  I can see you doing it.  You're smart, talented and I can see the look in your eyes when you're working on an idea.  It's excitement.  You have fun with it.

If it's something you're even remotely interested in...I'll do the legwork and send for the brochures on classes, what they offer, price etc.  Then if it's something you're interested in, I'll be there with you all the way.  I BELIEVE in you and KNOW that you can do it..that is, if it's something you want to do.  I don't believe in the crap that it's "too late" or we're too old" or anything like it.  I have no intention of sitting in a friggin' wheelchair saying, "I wish I would have done it"  Let's DO it.  You're smart and talented.  If there's anything you WANT to do...let me know and we can put our MINDS together and make it happen.  We've done it before...and we can do it again.  I LOVE YOU.

This a letter I found tucked in 'this' book.  She was funny.  Sometimes she would tuck one of my letters in a book to see if I was 'paying attention'.   I wrote it to Sylvia when we were fast approaching 70.  I copied...word for word, typos and all.  Why?  I don't know.  Even though she's no longer on this earth, the fact that she tucked it in this particular book that she was reading, shows me that 'it's all making sense' to me.  Even if it doesn't to anyone else.  We are still a team...with dreams to left to follow.  It ain't over yet.  :D

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

It was a fun hobby that I relaxed with...

     In the 1990's after Sylvia and I returned to Reno, NV from our 'adventure' of living in her hometown of Waterbury, CT (which is where I now live...but that's another story), I was working again in a casino.
It was a fun job because while I was dealing I got to talk to people and learn all about them.  But as with any job, I needed to come home and relax so a hobby was an answer.  While Syl was busy doing 'her girly thing' I could be bizee doing mine. 

     Sylvia (before I met her) used to do a lot of work with ceramics.  I still have a large stein that she painted, fired, and won a 1st prize for.  Now I'm not one that would be interested in going through 'all that' so one day at the mall I made a discovery.  Hydrocal.  The unfinished pieces were like unpainted plaster but stronger and didn't need to be fired.  A new hobby began.

     First, among all the possibilities in the Hydrocal Store, I found a cute little statue of a hefty lady with a cap and she was showing the derriere portion of her bloomers.  That would go great on our countertop and add some fun!   So 'imagined' what colors I would use to make the finished product and of course some brushes.

     When I was growing up I hung out at the Art Museum in Cleveland, which gave me a sense of history, sculpture, color, etc.  Plus my 'art lessons' there started a love of painting.  I did some oils and watercolors along the way...but I wasn't in the mood to do that.  So I figured out what 'ladies' in that era would do 'colorwise'...and I did it! 

      Next came our Christmas display.  I painted two Victorian houses...true to the time frame when it came to color.  Then one day Syl and I were on a foray to the mall.  I was out of stuff to paint and stopped in to the Hydrocal store to see if there was anything I could find to work on.  A statue jumped out at me and shouted "Paint me."  I recognized it immediately.  It was a replica of 'The Rape of the Sabine Women' by Giambologna.  From my study of Greek and Roman history, I knew that the Greeks painted many of their marble statues (particles of paint residue remained) so I decided I would paint that one.

     Sylvia's response was less than positive, not knowing the story behind the founding of Rome and how the Romans managed to 'populate' the new Empire.  Not the way to treat a lady, but that was then.
Syl, being a 'dignified lady' said in a low screech, "BUT THEY'RE NAKED".  Now when I made my mind up to something, nothing stopped me.  She left the store and waited outside as I purchased the required paints and three-haired paint brushes etc.  I think it was her way of 'pretending not to know me.'

    When the statue was finished (down to the last 'detail') her response was, "That's MINE".  It came out beautifully, told a story and sat on our large screen TV in the living room for years.  It's the way we put together Crocker Castle...with a lot of thought and surrounded by things that were meaningful to us.  We both had our own 'unusual pursuits' that made us together...but uniquely different.