The 2013 TBR Challenge

2013 TBR ChallengeWendy, the Super Librarian, is doing it again. “It” in this case is the 2013 TBR Challenge, an opportunity to go through the TBR pile you’ve got stacking up either in physical books or on your tablet/iDevice and actually read some of them. Considering I’ve got a house filled with books I haven’t read yet and I don’t want to admit to how many TBRs are happily sitting in my Amazon account, this is probably a good idea.

Dates and themes are listed below. Wendy always insists the themes are not set in stone, so what I come up with for the challenge each month may not match exactly. If you’re interested, hie thyself over to Wendy’s blog and check out the details. It’s going to be fun.

January 16 – We Love Short Shorts! (Short stories, Novellas, category romance)
February 20
– Recommended Read (something recommended by a fellow reader)
March 20 – Series Catch-Up (pick a book from a series you’re behind on)
April 17 – New-To-You Author
May 15 – More Than One (An author who has more than one book in your TBR pile).
June 19 – Lovely RITA (RWA RITA nominees OR winners).
July 17 – The Classics (Something classic within the romance genre – an author, a specific book, a trope/theme – I’m open to wide interpretations here!)
August 21 – Steamy reads (Erotic romance, erotica, something spicy!)
September 18 – Western (Contemporary or historical)
October 16 – Paranormal or romantic suspense
November 20 – All About The Hype (a book that created such chatter that it was inescapable).
December 18 – Holiday themes (Christmas, Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day, it’s all good!)

Happy reading, everyone!

A Shimmering Star in the Cinema Fir-ma-ment

Lillian Gish

Lillian Gish (image in the public domain)

When I was thirteen, my mother took me to see a great star of the silent screen who was signing a coffee table book she’d done about the films of her and her sister. When we reached the front of the line, I couldn’t help myself and gushed, “Oh, Miss Gish, you’re my favorite actress! I loved you in Broken Blossoms and Orphans in the Storm.”

Lillian Gish, who was 80 at the point and had made her greatest films before my mother was born, eyed me suspiciously and asked, “How old are you, child?” In those days before cable and DVD, even before the big public renewal of interest in America’s classic film heritage, it’s not surprising she found the idea someone so young being a devoted fan a little hard to believe. (The answer? My local PBS station, which regularly ran silent films on Saturday night because they fit in the small budget available.)

These days, we don’t have to turn further than Turner Classic Movies which is currently running their annual Summer Under the Stars Festival, featuring the work of different star each day during August. Today celebrates Lillian Gish with films such as Broken Blossoms, Orphans of the Storm, The Scarlet Letter, and, of course, Intolerance, which cost an estimated $2 million in 1916 dollars and bankrupted D.W. Griffith and his studio.

Some of the films may look strange to modern sensibilities and Intolerance has numerous flaws, including it’s length. But there is also something magical in the flickering images to stir the imagination and Intolerance features one of the great panning shots in cinema, still breathtaking even today. This is part of how I refill the creative well, by revisiting these movies whose images inspired me when I was young. What are you doing today to refill your creative well? If you’re looking for something new, take a peak at what Turner Classic has to offer.

Bonus points for anyone who recognizes the source of this post’s title, also taken from a classic film celebrating the end of the silent era.

Five Things I Learned From the London 2012 Olympics

Dressage Stallion by fallingdominos/Flickr (Creative Commons)

1) Dressage is very zen. Seriously. Those beautiful animals go through their paces can be a form of meditation.

2) Watching the Olympics is itself a marathon. Far too many hours of coverage conflicting with work, writing, knitting and small items such as eating and sleeping. You have to pace yourself, make decisions and realize you are not going to see everything.

3) Embrace joy. Sometimes the simple act of being the part of something, not just watching, can be a prize in and of itself.

4) The greatest inspiration is not always the win, but can be grace in defeat. Liu Xiang and his departure from the field after he tore his Achilles tendon in the heats for the 110-meter hurdles will remain one of the enduring images of these games.

5) No matter what your dreams, there must be discipline and hard work in order to succeed. Write every day, learn from your mistakes and keep going.

By the closing ceremonies, I’d written 19,070 words for August on my Camp NaNoWriMo project. Discipline — and just because the Games are over, it doesn’t mean the work ends.

Ch-ch-changes

Fruit - Photo by Christer Barregren/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Photo by Christer Barregren/Flickr (Creative Commons)

I came back from the RWA conference in Anaheim with a much needed jolt to the creative batteries and my usual need to make lists. (I also over-indulged a little at Paper Source, but that’s another story.)

I always always make lists after conference; I’m fired up and I’m going to change my writing! And my life! And the world! The last one’s a joke, but my husband has looked a bit sideways at my ambition more than once after these things. I will say that as of this morning, I’ve written 16,414 words for August, so clearly the post conference surge hasn’t completely worn off yet.

Change is good because it’s a sign of life. Recognizing there are things you need to differently and you are going to take those steps (or at least try) is a positive. Sometimes it’s big changes, such as what the ladies at Reinventing Fabulous are going through. Sometimes it’s small ones.

One small change is that I’m having yogurt in the morning, which helps get things off to a good start and is not fried. I’d been buying it at the cafeteria in my building, but I got tired of not knowing if it was going to be there until I walked in and the price. Oh, yeah, and the fact it was less…fresh as the week went on. So, I went to the grocery store and bought yogurt in a variety of flavors and have been eating them this week before I go to work.

Yesterday, the cafeteria was shut down by the Health Department for numerous violations.

I’ll take that as a sign from the universe that change is good. What changes are happening in your life right now?