Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A Writer's Wish

      I hope that my words provide ....
                                                         moments of joy,



Sunday, October 28, 2012

Just Enter through the Gun Barrel

Bathing suits worn by Daniel Craig and Sean Connery in James Bond films. (photo by Jan Siebold)

     I recently attended the opening of "Designing 007", an exhibit of James Bond movie props, costumes and sets in the Toronto International Film Festival's Bell Lightbox space.  "Just enter through the gun barrel'" the museum attendant directed us, pointing to a large cylindrical opening in the wall.  Among the exhibit  highlights were the montage of opening James Bond movie clips/theme songs, a room dedicated to Bond villains, a tour of Q's department (where 007's supply of life-saving gadgets were created and tested) and a gallery dedicated to the inevitable casino scenes featured in the films.
    In one room we saw props such as James Bond's passport and a complete medical report describing his broken collarbone.  I was amazed at the amount of care and detail that went into the creation of these props.  Surely a movie viewer wouldn't even be able to read the print on these items when seen in the final product.
     It occurred to me that such painstaking care could be attributed to the film makers' desire to create a completely authentic experience for all involved in the process.  Such attention to detail serves us well in any type of work that is important to us.  The difference that details can make is like night and day, or even like a martini shaken, not stirred. 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Thank You, John Lennon

The John Lennon Wall in Prague is an ever changing reminder of our basic right to freedom of expression.
(photo by Jim Siebold)
"Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers." (Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1948)

     October 9 is the birthday of John Lennon (1940-1980).  Let us remember his voice, his words, his music and his passion, as well as the message of hope and peace that he brought to the world. 


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Explore Contradictions!

photo by Jim Siebold

  I was walking down a Chicago street and saw a man painting a beautiful mural on the side of a gray house.  Or so I thought.  Upon closer examination it became clear that he was in fact covering the mural with gray paint.  It took a few moments for that fact to register because it was inherently opposite of my initial reaction to the scene. 
  Exploring the contradictions in characters can give them depth.  Imagine a hardened criminal who still takes to heart a scolding from his beloved mother.  Or think of a shy, timid student who musters enough courage to face a bully head on.  The complexity of human nature is at the heart of most stories.  It never fails to fascinate us.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Ready, Set, Draw!

photo by Jan Siebold

Often when I sit down to write I find it hard to focus.  It's difficult to shake off the events and encounters of the day.  One technique that I've found helpful is drawing.  I'm not a skilled artist by any means, but I enjoy sketching.  It quiets my thoughts and helps me to concentrate.  Sometimes I sketch something that is around me at the moment; other times I draw from memory or from imagination.  Treat yourself to a nice sketchbook and some good pencils ... ready, set, draw!

Monday, September 3, 2012

"Then We Will Remember Things We Said Today" -Lennon/McCartney

photo by Jan Siebold

"I hate quotations," Emerson wrote.  "Tell me what you know."  With all due respect, Mr. Emerson, I like finding quotations that really speak to me.  In fact I keep a journal of quotes that I like.  To me, statements that are worthy of being quotable are the epitome of good editing.  They usually convey a big message in very few words.  They can be inspiring, humorous, clever, thought-provoking or all of the above.  "A time comes when silence is betrayal." -Martin Luther King Jr.  "In all this world there is nothing more upsetting than the clobbering of a cherished belief." -Charles M. Schulz.  "Those who wish to sing always find a song." -Plato.  "I know just the thing!" -Lucy Ricardo.  If I'm stuck in my writing I often pull out my journal of quotations to find inspiration or to help me contemplate the point to my story.  So while I agree with Mr. Emerson's quest for originality, I will continue to find wisdom in other people's words.  In the meantime, please "Be excellent to each other." -Bill, from Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure

Monday, August 27, 2012

Make a Note to Make a Note

photo by Jan Siebold
My purse calendar contains all kinds of information that is vital to my existence ... appointments, work schedule, social events, telephone numbers, current sizes of grandchildren, gift ideas and more.  Yes, I realize that my cell phone could store much of that information but I prefer my own paper and pencil method of organization.  I was recently switching over information to next year's calendar and came across a mysterious note to myself.  On the last page of the calendar I had written AR 8,15,16 NF 21,22,15.  I have no idea what it means or when I wrote it.  Do the numbers signify dimensions?  Are the letters someone's initials?  Do they refer to a place?  Or a product?  I keep hoping that that answer will come to me in a flash.  In the meantime I keep mulling over the possibilities ... Arizona? Al Roker? Niagara Falls? Nelly Furtado?  It is for this very reason that I make every attempt to write down ideas that I might use in my writing as well as my life.  I keep little notebooks (10 for $1 at the dollar store!) and writing instruments in my car, my purse and on my bedside table for thoughts and phrases that come to me at odd times.  I even have several small notebooks with tiny pencils that hang from a chain and can be worn around my neck.  They are great for walks. You never know when an idea will be useful and it's amazingly easy to forget what seems at the time like a lightening bolt of an idea.  Just make sure you jot down enough details to remember what your note means.  Let's see ... AR 8, 15, 16 NF 21,22,15...any ideas???