Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Just Call Me Doctor

Interrupting our usual D Scrib fare for a bout of shameless self promotion:

I'm getting a PhD! (trumpet fanfare)

I just received my first acceptance from a doctoral program in English. Still waiting on a few others (and on the funding details for this one), so I can't say for certain where I'll be next year. But I can say that I'll be studying 18th and 19th century British literature.

I'm totally psyched to know I'll be working toward this degree that's been a dream for so long. I'm a little nervous about what this will mean for my already delayed writing career. But those doubts can least a day!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Wedding Wear

For those of you who haven't lived through a winter in the Pacific Northwest, let me assure you: it's dreary. We don't have anything as exciting as snow. Sure, we get patches of black ice and the occasional late start school day. But generally speaking, November through February is a morass of gray days, persistent drizzle, and perpetually cold, damp feet.

As you may imagine, it's hard to picture summer during such dreary weather. It's even harder to feel all romantic and wedding-plan-y. However. Today was the first sunny day in forever. Not coincidentally, it's also the Sunday of my midwinter break... meaning I'm not feeling grim and resigned about going back to work tomorrow. I have two more days off, people! I'm getting lots of sleep. I'm cooking/baking lots of food made with love and care (as opposed to exhaustion and spite). And I'm finally starting to get excited about wedding planning again.

Why am I telling you? Because I'm zeroing in on my dress for the maid of honor, and I've got it narrowed down to two. I tried to have the maid of honor make the choice, but she's as conflicted as I am (and she'd look great in either dress). So... which do you like better... the Nordstrom's (first picture), or the J.Crew dress (second, pictured in blue, but we'd order in black)? Either way, it's going to be accessorized with a bouquet of light blue hydrangea. Keep that in mind.

And also keep in mind that this is a backyard ceremony--so no stilettos to go with the dress, unless we want her sinking into the lawn. Plus, this is the Pacific Northwest, people: in other words, the Land o' Dress Jeans. We're not insanely formal out here. Finally, the maid of honor is a brilliant veterinarian with many benefit dinners in her future--I'd love for her to be able to wear the dress again.

So. I'd love your vote on the dress... Nordstrom's (1) or J.Crew (2, blue)? And if anyone out there has a line on a cheap place for wedding invitations, I'm all ears! (Yes, I know this post has nothing to do with writing... does that tell you where my focus is lately?)

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Just Sing (La, la, la, la)

I popped over to Julia Quinn's website the other day to check out what's on her agenda (new series drops in 'o8, woohoo!) and found this tempting nugget: soundtracks for each of her novels. I loved reading her insightful and entertaining reasons for picking each of these songs--songs she listened to while writing the books, songs that remind her of her own plots and characters, and even songs that inspired the writing of certain of her novels. To quote Carrie Bradshaw, I couldn't help but wonder what a soundtrack for my own works in progress would look like. JQ gets all high tech (and famous writer-y) and actually has iTunes lists to match her books. I am not so gifted. Nor do I even listen to music while writing (I prefer the sounds of the Second Avenue bus stopping outside my window, thank you very much). But in an effort at seeking inspiration wherever it may come, I decided to play dj for the night. The results follow.

Then Comes Marriage:

"Chapel of Love" My first ( completed novel begins and opens with weddings, so I have to pick this old chestnut. I think it fits Calla at the beginning of the novel really well: simplistic, totally confident and optimistic, ready for a fall.

"Dancing in the Dark" The old jazz standard not the Bruce Springsteen song. Calla and Peter do dance in the dark, and I've thought about titling the book after the song. The line "Looking for a new love to brighten up the night" fits the book well.

"Heart of Life" (John Mayer) This song fits Calla's situation so well-- beaten down by losing her husband and the life she always thought she'd live, but restored by the "circle of her friends" and her new love for Peter. It's such a sweet, beautiful song with a touch of sadness. I think it fits the mood of the book.

"Something to Talk About" I like to think of Calla and Peter being down with this song by the novel's end. They're both ready to stop letting other people's opinions dictate their lives and just live already (and make a little mischief, too).

O, Mistress Mine:

I'm only 1/3 into the writing of this book, but I already have a few ideas:

"The Song is Ended" This is one of my very favorite songs (I'm a huge cabaret/Great American Songbook geek) and fits this story of a love affair cut short perfectly. Gregory and Aimee's memories of their affair are like a lingering melody for both of them, despite their different reasons for entering into it.

"No Matter What" (Badfinger) This is totally Gregory's song. He's ready to take on the world to be with Aimee at the beginning. I think once I reach the end its resonance will have changed-- more that he's ready to accept all the different parts of her, as different and confusing as they may be.

"Maxine" (John Legend). The song's about a cheating lady, but the refrain "She may not be you...but she looks just like you" exemplifies Gregory's confusion over Aimee/Genevieve's identity (which doesn't really go away, even when he figures out the truth behind her past). John Legend has such a great voice.

Finally: I'm absolutely determined to write a book based on the ridiculous, very entertaining song "Rhode Island is Famous for You" (as sung by the glorious Nancy LaMott). Any song with the lines "They know mink where they grow mink in Wyomin(k)" and "A camp chair in New Hamp(chair)" is a well-spring of inspiration. I can see it now...a driven doctor/knitter...a dashing naval pilot...a date with punny destiny!