Sunday, May 31, 2009

On the verge...

So, when I started this blog, I really had no other reason for doing so except that I wanted to self-publish something I had written. This, mainly because I made the decision, that, by George, if no one was reading the short stories I had in my drawer and if my novel was going to take 200 years to finish, somebody had to know I was a writer. So it might as well be the internet. Even if I only got about 5 readers...well...those 5 readers would know what's what. And I'm proud to say that those 5 glorious readers do! Right? At least humor me, people.

All the while, Gary Vaynerchuk was telling me that personal branding is the most important thing on the planet and proving it by getting a 10 book deal, then proclaiming he can't even write a sentence. Tyler was joining twitter and gaining approximately 2 million dedicated followers. And The Pioneer Woman was becoming one of my favorite writers without ever taking a pen to paper. And I stepped back and told myself, DUDE...this whole social media thing...I get it.

Well, it turns out I didn't really get it. I didn't really get it until Friday night when Tyler dragged me to the Book Expo America (BEA) Tweetup. I rolled my eyes and listened to a bunch of strange people yell nerdy things like The power of twitter! or I'm @Crazyface and I want your hashtag. OK nobody really said that, but they DID introduce themselves by their twitter name. Swear. But as the night went on and I was introduced to a few trusted bloggers in Tyler's massive network, I got it. Because everyone in that room had one common interest: Books. And one common thing brought them together in the same room: Social media.

While I'm not quite sure I really understand how to be a part of the micoblogging/blogging community. And I'm not really certain how it can best benefit me or anyone else. I'm pretty sure that just having a voice on a blog allows me to be a part of it in some small way. And I'm pretty sure that as I go along, I'm going to learn a lot more. Much too late of course. But I'll learn it :-)

Oh. By the way. I was also pretty sure I coined the term social medialite on Friday night. And I was pretty sure it was genius. And it was. 5 years ago when someone first uttered it.

Yes folks, it's a slow process. But I'll get there...

Friday, May 29, 2009


Apparently, when you write a novel, you have roughly...well, let's see...10 trillion things to think about. One of those things is whether or not anyone on the planet likes your protaganist.
But sometimes, and this has to be quite skillfully done, nobody has to like your protaganist. He or she can kick puppies, stop funding for AIDs research, laugh at dying children...the works. You just have to make your readers empathize with them in some way. Empathy man. That's the 9,999,999,999 thing you have to think about.

So, in an effort, NOT to think about it, I wonder... who is your favorite character to hate?

For some reason, the first person to come to my mind is Brenda Walsh from 90210.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Dreadful Law

Knock on a keyboard, I've never received a speeding ticket in my life. I've never even gotten so much as a parking ticket and, therefore, my experience with the police has been extremely limited. But, this weekend, I had my SECOND run-in with, none other than: THE LAW.

Melissa's First Run in with THE LAW:

On the way back from Ithaca, New York my college roommate, Ting Ting Chen, and I took an 8 hour bus ride to New York City. We arrived at port authority much later than we were supposed to and I still had to take a subway and catch a train to Long Island. So when I saw roughly 100 people on line for a subway ticket (automated machines were still a thing of the future) and saw that I had 15 minutes until my train boarded at Penn Station, Ting Ting and I decided to double-up on the turnstile since she had a working metro card. Seconds later I was told to stand against a wall with my hands up and the police threatened to take me down to the proverbial 'station'. I received a $200 fine. It was the most expensive subway ride I'd ever taken.

Melissa's Second Run in with THE LAW:

On this beautiful Memorial Day weekend, Tyler and I decided to ride our bikes to Coney Island for a bbq with friends. We wanted to ride along the boardwalk to join in the bustling Coney Island activity. Cruising at 3 mph along the boardwalk, the smell of Nathan's hot dogs in the air, the police pulled us over and we were told to step off of our bikes immediately. Apparently, there's no biking on the Coney Island boardwalk during peak hours. Tyler was given a court summons. And the police were so afraid of me, they gave me a 'warning'.

So, this is my criminal record. Doubling up on a subway turnstile. And 2nd degree biking on a boardwalk. I thought you should know how completely ridiculous my life is. And just how bad-ass I am.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Book Review: Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech

I think all the rules about blogging tell you to pick a subject and really stick to it. Well, I'm too frazzled for such a thing. So every once in a while, I'm going to do a book review. How's that?
The book is probably not going to be entirely relevant. I'll probably review it somewhere between 15-100 years after it was written. Every once in a while, I'll pull out something really sharp like, "OMG, everyone, have you guys ever heard of Harry Potter? You should tots read it." It will probably have personal annecdotes like: "I read this on a train to CT and I spilt soup on it." And that's how it'll go.

I read this book because someone told me too. Because it's about a young woman. And family. And a journey. And I'm interested in that sort of thing.

Well, its an absolutely beautiful story. It's about a young girl, Salamanca Tree Hiddle, who emarks on a journey to Lewiston, Idaho to find her missing mother. On the way, her eccentric grandparents urge her to tell a story. Sal tells them the story of her friend, Phoebe Winterbottom, whose family relationships allow Sal to understand a bit more about her own mother and father.

There are a lot of sad and beautiful memories, and a tremendous amount of humor as she relays Phoebe's tale. And her own story is so subtle and hearbreaking, you can't help but be moved.

Someone gave Sharon Creech a Newbery Medal for it. So, ya know, I'm not telling you anything completely new here. But it's been a while since I've read a story for young people that explores some extremely complex emotions in a very simple and clear way. And no matter how old you are, I think you could relate to this story whether it was about a young girl trying to find her mother or a thirty-something female... That's really difficult to do and I'm truly impressed.

There are also scenes in this novel that are so incredibly vivid and well-told, that I don't think I'll ever forget them. I love it when you can step away from a novel and have a picture in your head that stays with you like one of your own memories. That's a truly amazing experience for a reader.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Shady Pines Ma...

I'm always a little late discussing current events because I have a confession to make: I don't really like the news. It's mostly...well...terrible. And I don't want to hear it.

But it just wouldn't be right if I continued on with my life without paying homage to the late Bea Arthur (now you know what I consider hard news :-)

Most people who know me know I have an obsession with 'the girls'. The Golden Girls, that is. And, while many people find it amusing that I have this obsession and make fun of me for it, I truly stand by it. The show has well-developed characters, great storylines (if at times predictable)...absolutely hysterical one liners, and it explores one of my favorite subjects of all time: friendship between women. Intelligent, warm, funny, flawed, caring, women. Who are friends.

It's not anything original. It's been done a million times. I can think of at least five films and television shows with four female characters just like 'the girls' who fit into a neat little mold right off the top of my head. And I'm sure if I did a little research I could find 500 more. But the reason people keep exploring this female dynamic is because...simply's interesting. I could read an infinite amount of stories and novels about a group of female friends and never get tired of it.

So when I found out that Bea died, I was quite devastated. Because it meant that 2 out of the 4 girls are now gone. And some kind of girl bond has been broken. And that's terrible. And it's why I'd rather watch The Golden Girls on repeat than listen to real life, sad news.

So, I raise a virtual glass to Bea Arthur, who brought us many well-rounded female characters over the years, the most memorable for me being Dorothy Zbornak. And to sound as cheesy as possible to my dear readers, thank you for being a friend! ;-)

And to anyone who is a true Golden Girls fan, perhaps it annoys you just as much as it does me. Why is it that one of them always had to pull up a stool to sit at that damn 3 person table!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

It's time you let someone else do some giving...

I apologize that I have been a bad blogger. This month has been really crazy for me. I've been travelling on the weekends for various reasons, swamped at work, and writing pages at every chance I get. I swear that I will sit down and write something incredibly stimulating and exciting as soon as I get a moment. In the meantime. Here's Mary Richards! In the lesser known FIRST season theme song of the Mary Tyler Moore Show. She's not yet turning the world on with a smile but I love the lyrics to this first season even more... Because, at the risk of sounding cheesy (but completely honest), it reminds me how wonderful it is to be a woman. Seriously. Check it.