Now, we are on our way back to Los Angeles, and thanks to an unexplained Air Canada delay, that caused us to miss our connection, have to wait for 6 hours in the airport. Thankfully Calgary has wifi, and a big comfy chair for me, and a place to charge my blackberry, and I can not get over how great it feels to once again be 'connected' to all my friends and family around the world, on line.
It was a really great trip and I am so excited to be going home to work, friends, my furbabies and more writing. It's nice to know that as much fun as I have when I 'take a break' , I never really enjoy a break from writing. Lucky for me, with 2 projects wrapping up and a new one starting in a few days, I'll have plenty of writing to keep me busy!
As you may be able to tell my the gaps in my posts lately I am slowing down. Unfortunately, I still have lots to do but not energy to really get it all done! I have a few more revisions on my novel to make and a second draft of my script to produce for the end of January, and another script to start in January too! It's all great and I am thankful to have projects to return to and to kick off the New Year, but I do notice that my body and mind are definitely kicking into holiday mode.
The only good thing about this, is that everyone else I talk to, is going through it too. The darker days, the endless rain, all make one want to curl up with a good book and just relax.
Thankfully my copy of Pictures of You just arrived!! I have one and Jeff has an electronic one, and so now we don't have to share! And we can join the small army of cheerleaders, including O, Vanity Fair, and People magazine who are raving about this book!
For the holidays and to say thanks...they gifted me with this beautiful wreath. I tried to pay, but they insisted, thanking me, or rather my mom, for being such a loyal customer. Well I wanted to thank them too, and continue to support them, and so in lieu of a tree as we are traveling this year, I bought this for our dining room table. Stunning.
If you are looking for flowers for yourself or someone else, this is the place to do it!
Larchmont Village Florists, 323-464-8146 at 234 N. Larchmont Blvd.
Apologies for being late with this Amazing Author interview from Amazing Author Caroline Leavitt. And speaking of amazing, Caroline's wonderful book, Pictures Of You, coming out soon from Algonquin Press, is not only available on Amazon.com but is getting rave reviews! It was an Oprah Magazine pick!! Order yours today!
“A gothic love triangle with two equally matched heroines. This isn’t kid’s stuff.”—Kirkus Reviews. Now, how could you ask for a better review than that? Mermaid is indeed nothing like what you would expect, and either is author Carolyn Turgeon. I'm thrilled she agreed to talk to me about her twisty new tale.
What do you think our fascination with mermaids is really about?
Well, mermaids are very very strange. They’re unbelievably beautiful, yet grotesque and monstrous. They’re incredibly sexual with their long hair, bared breasts, and hourglass shapes, not to mention those gorgeous, magical voices that can lure sailors to their deaths, yet they’re FISH from the waist down and have no genitals… which makes them seductive and unattainable in an unusually literal manner. They hang out on rocks looking pretty and staring into mirrors and they also swim in the deepest ocean, in these weird dark parts of the world no human has ever entered. So they’re linked with mystery and death and birth and everything we don’t know but long for and fear. They’re accessible monsters and totally inaccessible ladies, at the same time. They’re death and sex and the ultimate feminine. And they’re everywhere! Once you start looking, it’s sort of astounding how ubiquitous they are, in film and art and pop culture generally, and all over the world, and for hundreds of years. I think it’s pretty clear that even a super whitewashed mermaid like Ariel taps into some kind of dark unconscious longing in us.
You've written other books which twist on popular tales. What generated this? Did you grow up on these stories? Have the meanings of stories like Cinderella changed for you throughout the years?
I definitely grew up on these stories, though more through Disney movies and Little Golden Books than the Grimm Brothers or Hans Christian Andersen. But even the more sanitized fairytales retain some of the darkness of the originals, which can get unbelievably weird and twisted, and I always liked that combination of beauty and magic with those darker elements. I’m sure that over the years I’ve become more critical of the Disney films, which were just pure delight for me when I was a kid. You know, the idea that the abused, damaged Cinderella could be whisked away by a prince and magically healed, or that this little mermaid could give up her voice and tail—her entire world, in fact—for a hot stranger, and that that could possibly end happily. So of course those things don’t happen in my books, but I’ve been even more interested in exploring the female relationships in these stories, like between Cinderella and her fairy godmother and between the little mermaid and her human counterpart, the princess who ends up, in the original story, marrying the prince.
In this novel, you really combine the magic qualities with the real ones. Was it hard to meld the two?
It wasn’t hard, actually. I knew that if I was going to write about mermaids and an underwater kingdom and a sea witch and all that, I would have to make them as real as possible—to transport the reader into a world as vivid and multi-dimensional as possible—and that I would also have to make the real, human world as gritty as possible, for contrast. I really love that contrast. I think the more grounded you are in a real world and setting, the more magical it is for the reader to suddenly enter a totally fantastic one. Both Godmother and Mermaid start out in real worlds and then move into fantastic ones, and alternate back and forth, so for both books it was crucial to have that contrast be as vivid as possible.
Plus I think that the fantastic is always better as a surprise. In the first chapter of Godmother, we follow an old woman in New York through her day, as she works in a West Village bookstore, as she walks home through Chelsea and to the Garment District and up the stairs to her old, worn apartment… and then as she draws a bath, relaxes into it, and spreads these beautiful white-feathered wings. That’s the kind of magic I like, that sneaks up on you.
I love that you say the novel "will change your life." Tell us how, please?
Well, I might possibly enjoy the use of slight exaggeration and hyperbole on occasion, but I do think that books change lives, even if in subtle, sneaky ways. Like when you take a narrative that you know, from childhood, that’s part of you, and go in and root around in it and then offer it up from an entirely new point of view, illuminating parts that were hidden and/or revealing new possibilities. I think that changes something. And you know, when a butterfly flaps its wings in one place….
Plus: I suspect my book will change lives out of its sheer awesomeness. People will reach for it at the same time and fall madly in love. They will buy my book and then win the lottery that night. They will see shooting stars and rainbows, get raises and promotions, take fabulous journeys, have breakthroughs in therapy, wake up 10 pounds thinner. They may not make the connection directly between my book and their newfound joys, but that’s how chaos theory works and I can accept that.
What's obsessing you now?
Well, a few things are obsessing me, but mainly, right now, it’s mermaids. Not because of the book, really, but because of this idea I had and may regret having to start a mermaid blog. You see, I was staying in Berlin this past fall and doing some travelling, and I visited Denmark to pay homage to Mr. Hans Christian Andersen and took all kinds of video and photos and learned all kinds of weird things about him. Then I went to Warsaw to see Leonard Cohen and discovered, totally by accident, that the symbol of Warsaw is the mermaid and has been since the middle ages, and so I took more photos and videos and learned all this weird stuff. I have a friend in Berlin who performs as a singing mermaid, so I filmed her and interviewed her.
It occurred to me that I should DO something with all this stuff and eventually I decided to start a mermaid blog, iamamermaid.com, and THEN I started asking people if I could interview them about mermaids, all kinds of people, people who’ve done anything at all relating to mermaids, and suddenly I’m seeing how many people, and people of all stripes, have done something related to mermaids, and I was surprised at how many people said yes and actually wanted to talk about mermaids—like I almost fell over when my one true love Tim Gunn said yes—and I’m finding out all kinds of weird things about mermaids myself. Suddenly I have tons and tons of material and keep finding more.
I found a professor who teaches a course on mermaids at Wellesley and visited him last week. I’ve been talking to tons of former Weeki Wachee mermaids, including two who performed for Elvis in 1960. I’m talking to the spokesperson of a town in Israel that made world news last year when mermaid sightings were reported and the mayor offered $1 million to whomever could photograph a mermaid. And on and on and on. For a few weeks I just became madly obsessed. Now I’m trying to keep it in check a bit so I can get some other work done, too!!
I’m starting the blog January 1 and posting something awesome every day for a year, so I suspect I will be obsessed for a while. And I’m quite sure that at the end of the year, I will never want to talk about mermaids again.
What question didn't I ask that I should have?
Well. You really should have asked me about my lovely children’s book, tentatively titled The Next Full Moon, coming out next summer. I know it hasn’t been officially announced yet since we are signing contracts next week, but still. How rude. It’s about a 12-year-old girl who, amidst the embarrassment of suddenly growing feathers, discovers that her mama was a swan maiden. And it will change your life
I poured myself a cup of coffee and made this delicious pureed-tomato-vegetable-chickpea soup and some blueberry scones! Then I walked the dogs, then worked out and finally got to my desk. After all my socializing last week and this, and all the holidaying that is already in full swing, I needed to have some healthy staples at hand and these two do it for me! Greek yogurt and a scone with fruit for breakfast and soup for lunch...simple and delicious...and easy to eat while working on these script revisions!
What are your staples?
Have a great weekend!
This week has been a whirlwind, I can not believe that I haven't posted yet! I thought for sure I had, which just goes to show you how nutty things have been.
For starters, I booked a gig on a tv show and will shoot on Monday, so there was a fitting, and I finished my romantic comedy script and had a great meeting about it and got notes on it, and I have a jewelry order to complete so I have been beading away and I had a great freelance naming job that was due this week as well! In the middle of this wonderful craziness, my car the dirt mobile, has been dying, and yesterday in the middle of an intersection in Beverly Hills, and Wilshire, it died. I managed to hurl my body in the car to lurch it out of the intersection and over to a curb. Unfortunately it was in a red zone, but a police officer came by on his bicycle and pushed me into a better spot. The folks at AAA were awesome and came in a rush, and I got to my meeting 45 min late, but safe and sound. Whew.
Alas, now Jeff and I will be sharing one car, until I am able to make a deal on the car I want. I have been looking for a few weeks, and I am sure that my car knew and punished me! This time I am going to lease a new car. My old car was really old, 16 years old, and it got the nickname dirt mobile because it always had a layer of dust on it and even when it was clean looked dusty because the paint had lost all it's sheen. It also apparently smelled old, and a friend of mine once burst out laughing and said..."This is your car?". Sigh. But she was good to me, until she wasn't, and then she was really expensive to keep fixing.
Two more days until my friends gorgeous wedding this weekend, which will be a wonderful end to a wonderful and hectic week! Gotta get up and keep going until then! Have a great day!
I got the first draft of my script in today and celebrated by giving myself a home spa treatment! Salt scrub, manicure, pedicure, face mask, blow dry! I like to think of all the money I'm saving, money which I will justify spending on something else!
After my glorious two hour break, I am back at the desk, eating a very late lunch of steamed kale, snow peas, squash, quinoa, baked tofu, and a little soyaki, on a bed of arugula with ginger carrot dressing. Delicious! I have a freelance gig due on Monday, and a fun social weekend ahead, so I better get back to it.
Have a great weekend!
Now that I also celebrate American Thanksgiving, and just cooked for 18 people last week, the thought of another big feast kind of tuckered me out. Instead I am going to have a nice dinner with Jeff and light my own homemade menorah. My free form Menorah is really a collection of tea lights, that I am going to add to each day, until I have all 9.
I actually bought a Menorah last year from Target that I loved, but the candles kept leaning into each other and starting a small fire, and as I am already paranoid of unattended candles, I thought my new free form tea light menorah was a much safer bet.
Next year, I might splurge and get this gorgeous menorah from Jonathon Adler, there was a waiting list for it, and having just gotten Christmas presents for all my family (we really do celebrate all of them!), I decided to hold off.
The holidays are definitely here! No matter what you celebrate, may you celebrate it with the ones you love.