Monday, April 27, 2009

My Favorite things about LDStorymakers Conference



Before I published my first book "A Question of Trust" I knew very few authors. Authors seemed way too cool for me to know firsthand. Well...they are, but then they aren't any cooler than any other talented people. So one of my favorite things was seeing some of these friends--cool people--who have gone after a dream. And meeting and hobnobbing with great people who are setting aside time and effort to learn something new. Over 250 writers attended this years conference.
I loved meeting Dean Lorey--a genuine Hollywood scriptwriter and author--and a genuine guy all around, approachable and didn't seem to mind a bit when I gushed over him and had our picture taken together--something I never do. He worked as a writer on one my all time favorite T.V. comedies--Arrested Development. Seinfeld is the only show that for me was in the same ball park as "Arrested Development." Dean also has a Children's series out called "Nightmare Academy" that seems like the kind of books I would've enjoyed reading with my kids. He spent nearly an hour treating us with stories about writing his first screenplay--a hilarious sounding tale about a boy going to the prom with his dream date, but dying first and turning into a zombie--but still going on the date. He also told us about meeting and marrying his wife of 14 years, writing "Happy Gilmore" and other such life-changing events as losing his hair and discovering this by viewing a film with camera shots from above.

All of the workshops I attended were great. One of my favorites was hearing Matthew Buckley explain why ebooks and the like aren't necessarily a bad thing, using numerous funny slides to illustrate, including a dog--well maybe not the exact dog--that got sued by the recording industry for illegal downloads. Matthew encouraged us to view the new trends as an opportunity.
Another one that was fun was the mystery/thriller panel, which included my good friend Josi Kilpack, also Liz Adair, Stephanie Black (Whitney winner for this year), Julie Bellon, and JoAnn Arnold. I don't know why there weren't men included, but with Kerry Blair moderating it was fun. Like I said all the workshops were great and is one of the best workshops hands down, and I really don't think you need to be LDS to learn from these authors. After all the discussions on writing plot, character, and conflict apply to writers in general.

If you missed this years workshop, we're doing a fundraiser workshop for the AVA. When I say we--I don't mean storymakers, but I do mean some great Cache Valley writers and one amazing Box Elder County author. It's May 9th. It's bound to be fun.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Art in San Franscisco's Mission District


Beginning at our daughter's backdoor in San Francisco's
mission district--art work can be found everywhere. I loved the unique diverse neighborhood where real people work real business's and make everything from cookies to noodles to repairing shoes. What a great place!




The cat totally intrigued me. She sleeps in an out-of-business store window with a picture of herself. Of the dozen shots I took, I chose this one because you can see Mick and daughter in the background.
There are amazing murals, store fronts, and grafitti. I failed to get photos of some of the best work because I had planned to get back out. Maybe next trip.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Thirty Years of Nice!















Thirty years is a long time to be married! Remember the Paul Simon song, "Still Crazy after All these Years?" I don't know if that's the official title, but that's how I feel. In all of those years, near strangers have told me how incredibly nice they think my husband is. It happened at a party I went to recently with some people my husband serves with in his church position. "My wife thinks you walk on water," the man said to Mick. Then he went on to say how nice she thinks he is. I'm baffled by this kind of thing--not because it isn't true. It is true! But why is it so obvious to so many people. I asked Mick what he had done for the man's wife, and he said, "nothing that I can think of." Looking back it was one of the first things I noticed about him. In fact, his niceness irritated me--that is until I fell head-over-heals in love. And during all that thirty years of marriage--kindness is something that never wears out it's effectiveness. I don't know how he is the way he is. It's beyond my grasp.

When our children were teens, I remember asking them if people thought I was nice. "Everyone likes you," son said. "Yes, but do they think I'm nice?" "All my friends think you're cool, Mom," daughter said.
"Yes, but do they think I'm nice?" My kids would act like they were thinking about this and then they would start with the same answers. "Everyone likes you--Everyone thinks you're cool." But never could my kids say I was exactly nice. By the world's view--I am nice. But you see, our children have an example of nice that I could never measure up to--nor would I want to. I am the recipient of that kind of nice, but less often the giver. It's the kind of nice that George Bailey seemed to posses. The kind of nice that sacrifices desires, wants, and often needs if someone else could use it or even wants it more than you. It's the kind of nice that allows others to step in line first at a church banquet. In the small town of Grouse Creek, if there was food being served I was often the first in line and Mick was the last. I would be done eating before he even got through. It's the kind of nice that always stays afterwards to clean up. It's the kind of nice that will always notice a child's needs, or an older persons, or just about anyone's. It's the kind of nice that hesitates to speak, making sure his words will not offend. It's the kind of nice that quietly looks after the children in a crowd. Children always are drawn to my husband--they just seem to have a sense about his nature. Cheiko Okazaki said, "...We can never afford to be cruel or indifferent or ungenerous, because we are all connected, even if it is in a pattern that only God sees." In thirty years, I can say I have never seen my husband to be ungenerous, cruel, or indifferent.
He is so much more though than just nice. There are a lot of things most people can not know about my husband. Because he is unassuming and always kind, they can be led to believe he doesn't have opinions. And often in a room full of people discussing religion, politics, and even the weather, they may assume he is in agreement--not because he agrees, but because he listens and asks questions--seldom asserting his own ideas. Mick is very smart. He could talk endlessly about historical events, especially in the settling of the West and Native Americans. He is passionate about his home town of Grouse Creek. Even though he seldom shows anger, if you want to see steam blow out of his ears--ask him what he thinks about No Child Left Behind. He has strong opinions about politics and religion that no one else except for a few close family members know. He loves horses, nature, birds, wildlife, Yellowstone, hiking, and most of all his family, especially me. There has never been any doubt of that. My husband doesn't read my blog--should I tell him to read this one? Thanks Mick for thirty years of way more than nice.