Archive for category: Random Thoughts

Here’s the current soundtrack for my latest work-in-progress. It’s evolved from the one I posted back in 2013. Same book, though.

Say Something – A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera

Mirrors – Justin Timberlake

Demons – Imagine Dragons

Night Swimming – REM

Come Back When You Can – Barcelona (specifically this YouTube mash-up of Weeds)

Sinners – Lauren Aquilina

Possum Kingdom – Toadies

The Promise – Tracy Chapman

Fix You – Coldplay

Take Me to Church – Hozier


When I read Elizabeth Strout’s Olive Kitteridge a few years ago, I was floored. And wowed. And gobsmacked. It had been a long while since a book had such a HUGE impression on me, one that has lingered to this day. I read the book only once, but kept telling myself to go back to it. The only reason I didn’t, I think, is because when I get that deeply involved in something, it’s all consuming. Meaning, at the sacrifice of everything else, like good hygiene and remembering to feed the cat.

So when HBO released its mini series Olive Kitteridge last month, I was hesitant. Hesitant because films are rarely as a good as the book and hesitant because November is a hectic month and becoming consumed again was the last thing I needed.

But I kept seeing people talk about it online, so I finally gave in.

Yep, obsessed again.

  • I’ve watched it 2.5 times (I’m halfway through the second part for the third time…did you follow that?).
  • I’ve developed a wicked crush on the actor Richard Jenkins who plays Henry, Olive’s long-suffering husband. He is excellent. I can’t stress this enough.
  • I’ve decided I want to sit and have a coffee or glass of wine with Frances McDormand because she fucking rocks. I loved her in Fargo and I’d forgotten until I remembered that she was in Moonrise Kingdom. She’s wonderful, and I love the fact she fell in love with this book as I did and that she so tenderly shepherded it to the screen.
  • Bill Murray. Jesus. He’s pretty much fantastic in everything he’s appeared in over the last decade plus. This is no exception.
  • John Gallagher, Jr. I got to know him in The Newsroom. Here, he plays Olive’s son and does so with such maturity and wisdom and poise.
  • The rest of the cast is excellent as well. Too many awesome people to get into here.

The setting. THE SETTING.

I read the novel during the late fall, early winter, and I think it influenced my read. I remember describing the book like this: it’s like watching the sun set on a Cape Cod beach in the dead of winter.

Unless you’ve ever experienced that, you probably won’t get what I mean, but if you have — if you can feel the chill in your bones and the wind on your face and see the milky orb against the pale pink sky as it sinks into the dark gray water and you sense that part desperate, part joyous, part awe struck feeling it produces in your soul, then you get it.

That’s what I experienced when I watched this film for the first time and second time and two-point-five time.

Here are some random quotes on writing that have inspired or resonated with me lately.

Seth Godin on writing: “The process advice that makes sense to me is to write. Constantly. At length. Often. Don’t publish everything you write, but the more you write, the more you have to choose from.”

“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.” — Anaïs Nin

“I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.” Jack London

“Listen, Hank,” he asked, “what makes a man a writer?” “well,” I said, “it’s simple, it’s either you get it down on paper or you jump off a bridge.” — Charles Bukowski

“There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.” — Oscar Wilde

“Given the choice between trivial material brilliantly told versus profound material badly told, an audience will always choose the trivial told brilliantly.”– Robert McKee

“At the end of a miserable day, instead of grieving my virtual nothing, I can always look at my loaded wastepaper basket and tell myself that if I failed, at least I took a few trees down with me.” — David Sedaris

“There’s no such thing as writer’s block. That was invented by people in California who couldn’t write.”– Terry Pratchett

I HAD to end with some funnies, folks. 🙂

So I was inspired by all the first responders during the bombing and decided to get certified in CPR and first aid. Had a class last Wednesday and Thursday night. The kid I sat next to and who ended up being my partner was named Nick.

The second night Nick asked me, “You know what YouTube is, right?”

(Did I mention Nick just started shaving? OK, he wasn’t that young, but close. Early 20s.)

“Yes, Nick,” I said. “I know what YouTube is.”

“So there are some people who just make tons of videos – usually about nothing – yet they get tons of people to watch them and they make all this money.”

“You mean like Jenna Marbles?” I said.

Nick’s eye lit up, obviously impressed. “Exactly! Just like Jenna Marbles. Have you heard of Hannah Hart and My Drunk Kitchen?”


“Last night I went on Hannah Hart’s Facebook page and wrote, ‘I’m taking a CPR class and my partner looks just like you.’”

“Really? I look like some chick named Hannah Hart? I hope that’s a good thing.”

Nick assured me it was.

Naturally, I googled her when I got home (look at this link — it’s a Google images link). I actually can see what he means in certain shots. Her videos are funny – you can check ‘em out on her FB page. I’ve quizzed a few folks, including the ‘rents, and they can all see it. It’s kindy spooky in some shots, like I’m looking at a picture of myself that I don’t remember being taken.

People who know me well will probably be able to see it. People who know me only from my head shots (and I had extra poundage in those pics) won’t likely see the resemblance since that’s all smoke and mirrors and fancy touch ups.

Note: Hannah Hart was born in November of 1986, making her not-quite 27. I’m taking this to mean that Nick probably has no idea I’m 40. Of course, he might still think almost-30 is ancient (see YouTube comment above), but I’m trying not to focus on that. 😉

Note #2: I’ve been thinking about going really short with my hair, and seeing how Hannah rocks the look, I might just do it. Stay tuned.

I’m inventing a new “ology.” You know, like astrology and numerology? I’m calling it favemonthology. You list the months in order from your least fave to favorite. I think it would say a lot about your personality. I suspect it does about mine.

Here’s my order from LEAST FAVORITE to FAVORITE month:

12. November – least fave.

11. December

10. October

9. September

8. August

7. January

6. February

5. March

4. July

3. April

2. June

1. May – fave!!

Go ahead, interpret. What do you think the order says about me? And what’s your favemonthology order?

Definition of Insanity

Waiting for a call
that never comes, my heart breaks.
I will write anyway.

Tell me, what do you do that’s insane? Haiku it in the comments!

…I’ll be 40.

I’m not pointing this out because I’m fishing for compliments, reassurance, or someone to offer the platitude “but that’s still young.”

Young, old — I don’t care about these things, much.

What I care about are milestones and those moments when it makes sense to stand back — I mean really stand back — and reflect on where I’ve been and what progress I’ve made and to look forward to where I want to go. Forty seems like a good enough place as any to do this, as do the months, weeks, and days leading up to this milestone in my young-old life, depending on your perspective.

Yesterday was the eleventh anniversary of 9/11. I not only remember where I was on that morning like everyone else, but also remember in vivid detail the days leading up to 9/11. OK, not the whole days, but specific moments, like the fact I was printing out applications to places like BU’s and Brown’s graduate programs in creative writing, two programs I never ended up applying to when I finally did make the move five years later. I was essentially unemployed at the time, having left radio (the first time) in February 2001 so that I could write. I couldn’t have told you what a gerund was to save my life, because I hadn’t yet taught a writing class. Forgotten April was a “what if” question that had only recently occurred to me. In many ways I was a dreamy, but heartbroken pup on 9/10, and became even more so on 9/11.

But getting back to yesterday. Yesterday, I sat down and made a list of how I’ve changed and what progress I’ve made since 9/11/01. It was an interesting exercise to sit and reflect and stare out over my life’s landscape from the last ten years (plus one).

I’m a firm believer that what we’ll regret most in life as we take our last breath are the roads not traveled, the chances not taken, the “what ifs” never answered. I’ve confronted some of these in the last eleven years, but I still have work to do. And I imagine this is the case for most of us.

I haven’t blogged here in some time, but I’m getting back in the groove, having tackled Facebook and Twitter and this little thing called “book #3.” I’m ready now to get back at it, even as I still try to figure out exactly what I want this blog to be.

Here’s looking forward.

How do you celebrate “big” birthdays?

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1. There’s such a thing as Tight Jean Syndrome. I, however, do not suffer from this since I’m a Pajama Jeans convert.

2. I’m tired of all the viral marriage proposal videos circulating on Facebook and think it would be a lot more interesting if someone captured a real “I want a divorce” moment on video. What would be some good songs to use for that? Hmm.

3. Ditto with the commercials for EPT pregnancy test kits. Show a woman freaking out because she just found out she’s preggers and doesn’t know who the father is. (This is the picture my blogging software recommended regarding the pregnancy test concept. I found it amusing.)

4. Get this: books with expiration dates, as in the text disappears after a certain amount of time. Fascinating concept.

5. We’re in the midst of a mercury retrograde (through August 8). It’s a great time to do anything with an “re” in front of the word like “revising.” (But back up those computer files.)

6. I’m about one third of the way done with the draft of the third book and have been dealing with some major structural issues. They’ll all work out (I have to believe it at this point), but it’s been a challenge. Mostly in a good way, like putting together a puzzle.

7. I need to enter the 21st century and get a smart phone. There, I said it.

What random thoughts have you had this week? Share in the comments.

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1. I’ll stop just about anything I’m doing whenever the movie The Shawshank Redemption comes on. It’s one of my favorites. The dialogue, the character development, the story. Also, it has one of my favorite last lines in a movie. Every time I hear it, I shiver. The movie has been enjoying a marathon run on AMC for the last couple of weeks, and every time I encounter it — even if I’ve just seen it the night before — I’ll stop and watch.

2. Speaking of movies…fifteen years ago this week, I was vacationing on Cape Cod. One of the things I did was go see Ulee’s Gold, an indie film that received a lot of critical acclaim back in the day. Peter Fonda, who played the main character — a beekeeper named Ulee — was up for Best Actor.

Anyhow, I remember liking the movie when I saw it in ’97. I remembered Peter Fonda played a beekeeper. And I thought I remembered the basic premise of the story until I watched it again the other night. I had no recollection whatsoever. It was as if I were watching it for the first time. I responded to it differently this time around as well. This serves as a good reminder to occasionally revisit books and films I’ve read decades ago. I’m bound to experience and appreciate ’em in a new way.

(Want really random? Peter Fonda has been married four times. Four! After three, wouldn’t you question whether you’re any good at the whole husband/wife thingy?)

3. More movie randomness: I haven’t been to a movie theater since last fall. That’s the longest I’ve gone probably since high school. No reason in particular, and there have been plenty of movies I’ve wanted to see. I’m sure that will all change this summer.

4. I mentioned this on Facebook, but it’s worth repeating here: You know the work is going well for a writer when everything else in her physical world is in shambles. To wit, I can’t remember the last time I vacuumed or cleaned the bathroom. I think both things need to happen soon, regardless of how the story is flowing.

5. One of the problems I have with online dating is that when I read someone’s profile, I create a story in my head, and often outline the whole relationship we’ll have, including its demise, within 24 hours of stumbling on the profile. It makes the thought of actually connecting in person seem incredibly unnecessary.

6. That, and the fact I’m convinced most of the people emailing me through these online dating portals are serial killers. I swear, you can tell by their hairlines.

7. These are some of the lengthiest random thoughts I’ve written since I started this feature.

What random thoughts have you been thinking this week? Share in the comments.

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1. A made bed is so overrated.

2. Joy is the best makeup. — Anne Lamott

3. I have a new Twitter follower who is on the fast track to winning the Best Twitter Handle award for June: Stubby Freckle Butt (@MrStubbsSays)

4. I think someone should make a video called “Making Books Out of Nothing at All” to the music of Air Supply’s “Making Love Out of Nothing at All.”

5. I might have been an Air Supply fan back in the day, and I might have had their cassette.

6. Tommy Lee Jones in jeans = hot (from his appearance in The Fugitive).

7. A friend of mine told me I am no longer young. He says anyone under 35 is young, but, at the age of 39, I’m middle aged. Theoretically, he’s right. But if I went to Jamaica and got hit on the head with a coconut and died as a result, people would say, “But she was so young.”

What random thoughts have you had this week? Share in the comments. #7RandomThoughts