Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Reading’ Category

sherylmeI’m in the “air lock” room, waiting for everyone to get in and fill the elevator-size space. Even in dim light, I know it’s untidy, well used. A fat electrical cord stretches across the black floor.
“When I open the door,” the Director says, “follow me, watch for cords.” The next room was dark, too, but opened to a stage flooded with blue lights. In the ninety-four-year-old theater, constant current activity apparently cloaked the expected smell of antiquity. We followed the director across the stage to the opposite wings.
“You will wait here until time to enter. Remember if you can see the audience, they can see you.”
How did I end up here? My friend Sheryl, a mystery writer, and I came to see Agatha Christie’s Witness for the Prosecution. Out of my program fell a jury summons? I, along with five other audience members, would spend most of the play on stage as jurors. “These are NOT speaking parts,” the director emphasized with a smile. We would sit in the jury box the rest of the play except for a fade out when the scene would be briefly switched. We had watched the first act from comfy theater seats.
The Wayne Densch Performing Arts Theater is in downtown Sanford, Florida, a small town on Lake Monroe, and north of Orlando. Charming, cozy, comfortable and small-town friendly, it is a jewel in the historic town. We walked by art galleries, quaint shops, cozy restaurants and an open farmer’s market on the way to the theater.
My fellow jurors were great fun, improvising “non-speaking” ways to relate to the audience, but in the end, we followed the rules. We were older except for one young, high school student with a spiked, blond hairstyle. He takes acting classes, so backstage was probably not new to him. He volunteered to run back for the water bottle I left in the lobby during recess and offered me his chair backstage, winning big points for the younger generation.
Another in the young generation was the actor who played court clerk. After the play was over, bows were taken and curtains closed we exited the jury box. The clerk was there to take the hands of ladies and help us down. Perhaps he’s a method actor who really gets into his parts, but I think he was just a well-bred young gentleman.
The actors were lined on both sides as we left the theater, happy to shake our hands and talk.
Did I forget the play? Not intentionally. It’s just that my “role” added such a dimension to the experience. The actors were all local and amazing, so much so that it was easy to forget they weren’t real as they pleaded with the jurors.
The Director asked us after the play if we figured the murderer out. I did. But I missed one clever clue Miss Christie slipped in. He also told us she added to the ending of the play because she thought the murderer got off too lightly in her story.
Some days are absolutely magical. This was one of them.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

HarperCollins has created an unbelievable opportunity for writers to get their work before a respected publisher. In their words, “We want to flush out the brightest, freshest new literature around.” That means YOU. This is your chance to post chapters of that novel languishing in your drawer or the one you will write for NaNoWriMo (after a lot of cleaning up and rewriting). Your novel may be chosen for further review and even publication.  HarperCollins main page issues the invitation below.  The publishing world is changing, sometimes for the better. This is an exciting new opportunity for you writers out there. From HarperCollins website:

 

 

Get Read. Get Noticed. Get Published.

authonomyTM is a brand new community site for writers, readers and publishers, conceived and developed by book editors at HarperCollins. We want to flush out the brightest, freshest new literature around – we’re glad you stopped by.

If you’re a writer, authonomy is the place to show your face – and show off your work on the web. Whether you’re unpublished, self-published or just getting started, all you need is a few chapters to start building your profile online, and start connecting with the authonomy community.

And if you’re a reader, blogger publisher or agent, authonomy is for you too. The book world is kept alive by those who search out, digest and spread the word about the best new books – authonomy invites you to join our community, champion the best new writing and build a personal profile that really reflects your tastes, opinions and talent-spotting skills.

The publishing world is changing. One thing’s for sure: whether you’re a reader, writer, agent or publisher, this is an exciting time for books. In our corner of HarperCollins we’ve been given a chance to do something a little different.

We’d really love your help.

Read more at http://www.authonomy.com/about.aspx.

 

Read Full Post »

I get several hits a day from people looking for news of Legible Leftovers since I wrote of our disappointment after my husband and I found the former used bookstore in Longwood, FL closed. If you have stumbled upon my blog in a search for news of its closing, I hope the column below from Chris Dawson, consumer reporter for the Orlando Sentinel, will answer most of your questions.

 

On July 3, I reported the sudden, unexplained closing of the beloved “resale” (used) bookstore in Longwood. One number for owner Linda Mandelbaum was disconnected; the other just rang and rang. A sad final chapter for the venerable literary outpost. Or so it seemed. A reader tip led me to Borders Books where Mandelbaum now works. I left a message, and a few days later received a call from her in Oregon where she was visiting family.

“I spent any number of days crying over this decision,” Mandelbaum said. “The writing has been on the wall since last fall when I learned the rent was going up. It got to the point where I took a part-time job so I was not dipping into my retirement account to keep the store open.”

Mandelbaum sold the bulk of her stock, about 15,000 books, to a Virginia bookstore for $60,000. She put the remaining 5,000 volumes in storage and kept cards with the names of customers holding trade credits from Legible Leftovers. She wanted to send everyone checks for the credits but simply did not have the cash. Customers are advised not to ditch their “Confederate” credits.
“I would like to put Legible Leftovers at least online,” Mandelbaum said. “Maybe a year down the line, I can open a small shop. And if anybody asks, I took the cats home to live with me.”

I hope the information above will answer some of your questions. We are open to news of other used bookstores in the area. Consider this your personal bulletin board for any information you have for fellow book lovers.

Read Full Post »

What did you do before with the time you now spend on the computer? My husband sprang that question on me the other day and now I’m springing it on you. I do spend hours at this screen every day. I’d never thought about what I was doing before with my time. So here is my list of things I have given up or spend less time on:

 

  • TV—That’s the activity that has suffered the most and I don’t miss it at all. As a matter of fact, when I try to find something to watch while relaxing I wear my thumb out channel surfing. TV has gotten worse. My time is better spent on the computer for sure.
  • Shopping—I had to dig to come up with this one. Surely I did more than watch TV before, and I did. This revelation surprised me. Shopping used to be an enjoyable sport to me. Now what I don’t order online I save up to buy in one trip as quickly as I can. When did that happen and why? Who knows, but I see the UPS man more than a store clerk now no doubt.
  • Finances—I wrote checks by hand, balanced my checkbook (sometimes) and subtracted until the money was gone. Now Quicken shows my finances at a glance, bills are paid online, bank accounts handled the same way. I’ve saved money and time in this instance, and best of all kicked the little voice from the FUKOWEE Indian tribe. If you read Kurt Vonnegut I won’t have to explain that last one.
  • Writing fiction—This is the one downer. I realize my writing urges are being too satisfied with this blog, leaving my serious writing over in a corner somewhere.  

 

That is it as far as I can tell. I still exercise (biking, walking and yoga) though no longer at a club. I certainly read as much as ever, if not more. And photography? I take way more pictures now. The instant gratification of seeing them on screen or printed immediately enhances that activity. Now that I have pinpointed the one area I need to attend to, I plan to do just that. Of course, that will mean more time here on the computer. It all comes back to Big Hal, doesn’t it? 

 

What have YOU thrown aside or slighted for your relationship with the computer? How has it affected your life? Perhaps you have thought about it; I hadn’t. If computer is as big a part of your life as mine I think you should. I would really like to hear your views.

Read Full Post »

Multi-generational epics bore me. Just give me a good read about an important slice in someone’s life and I can be swept away. So I find myself verging on vertigo in my real life. Epics are difficult to avoid when you have lived through a few decades. You can’t say, “No, just highlight this part or that.” The parts string along like toilet paper on your shoe until you find yourself tangled in a true-life multi-generational epic. Well, if not epic then situation.

This is what brought that on. We are planning a few upgrades on the home we have lived in for almost thirty-two years. One son re-roofed for us a few years ago, his friend installed new windows, and another re-habbed the master bath. Our son-in-law (an electrician) upgraded the power box. Strangers installed carpet. How did that happen? Now for a second stage the same friend will tile the other bath, the neighbor kid, now all grown up, will do the plumbing. The son of our son’s best man will do exterior painting.

In that mix of characters are a father fighting for custody of a child, another denying his child until DNA evidence turned him into a real father. That son is being a real father to his new child. A couple of young fathers being fathers with or without marriage, a worker with great promise ending back in jail.

Do you need a scorecard? The point is almost all these very competent workers we knew as children or knew their parents before they were born (except the jailed one). We are aware of many of their most private struggles and successes, many poignant slices of their lives. Those slices now strung together form the ingredients of an epic.

Okay, it’s just a house that needs work and has no other significance. I’ll just curl up with a book of short stories until it is finished. Sometimes I think too much.

Read Full Post »

  • Do blogs with dark background tend to contain more dark, negative, angry messages? Just wondering.
  • There is concern in the financial community about imminent stagflation. Welcome to fixed income retirees’ world.
  • I despise searching for information on a subject only to be connected to a video link. If I wanted to watch video I’d turn on the TV. With a few exceptions, I’d rather read to search for facts. It’s certainly faster and I don’t have to watch a commercial to get to the subject. I’m just saying: warn me. I’ll click another link.
  • Do birds of a feather really flock together? Not at our bird feeder. Cardinals, woodpeckers, bluejays, and titmice come regularly and they plan their forays together. The feeder is either empty of guests or a waiting line has formed. Perhaps we need to rethink the old saw about birds of a feather.
  • As I passed through a room yesterday snapping doors closed, straightening rugs, picking up stray flotsam from the floor, straightening pillows, my movements seemed eerily familiar. Flight attendant! That was the feeling I got in my bones. And to think I was turned away from that job many years ago because of my height. I guess I’m showing them.
  • Wedlock. I know it’s a perfectly good word, but just doesn’t sound good. Is that why we mostly use it in a negative way? Ever hear of anyone being born “in wedlock?”

Read Full Post »

The Jenkins Group released these survey results recently.

-33% of high school graduates never read a book after graduation
-42% of college graduates never read a book after graduation
-80% of US families did not buy or read a book last year
-70% of US adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years
-57% of new books are not read to the last page

Yet, 80% of American adults want to write a book.

The math doesn’t add up.

Read Full Post »