Monday, November 29, 2010

A Crab and a Lobster walk into a bar . . .

. . . but more about that later.

On the recommendation of a fellow writer who knows my work, I applied for the PEN USA Emerging Voices Fellowship. I filled out the application -- 60 pages, by the way, including a writing sample -- and sent it on its merry way. I waited on tenterhooks for two months and FINALLY, FINALLY I got the call. Out of hundreds of applicants, I'd made it to the fourteen finalists. After interviewing each of the fourteen, only five would be chosen for the EV Fellowship.

Some times, some things you dream about, pray for, and plan on just aren't meant to be; but then sometimes you get exactly what you need. Someone should write a song about that . . . The Rolling Stones, perhaps?

A week after my interview, I get another call: I didn't get the fellowship. And when you see the type of writers who won it, you'll understand that I was lucky and blessed to have made it to the finals. (A PhD, a BFA, a filmmaker and two internationals among them.)

I was, however, awarded the PEN Community Access Scholarship -- of which they only give out ONE per year -- and that is more than a consolation prize. That's like ordering King Crab, but getting Maine Lobster instead. They are both crustaceans.

A crab and a lobster walk into a bar . . . and I got a scholarship to the UCLA Writer's Program, Number 120 on my Bucket list.

Friday, November 26, 2010



And the winner is...................................................

the $25 Amazon Gift Certificate goes to..................

Jayne Martin over at InJaynesWorld !!!!!!

(*winner randomly selected by entering all commenters' names into

Monday, November 22, 2010

Get to the Getty

It was Baby's day out -- even though my Baby is now a 25 year-old woman -- and she wanted us to go to the Getty Museum.

Good idea; we were two people who just wanted to surrender ourselves to the serenity of art and achieve a blissful state of enlightenment . . . that is, until we turned into the Getty parking lot and our sensibilities were assaulted by a swarm of bee yellow school buses. I could just imagine unruly kids running around ruining our day by making noises as annoying as vuvuzelas.

Undeterred, we trudged onward and upward. Literally. The five-minute horizontal tram ride from the lot elevated us out of our dread, and transported us on a cushion of air to a place that was like another world. The architecture of the place was stunningly symmetrical, which lends itself to a certain symmetry, and we all know symmetry soothes the savage beast. Symmetrically.

The Making of a Bronze Sculpture exhibit was fascinating. It had never occurred to me how sculptures were made and that they started with an iron skeleton. From Foundry to Finish is a must-see if you ever get to the Getty.

We stopped for some fine dining at The Restaurant. Yes, that's the name of it. For all the creativity in and around the museum, I guess they opted for simplicity when naming the restaurant.

Still Life Photography was next, and I found it intriguing how artists pose everyday objects to portray some meaning bigger than their sum total. I think I could do that (and by "I could do that," I mean watch someone else do it). We also saw some medieval and renaissance paintings and decorative arts, which I can never get enough of. The older the art, the more I like it. How they make a 700 year-old painting look like new I'll never know. They should have a tour on that. By the way, we opted not to take any of the organized tours, but you have the option of that, or the GettyGuide do-it-yourself map, which is printed in every language, in large print, and in Braille.

Also at The J. Paul Getty Museum (not the one in Malibu, mind you), admission if free! File that under Things You Could Have Told Me Yesterday And I Would Have Been There Sooner. It's also one of the few museums where you can take pictures of the art as long as you don't use flash photography.

If you ever visit L.A., make sure you get to The Getty Center and explore the splendor that is its 750-acre expanse. This is me crossing Number 118 off of my Bucket List.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Friday, November 12, 2010

Conan O'Brien's First Guest

On Free Fall Friday, absolutely anything goes, even me. Apparently, not only did I go on the Conan O'Brien show, I was his very first guest of his very first show on TBS! Except no one bothered to inform me.

Well, it wasn't exactly me, but someone with my same exact name. Only she's also known as The Nutcracker Lady, too.

Counting my blessings........

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


................where you write the caption.

Friday, November 5, 2010


I know NaNoWriMo sounds like something Robin Williams would say in the TV show Mork and Mindy, but it's actually an abbreviation for National Novel Writing Month.

I know there are a lot of writers who follow this blog, and I'm sure they are aware of NaNoWriMo, but for those who don't know, it's a literary event that urges you to write 50,000 words in one month. This month. The month of November.You can read more about it here.

If you want to check "write that novel" off of your Bucket list, here's your chance to do it.

Don't just sit there, write something. Begin with an entry into the Comment Contest (details on the sidebar).

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


(photo courtesy of Ivan Walsh)

Monday, November 1, 2010


"I never make stupid mistakes. Only very, very clever ones." ~John Peel

Going to see Michele Obama up close and personal is Number 16 on my Bucket List. Well, by a very, very clever mistake, that dream was made real.

It all began when I heard Michele was going to be at Maria Shriver's annual Women's Conference in Long Beach, Ca., but the event was sold out. Michele is so popular! (Yes, we're on a first name basis, but don't be jealous, Oprah. I still love you.)

And then I learned our First Lady was hitting the campaign trail on behalf of California Senator Barbara Boxer, and would be appearing at the Wilshire Ebell theater here in L.A. that same week.

So with one of my BFF's in tow -- The Diva -- we ordered our tickets online, choosing the mid-level priced seating because we didn't want to be so far back that Michele was just a dot in the distance.

When we arrive, of course there's a line around the block, but eagle-eyed Diva quickly discerns that if you have a handicapped placard, you go to the front of the line. She does, so we did. That was a bit of a blessing, but now on to the greatest mistake ever.

We walk up to the check-in table, give our names, and -- wonders never cease -- they have erroneously bumped me up to VIP status. The bad news is they don't have The Diva's name at all.

Fast on our feet, a cheerful but serious exchange of words with the ticket lady occurs. After all, I don't want to lose my newfound VIP status, I just want The Diva to get hers, too. Talk about pushing it to the limit.

After some checking and re-checking, the ticket lady is persuaded to give us both VIP wristbands, then an usher leads us to the center section, third row from the stage! The Diva and I immediately start texting family and friends to share our good fortune, when all of a sudden a tap comes on my shoulder, as I am in the aisle seat. "Would you two like to sit in the front row?" comes the sweetest voice you've ever heard. The front row, I'm thinking to myself; but before I can finish the thought, The Diva is up and headed to the front row, with me now in tow.

When Michele took the stage, I was awestruck. She is as beautiful as she is tall. . . and a better speaker than the president. She could be a motivational speaker. In fact, she is.

Bonus! Babyface performed, and Dr. Jill Biden was there and spoke, also. All I can say is check out the pictures of our Second Lady from the slide show on the side bar; Joe married up.

I don't know what happened, whose mistake it was, or whether it was The Secret at work in the universe; I just know that now I can cross Number 116 off of my bucket list.