Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Great Stories are Timeless

Nora Ephron
This will shock a lot of people; I really like Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail, and Julie & Julia. The writing and scripts are crisp and relevant, (I am not a big fan of When Harry Met Sally as my wife will tell you – I think it’s the Billy Crystal, “Way too needy thing!”). I will miss the next installment by Nora Ephron and her take on culture and society. Like Erma Bombeck, she could look at American society and cut away the grand gestures and make it personal, very personal. Cultures are complicated. Writers, at least the good and great ones, assess and appraise society and through their stories give us a reflection of the times and the people. Nora was one of the best and in collaboration with great producers, directors, and actors told us as much about ourselves as well as where we fit in this complicated world: lonely architect needs companion, foodie discovers blogging, needy Jewish guy desperate for love (Woody Allen rip-off here), giant conglomerate kills competition (would love to see the sequel on that one – Borders anyone?).

For writers a story sits on every curb and park bench. Great fiction can be found in slaughterhouses, cruise ships, amusement parks, and churches. Look around and with a little tweaking and poetic license I bet there is a great story next to you. Ms. Ephron devoted her life to just that, stories about the common things, the everyday, the mundane. Yet each matters to someone; she made them matter to us. Her sharp pen will be missed yet through her movies she will last for centuries.

IBPA - The Best Among the Best

I was sitting watching the Giants game the other night and my wife asked if I had looked at the mail. Sensing this was a trick question, I said no, “There might be a bill or a summons in the pile. Why look for trouble?”
“Well something came from the IBPA (Independent Book Publishers Association) and you should look at it.”
“More advertising stuff?” I said, ball one.
“No, it’s the award certificate for the Benjamin Franklin award. Look’s nice.”
“Cool,” I answered, strike one.
“Well you should. They included information about the awards and there’s some stickers you can put on the books. They say you can order more.”
“Stickers, cool,” I said, strike two.
“It also says there were 1300 submittals in your category, LGBT,” she said without any inflection.
I paused and looked on as a low pitch pushed the count to 2 and 2. “Did you say 1300 submissions?”
I really hate it when she gives me that “Gotcha” smile, where do women learn that?
“Yes, 1300.”
Home run!
“I thought that maybe there would be a couple of hundred, LGBT isn’t exactly like fiction or young adult or romance where there had to be thousands.”
“Guess again, there were almost 1300, and you were one of the three finalists.”
“Very cool,” I said as I rounded third.
“And if you think about it, the other two, a memoir and a non-fiction piece were very different from yours; in fact Elk River was the best novel in the LGBT genre for 2012.”
Very cool. I slid into home just because I wanted to.

More later . . . . .

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