Basketball Blues

Here are two of the three reasons I’ve been so erratic in my blogging lately.

With SIX basketball games a week, when’s a girl supposed to get any writing done? My days are spent catching up on house stuff because that we aren’t home in the evenings do, or that get pushed out of the way by things like homework and dinner. Between boys middle school, girls varsity and boys varsity, we go to games Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday—on a typical week. Then there are weeks like this one: a holiday on Monday, therefore THREE games on Tuesday alone! All at the same place! Four solid hours of basketball! I love basketball and I love watching my kids play but . . .

A couple more weeks and the season will end. Thankfully, only one team has the possibility of a playoff run.



I’ve reserved my judgment about the new Masterpiece (they’ve dropped “Theatre” apparently) version of Jane Austen’s Persuasion until I had time to watch it, uninterrupted. I finally got the chance yesterday, curled up on the couch under a blanket, the main TV in the house all to myself.

Now I have to admit: I love the 1995 version of this-book-turned-movie. I’ve seen it probably 100 times. And I’ve read raging debate all over the internet among Jane Austen lovers about which version is better, etc. I wanted to give this one a chance. After all, the story is so good it would be hard to mess it up, right?

I thought the casting and acting and sets and costumes were fine. No problem. My beef is with the writer, the one who wrote this screen play adaptation, and with the director. I felt rushed through each scene, no unfolding of character, just a hurry to say the words that would advance the plot. I couldn’t even tell Henrietta from Louisa Musgrove because they were only onscreen a little bit, when the plot required their presence, but because I didn’t know them, the plot they helped shape felt contrived.

The writer also moved one of the best lines—the one that is supposed to be the hinge on which the story turns, and plops it into the middle of the movie where the lines are said but nothing happens as a result of them. On top of that, instead of letting Anne’s pain and desperation show in her words and actions, the writer tells it by having Anne write journal entries which are voice-over so the viewer can “hear her thoughts” so to speak. Anne is also shown sobbing alone. In the other version, we knew how Anne felt, that she probably sobbed in her private moments, but we didn’t have to see them to know—and it tugged at our hearts more deeply. Subtlety and pacing were both, in my opinion, neglected shamefully.

Finally, my biggest criticism of the director comes when Anne and Captain Wentworth realize they love each other and want each other to know it. The director chooses, at this critical moment, to focus the camera on Anne’s face only. There is no romantic satisfaction in that! That would be like only looking at the bride at a wedding. But isn’t the real moment in a wedding when you see both the bride and groom gazing at each other, adoration naked on their faces? We were cheated out of that moment in this film.

So I’ll go on loving the 1995 version, the one with Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds. The 2007 version will fade quickly from my mind.


Lost and Found

This is how frazzled I’ve been lately:

Last night I changed out of my jeans and into my workout clothes to go walk while my son took his piano lesson. This morning, I woke up, tired and cold, and looked for my jeans on the floor of my closet. They weren’t there. The top I wore yesterday was there, but not the jeans.

Perhaps I had folded them and put them back in their place. I looked up to the top shelf. Only one pair of jeans, not two, met my eye. I frowned, picked up several things on my closet floor. Still no jeans. Finally, I put on the folded pair to run to my Moms In Touch prayer time.

But the mystery still niggled at me. Where could those jeans have gone? They weren’t in the laundry basket. They weren’t under my bed. They weren’t in my closet. The only time I’ve had something go missing that I knew I put on the floor was years ago when we lived in apartment with rats and my kitchen towel went from the middle of the kitchen floor to underneath the water heater. Yuck!

But no rat could be big enough to drag off a pair of jeans! The dog? Perhaps. But she’d never done anything like that before.

I couldn’t shake the irritation of not knowing where those jeans went. After all, I only have the two pair. I came home at lunchtime in a frenzy of determination to find my jeans. I knew they couldn’t have grown feet and walked off, as I so often remind my children. I searched high and low, finally tossing aside the purple throw crumpled in the middle of the love seat in my bedroom.

Wa-la! My jeans! Then I remembered: in anticipation of the cold morning, I had placed my jeans in my room (as opposed to my cold closet) under the blanket so they would be somewhat warm when I put them on in the morning.

Too, too many things to keep track of in my head right now. I guess cold jeans I can find are better than warm jeans I can’t!


Books, Books, Books

My friend Mary tagged me on this fun blogger game.

1. One book that changed your life.

Bright Captivity by Eugenia Price. I read this historical novel at a time when I was wrestling through issues in my own life. I resolved that I didn’t ever want to act as selfishly as the main character did, which pushed me to deepen my relationship with the Lord.

2. One book that you have read more than once.

Only ONE!!??!! I’ve read so many over and over. The one I’m re-reading now is The Train to Estelline by Jane Roberts Wood.

3. One book you would want on a desert island.

My Bible--with all its notes in the margins and dog-earred pages.

4. Two books that made you laugh.

The 2 ½ Pillars of Wisdom: The Von Igelfeld Trilogy by Alexander McCall Smith. I know, technically that’s three books, but I bought them as one volume and all three of them made me laugh out loud. Seriously. And since I count those three as one book, the other book that made me laugh is every Jeeves and Wooster novel by P.G. Wodehouse. Love ‘em!

5. One book that made you cry.

My family would say that every book makes me cry, but I guess I’ll go with Jane Eyre. I read it again in 2007. I can’t help it.

6. One book you wish you'd written.

Little Women. I love that it spans so much of the girls’ lives and that its characters and story still impact girls and women today.

7. One book you wish had never been written.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. I had to read this book in college and I hated it!

8. Two books you are currently reading.

The Train to Estelline by Jane Roberts Wood and I don’t have a second book going at the moment.

9. One book you've been meaning to read.

Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight Swain.

10. Five people that I tag: Rachelle, Heather, Carla, Tina and Richard.


Romans 5:3-5

I’ve been a bit frustrated and discouraged with my writing lately. One of my writer friends has been with hers, too. As I was praying the other morning, the Lord reminded me of a verse we had discussed at length at church not long ago. I read it again and sent it to my friend.

Last night, as I lay in bed, I personalized the verse with my writing in mind. So here is Romans 5:3-5, the Writer’s translation:

And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations (our frustrations with plot and characters and finding time to write and telling the story of our hearts and rewriting and rewriting and rewriting that story again and again!), knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance (even when we walk away from the work, declare it drivel, swear we will not continue to waste our time, we come back—hours, days, weeks, months, perhaps years later—with fresh insight, with renewed vigor, with determination to tell the story in the best possible way); and perseverance, proven character (tweaking words, analyzing characters and plot, unwilling to let the story remain untold or to let it be told in a way that is less than our best); and proven character, hope (that the story will minister to someone—even if the only someone is me!); and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.


New England White

It’s been a very long time since I’ve read a book that so drew me in as a reader and so fascinated me as a writer as did the book New England White. This is the second novel by Yale law professor Stephen L. Carter. It gripped me from page one. I read all 550 or so pages within five days—even taking it to my kids’ basketball tournament and reading during time-outs and half-times!

This mystery/suspense is intelligent as well as page turning—and the plot and characters are so intricate that I am almost desperate to pick Mr. Carter’s writing brain to learn some of his processes for plotting and writing such a book. (I’ve searched for an email address for him and haven’t found one. Nor does he have a writer website. Who knows? Maybe he’ll find this post and contact me!) Anyway, I rarely have this insatiable desire to contact a published author, but as I am at a bit of a stalemate with my own novel writing, I would love some tips from a writer who accomplished such memorable characters in such fascinating circumstances.

I highly recommend this book. But don’t pick it up unless you’re willing to let everything else go until it’s finished!