Monthly Archives: September 2008

Rising Star, Falling Down

Last night was my first time brave enough to get on stage at Rising Star and karaoke with a live band. I loved everything about it! High marks for the lights hitting you on stage so you’re not so focused on whether or not the audience looks bored.

I used to carpool. I had just finished a biography on Billy Wilder, and I was describing to my fellow riders the ever increasing cynicism in his directing career, in which by the time he made Kiss Me, Stupid, there seemed to be nothing left of the person who could direct The Major and the Minor. Someone asked, well, what happened to him to cause it? “Nothing!” I said, thinking at first of how well his career turned out, how respected he was, and how he’s escaped Germany before WWII when a lot of other people didn’t. “Oh!” I remembered. “Except that he lost his mother and grandmother in the concentration camps.”

I felt stupid as soon as I said it, because of course, that’s enough. Taking a look full in the face at the worst human beings are capable of is enough to convince someone that there really is nothing good at our center. Now I’m wondering what happened to the Cohen brothers. Last night I saw Burn After Reading on the strength of the trailers and the advanced word that it’s a reminder of the Raising Arizona days. I laughed often enough at the clumsy relationships, the pretense, and those faces John Malkovich kept making, but what was I left with? The point of the movie seems to be that there is no point, and that’s a long way from the lessons about the strength of family and love in Raising Arizona. Oh Brother, Where Art Thou is one of my favorite movies, with messages about racism, bonds of friendship, faith and family; it feels as if life has a purpose and a direction, and that’s in strong contrast to the emptiness of the last several they’ve done. I saw the spiraling apathy and hopelessness in The Man Who Wasn’t There reflected again in Burn After Reading, and now I’m wondering, what happened?

Author of Strawberry Shortcake: Return of the Purple Pie Man, Disney’s Frozen Comic Collection, Transformers: Robots in Disguise Animated and Littlest Pet Shop: Open for Business. She’s written for IDW Publishing, Hasbro, Lion Forge, American Greetings and Scholastic, and her work has been discussed in Comics Beat and The Washington Post. Subscribe to the newsletter

I Want to Hit a Note Nobodys Heard Before

I saw this movie recently called Young Man with a Horn. Kirk Douglas has one thing he does really well. One thing. He’s a brilliant trumpet player, it’s all he ever wanted to do, it’s all he can do. Doris Day is in love with him, but he’s not in love with her, even though she does only one thing well too, she sings. Instead he falls in love with Lauren Becall, who has no particular thing. She’s intelligent and cynical, she’s good at so many things, but therefore not very good at any particular thing. On their first meeting, Lauren leans over her chair, gazes at Doris Day on the stage, and says, “She’s uncomplicated. I bet she always knows what door she’s going to go through in the morning.”

Not only do I never know what door I’m going through, I actively resist going through the same one twice. What’s it like to have one thing? One thing you’re really passionate about, and not six or seven things? A Jack of All Trades is master of none. On days when I’m feeling left out or under-appreciated, I think about what I would do if I wanted to try something else. And I realize I don’t even know how to define my role anymore. What exactly am I these days? I wish I knew what it was like to be a trumpet player.

Author of Strawberry Shortcake: Return of the Purple Pie Man, Disney’s Frozen Comic Collection, Transformers: Robots in Disguise Animated and Littlest Pet Shop: Open for Business. She’s written for IDW Publishing, Hasbro, Lion Forge, American Greetings and Scholastic, and her work has been discussed in Comics Beat and The Washington Post. Subscribe to the newsletter

Workers' Compensation

The last time I had a rotten day I went out and bought myself an $80 shirt. Today was a rotten day at work, so I went out and bought myself something expensive again. Work needs to improve or I will go broke in spite of the income. Tonight’s purchase was a yellow cardigan and an MP3 player to replace the one that was destroyed by Universal Studios’ Disaster ride. Don’t you think a ride should warn you if it’s going to send gallons of water rushing into your vehicle? I haven’t had a cellphone or an MP3 player since that day. I’m still using my PDA as a phone, but at least now I can plug myself in and get away from the Top 40 stations again.

Author of Strawberry Shortcake: Return of the Purple Pie Man, Disney’s Frozen Comic Collection, Transformers: Robots in Disguise Animated and Littlest Pet Shop: Open for Business. She’s written for IDW Publishing, Hasbro, Lion Forge, American Greetings and Scholastic, and her work has been discussed in Comics Beat and The Washington Post. Subscribe to the newsletter