Monday, April 30, 2012

Zen and the Art of Life

This last "temping top ten list" for the A-Z blogging challenge is a wonderfully fitting end, a compilation of 10 ways that I have found to live life in a fulfilling way.

When I was in college, I had a friend give me a copy of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, a philosophical journey by Robert Pirsig, and that book made me take a really long, thoughtful look at life - what was really important to me, what defines a quality life.

The "zen" in the title does not refer to specifically to Zen Buddhism, but rather to general philosophy of living life "in the moment", versus an approach to rational analysis and planning (the maintenance part of the title). A quality life is a balance between the two approaches, but in the end, the author acknowledges that quality is basically undefinable and we each must find our own path. 
I wonder if that's why pictures of paths always appeal to me, like this one.

Since then, there have been many other influences on my outlook on life, including a breakdown that brought me to believe in Jesus as my savior. Last year, I discovered the blog Zen Habits, which like the book mentioned above isn't really that much about Zen, but is about learning various ways to simplify and enrich your life - finding balance.

 I also recognize that everyone's path is different.In fact, I love to read about other people's ways or discoveries along the path of life, so after reading my list, please share a thing or two you've learned on your path to life.

10. Life can be ridiculously complicated, if you let it. Simplify. Here's a short, sweet post from Zen Habits on how to start simplifying your life. This gives you more time for the essentials - the people you love, the passions you want to pursue.

9. De-clutter. I will never be an extreme minimalist, because homes filled with beloved things: there is something so homey about them. But I've also discovered that de-cluttering (I spend about an hour a week working on this) brings me such a massive feeling of accomplishment and organization in comparison to the relatively small amount of time it takes. I also believe that materialism - accumulating more and more things -  just breeds discontentment.

8. Resist impulse spending and instant gratification. Waiting has its own wonderful reward, and even better, here's a great post how to overcome the apparent contradiction between enjoying life NOW and avoiding instant gratification.

7. Put things in perspective. All that stuff that is stressing you out right now - it probably won't matter in 5 years from now, let alone 15.

6. Make mistakes, don't fear failure, don't beat yourself up if you mess up. Our mistakes teach us, and grow us in ways our successes never can.

5. Keep learning. Always keep learning new things - technical things, artistic things, new words, new languages - even trivia. It keeps us young and wise at the same time.

4. Seek creativity, even in the ordinary everyday tasks. A short, sweet guide to creativity.

3. Enjoy each moment. Continued happiness and fulfillment is in the little things, not the big things. Especially with your kids.

2. Love deeply and unconditionally and always, always forgive (a post from Zen Habits on forgiveness).  Forgiving another person when they don't deserve it is the hardest things in the world, but the secret to happiness in life (along with #3). 

1. You can't do this alone. We're not strong enough 100% of the time, or even 80%, to tackle life and wrestle the best of out it. Even scarier, if you lived for very long in this life, you discover that people always let you down in some way. So how do you reconcile this problem?

The miraculous thing I discovered is that there is a God who never lever lets you down, who is always there for you, who even died for you - and even better, conquered death and came back to life so that we can too. I don't believe in forcing my religion on anyone, but by golly if I've found something wonderful, I can't help but to share it. I've been a follower of Jesus since I was 23 years old, even though I don't follow very well and am always getting lost. He still stays with me, every step of the way.

Again, everyone's path through life is different, and I can't wait to hear what other wonderful ways you guys have found to enrich your lives. Please share!!!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Temping Top Ten: Young Adult books

Earlier in the A-Z blogging challenge, I posted my top ten favorite kidlit - literature for kids. These young adult books are geared for teenagers, but really, any age can enjoy them.

10. Wildwood Dancing, Juliet Marillier.  A teen girl must keep her father's business and castle in order while he is called away - and try to keep her sisters from falling under the spell of an enchanted world. Not just a fairytale retelling, this is fairytale fusion set in historical Transylvania. Rich with tension between two worlds and a double love story.

9. Twilight, Stephenie Meyer.  I know, I know - you either love this book, or you hate it. I'm not crazy about the rest of the series, but I did succumb to the strange obsessive love in this book. And I love that it got teens excited about reading, and I love that it got so many moms excited about writing, too.

8. Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson. To balance the unreasonable amount of unrealistic love in young adult books, this contemporary classic is brutally but beautifully realistic - and necessary. #YASaves

7. The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins. I still have trouble dealing with the violence in this book, but what I love about is how it showcases the brave hearts of two teens who fight the cruelty of their world with compassion.

6. A Northern Light, Jennifer Donnelly. A poor girl from the Northwoods has a chance to go to college - back in the early 1900's when it was a very rare chance. But it means breaking a promise to her mother. A sophisticated and gripping emotional arc set alongside a murder mystery. fantastic array of characters, and it left me with a new appreciation for dictionaries and "word wars."

5. Wings and its sequels, by Aprilynne Pike.  I usually only read one book in a series a year, even when they are available. This one was a rule-breaker. It's a love triangle, human/human/faery (with a pretty weird/awesome twist on faeries) and I am sooooo Team Tamani.

4. The Iron Fey series, by Julie Kagawa. Okay, I lied. This is another rule-breaker series, and another one, strangely enough, about faeries. But in this case it's the world-building that won me over with the stark contrast between the steampunkish iron fey and the sinister beauty of the summer/winter fey.


3. The Blue Sword, by Robin McKinley. This book was also on my kidlit list, but I think it also qualifies as young adult. I absolutely raved about this book and listed ten reasons why I loved it almost as much as Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings (by the way, the last three Harry Potter books definitely qualify as young adult and deserve to be on this list too. So, now they are!)

2. The Moon by Night and A Ring of Endless Light, Madeleine L'Engle. These are older books, written in the sixties, but the dynamics between Vickie's boyfriend(s) and family are so... I don't even have a word for it. This series just really spoke to my heart.

1. The Outsiders, S.E. Hinton. Just a classic, amazing story - the guys from the wrong side of the tracks clash with the rich kids. But it's so much more than, that too. A must read!

What I love about young adult books is how you can re-discover the wild swings of emotions and first love and first heartbreak and so many other firsts... without actually having to re-live it again! I love stories about finding yourself, your place in the world, learning to be yourself instead of what other define you as, and young adult books capture this so well.

What are your thoughts on young adult books? 

I am out of town this weekend so I apologize for not being able to catch up with your comments and visit your blogs until Monday.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Tempting Top Ten: eXquisite things

Originally I was going to post a top ten list of eXquisite places to visit for today's A-Z blogfest. But I needed today's post to be short and sweet, so I'm going to make YOU do the work. Muahaha!

There are ten things I absolutely love about this eXquisite graphic image I found on Deviant Art. Just looking at this image makes me happy. It looks like the perfect studio for a writer or artist, and completely affordable, too (ha, ha).

IMAGE REMOVED but can be viewed on Togman Studio's Deviant Art page:  Oriental Palace

So tell me what you think would make my top ten list of eXquisite things in this image. Bonus if anyone can guess one thing I love that is MISSING from these studio walls (hint, read my "About Me" blurb to the right).

 Or, tell me what your dream studio would look like!

As a followup to Tuesday's post on my Tempting Top Ten list of Villains, y'all came up with some more truly vivacious villains. The Ringwraiths! Jafar. Captain Hook. Ra (in Stargate). The Borg. Khan. Rasputin! Thank you - all your feedback made that a wonderfully fun post!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Tempting Top Ten: Writing Tips

I couldn't resist the temptation to post my top ten writing tips for the W post in the A-Z blogging challenge.

This list may seem hopelessly academic for anyone except fiction writers. My alternative top ten list was Wonderful Places to Visit in Wyoming. It seems I couldn't come up with a very universal topic - I'm sure y'all are just itching to visit Wyoming. (Actually, you should be, you just may not know it yet. Yellowstone Park and Old Faithful  are on the list, not even at the #1 spot).

Okay, back to writing.

Note: these writing tips are specific to my own writing journey (even in the very narrow topic of writing I still managed to pick the least-universal approach).   I'm not published, nor anywhere near it yet. I'm no expert (though a few of these do come from expert sources).  Hey, I still can't  even make eye contact when I call myself a writer in public. But here you go, for better or worse:

10. Use archetypes.
I learned this in 11th grade English - the only thing I still remember from 11th grade English, I believe. My teacher claimed the popularity of Star Wars was due in part to the use of archetypes - the ordinary guy turned hero archetype (Luke), the wise mentor (Obi-Wan), the good guy turned evil (Darth Vader). The Hero's Journey by Joseph Campbell is a definitive source on archetypes.

9. Flip a famous character
We all want more of a good thing, but different. Take a character that many people love (or love to hate). Say... oh.... Captain Hook! Then flip him somehow for your own character. Make him a her! Or instead of a fairy tale pirate, make him a corporate pirate.

8. Use the Save the Cat beat-sheet.
A great screen play will almost always have these 15 beats, or story elements, from Blake Snyder's excellent screen writing book. They work well for novels, too.  Why is it called Save the Cat? That's another important story element (you can substitute just about anything for the cat).

7. Follow the Rule of Three
Plant three subtle clues that the reader will remember at the climax of the story.  Show your hero's weakness at least three times. Use three sensory details in each scene. Have your hero state his goal three different ways. There's something magic about threes.

6. Force yourself to make lists of ten
Think you've come up with a brilliant plot twist? Think again. Actually, think of nine other possibilities. Your first idea is never the best idea. But if you force yourself to think of at least 10 ideas (most of them will be laughable), one or two of them might be truly brilliant.

5. Delete distancing words
Which sounds better? "She felt like having a chocolate bar" Or "She craved a chocolate bar". Strong verbs are your friends; weak verbs like "felt" or "considered" just distance your reader by pulling them out of the immediacy of your character's actions.  This is basically an application of another great writing rule, "show, don't tell."  Stina Lindenblatt just posted more excellent examples here.

4. Use a picture frame
This is a wonderful focusing trick I learned from my most favorite writing book, Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott. If you are feeling overwhelmed with writing an entire novel, or even with what to write next, imagine a small, empty picture frame surrounding just one thing you want to capture. Focus on writing the one-inch portion of the story that needs to be written. Those smaller portions will weave together to form the larger goal. 

3. Micro-tension
Donald Maas believes micro-tension "is the most important technique for fiction writers to grasp." He should know: he's the head of a world famous literary agency. In a nutshell, make sure you have some sort of tension going on in every. single. page. of. your. story. Period. Here's an example

2. Tempt your muse.
Nothing is more fickle than your creative muse. She rarely shows up on time for work or she shows up at odd, inopportune times, like when you are in an important meeting or just about to fall asleep.  The best way to keep her working (for me) is to keep tempting her with new tidbits. Read a lot. Visit museums. Eavesdrop. Dabble in other arts.

1.5  Write with a pendragon.
A pendragon isn't just a medieval surname but a tiny dragon that sparks flames when you write with it. It sets your writing on fire. Unfortunately, these are very hard to come by (the following image is, alas, only a cute imitation). If you can't find one, any old pen or pencil will do. The bottom line, the point I'm trying to make here: writers write.  Good writers write a lot. Some suggest your writing won't reach a professional level until you've written at least one million words.

1. Read and analyze books.
No list of writing tips, no number of writing books by  famous authors or agents, not suggestions from a roomful of wise critiquers, not even a million words - nothing advanced me in the art of writing as thoroughly as this method. Because everything else was just information bouncing off my head. To get it to truly sink in, I had to study it in action myself. Here's an example of a book I analyzed.

"Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn" - Benjamin Franklin

Which of these tips resonates with you? Or, share your own tip....

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Tempting Top Ten: Villains

Can a villain be tempting? Yes! I really believe they can. The kind you just "love to hate" - or the heart-breaking kind where you see them sliding down into the dark-side and you almost want to offer a hand to keep them from falling. Here's my top ten list for today's A-Z challenge:

10. Cruella deVil from 101 Dalmations (both the animated version and the version with Glenn Close) -  "Dahhhling!" 

9.   The Terminator - "I'll be back"

8.   Voldemort - I think truly one of the scariest villains ever, except for...

7.   Dracula - yeah, Bram Stoker's vampire is the scariest.

6.   Pharoah - played by Yul Brynner in the Ten Commandments and Ralph Fiennes in Prince of Egypt. Such an enigmatic bad guy.


5.  Rebecca from Daphne DuMaurier's novel by the same name. For a lady who is already dead throughout the whole story, it's impressive just how much she looms over the story.

4. Maleficent - a magnificent evil witch from Disney's Sleeping Beauty. Did you know she has a cult following? and we'll get to hear the story again from her perspective when played by Angelina Jolie in a 2014 movie release (the latest fad in movies: dark fairy-tale retellings starting this summer with Charlize Theron in Snow White and the Huntsman).


3. Loki from the movie Thor (2010) - a villain with some fascinating depth and conflict (here's a post I wrote about him)

2. Hannibal Lector from the Silence of the Lambs - the ultimate in clever and creepy

1. Darth Vader


Who are some of your favorite book or movie villains?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tempting Top Ten: Universal and unique

For my A-Z blogging theme, I had grand visions of posting on subjects that were close to being universally popular - things that many people enjoy or are interested in - in attempt to broaden my blog's scope a little bit.

I don't think my grand vision got very far - even my tempting top ten chocolate list isn't exactly universal (though it still shocks me that there are people who do not like chocolate!).  I noticed lots of other people posting on music, movies, books, and types of art - everything from poetry to cooking to photography (and I had various A-Z posts on those things, too).  I love all the variety I've discovered via the A-Z blogfest. In fact if there is anything truly universal it's just the amazing scope of humanity's uniqueness... and yet from this huge pool of bloggers I still find so much in common, too.

For my top ten list today I'm posting 10 things (not in any particular order) that I find amazing about our universe. This comes from my love of  "space: the final frontier."  If your eyes start to glaze over as I list these facts and figures, just skip to the comment section, and tell me one thing (or more) that you think is universally important. Because I love to hear  your thoughts, even if you think my thoughts are a little too far "out there." (smile). 
A visualization of a wormhole (Wikipedia)

1. About 25% of the universe consists of "dark matter", and about 70% consists of "dark energy", leaving only about 5% of the universe visible to us.

2. If you could travel at the speed of light (186,000 miles per second) it would still take 100,000 years to cross our galaxy

3. The moon actually has mirrors on it. They were left there by astronauts who wanted to bounce laser beams off them, so that the distance to the moon can be measured.

4. 1 million Earths can be fit in the Sun, 1300 Earths can be fit in Jupiter, 800 Earths can be fit in Saturn

5. Mars hosts the highest peak in the solar system, named Olympus Mons, with a height of around 80,000 feet (~24000 meters) which is more than 2.5 times the height of Mount Everest, Earth's highest mountain.

5. If the sun stopped shining suddenly, it would take eight minutes for people on earth to be aware of the fact, because the sunlight takes around 8 minutes to reach the earth.

6. Even on the clearest night, the human eye can only see about 3,000 stars. There are an estimated 100,000,000,000 in our galaxy alone!

7. The space shuttles orbited the earth at a speed of 17,580 miles an hour (or 7860 m/s)

8. Personally, I think it's fascinating that no theory of gravity (even Einstein's) has been able to account for all the oddities that scientific study has uncovered, anomalies with fun names like "extra fast stars", "accelerating expansion of space", "the flyboy anomaly" and "dark flow."

9. There are at least 26 characteristics of the universe and 33 characteristics of our galaxy, solar system, and planet that are finely tuned for life (according to Dr. Hugh Ross).  Combining the odds of all these factors together results in such high probability against  life "naturally occurring" that we shouldn’t even be here – let alone alien life forms on another planet. However...

10. ... however, the Drake Equation has been used to estimate that in our vast universe, there might ten other planets with intelligent life. There are a huge number of assumptions that must be made for inputs into the Drake Equation, but theoretical equations like this and the ones that account for wormholes and other wild spacetime phenomena may be physically testable in the future, and meanwhile, they provide mind-bending fodder for science fiction (one of my favorite things).

What amazing thing do you love about our universe? Or what do you think is or should be universally important?

Note:  http://www.elegant-universe.webs.com/int.html is the source for the first 6 items on this list (plus many more amazing facts). The last 4 items were culled from Wikipedia and other Google search results for shuttle speed, gravitation, Dr Hugh Ross and the Drake Equation.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Tempting Top Ten: Time Travel and Tea

Do I win a prize for having six T words in my title for today? Since it's time for T in the A-Z blogging challenge.

Before I alliterate you to death, my original plan for today was to post on time management. Because that's my toughest and most troubling weakness, and if I put together a list of ten tempting ways to save time, it would be win-win for me and for readers stopping by, too.

But oh so much more FUN to post about two things I love, instead: Time travel and tea. After all, who needs time management if you can time travel? And what good is either one without tea?

However for those who are interested in the practical side of things, here's a tremendous list of 10 time-saving tips (sorry, my subconscious keeps inserting all these T words) compiled by one of my blogging friends, Jackie Alston.

Now that I've dealt quickly with time management, I'm torn. Because I can't do a top ten list for both time travel and tea. One appeals to the scientific-minded, or those who like stories with a neat twist. The other appeals to those who love the down-home coziness and comforting tangibility and taste of tea. But, I fear that I run the risk of alienating coffee-lovers, so I'm choosing time travel over tea, but not without first providing a link to a tantalizing collection of tea quotes.

What exactly is so tempting about time travel? For me, it's all the possibilities it opens up. Changing the past, or changing the future. Or in Hermione Granger's case, generating extra time to get things done, or to be in two places at the same time. Best of all the unexpected twists and paradoxes and causal loops due to time travel, like in Ray Bradbury's awesome short story, A Sound of Thunder, which introduces the "butterfly effect."

Okay, enough toying around. Here's my top ten list for time travel (movies and/or fiction):

10. Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure (you'll have a whole new appreciation of Keanu Reeves after this one!)

9. The Time Machine (H.G. Wells)
8. The Time Bandits
7. Back to the Future movies
6. Timeline (Michael Crichton)
5. A Wrinkle in Time (Madeleine L'Engle)
4. The Terminator movies

3. Star Trek (many, many episodes and movies with time travel)
2. The Time Traveler's Wife (the book is much more time twisty terrific than the movie)
1.  Déjà Vu (2006 version with Denzel Washington)

Worth mentioning: some additional time-travel movies and books (a couple of these are still on my to-read or to-see list):  Timecrimes, 12 Monkeys, Thief of Time, Primer, Butterfly Effect, Somewhere in Time, Pathfinder, Dr. Who, and Gates of Annubis.

Last not but not least, Randy Ingermanson (the Snowflake Guy) has a wonderful post on time travel for true time travel geeks, in which he lists several more time travel books that just tiptoed onto my to-read list. 

And, just because I really do love tea as much as time travel, I leave you with this awesome quote:
As far as her mom was concerned, tea fixed everything. Have a cold? Have some tea. Broken bones? There's a tea for that too. Somewhere in her mother's pantry, Laurel suspected, was a box of tea that said, 'In case of Armageddon, steep three to five minutes'.  - Aprilynne Pike, Illusions

Which would you have chosen? Time management, time travel, or tea??

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Tempting Top Ten: Science fiction nerds rule!

This was by far the easiest post for me to put together for the A-Z challenge - I am a science fiction nerd and proud of it. Here's my top ten favorite science fiction movies.

10. BladeRunner (1982)
"All those moments will be lost in time... like tears in rain."


I thought this movie was more stunning for its visual effects (and Harrison Ford adds some great eye candy, too) than for its words, but nevertheless one quote has always stuck with me. The main antagonist, a ruthless replicant, has a chance to kill Deckard (Ford) but, realizing he's running out of time before his pre-programmed death, actually saves Deckard instead. The quote is from Roy just after he saves Deckard, as he's reflecting on his memories moments before he dies. A powerful scene. (And, totally unrelated, but the implications of the unicorn... fascinating)

9. Avatar (2009)
"Everything is backwards now, like out there is the true world, and in here is the dream."

Like BladeRunner, I loved this movie more for its stunning visuals (flying on the dragons - okay yeah technically they are Ikran but jeez didn't they remind you of dragons?) (and OMG the neon forest and the spinning lizards, so cool!) than for its concept or script. But Jake Sully's comment above, about being sucked into his life as an avatar, was a memorable one for me.


8. Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)
"I know now why you cry. But it's something I can never do."

This was my favorite movie for years. I loved the twist: your worst enemy comes back to save you. The scene where Sara Connor sees the Terminator for the first time and backpedals in terror - and then she sees her son run out from behind him - one of those scenes you never forget. The quote is from the end where the terminator machine shows human compassion but at the same time admits he can never be human.

7. The Day After Tomorrow (2004)
"There's a whole section on tax law down here that we can burn."

Proof that there is always a silver lining, even in the clouds that are harbinger of massive climatic disaster. Most memorable (and ironic) scene from this movie: thousands of Americans illegally crossing into Mexico across the Rio Grande river.

6. Contact (1997)
"You're an interesting species. An interesting mix. You're capable of such beautiful dreams, and such horrible nightmares. You feel so lost, so cut off, so alone, only you're not. See, in all our searching, the only thing we've found that makes the emptiness bearable, is each other."

This film embodies the belief that science and religion can co-exist rather than being opposing camps.  Jodie Foster was perfect for this movie, and I also loved it for all the cool SF touches (anyone ever notice that the waves on the alien beach move out from shore instead of in? - and you've got to watch it to see the simple but oh-so-cool trick required to interpret the aliens' message/blueprints).  The quote is from the person who might have been an alien, or might have been Ellie's own subconscious reconstructing her long-lost father - the ending remains purposefully ambiguous, like the next one on the list (Inception). Such endings are frustrating but thought-provoking - definitely memorable.

5. Inception (2010)
"You mustn't be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling."


 This is the most mind-bending film I've ever seen; I had to watch it three times almost back to back to figure it all out and I'm sure I'm still missing tons of nuances. The concepts of dreams within dreams and how that effects our perception of time is fascinating. The quote is from Eames as he joins Arthur in a gunfight (within a dream) and ups the ante by pulling out a grenade launcher.

4. Armageddon (1998)
"If anybody's anybody, I'm Han and you're...you're Chewbacca"

Bruce Willis' oil drilling roughneck crew turned save-the-world astronauts is still the best collection of buddy characters ever put together, in my opinion. The scene where the crew bargain with top NASA officials for "no more taxes, ever" and "say, do you guys know who killed Kennedy" and "bring back eight-track tapes" is a favorite, though the scenes were they are being evaluated for physical and psychological fitness are close seconds. The quote  is AJ arguing with Oscar over which members of the crew match up with Star Wars characters. (Bonus points when a SF movie includes references to ANOTHER SF movie. Nerd love!)

3. Deja Vu (2006)
"I'll speak slow, so those of you with Ph.D.'s in the room can understand."

Denzel Washington is one my favorite actors, and when he finally got brave enough to go SF I knew it was going to be a treat (especially because I love time-twists). The ultimate appeal of this movie, in a post-9/11 world, is the idea that there could be a way to go back in time to prevent terrible disasters from happening. The above quote is agent Doug Carlin (Denzel) trying to get the time-technology geeks out of their theoretical ivory towers and into the serious reality of the situation. This movie has a chase scene that takes place simultaneously in the present and the past - whoa!


2 and 1. All the Star Wars and Star Trek movies. 
I couldn't pick one over the other. So many great quotes that they have literally become part of the vocabulary of modern culture.

"Make it so" - Jean Luc Picard
"These aren't the droids you're looking for" - Obi Wan Kenobi
"Beam me up, Scotty" - James Kirk
"I suggest a new strategy: let the Wookee win." - C3PO
"Are you out of your Vulcan mind?" - Bones
"Boring conversation anyway. Luke, we’re gonna have company." - Han Solo
"I would cite regulation, but I know you will simply ignore it." - Spock



What's your favorite science fiction movie?
(Bonus to any of you who know me well enough to figure out this was a repost from last year)

Update: thanks to your comments, I have to include several runner-ups:  the Firefly series and its companion movie, Serenity; the Island (Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johannsen), I, Robot (Will Smith),  the Matrix (Keanu Reeves) and Minority Report (Tom Cruise) - thanks for reminding me of these great movies!

Friday, April 20, 2012

A Revelation about Romance

My theme for the A-Z blogging challenge is "Tempting Top Ten lists" - and  I thought R would be a piece of cake. I love romance, and it's a pretty safe best most females do too, whether they admit it or not. So much potential for  tempting top ten list! So first I started putting together my favorite romantic comedy movies.

This is how far I got: 

1. My Big Fat Greek Wedding

I thought Pretty Woman would be on this list, but a movie I loved 20 years ago... discovered it's really just a couple scenes from that movie that I still love; the rest of it is so.... corny. Same for When Harry Met Sally, and What Women Want. There are some great scenes in Crazy Stupid Love, Valentine's Day, and How To Lose A Guy in Ten Days - but aside from the LOL moments, the movies in entirety just couldn't muster enough to make a Top Ten List.

So then I thought, well, how about a top ten list of romantic ideas? I started blushing before even getting to the list, and wipe that grin off your face, because what I mean is this stuff looks CORNY when you put it into list form. And it's all kind of "duh" stuff anyway. Candles, flowers, chocolate, surprise get-aways (surprise anything! - except surprise pets, that is way too risky), smarmy love letters or provocative texts, yeah, we all know all this stuff, even the guys, they are just mostly in denial.

There was really only one that seemed truly list worthy:

1. Reach for her hand and  lift it to your lips, leaning forward, all the while keeping eye contact.

Swoon! I coached my husband on how to do this, and even though it was "training" situation, it still made my heart go flip-flop. Then I tried it on my husband and I could tell it got to him, too, though he'll kill me if he ever reads this post.

So, after my failed attempts at top-ten-listing, I had a Revelation about Romance (for me, at any rate). A woman never grows too old for romance, but her views about it certainly change.  Turns out what really appeals to me is the fourth listing under Romantic, a la Merriam Webster dictionary:

1. Consisting of or resembling a romance: an ardent emotional attachment or involvement; love
2.having no basis in fact  (now, isn't that ironic??)
3. impractical in conception or plan (even more ironic)
4. marked by the imaginative or emotional appeal of what is heroic, adventurous, remote, mysterious, or idealized

This explains why my notion of "romantic" is idealized in fantasy stories like the Lord of the Rings, or even stories with heros but no romance in them at all: To Kill A Mockingbird, where Atticus fights a losing battle because he believes in equality and justice so deeply, and a misunderstood outcast (Boo Radley) ends up saving the day. Now that's romantic.


Which definition of romance appeals to you?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Tempting Top Ten: Quotes

IMAGES REMOVED in case of copyright violation (7/27/12)

When I went away to college, my best friend and I wrote each other letters, and we always wrote quotes on the back of our envelopes. I've collected quotes for years and am always amazed how I keep finding and falling in love with new ones (or, new to me). Goodreads is an addictive source for quotes: type in any keyword, famous person,  author or book and then sit back and enjoy.

Here's a few of my favorite quotes for the A-Z blogging challenge (not listed in any particular order - I simply couldn't "top ten" these).

Plus a few pretty random images from Pinterest, just to add some color.


The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious – the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and science. – Albert Einstein

The unexamined life is not worth living – Socrates


You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me - C.S. Lewis


You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk in it. – Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird)




What is love? I have met in the streets a very poor young man who was in love. His hat was old, his coat worn, the water passed through his shoes and the stars through his soul. – Victor Hugo


May the Force be with you. (Star Wars)


Disbelief in magic can force a poor soul into believing in government and business. – Tom Robbins


You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club. – Jack London



Here's looking at you, kid. (Rick to Ilsa in Casablanca) 



There are two things to aim at in life; first to get what you want, and after that to enjoy it. Only the wisest of mankind has achieved the second. – Logan Pearsall Smith


Do you have a favorite quote to share?

Followers

Follow by Email

My Blog List