Monday, March 30, 2009

Asians in art

Art. When have you seen beautiful art of women with dark hair? And where? I want to fill my home with pieces reflecting life, and my life has a dark-haired daughter. How do I show her how beautiful she is? The only Asian dolls I could find when she was a baby came out of a catalog, not a store. Catalog was created by adoptive parents raising Asian children. The Asian community had never sought out dolls that looked like their children, or if they had, had not protested the void. Why?

Silence. Don't make waves.

I see sumptuous baby pictures, so cute your heart melts, but the babies are always blonde. Why? I want the world of advertising and art filled with people who look like my daughter, not blonde, not sweet, but bold and daring. Wild and strong.

I want us to go through life making lots of noise, celebrating, crying, cheering, laughing, protesting what is not right, protecting what is. She takes me on walks along the riverfront and she insists we walk backwards. I'm just crazy enough to do it! Restaurant guests point and laugh, and we laugh right back and watch the river flowing a new direction, not away, not towards, but beside us. We notice what they'll never see because when they finish their meal they'll walk out like they always have and miss everything we noticed because we were walking backwards. And I paid less for this picture than for one of their meals. Shameful.

I want to see with new eyes.

I want you to see with new eyes.

See my daughter. Do you want to erase the Asian from her face before she dates your son, has your grandchildren? Or can you see her soul, her heart, and see what a lovely, loving woman she is becoming.

Can you see the future?

I can, and it's filled with women just like my daughter. Asian.

Asian in your eyes only. Love in mine.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Opening to the future, closing up the past

Scene: the main protagonist, Kerri Ann, experiences the death of a family member and reacts not with grief but with stoicism. As others reach out to her she pulls away. It ends in a bedroom with a pillow discussion and a ticking clock underscoring the gravity of life, the choices made to ignore rather than face the past, and the acquiescing to routine rather than opening up to pain and moving forward through life. It’s what they don’t discuss that hangs as a mist to influence future misunderstanding, except at this point I’m the only one who knows that.

“All right,” he said, reached over and turned out the bedside light. He drew in close, sifted my hair over my shoulder, and his lips lingered in light caresses on the nape of my neck. I didn’t respond to his touch. I loitered in the past, trundled through that horrid hovel, knowing it would look worse as an adult than it ever had as a child. The mantel clock ticked a muffled beat as the rest of the house grew silent. The last light seeping under the door went dark, hurling us into blackness.

“Why didn’t you want me to come?” he spoke into the night.

Share, the clock clicked rhythmically. Share, it tocked.

Lisa: good imagery with Kerri Ann and her dad; -just “confided” good don’t need “whispered;” +”Traced my mark.” Note? Need to understand its importance, need more on that. +”Cascading concern,” +”leave it alone,” Sherrine told Chloe; +the whiff of tissues from box;” +glad Lee came; didn’t’ understand only ½ hour of people after funeral? +rude second husband; +speculation about door tight in parents house. Not sure I understand the fight between Kerrie Ann and Lee(?); I don’t care about that, I care about now (conflicts with his questions during fight).

Melanie: Graveyard scene. +Lee not coming to funeral, +++Lee arrived. +Grief of others – for her. +Guest “welcome to God’s country” scene, we knew something was coming! +Pretend jobs no one needs. +Tick Tock.

Pam: +Nice inner thoughts at the first part. Interesting that she left before he died. So she hated her mom, too? I didn’t remember that – sorry. Why is she so devastated that she can’t even function? +Great imagining at the funeral! I’m glad Lee came! Good exchange of character dialogue at the reception (I didn’t get the whole door thing). K.A. has many issues doesn’t she? I wish she wasn’t so ashamed of her past. +Breathe – tick-breath – toc’ (That entire scene is well done).

Peggy: +Dredged up murk” …ooh, I like that! ?He “walked” away again? Death? +Like a lone sentinel, + :-). +Chloe being mad about Lee not being there…And then for him to be at the funeral…Yay! + :-). +”his eyes smiled…” <-- nice. +Like the addition of the clock ticking with her thoughts. +Getting to know Kerri Ann.

: The group thought I could eliminate a couple of summary references to items the reader understands from the details. Done.

There was some confusion about KA’s feelings about her mom. She didn’t hate her, and also some questioning why Kerri Ann felt the death so hard of someone she did hate. Fixed.

I moved the tissue box in the scene from the rows of well-wishers to the family row and think it tightened up the emotions.

Pam’s catch, “Interesting that she left before he died,” will give me something nice to remind her of when KA reflects in Part II why she did that. I’ll enjoy reminding Pam of how astute she was to catch that fleeting thought.

This was one of my chapters I sent to the teacher (Carolyn Rose) when I missed a class to attend volunteer orientation for Willamette Writers Conference. I used teacher's feedback to enhance the scene, but also mistakenly took the scene too far. The read to the group let me know I needed to pull Lee back, the Korean husband, soften his edges, he is not an easy character to understand. we will love him and get pissed at him from here on out. Characters tick as illusive as people who don't want to be known, or who don't know themselves well, as complicated as the inner workings of a clock.

The tick-tock they referenced is a clock beating in the background as Kerri Ann opens up to Lee, shares her childhood, how it haunts her and how she doesn’t want it to touch him. A ticking clock will show up in Part II, but that's to underscore the need to leave. This was a fun night for me to read—lot of emotion in the room, intense listening.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Experience emerging as a writer via short film World Builder

Stunning short by Bruce Branit, not intended as this, but certainly embraces the experience of emerging as a writer. And that's 'short' as in short film, so not a brief video snippet, but so incredibly fascinating and thought provoking...

World Builder from Bruce Branit on Vimeo.

A strange man builds a world using holographic tools for the woman he loves.

This award winning short was created by filmmaker Bruce Branit, widely known as the co-creator of '405'. World Builder was shot in a single day followed by about 2 years of post production. Branit is the owner of Branit VFX based in Kansas City.

P.S. I nicknamed it WORD Builder. Now get out there and show, don't tell!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Who will play Jae-Chun Lee in the movie? I'm leaning towards Daniel Henney

Like leaning WAY, way...oops fell off my chair. Okay, back in place, here's the audition call: all tall Korean actors who speak English, please apply.

Okay, skip the English, no translatation needed for this.

Kerri Ann describes Lee as being physically fit, with great abs, kind of like the guy at 1:15.

Guy at 1:23 also has "the look."

I'm sorry, but what was that at 1:42??

Okay, that was fun. Now, let's see them in a suit.

Not enough suits for you, eh? I admit it, most of that was a tease.

Try the next one. You've got time, it's less than thirty seconds. It's Daniel Henney. Come on. You've got time to watch it twice.

Now for John...crap, that will not be as much fun. Oh, heck, I can still look for Jae-Chun Lee's cousins: Jae-Hyeon, Jae-Jin, Jae-Min.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Death knocks at door, who’s answering?

Reading chapter eight (our critique group reads 12 minutes out loud each week) was a riveting experience. The quiet in the room reflected the turmoil of the relationships that were exposed in this chapter. It was all a bit unsettling. When I finished I knew rhe book was moving the right direction.

“Your dad was sick of being sick,” Sherrine sighed, and switched on the wipers. “He had a persistent cold, couldn’t get over it, lasted for months, his stomach hurt from constant coughing. I’d stopped by to give him your new phone number and found his car broke down, so I drove him to his appointments. It was better if someone went with him, to help with prescriptions.” She paused, but I remained silent. “I was there when he got the diagnosis. They told him he was dying, he spoke your mom's name, your name, and he broke down.”

I leaned my cheek against the cold window of the truck, the movement of the vehicle rattled me and stirred up old murk. “I wish I could have been more, or at least better then I was,” I murmured into the glass. “He needed something, I never figured it out.” I rubbed away the fog from my breath. “You did everything, didn’t you—transportation, every blessed errand, probably paid the doctor. I know you.”
(A Single Pearl, Chapter 8).

Icons: plus sign ‘+’ to denote good, minus ‘-’ not, and a ‘?’ for obvious.

Lisa: +molded official credit card; +description of Sherrine; +green truck, familiar; +like the familiar comfort. ”A friend from this wretched place?” +The Asian child; +bathroom pink comfort; smell of hospice building?, move up in the scene so we encounter it sooner. +Like the “last” scene with father (before college); +good description of father.

Melanie: +First time seeing new name. Why not talk about children? Need inner thought. +”Enough’ I was only one who laughed. Change order of scene at Chloe’s. +Good scene in car. +Throwing money all over. +Hate you – whewie.

Pam: How did she feel about her dad dying – obviously not very bad. Did it bring up any unsettled emotions? (Ok, you answer it later). +Pocked over gravel; +nice senses of smell. +So true about alcoholism—well described. +”Old murk.” +Very good details of her past and her anger.

Peggy: +Description. +”Warmed the glacier in me…” She signaled? (icon); I like how she (Kerri Ann) went to visit her ‘home’(town)--> lots of great details of her history and backstory. :-) +Why anyone would want to follow the card/recipe when it’s easier from a can! (:-) I can relate!). “That old man,” would “my old man” be better? Ok. +Nice imagery of father in bed. – Don’t’ relay need to say that she “said goodbye,” you include the details of her doing it…

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