Archives for posts with tag: Twitter

Ah. Another instance of Twitter proving its worth for something more than promos, bizarre nonsequiters, and links to videos of kids, cats, and the never grows old excitement of exploding soda with Mentos. What is the plural of Mentos, by the way? Menti? Mentoses? Candies? But I digress. I followed a link to this awesome article on the equally awesomely titled Edwardian Promenade, about Edwardian baby names.

There are some gems there. From a  preGwyneth use of Apple to a list of some that Gomer Pyle might have called humdingers. After his eyes rolled back in his head, as he tried to pronounce a few, and promptly lost consciousness from syllable shock. All in one family that took name pretention to uncharted heights. Honestly, though, those unfortunate, if unique, childrens’ monikers prompted me to save that link.

I’m always on the lookout for character names. For me that’s a challenging, fun aspect of writing. It gets interesting, since I do both fiction and screenplays. What sounds right in my head for fiction may do the same for a screenplay. Initially. Then I try it out verbally and it just doesn’t work.

I fell in love with the English origin name Thane recently, but wasn’t sure how it’s pronounced. I wanted it to be pronounced as it looks–th sound and long a. I was afraid it was minus the th sound, so that even a long a couldn’t save it. Thane has an old English, courtly feel to it. My dreaded “Tane” wouldn’t do at all. It would make me think of a Dane, then Hamlet, and ruin the name/character match perfection. Fortunately, thanks to the cyber blessing of a Google search, it didn’t have to and I didn’t have to keep searching. I can’t tell you how disappointed I would have been to abandon the name that goes so perfectly with the character who chose it.

Sometimes it works that way. Sometimes I pore over baby name books or scroll through the names database in Trelby. That’s where I first saw Thane. I grew up in an area where British, Scotch-Irish (like my family) and apparently Welsh people settled in their treks so far west that they crossed an ocean and a good third of a continent, before they felt at home in their new world. There was a woman named Elwyn in my greater (meaning about a three mile radius in a farming area) community, a man named Esbert that was traced back to English nobility, and the mysteriously named neighbor, Mr. Erice. I’ve never figured that one out. It does not help that it’s pronounced Earsss, as if someone saying Ears spoke parseltongue.

So my names pool includes people I’ve known, people I wish I knew (the public figures and celebrities category), and people I’ll never know, like those long dead children whose parents liked big words and lots of them. I saw some names in that last group that immediately went into my mental file system. Exotic beauties such as Lyonella, Lelias, and Avelina. I imagine I’ll steer clear of the atrocities Ethelswytha and Fraudatifilias!

After all, when naming characters one wants to be memorable…but in a good way.

I never expected to actually learn a lot from being on Twitter, but it’s surprised me.  Maybe I follow unusually interesting people. Maybe Twitter’s just overflowing with interesting stuff, tucked away among the cat pictures, promo tweets, and the daily rundowns of every bite taken…often with Instagrammed visual enhancements. Or it could be that, as it is in the wider world (or is Twitter the wider world now?), it’s inevitable that you come across cool stuff along the way.

Whatever cyber capriciousness brought it my way, this is just one of those things that makes my eyebrows try to meet my hairline and the innerworkings of my brain itch. It also makes me smile, so I thought I’d pass it on.

If you draw -2-2+= on your pillow  or pantsleg or whatever with your finger, it sounds like Chim-chiminy chim chim cheree from the Mary Poppins song. I have no clue why. And I don’t know how somebody stumbled across it. All I know is that quirky little oddities like this are the sprinkles on the cupcakes of life.

I seem to be getting ever more of my info bites from Twitter. That’s fine with me, especially when it brings me such Valentine’s Day gems as these.

1. This letter author John Steinbeck wrote to his young son about love is very beautiful. Simple, yet profound, it explains the ways of the human heart, and provides a roadmap for those willing to travel it to open hearted joy.

2. I started following Canadian Astronaut Chris Hadfield recently, and have been thrilled and awed by the pictures he tweets from the International Space Station. This is the closest I’ll ever be to orbit, and I’m drinking in the visual feasts that range from majestic to cool to quirky. A recent image looked to me like a slice of brown geode with a scoop of fluffy cloud ice cream for decoration. Lyon, France was my favorite so far, with its lacy patterns of lights, but I also particularly liked the ones of the Australian Outback. Stark, yet almost alive with imagined imagery. Today he tweeted an image of a land and water formation that makes the perfect shape of a heart. A Happy Valentine’s Day wish, to the earth from the heavens above us. I won’t even try to top that.

(I’m attempting to put the link to the Twitpic here as well, since it doesn’t seem to want to paste in properly:  )

I love Twitter hashtags. This title comes from one a couple of days ago:  CakeFilms. I was like a kid in a candy (well, cupcake more aptly) store and had to make myself stop.

My favorite I came up with was “You Will Eat a Tall Dark Stranger’s Cake”. As a byproduct of my tangenty way of thinking, it reminded me that I hadn’t watched “You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger”, though I’ve had the DVD for some time. So during a morning spot of insomnia, I rectified that.

After a long ago Woody Allen phase, during which I devoured a bunch
of his greats (“Radio Days”,”Manhattan”, “Hannah and Her Sisters”, and my favorite of course “The Purple Rose of Cairo”) and loved them, I hadn’t watched any in years.

“Stranger” was actually for my shelves busting Anthony Hopkins collection. Though I always love his work, I couldn’t really like his Alfie in this. Not while I was itching to thwack him upside the head for being such an idiot! Of course I enjoyed watching a masterful actor work his chameleonlike magic. That was the trouble with Alfie, though. He was so well-written and acted that he was simply exasperating.

The movie in general was like an irony tolerance experiment to the point that keeping up made my brain hurt. So much misplaced longing and heartbreak raced along at surprisingly breakneck speed that watching was a kaleidoscopic experience, with the little pieces of colored glass replaced by little pieces of broken hearts.

I do not like occult heavy stories,even when there are moments of real humor and it’s by Woody Allen. Ditto on sometimes crass, often over the top sexual themes…ditto on the moments of real humor and the Woody Allen factor. So this is probably seeming to wind its way toward a negative reaction. In fact I pretty much thought it was right after watching.

But it’s not. The more I’ve thought about it the more the way it positively reeks of massive overdoses of irony appeals to me. I’m a big fan of making characters suffer, then springing a huge payoff of some kind after the audience has been lulled into a state of unsuspecting near stupor.

So almost all the characters get what they deserve in one way or another. An Armageddonlike storm of just desserts, poetic justice, and downright you reap what you sew…in spades. Except. Except for Alfie’s daffy ex, Helena. She grabs the brass ring, in the form of an  elusive Woody Allen happy ending.

So. In spite of there being multiple things about “You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger” that should have held it firmly in don’t really like it land…I kind of do. And even though I couldn’t wrap my head around a way to like poor old Alfie, it was a joy to watch my favorite actor play so far afield from Hannibal Lecter. Seeing the face of said Hannibal Lecter as such a believable milquetoast…priceless.

It’s actually the first Woody Allen movie I’ve watched since I started writing screenplays, and I realize I need to go back and rewatch my old favorites, with an eye toward learning from them. The man is a genius, and I am a spongey brain, ready to soak up the irony, the misery, and the sometimes happy goodness.

You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger Trailer

A similar topic trended on Twitter recently, and I thought I’d post the two I tweeted and bring it up to five. There are many, many more I’m sure.

1. When are you going to get that published? — There’s a giant verbal question mark clothed in an exclamation point stabbing the end of this one, so it comes across as more accusation than the product of a mildly inquiring mind. As if a snap of fingers or Samanthalike wiggle of nose makes publishers fall all over themselves to snap up your manuscript. Granted, the onset of epublishing has shifted the paradigm in a number of ways, but for many writers it hasn’t moved to the top of their wish list. The only answer that won’t lead to a round of defensive attack and clueless counterattack involves a polite smile and the words “I’m working on it.” My tweet of this one garnered several RTs, so it must have hit a fellow solar plexus…or five.

2. I quote: Hon, maybe I can help you out. Let me give you the name of a publisher I know. HELD BREATH. GASP OF DELIGHTED ANTICIPATION.OTHER SHOE DROPS. He sells his books in truck stops! — I know this sounds like I made it up in an attempt to add a bit of humor to a topic depressing to most serious writers, but I swear on my new laptop’s precious 750 gig harddrive that it really happened to me. This was a very sweet, entirely serious acquaintance…also entirely convinced they dangled the keys to my thrilling future from eager fingertips. Mine for the taking. Surprisingly, it’s very difficult to turn down such a sincere offer without crushing the crusher. But I managed it just fine. I hope. No RTs on this one, because (I sincerely hope) I stand as the lone recipient. Ever.

3. Did you try A? B? C?– This one is courtesy of the unconsciously arrogant know-it-all. Extremely helpful fellow. So certain his insights will make all the difference, even as you roll your mental eyes, thinking of the mountain of books you’ve practically memorized in your quest for the three fabled Ps–Professionalism, Proofread, Published. Rumor has it they reside atop a Himalayalike mountain called Persistence. If you get through the conversation without slamming a door in Mr. Know-It-All’s face or damaging his eardrums when you hang up on him rather forcibly, you get to advance to Mt. Himalayalike’s foothills without purchasing another book that contains information that will undoubtedly conflict with all the others.

4. (On being told said writer has had a story prominently published.) Disconcerting silence followed by this oh-so-complimentary phrase uttered in tones of shock and awe: Wow! You’ve got to be intelligent to do that. — I’m not sure if that says more about their own intelligence, or their my-how-terribly-flattering opinion of mine.

5. This one is in the screenwriting shade of no nos: A screenplay? LONG, MENTAL COGS TURNING SILENCE. You mean…like…a MOVIE??? — Why, no. I mean like shadow puppets frolicking across a screen door, you dunderhead! That last bit is merely wishful repartee. In reality it’s more an eneloquent “Uh huh.” BEAT “I write poems too.” That one will finish putting them into a conveniently mute near comatose state of confused disbelief, leaving me to quietly fade out of their presence.

Yes, they have all been uttered at me. Yes, I think it’s funny when I don’t think it’s depressing. And, yes indeed, people can be extremely thoughtless and strange. Fortunately, they are more often thoughtful, kind, and encouraging.