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Archive for January, 2014

The_Grass_is_Singing

Recently Doris Lessing died at the ripe old age of 94 with more than 50 books to her name and 3 children, 2 of whom she abandoned to achieve her career dreams. So I find it interesting that she was later known for her humanitarian efforts – is it just me or is there something wrong with that picture?

Oh –  she also won a Nobel Prize for Literature at the age of 88 (oldest recipient) for her life’s work.

“The Grass Is Singing” was her first publication in the 1950’s, at the time a shocking story of life in Southern Rhodesia – now Zimbabwe.  That country banned her for 25 years but recently welcomed her with open arms.

I remember reading the story in the 60’s when I lived over the border, in Northern Rhodesia and being impressed with the characterizations  and ‘reality’ she managed to capture and share.

And now I find out she was a poet, as well!

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Message to Mary

This is so moving, such a beautiful piece of writing by my friend Rashida, I had to share it – with permission, of course!

This is so moving, such a beautiful piece of writing by my friend Rashida, I had to share it – with permission, of course!

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I’m going to be off-line for a while as my computer needs some hospital treatment after I joined DropBox then decided to delete my account.  Before cancelling the account I deleted all the files for safety.

What I didn’t know was DropBox  deleted everything on ‘all my devices’ – my hard drive too!  BUGGER!

I’m just really hoping my computer guru/fixer can find them and restore everything again.  I’ve got most files & photos backed up but not since November – so all Chrissy photos and writing… Oh well.  Hopefully I’ll be back in a couple of days.

Thanks so much for reading my humble blog and have a good week.    Remember to back up often!

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So, in no particularly order I recommend all of these movies watched in a theatre (as they should be) as entertaining, well made and well written – because they’d have to be for me to enjoy them!

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Philomena – delightful and authentic handling of a very serious subject – of course Judi Dench is amazing!  

I actually met a ‘Magdalene Girl’ quite by accident, when I was in Ireland.  A great friend had taken me to lunch near the Cliffs of Moher and a lady at the next table had a cute dog I fell in love with.  We got chatting, mentioned we were writer and publisher, and she said she had only just finished learning to read and write as a ‘laundry girl’ but that it was her ambition to be a published poet too.  

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Django Unchained – not my usual fare because I have a problem with Quentin’s depictions of violence but very good – regardless.  Have to say Leo, Jamie etc performed magnificently.  Beautiful visuals, authenticity and music.

So glad hubby wanted to see it  – against my better judgement I was thoroughly entertained!  Perhaps I’ve misjudged Quentin – and he LOVES many Australian movies…

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Silver Linings Playbook – Watching Bradley is never hard work, but in this his character is so layered (as all the characters are) this was definitely an unforgettable favorite for the year.

Initially, I had to see the movie because a favorite Aussie actress Jackie Weaver was in it and the reviews were excellent but I found this film had so much more to it.  It touched my heart, made me want to take up ballroom dancing again, made me laugh, cry and I recognized friends in the characters… what more could you want from a $10 movie ticket?   Now I’ve joined the queue and recommend you see it too!

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Life of Pi – It’s all been said before but those magnificent visuals and the very human story are unforgettable.

I’m an Ang Lee fan anyway and a friend of mine recently worked with him so I had to see why many loved or some hated this.   I hadn’t read the book, by all accounts it was very difficult to adapt to screen – another reason I had to see it.  David McGee did an amazing job of re-imagining the plot for screen, he’s currently working on the next ‘Narnia’ adaptation.  I love best of all that he leaves the ending, open. 

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Captain Phillips – Very well done, although from the trailer you’d think it would get boring, filmed mostly in the escape boat…. but it doesn’t!  The tension is high from the minute you put your bum on the movie house seat and sit forward for the opening shots. Another authentic film with locals employed who at times, threaten to steal the acting limelight!

There were 2 reasons I HAD to see this:  Film Mafia’s review AND  I wrote an idea for a script in 2006 ‘Sabre One’ dealing with the same subject with an almost identical idea for the opening sequence. My script then follows a plot line which didn’t have an American slant but a British one. I’ve had some interest over the years but 1st time feature director lacked funds or it was too costly for local producers – but hope never dies.  

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The Railway Man – I’m a  fan of both the leads: Nicole (naturally) and Colin for so many of my favorite RomCom films. In this although he starts as I expect, his character then turns completely against type.

My husband and I are also researching my father’s WWII Pathfinder experiences and his final year flying ‘transport’ in India and Burma for a feature project.

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The Sapphires – A FABULOUS Australian movie full of fabulous music, characters and a true story which had never been celebrated before.  The exuberance and joy were contagious – I loved it!

Hubby and I had  watched and cheered for a young Jessica Mauboy on Australian Idol and I’d been a fan of  Deborah Mailman for years watching Australian TV Series like ‘Secret Life of Us’ and ‘Offspring’.  No brainer, really…

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The Guilt trip – Hee-Hee-Hee.  I alternately laughed or questioned myself all the way through this.  I found it very funny, human, real and a plausible fly-on-the-wall road trip with two opposite characters who find they’re not so different, after all.

Of course anything with Barbara in it, I’ll watch – HUGE, HUGE fan of her acting, directing and beautiful voice but mostly of the choices she makes.  (I find I usually agree with her.)  I guess she played to my expectations – I’ve been a fan since ‘Funny Girl’.   I also think Barbara drew on the character of her mother in that movie, to find the beginnings of her character here… then updated it. 

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Zero Dark 30 – there was so much controversy and expectation around this movie, we both (hubby and I) wanted to see it but for different reasons.  He, because of the Osama man-hunt but I wanted to see how a woman would depict the horror, torture and violence.  It was also a story which affected all in the ‘free’ world, based in fact.  It was confronting, tense, visually gripping and aurally authentic.  I wasn’t entertained, I found instead that I was made to feel ‘safe’ in this very uncertain world, although the end reeked of US patriotism.  For all that, a very well made and considered film.

…and finally…

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Quartet – Dustin Hoffman’s first foray into the director’s chair – and it was excellent!  Mind you, he couldn’t fail with such a good script, beautiful location and 5 top performers who freely admitted they didn’t sing but mimed!   Funny, engaging, heart-wrenching, sad, cheeky and heart-breaking-ly authentic (again) filled with beautiful music.   Love, love, loved it. 

These are only films I got to see – I’m very sure there were many more excellent movies I missed and would still like to see; ‘The Great Gatsby‘, ‘The Butler‘ and newer ones like ‘The Book Thief’, ‘Grace of Monaco’, ‘Saving Mr Banks’ and ‘The World of Walter Mitty‘. 

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Celebrating New Year 31/12/13

Hopefully you celebrated the old year and welcomed the new, in your own way – and enjoyed it!    So what’s your New Year resolution?

After I’d done a short course at KSP Writers’ Centre:   ‘Sound Recording for the PC using Audacity with Chris Oakeley’,   I was inspired to have a go with a poem I’d written for a friend’s wedding.  Sound Cloud  was handy, already available on my computer (because I hadn’t uploaded the Audacity disk Chris gave me yet) and although one dimensional compared to Chris’ teachings, assuaged my immediate need to try and be ‘clever’.

I hadn’t looked at the workshop information since but discovered it again after clearing my desk today, and I wanted to share  a sample of a recording I did with Chris.  But I can’t see how to do it on here…  so back to Sound Cloud (It’s a first attempt and not a good recording, I’m afraid you’ll have to turn the sound up to listen.)

When I wanted to put together a one-off printed book of photos and words as a gift for my hubby, I also discovered ‘Blurb’ .  Construction was easy and the result professional – I was pleased and so was he.

Blurb now offer the opportunity to do an e-book version, to include sound files and if I want to, I can also sell it through their website.  I’m thinking my ‘Santa’s Swim’ would work: I could read the text as the pages are turned…

There are many opportunities these clever days to do all sorts of things with your writing, to present it on many mediums and try to appeal to all tastes.

The thing is; finding time to take advantage of all these opportunities while paying the bills (when I’d rather be writing) while endeavoring to find creative space between the natural demands of family.

That will have to be my New Years Resolution: to do an e-book – then add sound!

What’s yours?

 

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