Friday, September 28, 2012

Won't Back Down Review

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" Mary Oliver
One of the characters in Won't Back Down says something close to this, and it reminded me of the quote by poet Mary Oliver, one of my favorite quotes. So it stands to reason if this is one of my favorite quotes and is an integral theme of the movie, then I was bound to like this movie. And I did.
I'll admit when I first saw the trailer I thought, "Why wasn't this just a Lifetime movie?" It didn't sound like it was worthy of the big screen. But the casting intrigued me (I'll see anything with Viola Davis after The Help) so I decided to give it a try. I'm so glad I did.
The best comparison I can make is that it's Rocky in a school setting. A classic underdog movie that will have you cheering for the two women who take on the bureaucracy of the public school system and the teacher's union in order to provide their kids with a better place to learn.
But it's about more than that. It's about something that is, I think, within all of us: that desire to know that we didn't slip into this life, exist for an amount of time, then disappear without ever having made a mark. In the world's eyes these women were unlikely heroes and yet, to the students of this school, they became the catalysts that changed everything just because they stood up and said "Why not try?"
I was inspired by this movie and will be thinking about it for awhile. I'd recommend for you to see it with a friend or, if your kids are 12 or older, with them. (There's no sex or violence and I only counted two cusswords so I call that a safe movie. The only reason I say 12 or older is younger ones might get bored.) I took my 16yo son and he enjoyed it. He did think it was a bit slow at times and I would have to agree-- but not enough to turn me off to the movie.
When I was growing up my mom had a plaque in our house that said, "Live so that when you are gone it will have mattered." (Betty Feezor) That's certainly true of these two women. I'd say that we want that to be true for all of us. If you'd like to be inspired to find your passion and live it, then go see this movie. It's worth the watch.

Release: September 28, 2012
Director: Daniel Barnz
Written by: Brin Hill and Daniel Barnz
Producer: Mark Johnson
Cast: Maggie Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Holly Hunter, Oscar Isaac, Rosie Perez, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Lance Reddick, Ving Rhames
In this powerful story – inspired by true events – of parenthood, friendship, hope and courage, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis portray determined mothers­ who will stop at nothing to transform their children’s failing inner city school. Facing a powerful and entrenched bureaucracy and a system mired in traditional thinking, they risk everything to make a difference in the education and future of their children.
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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Moms Who Want To Be Their Child's Friend: A Quote

"I think there is a tendency today for parents to want to be their kid’s friend. I have friends who think that treating their children like their peer is empowering them – I disagree. I think you empower a child by teaching them how to think for themselves, giving them a moral compass and telling them you’re always there like the North Star. I tell my kids I don’t want to be your friend. You will have lots of friends in your life, and they will come and go. I am your mother. I’m not going anywhere."

Had to share this quote from Elissa Schappell, who is speaking at the Moms @ Work breakfast in Charlotte NC this Friday the 28th. I'm unable to go, but maybe someone reading this would like to.

A reminder that I post at Southern Belle View on Wednesdays.

And there is always something going on at She Reads. We try to introduce you to the best writers and books in women's fiction every week, so don't miss a post!

And happy birthday to my second child, who is (unbelievably) turning 18 today!
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Monday, September 24, 2012

Weekend Recap

Here's how I spent my weekend:

Friday afternoon Curt and I got everything (and everyone) squared away on the homefront, jumped in the car and headed to Asheville, NC to see David Gray, who if you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you've probably heard me talk about. If he shows up anywhere within driving distance, we go if it's at all possible. I was SO glad when he announced a southern leg to this latest tour and was online at the exact moment the tickets went on sale. We snagged great seats and soaked in the music on Friday evening. I love going to a David Gray concert because I find other crazies like me who know all the words to all the songs and drive distances to see him live. The couples on either side of us had driven from SC and Raleigh NC to see him.

Saturday morning it was time to leave the gorgeous hotel we stayed in (pictured above, and lest you be impressed, know we stayed free thanks to my husband's points he'd stored up-- one of the only perks of having a husband who travels) and head home to reality. We stopped in a little town in Morganton NC for lunch at a wonderful off-the-beaten path cafe called Murray's for lunch and had a delicious salad (me) and sandwich (him) for lunch. Fortified, we drove the rest of the way home, stepped out of the car and into busyness as, crazy fool that I am, we had invited friends over for dinner that night. Thank goodness I didn't overestimate my own abilities and had only committed to spaghetti for dinner. I made the sauce and let it simmer all day so that all I had to do to eat was cook the pasta and make the (frozen) rolls when it was time to eat. My friend brought the salad and some marinated chicken for her and me since we're both trying not to do carbs. Dessert was Breyer's straight from the carton for the men and kids. Gourmet it was not but we were together, the kids had a fire to throw sticks in outside, and good conversation around the table went on for hours. Perhaps I wasn't such a fool after all.

Sunday we went to church, went to lunch, saw our kids' school principal at lunch and bought her whole table cookies, which embarrassed my kids to no end. But I think it's nice to bless people who work hard for us. At least, I hope it blessed her and her family. After lunch I took my 12yo daughter for some one-on-one time and we went to a friend's Thirty One party, where I bought her a case for her Kindle Fire. Then we went looking for some fall/winter dress shoes for her. We didn't find any shoes but did find her a jean jacket and me some gray boots, which I had on my "keep my eye out for" list. (The one pictured is not the actual boot but close enough.) After a stop at the grocery store to stock up for the week, we came home and I collapsed on the couch and queued up the latest Pioneer Woman show to watch with the kids, something that's becoming a tradition for us on Sunday evenings. After that I crawled into bed and read until my eyes closed, which wasn't long.

Most of our weekends aren't that busy, nor would I want them to be. But this one was fun and full. Next weekend I have a totally different weekend planned-- a beach writing retreat with a friend. I think I'll use it to recuperate!
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Friday, September 21, 2012

A Pre-Weekend Laugh

In case you missed it over at Southern Belle View, I had to share this funny cartoon that my friend Beth Webb Hart shared.

I'm totally in!

PS. I'm sure Beth Webb wouldn't mind me telling you to put her new book, Moon Over Edisto, on your radar. I am super excited about this book, which features equal parts wonderful premise and setting.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Every Single Time

I run I think of this picture:
Don't forget to check out Southern Belle View today, where I've posted on a time in my life that nearly drove me crazy.
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Monday, September 17, 2012

I Am...

Delighted with this quote from author Katherine Towler:

"From an early age, I was a passionate and constant reader, far more interested in curling up on the couch with a good book than in going outside to play. I adored words and what words arranged on a page could accomplish in the mind of a reader, painting vivid pictures, conjuring up exotic places, and making imagined people come to life with a force that real, live people often seemed to lack."
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Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Real Parts Of Fiction

I get the question a lot from folks wanting to know if what I write is "true." Well that question can be taken a lot of ways. Are the characters real people? Did the events really happen? And the answer is, some of it is real and some of it is made up and I just put it all in the pot, give it a big stir and see what it all becomes. No one is more surprised than me with the outcome.

I loved this quote when I read it in a blog post because it best captured what IS real in my fiction:

"I have a book coming out this Spring - and although it's fiction - the seedling of the story was born in truth. I am not my main character nor do I have her problems - but it's still honest in the sense that emotional truths come through in a happy scene or sad scene because an author can remember feeling or seeing something happy or sad. Or something sickening or startling or funny or poignant." Amy Sue Nathan, author of the forthcoming novel, The Glass Wives and blogger at Women's Fiction Writers

What is real? Always the emotions. A novelist has to capture real feelings on a page or you will put the book down and walk away. So while I may not have gone through the exact things my characters go through, I have always gone through the feelings they're having. It's my job to feel, and feel deeply, and remember what it feels like to feel so that I can help the reader remember too.
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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Review: The Words

I have to say that if you are a writer (or even an avid reader) go see The Words. I felt like the movie was a tribute to writers and the power of story. I loved it immensely and was sad that "they" don't make movies like this more often. I am tired of crude humor, silly plotlines, and space ships. I want poignant stories. I want to be moved. And I was by this movie.

The only negative I will express is the Dennis Quaid storyline. I am not sure that it added to the movie, even if it did add a layer of mystery to what exactly was going on and how the three plotlines would (you assumed) unite in the end. But instead of that plotline adding, it seemed to detract. And also I didn't like the ending. That's been a theme for me of late-- several books and movies I've seen lately have been great all the way through but disappointed me in the end. Maybe I'm too picky but it seems to me that lately things just stop-- they don't come to a fitting end. I would say that of this movie. I wanted a bit more wrap-up, a true conclusion. And based on the reactions of those sitting around me when the screen went to credits, I was not alone.

But even with all of that, I loved the movie and will continue to recommend it to my story-loving friends. If that's you, arrange a girls' night out or date night soon and go enjoy being pulled into a great story.

Here's the trailer:

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Tuesday, September 04, 2012

I Am...

...Packing a lot into this short week. Edits for the book that comes out next summer are due Friday and I leave Friday for the Southern Independent Booksellers Association trade show in Naples, FL.

... Looking forward to SIBA. A confirmed book nerd, it is one of the highlights of my year. It gives me time with other writers and time to interact with booksellers, not to mention good planning time with the other "Belles" from Southern Belle View. I'll try to post pics next week once I get my feet back under me.

... Starting a Bible study this week. I've been out of CBS for a few years but made the much-debated decision to recommit. After doing some informal studies in small groups and doing my own thing at home, I feel the need to get back into a community. What better than Community Bible Study? We'll be studying Ephesians and Hebrews this year-- two books I've never studied and am excited about digging into.

... Still thinking about a movie we watched this weekend: "We Need To Talk About Kevin." It was dark and disturbing and definitely not light and heartwarming... and even a bit slow as some indie movies can be. But I'm still mulling over the questions the movie raised and thinking about the characters as if they were real-- a sign of a good story. I may not have enjoyed the movie, per se, but I was definitely challenged by it.

...Trying to make a meal plan for this week after I cook the last meal left in the house tonight. Last time I scheduled two weeks' worth of meals and bought all the food at once and it was nice to not think about it again. Now I'm out of inspiration so I'm getting on Pinterest and combing through my collection of clipped recipes to discover some good stuff to eat!

... Looking forward to seeing The Words tonight at a sneak preview with my husband. I've not looked forward to many movies this year, but this one seems right up my alley. A writer as the main character AND a love story?? Yes, please! I'll review it here on Thursday and let you know if it's worth seeing.

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