Embracing the positive: The best outer body experience ever

It’s a general rule of thumb that artists, writers and anyone with a dream should surround themselves with positive energy. That’s a relatively easy thing to do. However, once you do that, sharing your work and talking about your dreams can be another thing entirely.

There was a time when I had such a hard time sharing my work or inner most thoughts—even with friends. It wasn’t that I didn’t want them to know. I was afraid they’d think I was crazy or worse. 😉

I quickly discovered, however, that if you don’t put yourself out there for the world to see, no one will know what you do. I also learned that support shows itself in the least expected ways.

In addition to writing, I dabble in photography. Mind you, my work isn’t as brilliant as Leanne Cole’s , whose site you have to visit, but I occasionally get a nice shot off every now and then!

I’ve taken a few photography courses, learned about f-stops and apertures, and studied the work of master photographers. My favorite photographer was Gordon Parks—the ultimate Renaissance man.

In addition to being one of America’s most renowned photographers, Parks was a film director, of the “Learning Tree” and (a little movie called “Shaft”, which is now a classic) writer, and musician.

Anyway, let me get back to sharing our work. We’ll talk about Gordon Parks in a bit.

A dear friend of mine, who I’ve know for well over 15 years now, knew all about my writing and photography. We talked about it occasionally, only because I never wanted to take over the conversation with writing talk.

First, let me tell you about my friend. She’s a former model. She, Beverly Johnson, and the late Naomi Sims, used to work the catwalk in Milan, and Paris. She left the business and went on to pursue a career in the corporate sector, where I had the pleasure of meeting her. We became fast friends.

One day we were discussing photography, and I casually mentioned (again opening up) my artistic obsession with Mr. Parks. She glanced at me over her red-frame glasses and smiled.

“I know Gordon,” she said. “I met him when I was modeling.”

“Really?” I tried to sound nonchalant, but it wasn’t working.

She smiled again, knowing good and well I was about to burst with excitement. “Yes, he lives in New York still. We used to hang out all the time.”

If that wasn’t enough to make me pass out, what she did next blew me away. She picked up the phone and began to dial. I felt my lungs tightening—no air entered or escaped.

When she handed the phone to me, and said, “Gordon wants to say hello,” I almost fainted. The conversation was brief, and polite. I remembered telling him how he inspired me and how much I loved his work. Then, I handed the phone back to my friend, and sat down. Stunned.

I hadn’t seen it coming, the unselfish gesture of a friend who supported my work and my dreams. I will never forget that moment. I’m indebted to her for making something that marvelous happen.

That was in 1999, and when Mr. Parks passed away in 2006, I was heartbroken. However, I was also honored to have spoken to him, if only for a few moments.

I visited his exhibit, “Half Past Autumn,” at the New York Museum of Art, just before his death, and was blown away once again by his work. If you’re a lover of photography or beautiful things, I’d recommend adding this book to your collection.

Lesson learned? Don’t be afraid to share what you love doing. Surround yourself with positive energy and embrace the support received because you never know what might happen.

For me, I was able to speak to one of my greatest sources of inspiration and he spoke back.

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Eavesdropping on a love story

I have a new toy. No, it’s not a telescope, new magnifying glasses or a writing pen turned camera (remember, Enemy of the State?)

It’s actually video and movie capabilities! I am the new Steven Spielberg!

Yes, I’m overdoing it.

But I am excited about another way to promote my book and perhaps, my blog. Or just have fun. We all know that we can make our own book trailers. And I’ve discovered a cool way to do just that, with animation.

I just happen to be browsing blogs in my Google alerts, and I ran across this cool blog where one writer made a video instead of an ordinary post.

Hmmm …the old brain starts to wonder if this might be something to look into to. It was. The site is called Storytelling: Xtranormal and it instantly turns your words into a 3D animated movie. Now, if you’ve heard of it, I have to shake my head and wonder, where the heck have I been?

It is amazing and so fun to create. There is a web version that I dabbled on first. All you have to do is create a login and password, and then you can get started. You’re given 300 xp (xtranormal points) which allows you to buy extra backgrounds, sounds etc.

The windows version of Xtranormal is downloadable, and can go on your desktop. This has a more actions for your characters to do, as well as more actors in a scene. I recommend playing around with the Web version first. Then try to download the Windows version. (Sorry Mac users, I’m not sure if there’s a version of this product for you.)

Now, nothing this cool is free. so note, that they have various plans that you can purchase for your filming needs. They also provide video tutorials and support.

I spent most of last night trying to make a video about one of the scenes in my book, (I can’t wait to get home to make another one!) and I’d like to throw caution to the wind and share it with you.

::::drum roll please :::

Be gentle with me, remember it’s my first. 😉

Hollywood: Lights! Camera! Your Novel!

With the literary successes of novels turned movies as of late,  “Harry Potter,” “Twilight,” “The Help” and yes, I daresay, even “Fifty Shades of Grey,” it’s evident that Hollywood is always on the lookout for what they can tout as the next best thing.

Which is why, it’s completely normal, and IMHO, highly recommended that we, as writers, dream of the day when a movie director/producer contacts us to say the studio wants to make our novel or WIP into a motion picture. 

We would squee with delight when they offered us a job as the film’s technical/script adviser, and gave us a say on who will play our characters.(Now that is dreaming!)

I admit. There are times when I’m writing that I pause to fantasize about who would play my characters. (I even made a trailer for my book. My very first. And it shows. 😉 That’s why I’m not sharing it just yet! )

My critiquing partner is very close to seeing his dreams fulfilled. He has an agent who is in the process of trying to sell his book, which is set in Burma 570 AD, to a major publisher. When we’re discussing marketing strategies for his book, we even go so far as to act as though we’re the casting directors, picking and choosing which actor or actress would do his work justice!

It’s fun to let your mind wander with the “what ifs” and not so much, “the why not me.” Writing is tough enough. Who needs to tack on negativity to an already taunting endeavor? We can’t let someone else’s success muddy our own ambitions. Positive thinking and a little fun in between chapters, scenes and lines is good for a writer’s soul and well-being.

So, what about you?

When that day comes …when Hollywood comes a knockin’ …will you be ready?  Do you know which actor or actress could pull off playing your hero and/or heroine? Or even better, your villian? Would they be a well-known actor or someone struggling to get into the business? Lots of choices, huh?

As for me, I think Antonio Banderas and Gabrielle Union would make a wonderful Marcus and Octavia, in my book.

Come on. It’s okay. Dream with me for a little while. Because, hey, you never know!