Monday, September 28, 2009

Other Creative Projects - Part 2

I also got to do the flowers for some friends' wedding this summer.

The sunflowers came from Cas of Mary Jane's Bakery. And each of the bride's bookclub friends brought flowers from their own gardens. There is a tobacco stake and rocks taken from Jacks Creek (to anchor the large bouquet) to represent the groom's childhood growing up on a tobacco farm there. Further, nothing grows without support--which is precisely what a wedding is about: the community committing to supporting the couple.

Yes, that is also a stalk of corn in the back. The bride never had a garden of her own until they started dating... a good sign, I think, for a marriage: the willingness to do hard work in order to harvest rewards. There is also honeysuckle from my house to symbolize how love can grow unbidden, invasively, a wild thing with a sweet aroma. I wish this for them, too.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Other Creative Projects - Part 1

I sometimes have a difficult time focusing my creativity. So here are some side projects from this summer/fall.

One example is the fashion birthday party -- in which each girl got to make a mood board by cutting dresses/outfits they liked out of magazines and collaging them. Then they designed their own dresses based on that (and what I felt I could do with fabric) and I did my best to make them. My daughter chose the fabric--a very forgiving jersey knit. And so far, her dress has held up pretty well in the wash.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Open Letter to Audrey Niffenegger

I will not go see the movie The Time Traveler’s Wife. One look at the preview and I was too worried they’d get it wrong and all my imagined scenes would be erased, supplanted with a sub par version of your work. Besides, Eric Bana simply doesn’t look edgy enough to be Henry and if they soften him, they’ve missed the point.

It goes back to my childhood. My mother never let us watch the movie before we’d read the book . She never would let us watch The Little House on the Prairie because it wasn’t true enough to the original, despite all my wailing that it was a good show. Naturally this was maddening as a child, but she was right. After watching The Lord of the Rings trilogy, I only have one imagined scene left in my brain (of the Ents). All the others are filled with movie characters and scenes. I am also refusing to watch The Chronicles of Narnia etc. and am not allowing my children to do so either, though I have read several of the books aloud to them.

I must tell you, though, of my experience reading The Time Traveler’s Wife. It was a book-club selection this spring and typically I don’t gravitate to love stories. OK. I actively avoid them. But this one I could handle. I guess it had enough sci-fi in it to pique my interest. Really, though, I loved it. So much of Henry and Clare’s life-long relationship rang true to my own relationship and marriage. I’ve known my husband since we were in the 4th grade, went to the same high school, but didn’t start dating until we were in college. (We’ve now been married for 13 years.) The sense of knowing someone so long that you cease remembering life without that person… I could relate.

Aside from that, I grew up in Northern Indiana so visited Chicago frequently and even taught high school English in Southwestern Michigan.

The more I read, the more I avoided everything else to keep reading (including eating foods like sandwiches that don’t require you look elsewhere). Plus I was under deadline to get it done for book club. And then, the night before our discussion, I ran into a sentence that didn’t make any sense at all. I read it again. It still didn’t make any sense. I looked at the page numbers, as the sentence ran onto a second page… It skipped. My pages went from 354 to 323. Then they repeated up to 354 and jumped to 387.

I was utterly confounded and frustrated. I put the book down, emailed a close friend about borrowing her copy, but we couldn’t arrange a meeting until book club. I went to the library the next morning, but the book was checked out. I emailed another friend to check the library close to her… Nothing worked. So I did the only thing I could: I had a Henry Experience reading about Henry. (I wondered, however briefly, if this had been done intentionally…)

So, I began reading again at page 387, at which point Henry has already had a child I didn’t know they’d been successful in birthing and he has died. Or that’s how it seemed when I picked up the storyline. Then, a few days later, my accurate copy came from Amazon (after I complained) and I filled in the missing chunk of time and everything made sense. Just like Henry.

Of all the books to have such a pagination flaw! It was a reading experience I will never forget.

I have yet to make my own set of terrible wings, but I want to. I sketched out some initial plans and purchased blood red paper at DK Puttyroot the next week. I’ll use some black and maroon silk I have here at the house too. Though I’m thinking no bigger than a foot square of space. (You may have been to DK Puttyroot. It’s in my hometown of Burnsville, about 20 minutes from Penland School of Crafts. It’s one of my favorite places.)

Anyway, I had to share this odd experience with you. And if you ever feel up for a trip to the mountains some September, there’s a small literary festival we hold here each year. If you’re interested…

Happy writing & creating,

Britt Kaufmann

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Chapbook Contest

I have heard back from 3 out of the 4 contests I submitted my chapbook to this summer. So far, I have not made as high as "honorable mention" in any of them. However, Kulupi Press did note, by hand, at the bottom of the form letter, that I had made it past the first round.

The half-full side of me says this is a good sign. My half-empty side says that they just scribble this on to make the entrants feel good about being rejected when all it really means is that I followed the proper submission pagination.

One more to hear back from around September 30 and then the process of figuring out which poems I doubt most. Revising. Re-selecting. Re-ordering. Then re-submitting. There's another batch of contests with deadlines around the end of October.

I promised myself a year of submitting this chapbook so that I wouldn't want to give up after the first slew of rejections. It's probably a good thing I set that goal.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Irony in Advertising

Does Hardee's really think we're that stupid?

Watch this video of a commercial if you haven't seen it already.

It all sounds so good -- back to the basics. They're making it themselves, it's not being mass produced and frozen. It's not so processed. Sounds fantastic... kinda "green," if you will.

Then they add bologna. Seriously folks? You're making an argument for being less manufactured and then you include bologna? What meat product is more removed from its original source? Maybe a hot dog.

Let's check out the nutrition information from their website:

610 calories (A large bacon, egg & cheese biscuit at McDonalds is a mere 410 .)
390 calories from fat
36 grams of carbs

If you eat that with a coffee with cream and sugar, a woman like me would have consumed 30% of her daily allotment of calories, 50% of her grains, over 50% of her proteins, and 75% of her "extras" (solid fats, added sugars, alcohol). No fruits. No vegetables. No whole grains. All this in one "wholesome" breakfast.

To easily see how your diet matches up with healthy recommendations, you can go to the government site My Pyramid Planner. It's where I got all above information.

So as much as my mouth waters watching the commercial, I will not buy or eat said bologna biscuit. In fact, I'm reading more about the proposed taxes on sugary drinks and junk food.


The Literary Festival is over and it really gave me a swift kick this year -- to get back into my own writing and make it a greater priority. So, part of that is more blogging... opening up to what I blog about and perhaps, giving up Facebook's Bejeweled Blitz.