Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Window to 1922

Photography has never been my thing, which is surprising given its role in my novel The Night Caller and another novel still fermenting in my brain. I do love the photographs that give us a window to the distant past.

Kodak recently posted the 1922 original Kodachrome motion picture film test reels from George Eastman's collection online. Keep in mind this is thirteen years prior to the first full-length color motion picture.

A little like time travel, don't you think?

Monday, September 13, 2010


I finally saw the movie Julie & Julia. I know! My Netflix account is as neglected as the moon in daylight (~Jonathan Swift). The tag line of the movie said something about how Julie Powell embarked on this 365 day/524 recipes challenge to "enliven her uneventful life." Mostly, I'm thinking she feared her blog well would runneth dry.

When I started this blog almost four years and seventy-some followers ago, I worried my well would runneth dry, too. So I did what any self-respecting organizational freak would do: I made a list. A list filled with nuggets of inspiration. A list brimming with narrow, exclusively time-travel-themed post ideas. A serious list filled with serious topics and serious philosophical explorations of time travel. Nowhere on this list, I assure you, would you find Fabio, Elvis or appropriate homage to The Hoff.

And then one day, my head hurt. Wasn't physics the one thing I hated, really hated, about high school? Sure, the teacher was a Michael Vartan-esque hottie, but the stupid jumping-up-and-down-on-an-elevator essay question single-handedly bludgeoned my GPA. Why was I trying to explain wormholes? If blog readers want wormholes, they'll go to forevergeek or discovery. I only had to know enough to be a dangerously awesome force in time travel romantic fiction. So things like quantum holograms became quavering Holloway and alpha brain rhythms became alpha male-isms. I had pop culture fish to fry.

Did I lose direction? Not really. Did I loosen up? Holy hell to the yes. But there are still days when I come to the keyboard without a plan. And that is where five hundred and twenty four of anything is tempting.

So in the spirit of Julie & Julia, I give you a list of what 524 might look like at The Vortex:

524 Elvis songs, complete with annotations on the lyrics where his barely-contained studio gyrations caused a hiccup in his voice.

524 WTH moments in LOST, the series

524 absurd fictional methods of time travel

524 romantic faces of Fabio

524 Macgyverisms to Win a Girl's Heart

524 Pretentious Coffee shop Patron Profiles

524 Lines of Dialogue I Would Have Written Had I Not Been Writing a Daily Blog

524 Writing Rules I Stopped Following

524 Plot Notes Mined from My Vacuum Bag

524 Inventions to Torture the Nub Who Unleashed the Bamital Virus on My Hard Drive

524 Sentences in Fiction That Make Me Realize I Have Much Left to Learn

524 Never-Before-Used Physiological Character Responses To Convey Emotion. Okay, that well would dry up in, oh, a week. These are my biggest hurdle when writing.

524 Things a Romance Novel Hero Would Never Say

524 Ways to Romance a Physicist

Speaking of Physicists, time is running out to nominate your favorite hottie in ZapperZ's Most Attractive Physicist Contest. I, for one, am hoping for a photo gallery at voting time. It's just the kind of superficial-meets-science we love here at The Vortex.

What would your 524 look like?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Chasing Beautiful

Friday came and went, a bizarre, high-noon filled with all manner of beautiful and horrible. Which is why I rarely go to my hairstylist anymore. Don't get me wrong-she is talented and amazing and I do love me some sleek-cut locks, but it's the forced conversation with subtitles missing, the small-talk that leaves me feeling like an Us Weekly celeb gossip follower, and vanity with a hefty-enough price tag to make me say, "Yeah, I think I'll go all Crystal Gayle next year." But let's start at the beginning: the beautiful.

Ever hear a song for that first time that makes you want to stay too long in a hot car when you're running late and you don't notice the seat belt cutting you or people passing by? The song was layered and sad and rich and powerful. It made me wish I was a better writer. In those four minutes, it knocked every other favorite off its pedestal. The song, you ask? You'll have to read on to find out.

So I sat in the hair stylist's chair, this orchestral/rock masterpiece in my head and laid out my wishes: Layered, resting on my shoulder. Not on the shoulder of the invisible fairy dangling from my earlobes. My shoulder. Yeah, this was the horrible part. That fairy? Apparently, she does exist. But then my horror at my own insignificant misfortune was underscored when the woman in the chair beside me had a stroke. She was smiling and peaceful and there one minute and not the next. They came and asked her questions she couldn't answer and carried her away. I felt blessed to be able to stay and make that small talk and have too-short hair. I paid too much and left.

Later that day, I searched the internet using the lyrics I remembered. Maybe I wanted to recapture the warmth in the car, those few fleeting moments when the day had been beautiful and everyone was smiling. I watched the video on YouTube, tried to align the lead singer's voice with his surprising Ozzy-esque appearance, mourned that my interpretation did not come through visually. Yes, music is more powerful when listeners take the meaning and make it theirs. But mine wasn't theirs, so I just close my eyes when I hear it and it stays on that pedestal.

If you're curious, it's here.

What was the last song that fell instantly into your favorite category?