Saturday, September 28, 2013

DJ Viridian's 28 September Playlist

While working on my new book, Tales From a Goth Librarian II, I listened to certain pieces of music that were approrpriate for the work then later decided to post them as my one woman Goth Night.

So, without further ado, here is DJ Viridian's Playlist!

Front Line Assembly - Blood

The 69 Eyes - Sister of Charity

Siouxsie and the Banshees - Kiss Them for Me

Imperative Reaction - Judas

October Project - Take Me As I Am

Audra - Cabaret Fortune Teller

Coldplay - Cemeteries of London

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Highlights from the 2013 Best Memphis Burger Fest

One of the many reasons why I love living in Memphis is because we have some of the coolest events EVER!

Some of the events we hold in Memphis are: Cooper Young Festival, Dead Elvis Week, River Arts Fest, seasons of Shakespeare plays, groovy Opera Memphis, Memphis Music and Heritage Festival, Beale Street Music Festival, Indie Memphis Film Festival and so on and so on!

The 2013 Best Memphis Burger Fest was no exception - where else can you pay only $5 to sample some of the finest burgers in Memphis and the MidSouth? All of the teams not only made their best burger, but they also provided samples for the passersby and created extreme burgers for the Extreme Burger contest!

Without further ado, here are some photos from the fest. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Some Highlights from the 2013 Cooper Young Festival

As a Midtowner living in Memphis, going to the Cooper Young Festival is a given, for it gives me the chance to enjoy not only living in Midtown but also Memphis as well. Tons of food, art, music, and anything else under the sun is contained on two well known streets of Memphis - Cooper and Young. Here are some photos from this year's festival. Enjoy and maybe I'll see you at the festival in 2014!

People, people, PEOPLE!

 Memphis Grizzlies - THE No. 1 Sports Franchise in the COUNTRY! GO GRIZZ!!


Opera Memphis Tent

Burke's Books - a cool bookstore in Cooper Young

You can't have a festival unless if you have a PRONTO PUP!!!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Excerpt from CLEA: The Alexandria Quartet by Lawrence Durrell

The Alexandria Quartet by Lawrence Durrell is one of my favourite series of books.

Okay, mostly everything I have read is one of my favorites, yet The Alexandria Quartet stands out as something more than just books. Reading The Alexandria Quartet is like visiting an art museum on a rainy Saturday and there are only a handful of people around. The paintings are there to be admired, adored, scorned and questioned; such are my feelings for the main characters Justine, Nessim, Mountolive, Clea, Melissa, Pursewarden and Darley, our beloved narrator of the entire quartet. When I read Justine, the first book in the quartet, I wanted to purchase a copy for everyone I knew and force them to read it.

Of course, I did no such thing.

In being introduced to those characters, I felt as though I was a part of their "world" of art, sex, war, memories and blood. Even though reading the novels has taken some effort, as when I read Proust's epic In Search of Lost Time (I am now up to book three!), The Alexandria Quartet is worth it.

The books that make up the quartet are: Justine, Balthazaar, Mountolive and Clea.

Here is an excerpt from the last book, Clea:

"Yet the whole business became a little more real when the little caique which Nessim had sent fussed into the dusk-filled harbour that night, manned by three sullen-looking sailors armed with automatics. They were not Greek, though they spoke the tongue with waspish authority. They had tales to tell of shattered armies and death by frostbite, but in a sense it was already too late, for the wine had fuddled the wits of the old men. Their stories palled rapidly. Yet they impressed me, these three leather-faced specimens from an unknown civilization called 'war'. They sat uneasily in such good fellowship. The flesh was stretched tight over their unshaven cheek-bones as if from fatigue. They smoked gluttonously, gushing the blue smoke from mouth and nostrils like voluptuaries. When they yawned they seemed to fetch their yawns up from the very scrotum. We confided ourselves to their care with misgiving for they were the first unfriendly faces we had seen for a long time. At midnight we slipped our slantwise from the bay upon a high moonlight - the further darkness made more soft, more confiding, by the warm incoherent goodbyes which poured out across the white beaches towards us. How beautiful are the Greek words of greeting and farewell!"

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Experiment - 9 April 2013

Claire waded to the other side of the pool, hoping he would finally see her. She had spent most of her time outside trying to avoid James and now that she had succeeded in ignoring him, missed seeing his eyes. She missed the way he would ask her questions about her life, the books she read, the films she watched over and over and why the art work of Van Gogh made her cry. Yet, due to her recent bout of depression, she refused all contact with the rest of the world and especially James. No one understands this, she would think to herself. Even now as she swam to the other side of the lonely pool in a sort of natural therapy rather than the drug cocktail she used to take, she reiterated that thought in her mind. No one understands me. When she reached the other side, she wondered if perhaps, in knowing James as long as she did, that maybe he would understand her better than most if not all. She glanced up from the chlorinated blue water to find his deep emerald eyes staring at her while he sat at a table far enough away from the crowd that gathered opposite him. She watched him watch her with a startling detached interest and suddenly, her stomach began to flutter.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

5 September 2013 Violin Class

So, I have just returned from my second violin class with my new teacher, Diane . . . .

The Good: After repeated attempts to play parts of Twinkle Twinkle, my arm is actually straight when I play, rather than the all over bow playing I did before. My arm now hurts in a good way - using muscles for music! I am also getting used to holding the bow again; since I have such long fingers, they tend to drape over the bow. But, after looking at Diane's fingers over and over, I think I've got the hang of it.

The Bad: Playing in front of a mirror for me makes me very self conscious; every time I hit a bad note, my mirror image gave me a look that said, "Really? REALLY?" I never knew Twinkle Twinkle could sound so sad . . . .

The Cute: I got to meet Diane's dog, who almost pulled down my pants as she jumped on my legs and ran through them. Very, very cute puppy!

That's all for now. Tune in next week for my next class!

Book Review - The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

Thanks to the Decatur Book Festival, I was able to get a copy of Julian Barnes' novel The Sense of an Ending for cheap and after reading it in two hotels, knew it to be a wise choice.

The story, told from the perspective of protagonist Anthony Webster, is one that is fraught with memories and more importantly, regrets: spending too much time with the wrong girl and then later sleeping with her, not contacting friends enough, remembering parts of memories rather than the entire picture, and learning to let go of the past when it is ready to move on. In his youth, he and his friends are wild intellectuals of the 60s in Britain and nothing can stop them, or even remotely change them . . . until they meet Adrian, in whom they all try to gain favour with, only to realize later that he is impenetrable, thereby making their challenge even more lucrative.  After breaking up with Veronica, an enigma all to herself, Anthony learns that Adrian has taken the plunge with her, thereby cutting all ties with Anthony and not even realizing  it. Then, Adrian commits suicide and the world that Anthony knew now has a black hole in the center.

Years later, after a marriage that ends in divorce and having a child that grows up to later become slightly resentful and weary of him, Anthony learns that Veronica's mother has died and left not only money but Adrian's diary for him in her will, thereby beginning the twist to the already twisted tale that confirmed my thought that Julian Barnes is quite the distinguished writer. His writing style is quite simple and yet, in the voice of Tony, you know that this could be a real person. The dryness, layered with repressed emotions that surface at the wrong times, are apparent in Webster and at times my feelings for him wavered between a mild embarrassment to pity to impatience to finally, resignation.

Do not let the slimness of the novel deceive you, for The Sense of an Ending is one that, when you reach the final page, you will want to read again immediately. If it wasn't for the fact that I had to get sleep in order to make my drive back to Memphis, I would have read it all over again that night in my Days Inn Hotel.

I can now safely add Julian Barnes to my list of adored writers and I can not wait to get my hands on another of his works.

Thank you, Mr. Barnes.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Beret Movie Review - THE WORDS

At 9:30 this morning, I drove in from a long and yet wonderful weekend in Decatur, Georgia for the Decatur Book Festival and was ready to just lay down on my couch and possibly sleep. Yet, knowing me, once I am awake, it is hard for me to go back to sleep unless I am just dog tired. So, I dropped all of my belongings on the floor in my living room and put in the movie The Words.


When I say Damn, I mean that in a good way. This quiet yet wonderful movie is great to watch alone or with friends who are writers, for this is definitely a writer's movie. The story is simple and very powerful: a young man who wants to be a writer finds an old manuscript in a piece of luggage and decides to make the manuscript his work. However, a past comes to haunt him, opening his eyes to an ethical dilemma he never thought possible.

The stellar cast, composed of Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Irons, Zoe Saldana, Dennis Quaid and others turn this simple story into one that can be watched over and over again while discovering something new with every viewing.

As a novelist who has been published several times, I found Cooper's performance as Rory Jansen, the struggling yet determined writer, to be quite familiar with my life: writers have stories in their head that they need to tell to the world. We spend weeks, months, even years on a manuscript and we consider it to be our "baby", our pride and joy. Yet, once we send it out to the publishing world, we become nervous, unsure and almost angry that the world doesn't jump to praise our work as fast we want them to. The look on Rory's face when a literary agent tells him that while his work is well done, it isn't marketable, is a look I have had before when I received my slew of rejection letters on short stories I have submitted for various journals and publishing companies. Yet, when we get that one acceptance from a publisher, the one YES out of so many NOs, we the writers feel that our time was well spent, that it it was worth the sacrifice. When Rory's world turned upside down when his latest "manuscript" was accepted, I understood all too well and shared in his moment of happiness that was plagued with a secret that needed to stay hidden. Suddenly, he was no longer a struggling writer; now, he was the best of the best through the eyes of someone else.

As a side note, I also enjoyed this film because Rory's relationship with his girlfriend then later wife Dora reminded me of my relationship with my boyfriend D. Alan Lewis - we are both published writers, our relationship is interracial, and his eyes are just (if not more!) as blue as Rory's:

(This is the photo I would love to see on the back of one of his novels)

The Words is a film that needs to be seen - go see it!

Two Berets UP!