Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Friday, February 28, 2014
check out my piece on my lovely chat with Roma Downey and Mark Burnett about the Son of God film releasing today.
|look! I hung out with these cool people|
Over at author Melissa Tagg's blog, I'm talking about Faith and Sherlock and Sherlock and Faith
Sunday, February 23, 2014
So Canada Hockey Gold Hockey Canada Gold Hockey Canada Gold!!
I was up to watch the 6 a.m. gold medal game at Sweden with the entirety of my country and it was exhilarating and wonderful.
Monday, February 17, 2014
So, there's this scandalous Edwardian novel called Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser which I read in University about a girl who moves to the big City and of course everything goes Sodom and Gomorrah for her and it is all about the CITY being immoral and a GIRL being able to survive only by sheer luck, a penchant for theatrics, and the help of men ( no matter whether or not she compromises her virtue). Anyways, there is also a MOVIE version starring Laurence Olivier and Jennifer Jones and the guy who plays the photographer in Roman Holiday whose name, I believe, is Eddie Albert.
holy crikey! THE MELODRAMA! the MELODRAMA! there was so much melodrama JUST in the music that I watched it in little pieces over the long weekend here.
What strikes me about this film ( and I suppose the source material; though it has been so long that I cannot accurately speak to it ) is how much I hate how STUPID everybody is.
Let's start with Carrie: the beautiful ingenue type who captures the immediate attention of a shop keeper when they meet on her train into Chicago. He is obviously a douchebag. She is not so dumb that she doesn't know he is a douchebag. When he gives her money ( because she almost slices her finger off at a sewing machine in a garment factory on her first day of employment) and begs her for dinner, she plans on showing up just to return the money. She knows, ladies and gents, that he is a douchebag.
But that never happens. And while she is at the restaurant about to give him the money she meets another douchebag. This one is George Hurstwood and he manages the restaurant and is married with a family and stuff.
He is the most idiotic character in the history of film ( slight hyperbole). Carrie is installed in a rather distasteful arrangement at the Shopkeeper's apartment and even given a puppy while Hurstwood pursues her when Shopkeeper (I think his name is Drouet ) is away. They go to a play and sit in a carriage and she is all "No! I am virtuous and not a kept woman" Until she is no longer virtuous and still a kept woman.
She finds out that Hurstwood has a wife and kids ( because it never came up before while they were courting ); but she cannot blame him because his WIFE IS NOT A NICE WIFE and his wife DEMANDS MORE THAN HE CAN GIVE and he just wants love.
He wants love so much that he basically takes an open envelope with 10 000 in it and tells Carrie he got a divorce and kidnaps her on a train to New York. He's all: While we're on this train my divorce will go through! And she is all: THIS IS SO ROMANTIC and they kiss. They get to New York and it turns out a private investigator has followed them. This sometimes happens when you take ten grand that doesn't belong to you. Carrie and George move to a tenement like apartment while George tries to work for a living. But he has trouble working for a living because no one wants to hire a thief and he is up in years and there is not a lot of work to be had.
Carrie becomes pregnant and she irons his shirts and stuff and makes his tea and sometimes he runs up a cigar on credit and it seems very How Green Was My Valley: all Triumph of the Poor.
But .... no! You see, Capital D-Bag George didn't actually get a divorce and his wife is back and there's talk of bigamy charges and CARRIE LOSES HER BABY and George is all: it's okay because we really couldn't afford it. So don't you worry. And Carrie is all: THIS IS A TERRIBLE LIFE
Meanwhile, in the society pages, they learn that George's son from his first marriage--- the marriage including the family George just dismissed in order to move away with Carrie-- is going to be in New York! Carrie presses George's best suit and says: HE CAN HELP YOU FINANCIALLY! go see him!
And while George is chickening out from approaching his son whom he abandoned, Carrie leaves knowing that she is a millstone around George's neck.... because PEOPLE, this entire film is a WEB OF MISCOMMUNICATION!
George comes back and is all: NOOO! NOT CARRIE~
And Carrie pursues a career on the stage and starts making money while George starves on the street and spends his evenings at a flophouse.
One destitute night, George waits for Carrie outside the stage door and begs for a quarter and CARRIE is all: LET US HAVE OUR HAPPY ENDING!!! I will get you food and launder your clothes and we can live together.
And George is like: Imma gonna wait til you go and do something and then I am going to take a quarter-- JUST a quarter from your change purse and ruminate on suicidal thoughts while I flick the gas burner you're making tea on. Cause you see, in the book, I kill myself with gas so here before I set once more into my useless and meaningless emotionally-stunted existence, I am going to tragically THINK about suicide.
But no one dies.
Thursday, February 06, 2014
Wednesday, February 05, 2014
Tuesday, February 04, 2014
|a shoe-shiner in St John's Ward having a nap|
study. But his timbre and vocal mannerism is something I try to infer without falling desperately into complete dialect. I try to see the stumbling blocks. I imagine his voice like a brook: trickling happily along and getting stuck on a few logs and rocks along the way. His writing is of huge importance in the story ( and of very huge importance to my lovely Jem ) and I try to capture what stepping stones he might have to ford, what little barriers might catch him in his way.
|Yonge Street, 1910|
|immigrants in the tenement-like housing of St John's Ward|
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
“Later that summer, when the atmosphere was beginning to dip into autumn, Jane would be able to look back and pinpoint this moment in time---the moment of Byrne Worth’s lascivious delicious grin---as the moment that the earth hit a bump and the winds changed their course and the great northern heat wave of 1816 began.”
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
An age in which if you have ever felt the need to cathartically yell at a character who p*sses you off you can DO SO!
|omg let' s just pretend this is their wedding|
An age wherein MOST OF THE FICTIONAL CAST of "Christy" in an odd book/adaptation hybrid have taken to twitter and to, in some cases, recapping scenes in 140 characters. The best part, all TRUE to each character's voice.
Now, I have read thousands of books in my lifetime ( no hyperbole. tis fact) and I have never hated any character more than I hate David Grantland. Just irrational hatred. Doesn't matter what incarnation: book or television adaptation. David Grantland and I are not friends. Before Twilight Heck--even after Twilight, this is the best literary love triangle ever ( except it's more of a duo because David sucks). TRIVIA: Meg Cabot even shouts out to Christy and the dilemma of two men to win her hand in The Princess Diaries.
I hate David he is useless.
and now, thanks to the power of twitter and the devious and insane amount of fun I get from it, I can coax, cajole and bury David in words of *bitingly incendiary wit
(*I like to think they are bitingly incendiary and full of wit)
Whether you're on Team Neil or Team David ( wait. there is no Team David, is there?) or you think a social experiment wherein actual humans cloak themselves in fictional identities that, I think might actually entertain Catherine Marshall, welcome to Twitter--- Cutter Cap-style
There are several Christy Huddlesons on twitter ( also Anne Shirley and Jane Eyre, whodathunk); but this is the account I follow:
@DavidGrantland ( written by a friend of mine)
@macneil_neil (amazing. who ARE you )
I believe the same pitch-perfect voice at the helm of C_Hudd is responsible for Miss Alice and Neil MacNeill.
note: Neil MacNeill on twitter is the greatest thing to ever happen
second note: someone on facebook told me that they guy who plays Neil MacNeill is actually Australian and not actually Scottish. Which ruined my childhood.
|If this makes any sense to you or amuses you whatsoever, ain't no PARTY like an S Club Party, know what I'm sayin'|
Monday, January 20, 2014
Michael Landon Jr. and the folks at Hallmark have done for Oke's Canadian West series in When Calls the Heart what CBS did for Christy in the 1990s: given it a vibrant revitalization on the small screen.
Opening with a two-part homage to the original story of Elizabeth Thatcher and her handsome red-coated Mountie, Wynn Delaney, the Hallmark series now offers episodic vignettes of life in an early 20th Century Canadian mining town. Here, another Elizabeth Thatcher teaches children out of a saloon due to the lack of schoolhouse and Constable Jack Thornton arrives gloriously on horseback to act as law-provider for a town still bereaved by a tragic explosion months before. To put it lightly, former city girl Elizabeth and frontier-man Jack do not hit it off the cuff; but that, fair readers and prospective watchers, is what is delicious about these stories.
The production value is wonderful and Canadians will rejoice in the moments which reference Lethbridge and Medicine Hat: more still, take pride in the red-serged Royal Northwest Mounted Policeman who maintains the right while (slowly) winning the hand of the pretty schoolteacher.
If this sounds like a familiar convention in these kinds of historicals, it is. But it owns it. This is a nice hybrid to settle between Christy and Dr Quinn, Medicine Woman: a romantic look into a simpler time rift with hardships we moderners can scarce fathom.
I love stories like this. I love the lack of cellphones or immediate need for speed of technology. I love that a hand-brush is far more romantic than whatever full-cover nudity you'll see on the latest HBO series. I love that it is stripped of the conniving soapy antics that plague Downton Abbey. This historical is made for those who appreciate a strong, historically-accurate, ripple of faith; but also just appreciate quality television.
I was fortunate enough to view the first three episodes (poor Canadians, this is not shown anywhere here yet--- so keep an eye on amazon for the DVD) and I was impressed, as mentioned, by the production values and warm writing :not unlike a patched quilt sewn with anecdotes and timeless Old Wives Tales. I also enjoyed the acting!!! Great cast! It put me greatly in mind of Sunday evenings as a child when I would rush home from church to catch Road to Avonlea on the CBC. When Calls the Heart is inherently nostalgic: for those familiar with Oke's work, yes; but also for those who just enjoy a time period that seeps gently into your psyche.
|Did I mention he is a MOUNTIE :)|
I was immediately addicted to the main characters, include Elizabeth and Jack; but loved the subtle intertwining of secondary characters that will, I am sure, creep deeper into my heart the longer I watch.
In short, if you are like me at all ( and I know several of you blog readers are ) THIS , THIS is what we have been waiting for. It's our ideal escapism: all tea cozy and rose-patterned, laced with morality and spiced with enough romance to keep our spunky schoolteacher ( SHE IS SO STRONG AND WONDERFUL) gazing out her window for a stetson and red-coat to ride by.
note: My friends at Grace Hill Media were instrumental in giving me this sneak peek and you should check them out because they rock
another note: Janette Oke has written a companion book which will be published by Bethany shortly
Sunday, January 12, 2014
Ramin Karimloo, a native Canadian treasure ( having lived here since 1989, I would say that Colm is an adopted treasure ) is now set to perform the role of Valjean on Bway.
Last night, I attended a brilliant, brilliant and unforgettable performance wherein Colm played the Bishop and Ramin killed it as Valjean (it was my fourth time seeing him this round. RUN TO BWAY and get tickets when it heads there in Feb ). The cast upped the ante, the orchestration was spine-tingling and at the end: they did this.
And you're all like: stop going to Les Miserables. Which is valid. But, last night was for charity :)
Sunday, January 05, 2014
A few notes on the setting:
note 1: St Pierre is a little island off the coast of Newfoundland that is still in the possession of the French. I find it a fascinating little place and would love to go sometime.
note 2: it is FAIRLY obvious that this film was not filmed anywhere near St Pierre and is actually just totally filmed in Louisbourg on Cape Breton Island which is a UNESCO world heritage site and one of my favourite places in Canada! So HUZZAH! NOVA SCOTIA
This movie is achingly gorgeous and strangely ethical and philosophical and surged with harrowing humanism and consequences so grave you will want to sink your head into your hands.
It begins simply: two men go out to the pub on one foggy night, get drunk and kill a man. Stupidly.
Their case is tried and neither can remember doing the deed. It's all circumstantial and rather insipid and kind of horrible. You keep seeing in their eyes the desire to rewind the clock and put the liquor down and rescind their impractical stupidity. Nevertheless, one man is sentenced to deportation from the sieged isolation of the little island and the other sentenced to death by Guillotine as was custom in French tribunal. As St Pierre belongs to French the same sense of legality is honoured there.
The stoic Captain ( a delicious, delicious Daniel Auteuil) is seen receiving a horse from a cargo ship. He beckons his gorgeous wife Pauline ---known as Mme La---( Juliette Bincoche) to admire its ebony sinews and classic stance and we see a married couple deeply, madly in love. This sets off a relationship so passionate in its inference that I could scarcely keep my eyes from the Captain's eyes as he drunk in every moment of his wife's normalcy.
Indeed, the Captain drinks in every movement of his wife: every thought, the slightest of movements. Its as if he so treasures and cherishes her gift of sheer being he would like to steal into her thoughts to better understand every yet-unturned leaf in the blossoming garden of her compassionate enterprise. You will die at how in love this gent is with his lovely wife.
While the prisoner under the Captain's watch is silently resolute, there is an over-arching judicial problem: the prisoner's sentence cannot easily be carried out. They need a guillotine sailed in from the far reaches of France's middling empire and an executioner to see the dead to its end. The Governor, a stern and horribly near-sighted man, proves far more obsessed with retaining his own idea of order than finding a proper end to a precariously bizarre instant.
The prisoner, Neel Auguste, is an exemplary case in reform. Mme La undertakes him as a kind of protege and he begins by helping her consecrate a greenhouse under the ill-tempered weather of their maritime island. Soon, Neel is helping the widows of the neighbouring Dog Island, fixing roofs, even saving a life. He is granted permission to marry and months pass without word about his method of execution or a man to carry out the odious deed.
In fact, when the cargo ship carrying the guillotine finally rims the mouth of the harbour, Neel is one of the first to volunteer to row it to shore.
As Mme La is compelled to spend more time with the prisoner and invest in his rehabilitation, so the Captain is caught in a paradox between his own brand of justice, buried deep in his resolute conscious and his awareness that his wife is preoccupied---if not in a conjugal sense--- with another man.
The eventual outcome is a distractingly strange and bleak and tragic downfall rips apart any idea of romance I had in its infancy due to its rugged, gorgeous sea-scape and spine-chilling chemistry between our Captain and his beautiful Mme La.
I doubt I'll be able to shake it from the precipices of my brain for awhile. It is a tortured movie that spills out like a kind of salt-water opera: tugs at you with brine and oakum and sinks into your pre-conceived notion of law and justice.
A gorgeous story, very well-told, thoughtful and just the right kind of bleak. It's hard to find any light in here beyond the muddled grey of the ocean exterior: but that's Louisbourg for you--- all haggard and rock-rifted and pining for bottled, captive light.
Sunday, December 29, 2013
Stones for Bread by Christa Parrish (keep you posted. will review for Novel Crossing)
The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott (premise more interesting than the author's writing )
The Young Clementina by D E Stevenson (perfect. still. sunshiney look at love and loss and love in the years between the wars in a small English village)
The Atonement Child by Francine Rivers (read a bit too much like propaganda for me; but the writing was taut and I loved the guy )
Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding (LOVED! Bridget! Bittersweet! Maybe the best Bridget Jones yet)
An Elegant Solution by Paul Robertson ( Literary Christian fiction. Compelling .Erudite )
Little Girl Blue (The Life of Karen Carpenter ) (WHY NOT) by Randy L Schmidt ( my brother is always reading Musical biography; so I read this. And the Carpenter's Reader: ephemera of articles and reviews and interviews)
Christmas at Claridges by Karen Swan (sweet)
Trading Christmas by Debbie Macomber ( short)
The Bookstore by Deborah Meyler
Blackberry Wine by Joanne Harris
Seven Men by Eric Metaxas
Still a week of Holidays left so keep you posted
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
|c/o West Midland Theatre of our cast|
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Monday, December 16, 2013
|Hi! I'm Peter Burke I HAVE SELECTIVE AMNESIA|
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
She starts to like him. They kiss and there are fireworks. In fact, she proposes to him! But that won't last will it? that's not the way things should be in our neat little Hallmark boxes of fetid festive fare so INSTEAD they have to loop it so the big Bet reveal leaves the proposal ball in HIS court and he can---again---assume alpha stance. God. Shoot me.
|YAY! I've known this guy for two weeks and he's a Grade A Douchebag but he looks HOT beside my Christmas tree so WHE-BANG! I'm a Christmas Bride!|
Monday, December 09, 2013
First off, make sure you go and re-read The Empty House to keep it all canonical. Project Gutenburg link
Then, watch this fabulous new trailer. WE GET MARY! WE GET MARY!
John's all: "I don't care how you faked it" and I am all " I AM DYING TO KNOW HOW YOU FAKED IT"
Friday, December 06, 2013
Wednesday, December 04, 2013
I am not sure how many more times ( if any ) I will be able to see Colm on stage and he is a long favourite to see live so I bought myself a Christmas present: a ticket.
It's for CHARITY. It's gonna be EPIC and I bet we all get a few duets. If you're in the Toronto area you should consider tickets: http://www.mirvish.com/homepagefeature/aspecialperformancelesmis%C3%A9rables
Tuesday, December 03, 2013
Monday, December 02, 2013
Sunday, December 01, 2013
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
1.) Epistolary novels. Few and far between these days. What were some of the challenges of writing in this format? Some of the pleasures?
You are so right. It’s a highly under-appreciated form and keeping DMK in letters was my greatest challenge. Everyone who read it said it was “too tough,” and “wouldn’t sell.” Thomas Nelson never said that. *cheer* Now I will admit, a final edit change compelled me to write that last section outside a letter – great symbolism there – and it worked for Sam’s journey.
As for the pleasures – every writer should attempt at least one epistolary novel. They are so fun! Letters are unique – the reader almost feels like it presents a first person view, but it does not. It’s even better. There’s a delicious layer we see that Sam can’t – there is what she is willing to tell Mr. Knightley, what she tries to withhold and how she interprets events – any or all of which can look to different to us than to her. The epistolary format allowed me to really explore Sam’s limited perspective and twist it about occasionally. I especially loved playing with Mr. Knightley’s anonymity, Josh’s subtle selfishness and Professor Muir’s feistiness.
2.) Daddy Long Legs obviously informs Dear Mr. Knightley in lovely homage. Can you tell us about your reading experience with that--and some of your other favourite novels?
I fell in love with Daddy Long Legs when I was about twelve and never let it go. Other favorites? Obviously Austen – all of them. I admit Catherine Moreland bugged me for years, but we’ve reconciled and I call her a friend now. I also have a fantasy side to my personality, a mystery side, a non-fiction bent, a… I love to read. Tough to pin me down.
3.) What's next in the pipeline?
Lizzy and Jane is next and it’s in the editing process right now. It will be out next fall and I’m so excited. Lizzy had more humor and confidence available to her than Sam did. But she’s got some struggles ahead of her as well – can’t make life too easy on her.
This story has all the big guns: sisters, conflict, food, Jane Austen, Hemingway (threw you there, didn’t I?), love, and breast cancer. I know that last one is a bummer, but it’s a reality that so many of us experience either personally or walking the journey with family and friends.
Basically Lizzy and Jane is the story of a young woman, Lizzy, who has excised love from her life and, as she helps her sister through chemotherapy, she starts to put it back in – in all its wonderful and varied forms.
4.) If you could sit down with any author---dead or alive---and chat it out at Starbies, who would you choose?
So tough… I think today I would choose G.K. Chesterton. I’ve been digging into him a lot lately and there is such breadth, wisdom and joy in his writing. He’s also terribly quotable. I found this gem this morning: “Thanks are the highest from of thought. Gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” Lovely. And this one is good too: “If a man does not talk to himself, it is because he is not worth talking to.” Very important for me as I am often my own best conversationalist.
5.) Can we be friends? Like, bestest watch-Emma-in-our-pjs-while-giggling-friends?
We’re well on our way already! We only lack a singular time zone, popcorn and M&Ms to dump in the bowl.
6.) Darcy or Knightley (please say Knightley. You can take him places and present him in a social situation without rolling your eyes or cringing at his lack of social aptitude)
Absolutely Knightley, no question. And while you bring up good points, there’s something else to consider… You can be yourself around Knightley. He will love you for who you are and not expect anything more. Darcy might look into your eyes someday and find them not so fine or your figure not so pleasing or your wit not sobright and sparkling. I don’t know about you, but that’s too much pressure for me.
7.) Have you read the Blue Castle? What did you think ;)
Okay… Seriously? I was absolutely blown away by the ending. I would like to go record here as stating that I did not even know about Blue Castle until last month. I have the Facebook conversations to prove it. J But the ending felt so much like the ending to Dear Mr. Knightley that my jaw dropped – fell to the floor to be hoisted up in awe. They felt the same! How is that possible?
8.) You do something amazing: you write a CBA novel while threading the themes of grace and Christianity subtly--making it one of those rare books that can be easily read by non-Christians who wouldn't usually pick up a Christian novel. Was this a conscious decision?
I so want to say that I’m just that brilliant – but that’s not true. I will admit that when I tried to lay a more seeking heart into Sam, she rebelled and it came off heavy-handed and preachy. Now, that said, such a heart was not my original intention for her – I’m just saying that I did try it.
What I intended to do and what won out in the end – was the story of a young woman seeking for answers, a place to stand, a voice of her own, people to love and something to believe. And I think we can all relate to that. I truly believe we all believe something. Even if we say we believe nothing – that in and of itself is something.
So before I get too long-winded – Yes it was conscious and I am so deeply grateful it worked and Sam’s story speaks to people.