Science and Stuff

Saturday was Earth Day and March for Science day. I almost went to the march, but did not. It’s okay though, because I made it a point to like all the Facebook posts of friends who did go.  (That last sentence was supposed to be tongue-in-cheek but really just makes me feel sad for reasons I can’t unpack at the moment.)

It so happens that I am reading a science-type book during treadmill sessions at the gym.

It’s called How to Defeat Your Own Clone: And Other Tips for Surviving the Biotech Revolution. how to defeat coverIt’s written by some smart bio-engineers who know stuff and write well for the layperson, so I am enjoying it.

I have a special interest in clones of late, in relation to a project I’m working on, which is probably how I stumbled onto this book online, but I think it was not clones that inspired me to buy it.

Via Amazon’s “look inside”feature, I was able to read the first few pages of the book and can across this paragraph:

“Not infrequently, the answer to an innovation’s dangers is more innovation. When human beings first started to congregate in large cities, disease grew to be such a problem that there was serious speculation that living in large cities was unnatural and unavoidably dangerous.  People were not meant to live so close to one another. Cities were a disastrous and doomed experiment in living!

Then plumbing happened.”

This interested me, both at face value — and in how it views about science as a creative problem-solving process.

In creating narrative, there’s an idea that if you “paint yourself into a corner ” you’ll be pressured into finding some amazing way out of your predicament.  So in this way you can force yourself to come up with a more brilliant solution than had you played it safe.

Sometimes though, the brilliant solution takes too long to arrive, and you have a deadline, so you just have the crumple paper into a ball, through it away, and start from scratch.

So in honor of Earth Day, I wondered which way Earth is headed. Maybe, if we keep polluting, it will force our scientists to perfect the special bacteria that can eat all the pollution from the air, or fake clouds that can patch  holes  in the ozone layer.

Or maybe we’ll have to resort to the crumpled paper scenario.  I’m not sure what the Earth-sized,  metaphorical equivalent to that is, but it seems grim.

Bad Art by B: Star-crossed Lovers Series

Our Those People: A Love Story crowdfunding campaign was a success! I’m not supposed to be surprised, but, between you and me, I am a little bit. There were two solid weeks where it wasn’t looking promising…

But friends, family and fans came  through with cash in spectacular fashion, and now it’s time for me to pony up with my humble “incentive” offering: made-to-order depictions of movie scenes about lovers (preferably star-crossed, but I’m not going to quibble if they happened to live happily ever after).

Once my client chooses their movie (and scene, though some leave that up to me) my “artistic” process begins with a cannibalized element from another process: Each piece is drawn the flip side of a “repurposed” 3×5 index card  used to outline a movie script:

Back of Atonement

I pencil,  ink with a Sharpie and then erase the pencil. I use black and occasionally one contrast color. For digital delivery,  my husband takes a picture with an app that is supposed to keep art looking flat and not wonky.

My original plan was to work totally with stick figures, because it seemed easy and the idea of it made me laugh. This was my first attempt:

Romeo and Juliet

And this was the second: BrokebackWhile both pieces they look similarly rudimentary, you might notice that by my second attempt I had already drifted from stick figure to boxy outline, because it somehow felt easier.

My first real order was for our kind-hearted supporter, Nate, who requested Atonement. I realized I couldn’t bring myself to render the iconic image of the character in his black tuxedo only in outline, so I reached for the thicker sharpie: Atonement Framed

And somehow the thick Sharpie carried over into  Orly’s request for Annie Hall.

Annie Hall framed

A practiced artist knows how to control style and tone. I am not a practiced artist, so who knows how the next 18 drawings will turn out?  Not me!  But I assume that anyone who chose something called “Bad Art” will have appropriately low expectations, so, unlike almost everything else in my life at the moment, I am not stressed about this.  I look forward to finding out what my clients will choose, and giving it my best, “bad” shot!

Changing the World, a Little at a Time

Hands

For more than three years, I’ve been working as a co-writer (and reluctant (but proud!) producer) on a script about a black woman and an Iranian man who fall in love, how this affects their relationships with their families, communities, their feelings about religion and themselves.  THOSE PEOPLE: A Love Story is a light drama–a love story. It’s fun. But it also represents is something we take seriously — not just a movie cast with diverse actors (though we applaud that) and not just a “celebration” of diversity (although movies that do that are good too) but an actual exploration of diversity and its challenges today.

Today marks the last week of our campaign to raise development funds to lift this project off the ground. The amount we’re trying to raise is small by Hollywood standards, but it’s a lot for us – and we can do a lot with it!  We’re already working with a passionate producer who’s been working for free – we’d like pay her! And before reaching out to investors we’ll hire an experienced casting director to help find the perfect actors, and a lawyer to put together the legal end of things… You can see the details (and me, in a video!) at  https://www.seedandspark.com/fund/those-ppl-movie.

A couple things:

1)    Any amount you contribute is just a pledge—until we meet 80% of our $20,000 goal. If we don’t get $16,000 in pledges, we don’t take any money and your card will never be charged. If we do reach our goal, you’ll know that we have enough to push forward to the next step, and that your money won’t just float away. (As of this writing, we are $9000 away from that require 80%)

2)    We also really need people to FOLLOW our project on Seed and Spark. FOLLOWING IS FREE, but it helps us! Investors will look at our followers number to know that there are people who are interested in seeing our film, and, if we get to 500, Seed and Spark will guarantee us distribution! (As of this writing, we need about 350 people to meet this goal.)

A few more words about this project. Black and Persian. Strange combo, right? Sometimes love is strange! But we are happy with both sides of our interracial equation:

Even thought they are loyal film-goers, black women are one of the most neglected  groups — both on screen and as an audience.

And time and again we hear our Iranian friends wishing to see their real lives reflected on screen — without a terrorist plot!

When I imagine this film made, I think of someone browsing through her Netflix options, and having the options of seeing a story about someone who looks like her… and I think of other people having the option of choosing to watch a movie that helps them understand the lives of people who might look different from them. That’s how the world changes, little by little. A march, a story, a song… a film,

We want to make a piece of art that moves the needle on the dial just a little. If you’d like support of that, a little or a lot, here’s how:

You can CHECK OUT our Seed & Spark site, watch our VIDEO,  and read about our TEAM.

If you like what you see, you can SHARE this post with anyone you know who might be interested.

You can FOLLOW us for FREE simply by clicking the BLUE FOLLOW BUTTON on the right. (They’ll make you log in, either with Facebook or an email. Sorry for the pain. We recommend using those 60 seconds to meditate on the positive intention you’re putting into the world!

You can CONTRIBUTE by clicking the GREEN CONTRIBUTE BUTTON.  Don’t feel bad if you’re not a big spender — no amount is too small!  (Actually, there’s a $1 minimum, but $1 is not too small — it brings us $1 closer to our goal!)

The countdown is on. I’ll check back in on April 21 —  6 days and 8 hours from now — with the final results.

 

 

I’m on a Podcast!

A few weeks ago, I was delighted to receive an email from Colorado Review inviting me to be on their podcast.  They would read one of my short stories from their archives, “Superman Falling,” and then interview about the process of writing the story.

The podcast came out this week, here. (Or maybe I can direct to the audio directly, lets see… )

They have a great discussion before reading the story, that makes me sound smarter and more intentional than I am, I fear, then do a lovely job of reading the story. And then they interview me, which completely removes any illusions of my smart intentionality. I talk in very long sentences, and kind of sound like I’m yelling, which I probably was. We talked over Skype, but for some reason the video was uncooperative, so I likely tried to = compensate by TALKING MORE, AND LOUDER!  Fortunately, that part is at the end, after the other stuff.

Cringing at my own speaking aside, it was really fun and heartwarming. It makes me want to write another story that I like, preferably before I die.