Monday, February 27, 2017

yes, I have stuffed animals in my office.

I found this fine fellow last week, homeless and rather forlorn.






Naturally, I seized him with sharkly alacrity and walked around the office asking if he belonged to anyone.

Each person I asked called him by name, and then stared at me with a rather perplexed look.

I paid it no mind, perplexity follows me around like a hungry remora. I held the beast, and petted the fur. It was actually very soothing.

Finally, one of the minions took pity on me.

"Sharkforbrains, you're stroking that spider's butt," she said, and then dove into the supply closet and locked the door behind her.

Spider??
BUTT???
What the everloving octopuzzle is this??
This is CLEARLY an octopus.
I am a shark. I know an octopus when I see it.  Or when it approaches me with homicide on its mind.


But no.

This is not an octopus.

This is the spider from Harry Potter.
Aragog. Not Octogog.



The people here at New Leaf instantly knew Aragog because they're all Harry Potter fans, and they've seen the Harry Potter movies multiple times.

I've never seen a Harry Potter movie (oh wait, yes I have, but I don't remember much of it) and I when I see eight legs I think octopus not arachnid.

What does this mean for you?  As a writer, you bring a certain amount of knowledge to your work. You know things and thus can't see that the spider you know is Aragog could be seen as an octopus by someone else.

The problem is when you invest all your characters with the same  knowledge, cultural experience, and expectations that you have, you don't have diverse characters. Diversity is much more than skin color and religion or sexual preference. You don't create diversity by giving someone a different color or religion or sexual preference. You create diverse characters by showing the different ways they see and experience the world.

One of the games I like to play when I walk around New York City is wondering what person from another time would recognize or understand if they were walking with me. Someone from 1940 would certainly recognize a car. What about someone from 1740?  Would they recognize what  a bicycle is for? How to operate it? How about something simple like a whisk? A plastic spatula?

Freshen your eyes. What wouldn't you know if you'd never seen Harry Potter?  For one thing, you'd know an octopus when you see it.






(contest results tomorrow. I was watching the Oscars, not reading the entries.  Well...I was reading the entries, then realized I couldn't do both at the same time!)

51 comments:

Jason Magnason said...

"Standing ovation." A word or two is all it takes to help you see the spider in an octopus. Thus, a word or two, is all it takes to create diversity in a character, not a mountain of divergent content.

-Jason

CynthiaMc said...

I'm a beach girl, so I saw am octopus too. Then I saw its face and recognized the spider (my daughter is a witch at Harry Potter World aka Universal Studios).

The kids started the Harry Potter books when they first came out and immediately said "Mom, you have to read this!" Toward the end the kids were in college, we were picking books up at midnight at whatever store was nearest us, reading all night and texting each other "What page are you on?" "Page x." "Call me when you get to page y."

That's what I want to write, not Harry Potter again but something that causes people who normally share quite happily to get their own book, stand in line at midnight to pick it up (the shrimp canap├ęs from the seafood restaurant next door made it worthwhile), and blow a whole weekend reading and calling each other.

Amy Johnson said...

". . . perplexity follows me around like a hungry remora." That cracked me up. Thanks for the great post, Janet!

The idea of people coming from different "places" and having different perspectives fascinates me, and not just in the sense of different races, cultural backgrounds, etc. The idea of people having different understandings has become a theme in my writing (and ponderings). We don't know what we don't know, in both the sense that we don't know content that is unknown to us, and we are not aware that we are not aware of what we're not aware of. That woman who just rammed into my cart while rushing past me in the grocery store? Was she really being rude and thoughtless? Maybe what I don't know is she got off the phone with the pediatrician, grabbed her neighbor to sit with her sick child, and ran out for Children's Tylenol to get that fever down. I'm going to get miffed at this "thoughtless" person? She has a sick child at home whom she's thinking about instead of thinking about me and my cart. Maybe I'm the thoughtless one. That kind of thing. And it happens all the time with people. Fascinating.

Michael Seese said...

With regard to your walking around New York comment, I often ponder the looking-forward inverse of that, and think of the technologies that will die off in my lifetime. (Some of which were "born" in my lifetime.)

- Computer hard drives (largely gone) and flash drives
- DVDs
- Rear-view mirrors on cars
- The concept of purchasing music, i.e., buying a song and storing it on your iPod or online iTunes account
- Paper currency
- Office buildings

The list goes on...

MA Hudson said...

Since Octopuses are the ultimate shape-shifters, there's no telling whether that's an actual arachnid or just a clever cephalopod. Either way, it's way too tentacular.

Susan said...

Man, I love allegories, which is probably why this post ranks up there as one of my favorites. It's also why I loved my literary criticism classes when I was in college so much--"dive deeper," one of my professors constantly reminded us. The curtains may be blue because the author simply picked a color, but there can be meaning there if we choose to look for it. The trick is choosing to look.

I read Harry Potter for the first time this past Christmas. It was a joy. It took until about the fourth book, but by then I was hooked. It also helped that I loved the movies, I'm sure, but boy, did I find correlations between the Wizarding World and our current political climate. I think books--people, things--tend to come to us when we need them, at the right moment. My dog came to me when I needed more joy and laughter in my life. This blog came to me when I needed guidance for my writing. Harry Potter came to me when I needed to understand the state of the world.

Maybe that's another tenet: Be Open.

kathy joyce said...

Part of my work is helping people to see these different perspectives in the workplace, i.e., to me the customer is the person who buys the product, to you the customer is the boss, or the board, stockholders, or federal regulators. We can all be right but if we act on our definitions unilaterally, chaos ensues and the business falters. It's the same in life and relationships.

A favorite story of our marriage is canoeing on our honeymoon. He's in back, I'm in front. We're on a lake in Maine.

Three times he says, "Honey, you don't have to work that hard," as I'm paddling furiously.

Finally, I lose it. "If you'd steer like you're supposed to, I wouldn't have to work this hard."

"I am steering," he says and I can hear the hurt in his voice.

I'm still angry. "If you're steering, why do we keep moving toward the shore?"

Dead silence. Then, "Because I'm steering us there. Where are you trying to go?"

The confusion was deeper than just not communicating our intentions. He grew up canoeing in Maine where they kept close to shore so that his dad could easily rescue everyone if they dumped out. I grew up canoeing on rivers in Michigan, where you stayed in the middle to avoid the rocks and branches caught in the shallower sides. We were both "right," but acting accordingly kept us at cross-purposes.

That kind of deeper understanding of conflicts is what I love in books. (And it's pretty helpful in negotiating marriage too!)

Donnaeve said...

Ah, but it is a shape shifter. We could call it an octospider? How about a spidopus?

I love the thought behind the post here today. And what timing as I attempt to create new characters, and show who they are by their actions/words/deeds. One thing I've not thought of much is the idea of what we use today and consider as common, everyday words compared to a hundred years ago. All you have to do is read diaries, or letters from back then, and the language was SO different.

OT: I just spent a week in Mississippi promoting (or make that still promoting) DIXIE. What a surreal and exciting experience. I posted an "event wrap" on the blog, if anyone wants to read.

Lisa Bodenheim said...

Haha! Great Monday post. Love this allegory.

Although, I'm familiar with nursing homes--first as a social worker, then as a pastor--I've now entered a different level of intimacy via a loved one. Talk about emotionally engulfed but every once in a while I find pockets of air where I'm able to put words of rationality and of faith to my experience. And, this being hospice and end-stage disease, it's a whole 'nother level of communication. It's direct talk time. Precious time.

Theresa said...

Donna: Octospider! Can a James Bond movie be far behind?

Great thought-provoking post, Janet. Perfect for starting the work week.

E.M. Goldsmith said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Colin Smith said...

Interesting. From your first picture, Janet, I thought it was an octopus too. So, the way I initially saw the spider was influenced by the way you presented the spider. Sometimes we have to ask: is there another way of looking at this? I think this is a question we have to take more of the initiative in asking these days. I don't want to steer the conversation politically, but for example, some of the stories we hear on the news and in Twitter feeds about government officials acting badly. These are people like you and me. If these aren't things we would do, then surely there must be another side the news media (or Tweeter) is not presenting? Maybe there isn't, and the people involved are just acting badly. But maybe, like Amy's careless shopping cart pusher, there's a side to the story we aren't hearing. Unfortunately these days, it seems we need to ask, otherwise all we get is the perspective of the reporter.

As for Harry Potter, I read the books before introducing them to my kids. The movies came second, and remain secondary. SecondBorn has always preferred the books to the movies, and I'm 100% with her on that.

Am I a bad writer for not watching the Oscars, and not really giving a flying fig about them? Sure, I'll go look up to see who's won, but it's more a curiosity than because I actually care. I don't mean to sound self-righteous, but I can't help thinking how many starving families could have been fed, or refugees helped, by the money spent on the Oscars (both by the organizers and the guests) when, at least for me, posting a list, or even a short video (like the Razzies) announcing the winners would suffice. Yeah, I know, it's fun, and we all like to vicariously indulge in the lifestyles of the rich and famous. But sometimes it irks...

Okay, I'll get off my high horse. I'm not too good with heights. Or horses for that matter... :)

Amy Johnson said...

Great story, kathy joyce! Two people doing two different/sort of opposite things were both right. Gets the thinky-think-think wheels a'turnin'. Thanks!

DLM said...

Baaaaaahahahahahahahahaaa!

Thank you, Janet. On about eight levels.

But whose octopider IS he? Yours now?

E.M. Goldsmith said...

I am too sleepy to comment coherently. I too saw an Octopus because I thought a shark would obviously want such a thing. Spider never entered my mind.

I read all the Harry Potter books, saw the movies, and still.

ColinMy daughter and I both greatly prefer the books to the movies as well. And I simply forgot about the Oscars. My daughter and I are in Asheville, enjoying one last trip together before she moves to New York. She is still sleeping. I am sipping coffee and watching the sun light up the mountains. Beautiful that.

Now I am going to write a couple of hours.

DLM said...

Colin, I saw some of the red carpet stuff because a fashion-y friend of mine and I were texting about it. Then I caught the opening musical number and Kimmel's monologue. He did well, I thought. Then it was back to DVD Land for me. It's rare I even watch that much. I'm the same way with the superbowl, most blockbuster movies - and, frankly, Harry Potter. Couldn't be less interested.

BunnyBear said...

Holy moley! When you said, "spider," I expected you to fling the creature as far from your sharkly self as possible!

Great take on "all's not what it appears to be."

S.P. Bowers said...

I've read the HP books (loved them), and seen the movies (didn't much like them)but I stills aw an octopus in the first picture. The second picture I saw a spider. Sometimes the angle or viewpoint can change the perception. This can be very useful if you want to mislead your readers or lay false trails.

Kate Higgins said...

No, my dear Sharkiness you were not petting the head of the "octopus" either; you were petting the butt of the "octopus". Most people get this wrong, cartoons mostly.

When I moved from the hinterlands of Idaho 16 years ago to the comfortable, rain-forested beaches of the Evergreen (everblue?) state of Washington. I became a beach naturalist (I even have a hat and a name badge) – it's a volunteer job but takes about 6 months to get the designation. I did it so I would know all these creatures of the deep and shore crawlies and know what the heck was I was looking at in the sand and water.

My biggest surprise was octopus anatomy.

It's mouth (called a beak) is underneath between it's legs, the legs grow off its "head" that is right over the legs and the big roundish part is called the mantle and contains all it functioning parts like stomach, gonads (if male) and it's anus. It also has three hearts (for its blue blood) and nines brains – one for each leg and one for the area between it's eyes,
Oh and it doesn't have knees either because it doesn't have bones ... and it is not even remotely related to spiders.

So you were petting the 'octopus's butt.

And yes, there will be a test...

Mister Furkles said...

It is a great point about each character being unique. A family friend had several novels published. They received good literary reviews, perhaps in part because he edited a literary journal. From his first novel to the last, all the characters had the same feel. They were of both sexes, different races, different nationalities, different ages, and different goals. But they were all versions of the same person. He knew this. A friend of his parents taught literature and told him on his first novel. He never had a breakout novel.

Another thing to add. In a novel, you must tell the stories of secondary characters. Writers rarely leave out the stories of the primary characters. But the secondary character should also come out as real people with real motivation and emotions too. Just a few words in the right place will bring them to life.

Kate Higgins said...

...now let me tell you about the barnacle. It has the longest penis in the world relative to it's size...and its a hermaphrodite!

DLM said...

Kate, thank you for ANOTHER good laugh. Do you ever work with Dept. of Natural Resources? I know someone with them, in Oly.

We've got some excellent stories this morning. This is almost as good as the contests!

Colin Smith said...

Chewing over Janet's words, a more writerly thought comes to mind. Do you find yourself having to confront the very issue Janet speaks of when writing your 100 words for a flash fiction contest? You have so little with which to construct a story, you're having to weave thin plot lines and leave so much to be implied from the spaces. When I'm finished, because I know the story, I find it hard trying to read my work without the knowledge I bring to it, asking myself, "If I was reading this for the first time, would I get the references, and see the plot in the holes (as opposed to the holes in the plot)?" Which, of course, is another reason why the contests are such a good writing exercise--they help us practice this very discipline, so we can apply it to our "real" stories, the ones we hope to get published.

Craig F said...

Is that a Potter thing in Witness Protection? Is the hold of Potter finally beginning to slip?

I know it is supposedly about the writing but for years now kids have been bigoted against science and sci-fi because of the lightning headed boy. If it wasn't magic they would not even crack the cover.

Maybe, one of these days the Earth will shake, the Sky will fall and sci-fi will finally get a fair shake.

BJ Muntain said...

I wrote a whole long diatribe on a problem I - as an outsider - am seeing in the US right now, but I'll just give you the gist right now:

We have to accept that people see things differently than we do. While I completely disagree with the hatred many Republicans seem to show, I also have to disagree with the hatred that liberals are starting to show against those who voted Republican. While the liberals see the Orange One as pure hatred, most conservatives see him as someone who can make their lives better. THAT's why they voted for him. They didn't vote out of hatred, no matter the liberal rhetoric.

Some see the Orange One as a saviour. Some see him as a leader. Some see him as a spider's butt. Turning this disagreement into hatred will only hurt your country. No matter how you see the situation.

Craig: It's not Potter that keeps kids from reading science fiction. Kids weren't reading science fiction long before Potter came along. They weren't reading fantasy, either. Potter opened up the world of the fantastic to the current generation of young people. I think it will just take the right book(s) to move science fiction up to the same popularity as fantasy. And it seems that publishers and agents are looking for children's and YA science fiction now. Unfortunately, I don't write YA or children's. :(

french sojourn said...


Well, I've always thought of squid as spiders of the sea, and Bats are just mice in drag. Perspective I guess, even being wrong, just enjoy your view.

Cheers Hank

Joseph Snoe said...

When I went to the Amazon to research my novel I took pictures. Rio Negro is a black river that reflects almost perfect images. I have one picture of trees reflected it in the river. But when I turn the picture sideways, it looks like an angry monster. (Julie and AJ, get ready. I’ll be sharing that picture with you).

I’ve been on a Harry Potter movie kick lately, and have watched four or five in the past two months. I enjoy them, I’ve only read the first three Potter books. I keep meaning to attack the humongous Goblet of Fire soon.

Michael Seese - I bought a new car battery yesterday. I asked the man installing it why he put grey goo around the battery poles. He said to prevent corrosion. I told him when I was in high school we put pennies on the poles to prevent corrosion, and had to check our batteries regularly to put water in them. He was amazed.

My next post will be totally off topic. This was Southern Voices Festival weekend and I was able to refer to this blog twice - so you’ll read the two stories. Coming below).

John Davis Frain said...

Aha, we have an unreliable narrator today because I was also led astray into thinking we were looking at a spider. Unreliable narrators are irresistible, aren't they! I'd mention my favorite, but if you know it's an unreliable narrator before you begin the story, it takes too much of the pleasure away when you read.

Colin, this was a delicious line regarding the flash fiction contests: "see the plot in the holes (as opposed to the holes in the plot)." Yes, yes, yes, I confront this all the time. It's one of the most challenging, and most rewarding, aspects of the contests.

Merry Monday, all.

Beth said...

I love this post. It's a little like that optical illusion with the young woman and the old woman and you can only see one at a time in the drawing. Kathy Joyce, great parable.

Living with my husband has taught me that almost any phrase can be construed to have more than one meaning. Setting up security questions can take forever, as he debates whether "High School Mascot" means the team name or the guy in the suit when he was in high school. I've learned patience, and to be precise with instructions. Or at least I'm learning.

Joseph Snoe said...

The wonderful Southern Voices Festival was this past weekend. Friday night after Rebecca Well’s fantastic one-woman play, I bumped into a colleague from school and his wife. I told then I was excited about hearing C.J. Box the next day.

I explained I had been reading Janet Reid’s blog on a regular basis and in Summer of 2015 I enjoyed reading one of the readers' posts, a woman named Julie Weathers, about Texas, Montana, horses and rodeos. I tried to find a book by her on Amazon.com – couldn’t. I emailed her and she said she hadn’t published a novel yet. I still wanted to read about the West.

At that moment, walking past us was a short, rosy-cheeked man, dressed dapperly like a Mississippi Riverboat gambler in his beautiful black Stetson. I tapped on his shoulder and said “Are you C.J. Box?” He said he was. And he was.

The dorky fanboy in me came out. I repeated everything I wrote above, introduced him to my friends. Told him I’ve read three of his books in the past year. I started with Back of Beyond (I never remember the title correctly but it just flowed out perfectly) because I wanted to read about Montana. He said It was in Yellowstone. I said yes but it started in Montana. He agreed. I then bought and read Endangered, my first Joe Pickett book.

He said he sets his stories in Wyoming and Montana. I said Idaho, too, because in researching I read good things about Blue Heaven and bought it. He said yes you’ve hit all three states. I told him Blood Trail was next up on my reading list. I said I wanted to attend Thrillerfest last year because he was honored there. He seemed surprised I knew that. I was surprised I mentioned it.

He said he left Cheyenne in a blizzard and enjoyed our balmy weather (blue sky, mid-70s, trees starting their springtime blooms). He talked a little about his flight and how he’s always enjoyed his visits to Birmingham, and then after some pleasantries we went our separate ways. Exciting encounter (and I have two friends as witnesses).

I was able to talk with him again at the book signing, and he actually remembered talking to me the night before. Kind of nice (I think).

Colin Smith said...

Beth: OT tip about security questions. Don't worry about accuracy of information. In fact, using answers that are not true is better security. Especially if a lot of the kind of information asked in those questions is available via your social media profiles/comments. Use answers you will remember, not answers that are true. No-one will know but you. ;)

Joseph Snoe said...

My second Southern Voices Festival story. – This time Lou Berney.

The book signing part of the festival is at the end after every author has spoken. Author tables are spread out over four rooms (including the large hall). I was one of the first to exit the Theater on my side and Lou Berney’s table was against the wall right outside the Theater exit door. I had bought his “The Long and Faraway Gone,” and though I don’t normally get autographs, I thought, hey, why not.

I started off telling him Janet Reid, an agent in New York, writes a blog I visit, and a couple of months ago she wrote an entry saying how much she liked his books, and even gave one or two of them to the winner of short writing contest. I told him he should email Janet R. or post on her blog thanking her for saying nice things about his books.

That out of the way, he asked how he should sign my book – just his name or to somebody. I said sign it to “The wonderful and witty Joe Snoe.” I said I’m kidding. Just say “To Joe Snoe” and Snoe is spelled with an “e.” He said he’d write anything I wanted.

Anyway, he signed it “To the wonderful and witty, Joe Snoe!” So now I’ll always an anecdote to tell.

Now the cool part!!!!!!

He grabbed a post-it and wrote my name on it. He said, “Would it be okay if I used your name in one of my novels?”

I said “Sure.” (pretty snappy response, eh?)

So someday, I may be a corpse in a Lou Berney book, or more likely a short order cook wearing a greasy apron, or even more likely he’ll decide not to use it.

kathy joyce said...

To (soon to be famous) Joseph Snoe , if you like books about Montana, my two favorite authors are Ivan Doig and Wallace Stegner. (Stegner's Angle of Repose is one of my all-time favorites). Not to take anything away from anyone you've mentioned, but these two should definitely be added to the list of anyone who likes stories about Montana and/or Montana writers.

kathy joyce said...

Joseph Snoe and all, for a great western poem, and a good laugh, google you tube for Wallace McRae's "Reincarnation."

Casey Karp said...

Kate: Don't come down too hard here. Octopus butts need love too.

Beth: Following up on Colin's suggestion, let me suggest that you make a habit of answering the questions accurately but switching the answers around. You'll find it surprisingly easy to remember that your high school mascot was a Ford Pinto, and your first car was a Fightin' Knight.

Amy Johnson said...

Colin, Another "yes" to your question about the contests here and "plot in the holes." (I liked your wording too--so clever!) I often have a much more elaborate "rest of the story" in mind, with one character doing this and not doing that, and that's why another character found herself in the situation, etc. But there's not room for all that in a 100-word story. I was just thinking about that over the weekend, and how the contests do train us to be better at determining how much we need to include in our other stories (e.g., novels) and how much information, backstory, details can (and often should) be left out.

Kate Larkindale said...

My only question would be, why would anyone want stuffed spider? I can understand an octopus, but a spider? Even a Harry Potter spider... Ewww!

Joseph Snoe said...

Kathy Joyce I probably will read "Angle of Repose." How could I not when the Amazon.com description begins, "An American masterpiece and iconic novel of the West by National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize winner Wallace Stegner."

roadkills-r-us said...

I need to write a country song: "I love this blog". Some of you can guess what it would be a take-off on. But I really do.
Another brilliant post by Janet. If I'm going to write a character, place, or culture I don't know, I research it. If possible, I do at least part of that in person. Anyone can reference the Albanian flat topped pine, but unless you have looked out over the mountain tops and wondered at what looks like a disaster (or horde of dragons) leveled the top of a pine forest, unless you have set in the peace that enfolds you in such forests- a scent subtly different than US pines (less intense, less pungent), unless you know that it's just the way the pine grows, it's unlikely to ring true to anyone who has been there. Or even seem very different to anyone else.

I loved the stories today, especially Joe Snoe's (with two Es!) and Kathy Joyce's. (Kathy, what is the job you referenced?)

Lennon Faris said...

The thought of a giant hairy octopus swimming at me from the depths scares the living daylights out of me.

Quite an illustrative metaphor for a very important point!

OT - does anyone at the Reef participate in #pitmad? I just joined Twitter and am looking into all this new stuff.

Unknown said...

Obviously an octopus. BTW My daughter thinks your comment to me reference Alan Furst at the Sharks in the Desert training was spot on. I too tend to do a lot of rambling (throat clearing) before the action starts in some of my books. Thanks for oblique tip.

Jen said...

What a fantastic blog post! I sent the link to my writers group.

kathy joyce said...

Roadkill, I facilitate meetings, working with diverse groups trying to develop a common program (e.g., experts deciding which science to fund, or federal/state/local education agencies trying to solve an administrative or financial problem). I facilitate the people and processes toward a solution. And, I develop and teach courses on how to do this. It's fun, but clients are largely public science, health and education agencies, so life is a cliffhanger right now!

Beth said...

What an adventure, Joseph Snoe!

Casey, have you been looking over my shoulder?

John Davis Frain said...

Unknown, if you were compared to Alan Furst at your seminar, you're gonna need a new moniker soon. Because you won't be unknown for much longer.

I just did the online personality test to see if I'm an octopus or a spider. Turns out Donna had it pegged -- I'm an OctoSpy.

BJ Muntain said...

Lennon: I used to do #pitmad, but the agents seem to always be the same ones, and they've already seen my Twitter pitch ad nauseum.

One thing to remember: before sending your book to an agent or editor or publisher who 'likes' your pitch, check them out. Some of them are kind of shifty.

Kate Higgins said...

DLM: The Beach naturalist program is with WSU, Kitsap county (north of Oly) and CoSea (?) a program for all states with shoreline. I used to do graphic design for DNR in Idaho years ago but not here. This volunteer job lets me into research ships on the Puget sound, the aquarium and some really cool areas of ocean research. In real life i am an illustrator, a designer, a writer and slave to 2 large maine coon cats.

Julie Weathers said...

criminy, the comment box didn't come up a minute ago. I thought I'd been banned.

Janet, awesome post. I love optical illusions. I've read the Harry Potter books and seen all the movies and I wouldn't have thought about the spider.

I love octopi, but not to eat. This is one of my favorites.

Amy The lady might have had an emergency, but it would have taken two seconds to say, "I am so sorry, I have a sick child and was in a hurry."

Colin I haven't watched any award shows in years. Most of the time it's a political rant fest. Not interested. If I was, I would go to a political rally. I used to watch because there were beautiful gowns, then it got to be who could be most shocking.

I was mildly interested this year because after so very many years Desmond Doss' story finally got made and from all accounts Gibson did a good job. I have yet to see it, but I will. It's one of those truly remarkable stories of human courage and conviction. I had hoped it might get some recognition, but didn't expect it would and nearly didn't.

Joseph, You are so funny. I love that you had a good time at the conference. The pictures were amazing and I agree. Congratulations on being named in a book!

Colin Smith said...

roadkills-r-us: I need to write a country song: "I love this blog". Some of you can guess what it would be a take-off on. But I really do.

Don't tempt me... ;)

Julie: I hear you. Not that actors can't have passionate opinions, but, I don't know, it seems to demean the award when you simply use it as a platform to spout your politics. Maybe I'm being harsh, especially since I didn't even watch. But that's part of the reason why I didn't bother with it.

Claire Bobrow said...

Super-late to the party, but I'd take an octopus over a spider any day. Harry Potter fans, myself included, would know to run like hell when Aragog shows up! But I take Janet's point - somehow we have to un-learn certain things to bring our characters to realistic life. That's a tall order, but a worthy one.

Still reeling from the Oscars finale. I loved Moonlight - it broke my heart into about a thousand pieces - so I'm happy it won. But - holy guacamole!

Panda in Chief said...

Leave it to Janet to provide a great teaching moment from a stuffed octopus...um...spider.