Saturday, May 26, 2012

2012 Spilling Ink Short Story Prize

I just learned about a writing competition, and the deadline's around the corner. But if you've got an unpublished story that's no more than 1500 words, any genre, and are willing to spend $10 on the entry fee, you may want to consider entering it into the 2012 Spilling Ink Short Story Prize. Spilling Ink Review is a quarterly e-journal (@spillinginkling on Twitter).

The guest judge is Richard Beard (@BeardRichard on Twitter).

Deadline is May 31, 2012.

Check out all the rules ~ and good luck!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Arrest in Etan Patz Murder

Thirty-three years ago today, Etan Patz disappeared along the two-block route to his bus stop, the first time he ever walked it alone.

Today, Pedro Hernandez, age 51, of Maple Shade, New Jersey, was arraigned for the murder of six-year-old Etan Patz.

I've written an in-depth post about the case on Women of Mystery, including the difficult revelation that the evidence was within reach of the original investigators, yet they chose not to pursue it.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Happy Birthday Gotye

Gotye, the Belgian-Australian recording artist who sings "Somebody That I Used to Know," turns 32 today. 

A few weeks ago, my 14-year-old son introduced me to the fascinating song; he said it was the number one song on iTunes. I was immediately hooked; I quickly learned the rest of the world is crazy about it, too! The song, a slow-building duet with New Zealand singer Kimbra, is achieving phenomenal success. 

Richard Smirke of Billboard describes it: "The song, which mixes sparse, shuffling percussion; spooky tremolo sounds; and an earworm melody played on a xylophone, has since topped the charts in more than a dozen countries..."

Michael Martin (@Michael_Kronicle) of @HuffPostEnt interviewed Gotye last month, and among the topics discussed is Gotye's experience in writing the song. A video of their interview (just shy of 24 minutes) appears on @HuffPostEnt. 

To date, the video of the song has been viewed more than 218 million times. In Australia, "Somebody That I Used to Know" has been certified 8x Platinum! 

Another video gone viral is a cover version of the song, performed by Walk Off The Earth, in which the five band members play one guitar ~ it's super cool!

I'm addicted to it ~ the haunting melody, harmony and the intensity of the singers' emotions ~ as if they truly were scorned lovers. The song certainly has struck a chord with worldwide listeners. What about you? Have you heard this song before? Like it? Love it? Hate it? 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Wisdom of Da Vinci

On this date in 1519, the world lost a genius, Leonardo Da Vinci. Whenever I read his quotes, I'm in awe of his wisdom ~ yet it doesn't come as a surprise, coming from an artist of his magnitude.

Here's a few of my favorites:

"Art is never finished, only abandoned." (This reminds me of a Hemingway quote I once read, of which I'm paraphrasing: "Writing is never done; it's just due.")

"I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do."

"Although nature commences with reason and ends in experience it is necessary for us to do the opposite, that is to commence with experience and from this to proceed to investigate the reason."

Think you know a lot about Leonardo? Check out this fun trivia quiz.

Did you know that Leonardo was an inveterate procrastinator? The Last Supper was only completed after his patrons threatened to cut off his funds; Mona Lisa took 20 years to complete! By the way, the Writing Center of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill offers excellent advice in assisting writers who suffer with procrastination.

Visit for vital info and a video on the life of the gifted painter of The Last Supper and Mona Lisa. An article by Jeanna Bryner on LiveScience reveals 25 Secrets of Mona Lisa.

It's in Italian, but there's a Twitter account devoted to the Vinci, Italy museum @museoleonardo.

My daughter, Miranda, had the privilege of viewing the Mona Lisa when she visited the Lourve last summer during her 21-day tour of Greece, Italy, and France with the People to People Ambassador Program. (On Twitter: @PeopleToPeople). She was deeply moved by the experience. I dream about visiting France and Italy someday.

As a part of the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty The Queen, from now through June 10, 2012, visitors to Bristol can view an exhibition of ten Da Vinci drawings.  In addition, Da Vinci-themed workshops, family events, lectures, guided tours, and more are being offered.

I will make it to Bristol one day ~ my grandfather was born in London in 1911, and his maternal ancestors (his mother, Beatrice Needham, was born in Fishponds), lived in Bristol for hundreds of years. I've done extensive genealogy research, and have even found relatives online -- and I can't wait to visit.

How about you? A favorite Leonardo Da Vinci quote? Have you experienced the viewing of either Mona Lisa or The Last Supper?