Tuesday, July 28, 2020

THE APE (2005): Writer's Block


The Ape (2005): Writer's Block

Initially, Harry Walker (James Franco) didn't follow Sylvia Plath's advice, which is: "Everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and [use] the imagination to improvise."


Sunday, July 12, 2020

Putting "Low" Amazon Books Sales into Perspective

Photo credit: Markinblog

Like Roxie and Velma, I have three best friends and one of them has written seven books, he has published four, but he has sold approximately a thousand, which compared to, say, Nabokov that may not seem like a lot; however, when put into certain perspectives, a thousand books sold can be impressive. 

For example, imagine that Amazon is a brick and mortar bookstore. Now imagine getting an email from Amazon and a bookseller informing you, "[insert author's name]. Good news. We've sold one-thousand copies of your book(s)!"

I would imagine that most authors would be pleased with that email. 

That email is no different from my friend getting his historical sales report from his (very small) publisher informing him that he has sold (close to) a thousand books. 

Even an email to inform an author that he or she has sold ten books is good news. 
"[insert author's name]. Good news. We've sold ten copies of your book(s)!"

I've posted before that another way to put book sales into perspective is to consider each book a work of art. Most artists (i.e., writers) would be overjoyed to sell one thousand pieces of art - or even ten for that matter. 

Thoughts?


Wednesday, July 1, 2020

"Chronicle of a Summer" (1961) [French: "Chronique d'un été"] French Bohemians


Chronicle of a Summer (1961) [French: Chronique d'un été], a cinéma vérité film, features some French bohemians who shared some highlights from their lifestyles:

"Hard work is really a waste of time. Especially, just to earn money."
"Painting's the way I learn. I love it."
"We stayed in bed most mornings reading. In the afternoons we painted."
"We rented a studio in an old house in the Camargue [...] I painted names on boats. Anything. We lived well on two hours of work a day."
"We lay about in the sun [and] did some painting."
"We haven't much money [...] [but] books [...] we do."
"When we sell a painting, we buy something to make life richer (e.g., more books)"

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

CAPITAL (2019): The Negative Consequences of Privilege (i.e. Classism)



Paul Piff, a psychologist at the University of California at Irvine, did a study where Monopoly players were divided randomly by flipping a coin into rich and poor players. 

The rich players were given two-times as much money as the poor players, the rich players got to roll both dice instead of one; therefore, the rich players got to move around the board a lot quicker, and when they passed GO, they collected $200 while the poor and slower players only collected $100.


Consequently, the rich players became more dominant, significantly ruder (e.g., The rich players belittled the poor players.), the rich players were less compassionate, and despite their initial advantage in the game, the rich players acted as if they deserved to win (i.e., The rich players didn't acknowledge that they had a significant advantage in the game.)

Piff related Capital in the Twenty-First Century (2019): 

"When you watch patterns of human interactions, people who feel entitled and deserving of their own success, are more willing to privilege their own interests above the interests of other people and often engage in ways that undermines other people's welfare; so, that they can get ahead."

"We translate perceptions and experiences of being better off than others - materially, to being better than others."

Monday, April 27, 2020

Do You Have To Be Shy To Be A Good Writer?


Per @AdviceToWriters, Jhumpa Lahiri opined:

Shyness often blossoms into a creative calling. Actors are often shy people [...] And writers too, because they mostly are people who, in their childhood and adolescence, have read a lot, alone and in silence. Solitude is an essential element for a writer.

And Joe Moran wrote in The Daily Beast article "Do Shy People Make the Best Writers?":

Nicholson Baker, Alan Bennett, Joan Didion, David Foster Wallace, J.K. Rowling, and Garrison Keillor are just a few of the contemporary authors who have written or spoken about being shy.

Lahiri's use of the word "often" shows that she's not implying that all shy people blossom into a creative calling. 

And if you don't believe that "[a]ctors are often shy people". Here's the title of an article Dalya Alberge wrote for The Guardian: "‘It feels like I’m choking’ – actors reveal crippling effects of stage fright" The irony! 

Coincidentally, I'm a writer, and I was an avid reader - alone and in silence during my childhood and adolescence. But does that make me a good writer? Probably not. 


Monday, April 13, 2020

Non Dutch Processed Hot Chocolate Recipe


We use Navitas' cacao powder to make our morning mocha (i.e.,  a 1/2 cup of hot chocolate + a demitasse of Turkish coffee.) Suspiciously, the back of Navitas' packaging doesn't have a recipe for hot chocolate. I'm assuming that's because Navitas' cacao powder is processed naturally, and it's not processed using the Dutch method. 

"Dutch process chocolate or Dutched chocolate is chocolate that has been treated with an alkalizing agent to modify its color and give it a milder taste compared to "natural cocoa" extracted with the Broma process." (Wikipedia)


Consequently, cacao that isn't processed using the Dutch method tends to lump when making hot chocolate, but we, thank God, have a solution, which is to mix the cacao with warm - not cold milk, because it appears that the warm milk prevents the cacao from lumping. 

Here's my mocha recipe: 

Ingredients:

1/2 cup of (grass fed organic whole) milk
3 teaspoons of cacao powder
1 teaspoon of honey
0.5 teaspoon of (organic cane) sugar [This reduces the honey to a subtle taste - just a hint.]
1 demitasse cup of (Turkish) coffee

Directions: 

1. Place the milk and (Turkish) coffee in a pan and heat slowly
2. Place the cacao powder, honey, and sugar in a mug 
3. Add three teaspoons of the heated milk and coffee to the mug and stir until smooth like chocolate icing
4. Add the remaining heated milk and coffee to the mug and stir until mixed
5. Optional: Strain the beverage into a different mug
6. Enjoy

Guittard Dutch\ Processed Cacao Powder