Without giving away too much

I haven’t written on the craft of writing for awhile but yesterday morning as I watched CSB Today the cast of the cop drama, Blue Bloods were on which reminded me of the tried and true aspects of character development.

The show is going into it’s eighth season. When asked what kept it alive and fresh, all 3 guest stars, Tom Selleck, Bridget Moynahan, and Will Estes claimed it was the writing.

In Blue Bloods, Tom Selleck plays NYPD Commissioner Frank Reagan, a widower and patriarch of a law enforcement-steeped family. His character is macho, stubborn and lives by a double standard. With three grown children, he steps in to make sure his sons, a detective and a patrol cop never get any favoritism while he makes deals behind the scenes with his daughter, an Assistant D.A., ensuring he gets what he asks for. Although the show portrays family values of loyalty, mutual respect and they congregate weekly to have a family dinner together it’s main attraction is that it’s a character driven show. Characters are at the heart of the best stories. 

You need to establish your characters so that they are flawed and relatable, without giving away too much. Readers need to slowly discover what makes them tick. So whether it’s a television show or a novel, without good characters, readers won’t care about the fascinating world or the intricate plot a writer creates. Crafting a protagonist readers will love, or an antagonist that we love to hate, will keep readers glued and become characters that readers will want to hang out with, time after time.

Brainy Cultural Paradise

Side View

Most beautiful libraries focus on what’s inside. Our downtown library both in Pasadena and in Los Angeles are just that. I love a vaulted ceilings and overflowing bookshelves, but I’d have to say for me, the grounds and the facades are just as important. From structures steeped in design history, libraries prove that free books and internet access aren’t the only reason to visit an architectural gem. But the one I love going to the most is a short drive away. Having discovered it when I lived in Los Feliz, it’s still as wonderful now as it was then. There aren’t many things that can claim that sort of history.

Front of Bldg. taken at angle

The Brand Library in Glendale, is unique, most likely because it was a home. Leslie Coombs Brand built his residence on a lot at the base of the Verdugo Mountains. His beloved Miradero—a Spanish word meaning “a high place overlooking an extensive view.” is a 5,000 square foot Moorish mansion. Its design interest lies in a Saracenic inspired exterior with minarets and repeating scalloped arches.  And it’s contrasting late-Victorian style interior gives it warmth. Together these two elements denote a rare sort of beauty and grandeur.  When Brand died in 1925 he left his home and adjacent land to the City for use as a public park and library.

Entrance

As an Art and Music Library, The Brand Library has  Galleries and a Recital Hall, where art exhibitions are hosted and classical concert performances are given. The setting is surrounded by a magnificent verdant park, hiking trails, and a Japanese garden. So not only does it foster beauty and literacy but it inspires intellectual curiosity and stimulates the imagination. My, oh my, a treasure for my heart and mind!

Wild Thing

After a few weeks of wanting to hibernate, my mind has been whirring at full speed with words. It’s still a distinctly abnormal world by everything that is so odd – and I see everyone getting snarled up, in how to respond to that.

I’ve felt other things coming into a groove. New-growing ideas. Stuff to take forward, moments to relish, plans to make, and plenty of music to celebrate and investigate.

One thing I have watched sporadically is the wild output of so many people that are involved in Paris Fashion Week. With today being the last day, I will offer my take on it. While the shows from the designers have plenty to offer, in particular for the red carpet or for those in the corporate world, I tend to look more outside of the shows, since these are more versatile everyday clothes or sportswear. And the Paris fashion pack are crowding to be photographed in their attire.

I enjoy watching from my computer- although a front seat would be far better, the catwalk shows and how fashion influencers must take the opportunity to debut their best in one final attempt to grace the magazine pages.

Parisians, renowned for their inimitable aesthetic and ability to achieve the epitome of “chic” with ease, the fashion pack are always the ones to watch.

But the younger set including models with the exception of Olivia Palermo keep showing up in their worse attire. The street style set championed the athleisure trend, which comes as no surprise throwing the old school rule book out the window.

I see those who continue donning underwear as outerwear. Yes, the trend is well and truly back, as distasteful as it is.

Double denim is notoriously the biggest fashion faux pas in all the land. I see no point in being redundant. It reminds me of when ladies would match their shoes including the fabric to the dress they were wearing. This is a bore.

No one seems to get enough of the sleeve, and while I think a bell or a pleat is fun, when a dolman starts skimming at the hip, it’s too big and overwhelming. Why do people think that more is better, when too much of something borders on absurdity?

I see a lot of mismatch of everything that rings, I just rolled out of bed, grabbed the first thing I saw and who cares?

Those are my impressions. How do you feel about what you’ve seen either inside or outside of the shows? Do share.

Better than I Remembered

Today was a sunny day and most would call it beautiful but with cold and rain, life has fallen into a quiet pace.

I love waking up to the soft ambiance of rain outside my window. In the mornings I am reminded how in Europe I would count the bell tolls while the angular winter light raked across the crumpled bed covers.

I watch the trees, vines and the rosebushes rest…on my long walks, the vista dotted with chimney stacks dancing with smoke spreading a foreign scent, one that lingers while a dusty haze settles in at dusk, as a faint reminder of richer blue skies ahead.

As evening approaches the cry of parrots marks the end of day as they dance to their symphony in the sky.

The quiet of a gray sky seems to hum after years of a glaring sun that thrives on noise. With it comes a place where one can create and paint all the worlds I dream of.

The nights are illuminated by hearty home cooked meals.

All that comes with the season, is better than I remembered. I shall miss it when it’s over. For years I cursed the winter, I never knew it could actually be so warm.

Do unto others

We are all born free and equal. We have a right to be treated fairly, whoever and wherever we are. And under law, the right to be presumed innocent until proven otherwise.

We all have a right to food, shelter, education, representation and protection.  And to live in a world order if we take personal responsibility to guarantee all the above.

Still, today, even as we tap ourselves on the back, an uncomfortable feeling gnaws at us inside.  Perhaps a look further back will help.

The oldest written codes of conduct of our history contain the same Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” say the Bible, the Hindu Vedas, the Torah, and the Analects of Confucius.

The earliest human societies were egalitarian and fair; pre-agriculture, there was no such thing as a gender divide or social hierarchy to roles.

The ancient Greeks gave each free man a vote. The ancient Egyptians gave it to women too. Gender parity was the legal, economic, social norm; Egyptian women could even become pharaohs.

Love was free for all in ancient Greece and Rome. In pre-Constantine Europe and pre-colonial Africa, whom a man or woman chose to love was their business alone.

The Native Americans believed in sustainability, so that their seventh generation grandsons also could.

Ancient civilizations built temples, statues, shrines, to worship different gods. Today those get blown up because some find their existence threatening. They wrote books and built libraries that have been burned, because some are in favor of ideas so long as they duplicate their own. And as fences and walls get erected, some feel a need to catapult others beliefs, voice their judgment, and demonstrate a glaring racial intolerance for others.

Last November, I was at a party in which it was assumed I was of an ethnic origin; the same as the person who asked. With my revelation came, “Oh no, you’re not.” Now I ask why would someone want to negate another? Because they can’t accept neither truth nor differences. And their consciousness is closed.

So, I ask, are we in a movement of evolution or revolution of man against man? And how can we direct ourselves in a progressive manner?

What are you doing to live in a better world?