Month: May 2008 Page 1 of 6

Foto Friday: Oldies but goodies

You know, I was walking out of the office yesterday afternoon thinking, “Oh, today’s Friday! That means I get to go home early and take a nap need to post a photo.”

And yet, here is it, 24 hours later, and no photo. (Or nap.)


To make up for it, here are several photos from The Best Place On Earth, aka Madrid. This is the view from a hostel I stayed in the first time I visited Madrid (summer ’05). Behold el Gran Vía:


I remember waking up to the sounds of the city, climbing down out of my bunk, and slipping out onto the teeny tiny balcony with my camera. I stood there smiling down at the commotion and barely believing that I had come here all by myself. (Aisha stayed in Barcelona, then went to Vigo to see Claudio, then met back up with me for the return trip to Houston.) I gave myself two days to be with Madrid, and when I left, I knew it wasn’t enough.

The following year I arranged a summer study abroad session through IES, which included a homestay. My host Ana happened to live near my university and near the royal palace, and also happened to be a wonderful woman who liked to cook for me. It couldn’t have been more perfect if I’d written it.

Here is a horse-drawn chariot on the promenade by the palace, where I often did homework or other reading, writing, and thinking:

misc madrid 010

This is an ant:

last day in madrid 050

No, Madrid doesn’t have an ant problem (at least not that I know of) but I thought it was a cool photo. I took it at a park in the western extremities of Madrid (I think Casa del Campo, but I can’t remember for sure) when Alex and Teo were both visiting me. We rode the cable car to the edge of the city and had a great view looking out over all of Madrid. (And yet, I posted the picture of the ant…)

Finally, this is a picture of el Parque del Buen Retiro, my favorite park in Madrid, in Spain, and maybe anywhere. Retiro is very much in the center of the city and its inhabitants usually reflect that. This was a typical night in the summer, full of activity, full of people, full of life.

feria de libros y buen retiro 007

Funny story: the first time I ever went to Retiro, some guy tried to hit on me. He told me I looked good, like I was dressed to go dancing in a club. At the time I was wearing a t-shirt and navy blue corduroy shorts.

WSJ: "What Happened to Ricky"

This article nearly had me bawling like a baby in front of everyone at Half Day Café.

Wishing on a star

I want this book very, very badly: Dear American Airlines.

(I wonder how much is left on my gift cards…)

I am grass

In gearing up for the long journey I’ll be taking with The Good Daughters, I have been reading up on agents, how to find them, what they do, etc. Apparently many literary agents blog. I find this strange, for some reason, but I suppose they are people just like anyone else. That’s the rumor, anyhow.

The three main ones I’m starting with are Jonathan Lyons, Nathan Bransford, and Miss Snark (recently retired from blogging, but all her archives are up). All three feature great info, great writing, and great humor — all things I need!

Of course, being overly opinionated, I felt compelled to leave a few comments here and there. Now I’m just hoping I didn’t piss off Jonathan Lyons with my explanation of why I reply to form rejections asking for more info, which is one of his pet peeves. (Reason: sheer hope!) He responded… firmly, but he didn’t block any of my additional comments. I’ll take that as a sign of no hard feelings.

I also won’t ever ask him for more info if he sends me a canned rejection.

(As expected, Andy “yelled” at me for not being more strategic — or just plain thoughtful — in my communication with a potential agent.)

After several days of scrolling so much that my index finger moves in my sleep and my contacts are drier than a camel’s butt, I have to say: I LOVE THIS!

I think getting geeked out by reading about the publishing industry is a pretty serious sign of delusion. And isn’t delusion a requirement for being a good writer? I’m on the right track!

One of my “finds” today was this long, poorly formatted interview with Dave Eggers (author of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius — that’s the title, not a compliment). The interviewer is annoyingly pretentious, and the interviewee is overly defensive (though I too would have reacted poorly to the smarmy questions) but in spite of it all, I’m glad I read it, mostly for the addendum (so if you want to skip to the end, feel free).

Oh, and to understand the title of this post, just read this (short) post from Jonathan Lyons’s blog.


From Paulo Coelh0’s newsletter “Warrior of Light”:

The common man worries too much about loving others, or being loved by them. A warrior knows what he wants – that is all in his life and that is where he concentrates all his energy. The common man spends the present acting as winner or loser, and depending on the results he becomes persecutor or victim. The warrior, on the other hand, worries only about his acts, which will lead him to the objective he has traced for himself.

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