Thursday, February 28, 2008

New Sites/New Vids

Hey y'all
So HarperCollins has started this cool thing of giving authors their own little - or not so little, actually! - websites on the HC site, and mine went live today! So come to its opening party, and say hello. There's lots of fun stuff on there, so just click here.
And yesterday, I was in the city with fellow HC author Jill A. Davis doing a Q&A video about our new books, so that will be up here soon. After much silliness and too much talking, we got around to actually putting some stuff on tape, so I'm looking forward to seeing how it came out. I confess that I was a bit of a motor mouth - at one point, even Jill said, "You can't stop talking." Which, okay, anyone who knows me knows that there is no such thing as a short story or answer as far as I am concerned, but even for me, this was a bit much. Turns out that the lovely people at Starbucks gave me a full-fuel Venti coffee instead of a decaf, and I have only had decaf coffee for over 5 years. Can you say wired?? Let's just say it was a productive day.
And speaking of new video, check out this clip from an interview on Channel 12 News with the wonderful Amy Nay about my first book, and Spoken Interludes. If anyone of you haven't been to Spoken Interludes yet, this gives a nice overview of the evening.
Okay, back to caffeine withdrawals. More soon.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Things You Don't Need to Know...

...But Might Be Curious About Anyway.

1- When I was in 5th grade, I named a teddy bear Rudy, after one of my big sister's friends. I still have him - the teddy bear, not Rudy.
2- I named the teddy bear Rudy because when my sister introduced me to the real Rudy, he said, "Delaune?" (he mispronounced it as "da -lawn" instead of "da-lawn-ay") Then he said, "As in mow da lawn?" From then on, he called me Mo. But no one else could. So don't even think about it!
3- My favorite item of clothing is a 1930s dress I found in an LA thrift store that I swear is a Vionnet. I can dream, can't I?
4- If I am walking next to someone, it is nearly impossible for me to walk in a straight line, and not veer into them. Just ask my husband. Or my cousins who suffered through this for all of our school years together. I am not sure how metaphorically I should take this.
5- My favorite quote is "All serious daring starts within." -Eudora Welty.
6- I could eat oatmeal (Quaker Oats, old fashion, not one minute) with a pear cut up into it for breakfast every day for the rest of my life and be happy.
7- However, #6 is a newly acquired taste. When my momma asked me what I wanted for breakfast on my seventeenth birthday, I said, "Oatmeal." But later, when my sister asked me why I wasn't eating it, I said, "I forgot that I don't like oatmeal."
8- I lived in Italy, but never got to Rome. There, I said it.
9- Speaking of other things I never did, I never saw Chariots of Fire, even though I told my mother that I was going to see it. I have a little feeling that going to NO with my older boyfriend had something to do with this story. Sorry, Momma!
10- If I was going to eat meat again - and I don't think I will - it would be a BLT.
11- I didn't give up meat out of concern for animals, I gave it up for Lent, and it stuck. But now I'm concerned about the animals.
12- My favorite poet, even before ee cummings, is my sister, Maggi Michel and not just because she wrote a poem about me being wayward and fifteen. She's also a killer short story writer.
I'd love to have lunch with Tennessee Williams because all of his characters are straight out of how and where I grew up.
13- My favorite day of the week is Wednesday because that was the day I met Jon McArthur in a MacDonald's at the end of 7th grade. I've moved on; so has he. In fact, he moved on a lot sooner than I did! But I kept the favorite day.
14- Okay, I didn't really meet him that Wednesday. I only saw him, and then I looked him up in my cousin's Catholic High School year book, found out where he went to Mass (yes, this was South Louisiana) and went to his church the following Sunday, and officially met him then. This really wasn't stalking, I promise. But only because I was too giggly to talk to him once I saw him again.
15- During the day, I can fall asleep in ten seconds flat.
16- When I was a little kid and shared a room with my sister, I would get terrified when she talked in her sleep that she had been taken over by an evil spirit and was going to attack me.
17 - In case you were worried, she never did.
18- My favorite dinner in the world is popcorn.
19- My father made the best popcorn in the world in an avocado green electric pan - remember those? He'd put 2/3's of the popcorn in the big wooden salad bowl with salt over it for him, and the rest of the popcorn in the small wooden salad bowl with sugar sprinkled over it for me and we'd watch "The Carol Burnett Show." (Okay, do not miss that clip - hysterical!). He loved Vicki Lawrence.
20- He also loved Sally Struthers, so when I did "The Gilmore Girls" (I played the Vet. I was hired in the second season with this really great recurring role - hooray! - to play Suki's girlfriend, but when I got to the table reading, and the actress playing Suki found out that the new guest starring girl was going to be her paramour, she flipped and called her agent, and the next day, my role was cut down to 3 lines and no more shows. Boo-hoo! I would have been a nice girlfriend!) But anyway, I got to tell Sally Struthers that my father loved her, and that made it worth it. Sort of.
21- My best quality is I can laugh at myself.
22- One of my worst qualities is I am clumsy. When I was a waitress, my nickname was Crash. Whenever anything would break, all the other waiters would stop what they were doing and yell in unison, "DeLauné!"
23- My most embarrassing moment was my crush on Stephen Bell in seventh grade. But, boy, was he cute!
24-My favorite animal is a polar bear, especially when they swim underwater at the zoo.
25- I love reading a mystery novel in one night. Thank God for coffee the next day.
26- The thing I miss second-to-most about LA (our family and friends there are first) is my writing program for at-risk teens. Check out a video about it here. I'm in it with a chemical haircut after two bad highlight jobs from a Beverly Hills salon that will remain nameless. But it starts with a "U".

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Hey Y'all

I am stealing a few minutes away from my family - my husband is with our sons after getting a two and a half hour nap, not that I was counting, okay, I was totally counting - to start my blog. It feels like jumping off into the unknown. And I know everything is like that, even though I pretend it isn't. When I was growing up, momma would always say to me, "You don't know what's going to happen." And I would nod my head, as if I agreed, but inside I was thinking, "I do know what's going to happen. I'm not going to have fun on this date, and he won't have any cute friends (as she'd always assure me he would), and even if he does, that would be too weird to go out with them because I'm with him, so what damn difference does it make? So I do know what's going to happen, and stop acting like I don't." Then I'd go on the date, and not have a good time (big surprise), making me sure that I really did know what was going to happen after all. And maybe sometimes that is true. But what I am seeing now, thanks to my four year old and my one year old sons, is that I have no idea what is going to happen.
There is an amazing article in today's New York Times Magazine about why we play. I haven't been able to finish it yet - because I was playing with my sons! - but what I've read so far talked about how play is directly related to the brain's development. And for play to count towards development, all five senses have to be used, and it has to have what they call a kaleidoscope effect, of moving from one thing to another, and adding bits of each thing together to make something else. Which is what I've been doing with my sons all morning. We started with Legos, which turned into a town for the Thomas train set, and then we did a painting for his cousin whose Valentine just arrived, then we found a place for the painting to dry, but we needed to fly to see the cousin, so we pulled the big pillows off the couch to make an airplane in the playroom, but we couldn't walk on the lines of the tile in the hallway to get to the playroom, only in the middle of the tile, so then there were peals of laughter about who did that the best - guess who? - and then we played Red light, Green light, and then someone (the winner of the no-walking-on-the-lines-game) started melting down, so it was time for lunch. And a nap for me, which I didn't get.
But reading that article about how kids need to play for this brain development to occur and how it is pretty much done once they hit puberty, so they stop playing in that way, made me understand more clearly why it is like going into a different world when I play with my sons. I can almost feel my mind letting go of how things should be and what should happen next to, so that I can just be there for where ever the play goes. I love it when I am there, it's like being in a foreign country - and to those of you with small kids, you know it is a foreign country - but sometimes the going in is harder than other times. And I think it is when I am more resistant to not knowing what's going to happen next.
And that made me wonder about how I play today. One great thing about all those years that I studied acting and did jobs was that when it was really working, it was just like play. Even with a script, there was a sense of having no idea what was going to happen next, and that was when I knew it was really working and I was just flying.
And I see my sons have that - they live that. And I can have that when I sit or climb or run or jump with them, but then I have to cook the meals, or do emails, or or or... So I wonder if I can find pockets of that in my own life by trying to remember - or ask momma to remind me! - that I don't know what is going to happen next. As much as I pretend to myself that I do. And that everything is a jump into the unknown. It's amazing how much I fight that.Do you do that, too? I'd love to hear your thoughts. About the article. About any of it. Because one thing I definitely don't know is what you're thinking. But that's another conversation!