Thursday, February 24, 2011

I take my victories when I can

I'm so excited! I entered last month for Amazon's Breakthrough Novel contest. With the help of my good friend Christie--a wordsmith, I moved on to the next round. This is the pitch they liked:

A modern retelling of Shakespeare's As You Like It, Isle of Arden is the story of a colorful group of characters who each shed their past in order to discover themselves on an island where “all the world's a stage and all the men and women merely players.”

On the brink of adulthood cousins Celia and Roz journey to the tropical Isle of Arden in the Florida Keys. With their quirky neighbor Stoner along for the ride, this summer promises to be the adventure of their young lives. The three quickly learn however “how full of briars is this working day world!”

Celia and Roz become estranged as a result of a long-time feud between their fathers that erupts after Roz falls in love with Landon, the son of a man involved in the embittered argument from years before. Celia secretly takes refuge in the arms of the one person who seeks to harm Landon, his own drug-riddled brother Oliver who eventually makes an attempt on Landon’s life. In the meantime, Stoner has fallen for Audrey, a neighbor and unlikely ingénue.

Things peak for our heroine when in the midst of a near hurricane, the truth of Celia’s betrayal to Roz surfaces, along with a trick of Roz’s own doing that causes Landon to flee angrily into the storm. As the storm heightens, so does their disagreement. Stoner discovers Audrey is missing and searches for her through the flooded island. Will love conquer even when the façades are shed?
Full of the whimsy of Shakespeare with the current of our times, Isle of Arden unfolds a classic tale of unexpected love and family reconciliations, leading to a signature Shakespearean comedic ending that would leave even the Bard himself sad to see it end.

So that's it. I'm going to revel in this victory at least until March 22, when they announce who goes on to the next round after reading my excerpt. Did I mention the winner of this contest gets published with Penguin?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Viola Recital

Yesterday was Bianca's viola recital. I'm so relieved I don't have to hear these songs anymore as she'd been practicing them for quite some time. As had I--because I was playing the accompaniment. I'd been very nervous about it, hoping that I wouldn't break rhythm and screw her up. See, it's different when you're playing a piano solo because your mess-up belongs to you. But when you're playing for someone else, your screw-up can screw them up too. I'd considered medicating myself but was told on many fronts it's just not worth it. I'm still not sure about that, but I plowed through and felt a little better when the viola teacher (who was accompanying the other kids) messed up too. Bianca performed two pieces. I was really excited about her vibrato here (it's the first time she's performed using vibrato and I think she did really well). Her first song was Bach's "Air on the G String" (which was the song that had worried me).

I messed up a couple times. If you weren't sure where, just look at my face when I'm playing. I always give myself away. Bianca does it too when she plays a wrong note.

Her second piece was one that she composed herself called "Moonlight." The piano part was MUCH easier!

After the recital, we stopped by a little dessert shop called "The Chocolate" for goodies. It's in this old house that's decorated really cute, where we relaxed on couches and enjoyed our treats. I went as far as asking for a family picture since we were all sort of dressed up, but I guess that was asking too much. Bianca must have been more nervous or spent than I realized because she was completely ornery and refused to give me a good picture. I told her later (after I was really upset) that I was just trying to celebrate her accomplishment and why wouldn't she let me?!?

Here's what I ended up with. First, Bianca couldn't stop reading her book:

Next, I had taken her book away so she gave her most obnoxious not-pretty look:

I was hoping this one from earlier at the recital hall might work but why is Eric bending over like that? I guess I can't blame this on Bianca:

It's okay. Sometimes I just need to relax and get over the fact that pictures aren't always perfect, just like performances. The sooner I can accept that, the better.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Science Fair

The science fair wasn't so bad this time around. I made a decision this year: Bianca was on her own. She needed to come up with her own idea and do all the work herself. Not me.

So back when we were in Jackson Hole, we were all sitting down after a full day of skiing and snowboarding to watch a television show (probably Psych). We all had glasses (of the same size) of water (of varying amounts) we were drinking. That's when Bianca hit the glasses with a spoon and realized she could create music with them. This was the inspiration for Bianca's science fair project this year.

Besides a little help with the graph from Eric and a little help positioning the papers on the board from me, Bianca did this year's project on her own. She still didn't win. But when it doesn't take quite so long (or so much work), the disappointment isn't as bitter.