Writing Challenge Day 24 [MAKEUP]: An Author

 

Deep Thought
Some of my previous artwork – suddenly relevant

Despite being an avid reader all through my childhood, I regrettably did not discover Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy until my twenties. However, once I did, I immediately read through all the books, pausing only to eat and sleep.

I fell in love with the books in the first chapter of the first book. Douglas Adams spends much of a chapter introducing us to a character, setting up her story, then…

Has her run over and killed, followed by the line “This is not her story”. At that point, I was nearly falling out of my chair with laughter, and I knew I had to read the rest of it. So rather than blab on and on, here are some excellent Douglas Adams quotes:

In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.”

“There is an art to flying, or rather a knack. Its knack lies in learning to throw yourself at the ground and miss. … Clearly, it is this second part, the missing, that presents the difficulties.”

“The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don’t.”

Check out our other participants here –

Niki: Sometimes I Write

Becky: Free2B2Much

Tracy: CountryRoadChronicles

Writing Challenge Day 23 [MAKEUP]: A Favorite Actress

 

This prompt actually stopped my progress for a day or two. It’s not that I don’t have a favorite actress – I have a few, actually. It’s that aside from basic comments about their acting ability (and I do mean basic – I’m no film critic), their charm, and intelligence, I can’t think of much to say about them. They’re my favorite actresses because they can act. Well. Emma Thompson, for example, is a name that, by itself, might convince me to go see a film it’s attached to.

But for today’s challenge, I decided to go with Jodie Foster. When movies come over here to France, they’re usually dubbed. You probably know that. What you may not know is that there’s a single standard dubber for each foreign celebrity – there’s one person who typically dubs a particular celebrity – which provides a somewhat consistent experience across movies.

And you know who typically dubs Jodie Foster in French? Well, that’d be Jodie Foster herself. Not only does she speak French fluently, to the point that she can dub herself in French and even act in entirely French productions, but she understands a smattering of other languages.

I know being bilingual (or mutlilingual, depending on how your counting) is not unique to Ms. Foster. But it’s the cherry on top, if you will.

Check out our other participants here –

Niki: Sometimes I Write

Becky: Free2B2Much

Tracy: CountryRoadChronicles

Writing Challenge Day 22 [MAKEUP]: A Favorite Actor

 

I’ve got many favorite actors, but I decided to pick a voice actor. Jim Cummings. Even if you don’t know him by name, you almost certainly know his work. He has provided the voices for nearly 400 roles, including some of my childhood favorites: Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Bonkers D. Bobcat, Darkwing Duck, and Scar’s singing voice after Jeremy Irons hurt himself. His is one of the voices that defined my childhood.

Now that you’re done reading, watch him read Darth Vader’s lines as Winnie the Pooh. Do it. Do it now.

Check out our other participants here –

Niki: Sometimes I Write

Becky: Free2B2Much

Tracy: CountryRoadChronicles

Writing Challenge Day 21 [MAKEUP]: A Musician

 

I have this one close friend… aside from everything else I could say about her, and there’s a fair amount I could say, the relevant bit for this post is that she has great taste in music, and she always seems to have discovered some beautiful piece from a singer or group I’d never heard of before.

This is one of her recommendations. I very quickly fell in love with this singer. I won’t write too much, since it would distract from the music, but this is a writing challenge after all, so I’ll put a tiny bit.

I can’t get enough of this clip because not only is she an incredibly beautiful and engaging woman with a powerful and smooth voice, but the incredibly upbeat and triumphant tone of the song and above all the lyrics, which express a beautiful sentiment in a unique way, never fail to make me feel good. Whether it’s a good day, bad day, clear day, gray day, mediocre day or sick day, this song is just what’s called for.

Check out our other participants here –

Niki: Sometimes I Write

Becky: Free2B2Much

Tracy: CountryRoadChronicles

Writing Challenge Day 20 [MAKEUP]: An Artist

I know a lot of artists. A surprising number (or maybe a not at all surprising number) of my friends are artists.

One of them is Mike. I chose to write about Mike not because of the quality of his artwork (and it is incredible), but because he’s taught me and had a direct, observable influence on my artwork.

For a long time, proper shading was something of a mystery for me. I could shade simple shapes with varying degrees of convincingness, but anything more complex resulted in strange shading that was, to say the least, confused.

Then I saw Mike’s artwork. And among all the incredible things about his work, the two things that really struck me were his apparent mastery of texture and shading. So I went to him with one of his drawings and I asked “Can you teach me to do this?”.

He was a great sport about it. He sat me down, and we started out with a basic sphere. He showed me the basics, and where and how to add reflected light, cast shadows… then he gave me homework. He had me shade a series of spheres and other shapes.

And, following his advice, the results were more believable than anything I’d ever shaded before. I had the impression that I could reach into the page and pull out the marble I’d just drawn. And while I’ve since adapted those techniques ever so slightly for my own preferences, just about everything I shade these days shows his influence, and whether anyone else could recognize it or not, I still see it there. So thanks, Mike. By the way, got time to show me textures one of these days?

Check out our other participants here –

Niki: Sometimes I Write

Becky: Free2B2Much

Tracy: CountryRoadChronicles

Writing Challenge Day 19 [MAKEUP]: A Fictional Character in a Movie

 

Space. The final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise…

These are the words, recited in Patrick Stewart’s velvety intonations, that announced dinner time when I was a kid. We had a small TV mounted in the kitchen over the counter. And so it was that most nights, we ended up watching Star Trek: The Next Generation, which came on at 6. That suited me just fine. I am a trekkie. It’s useless to try and hide it, and even if I could, I wouldn’t want to.

If you watch enough of the shows and the movies, you’ll start to notice parallels between the different incarnations. One that you might notice is that each of them has an outsider character. A crew member who is not human, and struggles to understand humanity, society, belonging, and emotion. TOS had Spock, DS9 had Odo, Voyager had Seven (and a Vulcan), etc.

I always felt more drawn to these characters, for many reasons, and to some extent, I found them relatable. But my favorite among them was Data, played by Brent Spiner. Data wasn’t human. Technically, he wasn’t even alive, in the biological sense of the word. He was an android.

He spent nearly all of the series almost single-mindedly seeking to understand and experience human emotion. It’s not that the technology didn’t exist to give androids emotions. Data’s older brother, Lore (also played by Spiner), had been built with the ability to feel. And he had consequently become conceited, megalomaniacal, and dangerous. So that capability was left out of Data’s programming. As well as, for some strange reason, the ability to use linguistic contractions.

Finally, toward the end of the series, he receives an upgrade – an ’emotion chip’ developed by his creator (ALSO played by Spiner).  Throughout the movies that followed the end of the series, there’s an overarching subplot of Data learning the hard way just what the wide gamut of human emotion can include; how to live, or even just survive, with those emotions, even the horrible ones; and finally learning to manage them.

Oh, and he had a cat.

Data-and-Spot

Check out our other participants here –

Niki: Sometimes I Write

Becky: Free2B2Much

Tracy: CountryRoadChronicles

Writing Challenge Day 18 [MAKEUP]: A Fictional Character in a Book

 

Matthew has a lot of books. And while I don’t expect every one to teach him a valuable lesson, I do at least expect them not to teach him a BAD one.

Which brings me Troubletops and the New Baby. This is a fantastically illustrated book about a young, trouble-making dinosaur. A triceratops, to be precise (because these things matter, you see). Troubletops enjoys being the center of his parents’ world.

Until a baby brother comes along. And Troubletops is suddenly not getting as much attention. So he decides to run away. That’ll show ’em. That’ll get them to pay attention to him again.

And here’s the part that made me shelve the book more or less permanently. It DOES “show ’em”. Troubletops wins. He gets his way. 100%.

His parents go out of their mind with worry (of course). They look for him (of course). And when they finally find him, Troubletops is not punished. He’s not even given a stern talking to. Or even a regular talking to. And everything goes back to the way Troubletops likes it.

What would have been a great chance to teach a lesson about good and bad ways to handle problems becomes a story about a dinosaur who throws a tantrum and succeeds in manipulating his parents to do exactly what he wants.  No thank you.

Check out our other participants here –

Niki: Sometimes I Write

Becky: Free2B2Much

Tracy: CountryRoadChronicles