Saturday, October 29, 2011

Molly's Crackpot Theory # 3547: Baseball is Geometry, Football is Algebra

Several years ago, on one of my earlier blogs, I wrote Writing & 'Rithmatic, about how the women writers I know all hated math, but loved geometry.

The same subject turned up this week on FaceBook, on author Eileen Dreyer's page. It started with the Mercedes ad (below), which led to a discussion of left brain versus right brain. When someone wasn't sure if they were left or right brained, Eileen asked, "Algebra or geometry?"

Beautiful Mercedes Ad

The text for the left brain reads:

“I am the left brain. I am a scientist. A mathematician. I love the familiar. I categorize. I am accurate. Linear. Analytical. Strategic. I am practical. Always in control. A master of words and language. Realistic. I calculate equations and play with numbers. I am order. I am logic. I know exactly who I am.”

And for the right brain:

“I am the right brain. I am creativity. A free spirit. I am passion. Yearning. Sensuality. I am the sound of roaring laughter. I am taste. The feeling of sand beneath bare feat. I am movement. Vivid colors. I am the urge to paint on an empty canvas. I am boundless imagination. Art. Poetry. I sense. I feel. I am everything I wanted to be.”


Algebra is linear -- or left-brained.
Geometry is spatial -- or right brained.

I completely understood and agreed. The explanation also supports  the crackpot theory I'd written in the earlier blog.

Then I got to thinking about left brain vs. right brain and football as opposed to baseball.

Football is linear. One hundred yards. Played on a gridiron

Baseball is spatial. It's played on a diamond. The diamond itself is geometry, its measurements as precise as the yards on a gridiron. But the game moves beyond the geometric shape to the outfield, beyond the outfield with a home run. There are no boundaries. W.P. Kinsella (who wrote Shoeless Joe, the book on which the movie Field of Dreams is based) wrote in his book The Iowa Baseball Confederacy that baseball is limitless (I'm paraphrasing here), that a home run hit hard enough could, in theory, fly forever.

Musing all of this makes me wonder if this is why baseball literature and movies are more prevalent and generally more "romantic" than football (Susan Elizabeth Phillips being a major exception). Of course, I could be totally wrong about that.Maybe baseball fiction/movies seem more prevalent to me and TV Stevie because that's our mindset. TV Stevie also reminds me that baseball has been around a lot longer than football, and therefore has a richer, deeper history from which to draw.

What do you think?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Community: A Writer's Asset

One of the greatest things about belonging to an organization like Romance Writers of America is that you're part of a huge community. There are currently over 10,000 members of the national organization, and most of them are writers. Romance writers. People who not only get what I do, but who do it themselves.

Being part of RWA allows one to join a local chapter, such as Central New York Romance Writers. Had I not joined my local chapter, I never would have found my best friends. Because these are the people who not only understand what I do, but who also understand me. Yes, I've learned about the business side of writing, about the technical aspects of how to write a compelling story, but the most important thing the chapter gives me is community; a place to be me, the writer, the person that the regular world often looks at in askance.

  • This past week, CNYRW member Ellen Hartman and her agent gave a talk at the River's End Bookstore in Oswego. Author Gayle Callen said, "Who wants to go?" She and I connected at a local mall and carpooled to Oswego to hear Ellen speak. We had a lovely time. Lots of chatter, lots of laughter. Ellen, of course, was marvelous as always.
  • In a couple of weeks (October 29), CNYRW authors Mary Reed McCall and Jason Barret will be speaking at "Unmask the Writer Within" at Mysteries on Main Street in Johnstown.Several other members are going to support them. 
  • And on November 19, CNYRW author Nicki Greenwood will be signing her latest release at Books 4 Less in Liverpool. I'm going to try to make it, and I'm sure several others will, too. Because that's what we do. 

Writing is a solitary endeavor. We tend to be an anti-social bunch. That's why when we find each other, we bond. We understand each other, we support each other. We give each other community, a safe haven. Home. I'm so glad I've found mine.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A Bug Blog

Horned String Bean
One August morning, as I was leaving my house to head for the Day Job, I noticed what looked like a string bean clinging to a support post on my patio. I took a closer look, and saw that the string bean not only had horns, but was also moving. I grabbed my phone and snapped a picture. The color isn't good at all. This bean/bug was really a lovely shade of green.

Later that week, my Erie roomie identified the thing as a slug. I always thought slugs resembled  fat, slimy  earthworms.

While in Erie for a long weekend, I ran into all sorts of insects/bugs/creatures. It must have been my week for it. My cell phone doesn't do justice to any of the colors.

This fella was a beautiful bright green.

And this one was a deep, iridescent blue, with gossamer wings.

And this guy? Dinner. Yeah, I watched the spider snacking on him all day.

Now, what reminded me to finally blog about this is something that happened this week as I was leaving the Day Job. There was a bug (insect, whatever) on the light switch plate by the door. It was black with beautiful red markings. I took out my cell phone and snapped a photo, but must have forgotten to save the picture. A co-worker told me that one side of her house is covered with this particular kind of creature. Google informs me that what I saw was possibly a box elder bug, but the pictures I find on-line aren't quite the same as my memory. The insect I saw looked like a stained glass window. The Internet photos are just gross.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

In the Beginning . . .

I'm in the process of starting a new book. I love this stage, where I have just a glimmer of an idea and things happen. Unexpected things.

I love brainstorming. My book, my friends' books -- it doesn't matter. It's making up stuff and making it believable. It's playing with people's lives. OK, they're not real people. but if I do my job right, the reader will be just as invested in them as if they were real. If I do it right, my characters will become real to readers.

Just changing a character's name can skew everything I thought I knew. That happened last weekend. A secondary character told me her name wasn't what I thought it was. So I did a bit of research -- what names were popular in the state in which she was born in the year she was born (G*d bless the Internet!) -- and voila! The character took on a life of her own, supplying me not only with her backstory (personal history), but also that of the hero. Wow.

So my goal for the next week or so is to write chapter one. It won't be the real, final, polished chapter one,  but rather an exercise in discovery. So far -- five and a half pages in -- I've learned two things about my heroine. One of them was completely contradictory to what I thought, and the other adds a good twist to the story.

I'm loving every word.