Sunday, October 31, 2010

Nanowrimo--are you in or are you out?

Well, it's Halloween and a bit last minute to be posting this, but tomorrow is the day that National Novel Writing month begins. More usually known in its condensed form of Nanowrimo, this is the month when thousands of  people all over the globe (the contest having long outgrown its national boundaries) attempt to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November.

Why? Well, that's a good question. There is no real prize, and there isn't really even any judge. You could easily paste in 50,000 words from, say, Project Gutenberg, and still win. No one but you will know.

No, the process is its own reward. It's why so many people come back to it year after year. It makes November feel slightly insane, and there is almost invariably some unforeseen challenge that makes it seem absolutely impossible. Last year, for instance, I had typed the whole thing on a non-internet linked computer called a Neo, due to some problems with my laptop, and then couldn't find a way of connecting them to upload my story until the 11th hour. But I still won! 

Which brings me back to the question: Nanowrimo--am I in or am I out? I still haven't jumped and am not sure I will this year. But only time will tell. Now how about you?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Boys of Summer, by Michael McLaughlin

I'm not really a huge fan of contemporary public sculpture. And I have to say that personally, I haven't been all that taken by the downtown Santa Cruz street sculpture that has become part of the scene through the auspices of SculpTOUR, though  I think many people have really enjoyed the new fixtures on Pacific Avenue, and I do laud the effort.

But I do like the "Boys of Summer" installation by artist Michael McLaughlin that appeared about a year ago. As it's Santa Cruz, and not exactly the Arctic, you'd expect these to be sculptures of surfers. But no, it's a series of two foot penguins that grace both sides of a block or so of Pacific Avenue. I see half of them pretty much five days a week as I walk to the bus station and they never fail to cheer me up a little after the work day. I find them marvelously expressive and give me a lot of hope for representational sculpture.

You can see a lot of these up close and personal on Cosmo Curiosity's photostream, but here's a nice group shot from when they first arrived from the sea. (Yeah, I don't know why they didn't sink either...)

There was a nice article about all this by Wallace Baines in our local paper if you'd like to know more.