Tag Archives: the west wing

Aaron Sorkin is the best writer I’ve never read by Vivienne Lynge

Happy Easter Monday world!  It’s me, Vivienne Lynge, popping in to say “Hi!”  I hope you had a lovely spring holiday weekend.  Somehow, I was able to stay out of the kid’s shocking candy haul.  Yes, my children are the beneficiaries of mildly competing grandmothers.   Add that to the goodies left by the bunny, and the treasures found in our annual graveyard egg hunt and I’ve got 3 kids with a gallon zip bag o’candy.  Each.  Sigh.

But that’s not what I want to write about today.  Today, I’m tackling a topic near and dear to my heart as a lover of a good story: a favorite author. 

aaron sorkinI love Aaron Sorkin.  There.  I’ve said it.   Can I say he’s one of my favorite authors when I’ve never even read his work?  Yes I can.  I’ve watched his work.  Religiously. 

A Few Good Men?  Awesome.   The American President?  LOVED it!  The West Wing – I can probably recite it.  The Newsroom – love it – can’t wait for season 2 to arrive on DVD.

Now, here’s the tougher question:  What is it about his writing that appeals to me?  First, I like that his stories are smart.   I feel like I learn a little something about the world.  The political stories are usually told from a liberal point of view, but they still respect the conservative side and portray conservatives as thoughtful people with serious concerns, not as gun-happy, narrow-minded, religious zealots.

I like that these stories are fast paced and often funny, again in a smart way.  You gotta be paying attention to the dialogue to get the joke.   Aaron is the king of walk-and-talk stories where much of the action takes place during conversations between one meeting and another. 

Another favorite author of mine has a new book out next week: Lynn Kurland.  Yes, I’ll be declaring April 29th, as Lynn Kurland Day, this year.  Don’t expect that I’ll do anything until I’ve finished reading Dreams of Lilacs.  

These medieval Kurland stories are my favorites – time travel  or not.  Kurland writes characters better than many and as well as the best.  Her heroines are ladies you’d love to hang out with and her heroes are fellas you’d consider trading your own husband for. 

One of the things I like best about her books, is that her stories are equally about the hero falling in love with the heroine as they are the reverse and more traditional romance.   A few of her books actually lean more heavily on the side of it being the hero’s story rather than that heroine.   If you are looking for a few hours of joy, consider picking up a Kurland.  You won’t be sorry!

Writer friends, do you do this?  Analyze your favorite writers and try to figure out what you like about them?  Who are your favs?

Work Life Balance

Hiddey-Ho there Scribblers ~ J Monkeys coming atcha from sultry northern Connecticut.  Fellow Scribe, Jennifer Fusco posted on Facebook that she’s going to be tackling the subject of Work-Life Balance in some kind of public forum coming up and that got me to thinking…and trying out a balancing method that’s worked well for me in the past. 

Well, it worked on vacation…sure that’s a potential stumbling block, but I put it into practice today to see what might come of it, to surprising results.

Have you ever seen this movie?  It’s a Hugh Grant flick from a few years back.  Now I’m a huge Hugh fan…I have him singing from Music and Lyrics on my iPod and I thought the Pirate Captain from the recent kids movie Pirates had his speech cadence even though it sounded nothing like him.  Turned out I was right.  I’m that kind of dedicated fan.  Mr. Grant, you are welcome. 

Now this isn’t one of my favorites of his films, (that would probably be Music & Lyrics or Love Actually) but there is an interesting bit where he breaks the day down into 30 minute units.  Hugh’s character is a middle-aged rich kid living off the fortune left him by his one-hit-wonder father.  He’s idle and bored – hence the need to fill his time in manageable pieces.

So Hugh lives 30 minutes at a time.  Sometimes he’d spend two units on something, like racquetball or something.  I tried this on a WICKED restful vacation a number of years ago (pre-kid.)  I spent 5 days at a dude ranch in Arizona.  We woke up and spent a unit at breakfast when Cookie rang the triangle, then went for a 3-unit trail ride, took a unit long nap, ate lunch for another unit or two, napped another unit away, rode for a couple more units, frolicked in the pool for a unit, ate again – supper was at least two units, then played games until it was time spend a unit or more staring at a night sky filled with more stars than I’ve ever seen before or since.  I’ve never been so rested.  It was GREAT!  We lived one unit at a time.

So – today, I spent my free time (read that as kid-free time when I can actually accomplish something) by units.  I set the oven timer for 2 units (an hour for the math challenged) and did random housework.  When the timer buzzed, I set it again for another 2 units.  I spent these units working on a project for which I actually get paid (exciting thing!).  Upon buzzing, I put that project away and spent a unit inputting edits to my DIY Publishing book, then a unit folding four loads of laundry.  Finally, I spent a unit on lunch with a side order of  The West Wing (the Supremes from Season 5, one of my favorites) and headed out to the kids’ school for a few hours of volunteer time.

Now, I didn’t accomplish much of any one thing, but I did touch on many of the things I need to work on – housework, stuff I get paid to do, writing and not unimportantly, some me time.  That is what I call work-life balance, people.  Sure I have an overwhelming amount of stuff still on my plate, but hey – it was a good day!

Today’s secret: Sometimes, wisdom comes in strange places…or when you’ve got 30 different things to do – breaking your time up into focused chunks can help you keep those plates spinning.

Today’s question: How do you balance all of your responsibilities?