1 Comment

Short fiction

All Story

I am a huge fan of short fiction. I devour stories by Alice Adams, tasty morsels by Scott Fitzgerald and Hemingway, decadent treats by Isabel Allende, dark chunks by Poe, and those wonderful America’s Best anthologies.

I picked up New Sudden Fiction the other day, and am enthralled with Stacey Richter’s “The Minimalist” and Leslie Pietrzyk’s “Pompeii.”

I wish I could write like them — but my brain just doesn’t marry images and words the way they do.

These stories are delicious torture.


Leave a comment

Night at the Museum

Night at the Museum

Some weekends I volunteer at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. Lately one of the most common questions I get asked is — “Was Night at the Museum filmed here?”

Before I answer that question let me ask — Did you SEE the film?

Because dinosaurs and cavemen running through CENTRAL PARK is kind of a dead giveaway. And no, the National Mall in no way resembles the wooded park featured in the movie. Sorry.

To the father of the four most adorable towheaded children… you should have approached the information desk before taking your kids on an hour-long “remember this from the movie” tour of the museum. I would have been happy to inform you that setting wasn’t DC’s famed natural history museum, but New York’s American Museum of Natural History.

It’s tricky… I know… what with the one word difference in the names — American vs National — and the fact that the museums are located in two different cities 200 miles apart.

Stiller and Williams

I’m real sorry your kids were devasted to learn that Teddy Roosevelt is in NY and not DC, and will no longer trust a bloody word you ever tell them, but really, when in doubt, ask the friendly volunteer first.

That’s all.

Leave a comment

The Wizard of Oz

silver shoes

For five consecutive years I went trick-or-treating as a character from the Wizard of Oz. One year, my mom spent hours curling my pin-straight hair into a cascade of spirals for my debut as Dorothy. The next year, I went out as the Scarecrow. Then, I went out as Glinda the Good Witch… two years in a row.  The year after that I was the Wicked Witch of the East – complete with crushed hat, roof slats, striped stockings and ruby slippers.

Those legendary ruby slippers……

Last week, I read the L. Frank Baum classic in anticipation of the release of the 2-disc special edition. It was my first time reading the story and boy was I in for a surprise.

First off, the film is better than the book.

MUCH better.

Second, Dorothy’s ruby slippers are pure MGM magic. In the book, Dorothy wears silver shoes. Silver!

I did a double take while reading. How could Baum not have realized that the slippers were RUBY? Couldn’t he see the story running in his head? Did he picture Dorothy wearing blue shoes before he settled on silver?

Thank the movie gods that someone at MGM got it right!

Leave a comment

Delusions of extra sensory perception


Last week I watched The Emperor’s Club. I usually read the book before seeing the film. But in this case, I learned during the DVD special features that the story was based on the short story The Palace Thief by Ethan Canin.

A few days later I bought the book.

Now, you all know I can’t walk into a bookstore and purchase just one book. As I stood at the counter, credit card in hand as the cashier rang up my purchases, I thought, “This is going to come out to $107.”

A minute later the total appeared – $107.

This happens to me occasionally… a random coincidence that will startle me out of my reverie and into the present.

Surprisingly the film is very similar to the short story. Not like the travesty of casting Tom Cruise to portray Lestat in Interview with a Vampire. Or the later revision of Queen of the Damned.

I struggled to remember the name of the actor who replaced Cruise in that installment… could picture him in my mind… his name at the tip of my brain.

When suddenly, he appeared on tv in a teaser for a new series on ABC called Night Stalker. And I remembered… Stuart Townsend.

Is this a cosmic coincidence or have I discovered my sixth sense?