Wednesday, February 12, 2014


The winter Olympics are stealing my writing time. Thank goodness it only happens once every four years. And I’m not even interested in winter sports. I grew up in Illinois and I hated winter because I was always cold. Now you know why I currently live in the Coachella Valley east of Los Angeles, where summer temperatures are in the triple digits. However, right now the temperature is in the 70s and 80s and the snowbirds have returned from where they spent their summers. Maybe Illinois.

Actually I don’t lose as much time as I might. Ever since about the late 1980s when we suddenly had two television sets and two VCRs (remember those?) we’ve always taped the current day’s Olympic events and watched them the following night. That way we could Fast Forward through all the commercials, the interviews with athletes we knew nothing about, and skipped events we didn’t want to watch (Luge, anyone?) And, trust me, you haven‘t seen speed skating until you fast-forward through it on an old VCR. True, we were always a day late, but who cares.

Summer Olympics are a different matter, because, although I never skiied or ice skated as a child, I did swim and dive (I did a passable Jacknife) and envied people with incredible gymnastics skills. In fact, we attended the Closing Ceremonies of the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. I won’t repeat that here, but, if you’re interested, click over to my website, click on “Beyond Writing” and then “1984 Olympics.”

If I’m not mistaken, 1994 was the year of the Winter Olympics in which the incredible British ice-dancing team of Torvill and Dean won Gold along with the hearts of the audience. Their Olympic win was for their skating to Ravel’s “Bolero,” but we also got to see their World Gold medal performance to the music from MAC AND MABEL, a Broadway musical. At one point, their originality and skill brought the audience to its feet, screaming. I had a strong feeling that if the judges hadn’t given them the Gold, they’d have been attacked by an angry mob.

That was a tape I never erased and, now transferred to a DVD, I can replay it whenever I like. Hmmm. Maybe I’ll watch that this week, too.


As I write this post, I’m learning that a new survey, comparing Self-Publishing to Trad Publishing, is sweeping the Internet and being reproduced on several writers’ blogs. In order to do the subject justice, I’ll discuss it next time.

And for readers in Wisconsin, my dear friend, Brad Schreiber, is giving a one-week course at the University in Madison, June 16-20. The title is “The Writer’s Toolkit for Improving Fiction and Non-Fiction,” and Brad has been teaching writing and Screen Writing in Los Angeles for twenty years.

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