Thursday, February 16, 2012

San Francisco Part II: SF vs. Curaçao

In my second day in San Francisco (after 10 years), I begin to draw parallels and comparisons between my home in the Caribbean and this wonderful, wonderful city. How dare I, right? :D

Why is SF better than Curaçao?

- Variety vs. scarcity
- Service-oriented vs. so-service-disoriented-they-can't-find-North-with-a-compass
- the food, dear Jesus--the FOOD!
- no mosquitoes
- this is the land of public transportation
- BUT you can walk everywhere, and it's fantastic to do so
- it's also possible to walk--you're not drenched in sweat after the first five steps
- nature and gardens: unbelievable blooms everywhere. Yesterday I saw crocuses--yes, CROCUSES--blooming on a sidewalk. Just--you know, happily blooming. As if it wasn't a miracle of life and beauty.
- cultural stuff: ballet, concerts, museums, art galleries... you know. In Curaçao there's ONE museum worth going to. ONE. "Ballet" is what people dance during Carnival (which is, by the way, this weekend. So glad I'm not there). Concerts? Oh, you mean when one of those salsa pseudo-kings that no one in the civilized world has heard of shows up and blasts song after song of sticky rhythms at the highest possible volume? Ah yes. Those we do have in Curaçao.

Why is Curaçao better than SF?

- beaches. Hands down, that's the most important thing.
- laid-back attitude--everything's easy, nothing's formal, just... Relax and enjoy.
- no one lifts an eyebrow if you drink and drive (which we ALL do)
- did I mention the beaches? Oh yeah. But there's a lot of them, so it deserves two mentions.
- the diving. Spectacular shore dive spots all over the island, incredible reefs, fantastic visibility.
- barefoot is an always acceptable dress code, no matter what the occasion.
- no one cares if you've had a manicure or not, if you haven't had your eyebrows waxed in three weeks (or months).
- the beaches. Oh--already said that, didn't I?

How are they comparable?

- cultural diversity

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

San Francisco Part I

After three months of planning and expectations, I'm finally in San Francisco. Yep--for the San Francisco Writers' Conference, starting tomorrow Thursday Feb 15. Okay... officially on the 17th, but tomorrow there's some nice stuff to do, too.

First, a FREE (and open to the public--if you're in the Bay Area, take note) Reading by Lisa See from her new book, DREAMS OF JOY, at 5:00 pm. Lisa is the author of the NY bestsellers Snow Flower and The Secret Fan, Peony in Love, and Shanghai Girls. This new book continues the story of Shangai Girls Pearl and Joy. In the reading, which will be held at the Mark Hopkins hotel on Nob Hill (in the California Room), Lisa will talk about the new book and sign copies. Check out the conference website if you'd like more details.

There's also some pre-conference classes, as well as a welcome coffee klatsch after 8. I'm seriously considering taking Katharine Sands' PITCHPERFECT class tomorrow from 6 o 8. My pitch on Sunday, being the first one ever, needs some urgent help :D.

And today? Well, today I'm--sorta--free. I'm going to walk around and get my bearings, make sure I can find the Mark Hopkins hotel from the friend's apartment where I'm staying (it's just a couple of blocks away--but in which direction? Ha!) and explore the immediate area for bare necessities: good coffee, smoking areas, etc. When those "chores" are done, I'll take a walk down Filmore to the Marina, maybe see if I can find City Lights for a source of Zen... Well, we'll see :)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday (Feb 12)

This might be my last SSS... sniff... for the month. Yeah, just the month. But it feels like withdrawal, man! I'm flying to SFO for a writer's conference this Tuesday, and my dushi boyfriend is meeting up with me after to stay for another week of sightseeing--he's never been, so we'll probably be doing all the touristy stuff--and shopping for BOOKS! Yes, we're both avid readers.

So--without further ado, another snippet from Restoring Experience, the novel I'll be pitching at the conference (for practice only--one can dream, of course, but every time I read through I find more stuff to add/take out, improve, tighten... You get the drift). You can read last week's post here, and previous SSSsnippets here.

“No, you’re holding it upside-down,” Dan said, laughing, and turned the picture back around. 
“What is this?” I pointed at the burner-vent thing. 
“That, Lexie, is a stove.” 
“What’s a stove doing in the bathroom?” 
“The bathroom is off the kitchen--see the doorway here,” he pointed, “and the bathroom is through there.”

Ah--poor Alexia. All those dreams of living the artist life in a loft with wooden floors and rafters, a view of "history crumbling at the street corners"--dashed against the reality of European bathrooms :D

Thanks for stopping by, everyone, and I promise to do better rounds this week--last week, what with shaping up the last five chapters of this novel and refining (yet again) the first five, I went dark. But I do appreciate your visit, especially your comments--every time one of them pops up in my inbox, I feel like we connected, somehow. And that feels great.

Remember to visit the other Six Sundayers, and happy Sunday, everyone!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Catching up with Guilie

Yeah... I've been a little dark lately, haven't I? I apologize. I've been working on the novel, Restoring Experience, polishing it for its first public appearance at the San Francisco Writers' Conference next week--and my first writers' conference (eeek!). So I've been delinquent on the blog, on my Write 1 Sub 1 commitment, and on life in general. I do apologize, and I promise that, after the conference, I'll have all sorts of writing-related tidbits to share with you, as well as some awesome posts on San Francisco itself, my absolute favorite city of the whole U.S.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday (Feb 5)

February, people. The year is flyin', I tell you. This week flew by so fast I forgot to sign up for SSS until Thursday--oops :) If you scrolled down the list far enough to find me and make it here, thank you :)

We pick up where we left off last week--Alexia's looking at the pictures Dan, her boyfriend, is showing her of the apartment he found for them in Milan. It's been a long-standing dream of theirs to live there for a year or so while Dan works on a master's degree in graphic design. The excerpt is from my WIP, currently undergoing serious re-re-revision, RESTORING EXPERIENCE.

This was not the loft with high ceilings I’d pictured. It was bland, as impersonal as a hotel room and only slightly larger. The wallpaper looked crackly, old. Two tall and narrow windows let in subdued light. 
The third picture showed what looked like a bathroom, but I was probably holding it upside down. I turned it, but the objects refused to fall into a recognizable layout--something in a corner looked suspiciously like a stove burner, but it had to be a ceiling vent of some kind.

I promise next week we'll skip ahead to some action again :) Thanks again for the visit, and remember to visit the other Six Sundayers--excellent writing all over.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Sweet Saturday Sample (Feb 4)

Welcome back to Sweet Saturday Sample, and thank you for stopping by Quiet Laughter. I hope you enjoy this little bit from my first novel, Restoring Experience. This excerpt is from Ch. 23. Although it's definitely rated no higher than PG-13, it may not necessarily be "sweet"--there's despair in yonder lines below. You've been warned :)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A to Z April Challenge

Oh, man. I must be seriously deranged. I signed up for the A to Z Challenge yesterday (thanks, Damyanti, for tweeting the link!). What is it? Short version: 26 new blog posts in April, one every day except Sundays, each starting with a different letter of the alphabet (thereby A to Z, duh). Long version: click here. Apparently it's a ton of fun, gets creative juices flowing, one meets amazing bloggers, gets lots of exposure, makes new friends... Cool, huh?

Except for the fact that my blog stats tell me I put up a new post on average twice a week.

No, it's not that I don't like blogging--love it, in fact. Since we're on the subject, let me please ask for a round of applause for all Quiet Laughter's readers--the blog got over 1200 hits in January. Almost double what it got in December, which was around 10% more than November, which was, in turn, around 10% more than October, so on and so forth. Quiet Laughter was born in June last year, and traffic has steadily increased every month (mainly thanks to Clarity of Night's fiction contest in July, the Six Sentence Sunday weekly blog hop, and the Bluebell Books Short Story Slam), but the spike from December to January took me completely by surprise. So--thank you, all, for your visits and your comments--they make my day, every time.

Back to the A to Z challenge--ahem. So in April, together with my blogging buddy Cindy Dwyer (Cindy, you're not leaving me alone with this, are you?), I'll be writing a new blog post every day except Sundays. What about? Yeah, that's the question, isn't it? I doubt I'll be able to stick to one subject for the whole 26 posts--you know me, eclectic blogger (if you're in a kind mood). But I'd really like to make this a cross-culture A to Z. Short essays on those scenes from daily life us expats (or frequent travelers) experience, whether frustrating, funny, or illuminating, that give this homeless life we've chosen its spark. I'm not promising anything, but that seems like a good idea right now.

Or I might just go off on a tangent, get all dark and maudlin. Spice it up every now and then with something about writing :)
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