Monday, February 23, 2015

"Birdman": Art Imitating Life?

What can we take away from the Oscar Awards of February 22, 2015?  Is it just a lot of self-congratulatory film industry glitz or is there something more meaningful?

“Birdman” won the award for best film and best director. Although billed as dark comedy, in fact this film had depth in both characterization and theme. Interestingly, the story line concerns a supposedly washed up film star, Riggin Thompson, played by Michael Keaton. Riggin had achieved stardom in the 1990’s playing a superhero called Birdman—similar to Keaton’s own success as Batman. Perhaps Keaton was the perfect choice for this part since he could relate his personal experience to the character.

As a writer, I sometimes use life experiences in my work, drawing on reality in creating fiction. In fact, I often refer to some of my short stories and novels as faction—fictionalization of reality. It is a good way to approach writing in my opinion. If writers want readers to believe their work, they must create verisimilitude, the illusion of reality in fiction. This is done by creating realistic themes, plots and three-dimensional characters.

Your thoughts and comments welcome here.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Valentine’s Day: Why We Celebrate

I look forward to VALENTINE’S DAY each year.  I admit to being a romantic at heart. That’s probably why even my mystery novels always have a romantic element in them.

The day had its origin with the Romans. The fertility celebration known as the Lupercalia eventually became the Christian Valentine's holiday. The Lupercalia festival was partly in honor of Lupa, the she-wolf who in legend nursed the infant orphan twins, Romulus and Remus, supposed founders of the city of Rome in 753 B.C. The pagan festival was also in honor of the Roman god Lupercus who was the god of shepherds.

There are several different stories connected to three early Christian martyrs who came to be collectively called “Saint Valentine”. Besides becoming associated with love and romance, the holiday continued as a feast day.

Valentine’s Day is also the anniversary of my older son, Andrew Seewald, who is an attorney in New Brunswick, NJ. He and his wife met as grad students at Rutgers University. They were married before a judge on Valentine’s Day in 2003. My husband and I were their witnesses. After a lovely brunch at a local hotel, bride and groom drove a hundred miles so Andrew could defend a client in a courtroom in another county. They finally got a honeymoon several months later. It made no difference; they are still very happy together and in love. In fact, their wedding was the most romantic one I’ve ever attended.

No matter how dreary February might be, I always feel cheerful on Valentine’s Day.  I enjoy reading and writing romance novels and short stories year round. But Valentine’s Day is special.
And I really don’t need candy, flowers or fancy cards to enjoy the day—just the company of my husband.

If you would like to read a Valentine’s story for free that combines mystery and romance, check out this one at:

Is Valentine’s Day special for you? What is your favorite holiday? Why?