July 28, 2011

RC Talent Show

Filed under: Uncategorized — ccassello @ 4:23 am

I haven’t been doing much writing lately.  The weather has been uncomfortably hot and I was busy getting ready for the Renaissance Court (the downtown Chicago senior center) talent show.  For two days, 40 or more of us showed off our abilities.  Most of the performances, divided into two acts with an intermission between them, were singers, but we also had a couple of poetry readings, a comedy reading, line dancers and I did another belly dance.  The show was put on July 20 and 21 and was a two-hour show.  We started at 1 pm but had to come in at 11 am to be ready.

We began the show with the entire cast and crew singing Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.  Some of the words in the song expressed what we were doing.  The line goes “If life seems jolly rotten, there’s something you’ve forgotten and that’s to laugh and smile and dance and sing.” 

One act worth special mention was a Chinese folk song sung in Chinese by a woman from China who also wore a Chinese pant suit.  That is one of the fun parts about being a part of this senior center, we have people from many countries who come here.  Several sing in the choir too, which is one reason the director likes to select music in other languages. 

Our show had an emotional ending this year.  Two women sang America the Beautiful.  Then a Japanese poem for the earthquake survivors,  read in its original language and translated into English by a Japanese woman was followed up with the song Tomorrow from Annie.  It fit in well because the poem ended with the message that tomorrow will be better and people should never lose hope.

My Aunt did not come to the show this year because of the weather and several other people did not come either even though all the tickets were given out.  We had some empty seats, but not many.  The audiences were quite responsive, especially on the second day.  I did see a few people I knew from other groups I am, or have been in, like the writing groups.

Here is a picture of me in my costume.

July 11, 2011

SCBWI-IL Words in the Woods Retreat

Filed under: Uncategorized — ccassello @ 8:04 pm

I got back from the SCBWI-IL retreat late on Sunday night.  It was so nice being out by a lake and forest preserve that I hated to come back to Chicago, but I did miss Tweeter who lost his long tail feathers while I was away.   New ones will grow in but I don’t know how long it will take.  I’m still in the habit of using masculine pronouns when I talk about the bird even though I believe it is a female.  Sometimes I do use feminine ones.

But, back to the retreat.  My roommate and I met with one published children’s book writer, (neither of us are there yet but hope to be) for a manuscript critique discussion.  She like both of our stories and had helpful suggestions for us and she took advice that I gave her about the one she was working on but I was not the only one who had made that suggestion, some others in a critique group she belongs to also felt that way.

After our meeting on Saturday afternoon, I came back to the room and began to rewrite my manuscript, not entirely from her suggestions but from a new idea I got too.  I didn’t go to the bonfire.  I read the revision to my roommate when she got back and she liked it better than what I had read at the  meeting and I think it is better too.

I just got back from having my pictures developed.  For some reason, even with new batteries the flash did not work on my camera so I did not get the indoor pictures I tried to take, but the outdoor ones came out pretty good.  I just took some random shots to use up the firm at the end because I did not know how they would look.  I would have done better had I known they would be as good as they were.  I got two good pictures of our group, minus a few people who left early and the two men who did not come out to get their picture taken.  

July 4, 2011

SCBWI-IL Retreat

Filed under: Uncategorized — ccassello @ 8:27 pm

I haven’t had much news to report about my writing.  I’m not keeping up with the writing websites I subscribe to and have not done a lot of writing since my last entry.  I did, however, write another poem which I shared with my poetry group and they all liked it.  I haven’t tried submitting it anywhere yet.  I am not inclined toward Poetry Magazine because they have not taken any of the ones I have submitted thus far and it is another rhyming poem.  I am just starting to revise a book manuscript I sent in to my ICL course, which would be the second about the same character.  I did get the comments back from my instructor but I also want feedback from writers who will be at the SCBWI-IL Words by the Lake Retreat in Springfield, IL this weekend.  It will be similar to  one we were on earlier this year  but the retreat center is a little more elaborate with toilets in the rooms, it is on a lake and the organizers have done a little more scheduling for us.  It will begin Friday night and end Sunday afternoon.  I am looking forward to it.  One of the things that was organized is a time for us to get together in small groups, to share our work with one another and discuss them.  There are six of us doing work for young children so they divided us into two groups to make it easier to share.  We were asked to email each other the work we want to have critiqued so we can get some ideas of what we want to say before we get there.  I’m planning to take an Amtrak train to Champaign/Urbana and bus from there with another participant.  There is track work being done so they have to bus us to Springfield from Champaign/Urbana.  I will have more to say in this blog when I return.

I am also preparing my belly dance for the senior talent show.  This will be the second time I will dance for it.  The dates are July 20 and 21.  I am hoping my aunt will be able to come.  We were only allowed two tickets apiece because they need to have room for people who are not friends and relatives of the cast but come to the center and want to see the show.  Our director said there is a possibility if there is a big demand for tickets we would have our family and friends come for one of the dress rehearsals instead.  I got a ticket for each day though just in case we don’t.

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