1. In July Reggie and I drove down to the great state of Tennessee to visit my mom (who is recuperating nicely, by the way). This is a 15-hour road trip which requires its own brand of ingenuity, especially when I’m the only human in the car and Reggie decides to bark ferociously at every toll taker along the way. Having made this trip about a dozen times now, I’ve learned a thing or two about traveling with a dog. So I was invited to guest post over at Two Pitties in the City where they have a special series called How to Be a Tourist with Your Dog. (Actually, they invited Reggie to guest post, but his agent wouldn’t let him.)
Please pop on over there for some great tips and fun photos of you-know-who. And be sure to leave a comment because they are donating funds to the rescue group of choice for the How to Be a Tourist post with the most comments. I hear the competition is getting stiff.
Move over Mr. B and Miss M, the resident pitties of Two Pitties. there’s a spaniel in town. Reggie would like Mr. DeMille to know that he’s ready for his close-up.
2. Venture capitalism has gone grassroots. I learned about the Kickstarter website this week through a writing newsletter. It’s a clearing house of sorts to raise money for creative projects. Let’s say you’d like to start your own magazine showcasing the mysterious and wooly world of llamas, but you need a few thousand dollars you don’t have. List your project on Kickstarter and people can contribute to your cause, no strings attached.
I was instantly drawn to a children’s book project and pledged funds. The husband and wife team were so close to their goal with the deadline near. There is a time limit on raising the funds. Contributors pledge to give a certain amount only if the goal is reached. I also noticed a project listing for the Secret Science Club which meets a few blocks from my apartment once a month to discuss things like quantum physics in a way that actually holds my interest. (True! A few months ago, 300 people packed into the room to hear a Princeton University astrophysicist talk about the big bang. You could hear a pin drop.) They are almost 1/3 of the way to their goal of $9,975, which is pretty ambitious. Remember, if the goal isn’t reached, they don’t get any of it, and you aren’t obligated to pay your pledge.
What an innovative way to help people in creative fields get financial backing. And, good news. The children’s book project ended up being fully funded. Yea!
3. In a brownstone courtyard near my apartment, there is the most interesting sculpture, I thought you’d like to see. At first glance, it looks like a tree without leaves.
But look closely and you can see that the “branches” are actually hands carved from metal.
I bet the average homeowner’s association would have something to say about this in the front yard, but I think it’s neat and eccentric.
4. My next round of fiction writing workshops began this week. This workshop will be four weeks through the month of August, held at the Brooklyn Zen Center. I haven’t held classes there before, but I imagine it’s going to be a very calming experience. I’m also going to plan another round of writing techniques classes in September. Each class focuses on a different aspect of fiction writing such as dialogue or suspense. But in a town where you can’t toss a dime and not hit five writers, I’m surprised at how difficult it has been to spread the word and generate consistent interest. Any marketing gurus out there have any suggestions, I’m all ears!
5. This is one of those quirky neighborhood things that makes Brooklyn feel like a small town sometimes. On the main sidewalk leading to Prospect Park, the homeowner puts out this bucket and hose (and sign) every morning. Now I can’t say I’ve ever seen any birds hanging out here, but I’ve seen plenty of dogs taking a drink on a hot summer day.