Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Boy Wizards, Barack Speaks, Bone Marrow, and Happiness of the Week

In that order:

  • I am going to be a keynote speaker at Terminus 2008, a Harry Potter convention in Chicago, Illinois, August 7-11 (Tamora Pierce is the other keynoter). This page has the official description of my speech, but I think in practice I think it will play out as "Ten [or some other number] Things Writers Can Learn from the Harry Potter Series," as that's a talk I've looked forward to writing for some time. Whoo!
  • If you've only gotten news clips of Barack's speech yesterday about race and his relationship with Reverend Wright, please, read or watch the whole thing. It made me teary-eyed; inspired; amazed to see such honesty, integrity, humility, nuance, and rhetorical ability in a politician; and more passionate still about his candidacy. (Even Mike Huckabee praised the speech; maybe Barack can inherit the "Walker, Texas Ranger" endorsement.) Really, just a marvelous piece of writing and speechmaking.
  • It normally costs money to register to be a bone marrow donor, odd as that seems, but through May 19, you can sign up here for a free kit and registration. Donors from mixed ethnic backgrounds are especially needed. It costs you nothing and can possibly do great good -- why not?
Finally, this is slightly embarrassing, but my Happiness of the Week:

Jim Steinman's Pop Hits!!!

You may not think you know who Jim Steinman is, but you do -- oh yes, you do. I had some major cleaning to do for my houseguests this past weekend, so I popped a mix CD of songs he composed into my CD player, and enjoyed the musical energy and ridiculousness of:
  • It's All Coming Back to Me Now by Celine Dion
  • Total Eclipse of the Heart by Bonnie Tyler
  • Holding Out for a Hero by Bonnie Tyler
  • Making Love Out of Nothing at All by Air Supply
  • and the crown jewel of the catalog: I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That) by Meat Loaf
(My CD doesn't include his other big hit, Paradise by the Dashboard Light.) Yes, these are terrible, terrible songs. But I love them for the same reason I love reading novels: the chance to tap into lives and emotional experiences not my own. I have never called a person "Bright Eyes," the flesh and the fantasy have not yet come back to me, and I still don't actually know what the thing is that Meat Loaf won't do. But it is just enormous fun (and a great inspiration when housecleaning) to be sucked into the drama of the personae who live those lives for four minutes, to ride that musical roller coaster, and to be spat out, exhausted and exhilarated, on the other side. If you would like to experience this yourself, here's the video of It's All Coming Back to Me in its full soaptastic glory.

So he would scorn the bloodlessness and lack of bombasticism in this weak little celebration. But nonetheless: Yay Jim Steinman!


  1. Can I jump up and down and add my endorsement and encouragement for the bone marrow registration program? A little girl in my daughter's kindergarten class and her younger brother both have a very rare, deadly blood disorder that can only be cured by a stem cell transplant. The good thing is that it's very easy to donate this blood product--at least in Germany, you can even donate it in a process much like giving plasma (they take it out of your arm, remove the stem cells, and return the rest to you while you relax and watch a movie). The bad thing is that matching blood marrow/stem cells is a lot harder than matching blood, and finding the right match can be a one in 20,000 event. After thousands of typings in the area, my daughter's friend finally found a match--in a databank in the US. The donation is happening this weekend. But so many people need this, and it's such an easy thing to do. Especially if you have a free opportunity to register! (Normally it costs 50 Euros/something like that in dollars.) Such a small thing can save a life. Listen to Cheryl! Register now!

    (Okay, er, off the soapbox now. :)

  2. Reading your posts always makes me happy. I even took a peak at the Celine video. Did you know Meatloaf did a version as well? (I only know this because it popped up at the end of the video.) It's very interesting!

  3. Oh, I'm excited that you're speaking at Terminus--I'm on a panel there as well, so I'll get a chance to hear you!

  4. Meat Loaf is a genuine guilty pleasure, I love Paradise by the Dashboard Light but I possibly love the utterly over the top I would do anything for love ... more.
    And what he won't do, of course, is hurt the person the song is addressed to.

  5. Thank you for calling attention to the need for more people to join the bone marrow registry. It is easy to do, and you might save someone's life. Think of it as a not-so-random act of kindness.

    A very small relative of mine received a BMT last June. Thirty (!) family members celebrated with her in Disneyland last month, and if things continue to go well, she'll begin school this fall.

    Serious illness can be devastating to a family, but particularly to a family with small children. I know that firsthand.

    Again, thank you for letting people know.

  6. Barack's speech was incredible. It was one of those speeches where you remember years later where you were when you first heard it. Here's hoping for good things in PA.

  7. Thanks for bone marrow donation link -- the free kits are great news.

    I thought that speech demonstrated a leadership and authenticity that I rarely see in the political arena.

    Total Eclipse of the Heart! I'm going to call someone Bright Eyes today (maybe throw in some hand-wringing and face-scrunching too).

  8. Hey now, to be fair, Celine was one of my very first CDs back in fifth and sixth grade. I could belt "It's All Coming Back to Me" like none other.

    Though, it's more like THIS kind of soap:

  9. It's heartening to know that conferences like these's a very happy thought. PLEASE PLEASE post your speech here on your blog after the conference (or before if it's ok, I'm not complaining :D) I'm so looking forward to reading it!