The Truth Might Send You Into a Frightful Frenzy, and Maybe Into Sleep

What stories send you off to dreamland? One of the kindest, most generous people I know likes TV series about real-life murder mysteries, no matter how grisly. (Love that about her.) For me, stories about trains taking me to exotic locations in distant times, or fantasy tales, are just the thing.

When it comes to fantasy, one the great masters to whom I bow down is Neil Gaiman. I was among the legion of fantasy and horror geeks who have highly anticipated the debut of his “The Sandman” TV series — adapted from Gaiman’s comic books.

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A Kiss Is Still a Kiss, But I’m Seeing ‘Casablanca’ Through a More Truthful Lens

It took some vintage films to make me see how my mind has shifted — in ways that put the movies in a new perspective that isn’t entirely flattering. This came to me while watching Bette Davis claw her way to a richer life in “The Little Foxes.” And then I watched Ingrid Bergman trapped in a life-or-death love triangle in “Casablanca.

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Struggling With the Feeling of Failure, 10,000 Times Along the Way

If you’re anything like me, then you were utterly gobsmacked by the astounding images that NASA released this last week. They are “the deepest infrared view of our universe that has ever been taken,” according to NASA administrator Bill Nelson. The odds we’d even get to see those images was amazing: there were 344 possible points of failure along the way, NASA said.

Read More on Medium

How We Move Forward, After the Supreme Court Devastations

When I was very young, my older brother died of brain cancer. He was four years old. As you might imagine, this was a deeply shattering experience for my parents. My mother’s way of dealing with it was to repress her feelings under a big flat stone. She rarely mentioned what she and my father went through — all those repeated trips to the hospital, the crushing sense of failure.

Read More on Medium

From Sissy Spacek to Jean Smart: Delicious Roles for Older Women Multiply

Outstanding roles for older female actresses on TV have always been in short supply. In recent years, the business has tried to address the issue of racism and sexual misconduct. And older men have been around in shows for a long time. But as for a variety of shows with primary characters that authentically portray fascinating, mature women? Not a lot.

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The Essential Writers’ Tool: How to Build or Join a Feedback Group

Writing a piece of fiction can be like walking through a foreign land that seems endless, and occasionally filled with thorny brambles. Yes, you may have friends who will commiserate with your dilemmas, pour you some wine, or provide some good advice. But maybe the people you know just are not enough to get you where you need to go. Maybe you need to widen your circles, suck it up and meet some absolute strangers even if you’re an introvert — people who can guide you in new directions that you hadn’t considered before or hadn’t thought about strongly enough.

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Top 8 Things About a Friend With a Richly Lived Life

Her parents were part of the French Resistance. To evade Nazi detection, her mother hid tiny bits of paper with secret messages in the curly locks of her children’s hair.

A treasured friend of mine who lived in the United States for 45 years recently emigrated back to her native country, France. I’m coming to grips with the reality that our frequent visits are at an end. And I’ve written a list of things about her that I want to remember, always.

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Elon Musk and the Future

It was like a musket shot when Elon Musk pursued a deal to acquire Twitter. (And actually snagged a deal after this story originaly went to press.) But the most striking thing about it, for me, is his use of the word “freedom.”

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Red Beans and Rice: Memories of a Creole Love Affair

The cookbook lost its cover countless years ago. It’s spattered with roux (that baseline sauce of many a Creole recipe) and other unidentified marks from meals long gone by. The spiral binding has been a little derailed, but still holds the pages together. And part of the index was unintentionally ripped out of its original place somewhere along the way and is now a bookmark.

” is like a bible for some people utterly smitten with New Orleans cuisine. And its author sure has one snobby attitude. Leon E. Soniat Jr. prefaced his recipe for red beans and rice: “If you insist on cooking sausage with your red beans, try this recipe.”

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Fantastic Worlds Coming Our Way: How Metaverses Will Evolve

The cascading crises that the world is facing tear me in two directions. I pay attention to it in a pretty big way. But at the end of the day, escaping into far-flung fictional worlds is even more vital to my state of mind than before. If there were a bookstore version of a deli, where you could order novels instead of sandwiches, I’d be yelling: “Hold the futuristic disasters and smear on something fantastic.”

Read More on Medium

The Truth Might Send You Into a Frightful Frenzy, and Maybe Into Sleep

What stories send you off to dreamland? One of the kindest, most generous people I know likes TV series about real-life murder mysteries, no matter how grisly. (Love that about her.) For me, stories about trains taking me to exotic locations in distant times, or fantasy tales, are just the thing.

When it comes to fantasy, one the great masters to whom I bow down is Neil Gaiman. I was among the legion of fantasy and horror geeks who have highly anticipated the debut of his “The Sandman” TV series — adapted from Gaiman’s comic books.

Read More on Medium

A Kiss Is Still a Kiss, But I’m Seeing ‘Casablanca’ Through a More Truthful Lens

It took some vintage films to make me see how my mind has shifted — in ways that put the movies in a new perspective that isn’t entirely flattering. This came to me while watching Bette Davis claw her way to a richer life in “The Little Foxes.” And then I watched Ingrid Bergman trapped in a life-or-death love triangle in “Casablanca.

Read More on Medium

Struggling With the Feeling of Failure, 10,000 Times Along the Way

If you’re anything like me, then you were utterly gobsmacked by the astounding images that NASA released this last week. They are “the deepest infrared view of our universe that has ever been taken,” according to NASA administrator Bill Nelson. The odds we’d even get to see those images was amazing: there were 344 possible points of failure along the way, NASA said.

Read More on Medium

How We Move Forward, After the Supreme Court Devastations

When I was very young, my older brother died of brain cancer. He was four years old. As you might imagine, this was a deeply shattering experience for my parents. My mother’s way of dealing with it was to repress her feelings under a big flat stone. She rarely mentioned what she and my father went through — all those repeated trips to the hospital, the crushing sense of failure.

Read More on Medium

From Sissy Spacek to Jean Smart: Delicious Roles for Older Women Multiply

Outstanding roles for older female actresses on TV have always been in short supply. In recent years, the business has tried to address the issue of racism and sexual misconduct. And older men have been around in shows for a long time. But as for a variety of shows with primary characters that authentically portray fascinating, mature women? Not a lot.

Read More on Medium

The Essential Writers’ Tool: How to Build or Join a Feedback Group

Writing a piece of fiction can be like walking through a foreign land that seems endless, and occasionally filled with thorny brambles. Yes, you may have friends who will commiserate with your dilemmas, pour you some wine, or provide some good advice. But maybe the people you know just are not enough to get you where you need to go. Maybe you need to widen your circles, suck it up and meet some absolute strangers even if you’re an introvert — people who can guide you in new directions that you hadn’t considered before or hadn’t thought about strongly enough.

Read More on Medium

Top 8 Things About a Friend With a Richly Lived Life

Her parents were part of the French Resistance. To evade Nazi detection, her mother hid tiny bits of paper with secret messages in the curly locks of her children’s hair.

A treasured friend of mine who lived in the United States for 45 years recently emigrated back to her native country, France. I’m coming to grips with the reality that our frequent visits are at an end. And I’ve written a list of things about her that I want to remember, always.

Read More on Medium

Elon Musk and the Future

It was like a musket shot when Elon Musk pursued a deal to acquire Twitter. (And actually snagged a deal after this story originaly went to press.) But the most striking thing about it, for me, is his use of the word “freedom.”

Read More on Medium

Red Beans and Rice: Memories of a Creole Love Affair

The cookbook lost its cover countless years ago. It’s spattered with roux (that baseline sauce of many a Creole recipe) and other unidentified marks from meals long gone by. The spiral binding has been a little derailed, but still holds the pages together. And part of the index was unintentionally ripped out of its original place somewhere along the way and is now a bookmark.

” is like a bible for some people utterly smitten with New Orleans cuisine. And its author sure has one snobby attitude. Leon E. Soniat Jr. prefaced his recipe for red beans and rice: “If you insist on cooking sausage with your red beans, try this recipe.”

Read More on Medium

Fantastic Worlds Coming Our Way: How Metaverses Will Evolve

The cascading crises that the world is facing tear me in two directions. I pay attention to it in a pretty big way. But at the end of the day, escaping into far-flung fictional worlds is even more vital to my state of mind than before. If there were a bookstore version of a deli, where you could order novels instead of sandwiches, I’d be yelling: “Hold the futuristic disasters and smear on something fantastic.”

Read More on Medium

Gold in My Pocket: A Circle of Hands That Lifts Me Up

By Janet Stilson / April 6, 2021 /

She wasn’t going to say it out loud, not at first. But finally, Alice Elliott had to admit what she wanted most for her film, THE COLLECTOR OF BEDFORD STREET: to win an Academy Award. At the time, Alice was speaking with members of a support group. She was in the middle of a marketing…

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Hold Your Darlings Closer

By Janet Stilson / March 30, 2021 /

“Don’t laugh,” I told him. David and I were at our favorite Korean spa in Flushing, Queens. And I’d picked a quiet area, where people could lie out on cushy chaise longues to rest or sleep. We were all alone. He knew something was coming; he just didn’t know what. “I think we should get…

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Diamonds in the Streets, and Why I Love Them

By Janet Stilson / March 9, 2021 /

Many artists are like crows. You know, the big black ones that scavenge objects out of fields. We have a habit of finding little moments in time, little word droppings, a marble stone, a funny twig, that we love as if they were diamonds. And we scarf them away for use later on, in stories…

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Book Review: Victor LaValle’s Novel, THE DEVIL IN SILVER

By Janet Stilson / March 2, 2021 /

If you went into a coffee shop in New York City before the pandemic, chances are you’d have found somebody hunched over something that they were writing, maybe in a notebook, maybe on a laptop. They wouldn’t be much to look at, for the most part. We writers are like rats in big cities. Everywhere.…

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Petra Throws a Fit; Janet Offers an Olive Branch (and Some Scotch)

By Janet Stilson / February 23, 2021 /

20 FEB. 2021 Cher Janet, Saw that our interview posted on the Women Writers, Women’s Books site. And while I stand by every word that I said, people are likely to get the wrong idea about me. Yes, I recounted many things about my life in your novel, THE JUICE. But people who have yet…

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How “No” Gets Me Where I Really Want to Go

By Janet Stilson / February 16, 2021 /

Lately I’ve been thinking about the power of “no.” By that, I don’t mean someone who refuses to stop making advances on an alarmed date—or “No don’t touch that hot pot, you frickin’ idiot.” Instead I am referring to people who have been my mentors, who raised their hand in a big stop sign, making…

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The Truest, Most Secret Part of My Life

By Janet Stilson / February 9, 2021 /

I want to tell you the truest thing about me on this day, of all days, when my novel THE JUICE is being released. It’s something that I rarely talk about to anyone but close friends and family, because there’s a sting to it. It has to do with this guy, pictured above, David Chachere.…

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My Foolish and Most Splendid Adventure

By Janet Stilson / February 2, 2021 /

Several years ago at a cocktail gathering in Hong Kong, I mentioned that I was going to Malaysia on vacation in a few months. The people I was with were seasoned TV executives who worked in the Pacific Rim and had traveled extensively throughout it. Without hesitation, they recommended that I climb Mt. Kinabalu. And…

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Rebel With a Gigantic Cause—And a Gigantic Crush

By Janet Stilson / January 26, 2021 /

It’s no mean feat to catch a glimpse of Jarat Ellington, let alone interview him. The guy has pretty much erased every image of himself that was published on the Net. Privacy is one of his abiding obsessions in life. And I suppose that’s one of the reasons why he was so intent on sabotaging…

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Top Ways of Managing Stress in These Bizarre Times

By Janet Stilson / January 19, 2021 /

I had an idea in mind for this week’s post—something funny and a little frivolous. But right now, the people around me are so stressed out by events in all our lives. So many of us seem to be stumbling to find the focus and level of enthusiasm they need to put their best foot…

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