Long Time, No Read…

Is anybody out there? …

I repeat…is anybody out there?

Bueller?

Bueller?

Ha.  It’s been a long, long while, but just wanted to pop in to say heyyyyyyyyyyyyy!  Oh, and to give you the link to an essay I wrote, which was featured on HelloGiggles today.  Hooray!  Very excited about that.

And just so you know, I miss you guys like candy…or candaaaaaaaaay (insert Mandy Moore’s twangy voice.)

I promise I’ll be talking to you soon!

http://hellogiggles.com/ode-long-lost-granny-sweater/#read

xo

Sarah

 

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To the Poor Sap Whose Screenplay is Not Getting Picked Up…

Screen shot 2013-02-07 at 12.50.22 PM

Dear Poor, Unfortunate Writer,

Today I spied your screenplay being read by a woman sitting next to me on the subway.  She read it off of an iPad, page by page, scrolling down every thirty seconds or so.  She seemed to read your writing diligently and carefully, never skimming passed the boring parts (if there were any.)

For a second I thought she might be an actress, but generally when actresses read screenplays, they read them from hard copies with scribbled notes in the margins, and they quietly recite their lines.  Occasionally they purse their lips and admire their reflection in the windows located across from them, causing random men to think they’re flirting.  The woman reading your screenplay didn’t do any of those things.  She was all business as she read with furrowed brow skepticism, a few times shaking her head back and forth (in a good way or bad way, I couldn’t tell.)

I was dying to know what she was thinking, so when she whipped out her iPhone, I knew I had to discover the truth.  I couldn’t help but peak as she furiously punched letters into a text message.  She wrote, “It’s boring…who cares about a wannabe monster who shows people his heating bills?”  Whoever she was texting agreed, and they went on back and forth about how they didn’t like it.

As simple as that, you were out.

In your defense, I actually thought your story sounded kind of interesting.  A wannabe mobster who runs around showing people his heating bills?  I’ve never seen anything like it that’s for sure.  Was it a comedy?  A drama?  I was already invested in your story and I had never even read it.

So, there’s that…

I guess I felt a little defensive on your behalf, because I’m getting ready to have my screenplay critiqued by my classmates next Wednesday night.  All of the potential writers in my class (all of which are really talented) sit in a circle and analyze each others screenplays.  The feedback isn’t all rainbows and lollipops, either.  It’s brutally honest, and I can definitively say that I’ve never sat in on a class where everyone agreed that someone’s creation was simply amazing and that there was nothing negative to say about it.  So, Poor Sap, I understand what it’s like to put your stuff out there only to receive feedback like:

“Your main character didn’t grab me…”

“Your story is too quiet.”  (Whatever that means…)

“Too much wordy dialogue.” (But I like wordy dialogue…)

“Why are we supposed to care about this character and their journey?” (Because I wrote it, and I care!!)

Getting a negative response after you’ve worked so hard is tough, but it’s part of the process.  Poor Sap, I hope you sent the wannabe mobster story to lots of other agents, and that someone ends up loving it, and if they don’t…

Keep writing.

Photo by http://yaherd.tumblr.com/post/22070322260/collectingaesthetics-thanks-but-no-thanks.

Phil Dunphy for President, Yo.

I have a confession.  I love Phil Dunphy.  Don’t worry, my husband doesn’t mind.

 

Such words of wisdom, Phil!

So, there are Jerry Seinfeld’s (eh, pretty funny), there are Larry David’s (um, ridiculously funny), there are Ray Romano’s (definitely a good time), and there are Al Bundy’s (hey, he had his moments), but no one and I mean no one is funnier than Phil Dunphy.

I’ve always had a quirky sense of humor, and I don’t usually find the conventional stuff, knee-slapping hilarious the way a lot of people do.  I need originality, I need ridiculous, I need absurd, I need you to cross the line, and then I need you to cross it again and again.

I love to laugh, but to be honest, it’s not that easy to make me lose it.  I’ve been known to sit in on many a Will Farrel movie and not so much as crack a smile.  But Phil.  Well, there’s just something about him that makes me laugh until I pee (not literally, but well, you know what I mean).

You know what?  Rather than tell you, why don’t I show you?

I think what’s so awesome about the actor who plays Phil Dunphy (Ty Burrell) is that in his Emmy speech for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy, he alluded to being a struggling actor prior to Modern Family.  He had been in the business for years doing odds and end roles, but not gaining much recognition.  Landing a part on a hit sitcom for your first big break?  Not too bad.

I was late to hop on the bandwagon of Modern Family.  This semester at school I’m taking a sitcom writing course where we study Modern Family episodes, and then for a final project we’ll write one of our own.  I had never seen the show before, and I have to admit, when my teacher announced that it was the only show we’d be studying, I had my doubts.  I felt like all the good stuff had already been done.  I was wrong, and immediately realized that after watching the pilot episode.  Somehow week after week the writers come up with new ideas that highlight each of its hilarious cast members.

Really, what I’m trying to say is that if you don’t have this show in your life, than your missing out big time.

On a side note, Phil Dunphy was the only thing that got me through this recent President election.  While the Facebook feuds were blazing, I chose to take a neutral standpoint and simply say: Phil Dunphy for President, yo.  If Phil was Pres he’d definitely make us laugh, and I think we could all use more of that.

~The End

Photo from ABC.com

I’ve Been Working on the Rewrite…

I just wanted to pop in to let you all know that I am working on the final edits of the young adult novel I started last year.  I mentioned I was writing a novel in my New Years Eve post back at the beginning of this year.  I am getting ready to query agents in about a week, so it has been crunch time.  Not to sound pretentious, but I had writers block for about two months straight.  There was a part in the plot that had to be re-written, but I couldn’t figure out the best way to bring it together.  It all started to work its way out once I got over the hump, so I’ve been writing every single chance I can get, which has meant no blog posts.  Sorry about that!  I PROMISE I have a post coming soon (I already started writing it) but I have to crank this novel out first.

Anyway, I thought I’d leave you with a song I have been listening to inspiration while I finish up my novel.  Gotta love Paul Simon.

Listen here to –> 04 Rewrite

The Results Are In…


Here we go!

1. What is your favorite book and why?

This is a hard one, because there are so many books that I love.  I would have to say Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen because I like to think of myself as a Marianne Dashwood, Middlesex by Jeffery Euginides because it takes place in Detroit where I’m from, and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte because I could read it over and over and never get tired of it.

2. Favorite place to be? Why? 

My favorite place to be is at The St. Regis in Kauai with Matt at the huge buffet breakfast eating our brains out. <- Pure heaven.

3. Where did you take the picture that’s at the top of your blog?

This picture was taken at my bridal shower given by my BFF Reagan.  It was on a rooftop of an apartment building on the Upper West Side in New York City.

4. What was your favorite acting job? What was your least? 

Hmmm…I think my favorite was when I was in Les Miserables.  I toured in the Broadway National Tour for two years when I was a kid, and I met so many awesome people from it.  Most of them remembered me all these years later, too, and I am friends with them on Facebook!

My least favorite was when I was in an Italian Opera called Tosca, because I had no idea what anyone was saying!

5. What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?

This is a hard one, considering I am not really a daredevil.  I think the craziest thing I’ve ever done is moving back to New York when I was 23 with only two suitcases and a dream.  Also, anytime I’ve ever put myself out there to be scrutinized and/or rejected, including when I studied musical theater in New York when I was 18, any audition I’ve ever been on, writing a novel, going back to school, and starting this blog!

6. If you could meet the cast of one television show, who would it be? 

Definitely True Blood hands down.  I am obsessed with almost every character on that show, and am in awe of all the incredible acting.

7. If you could look like any person, who would it be?

I would have to say Penelope Cruz, but only in Vicky Christina Barcelona.

8. What is your current most favorite celeb gossip?

I think consistently my favorite celeb gossip is anything to do with Jessica Simpson.  She is the perfect combination of being completely clueless, annoying, yet endearing in some odd way that I can never seem to put my finger on.

9. Which Disney Princess would you be and why? 

I would say I’d like to be any Disney Princess that doesn’t have to give up her old life and family at the end of the movie, but that wouldn’t leave any princesses left to choose from! Has anyone noticed that trend, or is it just me?  All kidding aside, I think I would be Belle, because she looks the most like me (brown hair), she has the most beautiful singing voice out of all the princesses, and she gets to live in an enormous mansion with dishware that talks…Um awesome!

10. If you could play any role in any show on Broadway (musical or not) what would it be? 

Oh, easy!  Elphaba in Wicked so I could belt out “Defying Gravity” at the top of my lungs.  I would also love to play Glinda from Wicked, which would probably suit me more, because she has more quirks and such.

11. If you had the choice to live anywhere on Earth (including low Earth orbit) where would it be and why? 

I would love to live part-time (meaning during the NY winters) in Hawaii.  Why?  Because I think it’s the most beautiful place on earth, and because I never feel prettier than when I’m in Hawaii (incredibly good hair days…)

12. When, and why, did you start this blog? 

I started this blog because I was bored!  I was living in Grenada while Matt was in medical school, and I needed a hobby.  My friend, Reagan, had encouraged me for a while to start a blog, and I finally just went for it.  I had no idea I would get any followers let alone hundreds!!  I would have been happy if one person read it!

13. Who are you? 

Who am I?!  I’m just a girl standing in front of a boy asking him to love her.  Just kidding!  Julia Roberts’ words in Notting Hill (which I happen to be watching right now) not mine!  I don’t know how to answer this…I guess see “Who Is This Broad Anyway?”….

14. What is yours and Matt’s favorite hobby to do together? 

Our favorite thing to do is EAT!  We love to go out for dinner, particularly at Rosa Mexicano in the city, and eat our brains out.  We order appetizers, dessert, the works, and sometimes go and see a Broadway show afterward.  We also love to watch Boardwalk Empire and True Blood.  It’s our Sunday night ritual!

15. What are you studying in school? 

I am finishing up a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at The New School.  After speaking to my adviser, she has concluded that I have turned into a writing major.  It was completely unintentional, but I guess I ended up taking a whole bunch of writing courses, because I enjoyed them.

16. How would you commit the perfect crime? Would it be murder? Embezzlement? Or the perfect con? If you could, how would you get away with it?

Haha!  Good question.  Well, anyone that knows me, knows that I would never break the law, because I am way too much of a goody two shoes…but to play along with this…In a fictitious world, I would probably rob a bank…but only if I could get away with it.  Remember that movie called Sugar and Spice, where the good-girl cheerleaders robbed the bank?  Yep, that would be me.

17. What is your favorite food? 

My favorite food is an Italian dish called gnocchi.  I love it served with a rich, meat sauce, and a lot of Parmesan cheese on top.  I also love sugar cookies with frosting, and chocolate chip cookie dough blizzards from Dairy Queen!

18. What are your Kodak Moments from your time as a child on Broadway, your courtship with your husband, and now your time being married… and why? 

Best moment performing: Seeing the huge stages in each city for the first time when I was traveling in Les Miz.  There was always something so magical about seeing where I was going to be performing, before all of the monstrous sets were put up.  Some of those images are engrained in my brain to this day!  Courtship with my husband:  Probably our first two dates, because that was when we fell in love!  Being married:  Our honeymoon, because we finally got to relax for the first time after our wedding…and because we went to Hawaii!

19. If you could talk to anyone in your life that has passed on who would it be?? 

It would be my Grandma Barkoff, because sometimes I feel like she is trying to send me a message, but I don’t know what it is!  Hoping I run into the Long Island Medium some day soon…Here’s hoping…

20. What is your favorite healthy recipe? 

I love turkey chili with low-fat cheddar cheese on top, or banana bread made with apple sauce in place of oil.  Also, see http://pinterest.com/sarah_barkoff/stuff-i-eat/ 

21. Who’s your favorite parent…Mom or me? (asked by my dad…) 

Um, not answering that!

22. Are you curious about any of your readers that you don’t know? 

Yes!!  I am curious about all of you, because most of you (if not all of you) I’ve never met!  I appreciate all of you reading and commenting on my blog though!

23. What is your favorite meal and what celebrity chef would you like to prepare it for you? 

I would love to have Giada De Laurentiis make me some of her Winter Minestrone soup…and then I would ask her how she manages to have such a bangin’ bod when she eats all that pasta.

24. At what point did you know that Matt was the right one for you? 

Hmmm…I knew right away.  Our first date possibly…It was just a feeling…and I hate to sound cliché, but you really do “just know.”

25. What’s your favorite salad or salad dressing? 

My favorite salad is a Build Your Own Salad from Hale and Hearty Soup that consists of romaine lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, red beans, croutons, and goat cheese, with oil and balsamic vinegar, and sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

26. What do you miss about living in Grenada?

I miss the predictable sunny weather every day, and the fresh fish market.  I’m surprised that I don’t have more to report in terms of missing GND…but I don’t think I’m far enough removed from it yet!

27. What is the most you have ever spent on a pair of shoes and were the shoes worth it?

Well, I love a good sale, so it’s basically against my religion to spend full price on anything!  The most I ever spent on shoes was around $150 on a pair of boots that I purchased in March, knowing I would only get use out of them for maybe another month or month and a half at the most.  They were full priced, but I bought them anyway.  Yes, they were worth it, because I still wear them four years later!

28. What’s your favorite crayon shade? Your favorite dress (and an accompanying picture)? 

My favorite crayon shade is Carnation Pink, because my favorite color is pastel pink.  My favorite dress was of course my wedding gown because, in my opinion, was the most beautiful dress ever and was so me!

With that…we will wrap up the 20 Questions game…uh, 28 questions, really…but who’s counting!  This was fun!!!

~The End.

What Are You Doing On New Years Eve?

Well, Matt and I are not doing much more than chilling at home, and that is just fine with us!  We are enjoying the rest of the holidays, and are more than happy to stay in for the night, away from the hustle and bustle.

However, there is one more reason that we aren’t out partying like it’s 1999…

I'm sure Prince would scoff at our vegging out on New Years Eve, but I just can't deal with the crowds...

Matt is sick.  Really sick.  Poor thing.

Since we’ve been back in the States, we have been on somewhat of a sushi binge.  However, last night it came to a crashing halt.  Matt gorged on an array of sushi, which was directly followed by extreme sickness (I won’t go into the gory details), that eventually landed us in the ER until 2:30 in the morning!  Thankfully Matt got some intravenous fluids, and is now feeling a lot better (though not 100%).  I think it’s pretty safe to say that we will not be eating sushi for quite a while again.

Presently, Matt is snuggled up like a bug in a rug and is sleeping it off like a champ.

So, I thought, since its New Years Eve, and it’s all about new beginnings, I thought I’d take this opportunity to let you all in on a little secret.  I have waited to disclose this, because I really didn’t know if I would stick with it or not, but now I think it’s safe to tell you that I’ve been writing a Young Adult novel for the past four months.  <–You all thought I was going to say I was pregnant, right?!  Sorry if I misled you!

Anyway, this whole novel thing started because of a class I took this past semester in school called Writing for Young Adults.  I started to notice that I was spending most of my free time writing, and when I realized I was skipping The Real Housewives of New Jersey to write, I knew it must mean something.  So, I kept at it, and just kept writing….and writing…and writing.  I couldn’t help myself!  My imagination ran rampant with all the characters, and now I almost have the first draft of a young adult novel completed!

Matt and I are heading out to Texas in a few short days, where he will begin his intense preparations for his Step 1 Exam for medical school.  He’ll be in classes from about 8am-5pm, and my plan is to spend that time finishing my own project…my first novel!

Who the H knows what will happen with it, but I am going to keep you updated with the process….and it might be a long process with all the editing and such, but my goal is to send out query letters to publishers/agents by the end of this coming year.

I am dying to tell you all what it’s about, but I have been warned to not post too many details on the internet about the plot, as some people steal ideas.  So, please forgive me, but I have to wait, at least a little while.

I will tell you this…it’s not a fantasy novel and it does not involve anything supernatural (like vampires, or anything of that sort.)

There definitely aren't any Bella and Edward-esque relationships going on in my novel...Well, there is a young romance (there's got to be), but it doesn't involve a vamp and a human...

It’s more on the quirky/girly side, a bit like Clueless, it involves lots of drama and laughs (hopefully), and it’s not something that anyone else has ever written about before (at least I don’t think so…)

So…There!

That was my big secret I’ve been busting to tell you!

What are you doing on New Years Eve?

See you next year!  <–Sorry I had to…

~The End

On Taking Criticism….

So, apparently I have a lot to learn.  For starters, taking criticism.  I have to admit, I have never been good at accepting a sharp critique.  Anyone with me on that?  I could be wrong, but I think you have to be a really strong person to be able to allow someone to give you an honest opinion about something you really care about, and to be able to sincerely accept it with an open mind.  Sure it’s easy to receive judgement on something you could care less about, but when you have truly put your heart and soul into something, and someone doesn’t like it?  Well, it hurts.  It kind of feels like someone is bursting your bubble, or like someone decided to bring around a cloud to rain on your parade.  Now I know how Barbra felt.

Almost like she's saying, "Please, for the love, don't rain on my parade!!!"

Today, I got some critiques back from my classmates in a Writing For Young Adults class at the college I attend online.  I was anticipating the feedback all last weekend, because I knew that early this week I was going to get the verdict from my classmates.  The class is set up to be a workshop environment where each week a new student submits a few chapters from the novel they’re writing, and your fellow classmates honestly critique it.  Now, I probably set myself up for disaster because as some of the feedback started rolling in early Monday, I felt like nothing could bring me down.  I had some positive feedback, where one classmate even compared my writing to Judy Blume (which totally made my life, because I basically love her, and read all of her books growing up.)  I was feeling really confident, and even started fantasizing about the Pulitzer Prize that I might win one day.  Okay, so that’s really awkward, but if I’m honest, I think I did actually wonder at one point what the requirement for a Pulitzer Prize was.  Hello, delusional!

Later this afternoon I cheerfully signed on to the forum for the class to check if anymore feedback had come through on my novel, and BINGO, one new message.  Hooray!  I was extremely excited to receive the rest of my feedback, that would confirm my Pulitzer Prize writing future.  However, much to my chagrin, it was not positive at all, it was downright, devastating.  It was from a classmate, and she criticized everything about my piece.  This b*tch went cray cray on my baby (my novel) and destroyed everything in its path, from my use of parenthesis, to the main character whom she called “dry.”  P.S.  That character was basically modeled after moi, so I was a little offended.

I spent the next hour on the phone with my mother going off about her. I used an array of tactics to cut her down the same way in which she had done to me, (e.g. saying things to the effect of, “Hasn’t she ever heard of a prologue before?!  It’s like she’s never read a freaking book before!  She must read effing Harry Potter!” <–Btdubs, no offense to anyone who like the Potter-inator…I was just angry when I said that, and JK Rowling is amaze.)  So anyway, I basically just went off about it, until even I got sick of hearing myself talk.

After my rant was over, I thought about what I was really upset about.  I was let down.  I had a moment earlier in the week when I had received such positive responses that I felt like nothing could touch me.  My ego was hurt because someone didn’t like my work, and because I had put my full effort into it, she told me her honest opinion, and maybe some of what she said had some truth to it.  I retaliated by cutting her down to make myself feel better, but it didn’t make me feel better, it just made me feel worse.

It made me think of a quote that I once heard that says, “Whatever you do, don’t
congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself either – your
choices are half chance, so are everybody else’s.”  The part about congratulating yourself too much, is apparently the part that I need to take note of in the future, and obviously something I need to work on.

Also, something to remember for the next time…

I don’t know if accepting criticism will ever get easier for me, but I do know, I am going to work on it.  Apparently I haven’t exactly taken my own advice.  To those of you who have read, “Stuff I’ve Realized Recently,” well, you all know what I’m talking about.  Perhaps in some ways I really have stopped caring less about what people think since I’ve gotten older…However…

Maybe there are some things, no matter how old you are, what you proclaim to the world in a blog as gospel, or how much you say you don’t care what people think, are always going to sting and trigger something in that little place inside you, until you learn the right way to just Let. It. Go….

The End~