A Day Of Art

Hello, hello!  Last week, my friend Marika invited Dad and I to go to the Dallas Museum of Art with her and the munchkins.  I’ve lived roughly half an hour away from this museum all my life and can only think of two other times I’ve been there, so we decided to go with them.  We spent the afternoon wandering around some of the exhibits.  Dad kept getting too close to the fancy furniture, so the staff kept a wary eye on him.  We got huffed at for allowing one of the munchkins to touch a sculpture (to be fair, it was outside and looked like a fancy garbage can, so yeah).  We also got to talk Masterpieces and Stephen King with the guy in the gift shop.  All around, it was a nice day away from actually writing (and yes, I’ve been a good little writer with meeting my word count lately).  Sometimes, getting away from your own artform and exploring others is healthy.

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And sometimes, it’s just weird.  All pictures courtesy of Marika.

 I’ve always liked art anyway, so it’s not hard to imagine me finding plenty of inspiration in a museum.  But I admit that I was a little surprised by just how much inspiration I came away with.  For instance, the  Irving Penn exhibit (open until August 14) had a few images that are still stuck in my brain almost a week later.  One of them, which I don’t have a picture of, was an eye in a keyhole that had a keyhole reflected in the eye, kind of like a tunnel effect.  I don’t know why it’s stuck with me, or if it’ll cause a story to blossom, but it gave me something to think about.

Aside from inspiring the writer in me, I was also tempted to draw again.  There was quite a bit of abstract work that was interesting, as well as some things that looked like they were drawn by a three year old (not my cup of tea).  But, it was actually the furniture on the fourth floor that really made me go “Ooo, I could do that.”  Meaning that I could draw similar patterns, not that I could build anything.  I’ll leave the woodwork up to Dad.

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I could definitely draw a swirly design like this.

 Then, there were all the things that weren’t exactly inspiring, but they were simply beautiful.  Not everything has to make you think or make you want to create.  Sometimes, we just need some eye candy.  On the second floor near the room where you can see one of the restoration areas, there was the Wittgenstein Vitrine (a fancy display case the DMA restored).  It’s a really ornate box decorated with silver and pearls and opals and moonstones, etc.  But I wouldn’t even know what to display in it, let alone what to write or draw about it.  It does nothing for me except sit there and look pretty, and that’s okay.  We need that just as much as we need the inspirational things.

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A corner of the Vitrine.

 So, what is this post all about aside from me telling you about my day at the museum?  Nothing, really.  I’m just saying that it’s okay to take a day off once in a while to explore creative outlets outside of your norm.  Put down the pen or step away from the keyboard and go explore a museum or go to the symphony or whatever.  It might help you recharge, and you could have fun in the process.  I know I did.

A Look Inside the Tuscan Brick Oven Bistro

Welcome!  Today, I’m going to try something new.  Since I have a weird obsession with food, I was thinking that I would review some of the places I’ve eaten.  On top of the usual food and service nitpicking, I’m going to throw in an accessibility rating.

First off, let me explain my overall rating system.  You know when you bite into something and you just go “Mmmmm…”  Well, that’s my system.

MMMMM = Everything is magnificent!
MMMM = Great, but something is off.
MMM = Pretty good, but a couple of things could be better.
MM = The bad’s starting to outweigh the good.
M = Definitely more cons than pros.
… = I couldn’t find anything nice to say.

The first restaurant I want to talk about is one that I found in Freeport, ME while there in January.  It’s called the Tuscan Brick Oven Bistro.

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Host Stand (from their website)

Now, unfortunately I’m the type of person who eats her food, rather than taking pictures of it, so I don’t have many visuals.  Any that I do have are pulled from their website (link above).

First and foremost, this restaurant gets major credit for being accessible in a town where accessibility is highly questionable.  In other words, my dad and I tried to go to numerous places in Freeport only to discover that many didn’t even have ramps.  Back to Tuscan Bistro’s accessibility.  It has the whole two doorways entry, but there was plenty of room for me to go in, and move to the side so someone could open the next door.  Luckily, both times we went (yeah, we went twice in 10 days), we had friends with us, so it wasn’t an issue.  The tables were a little high, but nothing out of the normal range.

Next, is the service.  Both times, the waitresses interacted with me, so they get bonus points.  It’s not unoften that I get ignored by waiters and waitresses (it’s something about the whole cripple thing, I guess), so when they treat me like a human, they’re basically golden.  That being said, service was a little slow, which I’m okay with.  I enjoy having time to digest between servings.  If you want fast, let them know.

The food!  Both times, we ordered the Salumi Misto to start.  Basically, it’s a meat platter (a surprising find in the health conscious state).  A delicious plate of meat.  For entrees, the first time I got the Four Cheese Ravioli (no meat, but absolutely wonderful for cheese-lovers like me) and the second one was the Bolognese (it’s almost as good as Dad’s ragù. Almost).

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Bolognese

 As far as dessert goes, I remember it was good, but I don’t really remember what we got.  In other words, it was less than memorable.  I know I wasn’t disappointed at the time, but I would definitely have preferred to be as impressed with dessert as the rest of the meal.

Lastly, the price.  It wasn’t the cheapest meal, but for what we got, it was a decent price.

My overall rating!
MMMM

Introduction

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Hello!  As you may have gathered, my name is Shawna.  Rather than jump into an official blog post (whatever that may be), I thought I would take this opportunity to introduce myself a little less formally and a little more thoroughly than the website allows for.  I apologize in advance for any repeat information.

I am a writer, curently working on a supernatural YA novel.  I dabble in all genres, but my true love is horror.  Much of my work touches on the darker side of human nature.  I minored in psychology as an undergrad, which was when I developed an attraction towards the stranger psychological disorders.  Even my more fantastical stories tend to draw from such disorders.  I feel that even villains need to be human (not literally, of course), so I try to formulate a diagnosis to work with when creating them, even if it’s never mentioned on paper.  The psychology of different types of characters is something I will be exploring more in future posts.

I admit that I’m not as avid a reader as I should be, but hopefully that will change after I finish my MFA and actually have time to read.  I’m not picky when it comes to books.  I do prefer horror and fantasy and the like, but I’ll try anything once.  Please feel free to send me recommendations!  Occasionally, I will post a review of works that strike me in a particular way.

As far as the rest of my interests go, they are wide and varied.  I love all things Japanese: anime, manga, the food, the culture, etc.  Food and music (in general, not just Japanese) are two of my favorite things in the world.  I enjoy drawing as well.  Movies are fun, especially since I’ve taken a liking to writing screenplays.  Don’t be surprised if you spot a random post about any of these things and more (though I will try to keep them at a minimum and focus on writing related issues).

I think that’s enough about me for now.  Please, introduce yourself!  And look forward to a glimpse into my experience at Stonecoast (my MFA program).  That’s what’s coming up December 15th.