Monday, July 29, 2019
Lazy (No Boil) Lasagna
Lasagna used to be one of those dishes I'd only make for company because it was too labor intensive! Browning meat, preparing sauce from scratch, boiling the noodles, only to have them tear--ugh! The whole process was a major pain!
But ever since I discovered the no-boil method, lasagna has become a staple in our home. Nowadays I use sauce from a jar, along with a pack of prepared Italian meatballs that I run through the food processor.
Without further adieu, here's my Lazy Lasagna recipe. Enjoy!
Lazy (No Boil) Lasagna
2 26 oz jars pasta sauce
12 oz. lasagna noodles, not boiled
1 pack prepared Italian meatballs (chopped through food processor)
15 oz. ricotta cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
8 oz. mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13 x 9 inch glass baking dish with cooking spray. In a small bowl, combine ricotta, Parmesan cheese and egg. Set aside.
Spread one cup of sauce evenly over bottom of glass baking dish. Place a layer of noodles on top. Spread half of ricotta cheese mixture over noodles, then over this, sprinkle about 1/4 cup of the mozzarella. Top with half the chopped meatballs and another cup or more of sauce.
Repeat layers. Cover and bake one hour. Remove cover, top with remaining mozzarella, then run under broiler until cheese melts. Makes 8 servings.
Do you have a favorite pasta? Thanks for visiting, and have a great week!
Monday, July 22, 2019
Peg Entwistle: A Tragic End
It's a shame that twenty-four year old Peg Entwistle, a talented and accomplished stage actress, is most remembered for her death. An unsuccessful attempt at a film career led her to a tragic end that happened nearly eighty-seven years ago.
Here's an account from About.com:
On the night of September , 1932, actress Peg Entwistle made her way up the steep slope of Mount Lee in Los Angeles to the site of the famous Hollywood sign (back then it spelled out "Hollywoodland"). She took off her coat and neatly folded it, put down her purse, and climbed up the maintenance ladder on the back of the 50-foot-high letter H. She stood atop it for a moment, looking over the lights of the glamorous city below, then leapt to her death.Peg probably died instantly, and her body was found [on September 18]by a hiker.
Born in 1908 in Port Talbot, Wales, U.K., Millicent Lilian Entwistle, nicknamed Peg, saw more than her share of tragedy. She was just a child when her mother died unexpectedly, after which she moved with her father to New York City. A few years later, he was struck down by a hit-and-run car on Park Avenue and killed.
Peg was able to find stage work in productions featuring such stars as Dorothy Gish and Laurette Taylor, but was already battling the demons of depression. Nevertheless, she set her sights on Hollywood and moved to Los Angles in 1932 in hopes of landing roles in motion pictures.
At first she found work again on the stage, but then it seemed her destiny had really changed when RKO signed her to appear in the film Thirteen Women (click here to watch her appearance), starring Irene Dunne. When previews of the film received poor reviews, the studio re-edited it, and much of Peg's part was left on the editing floor. RKO subsequently dropped the options on her contract. And on the night of September , 1932, after a bout of heavy drinking fueled by her depression and despair, 24-year-old Peg Entwistle told her uncle (with whom she was living) that she was going to meet some friends at a local drug store. Instead, she made her way to the Hollywood sign to meet her fate.
Not long ago I learned that Peg's grave site is in Oak Hill Cemetery in Glendale, Ohio, a small town close to Cincinnati. A few summers ago, the kids and I took a field trip there to find it.
With my youngest at the grave site
Although this song wasn't written for Peg Entwistle, I'm using it as a little tribute to her, compliments of Steely Dan:
I've seen your picture
Your name in lights above it
This is your big debut
It's like a dream come true
And when you smile for the camera
I know they're gonna love it
I like your pin shot
I keep it with your letter
Done up in blueprint blue
It sure looks good on you
So won't you smile for the camera
I know I'll love you better
It will come back to you
It will come back to you
Then the shutter falls
You see it all in 3-D
It's your favorite foreign movie
Were you familiar with Peg Entwistle's story? Thanks for visiting and have a great week!
Monday, July 15, 2019
Sometimes It's Okay to Tell and Not Show
This rule sounds contrary to anything most writers have ever read or been taught. It's of course important to show everything worth showing, such as dramatic interaction and heated dialogue. But it is acceptable to tell a few things, too.
Utilize the power of description about surroundings, what's going on inside a character's head, or in the world of your story itself. Masello points out the opening of Dickens A Tale of Two Cities, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." So if Dickens can do it...
Also, things that don't need to be seen don't need to be shown. Who wants to read about a heroine getting ready for work? We know she'll shower, style her hair, put on makeup, get dressed, make coffee and eat breakfast.
Only show these things if something important happens to affect the story. Perhaps she slips in the shower and breaks her leg, or spills hot coffee and scalds herself, etc., etc.
Masello mentions something that Elmore Leonard, a master of pacing, once said. He keeps his books moving briskly along leaving out all the parts readers don't want to read.
Anything in your current WIP that can be told and not shown? Happy writing, and thanks for visiting!
Originally published 3/14/11
Monday, July 8, 2019
Playing it Safe With the Muse
I think "the muse" is good old fashioned imagination--nothing more, nothing less. And imaginations can create great stories all by themselves, or be inspired by some form of external stimulation. A talk show topic, news story, conversation, painting or photograph can easily get those creative juices flowing. And just asking the question "what if?" in any situation can open the door to a fascinating narrative.
Not only do I think of imagination as "the muse," I see it as "the safest muse." Finding this elusive creature in a bottle or a pill (or a combination of the two) can lead to devastating circumstances.
Unfortunately, many of the greatest American writers were alcoholics. Several died young from complications due to their addictions, while others committed suicide, or attempted it, often more than once.
Did their addictions enhance their artistic abilities, or was alcohol just used as way to self-medicate from the other problems in their lives?
Here's Listverse.com's Top 15 Alcoholic Writers:
14. Raymond Chandler
13. John Cheever
12. O. Henry
11. Tennessee Williams
10. Dylan Thomas
9. Dorothy Parker
8. Edgar Allan Poe
7. Truman Capote
6. Jack Keroac
5. William Faulkner
4. Charles Bukowski
3. F. Scott Fitzgerald
2. James Joyce
1. Ernest Hemingway
I don't know about you, but based on the lives of some of the aforementioned writers, I think playing it safe with "the muse" can lead to a longer, healthier, happier life!
What do you think?
Thanks for stopping by and have a great week!
Monday, July 1, 2019
Humor: Don't Force the Issue
Humor is a good way to lighten the mood of a narrative during scenes filled with darkness and intensity, and a nice dose of it is a great addition to any story. As Masello says, "...it's the leavening agent that can lighten up even the heaviest material." But not everyone is born with a sense of humor. So, if humor lacks from the individual, it shouldn't be forced into print. Whatever is trying to be written as funny by the humorless writer, might come off as sounding stiff and unnatural to the reading, or viewing audience.
F. Scott Fitzgerald was hired as one of many writers to transform Gone With the Wind into a screenplay. What I just learned recently, from the GWTW But Not Forgotten Facebook Page, was that he was let go because he couldn't make Aunt Pittypat sound funny! Who can ever forget Aunt Pittypat riding off during the explosions, as the Yankees are approaching to attack Atlanta? Flabbergasted and flustered she yells, "Uncle Peter, my smelling salts..."
Some people are naturally funny. Those that are tend to be laid back and don't take themselves too seriously. They can see the humor even in serious situations, and are usually optimistic.
But it takes more than funny people to make the world go around. Those who aren't funny sometimes tend to be more serious, tense, critical and pessimistic. If you've ever said to someone (or someone has said to you), "You have no sense of humor," and you've gotten a reaction like this (or you've reacted this way, after angrily slamming down a fist), "I DO SO have a sense of humor,"chances are, that person (or you) may very well not. But that's okay, not everyone is born with the humor gene.
Now, if you're a funny person and a writer, and you have a humorless friend who's a writer, too, let him know you'd be happy to help infuse a little humor into his narrative, if he's at all interested. Even if he claims there's plenty of funny stuff he's already written, offer to read it and see if it sounds funny to you. If someone has to stretch and strain to be funny, and what's written is beyond their "comfort zone," that can be some pretty painful reading.
Do you or don't you have a sense of humor? Thanks for visiting and have a great week!
Subscribe to: Posts (Atom)