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!