Saturday, October 27, 2007

Big Bertha

Klown and I are taking a week-long trip to Colorado. We'd be taking an extra day or two, except we have to get back in town in time to see Ringling's tour of St. Louis. This year, we get the Blue Show, which is the experiment in "no ring." Two years ago when this show debuted there was a lot of discussion in the circus community about whether or not this was a good idea.

I have not seen it so I don't know. I'm sure I'll be sharing my comments here!

When I first started researching circus, one of the books I read was Water for Elephants. I highly recommend this book as a pretty accurate description of circus in the 1920's. The love story is sort of unnecessary, and a lot of the parts wrap up nice and neatly at the end when they really shouldn't have. But overall, the vision of circus portrayed is darned close to what it was like to travel on the big trains of the old days. In that book, they referred to Ringling as the "Big Bertha." I've seen that description made in other places, as well.

It shows just how big Ringling was in those early days. It is still big, much bigger than most other traveling shows. It is truly the only one of its kind any more. It must perform in huge arenas and has a support staff behind the scenes that can number in the hundreds. The only thing that might come close to it in size of support staff might be Cirque du Soleil, but the Cirque show can't compare in size of performance and performers. There really is nothing to compare to Big Bertha.

And in those old days, Big Bertha was something aspire to. Performers that ended up on Ringling gained a measure of unearned respect that couldn't be matched. Even today, to get on with Ringling is a great way to add to your resume.

I enjoy the Ringling shows. It's another side of circus.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Christianis

The Klown just spent four days clowning with Circus Maximus in Jackson, Mississippi. Several members of the Christiani family were performing, and he spent each evening with them. I would have loved to have been a fly on his clown hat for all of that!

The Christiani family has been performing for at least 8 generations. I first heard of them when I read Mud Show by Fred Prowledge; in that work of non-fiction one branch of Christianis was travelling with Hoxie Brothers Circus in the early 70's. Some of the children from that story grew up and have recently performed with Zoppe.

Klown got a lot of circus lore from sitting around and listening. That would have been the fun part for me. The Christianis are also apparently in a book that is a mix of truth and bull, that I want to read. I may have to wait until after November, however, as I need to concentrate on this year's National Novel Writing Month. Even though I haven't yet finished last year's novel, I still like the process of writing that Nano offers, and will attempt another romance novel, tentatively titled A Cabin in the Woods.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Lost Interview

For two years now I've been attempting to get interviews with staff of a certain circus. Every time I talk to someone with their organization, I'm told "I'll pass on your request" but then never hear anything back. And when I do actually get ahold of a real person, they are extremely aloof, almost to the point of refusing to even look at me.

It's very weird.

All I wanted was an interview with some key players as research for my book. And of course I explained this to them when introducing myself, assuring them that I was NOT writing some horror circus story, nasty expose, or other negative piece. I go even further to assure them that I'm not a PETA freak and have no desire to see their circus put in a bad light.

But it doesn't seem to matter, I still get the evil eye and lack of response. It's a shame, as I would really like to have their experiences as part of the background of my novel.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Looks like I might get a writing day!

I might just get to get in some good writing time Sunday. I am going to have brunch with some good friends, hubby is working most of the day, after brunch I'm dropping Stinky off at Ampguard for the afternoon...this means a pretty quiet house all afternoon. The girls are pretty self-sufficient, and the little one will nap most of the afternoon. I'm already making plans for a crockpot dinner so I don't have to cook a big meal either.

The only "down" side to all this is that it's going to be 92 degrees, and my car has no a/c. I keep hoping for fall, but it's not here yet. They are promising a cool-down in the next few days. In the meantime, the more time I can spend in my air conditioned house, the better!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Another Busy November!!

NaNoWriMo is quickly approaching. As of this writing we have 28 days left until the start of this event. I do still look forward to it even though this will be my fifth year and you'd think I'd be getting bored with it. But it is never boring to write!

I have not finished the novel from last year, and it is still a year or more from being complete. I could continue that work in November (and probably will), but I am going to start a new project for Nano this year, as well. I'm going to go back to regular romance writing, as it is an easier thing to accomplish under the Nano guidelines. This year's novel is titled tentatively "A Cabin In the Woods." I'm sure this will change, but for now, it works. I hope to have it fully edited by March, 2008, and available for sale on Lulu.

So what happens with this blog? Well, this blog stays active and is going to continue to be used to update on the progress of Without A Net, as well as giving you circus news when I have it. How often it gets updated will depend on how often I have news to share. The book is a slow process as I find more details that need to be added, and am always open to new research, as well. Someday, somehow, it will get done. I'm aiming for sometime in 2008, but that may be ridiculously optimistic.

But since this blog is remaining open for Without A Net, I needed to start a new writing blog to handle Nano stuff. If you're counting, I'm now up to five blogs. Yes, I said five. One is about to be let go as I let the domain expire (I am not posting in it anyway), and one is little-used (it's simply a link blog for me to keep interesting tech links in). So I guess I will have four blogs, with three of them being used for regular posts.

The new blog can be found here. You might want to go ahead and bookmark it, although I'll be putting a link to it in the sidebar to your right.