Tuesday, February 26, 2008

New ladies, and TV ruminations

Here are the new holiday ladies in their entirety. You can click to enlarge them. Yesterday I sat on the couch and cut out several of each like paper dolls, to make the samples that will go to the manufacturer in China for bead and ribbon matching. While on the couch, I skimmed through the DVD of the New York City Ballet's Nutcracker, which -- to Jim's ever-increasing pain -- I had Netflixed over a week ago and not gotten around to "watching". I could only take a few minutes here and there, though, before it was ready to go back. I had Netflixed it because I was thinking of doing ballet-inspired ladies for this holiday line and I wanted to see the costumes, but then I changed my mind and the DVD sat around, like a thorn in Jim's toe. "Ahem, are you ever going to watch. . . The Nutcracker?"

It wasn't so interesting. As a kid, I must have watched the Baryshnikov/Gelsey Kirkland Nutcracker about 100 times. But, we lived overseas, deprived of English-language TV or video rentals (poor poor us), so we watched some strange things over and over. Some favorites were Annie (the Albert Finney one), and funnily enough, the musical Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, which as to be a contender for most misogynistic musical ever made. I still love it, though. Love that crazy Russ Tamblyn! Let's go kidnap us some wives, boys!

This was back in the mid-'80s in southern Italy. Aside from the scant pickins at our American "video club" (held once a week at the school, maybe a hundred pirated videos laid out on cafeteria tables), we had two TV channels, RAI uno and due. We watched Japanese cartoons dubbed into Italian, of which Lady Oscar was the best. How cool is this: a cartoon about Marie Antoinette's kickass female bodyguard! I can still hear the theme song in my head!

[insert: Hoy! Jim just found this on youtube for me!! How cool is the internet?? This takes me back. . . 25 years!!!]

That's the theme song, but here's a clip showing her kicking some butt:

Oh my God! Who knew there would be so much Lady Oscar on youtube???? Wild! She was such a cool heroine -- though it was all in Italian and I couldn't understand it that well. I used to have a sticker book of the cartoon too. I was about 11, I guess, and in Italy at the news kiosks along the street you could buy sticker books and sticker packets, collectible like baseball cards. You never knew what you were going to get, but all the rectangular stickers were numbered in order and when you put them in the book it essentially became a comic book, telling a story. We loved those things, but it took forever to get all the stickers, even with our mad trading amongst ourselves. Sigh. Those were the days.

Anyhoo, back to TV last night. Segued from Nutcracker into Miss Austen Regrets, taped last month from the Jane Austen blitz on PBS. A little Sarah Connor Chronicles thrown in. All the while, my scissors were working, cutting out these tiny paper dolls. Every time I make a batch of samples now, I can't help but remember, back in my Saturday Market days, when I made my living by selling handmade Laini's Ladies. I cut out hundreds of these every week. Hundreds! In those days, I watched A LOT of TV. And then there was all the beading and wiring. . . and sitting in a market tent in the sleet or driving rain or blazing sun all weekend down by the Burnside Bridge, peddling my wares. . .

(If you don't know the story of Laini's Ladies, and would like to know, go here. Scroll down to the sidebar on the right.)

So, aside from beading these up, I'm done with this new line, and back to work on other things. Namely, revisions on Goblin Fruit. I haven't yet heard anything from my Putnam editor about Silksinger. I presume he's read at least some of it by now, but I don't know. This waiting-anxiety things used to drive me crazy, but I've learned to cultivate a kind of patience that feels sometimes dangerously like apathy. There's a lot of joy in being a writer, but there aren't that many genuine thrill/surprise moments. Lots of working, and lots of waiting. Good news about the Blackbringer audiobook though! It will be out at the end of April! So soon! I can't WAIT to hear it! If possible, I will download it onto my ipod (I've just joined the ipod generation, by way of getting Jim's hand-me-down Nano, when he got a new, snazzier one) to listen to on the treadmill at the gym, where I will most likely weep to hear it.

P.S. Has anyone else noticed their Netflix cues backing up behind an unheard of number of "long waits" and "very long waits"?? I think they must have had a surge in membership, but not kept up with extra copies of things. Anyone?


Anonymous said...

NETFLIX! Ugh..... I have had MI-5 saying very long wait for AGES! Help me! I am goin' crazy here! I need to see what happens next!


Pet Guilt said...

The only thing i don't like about Netflix is their treatment of old/frequent-renter customers...the newer it is, the more you watch, the longer your wait will be

They're pretty insidious that way. I get around it by not watching new releases that often...they go in my "saved" queue, then, by the time i remember them, they're not new enough to merit a "long wait" for me.

~Molly~ said...

I want hair like Lady Oscar's!!!

You cut out Laini's Ladies by hand? Wow! I love the new ladies, very nice!!


Lisa said...

I just came across your Laini's Ladies Collection, and i LOVE, LOVE, LOVE them. They are SO beautiful, unique and whimsy and great!! I can't wait until my order comes in the mail, I am so excited! Glad I found you!


Deirdre said...

I've been with Netflix for over four years and never had a problem until the last six months. Now almost everything is on a very long wait. Makes.Me.Nuts.

I plan to put Blackbringer onto my iPod as soon as it comes out. I love the reader's voice and can hardly wait to hear what she does with your book.

Debbie Barr said...

Those ladies are so cute/pretty! Thanks for posting! :)

Q said...

Those ladies are very pretty.

I get the same problem putting books on hold at the library. However, I tend to put them on hold and then forget about them until that pleasant email pops up in my inbox saying that the book is ready for me.

Enna Isilee said...

I read the ladies' history and it's a really interesting story. I think it so cool how you're artistically gifted (you know what I mean) and a novelist. I wish I was artistic. Or... let me amend that statement... I wish others found pleasure in my attemps to be artistic.

Liana said...

Those new Laini's Ladies are just wonderful!! I really love them all, but my favorite is the one with the quote by Rilke about the new year.
Lovely lovely work! :)

Vivian Mahoney said...

The new Laini's Ladies are lovely. Do you think the wee one is giving you some inspiration? ;-)

Sustenance Scout said...

I love all your ladies!! but that Rilke quote takes the cake. Perfect! K.

Annie Jeffries said...

Laini, you new ladies are wonderful, especially the lavender one.

Anonymous said...

OK! I spent a few months ago in La-La Land reminiscing about old cartoons during Gaetian days... I found: Lady Oscar, Candy Candy, Hello Spank, Lamu, Lupin, Speedracer, Maya, Georgie,...My top three in order of preference include: Georgie, Candy Candy, and Lady Oscar ;0) Thank goodness for youtube!