Monday, October 20, 2014

The One With My 10 Favorite ‘Friends’ Moments


By Stephanie Schaefer

“Friends” is one of those shows that simply never goes out of style. Daniel Ford and I recently finished rewatching the entire series, during which I laughed at jokes I’ve heard many times before and got misty-eyed during the finale yet again. Netflix will soon make it easy to follow our binge-watching lead as the company recently announced that all 236 episodes will be available for your streaming pleasure starting January 2015 (say goodbye to your social lives).

Choosing my favorite “Friends” moments was as difficult as Joey deciding if he’d rather give up food or sex, but I finally narrowed down my list. Take a look at my top picks and share your favorites in the comments section!

1. When Rachel and Ross visit the laundromat in “The One With the East German Laundry Detergent”




Why I Love It: This scene sets the stage for the Ross and Rachel romance, long before the on-again, off-again lovebirds actually get together (and before Ross gets weird in the later seasons). The two go on a pseudo-date when Ross accompanies Rachel and takes her “laundry virginity.” He's there to comfort her when she accidentally mixes a red sock within her whites, making her wardrobe look like a marshmallow Peep. More importantly, he’s there when she stands up to the laundry bully and is rewarded with a friendly kiss for his support.

Memorable Quote: “I know this is gonna sound really stupid, but I feel that if I can do this, you know, if I can actually do my own laundry, there isn't anything I can't do.”—Rachel


2. When Monica and Rachel pretend to be each other in “The One With Two Parts”




Why I Love It: Before George Clooney made an honest women out of Amal Alamuddin—aka that lady whose name no one can pronounce—he guest starred on “Friends" as his “ER” character. When Rachel hurts her ankle, she pretends to be Monica in order to use her insurance. The girls land dates with the two cute doctors while swapping their identities, making for some hilarious backstabbing.

Memorable Quote: “And by the way, have I mentioned that back in high school, I was a cow?”—Rachel (pretending to be Monica)


3. Ross and Rachel’s first real kiss in “The One Where Ross Finds Out”



Why I Love It: This is 1990s romance at its finest. Rachel learns that Ross is buying a cat with his new girlfriend, prompting her to have a little too much wine and reveal her feelings about him. The star-crossed duo then argues dramatically in Central Perk. Ross rushes out in anger, while Rachel bolts the coffee shop’s doors shut and cries on the couch. Cue the rain, music, Ross’s return, and a passionate first kiss.

Memorable Quote: “I didn’t get a cat.”—Ross


4. When Phoebe and Chandler sing together in “The One With the Giant Poking Device”




Why I Love It: Not many television shows are good all the way through the closing credits, but “Friends” proved it could keep you watching right until the end. In this episode, Janice goes back to her first husband, but not before she compares her love for Chandler to a Lionel Richie song. Here, Phoebe shows that true friends are always be there for each other when she joins in with heartbroken Chandler as he sings Ritchie’s “Endless Love” off-key.

Memorable quote: “The way I feel about you, it’s like, I finally understand what Lionel Richie’s been singing about.”—Janice


5. When the girls drink beer on the couch in “The One With All the Wedding Dresses”




Why I Love It: Best friends, wedding dresses, and liquor can truly remedy a broken heart. When Monica picks up Ross’s bride-to-be’s dress, she can’t help but try it on herself. At the end Rachel, who’s upset over Ross’s engagement, joins Phoebe and Monica as they play dress up, leading to a memorable scene between our favorite ladies.

Memorable quotes: “I gotta tell ya, this really does put me in a better mood.”–Rachel


6. When Monica and Rachel compete against Joey and Chandler in “The One With all the Embryos”




Why I Love It: The girls and guys take part in a game show-like competition to prove who knows each other better and hilarity follows. Monica and Rachel’s large, rent-controlled, and completely unrealistic New York City apartment is on the line when the stakes are raised. We learn some pretty funny stuff about our favorite friends in this classic scene, which proves just how great the chemistry is between them.

Memorable quotes: Ross: “I’m afraid the TV Guide comes to Chanandler Bong.” Chandler: “Actually, it’s Miss Chanandler Bong.”


7. When Ross says Rachel’s name in “The One With Ross’s Wedding: Part 2”




Why I Love It: Plain and simple, no one liked uptight Emily. We were all rooting for Ross to break up with her. An iconic moment in sitcom history is born when he says Rachel’s name at the altar.

Memorable quote: “This is worse than when he married the lesbian.”—Judy Geller


8. When Chandler admits he’s in love with Monica in “The One where Everybody Finds out”




Why I Love It: Even though everyone was obsessed with the Ross and Rachel storyline, the true heart and soul of “Friends” was Chandler and Monica’s relationship. There didn’t need to be any of that “We were on a break” drama for this romance to work. It just two friends who fell in love and never looked back.

Memorable quote: “I thought you guys were doing it, I didn’t know you were in love.”—Phoebe


9. When Monica Proposes to Chandler (& vice versa) in “The One with the Proposal”




Why I Love It: Everyone loves a happy ending, especially when candles are involved.

Memorable quote: “There’s a reason why girls don’t do this.”—Monica


10. When Rachel runs without inhibitions in “The One where Phoebe Runs”




Why I Love It: The great thing about “Friends” is that it can always put you in a better mood no matter how rough of day you had. This episode, where Phoebe runs like a toddler/crazy person, is definitely a feel-gooder, especially when Rachel joins in on the free-spirited jog at the end.

Memorable quote: “I swear when she runs it’s like a mix between Kermit the Frog and the Six Million Dollar Man.”—Rachel


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sunday Brunch: A Conversation With High School Friends Sean Tuohy & Marcus and the Week’s Top Posts

Picture by Stephanie Schaefer

Writer’s Bone’s Sunday Brunch features fresh commentary or interviews, jazz recommendations, and a roundup of the week’s top posts. We encourage you to enjoy this post on a weekly basis with a mouthful of omelet and home fries, as well as an unhealthy amount of the aforementioned mimosas, Bloody Marys, or bellinis. Also, send us your brunch pictures and we'll feature them in upcoming posts! You can email them to admin@writersbone.com or tweet us at @WritersBone.

Starters


Sean Tuohy talks to his friend Marcus about adult puberty, stupid movie ideas, and the origin of Sean’s love affair with noir.


First Round of Mimosas


Author Kat Spears talks to Daniel Ford about her hit novel Sway, her writing process, and the inspiration behind her characters.




Jazz Interlude


You’ll feel anything but blue after listening to these two jazz greats.



Book Lovers Eggs Benedict


It’s been a busy month of reading for the Writer’s Bone crew. Check out our top picks for October. What should be on our list for November?




Second Round of Mimosas


Sure, you could spend Sunday brooding about how your short story is going nowhere (it’s not just us, right?) or you could enjoy one of these movies featuring writers struggling with their craft. You’re right, that’s a grim choice. But these films are still great. What are some of your favorite writer movies?




Podcasts for Dessert


Legendary stand up comedian Robert Kelly talks about fatherhood, hanging out with Louis CK, Aziz Ansari, and Jim Norton at New York City’s Comedy Cellar, his podcast “You Know What Dude?” and how he remains a Boston kid at heart.




Next Week's Menu


Stephanie Schaefer’s favorite episodes of “Friends,” an essay by Lindsey Wojcik about loving and hating New York City, and the next installment of The Newspapermen.

Keep writing (and Sunday drinking)!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

12 Movies About Writers We Love


By Daniel Ford

Sure, you could spend this rainy day in the Northeast brooding about how your short story is going nowhere (it’s not just me, right?) or you could enjoy one of these movies featuring writers struggling with their craft.

You’re right, that’s a grim choice. But these films are still great. Feel free to share your favorite movies about writers in the comments section or tweet us @WritersBone.

Misery


Admit it, part of you wishes you had a fan this dedicated to your work.



Midnight in Paris


“Hemingway?!”



Wonder Boys


Save multiple copies of your work...



Before Sunset


Every entry in Richard Linklater’s “Before” series is beautifully written and acted, but the second installment features the star-crossed Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy at their best. They run into each other in Paris, long after Delpy character doesn’t show up to meet Hawke at the train station following their chance meeting on a European trip. Hawke's character becomes a writer, of course, and is promoting his novel based on their experience. The pair had chemistry in the first movie, but with the addition of their character’s disappointment and what-if angst, they burn the screen down in this one.

I really hope this guy didn’t write this story within a pop song idea. It sounds terrible.


One Fine Day


It’s because of this movie that I wanted my face on a city bus. Young Daniel had a lot to learn about the newspaper business.

Also, this flick features great New York City porn.



Almost Famous


“Be honest and unmerciful.”



Finding Neverland


Failure does wonders for boosting creativity.



Capote


Truman Capote would have broken social media.



Sideways


He doesn’t like talking about his novel or drinking Merlot. Noted.



Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas


I reference this movie at least once a day. Usually it’s because I’ve been talking to myself.



The Shining


This is the way Stephanie Schaefer reacts to my work.



Adaptation


If this doesn’t happen to you every morning, you aren’t doing it right.



Ace in the Hole


$250 a week! Sold!

“If there’s no news, I’ll go out and bite a dog.” Genius.



Also check out:

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

5 Books That Should Be On Your Radar: October 2014


Every month, the Writer’s Bone crew reviews or previews books we've read or want to read. This new series may or may not also serve as a confessional for guilty pleasures and hipster novels only the brave would attempt. Feel free to share your own suggestions in the comments section or tweet us @WritersBone.

Never Can Say Goodbye: Writers on Their Unshakable Love for New York by Sari Botton



Lindsey Wojcik: I can't tell you much about this book yet, because it just came out yesterday and I haven't started it. But I finished Sari Botton's first anthology Goodbye to All That, and as much as that was a love letter to New York City, it was mostly about moving on from life in New York City and sometimes coming back—and, after five years living in the city, I totally related to the desire to flee it. From what I've read on Botton's follow up, it's even more of a love letter to the city. The phrase "unshakable love" is on the cover, for goodness sake. Anyone with even a questionable love or appreciation for the city will undoubtedly fall back in love with it in this new set of essays.


Chump Change by David Eddie



Daniel Ford: Speaking of leaving New York City, Sean Tuohy was right when he said David Eddie’s Chump Change had me written all over it. The first line of the book: “I’m a failure.” That effectively sucked me in. There’s a great scene where Eddie’s character—who has been chewed up by New York City—says goodbye to the woman he’d been seeing. He wants to make it a clean break, but he’s so screwed up, he leaves the relationship in a weird state of limbo. The worst part is that he’s so poor, she has to buy his ticket back to Toronto. “A new low,” the character says, “I have to borrow from my girlfriend to leave her.” The adventures that follow are best enjoyed with some low grade alcohol.


2 A.M. at the Cat’s Pajamas by Marie-Helene Bertino



Daniel: This book is quite simply a complete treasure from start to finish. There is music playing in your head from the moment you open the book until you finish it in a white heat two days later without any sleep in between. It is the rare book that combines exquisitely drawn characters, a swift, meaningful plot, and innovative prose. I honestly did not want the book to end, and I’m sure I’ll be revisiting it in the near future. If you need a constant surprise in your life, pick this book up immediately. I can’t recommend it highly enough. I very much look forward to Bertino’s next novel (hurry up!).


A Cold and Broken Hallelujah by Tyler Dilts 



Daniel: Sean Tuohy knows a thing or two about crime stories. When he recommends a novel that has anything to do with detectives, crime, or heart-pounding action, you listen.


Sean knows a thing or two about crack too, so his metaphor must be legit (just kidding, he was just a drug mule). When I asked him what made this novel in particular so special, his response was surprising: “He spends a lot of time on the victim of the crime.”

Say no more Sean, I’m in.


You Are One of Them by Elliot Holt



Daniel: Writer’s Bone contributor Hailey Reissman recommended Elliot Holt’s novel You Are One of Them a couple of weeks ago and, I have to admit, the premise didn’t immediately grab me. Two friends growing up in Washington D.C. during the Cold War write to Soviet premier Yuri Andropov asking for peace. Only one of the friend’s letters receives a response, leading that friend to head to the USSR for a meeting with Andropov, which pisses the other friend off to no end. The two are still estranged when one of them dies in a plane crash with her parents. However, it turns out said friend might not be dead. Mystery ensues.

Who am I kidding? This book sounds exactly like something I would pick up on one of my daily trips to Barnes & Noble (I have a serious problem). This book is also inspired by the true story of Samantha Smith, which satisfies the non-fiction reader in me as well. If that all wasn’t enough, I made the mistake of reading the prologue while I was invested in another book. It hit all the right notes ensuring that I’ll be devouring this novel in short order. Holt is yet another author to watch closely.

Other books worth checking out: A Tree Born Crooked by Steph Post, Sway by Kat Spears, Ecstatic Cahoots by Stuart Dybek, and A Walk Among the Tombstones by Lawrence Block

Also check out:

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Characters On Tap: 11 Questions With Author Kat Spears

Kat Spears

By Daniel Ford

For the record, this is the kind of official bio that gets you on Writer’s Bone’s holiday card list:
Kat Spears has worked as a bartender, museum director, housekeeper, park ranger, business manager, and painter (not the artistic kind). She holds an M.A. in anthropology, which has helped to advance her bartending career. She lives in Richmond, Va. with her husband and three freeloading kids. Sway is her debut novel.”
Spears took time from slinging drinks and writing stuff down to talk about her writing process, how she developed her hit debut novel, and why the stories that ended up on the cutting room floor are longer than the finished book.



Daniel Ford: When did you decide you wanted to be a writer?

Kat Spears: Hmm, well, I was always a writer. And before I could write I was a storyteller. A couple of years ago I just decided that if I was going to spend all of my free time writing anyway, and I really enjoyed it, I might as well try to make it my career. I have always worked very hard, have had two jobs since I was 20 years old, and I thought, if I invested this much energy in my writing and trying to get published then there is no reason I couldn’t find moderate success in it. So, I just made the decision to work really hard and, hey, guess what happened?

DF: Who were some of your early influences?

KS: Richard Peck. Absolutely, hands down. I have loved his writing since I was a kid and still love to reread his work. Also, E.L. Konigsberg, who is brilliant, and Katherine Paterson. Jacob Have I Loved is still one of my all-time favorite books. I also started reading Agatha Christie at a fairly young age. She was so deft in her characterizations and settings. I was struck, even at a young age, by her ability to make humor so subtle and a story really come to life in my head.

DF: What is your writing process like? Do you listen to music? Outline?

KS: No outlines. Sometimes I write lists of the major scenes, which I guess sounds like an outline. But it is more like a grocery list or a stream of consciousness. To get started, I write out the major scenes—dialogue and everything—then go back and write the in-between parts to knit the major scenes together. I think that process helps with pacing and story arc, to know the major scenes that move the plot forward and then work to space them appropriately.

And I always listen to music. Always. I have playlists for every character and book and listen to them over and over again while working. Sometimes I replay the same song 10 times in a row because it is setting the right mood.

I write at strange times. At 3:00 a.m., or for 30 minutes on my way home from work. I stop at the coffee shop just to bang out a few pages. I bartend on the weekends, so when it’s slow at the bar, I will sit down and write for a bit. But I’m always writing in my head.

DF: How long did it take you to complete your first novel Sway? Did you know you had something good when you finished?

KS: It took about a year to write and edit Sway. Then I put it away for a few months and came back to it for another round or two of edits before I started querying for an agent. Then I spent another six months working with my editor at St. Martin’s before it was complete.

Honestly, I didn’t know that I had a book that would sell or was marketable. I knew Jesse had a unique voice and I really liked him and the other characters. I also knew that I had read it 200 times and wasn’t tired of reading it and still liked it, so maybe someone else would too.

DF: Take us back to the moment you got the idea for Sway. Did it hit you like a bolt of lightning, or was it an idea that had to germinate over a long period of time?

KS: The idea for Sway came to me very suddenly, probably while I was driving or in the shower. The original idea was to write a book about the friendship between Jesse and Pete—two people who were broken, but broken in different ways. The rest germinated with time. The original version of the book was very different. Jesse’s dad changed quite a bit, as did the situations Jesse created through his manipulations. In fact, the early version is barely recognizable as Sway. I save everything I delete from my books and the document of deleted bits from Sway is actually longer than the finished book. I wrote and threw out more than 300 pages. Isn’t that nuts? It’s a painful thing for a writer to do because 300 pages represent a lot of work, but it is really necessary to “kill the little darlings,” as Oscar Wilde said.

DF: How much of yourself—and the people you have daily interactions with—did you put into your main characters?

KS: There is probably more to my main characters that I take from myself than I could ever comfortably admit to anyone. The characters in my books are sometimes completely made up, and sometimes they are an amalgamation of real people. Digger, for example, is an amalgamation of two people I knew when I was in my late teens and early 20s. His personality is borrowed from one, his background and profession borrowed from another. Carter is based on a real person who is now deceased. The conversation he and Jesse have about Simon & Garfunkel was a real conversation, one that I quoted almost verbatim for Sway. Carter’s inspiration would have been horrified for anyone to know that he liked Simon & Garfunkel since it would have ruined his OG reputation, but whenever he came to my house he always requested that “Cecilia” song.

Then there are the strangers I pass on the street every day. Someone I see on the subway or sitting in a coffee shop. I can easily imagine a back story and personality for them based on just an overheard conversation or their clothing. That’s one of a writer’s favorite hobbies. Those people populate my books as well as minor characters.

DF: Your use of dialogue is often praised in the reviews of your book. How did you develop your style of dialogue?

KS: I have been a bartender at the same bar in Washington, D.C.—Lucky Bar— for many years. Many. Years. Always doing it as a second job. I spend a lot of time talking to all different kinds of people. The people I work with who have passed through over the years, the regulars at the bar, (some of whom I have known longer than some of my closest friends) and, of course, hundreds of random strangers each week. I spend so much time talking to people that I think I just developed a good ear for speech patterns and the different ways that people talk.

Most people, when they are on the listening end of a conversation, are actually just waiting for their own turn to speak, they don’t really listen. I think I’m a good listener because I genuinely want to hear the stories of other people…so I can use them later in my books. Ha ha! Actually, that’s not entirely true, though I do love to borrow material from real life and the stories people tell to bartenders are the best out there. But I’m just endlessly fascinated by people—their motivations, hopes, dreams, fears, stories. And so I spend a lot of time listening. And I always try to craft my dialogue to match real speech patterns while at the same time advancing the plot. No meaningless dialogue in my books.

DF: You’ve had a variety of jobs throughout your life and have a Master’s Degree in anthropology. How have all these different jobs and experiences shaped you as a writer and how did that manifest while you were writing Sway?

KS: I answered this a bit in the previous question, how being a bartender impacts my work. It’s funny, though, that I find it almost impossible to set a book in a bar. I can’t mimic the types of conversations and relationships I have had with my coworkers there over the years. The owners are almost too outrageous as personalities to be believed as fiction.

Sway definitely borrows from my training in anthropology as Pete and Jesse have some deep conversations about cultural ideals of beauty and similar things. Really all of my varied jobs and career tracks have just exposed me to a lot of very interesting people who make great character studies.

DF: What’s next for Kat Spears following the success of Sway?

KS: My second book, Flat Back Four, will be released from St. Martin’s in 2015. I should be working on the edits even as I type this. And I quit my day job. Decided to just bartend and write. I feel really good about that decision. How many people get to say they do what they love every day? I’m extraordinarily lucky.

DF: You’re an up-and-coming writer yourself, but what advice would you give writers just starting out?

KS: Writing is a passion and it is probably the only thing that keeps me entirely sane. That being said, there’s a difference between writing as a passion or a hobby and writing as a profession. If you want to be a published author, treat writing, querying an agent, working with an editor, whatever task you are completing, as a profession, and a highly competitive one at that. There is no room to feel sentimental about your writing, and you must be able to accept and be fueled by criticism. No matter that writing is a passion, publishing is a business. My last job was working for a state library where I managed retail operations and organizing author events. I learned an incredible amount about the retail and promotional side of the publishing business. That experience was invaluable and still serves me as I am learning to navigate my new profession.

DF: Can you please name one random fact about yourself?

KS: I read in the shower.

To learn more about Kat Spears, check out her official website, like her Facebook page, or follow her on Twitter @katarinawrites.

For more interviews with some of the best authors, singers, and editors out there today, check out The Writer's Bone Interviews section.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Episode 46: Stand Up Comedian Robert Kelly

Robert Kelly

Legendary stand up comedian Robert Kelly talks to Sean Tuohy and Daniel Ford about fatherhood, hanging out with Louis CK, Aziz Ansari, and Jim Norton at New York City’s Comedy Cellar, his podcast “You Know What Dude?” and how he remains a Boston kid at heart.


To learn more about Robert Kelly, check out his official website, like his Facebook page, follow him on Twitter @robertkelly, or subscribe to his YouTube page.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Sunday Brunch: A Conversation With Lindsey Wojcik and the Week’s Top Posts


Writer’s Bone’s Sunday Brunch features fresh commentary or interviews, jazz recommendations, and a roundup of the week’s top posts. We encourage you to enjoy this post on a weekly basis with a mouthful of omelet and home fries, as well as an unhealthy amount of the aforementioned mimosas, Bloody Marys, or bellinis.

By Daniel Ford


Starters


Writer’s Bone contributor Lindsey Wojcik stops by to talk about Astoria, N.Y., why she moved to New York City, her most exhilarating work experience, and how she stays inspired as a writer.


First Round of Mimosas


Author Steph Post graciously answered our questions about her early influences, how she went about getting her novel published, and her youthful love of fried gator.



Jazz Interlude


One of my favorite jazz tunes. You can’t help but be happy you’re alive after listening to this song.


The Newspapermen Eggs Benedict


The latest installment of The Newspapermen deals with the fallout from Shirley breaking our young cub reporter out of jail. We find our exasperated editor-in-chief attempting to keep the investigation on the right track without endangering Henry and Shirley even further. However, he’s ready to light a few fires and get his ink-stained hands dirty.



Second Round of Mimosas


Author Stuart Dybek talks to Dave Pezza his style, Chicago, and creative writing’s place in the age of advanced technology.



Podcasts for Dessert


Writer’s Bone got a whole lot funnier this week with our podcasts featuring Broken Lizard’s Steve Lemme and Kevin Heffernan and Bryan Johnson from AMC’s “Comic Book Men.”

The Writer’s Bone crew went to see Lemme and Heffernan’s show at Laugh Boston on Oct. 10 and are happy to report the two aren’t any funnier than Sean Tuohy after a few drinks (we’re kidding, they were great!).

Steve Lemme, Daniel Ford, Kevin Heffernan, and Sean Tuohy



Next Week’s Menu


A podcast with comedian Robert Kelly, the next installment of The Newspapermen, and our October 2014 book recommendations.

Keep writing (and Sunday drinking)!