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Crawling out of the woodwork to say...

THE KING'S SPEECH!!!!

You may have loved The Social Network, 127 hours, True Grit, or The Black Swan, but I just have to let all of my LJ friends know that The King's Speech has helped more people who stutter find their voice and feel pride in themselves than anything ever has before.

I have stuttered since I was a child. I don't stutter much now, but I've been involved in the National Stuttering Association for the past 8 years and have seen so many people lacking in self confidence find their voice, find their pride, and find out that they are NOT alone. David Seidler, the film's script writer said it best during his acceptance speech for Best Screenplay: "We have a voice, we have been heard!" Thousands of us wept when we saw him, a person who has overcome his own stuttering, accept his award and dedicate it to all of us. He will be the keynote speaker at the National Stuttering Association conference this summer in Ft. Worth and I predict that the conference will sell out and he will get a 5 minute standing ovation both before and after his speech. Our emotions are running just that high right now and will be that high at the conference too, I'm sure of it.

So if any of you have children, friends, family, co-workers, acquaintances, neighbors, or even people you don't like very much who stutter, please tell them they're not alone!! And to go to www.westutter.org to find a whole world of friends who do too. Or for kids, try http://www.friendswhostutter.org.

Thanks for letting me rant, cheer and squee!

(Now back to lurking. Really, I'm still here, I just lurk.)
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I just came back from the COOLEST MOVIE EVER! If you live near an I-Max theater, keep your eye out for U23D. It's U2.... in 3D!!!

I'm not a rock concert kind of person (I get a bit claustrophobic in crowds, so the idea of a mosh pit or crowd surfing doesn't exactly draw me in. Plus I'm a wimp, so standing for 3 hours doesn't thrill me either). But this is so good. You get all the fun of a live concert without the sweat, drunks, hearing loss, or obnoxious people standing in front of you and blocking the view. I've always been a U2 fan but not a die-hard one (I lost track of them in the mid-90's). But this concert just reminded me of how awesome they are. How many bands have stayed together for 30 years, not had any breakups or replacements, have devoted much of their time to promoting human rights and social justice causes, and still can bring a crowd of thousands to their feet for an entire concert? And have we heard one word about infighting, drug use, or other problems during their 30 years? I haven't been paying attention, but I think I would have heard if there had been.

They played songs from seemingly every album and it brought back lots of memories. And the 3-D effects were amazing. You really feel like you are there, and at one point, I swear Bono was reaching out to "dry my tear". (Um, didn't have any, sorry dude). Forget what song that was, but it was a really cool effect.

Anyway, if you are at all a U2 fan, you HAVE to go see this. You can find locations here. It's playing at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum, I believe through the summer.
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Delurking to post a fic!

I just posted a new fic on TQP and decided that I will do something rare and post it here too. I'm new to all this LJ cut and linking thing, so I've been hesitant to post longer stories here. But since this is what LJ's are for....

This story came to me when I noticed a similarity between some of the elements of the show Friends and Harry Potter - all very small, tangential similarities, of course! E.g., 6 friends are thrown together, one is an out-there blond attuned to the paranormal (who never lives in the same "house" as the rest), there's a couple that always dances around getting together and fights a lot, a brother-sister releationship, a best friend dating said sister, etc. So I thought I'd write a little homage to the series using my favorite characters. It's yet another Bill-and-Fleur's-wedding story, but it was my turn to write one!

Let me know if you recognize the episodes that I make reference to. Thank you to my beta, Mench, and Annie for her help!

Title: The One with the Blast-Ended Skrewts
Author: SophiaMaria
Rating: PG-13
Characters: Ron/Hermione, Harry/Ginny, Neville, Luna, Molly
Word Count: Around 7000
Summary: Ron finally gets the nerve to admit to Hermione how he feels but as usual things don't go as planned. A list is found, misunderstandings abound, and Blasted-ended Skrewts are in the picture. Just a little story about some familiar Friends.

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Phoenix Rising

Now that I've fully recovered from my weekend (well, almost), I thought I'd drop a quick note to say what a blast I had at Phoenix Rising. Collapse )
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Some of you expressed interest in my fics. You can read them at The Quidditch Pitch. I will try to post them here but it'll be a while before I get to it.

I hope to see you all again soon!
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Visitors!

Just a quick post about the great visit I had this past week with redblaze and her son, Christopher. It was great to finally meet her in person, after emailing and LJ-posting back and forth for a year. I had to work all week, but I was able to take them into downtown DC and let them run amok among the musuems and monuments during the, and then head home in the evening. I think I may have worn them out a bit, but we got to relax a bit yesterday before they flew out this morning. It's too bad that the weather was so cold. At least it didn't rain much, other than one day when they were out and about outdoors.

This was my first visit with a fan fic friend, and I had a blast sharing our favorite stories, hearing a bit about the history of the various fan fic communities that we share, and talking about our favorite canon theories. And she looked at one of my new stories and gave me some feedback. (Thanks, hon!) She's almost talked me into going to Phoenix Rising in May. It sounds like a blast! Is anyone else going?
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Tech Support

I'm new to LJ and haven't figured everything out yet. I want to post the rest of my story but I don't know how to make the links go from chapter to chapter. Is there anyone who can help me offline - over email or something? Thanks!
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A chance to write

I had another “I love living in Washington” moments yesterday, but this time I can connect it to the world of fan fic writing! I went to the National Council meeting of the National Endowment for the Arts – the quarterly meeting where the governing body overseeing the NEA comes to town to approve the grants for that quarter. For those of you who have followed the debates over the last 20 years on the culture wars, censorship, government funding for the arts, etc., you know that these decisions have had a significant impact on the arts world.

They showed a clip from a new documentary on their initiative called Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience. This is a project in which professional writers work with service members who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and their families, Collapse )
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The Knight of the Rose Chapter 2

Ok, here's chapter 2. I want to thank Mench for her wonderful betaing!

Summary: What does a woman do when her young lover finds the love of his life...again? Can she find the nobility of heart to let him go? This is a story of young love, lustful love, and sacrificial love. This has a non-canon pairing at first, but is H/G at heart.
Pairing:Harry/OFC, Harry/Ginny
Rating:PG-13

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Mr. Smith Goes to Washington - oh wait, I already live here....

For my first real blog posting I wanted to share a really interesting experience I had the other day. It's a bit long, but I'll put the bulk of it below the cut, so click there if you want to check it out.

A few of you know that I work in Washington DC for the US government and teach a policy class at a local university. But in addition to being a full time policy wonk I'm also an arts supporter. I was a music major (voice) and got a master's degree in arts management, but life took me in another direction and I ended up getting a PhD in another field and working in government instead. So as an arts supporter and policy teacher, I decided to go to Capitol Hill for what's called Arts Advocay Day.

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The Knight of the Rose

Here's my very first HP fan fic. The fic is based on my favorite opera. Fifty points to whoever guesses which one (no fair cheating if you've already seen the answer!). Please let me know what you think!


Summary: What does a woman do when her young lover finds the love of his life...again? Can she find the nobility of heart to let him go? This is a story of young love, lustful love, and sacrificial love. This has a non-canon pairing at first, but is H/G at heart.

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