Every week as we craft these scintillating blurbs for your amusement, we professional writers let our minds wander (does it show?) to a dark, secret place where we imagine that we will soon write the next Great American Novel. Ultra-confident, we picture ourselves chatting with Oprah about our first best seller; hobnobbing with Matt and Katie on the Today show when we sell the movie rights; accepting our Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. We don't pretend that our GAN will compare with, say, Frank Herbert's genius in Dune, wherein he created not only amazing stories but whole cultures and religions in a future universe. We realize we won't touch the success of Tom Clancy, whose books make extraordinarily good reading as well as thriller movies with astounding plot twists. The filthy-rich writer of The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger, et al., will spew about his process, prowess and prolific publishing at Southern Methodist University's McFarlin Auditorium at 8 p.m. Tuesday as part of the Tate Lecture Series. Tickets (ranging from $40 to $60) are limited, so get yours before 7 p.m. by calling 214-768-8283. --Annabelle Massey Helber
We're going to stereotype and say that most women care far less about cars than men do. We don't need to know the difference between a woofer and tweeter as long as we can crank the stereo when Cheap Trick's "Surrender" comes on. Then--after years and years of a long-distance love affair with Mr. Bean's beat-up, yellow-painted padlocked MINI Cooper on PBS--we met one of those small British cars in person. And hugged it. Now we make pacts that should we ever own one--a vintage one, not a redo, thank you--we promise we'll learn to change the tires instead of dialing AAA, wash it weekly and never, never push the oil change past three months or 3,000 miles. We'll find many a kindred spirit Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. at the British Emporium, 140 N. Main St. in Grapevine, when the store hosts its annual Autumn Classic Car & Motorcycle Show. Beyond MINIs, there will be Jaguars, Austin Healeys, perhaps a Rolls-Royce and military vehicles. Glass designer, PBS darling and vintage car racer Richard Blenko will award the cars and cycles with "best in show," "shiniest bonnet" and "loveliest boot." He's also lending some British racing memorabilia from his private collection. It's the perfect chance to hug some tiny cars. It's all right; the owners understand. Admission is free. Call 817-421-2311. --Shannon Sutlief
Candles in the Wind
The candles will be lit, holiday music will be in the air and the fragrant smell of delicious food is a bonus. It's time to begin holiday shopping. On Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. the 12th annual Candlelight Walk along the businesses on Henderson, Miller and Willis streets (between North Central Expressway and Homer) is on tap. Merchants, featuring exotic imports, antiques, flowers and more, will offer special discounts, and, as usual, the atmosphere is worth the trip. Call 214-826-0069. --Carlton Stowers
Because sometimes you have to escape the clutter of city traffic and watch some dancers prance, the Nova Dancing Company presents the South Dallas Dance Festival. The goals of the festival are to celebrate local dance, educate the community about dance and create an atmosphere for artists to interact with one another. If this sounds like your kind of show, sashay over on November 8 from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the South Dallas Cultural Center, 3400 Fitzhugh Ave. All tickets are $10. Call 214-559-3993. --Mary Monigold
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We are the World
Dallas flaunts its foreign flair
Trying to describe all the festivities and cultures associated with this event is like trying to reply thoroughly after someone asks you to describe the world in its entirety. OK, so this task is a bit less cumbersome, but the point is that the DFW International Festival is a confident attempt at representing the world, or at least a vast range of cultures. Arts and crafts abound from more than 125 booths, the food court resembles a multi-ethnic potluck, kids can enjoy the Children's Passport to International Dallas and the entertainment is so varied it's really a global tour. About 275 cultural groups and 600 performing artists offer more info-tainment than we can probably absorb. But therein lies the beauty. Amid these worldly attractions, one finally realizes that all these folks didn't fly in just for this festival, but reside in the incredibly (but not obviously) diverse web that is Dallas. Aiming to bind these groups and create powerful cultural forces in the community, DFW International puts them all in one spot, allowing easy access for those of us who crave a little spice in our all-American routine. Which brings us to another benefit. As we wander around looking at the Peace Wall, listening to the Global Drum Circle, watching an Irish jig and bouncing to Caribbean music, we realize that what we see is a miniature version of the world, splendidly possible in this small part of our free nation. The festival is Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at St. Mark's School of Texas, 10600 Preston Road at Royal Lane. Tickets are $5 for those 18 and older and free for those too young to vote. Check out www.dfwinternational.org or call the festival hotline at 214-340-7093. --Merritt Martin