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Archive for December, 2011

Why Beauty Matters

December 31, 2011 Leave a comment
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Foreign Films I’ve Loved Recently on Netflix

December 29, 2011 Leave a comment

I’ve found some good movies on Netflix. I end up watching a lot of foreign films.

Max Manus

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Manus_(film) < this is one of the best war movies I have ever seen. I highly recommend it. Norwegian, english subtext.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbK4WTQFf9U < here’s the trailer. I gave it 5 Stars on Netflix. It was refreshing to watch a non-Hollywood war movie. After the 70s, I think Hollywood made 2 or 3 war movies I actually liked. The reason war movies are not the hits they could be, is because they are so anti-military, anti-hero, usually. Hollywood can’t stop moralizing us about war. There is an overt cynicism and mockery of patriotism or being gung ho about fighting bad guys etc. Typical scenario: The soldier has discovered evil intentions of our government…over done trope. <rolls my eyes> and thus turns against his fellows in search of the “truth”, a Matt Damon specialty. None of that typical crap is in Max Manus nor is it corny sentimental feel from the 50s type war movies. See it. I get all emotional watching the trailer now. 😉
Aftershock:
Another refreshing foreign movie I saw last week was Aftershock: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aftershock_(film) < this is about a little girl who gets left behind when her mother has to make a choice between saving her or her twin brother after the 1976 earthquake in China. It’s perfectly named “Aftershock” for the shock the little girl feels as she hears her mother’s agonizing choice. An epic movie ensues. I loved it from the start. Very Spielbergish in the beginning, the tale of an abandoned child, but moves on from that into a sweeping huge family epic with an awesome ending. I’m always a sucker for these kinds of movies where the little kid has to survive, like in Empire of the Sun. Another 5 Stars.

My First Visit to a Writer’s Group

December 11, 2011 Leave a comment

It was awesome!

I wasn’t awesome. I was on my heels the whole time. It was the good kind of “on my heels”, like a Disney World ride. Writings were read aloud. I only wanted to test the waters so I didn’t bring anything to be read. Comments after each piece was read were insightful. My comments were riveting, words like, um, wull, I, ya know, basically. Dull is not the word. Sharp as a balloon would be somewhere in the galaxy. There is a reason for it. Being that it was my first visit I wanted to explain my Forrest Gump-ness, but I didn’t. Figured I’d be back and they’d understand later.

But now that I have your attention; critiquing grammar is not my deal…at the moment. I know, I know. That sounds bad to some writers, who love them there perty sentences. If you tell me I have a dangling participle I would check my zipper. A few years ago I figured out I’m a storyteller, not a grammar-Nazi. Trust me. I hold an editor’s skills up there with quantum physicists. When I first started my epic I slaved over every sentence. It took me three years. That book is still, in what I consider, rough draft form. I nearly killed my creative flame slaving over every word before I had the structure of the story in blueprint. I was pantsing (God made google so you can look up that word), searching for the expressions of theme and concept. I was trying to brainstorm with perfection. It’s impossible! I fixed it and started re-writing it. Then as noted here in , I had a revelation.

At the meeting, my mind was on, and had been on, for a long time…Story Structure. When they started talking about writer’s voice, and grammar, being drawn into the character, I was as dusty as a Palm Pilot. I groped for words. I wasn’t thinking about that, I was thinking about the hook, set-up, inciting incident, first plot point, the midpoint context shift, pinch points. The big picture.

I’m still in the big picture mode. I’ve written two rough drafts, multiple outlines, and three notebooks for my latest book, a prequel the epic mentioned above. So, if I go back to the particulars, work on five pages to be read at the meeting, it will be from material that may never be seen by the light of a Kindle.

I may share some other stuff instead, like poems or creative flash fiction. I don’t know. No matter what, I’ll go again. It was a wonderful experience. I enjoyed being around weird people like me.

Self-delusion

December 11, 2011 Leave a comment

My sin came to me as a woman in my dreams before dawn this morning. The vision started in a diner. I was waiting for her next to the window in a booth. I was sipping my coffee. She approached and I offered her a seat across from me. She missed the facade that was me and I wanted what she would never be. We sat across from one another in bashful silence for a while, hearts thundering. I gazed on her beauty feeling the sweet stabs of hope and the real pain she had caused. Her familiar smile finally broke upon her face; the smile reminds me of a young Cher – before plastic. It was bitter sweet, one of regret and hope. She reached across to take my hand. She was warm and inviting. A million memories flashed through my mind. She knew things were ending.
I told her that I loved her, but that it was in all the wrong ways. She gave a knowing nod and rubbed my hand in sorrow. She got stuffy, tears brimming, eyes glistening …those beautiful amber eyes glowing like a hearth under a brunette roof. I had known her for many years; when she was young her face soft and innocent. Now her features had those angular turns of a maturing woman, her beauty different but not diminished. I wondered how she endured the life I gave her.
She told me that she loved me too. I could tell she meant it, or wanted to mean it. She said the words as if striking a wet match, hopeful yet un-ignited. I told her I was sorry for contributing to her problem, leading her on and on. I wanted to let go for so long. Being so committed, I had sustained her illusions of eternal life with me. I wanted to save her. She was my secret friend, the one I was ashamed of, in many ways a authentic friend. I told her I knew better than to ever get involved, that our mutual weaknesses had led us to self-destruction of the soul. But, that I had found a door out.
Her eyes got wide for a moment. She knew what I was talking about. I had been bringing it up a lot lately.
She looked out the window into the gray morning, while still gripping my hand, eyes dripping tears. She was even making me cry. She said as she blinked, “I’m a Christian too,” as if trying to flip on a dead light bulb, as if by magic it would suddenly come on, but the dismay returning anew, the sadness fresh in her heart.
“That is a nice lie Satan,” I said quietly. She broke up like a Picasso; the shards disappeared as smoke in the wind. My hand was cold. I looked around. Then I saw her reappear outside the window looking in, her palm against the glass. I put my hand to hers and she smiled that beautiful bittersweet smile. She mouthed goodbye. I said that I would forget her…every day of my life. Then she faded into the gray and gathering crowd to wander among the other ghosts of my soul; the cloaks, and passes I gave as cover to the darkness in me.
I turned to see the waitress staring at me. She asked, “What were you looking at?”
“I used to not know.”

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