Continental Shift

Our age is retrospective. It builds the sepulchres of the fathers. It writes biographies, histories, and criticism. The foregoing generations beheld God and nature face to face; we, through their eyes. Why should not we also enjoy an original relation to the universe? Why should not we have a poetry and philosophy of insight and not of tradition, and a religion by revelation to us, and not the history of theirs? Embosomed for a season in nature, whose floods of life stream around and through us, and invite us by the powers they supply, to action proportioned to nature, why should we grope among the dry bones of the past, or put the living generation into masquerade out of its faded wardrobe? The sun shines to-day also. There is more wool and flax in the fields. There are new lands, new men, new thoughts. Let us demand our own works and laws and worship.
  -Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature

Big changes percolating, m’friends. There are whole continents shifting in my head about writing and learning and parenting and my body and my child and and and…

As I said, big changes.

Some of it is things that have been on the boil, albeit on a back burner, for years. Others are a more gradual shifting. Still others are a radical change in my thinking caused by the last few months of school. Most especially the last couple of weeks.

I suppose Emerson and Thoreau do that to people.

I further suppose that is one of the reasons they continue to be taught, year after year.

We all fall down, and while down in the dirt, despair. We find it more comfortable, and far easier to wallow than to get back up. Especially if this is your third, or thirteenth, or even thirtieth tumble.

Or higher.
*coughcough*  AHEM.

 

Still, I find myself looking back over my writings and seeing a progression. Seeing an upward and outward trend. It’s only when I stop writing that there is a stutter in that progression. And how easy a truth is that?

And how sad is it to think that I keep forgetting such an easy lesson?

How sad are the un-kept promises made to myself and my readers that I never get around to? How lucky I am that you keep coming back. Thank you. It means a lot to me.

If Stephen King’s magnum opus was right – and all the universe is but a continuous microcosm of author(s)’ brains, how many of my characters now flounder in Limbo? Who tremble under a pendulum that ever threatens? Or wait in the Red Desert with madness snapping at their heels?

Time, I think, to rescue them. To do the work I mean to. To no longer simply visit the piles of my previous words and wail. But to unravel the frayed and forgotten ends, to weave a more complete tapestry.

I am no Emerson. I am no Thoreau. Heck, I am not even a King.
(still not King.)

I am who I am, doing what I am supposed to be doing. Pretending or feeling otherwise is a slap in the face to the talent that I do have.

Continent shifting, indeed.

On Writing, Running, and Zombies

Helpful Hint: If your TV tries to have a conversation with you? Turn. It. Off.

 

 

I’m baaaaack.

 

Well, at least for a bit. Spring classes are over and summer classes have yet to begin. In celebration, I will be cleaning my house, doing my laundry, and spending some time playing catch-up on my reading blogs [hi guys! Sorry I’ve been incommunicado. It’s been crazy.] Also, I will be playing copious amounts of Mass Effect 3.

Like you do.

I won’t be writing anything about that – there are gaming writers who are far more adept at that sort of thing.

However, I am going to be doing some writing on this blog.

Fiiiiiiiiiiiiiction writing.

Ooh, yeah baby! Yeah!

 

Also, in line with my New and Improved Dedication1, I will be posting up my {shudders} exercise blurbs and thoughts herein2.
I may make a new page so that folks who’re interested can read it there.  That way I don’t bork up the flow. Haven’t decided yet.
I am also contemplating pulling the fiction apart from the bloggy bits and giving them their own page, too.

What are y’all’s thoughts?  Separate everything into its own little Tupperware bowl so that nothing touches? Or let it all hang out together?

 

 

At any rate, hi!  *waves*  I’ve missed you guys.

 

 

1 – Say that in the “Sunday Sunday Sunday!” announcer voice. It totally makes it a momentous announcement.

2 – You didn’t seriously think I’d be just running/exercising without some sort of fun involved, did you? Zombies = Fabulous Cardio Motivation. It says so in the Rules.

 

Orlando vs. Orlando: Divorcing the Literature from the Film

Wait. Wrong Orlando. But…let’s not be hasty. We can linger, yes? No? Ah, well. Moving on.

One of the final assignments for my Critical Theory Literature class was a compare and contrast of Orlando the Virginia Woolf story and Orlando the movie based on it. Six hundred to one thousand words about how they stack up to one another. Easy peasy, eh?

Hmm.

Let me just say, right up front, that I loved both. Each had its very good points. Each also had its weak points. The story’s weaker points were mostly concerned with Woolf’s style of writing. Even in a “light, playful” story, her phrasing can be a tad chewy. The movie’s weaker points were mostly in some of the artistic choices that the director made. Again, I am not saying that either was bad. Just, as with any human endeavor, they weren’t flawless.

At any rate, I did the assignment. Unfortunately, for my professor, I am NOT a scholar. I like writing. I aspire to be a published writer. But, I am a fiction writer. So I did the best I could and turned it in. And really, this isn’t a rehash of the assignment, although I did steal my title from it for this piece. Because it is a COOL title, dammit. It should see the light of day and not languish in my professor’s slush pile.

No, what I wanted to talk about was this tendency we have to rehash stories into movies. Many other people have already bewailed that. To be honest, humans have always told the same stories over and over. Even Billy S. was guilty of this.1  This is because we really do have a pretty shallow arc of things that are important to us on the continuum of themes that we could talk about. They are significant things, and we should talk about them. Some of the ones we see the most are life, love, death, betrayal, forgiveness.

Très importante, right?

And I grok that movies are a fabulous medium. I love movies. I watch a lot of movies. No, really. A lot. And, quotes from them pepper my conversation and writings. However, I think that the one thing that truly movies sucks at is translating literature. Especially for students.

I’ll wait while y’all finish gnashing your teeth and shaking your fists at the monitor. Done?

Good.

Here’s why I think that students are better served by literature as words: Movies are limiting.

It is ONE viewpoint. One. That you are fed by the director/screenwriter/producers. You do not get the benefit of figuring out for yourself what it all means. You’re told. And before people get their panties in a wad and send me hate-mail with details about their favorite movie that “Oh. My. GAWD. Movie XYZ totally has fourteen different viewpoints that can be blah blah blah.”2

Seriously? Of course there are exceptions. Exceptio probat regulam in casibus non exceptis, which may be translated as “the exception confirms the rule in the cases not excepted.” Or more succinctly, the rule exists because the exception implies that it does.

My point, before I wandered SERIOUSLY off track was that in the vast majority of movies, you are force fed the viewpoint of the director. While some of these adaptations are very good, they are still just.one.viewpoint.

The beauty of words is that they are malleable. They are fluid. Their meaning shifts from one moment to the next, one person to the next. It is words’ changeability that separates a writer from an author, in my ever-so-humble opinion. A writer captures meaning, plot, and dialogue. The reader is able to read the story and be entertained. An author captures meaning, dialogue, and plot. Then, just for kicks, inserts multiple meanings within their text. Reading an author’s work is like peeling back layers of an onion, always finding something new.3

Tangented again. Sorry.

At any rate, I guess what I am (eventually) trying to say is that I will always prefer the book to the movie. I will always find multiple layers within good literature. And I think that we should continue to push the words in school – and not just at the collegiate level[s]. Let’s have our children find out new things for themselves, get lost and find the path again without too much intervention on our parts. Force feeding a classic complete with a pre-fab meaning sort of misses the point.

Don’t you think?

1 – Now, I want you to notice something that I just saw [and take as proof as my not being a scholar. If I was a scholar, I’d have noticed this while writing the Orlando essay.]  Which person accuses Shakespeare of being a plagiarist?  Why, Robert Greene, the author of Orlando Furioso. [Emphasis mine.]  And does Mr. Greene show up in cameo in the book Orlando? Sure he does. As the 17th/19th century poet and critic, Nick Greene.  Hmmm….. /ArsenioHall

2 – There are others. You’ll notice that both of the movies I reference are considered “science fiction” and not High Literature. Please reference Mister Hall, above.

3 – Inevitable comparison.  Literature is to onions as Movies are to parfait.