Two Things.

First this:

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You have to know your story and – if they’re separate – your concept. Otherwise, yes, belabored, it will be. So I’m finding that if I’m writing in short 50 to 100 word spurts (if you can call it that) and then needing space, there aren’t very many words allotted. As in, each one counts and the story is trying to be captured in few. Which is happening with the new story, which means adjusting the expectations and because I’m me and excel is my lifeblood, noting the day and change in tracking. What once I gauged at 4k is looking more and more like 1200, 1500 at the most. Feels right. And to this point, never have I thought a story would be shorter and it ended up longer.

Pretend that’s the first time I’ve posted that. Because GAH.

Second thiiiiiing.

What if there were a movie… for real fans?

[Distant stadium cheers]

What if – finally – it wasn’t just about the love of the game? But the love…of the people in the office, on the phone, talking about the people who might potentially play the game?

[Distant, slight confusion]

Now there is.

It’s not about playing or watching or even commentating on the game …anymore.

*Totally gonna watch it.

 

You’re. Of. No. Consequence.

“I’m sick of being Nathaniel and you’re Mr. Lopez.”

I was just watching The Soloist while I did my hair because it’s my routine. It’s my routine because it’s brilliant – the film, the score, the leads – and it’s the soundtrack to that activity. It’s my ritual. I’ve tried other movies but they were too distracting or they were boring because I found I could entirely tune them out. Anyway, this is what I do. And every time this scene ends – if you’ve seen the film, you’ll understand – and the woman who is the primary aural hallucination says those words – You’re. Of. No. Consequence. – the scene ceases to be about one man’s struggle with mental illness and becomes the perfect summation for what it is to be Black American. And through that lens, the entire scene can be seen anew.

Renisha McBride was killed a week ago.

Jonathon Ferrell was killed in September.

Trayvon Martin was killed last year.

Dozens are killed every month, I’m sure, as participants of criminal violence. Maybe because of this some Americans think we shouldn’t be so upset about the three named above. Except these three were unarmed. Two of them were looking for help. One of them was denied justice already. All of them were Black Americans, part of a cultural group whose lives are very much impacted by the way the culture began. Beneath someone’s thumb, behind someone’s line, segregated in ways both explicit and not. Expected to be wrong. So when they walked back from a shop or sought help, their lives were ended. So expectation – is that not evidence of the otherwise supposedly invisible brand of institutionalized prejudice and oppression? Why would people who’ve not gotten the chance to open their mouths and explain themselves be so grossly misinterpreted?

I can’t make this make sense unless I’m preaching to the choir. Even sympathetic parties don’t know exactly what I’m trying to say.

But here comes the message all over again, from both sides – from the side confident and selfish enough to say they don’t see it and from the side who does and carries on with life as it is…otherwise, yes, we’d all be activists all the time. You’re Of No Consequence.

How have I escaped this notion when my own father’s history is too hard to process all at once? Grace. But my identity being elsewhere – in Christ – doesn’t justify that the message is still loud and clear. Be an exception. Make us see you differently or we’ll assume the worst. We’ll forget we stole your dignity and then lambast you for being undignified.

Sometimes it just hurts.

 

When I Come Around

Ezra was eating a banana. Whilst peeling it, he observed, “Peeling a banana is like saving the banana. It’s like something eated it and I’m saving it from the guy who ate it.” ~ Feb 1st, 2011

That was my peace offering. An Ezra-ism from two years ago. Poor little language-confused seven year old that he was. Adorabeezle.

So it feels like I owe you guys some big announcement. Or diatribe or rant, at least. And I have a few in mind – I watched After Earth and the super hainty attempt at covering up its M.Night connection was misplaced effort. The movie told on itself, IMMEDIATEMENT – but those are for another day. Just like, possibly, my ideas on Sleepy Hollow, Nicole Beharie’s apparent distrust of hair that originates in her own follicles (I’m increasingly judgey about this, given the alternatives she chooses/allows to be chosen), and the Ichabod Holmes attempt. Or the life being sucked from the Mindy Project and the way they almost lost me with that ridonkulously offensive “Christian pastor” boyfriend. I can’t even.

Come to think of, what have I been *doing*, people?? We need to talk, f’real, f’real.

For now, I leave you with a bit of wisdom from last night’s seriously serious dreams: You cannot quit at parenting; you can only fail.

O_O

Huh. I wonder if last night’s Nashville had anything to do with my dream’s subject matter.

Good questions, all.

The Enemy’s Gate Is Down

I’m a writer. (Doy. But there’s always a reason when I state the obvious – because everything I write here or speak in real life is measured and precise. …. Just kidding, I’m an idiot.)

Okay, so I’m a writer, and I write projects I intend to present through various mediums. I also started as a film major in college, which we’ve already talked about somewhere and also, who cares. More to the point, I made a film while there, based on my own short story. Moral: Things change in the translation. They have to. I won’t bore you with the details (suffice it to say my favorite part of the movie is the title…and the fact that we did it). So I said all that to say, I do not consider a novel and a film based on a novel to be the same thing, nor do I expect the film to attempt plastering book pages to the screen.

And I honestly, genuinely, consistently feel that way.

Unless Ender’s Game forces me to give up that religion. O_O

….and of course, I can’t really say what concerns me about that trailer in any sort of detail because I’m trying not to help the editor do what s/he was clearly trying to do which is RUIN THE GREATEST SCI-FI STORY EVER BEGUN. (Begun because – come on. Speaker For The Dead. I will seriously die next to that book.)

I mean, seriously, this looks like a pretty (aesthetically speaking) rendition of the “He’s our greatest hope because he’s just a military/warrior god” Independence Day dealie but with a kid. AND NO. IT IS NOT. So that’s *one* reason I’m concerned.

Another would be the glaring error in what I hope is just the approach taken by the trailer team. WHICH I CAN’T COMMENT ON BECAUSE OISJDJOFJLDIJDFGL;DFG.

I just. No. I get that a film is not a book. BUT WHY ADAPT THIS PARTICULAR BOOK IF NOT BECAUSE OF THE WAY IT GUTS YOU AND IF YOU’RE GOING TO DO THAT WHY RUIN THAT FROM THE GET?!

You’re making it really hard to keep my faith, Trailer.

…Get it together, Trailer.

In The Meantime

A new Frinterview! is on the way, my friends, I promise. But since I am overwhelmed with the general cool and awesomeness of the subject, I’m not sure when precisely that shall be. And so I want to give you something in the meantime. And I don’t have a video of myself doing Tina’s body roll.

…not sure why someone made that gif go so fast. Aaaanyway.

No, but for real. My friend described this meme – not showed it to me, described it – and I laughed.out.loud. This has nothing to do with growing up listening to old timey radio skits from the likes of Abbott and Costello. (Isn’t there an episode of the Simpsons where Smithers describes the comic strips to Mr. Burns?) Upon actually seeing it and laughing harder still, I knew I could use it as a divining rod to find all of my soul mates. O_O I shall test it here:

i.<3.

And So It Is

New idea: let’s talk about all the ways I’m dumb.

The most obvious way (to me – and feel free to chime in, friends, with things you’ve been dying to say but haven’t) is that I am loyal beyond reason. No, I’m not talking about toward people although, yes, even there I’ve experienced how that can be unhealthy but let’s stop being serious and let me ramble. I’m loyal in the way that one cannot not buy Crest and also doesn’t know why and I don’t have to set here and answer your questions. (Sorry. I watched Ali yesterday. Which won’t stop being on my top 3 favorite movies ever for always amen.)

I’ll just…put this here for ya.

So Crest. Loyalty. It’s like I think this is some intrinsic aspect of my personality. As if if people thought I used Colgate (which is a stupid and LUDICROUS, obviously) they would somehow misunderstand me in a very meaningful way and I would be misrepresenting myself and the whole system would fall apart.

And so, I find myself having to – or attempting to, at least – give long-winded, unwarranted and uninteresting disclosures (which totally works on Twitter, by the by) when discussing my writing soundtrack. Because there was a time that it was 100% Hans Zimmer/James Horner/Thomas Newman – and if James Newton Howard, Antonio Pinto and Dario Marionelli make their way into heavy rotation, I’m not hurting anyone.

But then Daft Punk’s Tron Legacy soundtrack sort of overwhelmed the writing of Cait, or maybe the revising, I can’t remember… and Florence & the Machine actually seemed to be singing about Avrilis, which was fine because I was reading, not writing. And when I was actually writing new words on new pages, I was still for the most part going back to my mainstays. Imogen and Elsie, they were conceived legitimately. (Was that a weird way to phrase that??)

And then I don’t know what happened. I re-envisioned one of them. And I can’t even really remember how I came upon it but I made a playlist of Tycho, Hammock and God Is An Astronaut. O_O And that’s all I’ve used. And I love it. And am also ashamed. … WHO is ashamed of things like this?! Seriously. What is going ON. When I talk about what I’m writing to, I feel the need to give back-story-info-dump on my progression and how maybe this shouldn’t so much be considered a progression (which the other party never said it was in the first place because they truly don’t give a good doggone beyond initial interest in seeing what other people listen to while working) because I still very much consider Zimmer/Et Al to be my writing companions even though, no, at the moment, I’m not listening to them but I’m sure I will – and, believe me, I understand such info dumps to be an occupational hazard. Yet I am helpless. Rendered ridiculous by a strong sense of loyalty to SOUND, when it comes down to it.

I dunno. Pray for me.

Oh and also, this:

Hiiii, angles that make me look ALL of the wide!

Hiiii, angles that make me look ALL of the wide!

My Heavy & Completely Justifiable Grudge

Jeanne Coyne. {Insert Louise Belcher laugh of insanity}

Ohhhhh, JeANNE.

You thought you could have it all, didn’t you? Didn’t you, JC?! You thought you could be Gene Kelly‘s fiancee AND a big Hollywood dancer, beside the likes of Tommy Rall, Ann Miller, Bob Fosse (DO YOU SEE WHERE I’M GOING WITH THIS?!) – and people have lied about you. LIED. Even on Gene Kelly’s IMDB page, some knucklehead wrote that you were a “major talent” in your own right.

And you know who *really* got hurt by your selfish shenanigans?! Bobby Van. Dear sweet Bobby. In what should have been his final chance to showcase his delightfully charming brand of breezy dance. Shoulda had his moment. Wedged between the break-out performance of Bob Fosse and the whimsy of Tommy Rall. But you know what happened? Jeanne Coyne.

Now, if you know me *at all*, I won’t have to point out which bent-leg-havin’, slow-coach-bein’ “DANCER” she is in this clip. But for those of you who don’t wanna be surprised and saddened, she’s the one in the yellow. And don’t be alarmed when the director just stops looking at her in the first bit of her “dance”. But seriously, can you find the one who does not belong??

TEN. SECONDS. He got ten seconds because of you, Jeanne.

no joke Ezzie

::collects self::

You guys, this has been weighing on me since I was like EZRA’s age. I just. I had to get it off my chest. ::sigh:: I feel so much better. I feel like this is gonna be a turning point. Now I can focus all of my attention on how the brothers and REALLY NOTICEABLY MISMATCHED during the barn raisin’ scene in 7 Brides for 7 Brothers. ::pulls tapes, prepares case::

*NOTE: This all came crashing down today when Dina pinned a picture of Gene Kelly. Jeanne is the first thing that comes to mind. Which is just…not fair. Because… Gene Kelly.

Let Me Go Immediately

The following is completely unrelated to the rest of this post:

The viewer response to the supposedly-brilliant main character’s barging in and shocking the manipulator with her recently acquired knowledge of their misdeeds should never be: THAT’S WHAT I’VE BEEN YELLING FOR THE PAST FIFTEEN MINUTES.

Just as an aside. Hashtag: one must now hope you are circling the drain, supposed tv drama.

We can’t name names here. Because I don’t want to encourage them.

***

Okay, but real business: last time we – as in all of us (share the blame, friends…or as Lauren’s crew might say, take the shame) – were talking about books being too good to read. (Somehow) relatedly, I’ve been thinking about movies that get worse the further away from the experience you get.

This is an experience made possible (for me, at least) only by a song or a film. Novels can’t quite keep up the charade long enough for the hangover to be one of “wait…that wasn’t very good.” But songs and movies? They can totally trick me – usually emotionally – into thinking they’ve taken me on a journey and then whoops. Nope. Turns out it wasn’t so much thought provoking because of depth but rather because my brain was chasing the vapor of what could’ve maybe been story. Only to find out that no. It wasn’t.

That happened not long ago. Never Let Me Go, a movie whose concept had totally escaped me (as in I would’ve watched it before this or last month if I’d known what it was about) seemed sparse-because-literary and troubling-because-so-well-devised. And then the longer I thought about this movie and the things that had to happen (and how wait a minute, why did they again??), the more I realized the writer (whether in the source materials or in the screenplay) had simply not fleshed out the world but rather attached characters to a concept and hoped it would carry them along. Which, while I was sitting there, it seemed to. But a day later, it seemed lazy and half-baked. Well that was disappointing. Because my mind filled in a few places … and then I had to remember, no, that’s not actually in there.

To say one thing specifically: the characters “aren’t human”…but they aren’t quintessentially something else. There’s isn’t established a characteristic otherness about them that sets them apart from us. They’re naive and sheltered but that’s because they’re literally sheltered. And one might first think, that’s the point – isn’t that tragic and troubling – that they’re exactly like us? But then, no. That doesn’t work. If they’re not characteristically other, why any of this? Why the outcome? Why the lack of agency? If they’re just like us, then this story fails. Why’d they trample pointlessly toward this “inevitability” and only belatedly attempt asking permission not to suffer that fate? (I never said it was the simplest bone to pick, what with the whole you probably not knowing anything about this movie.)

The “love triangle” – along with not understanding why one is so simple and another is so conniving and both are supposedly this “other” but completely unalike – is tacked on, yes? I mean. Did there just have to be a reason they’d missed out on what could have been a pretty long and satisfying love story so that what they are and their brief lives would seem more cruel? Because there really weren’t any victims in it. Just one girl with agency and two sad sacks without. (To put it plainly, even though I liked the two.)

So in the end, really it’s just the last line of the movie that’s meant to explain the point, right? ….Kay. Listen, I still enjoyed the actual watching of it and really, really. Believe me. I just have to make sure I don’t try to think about it afterward, which is my custom. Like it and then let it be. Oh but also:

Because take the shame, mate.

You Bed Not Flake It Up

[Dear brain - really? TLC lyrics as soon as I woke up this morning? You are cruisin' for a bruisin', friend.]

Here’s how this works. I have a fleeting moment of “I’m gonna blog about that tomorrow” and then – as she is wont to do – my brain waits until I lie down to go to sleep (or in my case, when my eyes are burning and I have no choice but to close them) and begins writing the post. Right there. Laptop closed, head on pillow, scribbling in my brain – against my will. And I commonly have this reaction.

….
That was me, defiantly ignoring the writing going on in my head. And also secretly (secret from my brain, don’t tell her) trying to memorize it. So in the bright light of today, have I remembered those witty phrases? NOPE. Because I’m an idiot. So I am forced to bring this post to you in list form, forgoing all attempts to showcase my quality.

Whoops, now I’m thinking of Faramir.

(1) So, first things first. I need someone to diagnose this once and for all. (As in, do you do this – which means I’m normal – or do you not do this – which of course means I’m dumb.)

Most of the time when I stop reading a book it’s because said book has failed me. BAD BOOK! It doesn’t always mean the writing itself didn’t hold up, but usually. Sometimes, in rarer circumstances, it’s the main character. He or she no longer has my loyalty, probably because I can see the author in the character’s place and the latter’s being made to behave in a way I feel serves the book but isn’t honest. As in, the character’s been sacrificed for the needs of the book. And that means I’ve lost that lovin’ feelin’.

Sorry.

And so anyway. There’s another reason I put down a book. (This is the only part to which you really needed to pay attention.) On now three occasions, I’ve put down a book… because I love it too much.

Not nice, guys.

To date, I have put aside: A Mercy by Toni Morrison, Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, and – presently – Speaker For The Dead by Orson Scott Card. ToMo has a new new book out and I still haven’t gone back to A Mercy but I assume I will have to have the next one on hand before I will. Invisible Man all but destroyed me (with its beauty and precision) but I returned to it and am better for it – if I wasn’t able to write for several weeks after finishing it. Because please. Why. It is the singular book that made me go – no other books need be published forever amen.

This doesn’t mean I don’t love other books and wanna marry them over here and over there and in the sky and on a cloud. (There should be another explanatory picture here but let’s try to wrap this up.) Instead, I liken the experience of having to stop reading something to the way a film can be overstimulating. Except in the case of films, it’s not just the movie, it’s the music, it’s everything. It’s sensory overload. It’s overwhelming. Makes me feel anxious. (This is probably diagnosable too but quick, look over there!) And the thing about the overstimulating film? It doesn’t mean the movie’s “good” or “bad”. It’s an entirely separate quality that is sometimes irrational. I’m going to list a couple movies that have at one point or another been too overstimulating. Moulin Rouge – surprise, surprise, Baz Luhrman is on a list of films that made me feel like Ned Flanders in Las Vegas.

Flanders. Entering Las Vegas.
You’re welcome.

Happy Feet. My sister and nephew-son used to watch this constantly and I couldn’t even stand overhearing it. Couldn’t handle it. (Wait, maybe this is all Nicole Kidman’s doing!)

Tron: Legacy. This one’s a no-brainer. Daft Punk (DAFT.PUNK.) and The Grid. And this is actually the only movie of these three that I really like and wanted to not have rapid heartbeat so I could watch it properly. So I watched it a ton and now it feels normal.

Stop looking at me like that.

And so Speaker For The Dead. It’s too good. It’s overwhelmingly too good. It’s better than Ender’s Game. And I’m not even gonna duck because I KNEW I was gonna wanna read SFTD before I ever read Ender’s Game (which is AMAZING and you have to know that to be able to put this conversation in the proper perspective. It is THE science fiction novel. Period. And then I read Speaker.) In fact, I read an essay by the author that explained how Speaker was the story he wanted to expand and to do it, he went back and wrote Ender’s Game and I could read it out of order but NO. My husband would not allow it. Said nothing compared to Ender’s Game. And until I started Speaker, I believed him. Have mercy….I believed him.

In summation. Take that, brain, I wrote it all by myself. (Wait…) Well, I wrote it when I felt like it not when you tried to force me. And without tooting my own horn? Pretty sure I nailed it.

 

Oh wait, the list…