Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Danny Boyle's Frankenstein

I had the immense pleasure of seeing the screening of this play with Benedict Cumberbatch as the Creature, and Jonny Lee Miller as Frankenstein. As critiquing goes, my thoughts are: omg I loved it go see it I wish I could go back in time and get tickets to the original play. Now, to be serious for a second, which is about only how long I can remain serious on any subject (ah see, I think I failed immediately, carrying on): This was an absolutely amazing play and I seriously recommend it to anyone who is having doubts about seeing the screening. It was fantastic.

To head on with a bit of a story: One of my favorite books out there is Frankenstein. It has been since I read it 8 years ago. I love the Creature and I adore Frankenstein and, really, the whole thing. It has actually been one of my secret dreams to write a screenplay for the book, something very chilling, dark, and touching. Something not like James Whale's movie (and don't get me wrong, I'm not hating on him). So when I found out about this play, it made be very happy. There's the music, which is absolutely up my alley, and the imagery, which is also intensely pleasing. Also, I very much love Cumberbatch. I have somehow entirely missed Jonny Lee Miller as an actor, however, now I love him too.

Actually, when I found out I could see this screening, I was positively ecstatic. To use my newest phrase: I was uncontrollably excited. It was the complete truth. I knew I was going to love this. It was something I was just oozing to experience. I simply glowed with pure excitement for about 2 hours.

While on the metro coming back, my dad asked me, "Did it live up to your expectations?" The answer was yes. It did. It absolutely did. I was completely correct in my uncontrollable excitement.

I honestly don't think I'm just playing a fangirl here. My dad's words were, "That was absolutely amazing." Perhaps that phrase sounds... Flat. After all my hubbub about running around uncontrollably happy, that phrase could sound too simple, but it isn't. It is spot on. Danny Boyle's Frankenstein was just absolutely amazing.

To top it off, I also got to meet two Sherlock lovers who happened to be dressed up as Sherlock and Mycroft. I chatted with them (this was Mycroft's third viewing, apparently, which goes to show how good this is), made friends, was ecstatic with them, and that meant it was a wonderful evening.

So I most definitely give this screening/play a very excitable:

5 out of 5 stars.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Campaign (2012) (And a bit of In the Loop)

So this was a more spur of the moment movie. I had been wanting to see Total Recall and especially The Bourne Legacy (I have a bit of a soft spot for The Avengers actors, heh; I just like seeing their movies), but hey, I went out and saw The Campaign instead.

I think the hardest thing to rate about this is that I'm a big fan of British and black comedy. (Black as in "dark," as in depressing. If you must know, I'm a big fan of Romanian comedies, for example. So when I say "comedy," I must admit that my sense of humor is a bit... Different.) Now the reason why I make note of that is that sometimes I have more trouble gauging American comedies, especially of this variety. Also, partly because I will always rank In the Loop as my top political comedy.

I've got to admit, a lot of the audience laughed at points. For not knowing who was in it, I was a bit happy to see John Lithgow in it, or "Kenny" (Jack McBrayer from 30 Rock). Overall, it sort of... It happened, to put it that way. It was a movie and I was watching it. I pretty much had the same feelings as when I watched The Dictator.

It's a little hard to really say much on the movie. Maybe if I was a bigger Will Ferrell fan, I'd enjoy it more? Maybe if I was more into American comedies like this, I'd also enjoy it more. I don't know. The dialogue didn't always intrigue me. Or perhaps, a lot of it didn't. Again, I can't tell if I'm unfairly thinking of In the Loop, because the dialogue was just a constant stream of amazing, while here, it was crude and rather disjointed. The movie was trying to juggle different things--the story, the comedy, even trying to make us feel for the characters or care what happens to them. The problem is, however, it felt more like a switch--comedy on, comedy off. There were precise moments in which we are specifically supposed to say "ah, I care about him!" And this is where I compare it to In the Loop. We care about Simon Foster because of his bumbly-ness, or how horrifying this entire situation is. Later, he tells us, in a moment of complete despair: "a distant voice in the back of my head goes 'oh shit' like a car alarm in the middle of the night." No matter what's happening, we can always feel what the characters are emoting. Malcolm is angry, frustrated, rushed--of course, this makes sense, he is, in general, a very angry human being, but Simon gets flustered and confused. He's all bumbly and completely means well. They're all humans. And they're hilarious.

With The Campaign, I can't really think of many great moments as I can in In the Loop. Or perhaps, I can't think of great moments. There was no major one liners or fantastic impacting moments. I did sort of enjoy Karen Marumaya, but in part, she was rather dripping with sarcasm and her scenes were fairly small. I also felt that John Lithgow was a little wasted as an actor. He's a wonderful actor, but his role was a little too bland. Lithgow, as we've seen now from both 3rd Rock from the Sun and Dexter, he can be great in a comedic or villainous role.

Overall, The Campaign was a little punchy. "Laugh," and "Feel touched." "Feel sad now." "Laugh again." Sort of big neon signs saying "this is going to be funny," rather than having each moment flow well, each character feel real. When jokes are made in comedies, I rather it feel more natural to what's happening, rather than punching me in the face.

If I had to rate this, I'd say maybe 2 1/2 stars out of 5.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Comics: Movies and Myths

Between the “Avengers,” “The Amazing Spider-Man,” and “The Dark Knight Rises,” there has been constant discussion on comics and superheroes in my life. I cannot avoid it between Facebook, Twitter, or in my daily life. Almost daily, I discuss comics, superheroes, current culture, the history of it all, and mythology. Constant bickering and arguing over the theory behind comics. I felt that, perhaps, it is time to write a new blog entry.

For a bit of background, I thought I ought to explain about my history with comics (or, you know, perhaps I just like to talk about myself). Obviously, I did not tie you to the chair and if you want, go ahead and skip this paragraph, however I generally find position and history important on how to judge one's opinions. Most of my childhood was made of Peanuts and Charles Addams. I had no experience with comics in the slightest. No cartoons (based from comics, that is, I wasn't completely devoid of proper child entertainment), no comics books, no radio dramas, no movies, no... Anything of the superhero or modern comic book culture variety. It was in high school when one of my best friends, HW, gave me “Murder Mysteries” by Neil Gaiman, which I think was a rather interesting and unusual first comic to read. I enjoyed it and she gave me a copy of “Sandman”, vol. 2, because she believed that was the best place to start. (Whether I agree with her or not, I cannot decide. I deeply enjoyed vol. 1, but at the same time, vol. 2 gave me an idea of what to expect of the entire story—who Dream really is, his “powers,” his realm, the comic in general.) I dabbled in a little Batman, of course watched the Nolan/Bale movies, and I felt, most importantly, wrote two papers on comics. One was the history of comics from its general start in the US (with the Katzenjammer Kids to the 1980's—I wasn't supposed to go past the '60s, but I did it anyways, I felt it damaging to the history), and the second one was on mythology and fairy tales in comics. I know, high school papers, big deal (if you knew my high school, they weren't completely light-hearted; my school had a penchant for college level English lit classes), but it was to me. I loved it, researching their history and looking behind the flashy skin-tight suits. Through most of college, I dropped off of the comic book interest, which I still curse. I wish I was never influenced to ignore comics because now, I realize that I've missed 5 years of research. Through the “Avengers,” I was excited to research it again (and now I own a few more Loki-centric Thor comics).

So it makes sense that when I see “superhero,” I read it as “modern mythological figure.” In my more current research, I am deeply pleased that Thor was created because Stan Lee felt that if superheroes were going to be treated like gods, like mythologies, then why not include literal gods? It's very clever. In high school, I viewed comics as what our culture desires—Captain America punching Adolf Hitler (the USA winning against Nazi Germany), or an above average man battling the evil corporations (that was Superman vs. Lex Luther). Now, I see that they have also become our modern myths. Spiderman is the protector of New York! He saves the day against the evil Green Goblin and co! Like myths, he may not always reign completely supreme, after all, Gwen does die, but still, he is our teenage Hercules. He isn't human. He's a demi-god. He can die and come back. We can reimagine him as we desire. He must have his spider abilities, but he can become a spy in the past, or what have you. He isn't tied in the same way that other characters from books are. He has been in comics, countless story forms, and in movies. The same goes for all of these superheroes. There was a wonderful speech in Fear Itself: Black Widow #1 (annoying, I lent out my copy of Fear Itself: Secret Avengers, but if you can, look it up. Hell, just flip through it in a Barnes & Noble or something for all I care. It was an accidental purchase—I ran around B&N, pressed for time, and whoops, instead of Fear Itself: Journey into Mystery, bought Secret Avengers. Admittedly, I am not unhappy, but it did mean I didn't get to reread one of my current favorite events being published right now). They discuss about how and why it hurts when a superhero dies, why they can come back, time and time again, and why, essentially, we have so many variations on their tales. They're avatars. They're not just people, but they are also ideas. They're something larger than just characters. I just rewatched “Batman Begins” tonight and again, Ra's al Ghul mentions how “You cannot kill an idea.” Batman is more than just Batman, he's larger than that. Ra's al Ghul is more than that. That's why you can't kill any of them. They're not basic human beings. They're mythological beings. They're demi-gods (or real gods). We feel (hopefully) when they act as base human beings, but we also expect something inhuman from them. That is how Batman and Superman have been around since the late '30s ('39 and '38, respectfully). Thor has been around since bloody arse knows when (at starting in the 11th century; I honestly do not know much about Norse mythology, Vikings and history, but I will research it now) and he's a Norse god! A real one! He doesn't just play one on TV.

I don't mean to sound pedantic. I don't mean to say that we should look at what each comic issue says about our culture and all that. I mean, it may be really nice to, and there's certainly worth some looks (between the treatment of women, men, the beliefs of the characters, and such, it's actually rather good fun), but I mean to treat comics as we do with books. In starting with Charles Addams and Neil Gaiman, I like to believe that I saw a specific side of the general comic realm—a rather intellectual side, before seeing all of the fluffy fun. (Again, I'm not trying to say that the fluff and fun are lower than the intellectual. Personally, I enjoy both. My first and favorite film was “Jurassic Park” and that is an equal amount of both. I will always desire both.)

But what I think is the most fascinating is how many faceted views there are on comics. Most of it appears to be “they're fun” with variations on that view (“I want to be Spiderman, so I want to read about him” or “It's big and silly and hugely fantasy, I want big explosions”), but I've also met some very realistic desires, too, “I don't want people to die and pop back up,” and of course, I've met some who view comics like I do. I don't think that any one viewpoint is specifically the best (that would be a little rude), but I do find this zoning off as a major factor to many problems.

The one I find most pertinent to right now is: comic book adaptions into film. The problem with all movie adaptions is that people do not know what a proper one is. We can often love a proper adaption, but half the time, most people don't. The Lord of the Rings trilogy is forever my go-to movie adaption for discussion (to the point that I feel rather bad about it, honestly). A movie adaption is not the book; it by definition cannot be—it's a movie. (I feel like I ought to write another entry on this, because I will most certainly lose track of my main point of this entire one—to talk about comics.) With comics, the logic works the same. The movie is never the comic. It can't be. And much like with book-adapted movies, where what most audiences (or what the producers think the audiences) want is to see their favorite scenes. Honestly, that's rather true, but at the same time, just pandering to the mass desires does not make a good movie. In part, it could be that books are very long, they carry a lot of material in them, and movies cannot contain it all as easily. Comics, on the other hand, come in nice little issues. Now, each issue is certainly too short to provide enough material for one full movie (they're more like chapters in a book, I'd say, which, for an off-handed note, a chapter can easily be turned into an episode for a tv series, hence: “Game of Thrones”), but you cannot use too many issues to make a good and proper movie.

One of the largest problems with comic-adapted movies and one of the things that perhaps most comic fans need to remember, is that they're not just for the fans. The book-adapted movies aren't either. They're for movie-goers, be they fans or not. This is a very important distinction. A movie is like a bottle in a sea. We may know some rough details about what is contained inside the bottle, but in the end, we only have the bottle. Kindly note, if its a movie series, that's a different story. (Actually, movie series are extremely hard to do properly. Each movie has to be good on its own, yet if there is a consecutive plot between them all, then it must also incorporate that without relying too much on “this is what happened before, so if you didn't see it, you'll be totally lost.” This is where I felt “Avengers” did well—my dad, who had never seen any of the previous superhero movies and has not read the comics, enjoyed it and understood what was happening. There were small things he didn't catch, but that was because they were there for people who watched the rest of the Phase One movies.)

One adapted movie series that did not do well was the Harry Potter ones. They're for fans, for people who have read the books, enjoyed them, and wanted to, for some reason, see Hermoine flounce around in a dress and cry because so-and-so didn't love her. Yea, nice. But the problem? The movies made no sense. They made sense if you're relying on the books, but as stories, you were left with many questions, like “Who the hell is this?” (Cho Chang, anyone?) or “Why the hell did that happen?” (lack of explanations for magical things and integral points of plot). Yes, so many people have read the Harry Potter books, but actually, I know a fair amount of people who haven't. It was a testament to how much they left out, information-wise, whenever I spoke to Michael. After every movie (we did a marathon once), we sat around for a Q and A. He would grill me on various Harry Potter facts, and often, not on little things, but on something like why did the wands have problems in the 4th movie/book. In the end, I often would tell him “read the books.” (I didn't mind explaining it all, but sometimes, I couldn't remember the answer. Plus, I thought he would enjoy them.) And he wasn't the only one with questions. I had a few teachers and professors who didn't read the books either. (Perhaps an annoying attribute of mine is that if I know you when I go to the theater, I WILL grill you on your opinions afterwards. Sorry.)

Now, that's still book-troubles, but it applies to the comics as well. As a writer, you cannot just include something, no matter how much it works in the comics, just because it was there. In the comics, you might have the added bonus of a yellow text box or seeing a scene we didn't get to see in the movie, for whatever fucking reason, but it MUST. WORK. There cannot be assumptions or explanations from reading the comics. That's moronic. I really don't want to have to do research before going to a movie. It's not laziness. It's that the movie should do perform certain functions. I am not like those English folk who demanded a refund because they went to see “The Artist” and didn't realize that it was a silent, black and white film. (Side note: Never ask for a refund for a movie because you hated it. It was your bleeding choice. Deal with it, motherfucker. If the theater messed up, and my local one often has, and the quality of the film is bad because of THEIR mistakes—such as the projector off center, then you may ask for a refund. Otherwise, you're an asshole. An ignorant, rude asshole.)

I don't mean to say that we need everything spelled out for us. I mean, I don't want that. I love movies in which I have to puzzle things out, etc. I loved “Inception,” but that's philosophical, not ill story-telling. (There's probably a rant about “Prometheus” in here somewhere, but I feel like better writers have already spoken on it for me. Bottom line: It wasn't a good movie, writer-wise.) Proper facts need to be there.

So when we get into comics and movies, there's a lot at play. There's the mythological, the cultural, and the historical aspect (that Captain America was a product of the '40s and that he will constantly be re-imaged because we need these heroes, even when Steve Rogers talks off the shield and suit and is not longer CAPTAIN AMERICA, but some new identity, we still have these heroes around); there's the fact that when comics are adapted, the adaptions need to follow the proper adaption procedure. In making a comic, it does not require many people (I really do not mean to make it sound too simple and easy, but bear with me)--ultimately, you have the writer, the artist, and the editor. Depending on the artist, you may have more than one. If you want to do something, like sneak in images in the background, or maybe, after you sent in a lot of the work, but find you want to change something, you can do that easier than if it was a movie. With a movie, you have many, many individuals involved (as well as a lot of money). Make too many changes, never have any sure footing, and people will lose interest or refuse to participate. One of the beautiful things about art is that you can (in theory) draw what you want. A man in tights zipping around in the air with Norse gods and winged horses and a planet exploding? One can draw that. Most people can. (The matter of how well is different.) But what about filming that? Now you're stepping into difficult territory. That's one of the major issues. How movies work is not the same how comics and books work. Movies are primarily visual (you don't get as much internal dialogue like you do with books or comics—you can't. The actors must SHOW what they feel. Yes, voice overs or narrations can occur, but there are a lot of things you can't really just throw into a voice-over and make it work well.) It's tough. You can never expect a movie to be literally a comic (or a book). It's an ADAPTION. Superheroes are modern myths or folk tales in how they function—a superhero isn't just a person, they're an avatar. Saying that a movie must be just like the comic is to wholly misunderstand movies, adaptions, and, frankly, comics themselves.

So that's the rant, folks. Lizard signing off.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Thing About Lost

With Prometheus out, there is a lot of conversations about LOST all of a sudden. Beyond that, I have my own friends who are very adverse to LOST and that style of mystery (and they often rant to me about it). While I really shouldn't be up, typing this, I sort of had this entire inspiration and need to.

I loved LOST. I didn't get into it until the summer right before season 6. My best friend, HaeWon, had started watching it, then she directed me to it. I remained a season behind her, but we watched it all in that span of 3 months. Then as season 6 came out, we waited, watched, and waited. Then it ended. Then... I had no idea what to think.

To start, I loved LOST. I didn't always necessarily like the characters, but I did often find things interesting. Actually, some of my favorite characters were ones like Ben and Locke. (As a side, amusing note, I had a bunch of weird dreams that summer about being Ben and fighting Locke.) Anyways, as the series progressed, I experienced what most likely other people did: confusion. I was really looking forward to season 6, assuming that each episode was going to be a fantastic wrap-up. One after another. I felt like I'd be fantastically pleased and awed. I didn't care if they were all in purgatory or what. I just wanted to feel very pleased at the end.

The saddest fact was that I wasn't. I believe I checked, several times, that there was not another episode after the finale. I'm glad I only started watching the show right before season 6. If I had watched it for all the years it ran, from beginning to end, I would have felt very angry, wasting all that time wondering, worrying, feeling excited about the show.

I honestly really enjoy a lot of it... I also dislike a lot of it too. Unlike some of my friends, I don't have complete hate for it. I rarely have a complete hate for anything. I can usually find SOMETHING useful. (There are exceptions, often if they regard Christopher Paolini or Kevin J Anderson.) LOST had some great aspects. Some of the reasons why I enjoyed it, maybe it wasn't necessarily the best. Like the smoke monster noise. It's just pleasing to me. Other things, like the feeling one gets from season 1, I very much enjoy. I loved the idea of this bunker. What's in it? What are the numbers? What is going on?

The problem, of course, is that we, the audience, are led on for such a long time. Mysteries latch on to mysteries. Each time we get closer to an answer, we're given a new mystery to both distract and bring us further from it. This... Is a problem. I remember watching a TEDTalks video by JJ Abrams. One thing always struck me and that was that his concept of mystery was very far removed from mine in one particular fact: that a mystery should remain a mystery. I do not believe that. The reason why I read or watch mystery tales is that I want an answer. I want to try and guess what the answer was.

To throw out a random example, the mystery of who Amber was in House, episodes House's Head and Wilson's Heart. (I happen to be a large House fan, by the way. And I also happen to find them one of the best episodes in the show.) I remember watching that with Michael, the two of us watching in gripping wonderment as to who this woman that was dying was. We were trying to figure it out, of course. For some reason, it never crossed our minds that it was Amber... Why? Why did it take us so long? I don't know. But then there was the final moment when the woman held that necklace and asked "Who am I?" and I caught on first. I gasped in horror, "Oh GOD...." and then a second later, Michael caught on and we both shared a look of sadness and fear. So yes... The mystery? That was... Honestly very fun and all, but in a sense, it never reached its full potential until we found the answer. The answer was the climax (the sort of orgasm of the tale) and that was the most painful, fulfilling moment.

There is no point to a mystery if there is no answer. If there is no answer, then why bother? To liken it... Over the winter, I discussed a story I wrote with a professor of mine. It was about a man in his late 50s. A man who had nearly everything. But my professor told me that he disliked it... It felt worthless to read it. Why read a story without hope? The man kills the one person he loves. So what? His life was hopeless, things happened, and it is still hopeless. There is no point in reading the story. There's no climax, really. Maybe exciting things happened, but nothing substantial does. Essentially, it was just wasted time. And anyways, if there was a point to it, it was to say that there is no hope in life, so live your live in despair and die unhappy. What a wonderful message. So I learned that day that if there's ever something to a story, it's that there needs to be a change... If there's hopelessness in the beginning of a story, there needs to be a ring of hope at the end. If the world is in chaos, it needs to end in order, and vice versa. If there is a mystery, there needs to be an answer. Perhaps, sometimes, there is an exception to this, however, as a general rule, it appears that this is how good stories are written--change happens.

That's one of my problem with LOST. A lot of fantastic and interesting things happen, however, at the end of it all, nothing changes. I'm still wondering what that damned polar bear was doing there. And honestly, I feel the show fell too short for my expectations. There was, at some point, and I'm not exactly sure where, but I think I blame the time stuff, when suddenly, I didn't like what was happening and I was only watching for a certain character (like Ben's back story) or to get an answer for a certain mystery.

I think my biggest problem, however, with LOST was that there was a lot of potential... A lot of potential for things really great, really interesting, and that it didn't always reach that. That sometimes, it almost came to a wonderful point, but that it fell short. I can't decide if LOST was more like Icarus or Daedalus... Either the writers tried too hard to reach something and wasn't able to achieve it, or it never quite tried at all... Above all things, this bothered me the most. I dislike unreached potential. If someone is an absolute crap writer because they will never be able to see how bad they are, are proud of what they are, then there's nothing to be done. That is a rare occurrence, honestly, that I'd say there is a purely bad writer out there, however I'm sure they exist. (In fact, I already listed two, especially one whose name starts with a K and his last starts with an A.) I feel I can accept that. However, I absolutely hate wasted potential. It's what keeps me up at night, contemplating on some failed story (or at least in my opinion) and thinking how it could be fixed.

I suppose I should note... I don't think that my opinion is necessarily the perfect one in the world. I could be wrong and I know I am on some things (I just don't know what--it's just an assured likelihood). I don't mean to sound conceited, saying "oh, yes, all these stories are terrible because I have such a great ability." This is, just, more or less, my opinion. I do think there's merit to what I just said about LOST. I mean, and I feel like I keep repeating this, but I do love a lot of certain aspects. There's something to the story that has such a specific feel and I like it. I just wish there weren't some major, glaring problems, especially with how mystery was handled. I think you could, perhaps, say that this is a call to others to, possibly, write better. So I hope it sort of works, or inspires people...

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Writing Worries

Sometimes, I feel like an idea is weak, in its infancy, maybe, or that perhaps I'm missing that key to making it great. Whatever it is, this idea is in my head, wanting to get out, but then I place it on the page and I start to doubt myself. I start to quibble and worry and claw at my brain, hoping, maybe, that it will work. I can't figure it out.

In this case, it's my newest project, Theatre Magic. I have so much there, so much forming, and it's been around for some time. Not my longest project, but it's honestly a pretty old one, too. I can't tell what it is. I think I'm over-worrying about the comic portion. It is most certainly a comic. I've figure that one out a while ago. The problem, however, is that I'm worrying. Is it comic enough? Is it fast enough? Will people be interested?

Other times, I start to worry because I read other comics. I look at Sandman or Allan Moore's work (both are highly influential to me, primarily Gaiman, but through him Moore is too). I start to worry... These works feel so much more adult to me. Mine feels tiny and childish and cartoonish. It feels silly and cheap. Worthless. I feel like this project is a mockery of Sandman, somehow. That I just want to re-skin the series as this theatre realm with gods and a poor unfortunate soul wandering in the midst.

It just happens sometimes. Even if I look at things not related to my comic, superhero stuff or when I flip through House of Mystery. I worry that these great people who wrote all these things... That I'll walk up to a booth to chat to someone with my manuscript in hand (or possibly my query letter) and hand it to them and they'll look at me like I'm an insane little twat. I don't even know what they'd do then... Call in some guards and haul my ass out the door and I'll be banned from a convention forever. (It's not realistic, I know, but this is just what I think.) Maybe my idols, my inspirations will be there. All of them, even. I'll have this crowd of people I admire and they'll see me, the greatest writing failure in all of history.

And now I start to worry, because it sounds like I'm saying all these "me me me" things. It's not that I'm trying to be self-centered about all this, really. It's that I feel like I'm trying to belong into this circle that I don't and I'll be horrendously embarrassing for others, not just myself. Like "how dare she come in and ruin our cool writing club!? We're awesome people, why did she even bother? She can't write worth a damn!"

And then my cat, Cheerio Kitten, comes over and tells me "Wiiiiiii" and I chuckle and that's how my night goes. Worrying, worrying they my writing is crap, that my stories are weak and silly, and Kitten attempts to impart wisdom, but I cannot understand it.

Friday, June 08, 2012

The French Primer

So one of my favorite books that I own is, oddly, a French primer from 1913. The entire reason why I love it is because of a previous owner, someone who doodled and wrote notes in the blank pages on the inside of the covers.

This person was rather ingenious, honestly. It's provided me years with fascination. In time, I've began to understand what they're writing about. I would love to one day meet the person who wrote in this, but as each year goes on, I'm afraid I'll never get the chance.
The person drew very interesting faces and he makes mention to a lot of songs. I don't recognize half of them. The "I care not for the stars that shine" is a song called Love Me, and the World is Mine by Ernest Ball in 1906. I have no idea what "Nobody home but the Locksmith, and he is making a bolt for the door" is from (or if they made it up themselves), but I hope to one day figure it out.

There's this interesting combination of pencil and yellow It's scribbled all around. It's so strange. There are no writings or scribbles or marks anywhere in the main body of the primer. It's only in these opening and closing pages.

They really knew their songs and people. I think that maybe be T Schenck referenced, a man who was tried for espionage in 1919. The song next to the first Hardy is called Gee, But I I Like My Music With My Meals from 1911 and the Webber song is called "He'd Have to Get Under -- Get Out and Get Under (to Fix Up His Automobile) from 1913. I'd love to know who all these people are. It's hard. For instance, for Webber, I am unsure of which Webber he is referring to.

I adore that this person made up a list of songs for Hardy, Stewart, Churchill, Schenck, and Webber. I particularly love that he made up things for why all these people went to school.

. . .

On a random note, I got a package in the mail. I'm pretty happy about this and it makes me the coolest kid around. (Note, I am neither cool nor a kid, but hey, I can dream.)

Note: There is a brown book in my black desk... One day maybe I will take photos of it. That one has scribbles in it too. It's interesting. I love books like that. I really enjoy strange, fascinating things that people write into their books.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Sonnet 1: Forgive me Brother

So this is my first sonnet that I've done. It's a piece I wrote for lokisredemption , a group that is getting together some Loki art and poems to send to Tom Hiddleston for Christmas. (Oh, hey, so I'm both a fan of Tom Hiddleston, as an actor, and the character/god, Loki, in general--myths, comics, etc.) I wrote this out and colored it (with a crow quill pen). I originally didn't like that Loki "signed" it, but everyone seems to like that addition, so whatever.

It reads:

Forgive me brother, flying high in cheer,
I sicken, knowing I, that rightful heir
To throne of ill repute, do grossly fear
That all of this you hear is not my care.
For oft I do despair that time will show
My words are all but lies, that you will think
Me just another monster that you owe
To win against, defeat, to bring to brink
So please know I speak now with utter truth
I still do love our years of boundless youth.
         I wish I could rebuke the hate I feel
         And be your brother, not in this despair.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Theatre Magic

So I have a new project. I'd rather like this one to see publication one day, but here's what it looks like (ha) right now:

This is how I work. I have these three books in my lap, listen to music (get distracted by internet), and eat crisps. Then I doodle and sketch out the panel layouts per page as I write more detailed descriptions in the notebook. (I later then enter them in "official" manuscript form).

 This would be my favourite character. I do love the others, but sorry, this arse gets it first. (Er??) I'm posting this because I want to say, I'm PROUD of this. That hair. His hair... I sort of have problems with drawing, so all of my sketches of him are crap. Except this one is marvellous.

This project is called Theatre Magic and it's a comic. There's something I've always loved, and that's theatres. They're like raw energy to me--raw creative energy. There's actors ambling about, playwrights and dramaturgs, a mish mash of costumes and props that do not belong together, and the world in a set of scenery. So many minds take part and so much creativity flows through. It's ever changing. Props get sacrificed into new forms and costumes are ripped apart to make wonders. The stage is an age-old form. I would say it most likely transcends the written word, for in its own way, verbal tales are their own acting and theatre. Everybody acts, everybody pretends, and the theatre is the temple of human nature. And so, that is why I am writing this.

(I know I haven't said much on the project, but sorry, I'm keeping it that way for now.)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Daily Races

Sometimes when Aric had trouble working, he entered his grandfather's studio—a dead, preserved land in his house. He would dig out some old CDs and play his grandfather's favorites. As he listened to Andrews warble, “No one knew me, no one knew me, Hello teacher tell me, what's my lesson?” as he would look over the reports a second time before sending them to the main office. Time passed by as he shuffled papers, studied photos, and connected observations to truths.

Eventually, he heard a key enter the lock to the front door and the familiar shuffling gait of his housemate, James. By now, the CD player spout out “You know I used to live alone before I knew you” and he remained sitting, staring at a particularly photograph of white and red. His housemate called out as he walked around the open main room of the house.

“Ah, there you are,” James said, “We've got a reservation at that new wine house you've been raving about.” The music track jumped and regained its place, “Love is not a victory march, It's a cold and it's a broken...” James disappeared, most likely heading to the closet to put away his coat, calling out, “Give me a half an hour, though.”

Aric tossed the photo on the desk, leaning back with his hands behind his head. His mind wandered off as he stared at the white wall—it beheld the century of life that lived here. A telltale dent in the wall, when his grandfather pushed a particularly heavy microscope against the wall—an accidental scar that would last forever. It was lined with a black smudge. Aric contemplated on the photographs in front of them, the story they told through simple details. He wandered through the facets they brought to light, every so often taking a small note. The minutes ticked away.

Aric turned of the CD player and exited his office. He wandered into the kitchen and took out an opened bottle of orange juice, drinking straight from the bottle. James was there, sitting at the table and reading the newspaper, and looked up in disgust, “Oh, see? That's why I don't drink that....” Aric smirked and capped the bottle before placing it in the fridge.

“Closing walls and ticking clocks.”

“Ready to go?” Aric asked. 
James shrugged in consent and stood. “Sure, nothing good today anyways.”

“Too bad,” Aric said, exiting the kitchen, heading to the closet.

“For you, perhaps,” James said dryly.

Aric raised an eyebrow, handing James his coat. “Perhaps...”

Am I a part of the cure? Or am I part of the disease?

The two put on their coats. James held the door open as Aric exited, placing a cabbie's cap on his head, looking around with his sharp eyes.

Blackbird fly into the light of the dark black night.”

James locked the door and the two headed to the Lincoln sitting in the driveway.
James remained silent during the drive. 

Aric continued to think of the photographs on his desk and the report he would complete, the mysteries he had solved. He moved on to the next agenda, the painful idea that James was unhappy. They rarely spoke; they rarely joked. 

You thought you'd found a friend to take you out of this place.

James adjusted his grip on the steering wheel, glancing in his housemate's direction. He noted how unhappy he looked. How pained and lost. He wished he could help, be what his housemate needed to salve these aches of the mind.

You know I can change I can change I can change I can change, But I'm here in my mold, I am here in my mold

Aric knew that one day James would leave. James could be happy. He could find a family. Find love. He was unable to. He was broken. 

And I'd give up forever to touch you.”

This was a bit of fun with including music with writing.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Maine House

I rambled down the cramped dirt road. To my right, there was a sheer cliff face. To my left, a row of Victorian houses, each with their own personality. Some had moss covered rock fences, others had wood sheds. Before I arrived here, I tried to remember what this place was like. I had been bogged down, always wistfully desiring to return to this summer home, but there was always a reason not to go—there was a new project due, I had just finished a project and didn't want the hassle of driving up here, my fiance and I had planned a romantic getaway in our house. I was just busy. Then she died. It came as a surprise. It wasn't like I thought she'd live forever, but she was 32.

I passed the white, the green, and the eclectically painted homes and reached the Maine House. It was owned by our uncles, but my sister loved it so much, they passed it down to her. As a sort of family tradition, we all held a share of the house. It was a family house. It was for childhoods and summer.

I pulled into the dirt and gravel parking spot. I looked out across the treeline and at the foggy and grey expanse of the Atlantic Ocean. Waves roiled up against the beach. The three small islands were still squatting in the distance. I could hear the crashing. That soothing sound of the mysterious ocean. I stepped out of the car.

I placed a hand on the cool rock fence, moss growing out of the cracks. There was a metal gear stuck in a rock. The rock was warped. I sat down on it. When we used to come here as children, we arrived in a mini-bus. We'd stock pile the back with everything we needed for the two weeks and more. My sister and I would have our own seat. When we'd arrive, we were all tired—my dad was the worst off, of course, but as children, we just hated the sedentary blandness of driving for 8 hours. We wanted to scatter, run along the beaches, clamber up the cliff path, check out the local, yuppie hotel for interesting people, fellow kids, and when we were older, some hottie.

Luggage would stack up by the door as we lugged in our blankets and pillows—not because the house didn't have it, but we always brought a little of home here. It made us feel safer.

I pulled out the key to the house and unlocked the front door and entered the mud room. The house was strange, thinly built, as though it would whisk away like in the Wizard of Oz, and the rooms nestled together in odd angles. The mud room was a rectangular room, small, and opened to bother the kitchen and to the dining room. No one went through door to the dining room.

The kitchen was torn apart—there were no bowls, no flatware, no food in the fridge. There were two boxes on the kitchen table, something that was to be left behind, but beyond that, the kitchen was empty. The entire house was like this. The bare skeleton remained—the furniture, little odds and ends that didn't matter, but the charm was gone.

Tomorrow, the new owner was going to arrive. I would give him a little tour, even though he already had one with a real estate agent, but it would be one between owner to owner. It would be a silent passing of stories. The new owner and his family would make new memories and I would make my last one.

I wandered through the house, watching the waves and the three islands out the window, innocuous in the daylight, the fog dissipated in the sunlight. The second floor, filled with bedrooms, four to be exact, all in their silent state. Our parents always reserved the nicest room for themselves. My sister and I, we often shared a bedroom, and yet sometimes we'd brave the nights alone. Each bedroom had its own share of nightly terrors. In the attic, the effervescent presence of ghastly things seemed saddened today. There was always stuffy feel that mingled with that fear that you were being followed, being watched by some long past soul. The scorch marks in the one room never helped the matter. Neither did the despairing state of the attic bedroom and the murky red water in the abandoned bathroom.

Night would fall in several hours, so I left the house to visit the cliff path. As I left the house, the porch swing creaked goodbye.

The path was rather iconic—rocks, moss, pines, and rich brown earth. It was never a difficult climb. It was just a perfectly, friendly forest scene. The path leveled off and the pines always ended. Short, stocky blueberry bushes scattered around and I watched my step for the rocks formed nooks and crannies. It was always like walking into a barren land to me, despite the blueberry flora. It was the sky and the ocean. There was a harsh, glaring blue and grey. The world was bright compared to the pine walkway. Down this rocky and blueberry patch, the pines grew back. I always contemplated about this spot. Why so barren? My sister thought it was from a creature from beyond. Once, we found bones in the pines.

I walked to the pines up ahead and sat down on a rock ledge in the middle of the pathway. I used to bring an old laptop up here to write. It was usually a failed venture. The scenery was always more interesting than the screen. There were gauges in a tree nearby. Every summer, we'd find them up here. Only once we walked further among the pine path. We found a dense forest with two wooden slates forming an X across the entrance. Due to the thickness of the trees, we couldn't see far past the blockade. The path quickly delved into shadows. We never even dared each other to go further. We just stared into it, then left.

I wandered the pines for a while, feeling whatever beast it was watching me. Usually I felt that trepidation—would I become its next snack? And yet this time, I wasn't afraid. It had been about 10 years since I've been here last. It must of wondered where I went. It must have been thinking about how I have grown. I thought that it would be getting older, maybe it had its own family now. Maybe it was the son, hearing tales of two little girls running through the woods and now it finally has seen one of them. A monster fairytale, just as it was a fairytale for my sister and I.

I left the pines, passed the barren blueberries, and clambered down the pine slope and walked down to the yuppie hotel for dinner. I made sure to grab a handful of mints as I left, just as I always did as a kid.

Night fell as I stalked the house alone. As the sun set, I sat on the screen-covered porch in a wicker chair. The porch swing continued to swing at a lazy pace, back and forth, creaking along the way. Every so often objects moved in the house. It seemed a beneficial or neutral spirit, more minding its own little business than attempting to harm the two little girls that would stalk its movements in fascination. We would camp out at night, watching the swing. Sometimes we'd leave little gifts on it. When it became too dark to see, I left the porch, ensuring to place a mint on the swing.

I threw two logs in the fireplace and lit the newspaper. We always kept plenty of wood in the outside basement. I watched as the wood crackled, reveling in the warmth. I stood, keeping my hands warm. After some time, I stood by the bay window, staring out at three ghost lights that hovered over the three islands. Our father always told us that they were lighthouses, but when my sister and I dug through some newspaper clippings in the attic, we found an article about three widows, their husbands lost at see.

The fire died down. I turned on the lights as I headed upstairs. We had a system, my sister and I, in order to never be caught in the darkness. We would turn on a light, turn on the next closest one, then turn back to turn on the first light. We kept up this chain. The shadows couldn't get us then.

On the second floor, I paused at the first bedroom. It was the white room. It held a double bed. I opened the door and peered in. Empty. The linens were gone. The first time we came here, we found a porcelain doll resting on the pillows. She had black hair, black, shiny eyes. She wore a white dress and black buckle shoes. She should be in some box somewhere on her way to a storage unit. No matter where we place her, she always appeared back in this spot.

I closed the door and opened the next one. The yellow room. It was small, very cramped, and the walls angled oddly. We always felt time was slow in here. Even the light seemed yellow in here. At night, you could hear a faint voice singing an indecipherable lullaby.

I moved on to the third room. There was a pair of twin beds in here. A dresser stood in between the windows facing the beds. We always found candy in there, like magic. We theorized that this room once housed a pair of young tricksters. I was going to sleep here tonight. I turned on the lamp and closed the door and walked to the window. The three lights were still flickering in the distance. I listened to the waves crashing. The sea was always beautiful at night.

In time, the lamp flickered and went out. This happened a lot in this room, only at night. The door creaked open. That never failed to send a shiver of terror down my spine. A stomped my foot on the floorboards. The lamp turned back on. The door closed. I smiled.

I slept on one of the beds. I had brought a sleeping bag for the one night.

I woke up to the sun shining on my face. I sat up. Today, I had to give the key away. After I dressed and brushed my teeth, I walked down the hall to check the white room once more. The doll wasn't at the headboard.

I packed my sleeping bag and my toiletries. I ate a Nutrigrain bar and sat on the porch. An origami lily made out of the mint wrapper sat on the porch. In time, the front door knocked. I pocketed the lily and answered the door.

A man stood there. He had horn rimmed glasses and a mustache. He smiled and somewhat unassuredly asked if this was 98 Club Rd. I invited him in. I gave him the tour. He asked about the pipes and about the fireplace. I told him they worked fine, ever since the house was built. After the tour, I gave him the key. I told him I was going to walk on the beach one last time before leaving. We shook hands and I left.

It was low tide and I clambered down the glittering and iron-red rocks. I walked along the beach for a mile. I turned back and walked along the base of the cliff face that the pine path perched upon. My sister and I used to collect crabs and sand dollars. I used to hate the beach; something in the sand felt like maggots burrowing into my skin. Once, we dug a hole until we found sand worms. They were terrifying, their heads reminding us of tapeworms. Their bodies were segmented and they were very long. In horror and disgust, we never dug deep enough to find them again.

After a while, I headed back. I clambered back up the rocks for the last time. I passed the house for the last time. As I headed to my car, I heard a howl. It was loud. I turned to look at the pine path. Standing among the woods was a furry wolfman. He was tan. We stared at each other. He left, the bushes and trees cracking and swaying as he passed.

I thought about the theories my sister and I had about the Maine house. The timeless room. The porcelain doll. The vigilant ghostlights. The trickster twins. The spirit on the porch swing. The wolfman. I wondered how much of the house was real. How much of it was fantasy. I ate at some crummy diner along the way home. By the time I reached my home, it was midnight. I threw my keys on the couch and headed up to bed. A porcelain doll sat on the pillow, her black eyes shining. She wore a white dress and had black shoes. Her hair was black and perfectly straight.