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.)