Sunday, February 21, 2010

What I do instead of write

I’m not doing so well with my novel project. I’ve begun to develop my characters and do a little research about where they come from and where they end up living. But, so far no writing. And of course I have no excuse. I’ve sat myself down at my computer this afternoon with the full intent to rectify that and what do I do, I futz around with emails, submission guidelines for poetry contests, and searching for ways to get my friends to vote for my More magazine reinvention story. Nothing has really been done to move along my novel writing since I completed the UCLA workshop two weeks ago.

But, I have gone to a few movies lately and thought about beginnings, middles, and endings – the stuff of novels I was taught – so it’s not that I haven’t been thinking about it. For example, “Valentine’s Day” had a great beginning that introduced all the many characters in the film, it had lots of funny and even poignant middle scenes, and an ending that pulled all the threads together. Some pulling took a lot of effort, some was done with ease and the end result was a surprisingly delightful movie.

I also saw “Avatar.” I really had no interest in seeing it for the story – I was mainly interested in it for the special effects, so I was surprised to see that parts of the story deeply touched me and that its ending pulled all the threads through. Of course it was your typical good vs. evil theme, but the parts that got me was the relationship the blue people had with one another, how they cared about their world, and how they stayed together in times of crisis. It was easy to tell how the real humans in the story could not ever belong in their world. Good stuff with an ending that totally made sense if one can make any sense at all about turning a human into one of the blue people forever.

In contrast, at our son’s request we also saw “From Paris with Love.” What a waste of time. The main character played by a bloated and bald John Travolta was a caricature of an action hero – had he been 25 years younger it might have worked. And his constant use of a deadly weapon became laughable. In the old days I used to cover my eyes at the slightest hint of violence. This film was all violence! One dead body after another! Bang you’re dead! It happened so often and so quickly I couldn’t help laughing. In fact, I could care less about any of the characters in the film. And, the ending had no threads pulled through. It was just an end – the action hero left by plane. He was through so, bye-bye now buddy, you’re on your own. And just get over the girl – she was no good anyway. The director also directed “Taken,” also with an old action hero main character. I didn’t like that film much either.

Now I’m ready to see some more of the films up for this year’s Academy Awards, e.g., “The Last Station,” “The White Ribbon,” “Caroline,” “The Serious Man.” Time is running out. I may have to see more than one film a day if I want to finish before the awards show.

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