Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Martin Luther King Jr.'s Triple Evils

I've made no secret of that a recent blogging trend for me has been to start a post on one subject or another, and then lose track of time or get distracted by or preoccupied with something else and I end up putting off finishing the post for weeks. This one was originally started back on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, January 18th. Obviously, more than a month has passed since then. But, while we're in the last week of February now, it is still Black History Month, so hey, it's a relevant time for the subject in question.

I was reading an interview with Martin Luther King III last month that made me aware for the first time of the "Triple Evils" that Martin Luther King Jr. railed against. While we learned about him as a great civil rights crusader - and one of the most important historical figures in the American 20th century - the focus in public schools was largely placed on his fight for racial equality. This is all well and good, of course, but at the same time, one has to wonder why we didn't go over the other issues he focused on in addition to racism. Placing these issues under the microscope, it's hard not to feel there's some political motivation behind avoiding discussion of the other two of the Triple Evils.

Friday, February 19, 2010

In Deference to Poor Decision-Making

Hey there, internet. Valentine's Day was five days ago now, obviously. I intended to have a science or some other sort of V-Day related post up that day, since I always had something new for the holiday the past two years. But after spending last week doing Film for Lovers 2010, I was pretty exhausted, and I kept myself busier than usual over the weekend, so that didn't pan out. At any rate, we're still in that "Hey, Valentine's candy is cheap as hell now!"/"Let's see how many times I can cut myself before I pass out from blood loss!" season, technically speaking. So that makes it okay for me to finish and post my Valentine's Day post late. Five days late. Because tardiness is my M.O. - people have called me tardy my whole life. And hey, this time around, rather than a normal post, you're getting one of my weird and whimsical short stories. You always like those, even when they harden the arteries. As a kicker, this is my first short story written from a lady's perspective! No, it isn't just a collection of misogynistic menstruation jokes.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Film for Lovers: (500) Days of Summer

What a week it's been. (Pretend.) We've looked at films on love in all its ups and downs, from warm highs to deep, painful lows. From Ireland to Hong Kong to California, Japan, and now, to wrap up Film for Lovers 2010, we return to Los Angeles, California for something recent, familiar, warm, and bittersweet.

I speak of none other in this case than one of my personal favorites of 2009, (500) Days of Summer.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Film for Lovers: Dolls

As we all know, the world is afflicted with many terrible, corrosive, addictive things. But there are none more terrible than the near-suicidal thirst for the next part of my Film for Lovers series. Yes, I know, it's all my fault - I got you hooked on the junk, and now it's up to me to get you your fix. We'll get you clean someday.

For part four of the five, we take a look at Takeshi Kitano's heartrending Dolls, which he himself considers his most violent film despite its utter lack of on-screen violence.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Film for Lovers: Shopgirl

Yes, I am, in fact, telepathic, and I'm reading all your minds as we speak. Funny how your thoughts seem to have synchronized around a single topic: WHERE IS THE THIRD PART OF FILM FOR LOVERS 2010!?
Worry not, dear readers - it's time for you to get your fix. For part three, we look at the 2005 adaptation of Steve Martin's Shopgirl novella. Martin wrote the screenplay, and he even plays one of the three leads! Imagine that.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Film for Lovers: Chungking Express

Last year's original Film for Lovers feature covered four English language films and one trilingual Thai release featuring a script split between Thai, Japanese, and English dialogue. Save for the Thai film, all of the aforementioned drowned the viewer in their warmth and humor in a lovely way - not to say that Last Life in the Universe was lacking in warmth or humor, but that it had more going on beyond that as well.

Today, we leave Dublin for Hong Kong in Film for Lovers 2010's second film, a work presenting a more complex look at love and human connection, in acclaimed auteur Wong Kar-wai's Chungking Express.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Film for Lovers: Once

It's the week leading up to Valentine's Day, the "commercialize my love!" holiday. (Someday that will be an unironic hit pop song. I promise.) You know what that means. Time to drown an unpleasant time of the year (And pretend the Super Bowl wasn't the other night - let's be honest, who cares?) in good love-themed cinema. As opposed to the ocean of cinematic dreck out there that purports to have something to say about love. (Llamas have more to say about love than those movies and they don't even speak English.) Commence Film for Lovers 2010!

To kick off this week-long feature, we begin with none other than the 2007 Irish film, Once: a film about love and music, yet not a musical. In Once, the music takes on the role of a third central character, present all around the two leads.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Anaheim Acid Trip: A Scanner Darkly

Valentine's Day is just over a week off. It's no secret that in my quarter-century occupying space on this planet, I've grown into more than a little of a cynic on matters of the commercialized emotion said holiday celebrates. Only in dollar signs can your affections be quantified! Last year, I spent the week leading up to the holiday doing marathon blog posts on worthwhile cinema centered around the subject of this particular emotion - this "love." (This is the part of the post where you imagine me making one of those finger-pyramids supervillains always do when speaking of things they find distasteful.) For ease of access to the interested, those posts and films were as follows:
As of now, nearly nine and a half months have passed since my last film blog post. Clearly, I'm behind on that sort of content. Those who've missed my pop culture rambling, get ready for another week of love-themed cinematic discussion in Film for Lovers 2010!

That gets going on Monday morning, of course. But to warm up for more movie writing, it's time to kick off my 2010 film posts with a third look at a Richard Linklater film (He wrote and directed both Before Sunrise and Before Sunset.)- his adaptation of Philip K. Dick's trippy, drug-fueled A Scanner Darkly!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Oh Seriously, You're Gonna Make Mistakes, You're Young

What's that, I finally realized  there was a new post editor I could upgrade to on blogger? Why did it take me this long Astonishing!

From this post onward, I'll be using more of the features more easily accessible through the new post editor for some pretty sweet new formatting elements. Plus, I'm planning on renovating and overhauling this blog this year. It's 2010. I think it's time. You may have noticed the slight change to the main title - though I don't have a novel on shelves yet, I am technically published; a step beyond merely 'aspiring.'

And look at this, easy jump breaks! Now I can post without clogging the entire front page of the blog up with massive text-walls! (You have to click the post to get to the rest of the wall.)

Now, let's take a look at a variety of goals I'm setting in 2010 for this blog, for myself professionally, and personally. I've been saying "This is gonna be a big year!" every year since I launched Spiral Reverie back in 2007. Granted, each of these years have had their own "big" moments to qualify them as such. But as a professional writer, I'm especially set on 2010 being a big step forward into that "real world" I always hear people talking about. (That doesn't really exist, you know - it's just how people rationalize their misery in adulthood.)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Publishing Chronicles: Taking the Plunge

Here I am again, sitting in front of my keyboard and monitor, typing yet another redundant opening statement for a blog post. The same kind of statement I open almost every blog entry with. Is it laziness that drives me to reiterate the same opening statements each time, or am I trying to welcome the reader to each blog post with something comfortable and familiar? Something personal, perhaps. Maybe it's a little from column A and column B mashed together with a healthy dose of nitro-glycerin. I could just as well start each post with a random assertion that may or may not be true. Chocolate milk is the best kind of milk! Motion is only a state of mind, you're merely moving the rest of the world around yourself through intense delusion! The Teapot Dome Scandal has the best name of any political scandal in human history! FACTS!

I could do these things. But for some reason, I'm not.

What I am doing with this post, however, is kicking off what I'm hoping will make for an interesting ongoing post series up until I am finally published. I'm sure many - somehow - of the few of you regularly taking the time out of your busy daily schedules to read this have asked yourself this question many a time and yet opted not to pose the very question to me: "If you're some kinda aspiring author, why don't you spend more time talking about writerly things in this blog?" First of all, I am a multifaceted human being (Pretend I sound shockingly angry when I say that). Second, as a writer who's only been published once through a relatively small contest in a new literary publication, I feel like I lack the experience and authority as a writer to discuss the literary and publishing world on a professional level at this point. This is something I am changing this year - fact. Whatever it takes. And third, as a result of point two and the very gradual and meticulous process that is writing a novel in the first place, I've often felt that I don't have too much to write about as a writer just yet. And hey, let's bust out some platitudes while we're at it and take note of that whole variety being the spice of life thing. (Those who have claimed it's paprika are liars working as paprika industry sleeper cells. There are more of them than you might suspect.)

So to you, dear readers, I today present to you the first part in my latest post series of indeterminate links: Publishing Chronicles.

Naturally, while I am blogging about my experiences with the process, I've every intention of approaching this in an entirely professional manner. This entails, of course, that I will not be disclosing which agencies or specific agents I'm contacting, nor is this going to simply turn into an "I can't believe they rejected me!" bitchfest where I post rejection emails and tear them apart verbally. I've read that apparently some aspiring writers have thought that this was a good idea - you would think that common sense would make it clear that this is not the case. But then, many people do seem to lack basic common sense. And I'm not keen on writing anything about my adventures in hunting for an agent and publisher that could backfire on me professionally. As absurd and obviously unprofessional as most of my blog-writing is - and intentionally so, that's what blogging's about, after all  (That and ME ME ME ME ME LOOK AT ME LOOK AT ME ARE YA LOOKING YET) - I intend to use my more serious writing about this aspect of my life and pursuit of a lifelong writing career as further practice, in a sense, at working within my newly-developing consciousness of professional courtesy and conduct within the publishing industry itself. While I am obviously one to celebrate the rough-around-the-edges, this is an opportunity to flesh out my more professional side in regard to my own career. (And it feels kind of strange saying that and looking at it in these terms, having that sort of bohemian drifter/freeloader personality when it comes to my aspirations, but this is part of what it means to become a writer - to devote one's life to storytelling and the refinement of one's craft. I've got to start exploiting what few connections I have soon and work on making more - hopefully through this query process - as well as really try to learn more about literary marketing and how to properly market myself and my work. I'm more or less at a loss as to where to begin on that as the huge introvert I am, so I've obviously got my work cut out for me.)

All that said, 99% of the above was written back around October 20th. The joy of but one of my numerous upcoming blog posts initially begun days/weeks/months ago. It's just after 1 PM on the 1st of February now, and the plunge is taken - I just sent off my first two query letters minutes ago. I don't have anything else to add to the rest of my babbling above, though the statements made there all remain true. Look forward to more writing and publishing posts from me this year. It's time to get professional. Aww yeah.

(Some really massive posts coming soon again, also - just the way you like them: so substantive most readers immediately turn and run for the hills.)