Five Things I Am Into Right Now, August 2015

OpusThis is an odd time we live in, especially for us old-school nerds. Star Wars is back (and maybe without too much CGI), a new Ghostbusters film is being made, dinosaurs and terminators are in the movie theaters (not always a good thing, from what I hear). Beloved comic Bloom County is back and looking EXACTLY as it did during its heyday of the 1980s (even mocking Donald Trump who is probably going to win the Republican nomination). Then there is Harper Lee…

Harper Lee…

I reviewed Go Set a Watchman on WKAR (which you can read and hear here), and everyday I get more and more annoyed that it was ever published. I’ve even taken to reading reviews of people that give it good reviews to try and find some way to justify it beside the money. They all take the same tact to their argument- Well, if you consider the time she was writing and this is only an early draft and, my favorite, if you look at it as a piece of history. No, it’s not a piece of history! It was released by the publisher as a sequel (!) to To Kill a Mockingbird. And they did not push it as a “growth” piece, a chance to see the evolution of Lee as a writer. Everything they did was to present it as a follow-up, the continuing story of Scout and Atticus. Heck, even Reese Witherspoon did the audiobook! You don’t call a major actress in to do an audiobook of some kind of little historical literary oddity.

I don’t want to join the speculation on whether Harper Lee wanted this book published or not. But there are two points that always seem to come up for me. 1., If she wanted this published, why didn’t she try to find it in the 60s, the 70s, or the 80s. Why now? 2. As an author, I have many things I have worked on that I wouldn’t want published. Yes, they have a beginning, middle, and  end, but that doesn’t mean they are publishable.

Frankly, Go Set a Watchman destroyed an American classic and if I was the editor I would have burned that copy before releasing it. Yeah, I would’ve taken the bullet and gone down in history as the guy who destroyed a Lee manuscript. And I would have done it proudly. The ironic thing about this is, yes, the publisher and Lee (well, her lawyer who oversees her finances) are making truckloads of money, they have destroyed a cash cow. Mark my words, in ten years To Kill a Mockingbird will no longer be a bestseller or even taught in schools. Go Set a Watchman will destroy the yearly flow they expect from Mockingbird. It won’t happen right away, but it will happen.

Okay, that is all very doom and gloom of me. Let’s talk about happier things, because it is August and summer. Here’s one… Continue reading

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Final Fantasy XIII-2: Why, Why, Why???

Some are haunted by ghosts, others by regret or the past… Me? Well, I am haunted by a video game.

Last week, I finished every bit of Final Fantasy XIII-2. Typically, I don’t play a game for full 100% completion, but this one I did… and I am haunted by it. It has entered my dreams, right there with that embarrassing situation in third grade I don’t want to discuss here.

Final Fantasy games are some of my favorite video games out there. Not because of the role-playing aspect (there is nothing new about roleplaying), no, for me it all about the story. And Final Fantasy, when it is at its best is a torchbearer for Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey (If you don’t know what I mean, I recommend you check out some of his books, here is one, they map out how all great stories and characters follow a “hero” journey and the stages of them. These stages also relate to our own lives when they are lived to their full potential. For my fellow nerds, this is also what inspired Star Wars… No, the good first one).  We grow with the characters, we experience their struggles, their realizations, and when the endings come (after hours and hours and hours of play) they can be emotional.

Yeah, they make me cry, so what? Continue reading

Five Things I Am Into Right Now, March 2012

It’s March in Michigan and you can feel the shackles of winter breaking all around us… To be replaced, of course, by the wet shackles of non-stop rainstorms. February and March are always such dreary months in the state of the mitten. Glen Phillips has a song that says “winter pays for spring.” Nah, in Michigan I can point to two overly depressing months as being the cost.

So usually, around this time of the year, I am drawn to lighter entertainment. This is not the time for a serious novel for me.  You won’t see one on the list. I’m looking for fun and comfort here. For example, just check out the first on my list:

Complete Peanuts by Charles M. Schultz (1979-1980)

It’s become a tradition for me and my mom. Every year, I get the box set for Christmas of the next two installments in the Complete Peanuts series. And each year around this time, these collections save me from the natural funk around me… Which is hilarious to consider since the world of Mr. Charles Brown is not exactly a nice place to live.

It’s cruel, it’s full of sarcasm, and your friends have no problem pulling a football from you, letting you land right on your back. Ouch. Continue reading

10 Works I Wish I Had Written

Sometimes I feel like December and January are the times all entertainment Web sites and writers set aside for creating lists.  We drown in them; from movies, to books, to important people, etc.  Lists after lists after lists.

Don’t worry, this is not one of those lists.  This is something a little more personal.

I’ve been, since starting this blog, trying to rethink my writing and my goals, and one thing I am trying to latch on to is what stimulates me, what means something to me.  What do I want to accomplish in my own writing?

This list is of ten creations that, at one time or another, touched me as a storyteller.  There is no particular order, no best to worst.

Are these choices the best in their mediums? No, not all of them. Are these things that I could have written? A few, I think with the initial spark I could have devised in a way. Are these works that inspire me? Most definitely. Continue reading

Why This Novelist Likes Video Games

I’m not supposed to admit this.

Many in the snobby writing community pooh-pooh it as frivolous and don’t consider it real storytelling, and I might be shunned for this in the future… Sigh… I’ve got to take a deep breath and say it… I think some of the best new stories I have experienced in the last few years have been in video games.

See, for me as a lover of stories, it was never about the medium someone is writing in (plays, books, movies, radio, etc.), but the story being told.  So I really have a problem comparing the mediums like some do. I don’t, per se, think novels are better than movies all of the time. There are adaptations of books for the silver screen that I think are better than the book (Obviously, The Shawshank Redemption is an easy example). Continue reading