Monday, September 15, 2008

I Want To Make Myself Cry

I'm pretty tired at the moment, and I have work in the morning, so I should be going to sleep right now. Bt I wanted to come out here and write a blog. I don't really have a blog to write, bt I would like to write one so here I am. I'm sort of divided about whether this is a good thing or not. On the one hand, I think it's important to have something to write before trying to write it. But on the other, a big part of writing is forcing yourself to do it. Forcing yourself to work through the times where you don't have anything to write, but to write them anyway.

Let's be clear thogh... What I'm doing here isn't really writing. Yes, I'm typing words into a, for the sake of argment, computer for the purpose of commnication between myself and anyone who chooses to read it. But let's not confuse this with things that authors do.

I've noticed that the posts I have been making recently have two main categories that they fall under. They've been either about relationships and the theory therein, or abot writing and theory about that, or how I'm not good at it. So maybe that tells me something. Maybe I should be putting myself ot there more in trying to actively find a relationship. This blog isn't about that. And maybe I should be putting myself out there more in terms of trying to be a more, or at this point any degree of, prolific writer. This entry is more about that. But only slightly.

There are some things that I watch over and over again. Aaron Sorkin shows, some other shows... That sort of thing. And there are things that I read (or listen to) over and over again. That's relegated more to Terry Pratchett these days.

Terry Pratchett is a wonderfl athor. On first glance, and certainly at the beginning of his career--the earlier dDiscworld books--he may appear to be just a Douglas Adams clone. Not that that is a bad thing, but itisn't what he is. Oh, I'm sure he has his Doglas Adams influence. I'm sure he's read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. But his books have a depth to them that Douglas Adams was only able to valiantly fail at achieving. There's parody, to be sure, in them. But there's also a good deal of genine philosophy, and some adapted physics. There are messages to his books outside of pre entertainment, and he is able to accomplish all of this while still being entertaining. There are also moments in some of the later Discworld books, and the non discworld short serieses, that are geninely sweet and touching. It's these moments that I choose to focus on today.

As I said before, there are things that I watch/read/listen to again and again. And there are moments in some of these things that I find genuinely toching that bring me to tears. On film, there is a degree of atmosphere that is created by lighting and score and all of the other aspects of direction and filmmaking that adds to the heightened emotion of the scene. So, the fact that I know a given scene is coming and yet it still manages to elicit the desired emotion is not so surprising. But with books it's just the words doing it. And even though I know that Vimes is going to lose it and start bellowing the manscript of "Where's My Cow" into the darkness in a feeble attempt to read it to his son, who is miles away, at the agreed upon time, it gets me every time. There's something magical about that.

I really want to write something that has that sort of power. I don't think the trick for this is to have a great idea for a story. I think it can be done with jst a mediocre idea. Of course, I don't really even have any of those at the moment, but I choose onot to focuus on that aspect of the predicament at this current juncture.

This is as far as I've gotten in my thinking on the subject. I want to write something that, when I go back and read it months, or years, later--enogh time for me to have gained enogh distance from it that it feels like reading someone else's words instead of my own--it will bring tears to my eyes in the way that Terry Pratchett is able to. I want to be able to make myself cry.

So, that's that. I would have liked to have had more of a conclusory feel to that, but I told you from the beginning this post was sort of half baked. Another topic I had consdidered writing in thisspace was going to be about "The Road Not Taken," and what if I had asked Jess ot just a few days sooner back in freshman year of high school. But I wrote this one instead. I still have that other one in me, so it very well cold be my next post.

As a qick, unrelated, addendum: I saw Burn After Reading yesterday. I would write up a review and send it off to Shannon for her to post it on the Coral Springs Teen Website thing, as my free admission to the theaer was intended for, but it is rated R, and so it isn't allowed to be discssed in that space.

I liked it alright. It is no Big Lebowski, but the Coen Brothers have been disappointing me lately with their movies, and this one was at least not disappointing. It kept me entertained far better than No Country did, and at least it had a coherent ending.

In fact, the ending was really the whole point of the movie. Generally this is true of most movies, but with Burn After Reading I got the feeling that they wrote a fnny little scene and then went back and crafted a movie to get them back to that scene they wanted to shoot. The entire movie felt like a bild p to the punchline of the end scene. It was a really, really, long winded joke.

Not that the movie was overly long, or long winded. I think it clocks in at around 90 mintes. Maybe a bit more. But the very end sort of neatly smmed up the previous 90 minutes of movie in roghly 30 seconds in a way that felt very much like the punchline to a joke.

The beginning dragged a little bit. It spent a bit too much time introdcing the characters--specifically John Malkovich's character. And then after that it sort of kept on dragging. At least in my opinion. It wasn't boring, but I didn't know what they exact story was that I was supposed to be following. So, when the climax arrived, I was nsaware that we had reached the climax. It sort of felt like the movie was jst rising action, only I didn't knonw where it was rising to. For this reason, I think itn wo uld benefit greatly from a second viewing. A second time throgh where I understand the story that is being told and don't have to feel myself searching for it in all the mayhem and hijinks.

I probably won't see it again though. At least not for a while. Movies just don't hold the same appeal for me that they once did. An hour and a half to three hours with a group of characters and plot just isn't enogh for me anymore. I much prefer getting to know the characters and setting in the serialized setting of a television series.

I have some new thoughts that I put together very briefly while watching this movie on the differences between telling a story throgh a serialized format and a movie format. It has to do with how much nonsense and filler you can afford yourself in a shorter format. Everything in a movie has to be important to the central story or it doesn't belong. A big storys can be told in those 90 minutes of screen time, bt it has to be truncated in a way that keeps the movie flowing and still fits in everything that needs to be told for the story to make sense. I have somhe more on this topic, but I'm tired and I havenv't worked out how to say it effectively. So it would end up being a lot of restating myself and trying to work my way around to a point that cold have been made in a third of the time. So, I'm going to go to bed instead. Goodnight.

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