Monday, 30 June 2014

This Week

Welcome to the new week!

This week I'm going to talk about a book I suspect no one will see coming by an author who no one will see coming, and a new release novella by a writer nobody has ever heard of. The first will be up on Wednesday (God willing) and the latter will be up on Friday.

Since we're entering July, I thought I would vary the format for this month. Every Friday in July I will be making a post about my new novella "While You Were Dancing" in a pretty lazy attempt at publicity on a blog nobody really reads. What can I say, I'm an introvert with no connections. This Friday will be the first of four posts on the subject, so be ready to be sick of it before even reading a single sentence.


But before that, on Wednesday will be a fairly different book by a much more prolific author that I don't believe gets much of any discussion. I will try to explain why I think it deserves discussion then, but for now this is all I've got to post. Soak it all in, because next time we speak will be the middle of this new week.

Have a good few days and (hopefully) we'll meet again.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Quick Update

I just wanted to say that I've been enjoying the format I've had of a simple update on Monday, a big post on Wednesday, and a small aside on Friday. It's easier to manage, and it gives me thing to write when I'm otherwise drained. All in all, it's a solid format.

I think I'm going to keep it this way.

See you on Monday!

Friday, 27 June 2014

Intent

Before I start I just want to mention that my first novella is now for sale at Amazon! I've been working on it a long time, so if you have the time to at at least read the "look inside" excerpts, I would really appreciate it. Thanks!

Today, I wanted to talk a bit about intent. Mostly, the intent of the writer.

There's a lot to talk about, but first I wanted to bring up an incident that happened to me not that long ago. It's fairly mundane, but it sticks with me like most mundane things do.

I once read the forward to a rather popular book that struck me a bit odd. The author was commenting on "Turn of the Screw" by Henry James and how the ending of the story fascinated and changed the way the person saw literature, in fact helping to inspire the very book I was holding in my hands. There's nothing wrong with all that, but here's the thing:

The ending was taught to the author by a college professor on how the narrator was a villain and really the monster of the piece. Now, that's a very valid interpretation, but, there's a problem with teaching such an interpretation as being exactly what James intended. That problem being, we don't know what James intended.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

The Commitments


This week I'm going to take a look at the film "The Commitments", directed by Alan Parker, and released in 1991. It is one of my favorite films and has still endured to this day despite how much has gone in in the years since I've first seen it, and I know many others still connect to it even so many years later. Though I'm not sure a lot of people really know why. It still works today just as well as when it first released.

Back in the early '90s, this film sort of came out of nowhere. Based on a fairly good book of the same title by Roddy Doyle, no one was really prepared for this film to become as popular as it did or touch people the way it did. It's a fairly straightforward plot that has been done before, but what is it about this particular film that has helped it endure over the years when so many others have been forgotten?

There are a few reasons, I think.

I think a good bit that helped it is how timeless much of it is. I first saw the film around 2000 or so and had absolutely no idea the film was over nine years old at the time. The references to music and pop culture are all over the place, and both the dress, style, and atmosphere could be almost any period, it's quite a remarkable feat and the production staff deserve much credit for it. But what really puts it all over the top for me, more than the excellent soul music throughout, is how universal everything about the film is.

Monday, 23 June 2014

This Week

I think this week I'll be spending a long post on a favorite music-related movie of mine and an additional smaller post on comparatively smaller issue. We'll see.

As it is, I've had another bloated weekend of things not quite going the right way, but I will, with God's Grace, hopefully pull through some of the issues soon enough. Nonetheless, compared to some of the crap going on out there, I guess it could be worse.

Anyway, I'll hopefully have the next post up by Wednesday.

We'll see!

Friday, 20 June 2014

Violence In Stories

On Fridays, I think I will try to make a short post on a subject that I think needs covering. Today, I will cover violence in narrative.

Chances are, most stories will have a violent confrontation of some kind.

Well, it happens sometimes in life.

Chances are, someone will either be injured or worse.

Sadly, it also happens in life.

Chances are, some stories will go a bit too far in describing the confrontation or the result in a sickening detail.

... That's when I feel we have a problem.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Batman: Mask of the Phantasm



For my first proper post I thought I'd start on one of the first stories to really make an impact on me in my life. And what better place to start than with Batman, one of the most famous superheroes of all-time? In an age of Michael Keaton and two fairly boring films that were more about the villains than Batman himself, there was one story that nailed it better than any director that had attempted the character before.

That movie was the 1993 animated film Batman: Mask of the Phantasm.

It was suspenseful, it was well written, it was well-acted, and it was probably the best Batman movie of the whole decade. . . in fact, some still argue that it's still the best Batman movie. They certainly have a case, as it is a phenomenal piece of work.

There's drama, high action, romance, suspense, mystery, and it's Batman. What more could a fan of good storytelling want? Mask of the Phantasm has it all and is well worth watching for anyone who enjoys a good film.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Thinking About Things

I've been thinking of doing two updates a week, as sort of a loose schedule. One big update on a story I really like and one smaller one as a more random musing. Of course, I might also do random posts like this in between. Who knows?

Tomorrow I'll be posting on one of my favorite superhero movies to get this ball rolling, and maybe after that I'll do a smaller post by the weekend.

We'll see.

The sky's the limit, after all, right?

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Why the title?

As you've no doubt noticed, this blog has both a peculiar title and an odd image at the top.

What is that all about?

Well, there are several reasons and I'm perfectly willing to do a post dedicated entirely to it at a later date, but for now I'll give a simple explanation.

The image is from an anime titled "Trigun" produced by Japanese studio Madhouse based on a Japanese manga by Yasuhiro Nightow. The title of the blog is from the same and is from the eighth episode of the show when the story radically changes. Now why would I choose this as the general theme of my blog? Again, there are many reasons, so I'll give the short answer for now.

The title is one of many aspects if Trigun that is about more than what it appears on the surface. Episode titles include "Murder Machine", "Sin", and "Under the Sky So Blue" which have multiple meanings for those have seen the show in question. The title to the episode my blog title was taken from has a bit of history to it on top of the multiple meanings.

At the end of every episode one of the characters would narrate a short preview for the next episode and the one for this particular episode struck me hard.

Friday, 13 June 2014

Hello!

Welcome to my blog which should be about the same as any other blog. My name is JD and I like to talk about stories, which is what I will try to focus on. I will attempt to look under the surface a bit to see if there might be a deeper meaning along the way. Storytelling is one of the greatest gifts we have been giving, and I always wanted to do something to celebrate it. This is the best someone like me could think of doing.

Topics can include anything from song lyrics to movies or books and graphic novels. If it's a good story, I'm interested.

Keep in mind that I am a Catholic (and rather orthodox about it), and while I won't be talking theology or comparing notes with the Catechism, I just figured this would be put up front to chase off anyone who might be even slightly interested in what I might have to say. Trust me, it won't be anything profound. But who knows? Your mileage may vary.

I will run the comments quite harshly, however. I don't take kindly to arrogance, hatefulness, or insults of any kind. This blog is about stories and how they can affect us, it is not about how much we hate *insert thing here* because of *insert reason here*, okay? There are enough holes on the internet for such tiresome discussions. Just keep on topic and everything should be fine. (I'm assuming anyone is even reading this.)

With that said, I don't know how this blog will be run or how often it will be updated. More news will (hopefully) come later.