Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Power Source Issues

I'm planning to wage a war against AppleCare for the coverage of my power cord. I have not yet won, and therefore am running on extremely limited battery power. Ergo (haha) posting will be light until I win.

Any suggestions on how to go about the battle?

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Sometimes my life, despite all of its challenges and frustrations, seems like a fragile gift. If, at any moment, one of its leaning pillars were to be knocked down, the entire foundation would crumble and I would be left in the settling dust of the rubble around me.

Sometimes I get a taste of what it would be like if this happened. A small scent on the wafting breeze, sending a harbinger of dread down my spine. When one element is off, just a fraction, I begin to fathom what it would be like to try and survive without that element. I realize how impossible that would be, thus how dependent I am. I would be ruined without it.

The only way I can see to cure this dependence would be to separate myself, bit by bit, from these elements, until I am strong enough to hold all the pillars by myself. But this act, like scratching paint from a wall, would remove all of the beauty from my life. I would be distancing myself from everything that makes each day worth experiencing. I would be throwing away all the gifts I have been given; the things others long for, daily I see the desire in their eyes.

So how do I win this game? Do I live in my beautiful room, amongst the glorious painted walls, marble floors and pillars, until I am evicted by the fates? Or must I build my own lean-to? Bland, and lonely, where I can exist in the knowledge that I am self sufficient, until I go crazy with the rigid solace with which I have surrounded myself?

I must believe that I will always take the painted room. And when it crumbles, and I with it, I can crumble with the knowledge that I dwelt there, even for a time.

Beat Beat Beat Sheet

I'm currently working on a beat sheet for the screenplay inside that is alternating between raring to go, and not wanting to be born. I'm trying to remember that even if its awful, I should write it down. Good writing is what second drafts are for...right?

So I will continue hammering at the bass drum of plot points, and hopefully add some snare and high hat a bit further into the process.

Friday, January 23, 2009

A Super Hero Aside

I was having a discussion about super heroes with a friend yesterday. I decided if I was to be a superhero, my name would be The Lexicon. My mission would be to smash bad grammar; come to the aid of a sentence in need; and to provide a new perspective to those who are suffering from mindless platitudes with my arsenal of quotations and literary examples. My weapon of choice would, of course, be a dictionary/thesaurus. Also, I'd like to have a cape.

If you were a Super Hero, who would you be?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Poetry Week - Day Three

A childhood favorite of mine, by Shel Silverstein. I figured it went hand in hand with my sleepless nights of late.


Last night, while I lay thinking here,
some Whatifs crawled inside my ear
and pranced and partied all night long
and sang their same old Whatif song:
Whatif I'm dumb in school?
Whatif they've closed the swimming pool?
Whatif I get beat up?
Whatif there's poison in my cup?
Whatif I start to cry?
Whatif I get sick and die?
Whatif I flunk that test?
Whatif green hair grows on my chest?
Whatif nobody likes me?
Whatif a bolt of lightning strikes me?
Whatif I don't grow talle?
Whatif my head starts getting smaller?
Whatif the fish won't bite?
Whatif the wind tears up my kite?
Whatif they start a war?
Whatif my parents get divorced?
Whatif the bus is late?
Whatif my teeth don't grow in straight?
Whatif I tear my pants?
Whatif I never learn to dance?
Everything seems well, and then
the nighttime Whatifs strike again!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Poetry Week - Day Two

You can't have poetry week without Emily Dickinson. She has a charming habit of not naming her poems. I am far to egocentric to let my poems go without a name. Here is one that is categorized in the Time and Eternity section of my all things Emily source:

I HEARD a fly buzz when I died;
The stillness round my form
Was like the stillness in the air
Between the heaves of storm.
The eyes beside had wrung them dry, 5
And breaths were gathering sure
For that last onset, when the king
Be witnessed in his power.
I willed my keepsakes, signed away
What portion of me I 10
Could make assignable,—and then
There interposed a fly,
With blue, uncertain, stumbling buzz,
Between the light and me;
And then the windows failed, and then 15
I could not see to see.

Here is one of my own, entitled Tapdance

You follow. She knows it.
You smile. She runs.
You catch up. She giggles
You’re happy. She pouts
She hooks you. You like it
She tugs. You grin.
The line goes dead and you search for the bait;
You want to feel that tug
The hook in your heartstrings.
You’re screaming to hand them to her.
She’s bored. You dance.
She smiles. You delight.
She sighs. You watch her.
She loves it. You care.
What do you see? She’s just a tap dancer.
But you want her to dance.
Her tap. Your rush.
You’re her personal puppet, she holds fast to your strings.
She cannot make you happy. It will not last.
She will dance away. Leaving you dancing alone.
I will not be here when she is gone.

Mine seem to be constantly evolving. There are versions of them hiding all over my laptop. Who knows what it will say when I revisit it next.

Gigantically Enormous.

There is nothing quite so mind numbing when you are reading as the double adjective. Very common and easy to do when you are writing, as you want nothing more to get your point across, however, as a reader it always makes me feel as though the writer is uncertain of the level of my intelligence. As though they are thinking "One description word, surely that won't be enough for this crowd, I'd better put in a second in case the first is a little out of their league."

This was my Google Home Page's Word of the Day:

jaunty (adjective) Having a cheerful, lively, and self-confident air.
Synonyms:chipper, debonair
Usage:He moved very quickly, and there was an air of jaunty liveliness about him.

If you use lively in the definition, is it really necessary to use it in the sentence as well? Perhaps a better option would have been: He moved very quickly, and there was a jaunty air about him.
Just a small pet peeve for your contemplation...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Poery Week - Day One

Robert Service is one of my favorite Canadian poets. Many of us have had the fortune (or misfortune, depending on your feelings regarding poetry) to study one of his more well known works "The Cremation of Sam McGee". Service's poems are so raw, so visceral. A true depiction of the blend between internal and external influences. Following is an excerpt I quite enjoyed, written by Robert Service, from "Sunshine".

She lies within an icy vault;
It glitters like a cave of salt.
All marble-pure and angel-sweet
With candles at her head and feet,
Under the ermine robe she lies.
I kiss her hands, I kiss her eyes:
"Come back, come back, O Love, I pray
Into the house, the house of clay!
Answer my kisses soft and warm
Nestle again within my arm.
Come! for I know that you are near;
Open your eyes and look, my dear.
Just for a moment break the mesh;
Back from the spirit leap to flesh.
Weary I wait; the night is back;
Love of my life, come back, come back!"

I was having an interesting discussion with a colleague the other day regarding some of the defining factors of Canadian literature. We had both noticed throughout our various studying and pleasure reading that Canadian authors often define their work with reference to their individual (or their characters') experiences of our climate. Canadian literature often discusses the seasons, the weather, and the elements, sometimes in very great detail. Not only do with reference these natural factors, more often they directly relate to the theme of the piece. "The Cremation of Sam McGee", for example, features a tough character, with a cold empty heart, hardened by his lack of companionship and constant surrender to his survival instinct. Service uses the harsh northern climate, where the this man has learned to survive and become accustomed to, to parallel the condition of his heart. This is just one example. Has anyone else noticed a similar pattern?

*Tomorrow, another favorite poem (or two), accompanied by one of my own.*

Friday, January 16, 2009

Next Week

Next week is poetry week - prepare yourselves!

Posting may be light over this weekend. Cheers.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


A shadow hovers at the corner of my mind.
Flitting past my eyelids when I blink,
too fast to make out.
Tugging at my memory when I dream,
a dream I never remember.
I can taste it on the tip of my tongue,
first sweet, then salty, I can't place the flavour.
It fills my subconscious, bubbling over
with images, scents and sounds.
I remember, this picture, that face,
I almost have it!

Something external and unwelcome violates my reverie.
The shadow retreats.
Another flicker and it is gone.
Across the Stix of my consciousness, into the dark nether.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Because it is.

I was reading "A Clean Well Lit Place" by Hemingway last night. A charming short story about different places and needs that people have in life. The message that came across to me was This is important because it is. I need this because I do. I really enjoyed the varied perspectives in this story, no of which were altogether right or wrong, but they were all valid. Each character was flawed in his own way, which is what made them real.

The other thing I got out of this was that you truly can write about anything! This was a beautiful piece of work about an altogether commonplace experience. Hemingway took it to a level that the layman would never take the time to see. I like the idea that everything is interesting, the gift is how to make each story unique and appealing. My challenge today is to brainstorm a few more topics that may take skill to make interesting.

Five things that are interesting because they are, and deserve some further study:

1. The correlation between music and beverage.
2. Your perception of a stranger who smiles at you.
3. Why she chose Australia, and he chose Japan.
4. Tattoos.
5. The first hour of the day, from the moment you open your eyes.

Any other suggestions?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Lessons from the Dialogue Jedi Master, Tarantino.

One of my favorite pieces of Tarantino's dialogue from "Pulp Fiction". (Please excuse the awful formatting, Blogger and Final Draft aren't friends just yet).

Ready to go?

Not yet, I'm going to interview you first. Are you
any relation to Suzanne Vega?

Yeah she's my cousin.

Suzanne Vega the folk singer is your cousin?

Suzanne Vega's my cousin. If she's become a folk
singer I sure as hell don't know nothin' about it,
but then I haven't been to too many Thanksgivings lately.

I'm going to ask you a bunch of quick questions I've
come up with that more or less tell me what kind of
person I'm having dinner with. My theory is that when
it comes to important subjects, there's only two ways a
person can answer. For instance, there's only two
kinds of people in the world, Elvis people and Beatles
people. Now Beatles people can like Elvis. And Elvis
people can like the Beatles. But nobody likes them
both equally. Somewhere you have to make a choice.
And that choice tells me who you are.

This is just dialogue you can feel good about it. Maybe you won't remember it while you're watching the adrenaline shot scene, but something about it completely resonates with the quirkiness that is humanity.

One of my better pieces of dialogue I've ever written follows (I didn't say it was GOOD, just one of my better efforts)

(quietly, without opening his eyes)
See anything you like?

Actually, the nurses have a bet going on whether
your nose is real. I have $50 riding on NO.

And what would my cut of the money be if I told
you that you were right?

Not enough to pay for your drinking and driving
ticket. Definitely not enough for your hospital bill.

Ouch! At least it was only a-

Riding lawnmower? Yeah, because that’s SO much
better. Can’t you just see the headlines? Right up
there with Marilyn Monroe, tortured drug overdose,
and riding lawnmower accident. Who do you people
think you are?

In retrospect, perhaps I should have posted mine first. At least I could have had the time it took you to scroll before it paled in comparison. Something to aspire too.

Life As A Rubix Cube

Sometimes it is as though you are separated into surfaces and colours, like a Rubix Cube. Your moments are filled with scattered colours, mismatched squares, and disorganized twists and turns. It seems as though it is your destiny to find the order, to invent an antidote to chaos by solving your personal puzzle.

Once, I managed to get all my reds together. I was so proud, my chest puffed out like a crimson peacock as I surveyed my work. I craned my neck, trying to view my accomplishment from every possible vantage point, only to notice a different surface where all the greens were in bed with the blues, and even a yellow had managed to dance its way into the equation. I immediately dismantled all my reds in order to fix the problem.

Then came a day where I believed I had achieved true enlightenment. The yellows gleamed as a untied plane, golden like the sun. The blues stood at attention perfect in their cerulean splendor. The greens shone fresh like a forrest and the reds, but wait! How did a yellow invert with a red? When was my back turned? All my zen was threatened in this moment by this cruel orange bound affair. A plan. A plan is what I need to get back to the order I had almost tasted. I can do this.

Then a breeze. A swirl. A gust. The wind.

All my order gone with the whim of one ephemeral cloud. Everything I had worked for destroyed in a single breath. How could this be? I ached for that which I had lost, until I realized I was free. My plans were changed, destroyed. I had no desire to start again, and the array of crimson uniting with gold, and blue on green on blue was beautiful of its own right. Accidental art, created in a gust of the elements. And it was beautiful.

Now I cling to chaos, the last remaining shred of my sanity. I hold to the hope that I can find passion in order, and solace in turmoil. Art is everywhere, and I'm holding on to the wind.