Theater Masks

Theater Masks

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Monday, November 30, 2009

Quick add on for those of you with aboslutely no interest in pirates...uh.... Lost

No, not about whorehouses (that's for those of you theater geeks who would get an obscure Forum reference -- Kyle....)

I was listening to a Disney concert CD I have and just want to ask, is "A Whole New World" not one of the most beautiful melodies of all time? I'm just saying, that music LITERALLY soars...

The Wait for Lost and what I'm waiting for

I knew that eventually I'd start writing about Lost on here. I don't know if anyone other than Caitie cares, but I'm totally obsessed and can't wait for 2/2/10 to get here so we can start analyzing and dissecting every curlycue of Smokey again. Anyway, here are the top ten questions that NEED to be answered for me to satisfied with the last season:

1)What is Smokey, how does it work, who controls it, where did it come from? This is one of the big ones that there's no doubt will get answered or there may be a mass uprising of Lost fans.

2)What are the "rules" Ben and Widmore follow? They've been mentioned but seldom more than that - yet they seem to have an impact on everything that happens with these two.

3)What are Jacob and the MIB's motivations? Who are they and what power have they had over everything we've seen? So far we know precious little about these two, and yet they clearly have been at play since day one.

4)Why is Desmond special? I know Henry Ian Cuscick isn't a regular this season, but Des is one of my favorite characters. I want to know what makes him "different" - why the rules don't apply to him.

5)Who are Adam and Eve? Smart money is on Bernard and Rose, but I wouldn't put it past the producers to pull a fast one with us on this.

6) What role does Hurley have in all this? I've read a LOT of blogs about Lost, and Hurley always seems to be shoved to the side, counted as the clown or an observer. CLEARLY he has a bigger role in the overall picture of the show. He wouldn't have been "touched by Jacob" if he didn't, and I've maintained since the early days when he proclaimed himself the hero (can't remember the episode but it's early in the first season and he says it to Walt) that he was more than just comic relief.

7)What are the numbers? I know, I know. Online in the webisodes it's been answered. I'm calling BS on that right now. The numbers are part of the show, the numbers should be ACKNOWLEDGED as part of the show. Of course, I had my crackpot theory about them way back in season one that literally jolted me awake in the middle of the night once and kept me awake for hours because I couldn't believe how simple it was.
In a nutshell - let's say the numbers corresponded to letters. Then (I know, this is a total stretch now, but bear with me)
4=D
8=H
15=O
16 = P
2+3 = E
42...

OK, so I never made 42 fit other than that it's the freaking answer to everything. Remember, when we first saw these numbers there was that mysterious hatch. I didn't make the 4 fit until we saw inside it and there, lo and behold, was Desmond - with a D. So, the numbers were the answer to the whole show, which was that the hatch was like Pandora's box and Desmond was their Hope. Those who've followed me thus far inevitably say "But Jason, the number is 23 and that's W, that makes no sense, your crackpot." Au contraire - remember, the numbers needed to serve as Hurley's lotto numbers (again, Hurley is the hero!) so this is a clever disguise by the writers! On top of that, just before they entered the hatch, Jack and Locke had a whole freaking discussion about the very nature of, you guessed it, HOPE!

OK, so it's far-fetched and crazy and no one listened to me, but I still hold out a small amount of, you guessed it, hope, that I wasn't TOO terribly far off the mark.

Anyway, back to our list:

8)What's with the ghosts and horses and people who shouldn't be on the island being on the island? Are they manifestations of Smokey? Of Jacob?

9)Why doesn't Alpert age??? This WILL be answered. Less likely to be answered but just as important: where does he get that endless supply of eyeliner?

10) Most importantly, what is the deal with the island? It's basic, it's simple, it's Seinfeldian, but what is it that makes it special? What does the island do/can it do/houses/exists for/makes it unique? Why can it travel in time or cause those on it to travel in time? Did Juliet somehow set off the source of the power of the island by destroying Jughead? If this isn't answered, then there WILL be a riot and the writers better find their own island to hide out on!

There are of course many more questions to be answered, but these are the core ones. I know you're still trying to wrap your head around my numbers theory, but there it all is in one crazy nutball.

And I just realized that if you don't watch Lost, not only are you missing out on the best show EVER, but you must TRULY think I'm a madman.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving was a low key affair this year. Just me and Caitie, but in the end, if I were to choose one person to spend Thanksgiving with, it would be her anyway. We went to a well-known diner for dinner where they gave us FAR too much turkey. It was actually quite a deal - soup, salad, MOUNTAINS of turkey (including a giant leg), stuffing, potatoes, spinach, drinks, and desserts (and they even threw in an extra piece of pumpkin pie for us to take home) for each of us for a grand total, tip included of 54 bucks. We have turkey for the next week. I suppose we can't really gripe too much, though both of us missed our families.

Which brings me to some of the top ten things that I'm thankful for this season:

1) First, naturally, Caitie. She's my soulmate, and there's little more to be said that isn't summed up in that word.

2) My family including my new in-laws who support us and love us.

3) A house over our heads, even if it is way over-priced and not in the greatest condition - there's a sense of pride HAVING a house and feeling very "adult" every time I walk into "our space."

4) NOT having roommates invading "our space" any longer (apologies to Bill, who we did actually like quite a lot).

5) Our friends - old and new. This year has really shown Caitie and me what friendship means as we have both gained and lost friends (no one died, but there are people now in this world who were one-time friends of ours who aren't any longer) during the past 12 months. Some of our old friends have shown just how good friends they could be, and we are both grateful for the new friends that we've made, especially those on our honeymoon and those in the past few months at the gaming club.

6) Emerald Tales -- I had my first short stories published this year. I've spent a lot of time sending out to agents for my novel and gone no where. Diana read my first submission to her magazine and liked it enough to publish it. She subsequently chose two more of my stories. Her themes have given me some great sparks of inspiration, and I feel I've been doing some of the best writing I've done as a result.

7)The authors of all the books I've read this year, especially Stephen King. Why Stephen King? Because this was the year I finished the Dark Tower series, started Under the Dome, and read On Writing. There's no question his work has been an influence on me, and I'm thankful for that. I've read many other books this year, but King's have taken quite a lot of time and given me many hours of enjoyment - for that I'm grateful.

8) My green class this year. I've made it no secret that I'm not always thrilled with the way things are going at my job. I'm trying to stay positive here, so I won't go into the details, but I want to mention my green class. This group of 18 students made me remember why I went into teaching in the first place. The kids are smart, funny, and creative. When they come into the class my whole room changes. I don't have to yell at them for not doing their work, I don't have to yell at them for talking too much, I don't have to pull questions or thoughts from them like a dentist pulling teeth. We started a project as a class this year and they stuck with it - and it's going to turn out to be AMAZING when it's done. Another group of kids couldn't have pulled this off. Included in this class are one kid who has become my right-hand man at acting club, another who has asked me to work with her personally to try to get a children's story she's writing published, and a third who my partner and I took a chance on moving into enrichment this year and she has completely blossomed as a student. So, green class, thank you for keeping my head above water!

9)Glee, Modern Family, Flash Forward, V, and Lost. OK, so Lost gets added because it's the last year and the eagerness with which I'm anticipating the final season is unparalleled in my TV watching career. The other shows have given me hope that maybe TV isn't going to completely devolve into reality show nonsense (though I admit I still love me some Survivor and Big Brother!). Glee and Modern Family are hilarious, Flash Forward and V are intriguing. I'm not going to be snobby and downplay the fact that I watch TV - I do and I love it. I'm grateful for these shows and their writers (along with the other shows that we've been watching for years) for keeping us entertained.

10) The internet. Yes, this is a little late in coming, but I've realized this year just how integral to our lives the net has become. Honestly, think about your life - how many aspects of it are not in SOME way connected to the net? I look back at this list, and EVERY one of them is connected through the net - I met Caitie online, I keep in touch with my family online (Marci, get AIM already because Facebook messenger drives me nuts), we keep in touch with our friends online and even found the game club we go to on meetup.com, the roommates who allowed me to keep the house -- all found on Craigslist (ironically except for Bill...), Emerald Tales - found it online, I ordered books/reserved them from the library/found out about new ones online (no ereader yet - MAYBE next year, though doubtful), my students couldn't pull off the project they're doing without the net and hopefully will post it online soon enough, and I spend far more time than I should writing about/reading about theories on FlashForward and Lost. All this, plus time spent playing poker, bejeweled (damn game took up WAY too much time this year) and plenty of others; going through facebook; watching hulu and youtube; getting netflix; buying wii games;p buying and listening to music (which could be a whole topic unto itself) -- where would our lives be now without the net?

So, there you have it. If you've made it this far, well, then, I suppose I'm grateful to you as well for that. Hopefully next year I'll be thankful for my book being published....hopefully....

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Prequel it is

I started on the prequel story. It's interesting trying to decide how much exposition I need to make the story make sense to someone who hasn't read the novel. In order to tie the story in the way I want to, I do need SOME background from the novel, but trying to incorporate it in a seamless way is proving to be a little bit more difficult than I thought it would be. I don't want to put too much in because yawn, but I want the story to tie in to the novel in a significant way.

I'm currently reading The Sisters of Eluria by Stephen King, a prequel to The Dark Tower saga. Having read the whole DT series, the references and language used are familiar territory for me, but I can see how he tried to incorporate that info. without hitting the reader over the head with it - the question is, how much would make sense to someone who hasn't read the series? Of course, the difference for King is, who cares if they haven't read the series - there are enough people who have read it and will understand, as opposed to my story. Well, maybe one day people can undig the story as a buried treasure...

Monday, November 16, 2009

What to work on...

I have an idea for a prequel short story to my novel -- there's a magazine looking for short stories about wizards and this idea works great. It's something I'd thought of a while back, but with some tinkering it could be pretty good...

The new Emerald Tales theme came out - and I need to start thinking about ideas for it....

I have a novel idea that I have about the first 10 pages of, though whether or not it's going somewhere....

Hmmmm......

Friday, November 13, 2009

Prettiest Music

Which is the prettier melody -- "Bring Him Home" from Les Mis or the music after Kim calls out Tam to show him to Thuy? Caitie and I just had a debate....

Either way, I know I'm right :)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Accepted

My story "Delicious" was accepted into the sci-fi, fantasy edition of the December Emerald Tales! While I wasn't totally thrilled with my actual STORY idea for this one, I did love the voice I wrote it in, and think that's probably why the story was chosen for publication. It was something new for me, and I think it worked.

My next story for submission, which I haven't titled yet, also tries something completely new for me - not so much in terms of voice, but in terms of story structure. Caitie loves the story, as do I. I still have a little tweaking I think to ratchet up some of the intensity (it's an action/thriller - not at all fantasy, which in and of itself is something different for me, "A Steady Life" being another exception). I do enjoy taking these risks - I think in the end they help make me a better writer.

On the novel front, I have queries out to four or five agents now, waiting for replies. Hopefully something will catch with someone...

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Sweeney Todd

So Caitie and I had a pretty intense discussion about Sweeney Todd on the way home from the show. The subject of the discussion - was Anthony going to treat Joanna the way she's always been treated by "keeping her in a room." Caitie's argument - rather than have her go with him to get the carriage to Plymouth he tells her to wait for him in Sweeney's shop, thereby continuing her pattern of being caged by the men in her life. I say that it's simply a matter of him trying to keep her safe - he's not caging her, just trying to protect her. Anthony's whole character is about rescue: he alone gives money to the beggar woman, the first time we meet him we hear he just saved Sweeney's life. This is just another case of an attempted rescue, and I don't believe (as Caitie does) that he'll just lock her away as soon as he gets the chance. Another point - when he goes to rescue Joanna from the asylum, he can't pull the trigger to kill Fogg - Joanna has to do it. After all, it's in her blood, but though he's trying for the rescue, he doesn't have it in him to kill. This, to me, would point to his being "good." On the other hand, it could go to the other argument that since he's incapable of protecting her, he would need to lock her away...

What do you think -- is Anthony the one good character in a play full of people who get their comeuppance at the end, or is he as bad as everyone else?

Outline? Pshaw

I started a new story - got a first chapter out, and realized once again that I have no ability whatsoever to outline a story in advance. Even with this, the first chapter of the story ended differently than I had thought it would when I started. The trouble is, I just don't stick with my outlines or original ideas at all. As I write, I tend to adjust a lot, often changing major story lines as I go. This can result in me going back and making changes along the way, but I see nothing wrong with that. Luckily, Caitie, the one person I let read as I go, is always with me so I can tell her of any changes I might make in earlier chapters as she reads something that comes later.

Caitie tells me that once I get established, agents and publishers may want advanced stories. This TERRIFIES me -- I have NEVER (with the exception of stories based on real events) outlined and stuck with an idea all the way through. The process of creation for me IS the writing, not the pre-writing, so I have no idea what I'd do if I get put into that position.

Hopefully I'm never faced with that...

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Teaching

Sorry about the blank blog post - my internet shut down mid-post. Now I have no idea what I had written about, so I guess that just points up the importance of saving, right?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

So now I'm confused.

Everything I read about query letters seems to point to different ideas. Some agents like the fluffy "where I found you, why you'd be right," some just want the summary, some want a bio, some don't. I have so many versions of query letters on my computer at this point, I feel as though I could have written a whole other novel in the time I've spent working on these letters.

So what do I send out now? I do my best to go by what each agent specifies, but who knows, maybe a key phrase or something is getting me waylaid. Maybe my luck really is just that bad - I can't seem to hit the right agent at the right moment. Who knows?

I guess I just have to keep trying....