Theater Masks

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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Agent rejection

I got a pretty specific rejection this morning where the agent said my query was great, but the pace at the start of the book didn't match the promise of the query. This was for Goodson.

I had a feeling this might be a problem. The agent suggested putting what is actually the climax of the book at the beginning - but if I do that I have no place to go from there.

I thought about it, talked to Caitie about it, and I think I came up with a solution to get the book moving a little earlier. I gave a tease for the climax. The jury is still out on whether or not it's good (re: Caitie) but I MAY have fixed it without restructuring the entire book!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Movies!

I recently saw two movies that will likely be up for Oscars: Black Swan and The King's Speech. Caitie hated the former and loved the latter. I actually liked them both about the same. I think both movies had something great to offer, but also some fairly major downfalls.

The Black Swan had a great central performance by Natalie Portman - even Caitie agrees with this. I thought the cinematography was brilliant - the movie LOOKED great. I liked the symbolism in the movie also, but that's where things started to be problematic for me. The story itself gets somewhat muddled amidst all the (fairly heavy handed) symbolic and "trick" shots. To really get the movie I think you need to see it twice - and that's not fair. I think it's OK to add another LAYER to a movie so seeing it a second time will give you another view (see: The Usual Suspects, Fight Club), but to actually UNDERSTAND The Black Swan, you need to see it twice. Was that Portman or Kunis's face in that mirror? What was written on that wall (there was one scene I'm also SURE I saw the word "whore" written, but it was so fast I'm not sure if it was there or not). Subtlety is fine, but I left feeling like I missed something because of that. Still, I liked the movie - just not enough to really want to see it again.

The King's Speech was another movie I enjoyed but have little desire to see again. Again, the acting was fantastic - loved Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush. The story was good, but basically My Fair Lady (I know it's a real story, but the similarities are obvious). The DIALOGUE writing is very sharp, the overall story though could have been streamlined. It felt like some details were just kind of there because they had to be, but the real truth was glossed over (only later did I find out that King Edward was anti-Semitic and actually sided with Hitler in WWII!). Still, what really made the movie work was the acting - I will be shocked if Firth doesn't win a well deserved Oscar. Rush was equally good in a far less showy role, but I'd love to see him at least get nominated.

Did you see either movie? What did you think?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

That word I won't put here but should be elsewhere

If you haven't heard yet, there's an edition of Huckleberry Finn coming out where an editor has decided to cut out any expletives, including "Injun" and "the n word" (I'm not putting the word because last thing I need is a search engine to link me based on that!).

A lot has been said about this already. I have two main issues. First, as an author, how DARE anyone alter the words of a writer like this? Twain's intent was to use the words. If he wanted to use other words, he damn well would have. We (as in the educated people of the world) have read "1984." How is this different than Winston sitting in his office rewriting books to meet Big Brother's demands? To be fair, the original isn't being burned, but isn't this more or less the same thing, especially if this becomes the only book given to students?

This leads to my next concern. The point of the use of those words in the book is to point out the racism of the time. We can't make it not have happened by pretending it didn't. Erasing those words is akin to attempting to erase history. Students SHOULD know what was said, or else how will we as a society ever learn from those mistakes. A good teacher will point this out - that the words used are unacceptable because of the intent behind them in most cases. Huckleberry Finn is one of the strongest anti-racist books ever written - how DARE someone water that down?

Instead, why don't we turn our attention to rap/hip-hop artists who use these words on a regular basis with the claim that it's not racist because they themselves are that race? You want to stop kids from racism - how about pop culture (that kids ACTUALLY emulate) rather than attacking an educational tool and what is universally acclaimed as a pillar of literature?