Thursday, October 24, 2013

I digress (not for long, though)...and then, I talk about film

I'll just come out and say it: I'm feeling stuck tonight. In terms of writing -- in this blog, in my novel -- I mean. Well, I suppose I do feel stuck in other ways, too, but mostly in terms of writing. It's so irksome to be in this place. Here's what it feels like: you know how, when you're sick, you might take some sort of medication that leaves you drowsy. And you are trying to stay awake to get a few last things done -- like, wash your face, brush your teeth, whatever your nightly routine entails -- but this pill is kicking in and it's kicking your ass. You can't think. Your mind shifts from image to image, but you can't form the words. It's as if you have forgotten how to speak your own language. THIS is what writer's block feels like.

Except, I don't believe in writer's block. Not really. I believe there is always a way around it and all you have to do is pick the right road. If all the signs are turned or stolen or blacked out, you might have to journey down different roads, but when you see that nothing is there - not what you were looking for, at least - you turn around and take another road.

That's what I am attempting to do tonight. So let's talk about books, shall we?

I've just finished reading Dash & Lily's Book of Dares, by the wonderful Rachel Cohn and David Levithan (not to be confused with David Leavitt) and have just started reading Blog Inc. by Joy Deangdeelert Cho. They have nothing to do with each other, except that they are inspiring me in different ways. Levithan is a favorite of mine; his YA fiction always resonates with me, even when his characters don't. Truthfully, I didn't love Dash or Lily...though, I didn't hate them, either. Actually, I have been watching a LOT of old movies lately -- some great and ahead of their time, so much. What I have learned is that: if Cary Grant is in it, it could go either way; same if Doris Day is in it. I like Grant most of the time; I hate Day with a passion (in movies, at least; she seems like a compassionate, wonderful person in real life). If Day is paired with Grant, forget about it. If Grant is paired with an actress who plays stronger characters - say, Grace Kelly, Ingrid Bergman or Katherine Hepburn - I am SO there. Katherine Hepburn can make even the weakest story and dialogue better; Doris Day is so chaste and ineffectual that I could punch her, but she can do alright with a strong script (like with James Stewart in Hitchcock's The Man Who Knew Too Much). Anyway, what does this have to do with Dash & Lily's Book of Dares? Basically, the book's two titular characters reminded me of Cary Grant & Doris Day with a good script...although, perhaps that's a little unfair, since Lily ended up having a bit more chutzpah than Doris Day. And Dash was a bit less sexist than Cary Grant.

In case you couldn't tell, film is a great love of mine; it's almost as deep of a love as my adoration for books. Besides my bi-monthly movie night with film-lover friends, and this old movie kick I have been on, I have been trying to create a queue of sorts for the films and directors I would like to learn more about. And by "learn more about," I mean see more of/see more films by. On my list are: Bertolucci, Antonioni, Mike Leigh, Spike Lee (yep, they rhyme), Jacques Demy, Eric Rohmer, Orson Welles, Fritz Lang, Billy Wilder, Brian DePalma, Rosselini, Cassavetes, Polanski, Fassbinder, Truffaut, Robert Altman, Douglas Sirk, Bunuel, Malick,'s a list that could go on, but these are the main ones on it (not including the directors whose films I have already seen MOST of - Bergman, Godard, Allen and Fellini). Fellow film lovers, tell me: who do you think should be on my list, and which films are must-sees?

I think I spend a lot of time making lists these days. I like lists; they help me remember the things I need to do and the things I want to do that I have been putting on the backburner for too long. It's a good feeling to cross things off a list and feel like I have gotten something accomplished, that I am being pro-active and getting my "sh!t together." That said, I have had MIT's free online film and media classes on my "to-do" list for awhile. If you're someone interested in getting a good, structured film education but you don't want to pay for it, here is a list of links to MIT's courses and courses elsewhere: Film & Media. Perhaps, after NANOWRIMO, I'll jump finally jump on this.

Yes, did I mention? I have decided to do NANOWRIMO this year. It's going to be especially hard because I am moving again and I really have A LOT going on in my life (*glances at unfinished graduate school applications and balks*), but the story in my third, unfinished novel has been calling to me. It's time to finish it, so I am going to try to do just that this November. Don't fret, though! There will still be a November and December installment of Turn To You, despite my work on the new novel; and I will continue to blog each Thursday, too, so you can tune into my weekly ramblings. November starts NEXT WEEK!!! Am I ready? I guess time will tell.

Until next time, leave me love and confessions below and be sure to subscribe to my blog and follow me on Twitter & Tumblr.



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