Saturday, October 27, 2012

E-GAD! E-BOOK NeverWorld!

It's been far too long...

but NEVER too late.

Peter Pan's NeverWorld
is finally available as an e-book!

So if you've been waiting, Pan's at the window.
If you're already a fan, be sure to let your electronic-book-reading friends know they can visit Peter again, too.

Happy e-reading!

Amazon Kindle
Barnes & Noble Nook  

Monday, October 8, 2012

Hooked on "Jeopardy!"

See? Jeopardy! loves Barrie.
Again and again.

Though this time around the "question" is correctly "Who is Captain Hook?" and this is notable since, oddly, he's not a commonplace occurrence in these all too common occurrences.

Also, about this entry, just a Jeopardy!-esque nit-pick.

It should read "Peter and Wendy" not "Peter Pan" since it says literature.  When I think of Literature, I think books.  A play is fiction as well, but it falls under the Theatre category.  There may be no distinction here but my own, and it certainly doesn't belittle or inflate the issue either way.  Especially since Jeopardy! could in fact be referring to any of the myriad of publications of the well know tale under the title "Peter Pan."

Oh well... until Pan and Barrie fly into the little blue rectangles again...

Sunday, October 7, 2012

No Question About "Jeopady!" Anymore...

Once again Barrie has shown up on Jeopardy!

Interesting category for it.  What it refers to (as Alex Trebek explained) is the leading man in Kate Winslet movies.  They were asking for the name of the movie.

"What is Finding Neverland"? is the question of course.
I'll not mention the lack of his moustache and how it makes no sense at all.

I say "No Question" in the title there, but there is certainly room for coincidence or over-sensitive noticing of Barrie and his famed creations showing up.

What are the other appearances?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Scooby-Doo It Some More

Way back in this post, I expounded on the latest incarnation of eveybody's favorite enigma-solving and ghost chasing pooch - Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorportated.

This is a quick status update.

I’d spoken of how it has brought a much needed new element to the Scooby-verse - a narrative story arc. Well, it hasn’t lost sight of that. Far from it. It’s not only kept it up, but has layered it upon itself. What on earth do I mean? Simple.

 I’d told you of how the Scooby gang had been receiving strange leads and clues from someone hailing as Mr. E. Well, we’ve since learned who he is. I don’t want to spoil it for you if you’ve yet to see the whole saga, but suffice to say it’s not a superfluous character. Rather Mr. E is imbedded into the tale already. And once we learn more of this pre-established backstory, it doesn’t stop there. We’re suddenly privy to a clearing up of what happened long ago in Crystal Cove’s past. Yet it still doesn’t stop there! We delve into the mystery that had been around long before, one that the mystery-solving team prior to Scooby’s took on and only partially succeeded in figuring out. Thus, we have fresh story with backstory in a backstory derived from a backstory. Wow. They really took their time developing this concoction. It may sound as if it were convoluted, but I assure you, it’s not. Well, it’s not so far as a Scooby Doo cartoon is concerned.

And all the while, they have not dropped any of the side issues among characters, nor ignored any of the great avenues to explore.

On the whole, they’ve managed to bolster the world of Scooby into something practically logical. And we all know how preposterous it had been in the first place.

I should mention that a friend of mine who has long moved away now and happens to be a big Scooby fan also enjoys the show, but he feels that the overlaying storylines get a bit thick and out of hand, perhaps even unnecessary or in the way. But by the same token, he didn’t pooh-pooh them or wish they were entirely absent.

And then there’s Zoey, who watches it peripherally when her kids do. She thinks it truly awful what they’ve done with the franchise. She specifically cited the Shaggy and Velma “romance” (which fails- no mystery there!) as one of the offenses. You might recall that I also raised an eyebrow at this notion, but kept on with it only to see how well it had been handled - and that it brought along with it a character development that had been sorely needed after so many manifestations. So I told her she’d have to see it all from the beginning and let it do its thing, since it most definitely relies on the power of the Story Arc to work.

So, to the entire team who brought us Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorportated, I say:
BRAVO! Bravo, indeed.

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Extra Visitor

As I said in the last post, I had another visit with fellow author and friend Andrea Jones.

Most of the weekend might be boring for those who aren't Pan-fanatics such as ourselves.  As usual we spent a good portion of our time discussing aspects both grand and minute, attempting to hammer out mysteries in the text and sharing details of our novels-to-be as well as bouncing ideas off each other.  Can you blame us?  Usually we're with those who merely tolerate our obsession and grudgingly listen to our prattle.  To have someone eagerly fine-combing Pan lore along with you?  Ever so glad she's around.

In the last post I promised to tell of the mystifying event which took place.  I'll get to it.

For I must first express my joy to have my copy of Andrea's new novel in the Hook & Jill Saga, Other Oceans.  There it lay, waiting for me on the car seat.  (She picked me up at the train station in her town.)  The next morning, during a simple (best kind) breakfast she prepared,  Andrea signed it for me.  Now it's truly my copy.  Thanks, Andrea!

Another treat had been to finally see her home.  Up until now I could only wonder and speculate.  As I suspected, she had a giant bookshelf taking up an entire wall.  A fairy could be found in nearly every room.  And knick-knacks and curiosities of all kinds vied for attention.  It even has an oddly-placed and shaped angle to the kitchen.  I'm quite the fan of weird angles in architecture. I saw her workspace, where her magic happens.  I had the pleasure of walking in her expansive backyard.   Best of all, I finally saw the swan "fainting couch" she'd told me about which she put into the pages of her novel.  (Yes, I made sure to sit on it.) 

Okay, I shan't wait any longer.  Bear in mind the timing of this event.  It isn't as if we didn't stop for gas or leisurely drive along as Andrea pointed our sights in her town.  So one has to wonder if we weren't actually meant to see this strange phenomenon.  As we walked up the path to her front door, Andrea chanced to look in the sky.  "What IS that?" she wondered aloud.  I looked.  I also didn't know what to make of it.  An orange-like flame of sorts moved in the night, right over Andrea's house.  It flickered, exactly the way a flame does, yet maintained a ball-like shape.  It didn't wobble haphazardly the way a paper bag lantern set adrift might.  Rather it flew horizontally, a near perfect line.  Sure, it could have been a plane.  But it did ever so much look like a wisp of fire.  We kept watching, unable to discern what it could be.  "It's a UFO," I said, "in the literal meaning.  It's an unidentified flying object."
My quick rendering

I wanted to film it.  After all, we live in the age of mini-computers and video recorders tucked into our pockets.  But two things stopped me.  Okay, three.  First, I could barely keep from watching.  Second, I'd been bogged down with items - my bag for my visit, Andrea's satchel, the snacks, etc.  It would have taken me a bit to even get to my phone.  And third, even if I had done so, I realized that there's no way it would have shown up with any sort of justice to how it actually appeared to us.  Too small and the like.  Besides, I didn't want to be one of those people.  ;)

We laughingly decided it HAD to be a fairy, there to bless our long overdue get together.  Maybe it has another explanation.  But I don't want to know.  For in OUR book, there is no other option.  And yes, by Crichton, it really did occur.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Beyond ADMIRABLE with Andrea

This past weekend had been a true delight.

My phone photo
I’d been in the company of one of my favorite people, the illustrious Andrea Jones, author of the Hook & Jill Saga.  And like I say about the Fairy Council in my novel, we didn’t meet for any small affair.   Besides the grand occasion of getting together to talk about Peter Pan face to face, we attended a performance.  Not just any show, but one of Barrie’s!  No, not his work that overshadows all the rest.  Rather The Admirable Crichton, a comedy predating the infamous eternal boy in 1902.

Andrea brought it to my attention that it’s being performed up in Wisconsin.  After a ‘Jeepers, why don’t we go?’ which became a ‘Why not, why waste this opportunity?’ and a comparison of schedules, we joyfully realized it would come to pass.   It would be quite a drive, but by golly, we were up for it.  After all, all we really wanted to do is talk shop anyway, right?

The American Players Theatre, an outdoor theatre literally in the woods, staged the marvelous social commentary.  Quite marvelously.   We had great seats, too.  Andrea scored front row!

I’d have to say what Andrea and I agreed upon as our favorite aspect has to be a rewrite of the play.  Zounds!  How could a rewrite be good?  Rewrite might be too strong a word.  You see, it incorporated Barrie’s stage directions.  What a wonderful idea!  For his stage directions are some of the most salient bits, with a humor and knowing all their own.    One only needs to start reading the play from the beginning and this becomes immediately apparent:  

A moment before the curtain rises, the Hon. Ernest Woolley drives up to the door of Loam House in Mayfair. There is a happy smile on his pleasant, insignificant face, and this presumably means that he is thinking of himself. He is too busy over nothing, this man about town, to be always thinking of himself, but, on the other hand, he almost never thinks of any other person. Probably Ernest's great moment is when he wakes of a morning and realises that he really is Ernest, for we must all wish to be that which is our ideal.

Thus, the clever folks at APT present these words just as they are over the sound of a car pulling up, a gate and the like – with the actor coming down through the audience aisle.  All throughout the play, but perfectly peppered and careful not to intrude, the pleasant and calming voice of David Frank in the role called “Speaking for Mr. Barrie” did precisely that.  I adore bringing his extra wit to light.  Andrea agrees. But would you believe they took it one step further?  They actually did write new material for it!  Andrea looked it up afterward, and to be sure, they created a stunningly convincing and perfectly in tune addition at the end – by way of this Narrator.  A nice touch that didn’t undermine the impact of Barrie’s ending nor did it change it.  Rather it seamlessly wrapped it all up given their conceit.
Naturally we must commend the actors and crew.  A top notch performance by all.  From the very start it became clear that these folks truly “got” Barrie’s humor and knew how to walk his fine line.  Bravo to director Kenneth Albers.

The set proved just as clever, with unfolding panels unleashing jungle scenery – oh, if you’re not aware, The Admirable Crichton has aristocrats finding themselves shipwrecked on an island (Barrie’s fond of those) and Crichton, the butler, naturally knows what to do… or does he?  At any rate, the staging is first rate.  I especially like the set dressing for the island home.  It all had a whimsical quality, including the English estate, which is an asset and hallmark in any Barrie work.

I must remark on an “uh-oh moment.”  During one of the more serious private exchanges between two characters, the strong breeze one toppled a flat set piece decorated like a stone urn planter, crashing from its platform to the stage.  The actors, in true form, ignored it.  The show must go on!  Then, when more characters arrived someone naturally picked it up and replaced it with little attention drawn.  But… yes, CRASH again later on – thanks Nature.  Hats off to Crichton (James Ridge) who, while the play went on, came onto the stage as nonchalantly as could be and carried off the offending set piece with a sigh, all while fully in character.  Well played.

What an absolute treat to see one of Barrie’s plays performed!  Both Andrea and I could not stop reveling in this good fortune, especially one so artfully done in such a lovely place.  Neither of us had ever seen a Barrie play (other than Peter Pan) and we couldn’t have asked for a better companion for the first!

O ye who appease the god Dionysis… heed this advice:  Do not overlook Barrie!  If you’re looking for that next great play to produce, check out his body of work.  You can’t be disappointed.

The Admirable Crichton runs through October 6.  If it’s within your grasp, both Andrea and I recommend you go.

That’s enough for now.  I’ll write of the truly unbelievable incident Andrea and I shared in another post.  Not to mention the rest of our latest awfully big adventure.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Olympic Pan

(Two screen caps merged together)
Last night, along with billions of others, Buttercup and Gil and I watched the Opening Ceremonies for the 2012 Olympics.

Imagine my surprise when this picture came on the screen!

That's right, a line from Barrie's masterpiece.  And correct, thank goodness.  (Meaning with no "star" in the directions.)

It ushered in a section of the opening ceremony dedicated to and by The Great Ormond Street Hospital (where Barrie bequeathed the profits from Peter Pan) which had children in beds attended by doctors and nurses.  It flourished into a dance number with light up beds.  J.K. Rowling read the lines about the island Neverland.

And then the nightmares kicked in... unleashing a Queen of Hearts, Cruella deVille and Captain Hook along with an enormous Voldemort.  I don't understand why Hook had been represented as a Jack-in-the-Box, though, when the others had not been.  Hook on the correct hand, though.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


Well, folks, my main editor/proofer/test subject beyond the justifiably harsh (yet very satisfied!) critics of Jones and Anon has finished her perusal. Please forgive the length of time it took her to complete the task. I have, without anything ever being there to forgive in the first place. As we know from Wendy’s plight alone, being a mother while trying to accomplish other tasks proves difficult enough. Couple that with another pregnancy and Life throwing curve balls. But even more importantly than the usual round-up of Time-stealing-&-fleeing cues, this proofer went, of her own volition, beyond the call of duty.

Which is to say she read them all!  She could have just read Peter Pan: Betwixt-and-Between and proofed it. But she opted to read Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens beforehand, so as to better appreciate and understand my interquel novel. Except she didn’t stop there. She also re-read Peter and Wendy. Good thing, too, for the interquel, being such that it connects one book to the other, also uses elements from the well-known Pan adventure. And yet, she read on for another go at Peter Pan’s NeverWorld as well. Thus, she immersed herself in the full scope of both mine and Barrie’s works on the eternal boy.  And truthfully?  Even PPNW connects back to Betwixt-and-Between. {Naturally - it's meant to be a "set."}
And her verdict? LOVED IT!!!!!!!

Other quotes from her:

You have made an excellent bridge between Kensington Gardens and Peter and Wendy! When I read PPIKG, I was definitely not left with the concept of the Peter I have come to know. You so excellently brought him out of the Thrush's Nest boat and into the rather scary/sociopathic egomaniac I am coming to love.

PHENOMENALLY done! (Spoken about a particular handling of a subject.)

You have a gift - thank you for sharing it with me.

That last line really got to me. The validation of my efforts always means a lot, you know?  Especially when it comes from a voracious reader such as her. She’s no stranger to books and editing, you see. She ran a bookstore in the past (which sadly had to close via circumstances beyond control) and has helped many an author polish to perfection. In this case, she didn’t find much to change (as it has been through the proofing process a few times before with different eyes) but what she did find will bolster the book quite well given her suggestions. Nothing story-wise jarred her, thank goodness.  She even gave her helpful two cents regarding the illustrations.  I'll be sure to attend to them.

So, there you have it. Another person has adored my extra back history to Peter Pan. Any reservations I’ve had with it while writing it (...perhaps you recall I’d originally been wary of one part of the storyline...) have completely disappeared at this point. I’m prouder than ever, and cannot wait for you all to experience it. I’ll try lighting a fire under the final pair of eyes for the book.

So to all who have been incredibly patient: I am grateful. Just a little longer.
Apparently it’s worth the wait.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Another, Beyond Belief

Here’s yet another sequel to the adventures of the eternal boy.
It's called Peter Pan II: Beyond Neverland
and is written by Carla Peele.

This one, though, is a stage play. Pardon me, but I’m not pleased given the description.

Wendy has aged three years, and because Peter has come so often to Earth to watch over her, unable to forget her, he has begun to age as well. To stop this process, and to stop Neverland from disappearing altogether, Peter asks Wendy once more to return with him to Neverland. This time, she does... Years pass without them realizing how long, and they are faced with a threat to their beautiful home and the Fairy Kingdom: An alternate mirrorverse called Nega Land, the evil antithesis of everything in Neverland... Can Peter and Wendy survive their quest and save their kingdom? Or, will the evil Nega Fairies win the day?

For one thing, Peter Pan is eternal from the get-go, that’s sort of the point. And (with the exception of my own novel, Peter Pan’s NeverWorld) the boy doesn’t ever leave Earth. [Many people seem to think the Neverland is in the stars or whatnot.] He doesn’t grow up. Going “back” isn’t going to make that happen - a la he lived in London for a very long time and never aged - it’s not going to happen from frequent visits, which, I might add, he made all the time.

It also seems to ignore the fact that Wendy went back the Neverland twice in the three years that followed the end of their first adventure.

Perhaps it tells us, but why does Wendy being in the Neverland matter about whether or not Peter ages or it disappears?  What sort of magic does SHE have?

Gone for years? Oh my word! Wait. So what? It’s possible she’d been there years the first time.

The alternate Nega Fairies? That, my good people, is something that has been done on the joyous cartoon The Fairly Odd Parents. (Called Anti-Fairies, though.)  And not to mention self/mirror-battle of Scott Pilgrim vs. Nega Scott! It doesn’t belong in the tale of Peter Pan. Perhaps Ms. Peele isn’t aware of the fact that Barrie’s fairies as “nega” fairies are already self-contained within them as they are. They can be very mean and mischievous and would just as soon harm a human as help. They’re not just cutesy delights.

So, I’m going to dismiss this one for reasons of contradiction.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

League It Alone?

Are you ready for another take on Peter Pan?
Okay, then, how about the Lost Boys?  No, not the vampire movie inspired by Barrie's tale.  The actual band of boys that followed Peter without question.  Well, they're being called into question themselves now.

Fox Television and Imagine TV are bringing The League of Pan to the small screen.  It'll be set in modern day and revolve around the Lost Boys ten years after they had left the Neverland.  It's a re-imaginaning, of course.  So I'm not going to point out that Barrie already told us about their lives and what happens to each of them in this instance.  For it's probably not relevant.  Unless time proves otherwise, this is a different lens entirely and not meant to be in cohesion with the original stories.

Could be fun.  Wonder if Pan will show up, no?  One report I read said that Wendy remains "snubbed and miffed" - whether that means she's an embittered character on the show or not, I don't know.  I'm just cuirous how it will work as a drama each week.  Do we really need to see "teenage"/young gent Lost Boys coping with modern day?  I don't now either.  Perhaps we should take heart, for Fox handled Barrie quite well in the past with Peter Pan & the Pirates.  This time around the idea is brought to us by writer Brian McCauley Johnson.

But Barrie's tale is indeed rich for so much to be developed around it, harnessing the theme of coping with thedreams and realities of the choices we make.  Let's hope this choice is a good one.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Pan Suit

I came across this when tangled up in the World Wide Web.

It's an original costume for Peter Pan.  As in the 1911 production.

I don't remember seeing it in my London travels  my word is there SO much to see!  But I did see the original flying harness.

Special thanks to (Chris)Topher Clark, who posted it online amidst other great shots of his own London trip.  You can find that posting here.  Sir, should you find this post and wish me to delete it, just say the word and I will do so.  But I certainly hope you allow me to share your wonderful find/photo!

As Mr. Clark points out - it's not green.  Imagine that!  ;)

What I want to point out is the cape-like element of it.  Extra proof (not that it had been necessary) of part of my rationale for giving the eternal boy a "capelet" in Peter Pan's NeverWorldHave the Cape and Read It, Too

It's also interesting to me that Barrie changed it for the book so that Pan wears "skeleton leaves" for his outfit.  Just one of many alterations he crafted in the process of making the play into a novel.  There are definitely leaves at the top of it, though!

Hope you enjoyed seeing this bit of history, folks!

At first I had it listed as the 1904 suit as in THE original, but some named Persinette on the web corrected me in the comments.  Actually, Persinette corrected Mr. Clark, whose info I trusted and should have looked into further.   That's what I get for being too excited and kicking myself for not remembering seeing it.  Thanks, Persinette!  I thought the cape looked a little thin!  See here, which is a photo from the 1904.  Interesting, though - the cape possibly gets thinner as time went on, until it disappeared.  Of course, it also seems like it's attached to just the arms in this...

Friday, June 8, 2012

Gone, But Not Bury-ed

Another one of our Great Masters of Literature has turned his own page into the beyond.

I’m late reporting this, but I’d been unable post it until now.  But I didn't want to not pay my respect.

Ray Bradbury: a man with vision to spare, who gave us fantastic tales of science fiction. He’s surely one of the Fathers of the genre. He exited this plane of existence we assume is reality on June 6, 2012.

My favorite story of his is part of The Martian Chronicles called Usher II. In the story, all things of the imagination have been banned by the government. If it’s made up, it’s not valid. So one man decides to exact revenge - and funds the architectural construction of the Usher house - you know, from Edgar Allen Poe. He invites them all there and it’s filled with mechanistic and holographic (as I recall!) characters from across the span of Literarture - Mad Hatter right along with dragons - and they’re all out to get (as in kill) those responsible for the outrageous censorship. And yes, the House of Usher falls in the same manner as Poe wrote it with them inside.

I also have to mention The Veldt. Sunshine brought this one to my attention back in college. For in it the boy and girl are named Peter and Wendy. Yes, folks, that’s a reference to Barrie in this dark tale of kids with a nursery that is what we’d now call a “Virtual Reality” chamber. The children use it to make an African veldt and the lions eat up their parents, as per their plan it would seem.

Hail to thee, Mr. Bradbury. You’ve made the world a brighter place with your twisted (good sense) and dark lens which you used to caution, inform and entertain. We owe a great deal to you, sir. There is no way you’ll be forgotten, even without your amazing body of work.

Farewell, sir.  And thanks for the awe inspiring stories.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

You think that's Tink?

Peter Pan is always with Tinker Bell, right?
Okay, he’s not in Peter Pan’s NeverWorld.  I didn’t see the need to ‘magically’ resurrect Tink when Barrie put in the extra sad touch of her ultimate demise.  After all, she’d already been saved from death once.   I gave Peter his own fairy, literally.

And thus, not counting my book or the final chapter (and whenever upon she ceased to be prior to his visit to grown-up Wendy), Peter Pan is never without Tink.  Right?

Perhaps not!  Two bits of Barrie leapt out at me when last going through the novel, which, in conjunction with each other, just might prove otherwise.

Among Peter’s visits to the Darling nursery (to hear the stories), we read:
He was accompanied by a strange light, no bigger than your fist, which darted about the room like a living thing and I think it must have been this light that wakened Mrs. Darling.

And later, having come back to fetch his shadow:
It was not really a light; it made this light by flashing about so quickly, but when it came to rest for a second you saw it was a fairy, no longer than your hand, but still growing.

We can say for certain that this second light/fairy is in fact Tink.  Why?  The next line, of course:
It was a girl called Tinker Bell...

All right, so Pan has a fairy with him both times.  Note, however, that Barrie doesn’t specify the first one as the popular Tink.  Granted, that doesn’t mean it isn’t her, and the natural assumption is to think it is.   But examination of what’s there yields the difference between a ‘fist’ and a ‘hand.’  Those are similar, yes, but not quite the same.  Try it.  Look at your fist rather than your hand - vastly dissimilar actually.  This alone might prove enough to question whether or not the fairy with him when Mrs. Darling encountered the boy is Tink.   But what really jarred me is the curious word ‘growing’ that Barrie wrote.   Why does it matter?  Well, only one week elapses between when Peter’s shadow had been torn off by the window and when he returns to fetch it. 

She decided to roll the shadow up and put it away carefully in a drawer, until a fitting opportunity came for telling her husband. Ah me!  The opportunity came a week later, on that never-to-be-forgotten Friday.

To think of Peter without his shadow for a whole week!   But in terms of the matter at wing, that’s not all that much time, really.  So are we to believe, then, that the first light had grown from a fist to hand size in just seven days?  And the fairy (Tink?) still growing?  If fairies kept getting bigger as such in as little time as a week, she’d be HUGE after the amount of time that the Darlings spent in the Neverland.  [Don’t believe me?  See this post.]  Unless, of course, she stopped growing after the week.  It’s entirely possible, given that a week seems to have some sort of magic property in the world of Pan. [i.e. Peter flew away from home in seven days (as per Narrator of Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens) and the seven days of boys before they are ‘lost.’]  Possible, sure, but is it likely? 

You see, if it can be surmised that a fairy grows in a week, then isn’t also true that Tink is a new fairy?  Thus, she hadn’t been with Peter all that long [if any time at all!] before the Mrs. Darling encounter.

All right, then, if the fairy with Pan & Mrs. Darling is in fact not Tinker Bell, then it suggests that fairies are different sizes just as humans are!  And even if it is Tink then, she’s now another size it would seem.

A lot to think about, no? 

I’m not stating outright that the first fairy is not Tink.  Nor am I saying that it is.  I haven’t made a decision.  And right now I don’t have to do so, as I have no plans on writing stories with Tinker Bell in them.  So I don’t have to bang my head to figure it out just yet.

But it does raise an interesting notion - not only on fairy sizing, but as to whether or not Tinker Bell “always” accompanies Pan.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Is THIS Rubbish?

You know, I'd just said to someone (okay, I typed it to Jesse Rowden [a.k.a. Musapan], ) the other day that I'd like to read the other submissions for the 'Peter Pan Sequel' contest held many years back.

It turns out another one of the authors whose work had been entered decided to unleash theirs upon the world as well.  Peter Pan and the Amazing Machine of Lord Rubbish by Max J. Aldridge.

Peter Pan and the Amazing Machine of Lord Rubbish is a sequel to J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan. It is set in 1907 in the same location as the original story. At school, Wendy becomes best friends with Betty, a little orphan who is under the care of her uncle, Lord Bryan, a wealthy businessman who runs two orphanages in the heart of London and has recently won the City Council contract to dispose the city’s rubbish. Wendy whispers a secret to Betty: Peter Pan has promised to come and fetch her as well as her brothers and they will spend a few days in the Neverland before going back to school. For his part, Lord Bryan is more worried about making good use of the enormous amount of rubbish that lies in the city dump. As such he forces the young boys who live in his orphanages (who call him Lord Rubbish) to sift through the garbage and pick out anything that is of economic value. But Lord Bryan’s greatest dream is to utilize the refuse to produce cheap food to sell to the poor.

Granted, I have not read this one yet, so I can make no official judgment as per se.  But there already is a contradiction from just there in the story description: Wendy's brothers never went back to the Neverland.  And what of the Lost Boys who became Darling children?  They don't seem to be around at the beginning of this book (from what can be read online.)  It cannot be considered as a tale "inserted into" the original novel, since they would have to be there.

There doesn't seem to be much effort to recreate Barrie's style, though - an observation, not a slam.

It's also interesting to note that a kind of environmental angle has been taken with this novel, too.  Though if I may say so (without having fully realized the scope of this novel) it's material that seems to fit better when magnifying the island to a planet as I have done. 

I can only imagine that Hook is still running amok in the Neverland in this, since one of the requirements for the sequel in the contest had been that he be in the book as well.

I suppose at some point I will have to read it for myself... but I don't have too much anticipation of it being inserted into the Pan-theon of the Boy's adventures. 

All in all, it just goes to show the enduring power of Pan.

And to play my own pipe - I still think the sequel should have something from Barrie in it.  Which is one of the reasons I love Michael Pan especially.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Capital Idea

There is a small difference between Barrie’s Pan tales and mine by way of some capitalization. Specifically the Native American characters as a race and Pan’s “gang.” i.e. Redskins & Lost Boys.

It’s true, Barrie does not have them with capital letters. Yet I do. Am I being inconsistent, against what I claim? I suppose on one level, yes. But on another, no. (Could have expected that, right?)

Why do I make them proper nouns instead? In the case of the “Redskins” I just think it entirely disrespectful toward the Native Tribes of the Americas that we don’t give them such a distinction. After all, it’s not exactly the nicest way to refer to them. Yet I cannot have them listed as something other than what’s in the original text. (And I give a reason as to Barrie's motives for doing so in my Foreword.)  Thus, I’ve tried to rectify the situation a little by giving them a shred of dignity as per their moniker.

As for the boys... well, they’ve become quite iconic since Barrie first introduced them, no? It’s my belief that we tend to think of them as a “tribe” in their own right, and so I’ve capitalized them now as well. Within the world of Pan [story-wise], tales of the eternal boy are retold and passed down... so who is to say that they haven’t acquired “proper noun” status by the time the events of Peter Pan’s NeverWorld roll around?

I can just hear someone with a counter-argument using this notion [i.e. that the story is passed down over generations] in the sense of being able to therefore disregard any of what’s in the story by chalking it up to being altered by oral tradition. Consider, though, this text from the Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens : ...if you ask her whether he rode on a goat in those days, she says she never heard of his having a goat. Then is it to be believed? Of course it is. For the Narrator goes on to say: Perhaps she has forgotten, just as she sometimes forgets your name and calls you Mildred, which is your mother's name. Still, she could hardly forget such an important thing as the goat. Therefore there was no goat when your grandmother was a little girl. This shows that, in telling the story of Peter Pan, to begin with the goat (as most people do) is as silly as to put on your jacket before your vest.

Therefore, the establishment of certain elements of Peter Pan’s history can’t be ignored or forgotten. We have the cannon text. It [a la the Narrator] obviously knows what from what and when from when, so we have to follow strictly. Something as trivial as whether or not “Lost Boys” is capitalized, though, well, that’s subject to change - either in thought or in the text as per how much importance one winds up placing on them. And as I’ve said, the Lost Boys, in my opinion, have earned the right to be given proper credit with a proper noun.  And the Native People?  Let's give them the respect they deserve, too.

Gee, I’m not too hyper-speculative or anything, am I?  ;)

Monday, May 21, 2012

For Those Who Care...

Seems the movie adaptation of Peter and the Starcatchers is moving forward at Disney.  Just reporting it, as it's Peter Pan related.

As you either know (or as can be inferred from my posts and such), I am not fond of this book/series outside of it being a fun adventure tale on its own.  A prequel to Peter Pan?  To Disney's, perhaps.  To Barrie?  No.  I often wonder if the authors even read Peter and Wendy.

I hope that all who like the book are satisfied with the movie... for I know how upsetting that can be otherwise.  I also hope all who like this book actually read Peter and Wendy and discover the truth about the depth, psychology and magnitude of Barrie's genius as opposed to the watered down, erroneous presentation of Pan past.

(Find the staggering list of differences [aka blatant disregard] to Barrie's novels here.)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Tock-ing about the Croc

Imagine this... but I've just gone through Peter and Wendy again.  There's a reason... but I'll save that for later.  I know, I'm a tease that way.  Suffice to say I've mentioned it before to the tune of restoration... but another development has come up, too.  I'll reveal the 'news' soon.

SO, what (among much) did I notice this time around?

Disney calls the crocodile "Tick-Tock."  Clever.
(Oops, got some sarcasm on you.)

Well, in the book, the crocodile never TOCKS.  Just ticks.

Just saying...

Saturday, May 12, 2012

A-Scoring Fans?

My friend Doc Holiday, who doesn’t get mentioned on here all that much (by no reason other than circumstance) has a crazy dream:
The Magic Scoreboard.
That’s what he calls it. What does it do? Well, it can answer any question. ANY question at all, so long as the query can be put forth numerically. Doc Holiday claims that it’s possible. If one knew how to phrase “The Meaning of Life” in terms of Mathematics, all would be revealed. (42?)

But the real reason to have this “Magic Scoreboard” is to be able to know certain odd things as they arise. Like, say you’re wondering how many pitchers have had a perfect record in the history of baseball. Voila. Answer appears. Okay, perhaps the internet would tell us... but he thought of it long before the internet, folks.  Consider, though, that the query doesn’t even have to be plausibly able to be discerned (after all, it is a MAGIC Scoreboard!) For instance: How many people seated in a car [at the time of asking] are wearing purple in their outfits? Voila, it would know and display. Granted, who would need to know such a percentage? {Shrug} Not the point... stuff just arises in curiosity, ya’ know?

So, okay, I’m mentioning the Magic Scoreboard because I have a question to pose it:

What percentage of devout fans of the original (or TV reboot) of Dark Shadows are up in arms about the new Tim Burton version? Really. I’d like to know!  For you see, I do sympathize with them. How could I not, purist that I am?

Okay, it’s true that I haven’t been, nor am I now, a fan of the show. [Vampire. See this post.] But that isn’t to say I haven’t seen it (both versions) a little. I make no judgment calls on either one.  But I did get enough of a gist to know that a Fish-Out-of-Water Screwball Comedy is NOT the nature of the series. So, again, how many purists of Dark Shadows are disgruntled about such a depiction?

Note that I am not saying that one cannot or should not make such a deviation in a film version. Done right and with purpose, a parody or the like can be welcomed for sure. Had that been the intent? If I had anything invested in it other than this cheap curiosity, I’d look into it. But as it stands, I don’t have to do so. However, that does not negate my utter sympathy for those who are upset by the treatment.
But how many are there?

If only the Magic Scoreboard could say....

Friday, May 11, 2012

Books DO Burn Up

Often ideas or novels being written will go on the back burner. For any number of reasons. Perhaps it’s not fully formed quite yet. Or it’s not flowing. Or another project demands action instead. Whatever the cause, there always seem to be simmering stories.

But can they ever burn up completely?

Probably not officially, as one can just never tell what will rise from the ashes if they do. But that’s not to say that they can’t become ash first.

I suspect They Never Left, a novel of mine on said back burner, will no longer have more written upon it. It’s kind of sad, I suppose. But then again, there’s so much else to be done, I can’t really cry over blank pages. Why is it allegedly defunct now? A few reasons, actually.

Not in order of importance, one factor is that the world in which it takes place is rapidly diminishing. The irony here, of course, is that I’d set it in non-fictional Chicago. Sounds like it’s not possible, right? But back in this post, I explained how many of the actual locales I’d written into the tale no longer exist. Lots which have been vacant for many years have been built up, for instance, or shops have gone away. How can I create real-Chicago on paper when the places I want to use keep disappearing - or else have new additions? Turns out Gil lives very near one of the most important locations in the book... and I see there’s now a statue there. [I don’t want the statue there! ;) ]  (Not to mentiion a crucial bit being painted over.)

Another issue is that I’m finding the “point” behind the tale might better be served in a different book on the back burner. It seems issues I’m addressing in narrative form have a bit of crossover. That’s to be expected, given the issues are important to me. But if one tale is able to carry the same message just as well as the other, do both need to be written?

That, I suspect, depends on the power of the story. Does each hold enough merit to warrant its own novel? If I’m to be honest with myself, thinking back on it, there’s not much excitement to hold interest in They Never Left. At least for me. And if I’m not "gung ho" about it, can I really expect others to be? They Never Left, as it stands, tells of two buddies (a guy & a girl) who are out to assemble a particular group. Thus, right now it’s naught more than solving puzzles to find each member and convince them to reconvene... fun and engaging as it happens, sure – but on the whole? Once the group is assembled, it will likely turn out to just be a “heady” novel without much action. Probably best not explored, especially when the seed concept can be incorporated into a better tale  It is true, though, that two folks read what I have so far [Doodles and Air] and they enjoyed what they read.  But to reiterate, it doesn't have the potential to pan out into something great.  There is one particular line that I’m reluctant to lose, though. But it’s certainly not worth completing the novel for that one stab at reality. Maybe I can work it into the other novel, but it doesn’t fit as well that I can see at this moment.

I will, however, absolutely hate to abandon the one character. I’ve gotten pretty darn fond of him. Mostly because of his defiant nature. Not so much within the storyline, but with me. He’s a strong-willed creation who has no trouble telling me what he does and doesn’t like or just what’s up in general. [Such as that hairstyle as seen in the pic.  He INSISTS on it!]  Sometimes I miss him... which stands to reason that I shouldn’t throw him away. And I don’t have to, certainly, but then – how can I get rid of his best friend? He’ll squawk at me for sure! Don’t get the impression that I dislike her. On the contrary. It’s just that she’s the catalyst for the novel’s progression – she’s the one who’s determined to find the group. Besides that, she’s sort of set up to be in this story. And I just don’t see her truly functioning outside of her namesake.

I also really like the ending.  It's the sort that establishes another part of the story, too.  A la sequel.  In fact, They Never Left had been meant to spawn any number of sequels, limited only by the resource materials.  And there'd been quite a bit.  Truth is, though, that beyond book two the notions were too vague.  But it would have been a terrific conclusion/cliff-hanger!

One might think that the solution is easy... to place these two friends as characters in the other novel instead. Won’t work, however. At least not how I conceived the other novel. This one is the “ghost story” that I’m dealing with – and the living characters in it are not meant to be prominent. As I’ve already said, the guy I like is quite outspoken and he just wouldn’t stand for being secondary. Or not hearing his name.  [It's quite a name.]

And thus, I’m thinking that They Never Left to have charred away instead of simmered. 'Tis a pity, for a ton of research and work went into this book.  But then, that's true of any book I write.  Naturally, I can rescue the guy and girl from the pages. They might not fit in the other novel, but who’s to say they won’t have another adventure I need to write? I hope so. For I really do like him.

But one thing is for sure – should these two show up again in my pages, they’ll be living in a fictionalized Chicago – or at least one that's not so damn accurate.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Not SO Horrible

Well, well, well...

There seems to be another remake I can see the merit of doing. Granted, I'm not chomping at the bit for it, nor do I even particularly want it... but at least they've picked something that makes sense rather than another slipshod watering-down of a movie that had been just fine as is.

Roger Corman's classic Little Shop of Horrors. Yeah, okay, it could be fun to see a visually stunning man-eating plant. Right?

I must admit I have not seen the original movie all the way through. Cuttings of it, yes. I have, however, seen the musical movie. And then I'd been perturbed to discover they gave it a happy ending. Seeing the Broadway revival had been a real treat (what with 6 different Audrey II [plant] puppet/contraptions - the final of which moved its giant bulbous head/mouth over the entire audience!)

I sure hope they have the ending from the non-movie musical. (Good gracious, I don't know Corman's actual ending!)

But at least this Hollywood hootennany has a modicum of sense.  Replant.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

BARRIE DAY, But of course!


The date today DID sound familiar, I assure you.

But not until Andrea Jones sent me a "Happy Barrie Day!" on Facebook did it hit me.

Fie on me, who forgoteth to demarcate the anniversary of the man who would not stop playing games and brought the world such a joyous myth.

Hail to thee, Sir James Matthew Barrie.  Forgive my behaving like your most beloved character!

Composing a Compass

Originally the post about Gil had been meant as a quick note regarding how Life really does imitate art...
as in how I have a way of relating everything to Peter Pan...
or, really, on the same (panpipe) note, that we cannot escape storytelling, even in our own lives.
But then, given the way Life played out, it became a reminder that even though it may seem as if we can at times, we cannot truly know tomorrow.  As much as we may want to plot out or lives, the story always takes a few turns.
I said I’d remark on another way it reminded me of a story.  Well, here ‘tis.

In college my best friend Laughter and I knew this guy.  I won't reveal his actual real name either, but I will say that his first name is on this page and his surname is found on a compass.

There'd been something weird about Compass.  What sort of weird?  Much.  And this is coming from a guy who shouldn't be calling the kettle black.  Ask Laughter and he'll tell you the same thing (on both accounts.)

First (is this really first?) let me say that there'd been an instant attraction to Compass.  I loved him immediately.  But I also feared him.  Compass had a kind of hold on us.  What I mean is, if Compass said, "Hey Pete, let's go to the mall and play Turtles!" I would do it.  Despite spending the very last of all my money, despite knowing I shouldn't, despite not being in the mood, despite having better things (like schoolwork, perhaps) to do.  [Oh - 'Turtles' refers to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade game.]  It seemed I’d do anything Compass wanted and spend lots of time with him.  It had been a magic spell.  Laughter's 'enchantment' might have been lesser than mine (I'm not sure), but the ability of Compass to get his way still applies.  Watch a movie that's seriously nothing more than a vehicle for gore at two in the morning when you have class early in the morning?  Sure.  Go out to eat after already eating in the cafeteria?  Sure.  You get the idea.  I'm not proud of it, not by a longshot.  I cannot rationalize it, it just... yeah.

So anyway, Compass's weirdness didn't merely stem from his puppeteering.  It's as if he came from another world or something.  He didn't seem to know basic things.  Using a spoon.  How to pronounce "crepe."  He would brag about his girlfriend back home who had allegedly been a model (but whose picture seemed like the kind that came with the frame.)  Realizing that most people didn't want to be discussing the ramifications of zombie guts at dinner.  To be honest, it's been 23 years now, I can't recall every single instance of oddity.  But trust me, he'd just been "off."  To the point of actually wondering if he'd just been a half-baked imaginary friend.

I managed to break the spell, but that’s another story.  I still hung out with him, but the magic fizzled.  Then Compass, quite suddenly, announced that he would be leaving.  That he'd not be coming back next school year.  In fact, he didn't even finish the term, as I recall.  Just decided to go... fueling the fire of thoughts that he'd not even been real.

Laughter and I would joke about him in the sense of being some sort of demon sent to thwart us.  A writer certainly couldn't help but think of it in terms of a book.  What if he actually were an "entity" here to teach us a lesson or something?  The idea developed... if "Compass" came back… hmm, it would make a cool novel.  Later on in life, Compass out of the blue.  And what if he'd come before?  But I knew that I didn't have the wherewithal to write such a tale.  Not yet at least.

Well, 23 years later, along came Gil.  Let me clarify here... Gil is nowhere near the magnitude of Compass.  I liked him immediately, yeah.  But the way I love him now grew with time.  And Gil doesn't have power over me.  Gil's also not bizarre like Compass.  There's things he doesn't know, but they're easily explained in that he's many years my junior.  (And he does know about spoons!)  Unlike Compass, Gil reciprocates everything from help to meals.

So it hadn't been until the sudden event of Gil leaving that I remembered Compass.  The parallels all became clear.  An amazingly friendly and playful guy comes out of nowhere for whom the attraction is great and strong.  Gil could convince me to do anything, but not ANYTHING, having learned my lesson with Compass.  He's gotten me to watch things out of my nature - and I've enjoyed them.  Gil loves playing video games and I'll happily watch or play.   He has his marvelous backstories.  Also, Laughter is quite fond of him.  Maybe it doesn't seem all that clear, but it did (and does) to me.  I see each manifestation of Compass to be different, but reminiscent, a guide tailored to the stage of Life in which he appears.
Thus, "Compass" had shown up again, in a way.  Naturally it got me thinking about him.  And the to-be-written novel.  Are my experiences with Gil to serve as inspiration for another section of the book?  Am I going to now write the book?  Not likely sooner than later.  I have PLENTY to work on already.  Besides, who’s to say Compass won’t show up again?  I’d rather the tale be self-contained with no sequel.  ;)  But I'm talking about it because I learned something else from all of this: Sometimes a novel takes a lifetime to be able to write.

That's pretty darn profound to me.  I guess up til now-ish I figured a story, when set down to be writ, would just spring to life with a little help from the characters.  As I always say, they've lived the tale and they relate it to us.  So the idea that one’s own lifetime is required to play out before a particular tale can truly be told – without the focus being a chronicle of one’s life – intriguing to say the least.

*Love referred to is Plantonic.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Send Off for Sendak

Another great has passed on today...

Maurice Sendak's page has gone blank.

His most famous work, Where the Wild Things Are, is actually one of the first books I ever cherished. I don't think my mother understood the fascination.  (But that might be par for the course. Both with that particular book and my favorites in general.)

Mr. Sendak's ability to tap into the collective and primal psyche is a force to be reckoned with, that's for certain. Like Barrie, he semed to walk on the border of childhood and adulthood - utilizing that marvelous and mysterious grey area to the fullest. In fact, I seem to recall Mr. Sendak saying that he doesn't write for children or adults. That's the way I like it. And the way I, too, function.

Farewell, Maurice Sendak!

Thanks for the inspiration, stories, illustrations and just in general - sharing your wild imagination.