Saturday, May 31, 2008

A Novel Idea in the 21st Century...

I just came across something called a Wovel. A Web-novel. Sounds interesting, if not a bit gimmicky. That's not a slam on it, just an observation. A novel is being serialized online with each section having options to vote on what happens next. Kind of a mass "Choose Your Own Adventure" book. You can read the article I found here and the actual site is here. Best of luck to them! :)

Friday, May 30, 2008

Sparks in the Night

Inspiration struck while out on a stroll to return a movie rental. Suddenly I knew the title for that novel idea I spoke of before. I also have some scenarios and scenes worked out for it. Too bad it will be on the shelf for a while. Another spark gave me the solution to my current book's dilemma. Who knew returning a DVD at night would draw out so much from the inkwell? In case you're wondering, I returned The Sasquatch Gang.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Still MORE Serendipity!

As unbelievable as it might be, Serendipity conspired in my favor yet again.
This past Tuesday, Bart and I attended a reading of a musical in workshop, Whirlybirds. The composer is none other than Dragonfly's beau, Tall Boy. Sapho (a wonderful friend we met through Tall Boy) also attended. The five of us decided to go out for a little something afterward. We entered and exited two places on account of the kitchen being closed. So we trekked down some more blocks to someplace we knew would be open. We took our sweet time, discussing the show and socializing. When we left we were saying our goodbyes at the corner. A tap on my shoulder. I turned. Sunshine! Yes, as "chance" would have it, our friend Sunshine just happened to be waiting for the bus. This fact is more astounding than it sounds. First of all, Sunshine had been delayed at her own engagement and had another time-consuming snafu. So the timing oddly worked out...if we had stayed a little longer inside, a kitchen had not been closed or Sunshine’s travels ran would not have happened. The “corker” is that if we had not wound up seeing Sunshine then, we would not have seen her again. What I mean is: Sunshine and Doc Holiday have moved to Ohio. That night happened to be her last in Chicago. (Doc is already in Ohio. Sunshine had been staying with a mutual friend, finishing out teaching the school year.) What fun and luck to be able to say a "final" goodbye, especially since we could not attend her last hurrah at a bar on Sunday. (I did, however, get to spend time with her at her penultimate hurrah.) Eventually the bus arrived, whisking Sunshine of luck in the new home! And thank Great Spirit for the opportunity!
You can read the other amazing Serendipities here and here.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Disney's Boy Who Never Grew Up

The Walt Disney version of Peter Pan. While reading, please keep in mind that these are merely my views. Obviously yours may not be the same. I am very much a purist, especially when it comes to Peter Pan. I am looking as someone who reveres the original work. Perhaps that skews me in general, but I don’t want to lose sight of the specifics.

I do not dislike the animated feature, but I have no great fondness for it either.
As with many stories that they have adapted, the "Disney touch" is not necessarily a good thing. It's a bit too bright and happy for me. Too "bubble-gum" if that makes sense to anyone. It does have its "dark" moments, which is great. I'd say Barrie's story is a little of both. It's just that Disney seems cutesy heavy. Overall, it’s fine. Besides bringing to the story the ever-popular live shadow, I have a few qualms, which are:

"Second star to the right and straight on till morning." The added word irks me. Barrie wrote: "Second to the right," said Peter, "and then straight on till morning." Now, I can see why they'd want to put a word in there. Second to the right...what does that mean? Second to the right of WHAT? But that is precisely the point. For Barrie also wrote: That, Peter had told Wendy, was the way to the Neverland; but even birds, carrying maps and consulting them at windy corners, could not have sighted it with these instructions. Peter, you see, just said anything that came into his head. The inclusion of the word "star" has become ingrained into popular culture. I deem this loss of the original story element sad. (It's like the Wicked Witch of the West. Technically she is not green, folks.)

Tinker Bell (not Tinkerbell nor Tinkerbelle) is not a pixie, but a fairy. The change baffles me. Though similar, there is a folkloric difference.

Disney's mode of dress for Peter Pan has tainted people's view of him. Many illustrations allude to Disney's design. And it makes people believe he wears tights. *sigh*  And the ears?  No. 

Hook is too comedic and foppish. Barrie wrote, Hook should be played absolutely seriously, and the actor must avoid all temptation to play the part as if he was conscious of its humours. There is such a temptation, and in the stage play the actors of the part have sometimes yielded to it, with fatal results. He is a blood-thirsty villain, all the more so because use he is an educated man. The other pirates are rough scoundrels, but he can be horribly polite when he is most wicked. He should have the manners of a beau. But above all the part should be played with absolute seriousness and avoidance of trying to be funny. This should be insisted on throughout, and especially later in the pirate-ship scene. This same warning applies to all the pirates.

The hook is on the wrong the hand. I am used to this one, however. It seems 'everybody' makes this mistake. Possibly because it is harder for most to swordfight with the left hand. Dare I say this might be excusable if not for some lines in the movie. As John and Michael are playing at being Hook and Pan respectively, Wendy corrects John on the placement of his hook (coat hanger) saying, Ohno, John, it was the left hand. The narrator then informs us that Wendy is the “Supreme Authority” on Peter Pan and all his marvelous adventures. Now, the problem here is that she corrects John…incorrectly! Not only is there the discrepancy with the text but it is then emphasized? Again, I am baffled. I don't object to the scene or Wendy’s title, but why not have her comment on some other aspect?

Otherwise, the disturbing racial portrayal of the Indians notwithstanding, it's all right – it’s Disneyized.
Just please don't hold it as the ideal.

Japan's Boy Who Never Grew Up
P.J. Hogan's Boy Who Never Grew Up
The Silent Boy Who Never Grew Up
Fox's Boy Who Never Grew Up

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Still Excited...

Well, as I said I would, I reconnected with the novel I'm currently writing. I love it when I forget what I had last done on the page. Because of my planned break from it, the last tidbits seemed new to me. It's nice when something you're supposed to know well can seem fresh. Once again it struck me how how great the story is shaping up to be. Since I consider writing to be a collaborative process, I'm just pleased that I still think so. All too often revisiting a work after being away from it for a time results in wondering what mental process could have allowed such words to appear. But this time I found myself delighted. Let's hope a momemtum starts again. I bet it will, once I begin the research of the characters' next location. I'd guess that I'm about halfway finished with the book. As of right now it's a stand alone novel. I don't have any indications or inclinations to create subsequent stories. That's refreshing in and of itself.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Keeping Track

I've been itching to get back to get back to the page. I'd taken a planned hiatus from the latest novel. I've mostly been keeping track of the progress of the release of Peter Pan's NeverWorld. I also delivered three copies to those I dedicated it to, who will be keeping one and putting the others to good use. The rest of my time seems to go to regular work, attending gatherings with friends, putting together DVD towers, catching up on Ellen, playing Mario Kart Wii and collecting snippets of that kernel I had not too long ago. But one thing at a time, sometimes. Back into midnight I shall go.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Lost in the Dictionary...

Yes, I admit it. I have read the Dictionary for fun.
You’re either mocking me or not wanting to admit the same.
It’s fascinating.
Here’s how it happens:
A common word crosses your path, such as say…desk. You know what a desk is, certainly. As such, there would be no real reason to look it up. BUT, how do you define desk? An office table? No, that’s not right, for desks do not have to be used in offices and they’re not traditionally tables used in the same way/function as one thinks of a table for eating. A level surface where one does work? Yes, but would you define it that way? See what I mean? I get curious. How does the Dictionary convey the correct meaning concisely? In the case of “desk” it’s “an article of furniture having a broad, usually level, writing surface, as well as drawers or compartments for papers, writing materials, etc.” Okay, so perhaps it’s not so succinct. But if you’re like me, you find it interesting to see how it is done. After all, a Dictionary has to explain accurately to someone who doesn’t know what the word means. What happens next, for me at least, is that another word in the definition strikes me. For instance, compartments. Ooo. How is that defined? Seriously. Try coming up with a definition on your own. And so on...until skipping about in the Dictionary has eaten up a chunk of time. It’s not fun online. There is something about flipping pages in a thick tome that adds to the pleasure.

It’s not just meanings of words. I am interested in etymology as well. I love to find out where words come from and how they develop.

Sometimes I like to nitpick about the meaning of words…when we say “That necklace is fabulous!” are we stating that right? In other words (ha!) is the necklace truly like a fable? “What a fantastic book!” Granted, a book can be in the fantasy genre, but the same word can be applied to a self-help book, perhaps. So is the work really a fantasy?

Only or merely the product of mental activity; that which one thinks. [i.e. Just a thought.]

“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
– Inigo Montoya, The Princess Bride

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Dancing Through Life...

I just came from the Mordine & Company Dance Theater 40th Anniversary Kick-Off Celebration & Benefit. An advance, signed copy of Peter Pan's NeverWorld stood among the wonderful array of Silent Auction items. Bart and I also volunteered. Allow me to say Bart looked rather dashing carrying trays of hors d'oeuvres. Knowing I can barely carry a bowl of soup to the table, I assisted in other ways including the tallying and distributing of the Silent Auction items. Needless to say, we were treated to a rousing, energetic and graceful performance by Mordine & Company. My interpretation of the piece is the competition and cooperation of the struggle to achieve enlightenment. This is just what I took from it, I am not saying this had been the intention. The benefit brought much merriment and support.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Long Live Prince Caspian

Well, bravo to Adamson and all the folks who brought Prince Caspian to the screen. They did it again. They borught it all in full force and then some. From the moment the movie began, and I do mean the moment, I knew it would be wonderful. To include the event they chose as the opening is nothing short of genius. From there they continued to dole out the "walking and talking" information with inventive bridges without losing a drop of Lewis' adventure. As with LWW, the additions were not only welcome, but shining examples what could have been. Aslan tells us we can never know what could have been...but in this one case he is wrong. Andrew Adamson, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely knew exactly what could have been, even what should have been. And they delivered it. Bravo. In case you couldn't tell, I loved it. Bring on the Voyage of the Dawn Treader!

We also had an unexpected treat. Dragonfly brought a mystery guest to dinner, Jasbo, a friend of ours from Knox. He also joined us for the movie. All in all, a great evening.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Sound the Horn, Caspian!

Tonight Cassidy and Dragonfly will join Bart and I for a scrumptious Pan-Asian feast, after which we will be attending The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. As can be guessed, I am very excited. Not only am I a Narnia fan, I am a fan of Andrew Adamson & his crew. Quite pleased with their adaptation of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, I am curious to see what they do with the plight of Caspian. Long ago I read their assessment of the novel and how they planned to tackle it. At first skepticism loomed as I read of their desire to include more action and other such touch ups. So I re-read the novel...and agreed. The book is primarily walking and talking. Coupled with their incredible job at punching up LWW without losing any of Lewis' story, I realized I should trust Adamson again. I cannot be the first to note this, but how fitting that Adam-son is so passionate and skilled at bringing the vision of Narnia to life. If you've read the books or saw LWW, you'll understand.
I'll be sure and let you know how I liked it.
Long live the Lion!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Selling a Piece of the Past...

I just read that the Moat Brae house in Dumfries which helped inspire Barrie has been sold. The article I read is here. At least they plan to respect its historic value.

Can You Hear the Pipes in the Distance?

It’s a wonderful day!
I just received my advance copies of Peter Pan’s NeverWorld which I’ll be using for additional promotion. It’s exhilarating. To have a copy is one thing, but to have a whole box of them is quite another!
All of which means we are fast approaching the day when it will be available.
I’ll be sure to let you know when it appears on online marketplaces.
So hang in there, Peter Pan is coming back…and he’s not alone.

"Just always be waiting for me, and then some night you will hear me crowing." - Peter Pan

Monday, May 12, 2008

Extending India...

I just got this news, so I'm passing it along. Vitalist Theatre's A Passage to India has been extended! Bravo to the cast and crew! I'll be there again before long, I hope!

"An Unwritten Novel" Visits the 21st Century...

Virginia Woolf has a short story, An Unwritten Novel. In it the narrator, on a train, concocts an entire backstory for a woman riding on the train as well. Various scenarios are thought up and decided upon to the point of being emotionally invested in something that is not even true…enough for a novel, left unwritten, of course.

I thought of it again while, of all things, I played Mario Kart Wii. Playing online with people you don’t know, you will often find yourself racing many times in a row with the same set. After various incidents, such as outracing them gloriously or losing to them only to choose the track and dominating it and then maybe winning against them on the track they selected…in other words, you might begin (as I did) to come up with scenarios for them. “Ooo…she’s mad at me because I stole first from her.” During the lag while it sets up the next race and waits for everyone’s track vote, it becomes, “What’s taking him so long? Probably needs to rub the Doritos dust on his jeans…” In short, I found myself dreaming up entire personalities and histories and situations for people I don’t even know. Just like Woolf’s narrator.
Ah, the 21st Century…

This can also be related to the philosophy in HouseSitter, as I posted here.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day...

I suppose I shan't be able to get away with not writing a happy and well-wished Mother's Day to all of the magnificent matriarchs out there. After all, what is a Peter Pan story without a Mother being involved? Certainly Barrie had a great fondness for their ceaseless devotion. So Brava! May the kindness and selflessness they bestow on us be retunred to them three fold!

"It is the nightly custom of every good mother after her children are asleep to rummage in their minds and put things straight for next morning, repacking into their proper places the many articles that have wandered during the day. If you could keep awake (but of course you can’t) you would see your own mother doing this, and you would find it very interesting to watch her. It is quite like tidying up drawers. You would see her on her knees, I expect, lingering humorously over some of your contents, wondering where on earth you had picked this thing up, making discoveries sweet and not so sweet, pressing this to her cheek as if it were as nice as a kitten, and hurriedly stowing that out of sight. When you wake in the morning, the naughtiness and evil passions with which you went to bed have been folded up small and placed at the bottom of your mind and on the top, beautifully aired, are spread out your prettier thoughts, ready for you to put on." - Peter and Wendy, Chapter 1: Peter Breaks Through

Friday, May 9, 2008

148 Years Ago Today...

Today is the birth date of Sir James Matthew Barrie. The man is a modern mythmaker, having unleashed into the collective consciousness one of the most beloved characters in all of literature. A sincere, heart-felt Thank You, Sir, for your work and contribution to the arts. Bravo.

*Pictured above is an envelope (front and back side) given to me by one of the professors on the Honors Committee for my scholarly exploration of Barrie and its creative counterpart, Peter Pan's NeverWorld.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

A little fun with characters...

This is a little bit of wishful thinking I had using PhotoShop. Another one of Disney's triumphs happened to be Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl. (I did like the sequels, but certainly not nearly as much and had some 'issues' with them, but nothing major.) I do so love the character of Captain Jack Sparrow and couldn't help myself from pitting him against Peter Pan. Like I said, it's just a bit of fun. I'm not suggesting that this pairing should or could happen. But's only natural to think about it. Pirates, know... ;)

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

My Inspiration...?

Just thought I'd show you something my Grandad (on my father's side) let me have. As you can see, it's an oversized pencil. I believe he had it for quite some time before I found it on a visit as a child, which makes it an antique on some level. Perhaps it instilled in me the gumption to put things to paper, eh? I'm sure I must have actually written with it, though I do not remember any particular instance. Right now it's a fixture on the bookcase next to my computer desk. The bookcase harbors data CDs and DVDs more so than books. The books and magazines that are there have to do with writing. But I digress. The big pencil rests next to a chunk of brick from Old Main, the iconic building of Knox College and the center of the English Department. Some remodeling took place during my senior year and pieces of otherwise unwanted brick became strewn about near the reconstruction. So I just had to procure a bit of Knox upon graduation. I suppose it does serve as inspiration to keep going. Obviously it inspired my drawing on the left.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Disney Hits...Then Disney Misses...

Just when I gave them praise for their magnificent movie Enchanted, Disney goes and makes another screw up. Just look at what they've done with their version of Peter Pan as part of their "Disney Heroes" line of toys/action figures. I mean, seriously. Pan is NOT Robin Hood, people. Or perhaps they think he's DC's Green Arrow? What's with the lankiness? The extended boots and gloves? The way too long feather? (*sigh* on the feather in general) The mask?! Haven't they done enough already with their version of Pan? Don't get me wrong, their animated film is's Disney. (Don't get me started on their 'sequel' though) I do have some issues with their Peter Pan (which I will explain at a later date) but otherwise it is what it is...another "Disneyized" version of something. But making him into some kind of "Hero" like this is just pathethic. You don't even want to see the monstrosity that is supposed to be Hook's hook. (And on the wrong arm, I might add, but, I'll address this later, as I said.) Sheesh.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Pop Those Kernels

I got another kernel of an idea today. For a novel, I mean. It's not much, but it's a cool premise. It's about as much information as I had for the kernel that exploded into the book I am now writing. And I'm quite happy about this current book. It's become quite an adventure. More research than is usually involved, though. But I sat on its premise for at least a year before it heated up. I'm looking forward to seeing what this one turns into...but then, that's probably a given.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

96 Years Ago Today...

What happened today 96 years ago?

A statue of Peter Pan appeared "mysteriously" in Kensington Gardens. Barrie commissioned and paid Sir George Frampton to make it. The public did not know that the statue would be coming. It had been installed during the night so that it would surprise people. Barrie wanted it to seem as if it had been put there by the fairies who live in the Gardens.
Barrie also wanted Frampton to use the photographs he took of Michael Davies dressed as Pan as a model/basis. Sadly, though, Frampton ignored his suggestions. As a result, Barrie hated the statue. He said that it did not “show the devil in Peter.” I’ll have to agree with Barrie. It’s a cool statue, but as for it “being” Peter Pan, I will have to say “No.” Just one of Barrie’s disappointments in life regarding his famed creation.