Wednesday, March 30, 2011

On the Shelf vs Open Book

Lately I’ve been pondering the so-called two extremes of celebrated personality access. It’s not as complicated as it sounds.  Which is more appealing? An author such as J.D. Salinger, who had been cloistered away from the public, tantalizing us with his sincere cool while fans long for a tidbit… or someone who is very open and easily in the public eye? In this day and age it’s a lot harder to avoid, it seems, but that can’t stop someone from being evasive.

I’m not sure which I like better, the author on the shelf or the open book author. I can see the advantages of each, both from the perspective of fan and writer. But as for which I prefer?

Truth is I’m a little, I suppose the term for it is, camera shy. Don’t try to understand it, for I’m not sure I do myself… but I’m not entirely fond of photographs of me. Oh sure, photos happen, but I’d just rather they didn’t if not necessary. Quite obviously (from above) I enjoy presenting myself as a cartoon.

Which brings up Gorillaz, a band that’s only portrayed as cartoons and have even performed as such in 3D projections. Now there’s something to admire!

As for me, I suppose I’ll have to get over it for I’d really love to appear on ellen. Especially since she doesn’t normally have authors on… I think it would be great if she did.

Part of what began this narcissism is I’m to be interviewed soon. So the thought crossed my mind. Are there people trying to find out more about me?   Do I want them to?

I have to say I’ve enjoyed my emails with Anon.* Having read through my novels, Anon had lots to say – both inquisitive and insightful. A pleasure to answer the questions and exchange ideas. So I enjoy interacting with fans, it would seem.

But to be that open book? Constant exposure, so to speak? The spotlight is great and all, but eventually it would shine a bit too bright. Wouldn’t it? Maybe hard-to-reach and scraps of information are better. But by the same token, one doesn’t want to end up an unfathomable aloofity. Or does one? The allure of it can’t be denied. But it also oozes with sadness. Both ways.

There’s an episode of Frasier, 'A Crane’s Critique,' in which Frasier and Niles track down a beloved cloistered author and then are shocked to learn that he’s their father’s new friend and has finally written another book. Naturally, they swoon and fall victim to scheming to read the manuscript. The show of course brings up a lot of the perspectives akin to this dilemma of shelved/open book.

And here I am typing out selected snippets of my life for all to read who care to on these pages.
Obviously I haven’t figured out which pole I prefer. [As if there's a clear cut answer.]  For now, I’m content with being mysterious with a chance of intrigue. And for those who know what I’m talking about, I’ll just heed the words of the Helping Friendly Book and surrender to the flow.

I wonder what’s on the next page…

* Barrie enthusiast and my faithful reader and #1 fan

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

BRAVE mov(i)e on Pixar's Part

We all know Pixar does amazing work.  Not just in stunning animation and art design, but in terms of storytelling as well.

So I'm really looking forward to the upcoming movie, Brave.

Brave is set in the mystical Scottish Highlands, where Merida is the princess of a kingdom ruled by King Fergus and Queen Elinor.  An unruly daughter and an accomplished archer, Merida one day defies a sacred custom of the land and inadvertently brings turmoil to the kingdom. In an attempt to set things right, Merida seeks out an eccentric old Wise Woman and is granted an ill-fated wish. Also figuring into Merida's quest - and serving as comic relief - are the kingdom's three lords: the enormous Lord MacGuffin the surly Lord Macintosh, and the disagreeable Lord Dingwall.

I really like that it's a girl on the quest and that she is seeking the Wise Woman.  Color me sympathetic to the need for strong female characters in stories, especially films, but it just sounds refreshing.

It will be a while before it arrives [June 22, 2012], but I'm  thinking it will be worth the wait.

That's the concept art scattered about, of course.  Personally, I would love it if it continued to have this painting feel to it.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Over the Top

The very globe.
Here's one of the fun ponderings author Andrea Hook & Jill Jones and I had together during her last visit.

Andrea pointed out that in my interquel I have a degree of emphasis on the great length of time when traveling to the Neverland from London.  Indeed, for there's quite a lot in Peter and Wendy that often gets brushed under the rug.  It's the sort of story bit that doesn't show up in adaptations.  Well, imagine Peter Pan's first flight - how long it must have seemed.

Anyway, I told Andrea I'd wondered if it would be eaiser or shorter to fly around the other way.  But keeping with Barrie, I used the same path in the novel.  Andrea asked if I had a globe.  I could only pop up and answer "Yes" for it so happens I do have one.  It's the globe I carried with me from my childhood home, one of the 'treasured' objects I somehow thought I sentimentally thought I needed.  And here I did. 

With anticipation we watched as the globe spun.  It is a long way around for sure.  But it turns out it looks equidistant flying around toward China.  At least as the crow flies...  But Andrea had another solution.  It becomes much shorter if one flies by way of the North Pole.

So it seems the quickest route is to go over the top.

And you know what?
This just gave me an idea for Book 3.  Which, by the way, now has a title.

Friday, March 25, 2011

A Taste of Another Play

Here's something inspired by something ELSE by
Sir J.M. Barrie besides Peter Pan!

Nestlé has a line of chocolates* named for one of his other plays, Quality Street.
Pretty cool.

And yes, it's not just me associating the name.
They really are meant to be Barrie's title.

I guess I'll have to try them.
(And read Barrie's play again.  It's been a LONG time...)

*And other sweets, as I learned from Erik in the comments.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

I'd Been Hoodwinked!

The other night when Bart and I gathered at Banky’s place for our weekly visit with him, Clara, Buttercup & Josiecat, I discovered once again that the “don’t judge by how it appears” rule applies.

Josiecat brought us a movie to watch. I knew of it. And I had dismissed it as something that I need not see. You know how it goes... it just looked like the type of stuff cranked out with all flash and no substance. Well, obviously the presentational packaging (trailer/ads) didn’t do it justice. To my surprise, Hoodwinked is a gem!

A spin on the well-known tale of Little Red Riding Hood, it had been a welcome change from the recent semi-letdown of Red Riding Hood. There’s a LOT packed into Hoodwinked. And all of it is delightful.

It actually begins with the old adage of not judging a book by its cover, opening up a storybook as it does so. We’re then told that there is more than one side to every story, also very true. We start the tale this time around with Red entering Grandma’s house and encountering the Wolf dressed as Grandma. It’s obvious that Red is not fooled, but plays along in the sense of buying time. Shortly after, Granny bursts out of the closet and then, well, the real fun begins.

Grandma’s house is now a crime scene - yellow “Caution Do Not Cross” strips, cop cars and everything. Each ‘character’ is questioned by the police (the chief is a bear) and gives their side of the story. As such, we are then treated to skipping backward in time to when their “real” story started. For instance, we now see Red leaving her place, getting on her bike and traveling to Granny’s. Along the way we notice various things we do not quite understand, such as the woodcutter looking awfully dejected and follow Red’s soon to be misadventures all the way up until she opens the door to Grandma’s house. Also for instance, in her version, the Wolf is quite intrusive and frightens her with an attack and she runs from him.

Well, then comes the Wolf’s side of the story. His over-inquisitiveness about the contents of Red’s basket and her destination? Oh, he’s really a reporter, you see, trying to crack the case of who has been stealing all the recipes for Goodies across the forest and putting everyone out of business. (Granny’s recipes [the best Goodies of all] are highly prized by whoever the bandit happens to be.) We’re then treated to the Wolf's misadventures. Thus, we now see what really happened in some parts. Like that ‘lunge attack and growl’ upon Red? His squirrel helper’s shenanigans crunches his tail and he’s really crying out and moving in pain. (Red saw it otherwise!)

It goes on... retelling each ‘day’ of each character and we therefore learn the truth about how things really played out. We find out why the woodcutter looked despondent. We find out why Granny had been tied up in the closet (which the Wolf swears had already been the case when he arrived - and my my my is it hilarious how it really goes down.)  [I tend to applaud this type of interlocking 'point of view' story in the first place.  The Simpsons also has a wonderful version of it.]

But it doesn’t stop there. Nope. The telling of the truth by each character only takes up a portion of the movie. From then on, it’s an action adventure as the characters race to find and capture the infamous bandit. And it never loses sight of that crafty wit and great story.

All of it is peppered with humor of the slapstick and pun varieties. And all of it is wonderfully entertaining. I must say the writing is ingenious. Funny lines coupled with tightly knit and unexpected ideas. I suppose one would compare it to the Shrek franchise - a la twisting the land of fairy tale with anachronistic and our-worldly themes. The similarity is there, yes, but the focus is quite different. Hoodwinked stands on its own, reminding me of the old Rocky & Bullwinkle shorts Fractured Fairy Tales. While Shrek is wonderful, it’s does not have the same drive and layers of Hoodwinked.

It has terrific vocal talent, too. Among others you’ll find Anne Hathaway, Patrick Warburton, David Ogden Stiers and Glenn Close.

I enjoyed this one immensely. Thank you, Josiecat, for showing it to us. I’m so very glad that I’d been wrong.

And I must say the title, although ‘cutesy’ is truly apt. The characters are not only hoodwinked, but it’s taking a wink at the story of Hood.

It’s really too bad that this movie, among a slew of other sub-par and quick-buck animated features, got lost in the woods.

P.S. - Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil will be out April 29. And yes, the way this one ends, the sequel is warranted and welcomed. Guess who will be going!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Two Cents of Jones on the Interquel

As I already had reported in this post, Andrea Jones (author of Hook & Jill) loved what she had read so far of my interquel, Peter Pan: Betwixt-and-Between.  [If you're not familiar with the details of this book or want a recap, click here.]

I’m happy to now report that upon having finished reading, her appreciation of it has only increased. During our “playdate” this past weekend, she congratulated me on how I’d successfully created the transition from the baby Peter to the boy Pan. I’m relieved, to be honest. I knew Andrea would have not only a great critical eye, but an invested interest in keeping it in tune with Barrie.

What fun to see her smile when she pointed out her favorite bits (both humorous and solemn) as she went over her notes. How gratifying to know that my ideas had merit, that the ways in which I’d solved the inherent dilemmas proved to be not just viable, but satisfying. I did have to clarify one part, but only for Andrea’s sake at the moment. Within the story itself, it's meant to be like the charmingly ambiguous specificities so deliciously typical of Barrie.

The part of my story which I had been most worried about - for I thought it might be construed as too outlandish - she liked very much. Quite the opposite of my fear, Andrea thinks it’s “very Barrie.” I suppose it is, since the primary idea for it grew out of something he wrote anyway. And thinking on it further what happens ‘there’ is not unlike shenanigans he might have had with the Llewelyn Davies boys in the Gardens. Hosah.
Official Cover of the Novel

Perhaps you recall I’d been struck with an idea for another bit to add to the end. I had meant it to strengthen an idea/theme and create another tie-in to Peter and Wendy. I had sent Anon* the new section (along with the entire last chapter) and had hoped to hear it worked. The truth is Anon didn’t notice the new part at all - which I took to mean that it fit well. Andrea’s copy of the book did not include this new paragraph, so I read it to her. She looked pensive for a small while and then replied that I didn’t need it. It lacked an impact or reason for being there. She went on to say that the ending to the novel is perfect just as it is and she didn’t want to see me ruin it. Imagine that! Both Anon and Andrea think the ending is marvelous. Just what an author wants to hear!

Don’t think, however, that all of her comments had been glowing. She did have an issue here or there - such as the amount of characters introduced all at one time. It seemed overwhelming and confusing, so she suggests that I spread out the introductions across the story. I concur. A good observation and one with an easy enough fix, which will not just alleviate the problem at hand but allow for better pacing and discovery (as to what the characters' functions are) throughout. I welcomed each of her critiques. I’ve already attended to one of them. It seems I abused the word ‘quite’ rather heavily. So I examined each one and decided if it had been necessary. For I could not banish it altogether as Peter Pan might, since in some cases no other word will do. Plus, it does appear frequently in Barrie’s works. But she’d been (ahem!) quite right. I managed to eliminate two-thirds of the offending word.
 1st draft of the Tagline design

To finish up, Andrea wants to see Peter Pan: Betwixt-and-Between published. She thinks highly enough of it that it should be included among the tales of the eternal youth. I accomplished what I set out to do. I’ve filled in the missing pieces to the puzzle of Peter Pan’s past with the flair of Barrie. Andrea’s summation in one line, as if it were her blurb on the back cover - Peter Pan: Betwixt-and-Between is bright and shiny like a new…tuppence.

So I will work on the revisions... and I suppose the fate of this novel has been decided. Eventually I will get it “out there” so that others may enjoy it, too.

And please don’t take any of this post as self-congratulatory. I’m thrilled that Anon and Andrea like what I have done. I’m just as amazed that it’s well received as they are with how I worked it all out.

* Barrie enthusiast and my faithful reader and #1 fan

Monday, March 21, 2011

Ahoy There! What a Weekend!

Photo of Ms. Jones pirated from her Facebook page

I’ve had a wonderful weekend.
How can one not when the illustrious Andrea Jones, author of Hook & Jill, is sleeping over?

That’s right, folks. She and I finally had another “playdate.” We mostly filled our time talking shop. Yep, just as you’d think, with Peter Pan & Captain Hook.

I shared the insights and opinions I’ve had over the years regarding Barrie’s pirate captain, both clandestine and obvious. She’s working on a Hook  presentation and knew I’d have a good perspective. Glad to help.

She returned the favor sevenfold by sharing her insights and opinions of my interquel novel, Peter Pan: Betwixt-and-Between. I’ll save what she had to say for another post.

We were originally supposed to finish The Lost Boys, the Andrew Birkin BBC mini-series on the life of J.M. Barrie in relation to the Llewelyn Davies family (and hence the creation of his most famous tale) which we had begun during her last visit. But before she came we decided to forgo it, for neither of us remembered precisely where we had left off and we knew we’d run short of time. Besides, to fully appreciate the masterful work it would probably be best to start from the beginning. So I just lent it to Andrea to watch at her leisure (whenever THAT is in her busy schedule!) at home.

We had meant to watch another film, you see, and nearly didn’t get to it . But we did squeeze it in just before brunch on Sunday. The movie is Neverland by Damion Dietz. I’m going to leave commentary on this for another post as well. Suffice to say that it’s a very whacked out version of Peter Pan. Despite its outlandish take on it, it remains rooted in the deep psychology of Barrie and presents the darkness of it all quite well. Andrea enjoyed it, too, on both levels.

We of course stopped talking up the Neverland (and World) so that we could have dinner. A dinner made by Bart. Andrea loves his cooking (she’s not alone!) and has now tasted his specialty - Roast Chicken with Root Vegetables. Folks, let me tell you. Bart has perfected this dish. His chicken is soft and delicious and the vegetables are such that you’ll stuff yourself with more of them even though you have no room. He also tempted (tempted? Okay, yes, we happily indulged!) us with three kinds of scones and British clotted cream - a treat for two people obsessed with Peter Pan. (No, sorry, Bart didn’t make the scones. But he sure knows where to find good ones!)  Thanks, Bart!

On and on we talked about Barrie, his tale and our derivative stories. Andrea kindly detailed not just the next in her series, Other Oceans, but the events of the third book as well. You’ll love it, believe me. In turn I told her what happens in the next few books of the NeverWorld and she’d been just as entranced with mine as I with hers. And the best part is how different each of them are! Yet they have similar themes racing through them, as if we can both hear the hum of the tuning fork struck by Barrie.

So immersed were we that at one point Andrea wondered how it had suddenly reached 10:00 pm. It didn’t stop us, though, discussing matters until 2:00 am.

The brunch of which I spoke of course took place at Bananas Foster, one of the favorite haunts of mine and Bart’s. Andrea discovered their amazing stuffed French toast and opted for strawberry cream. Yum! And I just can’t get enough of the Bubble & Squeak.

Andrea also loaded up with copies of Peter Pan’s NeverWorld and the ‘promotional postcards’ [sized, not for mailing]. So if you happen to see her at one of the many upcoming pirate festivals, you'll  be able to pick up not just her delightful novel but mine as well. Also, I now have Hook & Jill bookmarks to distribute.

All in all, a very productive weekend. We actually managed to accomplish all we set out to do and got Andrea to Union Station with twenty minutes to spare!

I miss her already, as it’s so wonderful to have someone who likes to be spoken to about Peter Pan (and Hook), and she is an amazing woman. Until next time we’re face to face, thank goodness we can ‘see’ each other in cyberspace.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Peter Pan Is Never Bored

Someone I knew in college once told me:
Boredom is a choice.
I'll have to agree.

I also really like the song Being Boring by the Pet Shop Boys.  They wrote it based on a quote from Zelda Fitzgerald:  She was never bored because she was never boring.  The writing at the beginning of the video not only gives more background on this quote, but shows how the song ties in with the Peter Pan theme [besides those 'never's!]

So, when choosing not to be bored the other day I whipped this up.

Original Drawing
It's a modified drawing of F. D. Bedford.  He drew the original illustrations for Peter and Wendy.

 I really like Pan's position in it - I think the bent leg is perfect.  And as you can see, I colored it as such that he's wearing something more akin to his outfit in Peter Pan's NeverWorld.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

That Greenery Holiday Again

May you live as long as you want
and never want as long as you live.
~ Irish Blessing (allegedly)

Sounded like a good one regarding the world of Peter Pan.

The picture on the right I received from Dragonfly via email.  To describe it, he used the word:  ridonk the baby minuscule or is that a whopper of a shamrock?
And the pig??

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I Finally Caught Wind of This...

Well, I can cross another classic that I probably should have read a long time ago off my list of To-Be-Read. If memory serves, it’s a particular favorite of Anon.*

Yes, folks, somehow The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame escaped me before. Other than a few bits and pieces I’d gathered over the years and what little I knew of it from the Disney cartoon, I’d never been formally introduced.

I took to it immediately. For Grahame brings us delightful characters, full of life and bearing both a severity and a cuteness. As I went along, though, I started to think it would be nothing more than a few random escapades strung together. I don’t mean that as a bad-mouthing, far from it. For there are plenty of marvelous ‘nothing but strung vignettes’ out there, such as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland or Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator. But two-thirds of the way through or so, The Wind in the Willows starts to come together.  Without the separate scenes, we’d never get the sense of who these charming critters are, the depth of their relationships nor even necessarily care about what happens to the ancestral home of Toad.

Like Peter Pan, Toad is neither wholly likeable nor wholly condemnable.  On the other paw, I found that I loved all the characters equally. They’re a great batch and there’s quite a dynamic to their interactions. I especially liked the “foreboding” quality given to Badger... only to discover the truth about him, which then turns out to be multi-layered and any apprehension felt toward him is revealed as well.

It’s also interesting that I cannot decide whose story this novel tells. I suppose everyone’s first thought is Toad. But he’s really just the catalyst to get all the others in motion. Not always true, though, since Mole is the first we meet and he sets out to have a very rare walkabout and finds himself in a whole new world of adventures. So is it his tale? One mustn’t forget the tail of the Water Rat, however. For without him, Mole probably would never have come across Toad Hall or had the gumption to meet Badger. So, all in all, it’s an ensemble piece.

I found a couple of bits curious, though. The horse doesn’t seem to mind being, well, a horse. In a world of suited critters who drink tea and own books, he seems to be just a cart horse. At first I thought he wouldn’t even be given the opportunity to speak. Mole, however, does talk to him (though we are given no dialogue.) There are other horses as well, but they, too, are just cart-pullers. There’as a line in the book that sort of sums it up. ...since the horse had complained that he was being frightfully left out of it, and nobody considered him in the least. It’s not a flaw, per se, just a “hmm.” The fact that Toad has hair to comb also jarred me.

One vignette that I’d been looking forward to and which did not disappoint is the Piper at the Gates of Dawn. I absolutely love his mysterious nature. The whole chapter is compelling and really gives a sense of the sheer magical presence of this character.

As I’ve said, the novel culminates in a grand scheme and daring adventure. It ranks up there among the best laid plans, well, moles and men. Just the sort that one can easily bring to the mind’s eye.

And speaking of the mind’s eye, I have to admit that I couldn’t get Disney’s version of Toad out of my head as I read. Just this character. For I didn’t really remember their other depictions very well, with the exception of mole, of which I’d been mistaken (as my vague notion of his design turned out to be their drawing for Badger!) To be honest, when I did re-watch the cartoon, I’d been just short of actually appalled. For I thought they got each of them quite wrong. Rat, especially. That’s just my opinion, sure, but they just didn’t, for me, match up nor live up to their personalities or descriptions. Except Toad. And to be even more honest, I fell asleep about halfway through. I woke up for the end, though, and as can be expected, Disney changed it. They have Toad soaring off on a new obsession - an airplane. In the book Toad learns his lesson and does change his ways. Without this development, I think the book would have lost a lot of its power/message.  Also interesting to note is that the word "mania" for Toad's wild escapades is not used in the novel as it is in Disney.  I rather missed it, I must say.

And so there you have it, I am now among those who have visited the Wild Wood of Kenneth Grahame - and what a marvelous place it is!

* Barrie enthusiast and my faithful reader and #1 fan

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Ides of...Fairies?

Snippet of F.D. Bedford's "Peter Flew In"
Once again we have come to the Ides of March.
Shakespeare has a soothsayer tell Caesar to beware this date.

Well, it always makes me think of (Kel surpsise!) a line in Barrie as well:

‘Ware Tinker Bell.

Yes, folks, be afraid of her. She’s a nasty, conniving, jealous silly ass. Not always, naturally. But nevertheless, I do make sure to point out to people who love her because she is a “sweet & cute little fairy” that this is a bit of a misconception. I don’t think it’s a secret that I’m not very fond of Tink. I’m sorry, I just don’t like her. Barrie’s or otherwise. Unlike Pan, who can be thought of as having been deeply wounded by the world, she has no excuses for her behavior other than her own petty desires. (Not that I’m really defending Peter Pan’s conduct!)

And to be fair, I suppose I shouldn’t just pick on Tinker Bell. One could just as easily say:

‘Ware fairies.
"If the fairies see you," they warned her, "they will mischief you, stab you to death or compel you to nurse their children or turn you into something tedious, like an evergreen oak."

Well, at least beware Barrie fairies!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Yellow Would Have Worked Just as Well

So it turns out Bart wanted to see Red Riding Hood, which just came to theaters this past weekend.  I've posted about it before and admit that I'd been interested in it.  A 'mature' take on the legend going back to its (often but not always) roots in lycanthropy?  Yes, please.

Well, we saw it.  No, thanks.  I didn't dislike the movie exactly.  It's not like I sat there wanting the damned thing to end.  But it's not as if I had been quite entertained, either.

The werewolf, I must say, is quite good.  A nice big beast.  Only drawback is he didn't walk on his hind legs.  I prefer that in a werewolf.  But a great design all the same.  Nice F/X, too.  Didn't look CGI to me at all (if it had been, which, in this day and age, one can assume.)

The problem with it, for me, is that it didn't use the 'original' story enough.  Yes, I knew it would veer, and I had wanted it to, since it's a variation on a classic.  But it just veered way too far in that it didn't really do the original tale at all.  Yeah, the elements were there.  Grandma, her house in the woods, a wolf, a woodcutter, the red cloak/hood and a basket and such... but consider that Grandma is spry as hell and never sick at all, the basket doesn't contain goodies and the woodcutter is the same age as Red Riding Hood.  The quickest way of making my point is that this film did not require it to borrow the tale at all.  It would have worked just as well without any of those elements.  It just happened to have them thrown in, you see.

I also have to give it credit for keeping me guessing (i.e. the identity of the werewolf is unknown by the village) but then again, once it is revealed it didn't really feel satisfying.  Not an eye-roller, just a little [without sarcasm] "oh, sure, yeah, okay."

So it's a little bit of a shame.  It had the potential to be deeply rooted in the pyschological and sensual/coming of age metaphors inherent in the woods and a young girl and just went with an almost but not quite cheesy werewolf mystery.

Oh well, it's not like I expected a masterpiece.

Friday, March 11, 2011

COUNTer Intuitive?

Pack of napkins depicting Hogan's Pan

Is it just me...

...or is a
Peter Pan
birthday party


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Sail Away?

A comment on The Candy Pan by Anon* became a conversation through comments. Through the course of it, a question arose which I think would make for a good post. So here it is:

The Jolly Roger, as we all know, floats along the shore of the Neverland. The pirates come ashore and have adventures on the island along with everyone else. And surely they have their own interactions on board the ship. But do these ever take place away from the surf of the isle? Taking it a step further, CAN the pirates leave the Neverland? Or are they bound to it by the magics and imaginations that hold the island in place?

Interestingly, P.J. Hogan's inventive tying of the seasons/weather of the Neverland to Pan's mood has the Jolly Roger stuck in frozen waters when Pan is gone.

At one time, many moons ago, I had thought that the pirates remained in the area because they were trapped. Doomed to forever be a part of the adventurous land. But I soon gave way to thinking it would be more in tune with the themes of Barrie if it were not the Neverland itself holding them in place, but the captain of the ship, none other than Hook. It’s ever so more delicious and telling if he cannot leave by his own volition, with his Pan obsession keeping them at the isle. How much worse (and dramatic) for the buccaneers if their own captain won’t let them sail away, forcing them to chase a flying brat.

Then some years later, when I RE-re-entered the Neverland, I reacquainted with a bit that pulled back some of the curtain on this question. In the screenplay, Barrie describes a scene of the pirates sailing all around the globe (as in showing a globe with a little ship moving around it.) We see an actual globe. Wherever the ship goes the crocodile is swimming after it. If Hook takes to land it still follows. Thus they go over the globe... Ah-ha! So in Barrie’s mind it IS possible for them to leave, there is no magical property that keeps them at bay.

Thus, my second idea had been much more correct, with an addendum. It’s not just Hook’s fixation on putting an end to the reign of Pan but the fact that he cannot find peace anywhere else on account of the great reptilian beast with a fixation on him.

All right, then, the only question remains... do the pirates ever leave? They can, but DO they? In the comment conversation, Anon stated not recalling that they do. (I, you see, had originally thought the matter had been if they are bound or not.) At one time I would have said no, they do not leave. As in Hook won’t let them. But then I came to read Hook & Jill, wherein Andrea Jones establishes they are in fact away from the island some times, if for no other reason (I apologize that I don’t recall all her details either from her novel or what she said in person) than to restock every so often. It also makes for a varied playtime (so to speak) for the children on the isle.  “Look! The pirates have returned! Let’s go say hello!” But when they do leave, the buccaneers always come back to the Neverland. (Crocodile chases anyway and Hook wants Pan.)

And so I had revised my original conception both through logic and facts both within Barrie’s pages and outside of them. But the truth is I let it go without too much further thought. For when it came to the pirates I’m dealing with on NeverWorld, whether or not they leave is a moot point. They’ve a whole planet fo islands to traverse. (Though I should mention that they are unable to leave the NeverWorld itself... that is until they discover how. But it’s not really an issue for them as per that 'whole world is there' anyway.)  Thus, the exact comings and goings of Barrie’s pirates in the Neverland fell by the wayside for me. I didn’t specifically need to worry about it.

And then came the re-tackling of my interquel Peter Pan: Betwixt-and-Between. Suddenly I found myself very concerned with the very subject. Would the pirates already be there when Pan first comes to the magic isle? Do they come and go? So I had some figurin’ to do... but the answer had to be in accordance with the text and the logic. Obviously, since I finished the book, I did hammer it out. And it wound up creating (or allowing for) a third reason that the pirates ‘remain’ in the Neverland. I cannot give it away, since it’s part of the discoveries of that novel. Actually, there are two reasons that arose. I can say, though, that I’d been happy to use the “Look! The pirates have returned! Let’s go say hello!” concept much to my delight and, I hope, to a nice effect.

So there you have it. Can the pirates leave the shores of the Neverland? Yes, yes they can. DO they? That’s open for debate, I suppose. We know by Barrie that they had left at least once prior to the events of Peter and Wendy.   And there’s no mention of them leaving in the book or stage play. But then, why would there be? We need them right were they are for the duration of the tale. But that's not to say they DON'T otherwise.  I’ve discerned that they do make excursions away... but Hook’s unquenchable desire for revenge as well as another factor or two (in the pages of the interquel) cannot keep them from coming back and spending most of their time on the wild island.

* Barrie enthusiast and my faithful reader and #1 fan

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Should Have Cooked This Up Before...

How did I miss THIS one?

Way back on April 6 2008, I had this post, which details part of an episode of The Golden Girls in which literary works and authors are turned into puns with food.  [It's a hoot... read it if you haven't!]

Yes, our beloved Barrie had been among the list, as well as his most famous creation.

But I had it as:
Peter Pan Pizza
J.M. Berries

Duh, Von Brown!
THIS is much better, since it allows for them to be served together!

Peter Pancakes with J.M. Berries.

Okay, whew!  Glad THAT's settled!  ;)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Whoa, Bro. No.

Well, more details have been released for the 'origin story' movie Peter Pan Begins. Faithful Pan fans, stop stop holding your breath. For as can (sadly) be expected, they’re ignoring the very work of the man whose story they are using for their own. In it, Peter Pan and Hook are brothers.

This is not so ridiculous a concept, considering that male siblings played a role in the creation of the eternal boy... and that Barrie himself had the idea for Peter’s brother. As you might already know, it had been the basis for more, which I crafted (among other tidbits and facts of and from Barrie) into Peter Pan’s NeverWorld.

And somehow, given the general track record, I don’t think they’re going to be as adept at enhancing and bringing out the inherent themes and symbolism as is Andrea Jones in her marvelous Hook & Jill. In defense, I think it would be much harder to have it part of the design when changing the medium from print to screen.

Why is it, folks? Why is it people (as I see it) have no respect for original literature? It just makes me sad. They’re basically saying (as I see it): “Well, Barrie already had a backstory for his own character, but we don’t like it so we’re making our own.” It’s not their place, nor anyone else’s, to do so. Why is it, then, my place to write a subsequent tale? It’s not, actually. The difference is that I did so without compromising, ignoring or contradicting his work - you know, respectfully. Besides that, Barrie had already come up with the idea. It’s not like it’s entirely my own. Quite frankly, I wouldn’t deign to write a sequel (or prequel) to any other work of any other author - not without their concept for it as a springboard. It’s quite sad that I and Andrea Jones seem to be the ones who understand that. And in the case of Jones, even though she does veer off course, she always remains anchored to Barrie through logical and compelling reasons to tell her ‘alternate’ story. [Elaboration here.]

There is, of course, a chance that they will do so as well. But as for me, I won’t be holding my breath. The mean streak in me (the one that's arguably in everyone) makes me want to try this kind of breathing toward them, instead: he breathed intentionally quick short breaths at the rate of about five to a second. He did this because there is a saying in the Neverland that, every time you breathe, a grown-up dies; and Peter was killing them off vindictively as fast as possible. - Peter and Wendy  [I say that only for the sake of the reference, no more.]

Monday, March 7, 2011

Scott Pilgrim vs...Scott Pilgrim?

So, I finished the Scott Pilgrim series some time ago now.
I did stick to my “waiting simulation” described in this post.

Yes, I loved the actual/original series.  (How could one NOT?)  I enjoyed it for a few reasons. First, it’s just a HECK of a lot of fun. Second, it had been a delight to see how things became ‘translated’ to the movie screen.  Third, there had been plenty “additional” material so that it still seemed fresh.

One of the biggest differences, as I saw it, is that the film takes place with a degree of immediacy. For instance, meet the Evil Ex and BAM! the fight soon follows, with the exception of Roxie Richter. That imposed delay (by Scott), however, does happen in the books. But what I mean is the ‘novels’ take place over the course of a year or more. One of the volumes is all about the Summer. And when Scott does meet an Evil Ex in the books, there’s not an instant fight. The Katayanagi Twins, for example, he meets several times at various parties before he duels with them. Okay, granted, they start to send giant robots after Pilgrim to fight for them before he actually battles them. All of which, you see, is not in the movie at all. Plus, there’s plenty of backstory, side adventures and other characters that fell by the wayside...

All in all, I think the movie did a fantastic job of adapting the books. Yes, things are missing. Yes, events/tidbits are shifted from one character to another. Yes, dialogue/lines are moved.  Yes, there are general differences. But all of these are completely understandable and work incredibly well... as in they CAN be considered “extraneous” or are better suited where they are placed (for the film, not the books.) Plus, as I stated in another post, the movie allowed for quite a bit that the book could not do - sound effects, music, camera movement, etc. All of which served to enhance the delightful tale... one might say to the point of making up for whatever is lacking.

I must say, though, that every fight with an Evil Ex I liked better in the movie. Don’t get me wrong. I really liked the ‘real’ way, too. And the truth is that in most cases, the elements of the book are there... just expanded. And I prefer (perhaps too strong a word) how it turns out in the film. That is UNTIL... the FINAL Evil Ex. Folks, I adored the movie way fighting him. Pleased as punch. But... the book blows it away - and yet it has some of the same bits to make it all happen. I enjoy this “poetic justice” - that the movie improved each battle except for the ending. (Yes, I still like the movie way, too.)

I just have one complaint about the film now. One that I would never have had without reading the books. The film just did not play up “Subspace” nearly enough. In fact, it’s partly due to this loss that the ending is lacking (when compared to the books.) Yes, they do have it in the movie. [If you’ve seen it, it’s the “door” and the “’flying’ through blackness” (which is faithfully rendered to the screen.)] And it is, in fact, explained. Unfortunately, it’s just one line by Ramona and amid all the chaos and hilarity, it gets lost. Way lost. In the books, Ramona’s use of “Subspace” comes up rather frequently (ever so much more than movie.) Scott uses these “shortcut portals across space” on his own as well. Subspace plays a major role in the final battle. They also don’t explain that Ramona’s bag operates in Subspace, too. (Note that it has a star [book & film], like the doors.) No, Subspace is not completely made clear in the books. But it doesn’t need to be - it’s one of those things that work better with a degree of bewonderment. But the whole concept and use of it in the books is so terrific that it’s just a shame that this element of the story is downplayed in the film. But hey, at least it’s in it!

I am of course curious what my thoughts would be had I experienced the tale of Scott Pilgrim the other way around (i.e. the books first.) I’m willing to bet that the result would be just the same, though.  For the it's easy to love them both, for very different reasons.  Bravo to the filmmakers, all of those involved, for repackaging the story so magnificently.

Either way, I’m so happy to count Scott and his all his wackiness among my favorite characters.

Thanks, first and foremost, to Bryan Lee O’Malley! I must also give credit to Edgar Wright (director and screenplay) and Michael Bacall (screenplay) [as well as all the actors!]

Scott Pilgrim!

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Candy Pan

Imagine if Peter Pan 'discovered' candy.

We don't know, of course, if he already has or not... since Barrie makes no mention of it.  But it's fun to think about.  Me?  I can just imagine Peter shoveling it in once found it.

We do know that it's likely that he knows of sugar itself, as per the large rich cake of a jolly thickness with green sugar on it - but also recall that Wendy wouldn't let the boys eat it!

What made me think of this?

The touring show of Peter Pan from Kensington Gadens (the one with the amazing 360° projection system that began in London right in the park which I travelled all the way to England to see) posted on Facebook regarding their Candy Shop, boasting over 75 different treats and sweets.  Yummy!

The proverbial "kid in a candy story" as applies to Pan is a delicious thought indeed.  Especially if there's no 'mother' around to advise him not to partake too much lest he get a tummy ache!

Also, it brings to mind a fun crossover.   Let's say Pan loves candy so much... that he seeks out the BEST in the world... none other than Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory.  Now THAT pairing I'd like to see.  Just for fun, mind you.  I haven't thought it entirely through, but the logistics of it being actually feasible are probably way off... maybe not.  But imagine Wonka interacting with Peter Pan.  Would they get along?  A sweet treat of pretending for the moment, though, eh?  Brings new meaning to Yes, I'm sweet, oh, I am sweet!  

And that's your "silly but fun thing" for today.

Other 'pairings'
The New Novel (note the date of the post)
Get "Cross" with Me...
Pan vs. Poppins?
Pan vs. Pippi!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

All Dolled Up!

I am quite happy to be able to have permission to repost this picture.  It's a sculpture by an (obviously) talented woman named Lena.

What a WONDERFUL representation of Peter Pan, the Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up!  I am very fond of it and wrote Lena telling her as such.  She kindly let me share the picture of her art.

I like it especially because she has Peter Pan wearing something very close to the outfit I gave him in Peter Pan's NeverWorld.  A green "tunic" with brown pants.  Yes, of course, Barrie told us what Peter wears...  and I still have him in leaves.  I just pictured them a little more "woven" and based the clothing on Barrie's own photograph of Michael Llewelyn Davies dressed as Pan.  You see, I figured that Peter's "mothers" across the years had sewing kits at the ready and made him new stuff to wear (as he certainly must wear out 'clothes' with all the rough and tumble he does!)

I'd say he's got a goodly amount of cockiness in this manifestation, wouldn't you?
And I love the extra details of the acorns and his pipes.

BRAVA to Lena!

You can find more on her Peter Pan doll page (and the rest of her site) here.