Saturday, April 30, 2011

Writing the Future

I turned on the TV (I'll admit hoping for an episode of Johnny Test) and came across the original Buck Rogers serials being played on TMC.

It's fun to watch, seeing one of the influences on George Lucas to create the Star Wars Saga.  Even his expository remarks at the beginning receeding into space at an angle is an homage to these old space adventure shows.  I'd been aware, naturally, (though not specifically about the moving words!) and have seen the serials before.  But it doesn't stop it from being a treat.

I'd also seen the 1979 Buck Rogers movie as well as enjoyed the TV series that followed.  Not sure if that would still be the case, I might roll my eyes at my younger self for liking it.  Not sure.  But again, it's quite fun to re-experience the origins.  How things evolve, eh?

What prompted me to post however, had been a particular incident.  A man uses a teleportation tube of some sort, phazing in like he's being reconfigured atom-wise  (which, by the way, Star Trek borrowed for their transporters) to hand in a report to a head honcho.  It got me to thinking...  Interesting that in this ultra-futuristic 25th Century they don't have a way to send a report without a person hand delivering it.  They do have communication devices (like a future phone/intercom) though.  Sure, it could be the case that the reports are very secret or something and they need to be handled in person.  But in this part of the story that didn't seem to apply.

Obviously the writers didn't think up something like a fax machine, or even a text message.  I don't mean that as a slam or an admonishment.  There's no reason they should of conceived of them.  They had enough to dream up, no?

That's the part that got me thinking.  It's often the storyteller's job to invent the future. Suppose the writers had thought of data pads and wireless transfer of information.  They might have planted the seed for us having them today.  For as Jules Verne and H.G. Wells have demonstrated, tales of the fantastic will give rise to reality.

Stories don't just entertain, they inspire.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Trailer Has to Be Hitched Properly

When a movie trailer bores you, it doesn't bode well.  Not even a feeling of "this looks stupid" or "I don't want to see this" - just plain boredom washing over you and you click it off.  Yes, the "you" is really me.  And no, I will not reveal which movie.

It's a shame, because someone worked hard on that trailer.  SomeONE?  Many people.  Besides the trailer, the movie itself of course  But unfortunately I just didn't like the packaging and as such, I won't be seeing the movie.  And it probably will turn out to be hailed as top notch.

If it does turn out to be a great film, then the flip side of this particular flick is Superman Returns.  I'm not going to get into it beyond saying I loathed the movie.  However, I had been uber-excited to see it.  Hats off to anyone involved with the trailer for that film.  They managed to make it look amazing by cramming all the best bits into a well-paced and well-edited piece of comic book glory.  Excitement oozes from it and I watched it several times in a row.  And yet I will always regret not leaving the theater.

All this being said, it just goes to show once again that it really does matter how a story is presented/packaged.  A lesson I re-learned not so very long ago with Hoodwinked.

For the record, the first movie and its trailer I can think of which lived up to each other's excellence is Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.  But you probably saw that coming, no?  As I wrote in this post Banky said what a joy it is when a movie actually lives up to the way the trailer made you feel. Yep, our own personal hype for it had been fully spades, or in this case, in coins.

I can definitely sympathize with the effort that went into the trailers, whether they worked or not.  For it can easily be applied to the writer's bane of the dreaded 'Query Letter.'  So, as I try to psych myself up to tackle a brand new take on a query letter for a book which, like Scott Pilgrim, can be described as epic, I'll keep all this in mind.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Can You VERB It?

When my alarm woke up me up this morning and I promptly hit the “snooze,” I wound up not getting an extra bit of sleep. Instead, for whatever reason, I found myself thinking about verbs. Yes, verbs. Yeah, okay, this is how I amuse myself... *sigh*

Well, more specifically, verbs and nouns. Maybe even Verbs vs. Nouns. What I’m getting at: Suddenly (or more likely again) I’m intrigued by how some words can be both a Noun and a Verb. Oh sure, I’ve noticed before. But there on the pillow for want of a moment’s more rest it became quite curious. Some words are just... both.

Kiss, plant, rope - to name merely but three of them. And then with some words it doesn’t work so well at all: imagine, crumb, leaf. (Now why did THAT assortment come to my head?)

It brought to mind a line from Frasier in which a woman tells him, Ah, see, I’m not one of those for whom ‘antique’ is a verb. I remember laughing quite a bit at that with Sunshine.

And in this day and age, we create new nouns-to-verbs like: Google & text

I don't remember where specifically (and suspect it's been much more than once) I remember someone asking, "Did you just make '____' a VERB?"

I bet I’m going to be noticing it more and more now... but I’ll be more interested in the words that “can’t” be interchangeable!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Taking Too Much of a Liberty??

I wound up watching the trailer for Rise of the Planet of the Apes. I didn’t really mean to do so. For I had no real interest in the film. But a site I clicked onto started playing it automatically. So I had a gander.

Sorry to anyone involved and to those that liked it, but my reaction: Is this a joke? (And not the funny kind.)

I think it’s a good example of when a prequel doesn’t need to be told. If you’re not aware, the movie tells HOW the planet became dominated and ruled and, well, completely run by apes. The answer given, of course, is some sort of scientific experiment gone horribly awry producing an army of hyper-intelligent and hyper-active big monkeys attacking us.

No thanks. I much preferred the mystery of the situation. It’s much more horrifying and compelling to have the reasons unknown. And that explanation just seems too easy. Okay, no, I hadn’t thought of it myself. But that’s because I don’t think there’s any reason to need to know how it happened.

I mean, really, does this movie end with the apes destroying the Statue of Liberty and leave us with a shot of her head angled on the shore?

Just my opinion, of course...

Monday, April 18, 2011

Courageous or Cultivating?

Here’s another
"Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don’t"
dilemma for authors.

The question to the Final Jeopardy! clue on the left is: Who is Ernest Hemingway?

So which is it, then? Should writers just use small and common words? Or is it okay for writers to have a “vocabulary” as such?

I’ll grant right from the start that using “big words” just for the sake of showing off one’s intelligence is a detriment. But how does one make that judgment? Perhaps that particular word fit the exact nuance needed for the scene. Okay, yes, if the word is normally not used and the chances are no one will know it without going to a Dictionary, it’s probably not a good idea to use it. But is it okay to use the “big words” if the meaning is clear via context? If there’s a bunch of these, are they each just another drop in the bucket of annoyance?

Then again, I’ve known and heard people complain as Faulkner did, too. These folk enjoy being taught the meaning of words that are new to them.

I’ve been told that my writing is of the “simple” variety  in the good sense. But do I then irritate the readers who want a challenge?

I suppose this one is all personal preference.  Even amongst authors.  I've seen both praise and intolerance for vocabulary-heavy stories.

But having this abscind, so to speak, sure doesn’t make it too facilitating on us. ;)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Captain GEORGE Hook?

Mr. George Darling & Captain Jas. Hook
There’s often a tendency to think that these two are symbolically related. That some aspect of Hook lies in Darling or vice-versa. As in Wendy, John & Michael are trying to escape the ‘tyranny’ (to whatever degree) of their father’s insistence that their want of play time is nonsense. (Which is also sort of a speculative view.)

This belief arises from the fact that in most productions, Darling & Hook are played by the same man. Does this mean, then, that Hook represents the dark side of their father? Actually, no.

The reason that Darling and Hook are portrayed by a single actor is simply double-casting. It gave the actor, who would otherwise have had a small part, more to do. Granted, the same can be said of the actress who takes on Mrs. Darling - after the children leave she isn’t seen again (in the play) until the end. Consider, though, that at one point Mrs. Darling had been the one double-cast!

Just as Peter Pan being played a by a girl/woman is no way supposed to be commentary on his nature or attributes, there’s nothing in Darling/Hook that’s really meant to be “read into” concerning the aspects of a scary authority figure or some projected extension of the Darling kids' imaginations. It’s just a matter of convenience.

Sure, there’s bound to be some imprint of their father’s influence that helped make the Neverland seem enticing. But certainly not to the degree that many would have us believe.

Yet another misconception of the story of Peter Pan.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Choked on the Chaplin Date

UPDATE on yesrterday's post:
Apparently Chaplin had been born on the 16th and Google started celebrating on the 15th.
Go figure. Sorry for trusting them to use his actual date and not re-looking it up. Sigh.

Hail Chaplin, again.  Hell, he deserves a little more praise anyway, no?

Por que dizem que Peter Pan?

There's a new show on RTP1, a television station in Portugal.
It's apparently called Quem Tramou Peter Pan?  translated as:
Who Framed Peter Pan?

What is has to do with Peter Pan, I'm not really sure.  Seems whenever I'd click on a site (translation of it) it doesn't want to load.  Here's what I've been able to find out:

The show is for kids ages 5-10, giving them the opportunity to ask various skilled people questions.  Their areas of expertise include such fields as sports, art, music and television.  It's hosted by Catarina Furtado.

There are a bunch of pictures on a Flickr site.

Can you imagine Peter Pan in a propeller beanie cap?
He'd probably laugh at it, thinking it's supposed to make a child fly.

Friday, April 15, 2011

A Cheer for a Great CHAP

I learned from Google that today is the
122 anniversary
of the date of Charlie Chaplin's birth.

I don't know about you, but I wave my bowler hat (yes, I do have one) at Mr. Chaplin.  Talk about an innovator and a genius! 

Here's a bit of trivia for you...
Chaplin failed to even reach the finals when he entered a Charlie Chaplin look-alike contest.

And here's another... he has ties to the beloved boy antihero.
Barrie wanted Charlie Chaplin not only to direct the* screen adaptation of Peter Pan, he wanted Chaplin to star as the eternal boy as well!

Imagine what THAT would have been like, eh?

UPDATE:  Apparently Chaplin had been born on the 16th and Google started celebrating on the 15th.  Go figure.  Sorry for trusting them to use his actual date and not re-looking it up.  Sigh.

*Word "the" used since it would have been the first live-action screen version of the tale of Peter Pan.
That honor didn't get claimed until 82 years later, by P.J. Hogan.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Is Our Language Too Languid?

We all know the adage that how we think can shape what’s around us.  As in think you’ll have a bad day and chances are you will.  But what about what we SAY?

I came across this interesting article on BoingBoing. It’s a report on a presentation, There's Perception, and Then There's Reality, given at Conference on World Affairs at the University of Colorado, Boulder by Irish storyteller Clare Murphy. Apparently the way we use language says a great deal about our worldview.

Consider the utterances: I am hungry. I am dying.
In Irish they’re phrased differently: Hunger is upon me. Death is beside me.

Makes quite a bit of difference. Sort of keeps one’s persona intact among other mind shifting.

Something to think about - the way we speak can alter the way we view the world.

Especially intriguing since the idea is brought to light by a storyteller!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

This One Doesn't Pan Out Either

Another Peter Pan story drifted my way. It's been around for a little while (since May 10, 2010), but this is the first I've seen of it. Hook and Peter Pan: How It All Began by Giles Scott. As you can tell from the title, it's meant to be a prequel story.  Like Barrie's novel of Peter Pan, it's a novelization of a play.  This play had been created by the same author along with Helen Dooley and Bob Walsh.  This staging, however, started as a musical.  I had been aware of it in this form.  But when I looked into at the time, I uncovered inconstistencies and then paid it no more mind.  But here it is again, as a book. 

First let me say it's nice to see that Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens is recognized, as it tells of him being a baby and a week old. No other prequel attempt that I know of (with the current available information) has even acknowledged Barrie's origin tale. Unfortunately, though, I didn't have to look too far to see a place or two that it doesn't connect to Barrie.

For one thing, it says that the Neverland and its inhabitants like the Native American tribe and the pirates had all been there originally, sprung up from the imagination of children. While it is in fact true that imagination can shape the Neverland, it is not true that Captain Hook had been dreamed up by kids. Barrie presents his pirate chief as having existed in and having ties to the real world. Besides his connection to the pirates of Treasure Island (fictional, yes, but not within the world of fiction), there is also his time at Eton as well as his ambiguous 'scandalous' identity not to mention him sailing with real-life Blackbeard.

On the first page we meet Tootles. As in, Tootles had been in the Neverland before Peter Pan. Sorry, but Tootles is not one of the original Lost Boys. The boys on the island vary, of course, in numbers, according as they get killed and so on; ... ; but at this time there were six of them, counting the twins as two.   Well, yes, I suppose it's possible that Tootles had been around for that long.  Except that Barrie says He had been in fewer adventures than any of them and that wouldn't make sense at all.  Even so, it also includes Curly, Nibs and Slightly.  Can't be all of them.

Lastly, it ignores that Peter Pan didn't "acquire" immortality and flight.  Both are inherent to him, however so.  This tale would have you believe he has to obtain them by fulfilling the Neverland-Foreverland Legend. 

To end on a positive note, it does seem very imaginative.  At least it's not just coupling it with Oliver Twist as seems the case with the SyFy prequel. 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

A Really Keane Pooh Song

As you might have guessed from previous posts, I am so very looking forward to the new Winnie-the-Pooh movie.  I dare say it's what I am most looking forward to in life right now.  Hey, come on, it brings me sheer joy whenever I see the trailer and I genuinely laugh each time.  Who wouldn't look totally forward to that experience?  :)

You might also have guessed that I can get pretty darn obsessive.  As I said in the post about the trailer, the song they're using seems perfect.  Well, I looked it up.  And now I'm obsessed with the song. It's called Somewhere Only We Know by Keane.  It's a beautiful, wonderful song.  And you know what?  It IS perfect for Pooh.  So much so that it seems as if it could have been written about the adventures in the Hundred Acre Wood.  Truly.

Thus, I hope the Keane song is not just in the trailer.  Often a movie trailer uses music that's not from or in the real movie.  Sometimes even another film's score/theme.  I imagine when a trailer comes out the actual score/music has yet to be determined/composed and they match up something that sounds appropriate. [P.J. Hogan's Peter Pan, for instance, uses Clocks by Coldplay]  Again, I hope that's not the case for here.

And even if it doesn't show up in the movie, I'm going on record to say that it is practically the perfect song for Winnie-the-Pooh.  There's even a woods in the video!

I love the Keane video, too.  I appreciate the little characters in it.  Not only are they reminiscent of what I tend to believe about the world, their design reminds of something out of The Legend of Zelda. Enjoy it for yourself. 

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Are They Teasing?

Here's something being done from Tinsel Town that's not a movie idea... it's loads of them.

As evidenced from previous posts, I like to keep abreast of future projects for the big screen.  Via the internet we are inundated with every next rumbling or mention on the set, privy to speculations and facts alike.  I don't know about you, but after a while I have to put a halt on my delving into information about upcoming movies I know I want to see.  There comes a point where I have "heard/seen too much" for fear of spoiling the adventure for me.  And yet, scouting a little bit seems required, so I know whether or not it sounds up my alley.

Well, the folks behind the Alien quasi-prequel Prometheus and The Dark Knight Rises, namely Ridley Scott and Christopher Nolan, have come up with a way to combat info-hounds.  They've employed teams to generate and spread false rumors about their movies.  Oh sure, it's not like this tactic hasn't been done before.  But here it does seem slightly innovative.  The 'net is already teeming with everything it can drudge up.  Make it harder to separate fact from fiction.

Sort of a way to punish people who crave tidbits about entertainment.  Push too far into the project and you might get pushed off course.  Sounds fair, I suppose.  But as I think further is it really doing the job it sets out to do?   For instance, if I read something about a film I had a spark of interest in which made the spark fizzle and hence I no longer pay attention, is that fair to the filmmakers or to me?  To lose a paying viewer and fan who probably would have otherwise liked it on account of false information?

If this played out the other way around, meaning if I were the artist whose work had roving reports of upcoming projects, would I want to throw people off track?  I don't really think I would.  By the same token, however, I'd also prefer they not uber-spoil it for themsevles. 

When I began this post it seemed like good idea.  Now I'm not so sure.  There's something to be said pro and con on both ends, that's all that I'm sure of here.

I guess what I like boils down to 'teasers,' since I eventually cut off my supply of info.  Really, I do.  I once shut my eyes and plugged my ears in a theater so as not to see the "Inside Look" of On Stranger Tides, the next Pirates of the Caribbean moive.  (For the record, I'm hoping for the best from this movie, but don't expect too much.  It's Jack Sparrow, so I have to see it.)  And also for the record, I'm not keen on either of the aforementioned movie titles.

Lastly for the record, this bewonderment about information seeking and red herrings applies to all other entertainment media for me, too.

Friday, April 8, 2011


Ah, yes, again.
The correct response on an episode of Jeopardy!:
What is Peter Pan?

The category: Disney Movie by Character
And they gave the clue:

Technically they're wrong.  In the Disney movie, Smee is never actually referred to as "first mate."  However it does say that in Disney storybooks of Peter Pan.

In Barrie, Smee is the bo'sun [boatswain (a synonym) in the play], not the first mate.  In fact, there is no mention of a first mate other than:  Nibs and John were first and second mate.  And that's not even the crew of the Jolly Roger.  And he's never "Mr. Smee" - just Smee.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Hollywood is Bad Bandit!

I can't believe I "have to" complain about a remake again.  This one's "idea"  leaves me even more embittered.  They’re remaking the fantastic (both in the senses of story content and quality) Terry Gilliam classic
Time Bandits


This poor man can’t ever catch a break on getting a NEW film made (he always runs into some sort of snag, there's more about that in one of the posts somewhere here) and now they’re going to re-do one of his best?

What’s more, they’re going to make it more “kid-accessible.” Um, suuuure. I had always considered it a kid movie anyway. Do they really think it’s too intense for younger viewers? I had been 10 when it came out. And yes, I saw it in the theater. And yes, I loved it then (and now [yes, I have seen it recently.]) To say it needs to be more kid-friendly is an insult to Gilliam, storytelling and children.

Unlike some other 80’s F/X, I don’t think this movie needs any help. It even holds up today.

Oh, Hollywood. SO many books and plays and original ideas out there and you still insist on destroying the integrity of a classic.

If only the Evil Genius could point a finger at them.

And does ANYONE want THE MAP to be REMADE?


Incidentally, I’ve learned that Banky, Clara, Buttercup and Josiecat haven’t seen Time Bandits. Clara quote :
Time traveling midgets!?!?? I’m IN.

Correction:  Buttercup has seen it.  I showed it to her when we had our Gilliam kick.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

HollyWood Chuck Out What's Cool

If you’re a regular reader, you know that “remakes” tend to drive me crazy.
Yes, folks, once again I have to put in a rant about the craziness of Holly-world.

This time I have a good and a bad.

Let’s take the bad first. Funnily enough, this “bad” is on account of a cancellation of a remake.

Robert Zemeckis had a CGI and 3D Yellow Submarine in the works. For anyone not aware, Yellow Submarine is The Beatles’ animated movie based upon the song of the same name. Fact is The Beatles themselves had nothing to do with it... they just allowed it to be made. It’s not even their voices in the film. It’s a dizzying, wacky and dazzingly tuneful trip into bewonderment. Some people hate it, others love it.

Well, not that I wanted a remake of it... but if it’s going to be done, it only makes sense to do it precisely the way Zemeckis wanted. It deserves a makeover into newer technology. For ‘simply’ re-drawing an animated feature in redesigns is pointless. And it would need to be eye-popping once again, like the original. (It used some interesting and innovative animation techniques .) Therefore, 3D is definitely warranted in this case. They’d also gotten quite a cool cast member for one of the voices: Cary Elwes, to play George Harrison.

And so, with a cocked head mentality of “ok, let’s try it” I figured it might be good.

And yet, the project has been ceased. Why? Well, apparently Disney is at the helm and since Mars Needs Moms [an animated 3D feature film] did poorly at the box office, it’s been decided that animated 3D movies don’t do well. Wait a second... how does that make sense? What about the built-in fan base of millions of fans of The Beatles, who might be looking for a super snazzy new trip on the Yellow Sub? How can they kibosh all animated movies on the basis of one? That’s like saying people didn’t eat the broccoli puffs, so they won’t want the cream puffs. I just don’t get it. We’re trashing one of the few remakes that have merit for a trumped up reason. Darn it.

The other remake has been in production stop-start for quite some time now, many years. A new writer has been assigned, after the previous script had been rejected. The film is Logan’s Run. I know what those of you who have seen are probably thinking - Why? One of the people I knew in college who I’m friends with on Facebook complained about it when he caught wind of it. I don’t blame him. I can understand the frustration. For some the original film is a classic, and if not a classic then a treasured guilty pleasure. I told him what I’m about to say here.

Quite a long way back, when I had first heard of remaking Logan’s Run, I sighed as usual. But then I saw that this remake would not be using the 1976 movie as its source material. No, they planned to go back to the book. Book? Yep. Logan’s Run is a novel from 1967. Intrigued, I tracked down a copy and gave it a read. I really liked it. Bravo to authors William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson. What I liked most about it is the way in which they’d been able to present “foreign” concepts with ease. (I lent the book to someone almost just as long ago so I can’t exactly look stuff up in it!) But as an example, it will say something such as “He turned on the triupalnizer and the room basked in a soothing chill.” We don’t know what a triupalnizer is, but from context (better than I’ve done here) we can surmise what one is and feel immersed in a cool future world.

But most astonishing - everyone’s favorite part of the 1976 movie does not exist. Nope, not even a little bit. Fact is, the entire story has been shifted and rewritten into something almost altogether else from what's in the book. Now that’s a cause for a sigh. And one other mention - the “age limit” of the book vs. the movie. Quick summary: It takes place in a world where once you reach a certain age, it’s your time to die. Those who don’t wish to take part in the glorified mass suicide ritual can ‘choose’ to run. They’re then hunted down by the ‘Sandmen’ who put an end to them if they catch them. Logan, the best Sandman around, well, his time is up. He chooses to run, hence the title. In the film the cut-off age is 30. Yep. No one in the world lives past 30. Well, you see, in the book, the age is 21. Twenty-one! Imagine how horrifying THAT would be! Needless to say, I liked the book better. Truth be told, though, there are parts of the film that are still majorly cool.

And so, at the time many years ago when first announced, the idea had been to be closer to the book. And to keep the true age limit. I’m not sure how true this still is, but we can hope. Said friend on Facebook had not been aware of the book either and when I told him There is no Sanctuary! is not even in it, he realized that he, too, would have to check it out and reluctantly saw that a remake isn’t such a bad idea.

So there you go. Hollywood’s a fickle place.  BUT - we knew that.  We can only ever hope for the best.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Time to Check on the TIME

We all know that the Darling children flew off to the Neverland with Peter Pan.  And we all know that they did in fact return.

But the part that seems to pass everyone by is the how much time passes during their visit. All one really gets from adaptations of it is that they did come back... and seemingly soon.  They have their various famed adventues and the climatic pirate ship battle and it all looks done and gone.  In Disney, for instance, parents George and Mary return home from their party on the same night, to find Wendy asleep at the window, implying that she dreamt it all up. Some folks like to think that they did spend a good deal of time in the Neverland and simply returned, magically, on the same night. A la more time passed in the Neverland than at their home in London. This certainly could be true within the Disney movie. But as always, I like to go to the source. Especially when the various presentations fall short of depicting the reality of this fantasy.

So... how long are they actually there? 

Well, first of all, the very act of even flying to the Neverland seems to take much longer than you might first imagine.
Not long ago. But how long ago? They were flying over the sea before this thought began to disturb Wendy seriously. John thought it was their second sea and their third night.
Thus, we already have an indication that it couldn't just be one night.

And if those lines are construed as the children's wrong impressions, a narrative clue as to it not being the same night, or even just a day, is this line:
...that the children are coming back, that indeed they will be here on Thursday week.

This means not the very next Thursday, but the one after that, as in the one in a week. Hence, they must have been gone for at least twelve days.

But there’s more in the text than just that to give us some idea. Consider: Captain Pan calculated, after consulting the ship’s chart, that if this weather lasted they should strike the Azores about the 21st of June, after which it would save time to fly.  The Azores are in the Atlantic (while the Neverland is on the other side of the world), so... if they had left in the Winter and not yet come back up through June 21, the beginning of summer, we are now talking about 6 months that the Darling children had been away from home. But there’s more!

Just a couple of lines showing that many days did indeed go by on the island:
[Wendy] was often at the lagoon, however, on sunny days after rain, when the mermaids come up in extraordinary numbers to play with their bubbles.

We have now reached the evening that was to be known among them as the Night of Nights, because of its adventures and their upshot.

Regarding the amount of their adventures:
To describe them all would require a book as large as an English-Latin, Latin-English Dictionary, and the most we can do is to give one as a specimen of an average hour on the island.

And then on the other end, back in London, a little from the waiting period of Mr. and Mrs. Darling:
They sat thus night after night recalling that fatal Friday...

Instead of watching the ship, however, we must now return to that desolate home from which three of our characters had taken heartless flight so long ago.
Note, of course, SO LONG AGO.

And then there is this line to ponder:
Wendy, while still in the Neverland and considering going home, says, Perhaps mother is in half mourning by this time.

This had been brought back to my attention by Hook & Jill author Andrea Jones.  For this topic had been one of the many bits she and I discussed about the world of Pan last visit. I had mentioned how the duration of the time in the Neverland is rarely (if ever) actually brought to light in pop culture thinking of the tale.  So, this line immediately came back to Andrea.   Half mourning?   We had an inkling, but needed to be sure. To the internet!

Half-mourning is the traditional third part of mourning in the Victorian era. The plain black clothing associated with the first stage of mourning and the black clothing with trims worn in the second period were replaced in half-mourning by garments in shades of purple and gray. White was also acceptable in this late mourning stage.

In nineteenth century England, the first mourning period, or full mourning, lasted one year and one day. The second mourning stage was nine months long and the half-mourning period was three to six months long. The idea of easing into non-mourning was emphasized by going from dark clothing and a veil for widows to a dark dress with decorative trim to new, lighter- colored of clothing.*

Get all that? Whoa there! If Mary Darling were in half mourning, then this calculates into roughly two years they are gone!

Seem implausible? Don’t forget about George Darling living in the kennel. He even goes to work in it:
Every morning the kennel was carried with Mr. Darling in it to a cab...
And he’s gained notoriety for it:
It may have been quixotic, but it was magnificent. Soon the inward meaning of it leaked out, and the great heart of the public was touched. Crowds followed the cab, cheering it lustily; charming girls scaled it to get his autograph; interviews appeared in the better class of papers, and society invited him to dinner and added, “Do come in the kennel.”
Granted, word of such a sensation could indeed spread quickly, but having nearly two years time to reach this level would certainly make sense.

We also have to consider, of course, that Wendy could be wrong. Time is described as behaving strangely on the island, so perhaps she has miscounted the days. It was not really Saturday night, at least it may have been, for they had long lost count of the days; but always if they wanted to do anything special they said this was Saturday night, and then they did it. Still, however, this does give another indication that they were there for ever so long!  They are even forgetting details about their own home.  Sure the Neverland is a distracting and adventurous place, but would that have happened in so a short time as is generally thought? (Unless one goes by the assumption that the Neverland makes one forget things, but I don't recall any solid evidence of that concept.)  And since Wendy’s “job” is meant to be a homemaker and she adheres to it, she would have a better grasp on ‘reality’ than the others. So it’s not entirely far-fetched that she just as well could be correct.

So no matter what, this idea that they had their fun in the Neverland for a night or even merely the weekend is not the truth. The Darlings, as shown by the text, had been gone for what amounts to years.

It pains me to think of poor Mr. & Mrs. Darling, pining for their lost children and regretting their alleged mistakes.  Mary keeps the window open, sitting by it in the hope they they'll return.  It's so heart-breaking.  And if you want more of the depth of their despair, Barrie lays it all out for you during the novel.

But then, Peter likely had no intention of letting them return to London in the first place.

* Quoted from this page.

* I certainly didn't catch every reference to the length of their stay in the novel, so feel free to add more!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Blazes! The Name!

I know I said I'd closed the book on Hook, but I wound up poking around a little bit after thinking about something Andrea Jones had told me.  I couldn't leave it alone.  I mean after all, she wrote Hook & Jill for Pete's sake, so I flew back into the texts and scoured the history books to see if I could make it out.

In Peter and Wendy, Barrie writes:
Hook was not his true name. To reveal who he really was would even at this date set the country in a blaze; but as those who read between the lines must already have guessed, he had been at a famous public school; and its traditions still clung to him like garments, with which indeed they are largely concerned.

Well, friends, I would be a fool not to tell you that I deciphered this riddle.  Without getting into the whole delineation of the path to pluck this from the depths of filed imagination in a historical context, I shall now present to you the real identity of Captain Jas. Hook of the Jolly Roger.  He is none other than the personage mentioned in Peter and Wendy in this line:  Wendy thought Napoleon could have got it, but I can picture him trying, and then going off in a passion, slamming a door.  And it also explains why said personage is often depicted with his right hand hiding in his vestments.

So glad that's solved on this, the first day of April.