I remember a conversation I had last night while hanging out with some friends of mine. We were discussing the summer 2013 lineup of movies, and among such flicks as Star Trek: Into Darkness, Iron Man 3, and The Great Gatsby, we ended up on the topic of Man of Steel.
Little contextual side note: My friends are huge comic-book fans, and I myself used to be, though these days I have grown rather…well, “less-than-enthralled” at the veritable legion of same-y superhero stories that populate much of the blockbuster lineup.
My friends were obviously looking forward with great anticipation to the Man of Steel movie, and I posed my qualms about it: it seemed to be of a similar breed to the mountain of content that already existed.
I then went on said that I was looking forward to Pacific Rim a lot more, which elicited a very interesting reaction:
Apparently, I have garnered a bit of a reputation!
Maybe I’m supposed to be the stereotypical person that hates all big-budget Hollywood blockbusters, only praising some random niche of movie; cult flicks, art-house films, or something of that nature?
I could also surmise that perhaps Man of Steel and Pacific Rim were seen by them as similar movies, both big affairs with the fate of the world at stake, which was the reason for their surprise.
In any case, I found that to be enough of a reason to contrast why exactly I’m really looking forward to one and almost not at all to the other.
Alright, let us start with the iconic figure that has become the ubiquitous symbol of the word “superhero”. Picture these potential plot lines:
Superman struggles to find his place in the world, with people in both awe and fear of him; but his love of humanity remains strong. Then…
1 – Some villain puts civilians (or just Lois Lane, interchangeably) in danger, and he is forced to make some difficult ethical decision about how he can save everyone on the planet.
2 – He comes too near some kryptonite (often disguised as something else) and then gets the crap beaten out of him. Near to death, the kryptonite is somehow removed from the equation, and then he comes back to save the day.
3 – The population decides they don’t need him or are too fearful of him for whatever reason, and so they ostracize him, only to have him finally prove himself to them at the end.
4 – Any combination of the above.
That’s because collectively they represent almost every Superman plot ever. Most Superman stories can be boiled down to one of those options (I’m sure the legion of comics out there has more variety than that, but I’m equally sure that even so a large majority of the stories are still going to be in that format).
Now, I know that isn’t really fair at a surface level. I mean, ever superhero has their thing, right? The X-men will probably always be stories of discrimination and acceptance. Spider-man will always be about the balance between responsibility and living the life you’d like to.
But regardless of how many ways they present this story, it does get old.
I’m basing this opinion purely on what I see to be the plots of both respective films from trailers and articles, which are the only references available at the time of this writing; BUT with trailers being the things that help you determine which movies you want to see and which you don’t, I imagine it is legitimate enough. I still plan to watch both these movies, mind you, but I don’t really expect Man of Steel to be all that groundbreaking.
From the trailers, it just seems like another “the world is in danger and only Superman can save us!” to me. Giving himself up to the authorities so they can turn him over to the bad guys in an act of self-sacrifice (which is what I assume happens) has a ring of familiarity to it, probably due to the fact that he does this every time the world is in peril and someone actually poses a threat to humanity.
Could this movie be incredible? Could be it be a completely fresh twist on classic Superman tropes? Yes! Does it look like it will be, however?
Not so much.
There are points in one trailer where it says:
“He’ll be a God to them.”
“For some, he was a guardian angel, for others, a ghost, who never quite fit in.”
“You will give the people of Earth an ideal to strive towards, they will race behind you, they will stumble, they will fall, but in time, they will join you in the sun. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders.”
Now here’s an idea: What if there was a movie not about Superman, but about the people around him? Just random people on the street, a minister, a homeless person, etcetc, and the movie is about their lives reacting to the things Superman does. Following his example, trying to solve the conflicts in their lives with the same benevolence and love for humanity, seeing him as an idol, a symbol of hope, a god. Mob mentality ensues, and maybe a cult formed around Superman starts doing horrible things in his name. He needs to stop them, but he can’t just go kill them all or even try to lock them up – they were, after all, just misguided, doing what they thought “Superman would do”.
I don’t know. That’s just off the top of my head, and it clearly needs tweaking. But seriously, do we really need to just have him sacrificing himself on the altar of humanity’s future intermingled with various scenes of him punching people out of the sky and a childhood that can be summed up with “BWAA?!? I’m adopted?!? And an alien?!?”
Every. Single. Time.
Well, admittedly, the plot will probably not be so simple as that. I hope. I’m sure Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer know what they are doing.
But I digress.
It seems to be just another movie about robots fighting aliens, lots of visual effects, and all the general stuff that happens in those kind of movies, right?
I don’t think so.
The premise is fairly simple, yes. But look at what else that trailer is telling you.
There are two pilots for these robot soldiers, and when they pilot, they must both work together AND share all their memories and experiences. Just imagine all the places they could go with just that alone!
Opening yourself entirely to another person would be quite a harrowing experience. But on top of that, you have to work together with this person to pilot a giant behemoth and battle alien beings from deep beneath the Earth’s surface?
-The drama that can ensue by revealing all your personal demons to another person who now knows you better than anyone else.
-Learning to work in a perfect trio: Man, Woman, and Machine.
-One of them is a former pilot, and the other an inexperienced trainee.
-What if one of them dies while they are linked, or is seriously injured? (let’s face it, it’ll probably happen at some point in the movie) How does that affect the other?
-The two protagonists could potentially have some sort of love story by getting to know each other, OR (much more interestingly) what if one of them is married or in a relationship and the fact that the two share an intimate neural link while piloting wreaks havoc on their personal lives?
Obviously that last one was 100% speculation, but I hope you see what I’m saying. So many places this thing could go, so much story that could be told.
And if you aren’t convinced yet, just remember that at one point they use this Jaeger robot to bat an alien with a supertanker.
But anyway, I’ve written over 1000 words on my first impressions of these movies. It’s probably time to stop.
In conclusion, could Man of Steel be some incredible film that defies all the stereotypes and does something really new and interesting?
Could Pacific Rim end up just being another alien movie with giant robots thrown in?
Yes, to both.
But from what I’ve seen so far, Pacific Rim is much more engaging, original, and inventive.
Brendon “who wants to team up and pilot and giant robot?!?” Regier
There is a word out there, at this very moment, that is probably being misused somewhere in this country.
A wonderful, wash-over-you sort of word. It always conjures for me the images of freshly tilled Earth and that wonderful smell you get when standing in the middle of a heavily forested area; the fresh air, a hint of moss covering fallen tree trunks, and the satisfying crunch of browned leaves under your feet. It might have this effect because I’ve taken one too many hiking trips in my earlier years through the woods and in the mountains of British Columbia.
The word I’m talking about?
The sights, sounds, and smells this word brings up in my mind are now heavily glazed with a coat of annoyance due to the sheer amount I see it used as some synonym for “new, insightful, or fresh”.
Either that, or some marketing buzzword; but to be quite honest, I don’t really mind it being used in such a manner. If your vegetables, coffee, and various department store merchandise are all being sold to you as “organic” products, then sure. Usually it just means that it was grown without “chemicals” (I never really hear which ones, just that they are harmful) and that’s all well and good if you feel like paying an extra buck or two. I don’t care for organic products myself, but I don’t really mind that they exist either. They have a market, and they cater to it. It’s no different than advertisers putting “home-style” or “fresh” or “fat free” or whatever strikes a chord with consumers. “Home-style” does not mean it was cooked in a home, by a loving, doting mother who hands it down to you with a pat on the head and a kiss, which is clearly the nostalgic image of times past that they are trying to evoke with such a phrase. Likewise, “fresh” is rather ambiguous, and doesn’t really mean anything when placed on a product. Regardless of how sealed the package of that box of cookies you just bought is, it doesn’t stop the march of time. Fresh means “newly made or obtained; recently arrived; just come” (according to the dictionary, anyway) and that does not apply to cookies sitting on a supermarket shelf for days on end.
What I’m getting at is this; using words to evoke emotions that makes us wish to buy certain products is a cornerstone of the marketing empire. The word is not misused in this context, it is merely a tool in the arsenal of those who wish to promote their product to a certain audience.
Marketing is one thing, but general conversation is another.
Here is why this word is truly misused, and what has caused my loathing:
“That idea you had was very organic.”
“I love that book. It’s so introspective and organic.”
Okay, okay, I get it. I realize that the word in this context usually refers to something that seemed to have a life of it’s own, that grew and developed absent of structure or (sometimes) intentional thought. A mere colloquialism we have adopted.
The problem is the elitism we have prescribed it. It seems to hold some special meaning these days that has absolutely nothing to do with the actual meaning of the word. As though the thing described (usually being a work of art; movies, books, paintings, etc) is more “deep” or thought-provoking by being “organic”.
This, ladies and gentlemen, does not make any sense. Organic, as a base word, means, in essence, “something that is living”, and eventually became a colloquialism, “something that developed naturally, as though it were living” and then developed into the ridiculous “something that is (seemingly) more profound and fresh than other things out there.”
“Organic” is not a synonym for “original”.
That’s just being pretentious.
Brendon “organically produced” Regier
It’s been a slow week. Mostly spent watching movies and pacing back and forth while music plays in the background, attempting to dream up story ideas.
I finally got around to watching American Beauty, and loved it. I didn’t realize how much I enjoyed well done visual metaphors; especially when the movie isn’t ALL visual metaphors. I am referring of course to the red rose petals that appear in the fantasy sequences during the film, which (I can only assume) symbolized sexual desire. And let us not forget the quirky characters; there is no substitute for a expertly written one. I really am a sucker for characters like that, which might also explain my love of Breaking Bad, Sleepy Hollow, and House (sure, Sleepy Hollow’s characters may not be “quirky” in the traditional sense, but they DO have a certain flair to them that I love).
I also ended up watching Zero Dark Thirty. I’ll say this for it; at least it didn’t portray every soldier as Captain America. You know, the sort of upstanding, patriotic hero that many people would have you believe soldiers are. That first scene had some good weight to it, and assuming you view the Americans as “the good guys” and everyone else as “the bad guys”, it gives a refreshing release from stereotypes. Hey, it’s not just the bad guys that do terrible things like torture.
Aside from that, however, Zero Dark Thirty sort of fell flat on its face for me. The main character felt like a cartoon, especially when she gets incredibly “hero on a quest” about one-third through the movie, making passionate speeches about how they need to be going after Bin Laden when everyone else has given up. I got this vibe that she was some hero from a small village who had risen up to battle the giant evil dark lord in his castle of doom, and it was hard to take the movie seriously after that. And honestly, whoever this person ACTUALLY was, I’m sure she had a bit more on her mind than Bin Laden 24/7. That was the entirety of her character. There’s a scene where she goes out to a restaurant with a co-worker (who felt like a stereotypical “girl” character, which was a bit annoying) who tells her to relax a bit and asks “do you have any friends at all?” And what does she do? She stares downward and doesn’t answer till the phone rings. If she was an introverted loner, that would be one thing, but this character didn’t seem that way at all. She was just far too single-minded.
In short, she felt more like a plot device than an actual character.
But enough of that. As far as dreaming up story ideas goes, I have accomplished a bit this week. Nothing too extravagant. I’ve been working on plotting a novel I’m writing, and have been occasionally writing bits of short fiction which were discarded very quickly after their creation. I’m horrible at sticking to stuff like that.
To give a few examples, let me show you a piece.
This is something I wrote late one night, not entirely sure what on Earth I was trying to achieve:
Is everyone like me?
Sam’s thoughts were often plagued with such frivolities. For it was frivolous to reflect on such things. It was the sort of statement pretentious morons thought up when they were being “deep”.
Deep into shit, maybe.
But he always did end up reflecting on that ever-persistent question, standing idly in his uniform with that one inconveniently placed mustard stain on his groin, the headset that didn’t work very well affixed to his head, the plastic so warm from the insufferable sun shining in through the drive-thru window that it stuck to his cheek, the microphone always seeming to tilt upward in just the right way so as to obscure his vision. Not to mention the way the headset seemed to turn people’s voices into unintelligible crackles.
Sam took another look around the restaurant, wondering if these people did the same things he did. Spend their whole day with this indifferent, superfluous attitude, then going home to turn on music really loud, dancing around their living rooms pretending they were the star of their own music video, imagining for a moment that they could actually sing, and didn’t look just a little too fat for television. Dreaming of a life where you were always happy and everyone respected you just for the sole reason that you were something good to look at. You’d stand out. You wouldn’t be a drone.
Sam hated being associated with these people. The ordinary, everyday street people. He’d had this moment, all the way back in elementary school, where he realized he was special. A cut above the rest. They were all going to be accountants and engineers and doctors. He, on the other hand, was going to be famous. He was going to make it big. He would prove all the others wrong when they doubted him. Even when they encouraged him, but sarcastically. Everyone was so very sarcastic. Sam could see right through them. They didn’t think he was hard-working enough to make it big in Hollywood, or publish some overnight success novel. He’d make it to stardom, and they’d all look at him and say “well, I have to admit it Sam, you were right all along!”
Sometimes I’ll start with a single line I want to include, or a feeling, a mood, even a title, but often I won’t know where I want to end up, and I’ll leave it partway through. Most of that last piece was taken from my previous experiences with working in fast-food, my high-school-era attitude toward life, and that feeling I actually had when I was younger, the idea that “I’m special, and destined for great things”.
I think I’m one of those people that needs to know the ending before I can begin to create the beginning and middle. I need a direction to head.
For now, I want to continue work on my novel, as I would love to have a completed manuscript on my hands instead of half-fleshed out scraps.
Brendon “occasional cinephile” Regier
I’ve noticed something recently.
I was thinking about a lot of ideas I’ve had over the past few years, and about a lot of media that has come out in that time.
Now, this is nothing new, but most stories recently have been skewing towards a very dark, edgy tone.
I’ve certainly been guilty of this in the past as well. It’s something writers do to lend a feeling of depth to a project. It’s a complete hoax in many cases, but it’s still used a lot.
I’m not sure where this stereotype came from, but it is generally accepted that lighthearted, colorful stories are for children, and darker, gritty stories are for adults.
It’s not that this isn’t true. It is. It just isn’t true in all cases.
The problem is when stories go for a really edgy feel to them for the sole purpose of appealing to an older audience, or making the story seem more “adult”.
That, however, is not in fact the thing I noticed recently; I just thought some context was in order.
What I noticed was how important evil is in a narrative.
You see, I love discussing things I watch and read with my friends; it makes for very interesting conversation a lot of the time. What my friends would often do (and would sometimes spark debate on my part) is dance around a particular point that’s basically always the same: “I didn’t watch X show because it has Y in it.” Fill that in with what you will; didn’t watch Breaking Bad because it had drugs in it; didn’t watch The Wire because it was full of racism and violence; I’m sure you get the picture.
I was reminded of a time back in 2001 when a much younger Brendon was at his piano teacher’s house for a weekly lesson. We were talking about how our respective weeks had been, and I mentioned how I had loved seeing the first Lord of the Rings movie, which had just come out.
“Oh,” said my piano teacher. “I walked out of it with my family when the wizard’s duel happened. Too much magic and witchcraft in that movie.”
I was taken aback. She had missed everything past that point? The journey past Rivendell and that incredible ending sequence with Boromir, and all the wonderful, touching, and tense moments in between? I could certainly understand someone being unsettled by or objecting to witchcraft as a concept; but as a plot device to push forward an incredible story with an amazing message that has lasted and enthralled people for decades, finally realized on screen?
No matter my level of understanding on why she did what she did, I couldn’t help but feel a little annoyed at it.
And that sentiment has not changed over the years.
It is my firm belief that objectionable content, when used correctly, only adds to a movie. This clearly varies from film to film, and depends entirely on what the film is trying to achieve or the message it is trying to send. The themes that permeate it.
To have a truly moving ending, the character must pass through trials. The severity of those trials will determine how grand the climax and payoff is.
The easiest example I can give is The Pilgrim’s Progress, a story of a journey from The City of Destruction to The Celestial City. All thinly-veiled allegorical meanings aside, if this was simply a guy walking from one city to another, it would be both boring and lacking in anything that brings fulfillment to the journey. But luckily, it isn’t just walking. He has to pass through places such as the Slough of Despond, the Valley of the Shadow of Death, the city of Vanity, and The River of Death; all of which obviously sound like places you wouldn’t even want to go near (though it would be sort of badass to be able to say, “yeah, I live next to the RIVER OF DEATH”). The point being, he went through many trials, faced many dangers, and lost friends along the way. And the ending is more meaningful because of it.
I think it would be best to let Samwise Gamgee sum all this up:
“It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened?
But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow; even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something.”
So I urge you today, if you are someone who has shied away from something simply because it contained an element you didn’t like, please reconsider.
Going back to the two examples I gave earlier, if I hadn’t given The Wire a shot because of all the objectionable material it contained (which is a lot), I wouldn’t have gotten to experience a very real, down-to-earth show that moved me and gave me new perspectives. It really has some incredible and touching moments.
And for everyone who hasn’t seen Breaking Bad simply because “it’s about drugs”… well, I just have to get this off my chest: you are flat-out incorrect. That show is about the characters that inhabit it. And those people are some of the best written characters I have ever seen grace the screen. Ever.
The darker the tunnel, the brighter the light at the end will seem.
Brendon “fully realizes the title of this post was totally incendiary” Regier
I find I get all my best writing done between the hours of one and four in the morning.
My “best writing” being writing which flows most naturally from the confusing recesses of my brain to the page, feeling the most inspired and making correct use of my diction without sounding horribly pretentious.
And I suppose I should clarify:
I am not an insomniac.
For a long time I called myself one, but insomnia is an inability to fall or stay asleep. I sleep fine, most nights. The issue for me is that I hate the daytime.
I feel so exhausted and lethargic during the day. It requires quite a bit of effort to do anything.
Once about ten’o’clock or so hits, however… that’s a different story.
The atmosphere is absolutely wonderful at night. If I go on a walk, I usually wait until it’s dark out. Maybe it’s the lack of people, of car noises, of disturbance in general. The knowledge that most others will be asleep means I may tread uninhibited through the streets, Coconut (my adorable dog) pulling on the leash a little as she scampers about, carefully avoiding patches of snow at all costs.
And yes, there is still a lot of snow where I live. Even though it’s almost May.
I think the fact that I know I won’t be disturbed while I write at night or walk outside is comforting. I’m just a person who enjoys the cool evening breeze, the moon and stars glowing softly above, beautiful shadows dancing across the pathway, encapsulated in solitude. It’s magic. Pure, natural magic.
Now then, on to other news:
I have finally got another short story on the go, which I am most excited about, and yet also apprehensive over.
I always feel like I’m cheating when I write short stories; as though I should probably be concentrating on my novel, but I suppose short fiction is helpful to build up my skills.
I once heard that you should concentrate on one or the other, novels or short fiction, as starting out in short fiction doesn’t always lead to a novel. This makes sense to me, but honestly, I’m not sure where my strength lies writing-wise. I suppose I’ll stick to both for now, and just see how my abilities develop.
Regardless of what I prove to be good at, my dream is still to see a novel published one day.
I gave up too many dreams from my childhood. I realized I probably couldn’t make it in the movie business, I’ll never be good at drawing or sketching, I’m not a particularly good actor, and I’ll never have superpowers.
I’m sticking to this one!
Keep an eye on those bookshelves, because one day my novel will help adorn them!
Brendon “is trying to shorten his posts so he doesn’t ramble so much” Regier
Alas, sloth has taken hold of me once more!
Today is a day I feel like doing absolutely nothing at all. Just lazing about and watching movies. I’m sure every person on the planet has days like this, but I regret to say that I feel it far too often for my own liking.
I also feel quite hungry. If I had some cash in hand and was next to a burger joint, without hesitation I would stuff myself full of delicious food.
I feel very “seven-deadly-sins-ish” today, I suppose.
Gluttony, Lust, Greed, Sloth, Pride, Envy, Wrath.
Honestly, the only one of those I can attest to NOT feeling that much recently is greed. But then again, it’s hard to be greedy when you are at a point of having very little to begin with.
Not that I’m saying I’m a particularly bad person. Everyone, if being honest with themselves, would find that they tend to feel many of these seven deadly sins every single day, to some extent or another.
I’ve always found it so fascinating that in Christianity, one is punished not just for one’s actions, but one’s malicious feelings. Something I’ve always tended to agree with.
I have a motto, one I used to use a lot: “Intent is everything”.
Allow me to explain.
Imagine these situations:
A person (let’s call him “John”) is very angry at another person (we’ll call him “Jack”) and comes after him with a knife. John realizes before doing anything harmful, however, that he is clearly going too far, and stops.
Alright, situation two:
John is angry at Jack, and comes after him with a knife. In the heat of passion, John stabs Jack to death.
If I was to ask, “in which of these scenarios is John guilty”, you would probably answer “both” because you knew it was a loaded question, you smarty-pants. BUT the answer I was driving you towards was “the second situation”.
Clearly, if both these situations were to play out, the second situation would be one where John was sentenced “guilty” for murder, because he did, in fact, kill someone; whereas in the first situation he would probably be innocent of murder, only guilty of assault or some such crime. Obviously, the prison sentence for murder is a lot longer than one for a simple assault. In fact, if Jack wasn’t hurt in the first scenario, then I have doubts it would even make it to court. One threat is a little flimsy to send someone to jail for, considering you cannot know whether this person would actually have gone through with what they were threatening to do.
This is where I applied my statement “intent is everything”.
Regardless of what actually happened, in both scenarios John came after Jack with the intent to kill him. He wanted Jack to feel pain because of something Jack had done. This intention, when you boil it down, was the cause of the murder that happened in the second situation. John’s action was merely a result of his intent. Therefore, should he not be held accountable for that, instead of his actions?
Cause and Effect.
John’s anger and intent was the cause, and (in the second scenario) the effect was murder. So, to sum up, he was in fact guilty in both situations because even though he did not physically commit murder in the first scenario, he still wanted to. If you throw a lit match towards a pool of gasoline, and someone swats it away in mid-air, no one would deny that you tried to light it, even though it didn’t actually happen. The same principle applies here.
One more thing I should mention about this “intent is everything” statement:
You’ll notice I didn’t mention what it was that made John so angry he came after Jack with a knife. I could have said “Jack was having an affair with John’s wife” or “Jack had just stolen several thousand dollars from John” or even “Jack had just brutally assaulted John, beating him and breaking several bones”. But that would have given John a rationalization for murder. Let us say that that last example was the thing that made John angry. Jack had brutally beat John. Most people, upon reading that, would have considered the stabbing “fair payback”. An eye for an eye, as it were. Hell, you could even argue in a court that it was “self-defense” to stab Jack.
But the reason John is angry isn’t the problem, it’s the fact that he is angry. He wanted to murder Jack, and THAT was the wrong part. Not that Jack didn’t deserve it. But John was no person to deal out death and punishment.
Most of us (me included) want a reason for John to be excused for his anger and murderous intent because, well, let’s be honest, we ALL feel like that at some point. But that doesn’t mean all of us are innocent.
It means we are all guilty.
Rationalizing anger is easy.
Dealing with guilt is the hard part.
Not that I think we should change the judicial system or anything as extreme as that. It is near impossible for us as humans to uncover someone’s intentions. Until we gain the ability to read minds, I’m afraid we are stuck with the rule of law based almost entirely on action.
And so, I come back again to the seven deadly sins. It doesn’t really matter whether you are religious or not, I think all of us can agree that nothing good can really come from any of those seven feelings.
Yes, we humans can be ugly creatures at times.
Just remember, the seeds of every crime are planted in the mind, not the body. All we can hope to do is attempt to understand one another. I firmly believe that if we just tried to gain some perspective on why other people felt the way they did we’d all be better off, and we would get less caught up in the heat of passion that leads to things like murder.
Brendon “feels like he’s preaching too much” Regier
P.S. The painting I used for this post is called “The Seven Deadly Sins And The Four Last Things”, by Hieronymus Bosch. I can’t say I know all that much about art, but I do enjoy it, and this painting was of particular interest to this post.
I have returned home.
By that, I do not mean the blog. When I say “home” I am referring to the metaphorical house of writing; the one thing I have lacked in the past few months, and the one thing I desperately need to get back to.
Writing, once left alone for a while, has a very strong allure to it. You can attempt to stay away, but it will always draw one back to itself.
So there it is. I’m home.
It’s a comfortable, familiar home.
When I first looked back on this site after my several months abroad, I was surprised to find most my old posts and reread them. Often I have wondered if people change over periods of time. Before I would have said no, that people are immutable. They can pretend to change, but they never really do.
Well, now I’d say that I was right before, but that I was also lacking perspective. Our experiences shape us, and through that, we become new versions of ourselves. When I said that people don’t change, I referred to deep-rooted mannerisms and character quirks. The little bits of ourselves that make us who we are. What I didn’t realize before was that once we gain new perspectives on things, we change in our grander outlook and become wiser.
So how have I changed?
Honestly, I’m not really sure how to begin to describe it. Over the past eight months, I’ve haven’t been doing anything amazing. Nothing most would consider noteworthy, anyway. I spend an incredible amount of time simply thinking about things far beyond my natural ability to comprehend. I tell you truly, it gives one headaches.
“Why are we here?”
“What is the purpose of life?”
“Is there really a God?”
Such is a sampling of my cognitive process of late. And I think about these sorts of things ALL the time. I’m in the middle of looking for a job, so a lot of my day ends up being looking through job listings, watching movies and TV shows, and gaming. I walk my dog a lot, and striding through the slush of melting snow, my mind tends to stray a lot. That, combined with the aforementioned watching of media and gaming, tends to merit me a lot of thinking time. Perhaps too much.
Let it be said that thinking too much leads to over-thinking and over-analyzing things, and over-thinking is the bane of many a good soul!
I suppose I could have tried to put down some of those thoughts on this blog. But when pressed, I just couldn’t think of what to say. I created this blog to post my musings and I have generally failed at that in recent times.
Now that I am at least declaring myself back, my plan for going forward is this:
1. Get a job (I feel very lazy every day I don’t have one, and let’s face it, money helps things.)
2. Write on this blog at least once a week (I used to do once a day, and burnt myself out faster than… um… something that moves really fast. Let’s not try that again for a bit!)
3. Plan some reviews (I have been thinking it’d be interesting to try my hand at video reviews of some movie I saw and enjoyed, or some TV show I like. So if this takes off, I’ll toss it on my youtube channel and link it here)
4. WRITE (This is the important one. I really, really need to write more!)
And there you have it.
I should probably clarify that by “write” I mean my novel, but I would like to get some more short fiction done as well. It’s fun to write a short story, and it gives me good practice.
Well anyway, if anyone on this website still remembers who on Earth I am, I have returned! Sound the trumpets and send the heralds forth across the land!
…actually, just a cake would be fine. Even a cupcake. A chocolate one. With some icing and sprinkles.
I just realized I’m starving; time to procure food!
Brendon “Prodigal Son” Regier
Chances are a popular conversation starter these days is, “so, are you watching the Olympics?”
At least, that’s how a lot of my conversations seem to be starting. And it’s annoying.
I never watch regular sporting events, much less a large international gathering of them. I just find it boring.
I’ve sometimes tried to get into it. I’ll think about what people enjoy about watching sports. The anticipation of a point scored, the athletes giving their all, driving forward in a desperate attempt to surpass their adversaries. Tactical plays, fanciful teamwork. But it never clicks for me. I think it is a hazard of spending so much time immersed in fiction that I end up finding real events mundane.
And speaking of fiction…
I’ve been working on revisions to my novel recently. A lot less has been progressed upon than I’d hoped as I try to get my story straight. Ever since that epiphany a while back, I’ve been forced to rethink a lot of the future events in my character’s respective arcs. It’s a good thing; the original plans were laid, but the foundation was shaky. I don’t think it would have turned out nearly as strong as I had envisioned.
I’m just not used to reworking something I have already thought up. It’s tough. In the past, when I wrote a story, that was it; there was no room for change. I hated hearing how something wasn’t quite right with it, or having any criticism given. I felt like I had failed, because the one thing I refused to do was change what I already had; it felt like my original wasn’t good enough, that I was terrible at ideas.
I was very black-and-white like that.
Luckily, with this story, I’ve overcome a few hurdles of the past. I’ve built a greater focus on characterization, so my characters (hopefully) won’t be as one dimensional as they usually tend to be for me, and I’ve realized that going back and improving upon a previous idea is a good thing, not a bad one. Not an admission of failure, but a sincere desire to make this work the best it can be. I hope once this story is done I learn even more to make my next better, and so on and so forth.
It’s a learning process.
Onward, pen! Let us join together and conceive legends, that they may enthrall people for generations to come!
Brendon “doubts his novels will actually do that well” Regier
Most people I know have that one thing they are irrationally pessimistic about.
The one thing that no one could convince you is or isn’t true. Maybe you think you are ugly. Maybe you think you are a terrible singer. Maybe you even have some evidence in your head to back up your claim. Some time in the past that you got booed off stage, or that someone once gave you a stare of disgust.
No matter what it is or how you justify it, you won’t let anyone tell you anything other than what you have firmly set in your mind.
Just like me.
Many have tried to convince me otherwise, but I just have it stuck in my head that I’m going to remain single the rest of my life. That there’s no girl out there who would care romantically for someone like me.
If I were asked to present evidence of this claim, I would probably just say something to the extent of, “well, no one’s been interested so far”. I mean, that’s flimsy as hell for a court, but how am I supposed to present evidence of future events (or even worse, lack thereof)?
It’s not that I think this is concrete, set in stone, or whatever. I know perfectly well it’s an irrational fear that doesn’t necessarily predict how my life will turn out. But it gnaws at me. It occupies my thoughts.
I feel lonely. I see others around me, friends I know, people on the street and even characters in movies (as lame as that sounds) in wonderful relationships, and I get jealous. And then I feel guilty for feeling jealous of other’s happiness. And my guilt makes me feel like I don’t deserve anyone anyway. So I feel lonely. And then the cycle repeats.
It’s not like I don’t appreciate other’s attempts to cheer me up. When you say “I’m sure you’ll find someone”, I want to believe you, but years of longing and no girl giving me a second look have conditioned me otherwise.
I feel quite pitiful about thinking things like this, and I’ll be more than happy to eat my own words and be proven wrong about the whole affair, but nonetheless until that happens, I’m a lonely, sorrowful man.
I think I should probably apologize, this post is fairly depressing. Here, to compensate you, please accept this picture of a puppy:
There, don’t you feel better?
Brendon “a lifetime is a long while to be alone” Regier