Writer of words. Builder of worlds.

Category: On Media

Abyss of the Birds

The abyss is Time with its sadness, its weariness. The birds are the opposite to Time; they are our desire for light, for stars, for rainbows, and for jubilant songs.

Olivier Messiaen

Time passes. Each moment is stitched to the next, the seams so small you’ll never see them. You thought the water was cool at first, but now it freezes your skin. You thought the wind was a whisper, but now it screeches and scratches in your ears. Yet nothing has changed. Only the moments that have been passing, one by one by one. Time passes and everything in its path is ground down to dust.

Angelica and Eliza in Hamilton: Political Ambition vs. Personal Stability

Hamilton is a musical about legacy. It examines the concept from several different angles – what is a legacy worth, what control do you have over your own legacy, how far would you go to protect it? This is very evident in the political parts of the plot, but it also comes through in the personal aspects, namely, his relationship with Eliza and Angelica, and how those relationships develop over the course of the story. In many ways, these personal relationships, as presented in the musical, leave more of a legacy than the fighting and writing. Let’s dig into that, shall we?

Who Tells Your Story: Point of View in Hamilton

I’m very obsessed with Hamilton. Like, there was a point where I listened to the soundtrack once a day. As in, I bought the sheet music to learn on the piano. I mean, I signed up for Disney+ just so I could watch the filmed performance. I haven’t written about it before because there’s not much for me to say that isn’t just gushing. The music’s great. The story’s impressive. The lyrics are soooo good. There’s not much I can add to that.

How not to write your story out of existence

Endings are very important. You can enjoy a story all the way up to the end, but sometimes the actual ending will be so bad it retroactively makes you hate the rest of the story.
Many say that the worst ending is “And then I woke up and it was all a dream.”

My Favourite Mulan

Mulan is the first Disney live-action remake I’ve actually been tempted to see. I haven’t gone near any of the others, partly because they feel more like a money-grab rather than a genuine desire to bring something new to these stories, and partly because I don’t actually have a lot of nostalgia for Disney animations. I’m sure I watched them at some point (but not all of them) but they weren’t important to my childhood.

Arrival vs Story of Your Life: New Ways of Thinking

Arrival is a 2016 sci-fi film written by Eric Heisserer and directed by Dennis Villeneuve, and tells the story of Louise Banks, a linguist who helps to communicate with aliens visiting Earth. It is based on Story of Your Life, a short story by Ted Chiang. If you have neither seen this film nor read this story, I very strongly encourage you to do one or the other before reading this blog post. I’m going to spoil both of them, and they are both excellent pieces of craft that do not deserve spoiling. Go now; the blog will still be here when you get back.

Why I dislike Prisoner of Azkaban (the movie)

I stopped watching the Harry Potter movies after the third one. Weirdly, this is the movie that others find most enjoyable, the most creative. I suppose that is kind of why I hate it.

Tribute to La Monte Young

La Monte Young was a 20th century composer who is most well known for his very experimental set of works named Compositions 1960. The most famous, #7, is credited with being the first minimalist piece, being only two notes, a B and and F#, meant to be held for a long period of time. Other pieces instruct players to light a fire, push a piano through a wall, feed a piano a bale of hay, set some butterflies loose in a room (the piece ends when they leave), or just contain cryptic messages, like “This piece is like whirlpools in the middle of the ocean.” There’s also one about grasshoppers. Basically, these pieces challenge the very definition of music and have always been fascinating to me. I recommend you at least check out the Wikipedia page for Compositions 1960, if only to have a laugh. I’m not entirely sure what I was trying to do when I wrote the story, or passage, or whatever, below. Maybe it was a bit of a writing exercise, to see how many references I could fit in. Maybe it was a reflection on these strange pieces, or a tribute. Maybe it doesn’t really matter.

The various forms of Dirk Gently

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency began as a book (or two) by Douglas Adams. Not as well known as the Hitchhiker’s series, which I think is a shame. They have the same absurd humour, but with tighter, cleverer plots. Dirk Gently, a detective who refuses to ‘eliminate the impossible,’ solves crimes by looking for connections between seemingly unconnected events and objects. Against all likelihood (and despite his seeming incompetence), he succeeds in unravelling a supernatural mystery and foiling whoever was threatening the world. If I did have a complaint about the book, it’s that it took me too long to get the resolution in The Long Dark Tea-time of the Soul. I felt that too much was implied. (That could just be me being slow, of course.)

What Douglas Adams has to say about the Meaning of Life

Douglas Adams is most famously known for his “trilogy” Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, which started out as a radio series, then a book, then a tv show, and there’s even now a movie. He tends to be quoted mostly when people are searching for the meaning of life, because he figured it out, you see. It’s 42.

I have a great love for the Hitchhiker books, not least because the audiobooks are a great cure for insomnia. All I have to do is set one to playing, lie back and close my eyes, and I will be asleep soon enough. But lately I’ve been wondering if Adams’ Great Answer holds a bit more of a message for us. Most of the time people treat it is a glib answer, the punchline of a joke, and make no mistake, it is one of the best punchlines in comedy writing. But I do think there is something a bit deeper.

(Warning: Spoilers for Hitchhikers series ahead)

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