Gustave Flaubert On Poetry

by Buzz on 30/12/2016

Gustauve Flaubert on poetry

“There is not a particle
of life which does not
bear poetry within it.”
— Gustave Flaubert

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I Luvz Me Some ARRIVAL

by Buzz on 28/12/2016

It took a month and a half to catch up with Arrival, but better late than never, no?

arrival-banner-1-final

Best sci-fi film I’ve seen in ages (and we’re counting Zootopia as sci-fi). It has everything I’m looking for in a sci-fi movie:

  • Good Writing
  • Good Story
  • Good Characters & Performances
  • Good Special Effects
  • Good Theme

Add to that a nice big slathering dollop o’Sense Of Wonder plus some aliens that finally look like they come from another planet and not some remote corner of this one and you’ve got about as perfect example of the high end of the genre as one could hope for.

Based on the Nebula Award winning “Story Of Your Life” by Ted Chiang from a script by Eric Heisserer. More of this and ratchet back the Star Wars / Alien / Blade Runner / superhero derived movies, please.

arrival-alien

Meaning it’s actually about something, and not just a series of money shots strung together to sell popcorn. I like whiz bang sci-fi as much as the next fanboy, but there’s more to the genre than action-adventure and monster movies disguised as sci-fi films.

Too often sci-fi films have A Really Cool Idea then try to tack on a romance or some pseudo-Oedipian melodrama to make the characters’ “relatable”. Arrival’s personal drama is absolutely essential to the story, and the film could not exist without either the sci-fi or the personal element. Go thou and do likewise, young sci-fi scribe…

Far too often in movies of any genre a romantic sub-plot is introduced to enable the presumably stereotypical female members of the audience to vicariously enjoy the story by identifying with the girlfriend of the real hero, or conversely to reassure the presumably stereotypical male members of the audience that the plucky heroine succeeded only because she had A Good Guy watching her butt back and allowing her Do What Needed To Be Done. Arrival has none of that and is much the better for it since it permits real drama to shine through.

Thankfully kept in balance throughout the film as director Denis Villeneuve steered clear of spaceship porn and just focused on telling the story, not dazzling us with extraneous details.

Rational beings with honorable intent will find ways of cooperating to everyone’s benefit.

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“The Cultivation of Christmas Trees” by T.S. Eliot

by Buzz on 24/12/2016

There are several attitudes towards Christmas,
Some of which we may disregard:
The social, the torpid, the patently commercial,
The rowdy (the pubs being open till midnight),
And the childish — which is not that of the child
For whom the candle is a star, and the gilded angel
Spreading its wings at the summit of the tree
Is not only a decoration, but an angel.

The child wonders at the Christmas Tree:
Let him continue in the spirit of wonder
At the Feast as an event not accepted as a pretext;
So that the glittering rapture, the amazement
Of the first-remembered Christmas Tree,
So that the surprises, delight in new possessions
(Each one with its peculiar and exciting smell),
The expectation of the goose or turkey
And the expected awe on its appearance,

So that the reverence and the gaiety
May not be forgotten in later experience,
In the bored habituation, the fatigue, the tedium,
The awareness of death, the consciousness of failure,
Or in the piety of the convert
Which may be tainted with a self-conceit
Displeasing to God and disrespectful to children
(And here I remember also with gratitude
St. Lucy, her carol, and her crown of fire):

So that before the end, the eightieth Christmas
(By “eightieth” meaning whichever is last)
The accumulated memories of annual emotion
May be concentrated into a great joy
Which shall be also a great fear, as on the occasion
When fear came upon every soul:
Because the beginning shall remind us of the end
And the first coming of the second coming.

eliot-john-cox

art © by John Cox

thanx to
brainpickings
for the tip off

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Let’s Look At How Santa Claus Is Portrayed In Other Countries

by Buzz on 21/12/2016

relatos_de_presidio_no780

 …okay, let’s not…

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Writing Report December 21, 2016

by Buzz on 20/12/2016

A lot of writing, but very little on my 2nd female barbarian story.

The first was rejected by the 2nd publisher I sent it to so expect to see it soon as a Kindle book(let). I’m planning on pricing it at 99-cents.

The second is still aimed at the third publisher, but I need to get back in gear on it. I’ve done no real work on it since last week other than a couple of notes to myself about what I should do.

I did write a short factoid (very short!) and rediscovered another one I’d written last month but forgot about (I tend to do that; once I’ve completed something or otherwise turned a corner, I put it down and walk away from it).

Both fall into an area I’ve been exploring more and more in my short fiction recently, the interaction of humans and AI, and the question of when and how AI will become truly sentient and self-aware and what the moral and ethical implications of that for both AIs and humans are.

When I get enough of those together,
I’ll probably put out a themed anthology.

Until then, I’m opting not to send them out
on the short-short / flash fiction circuit.

I don’t know what that market is looking for,
but based on the reactions I’ve received
on other work, this ain’t it…

mike-hinge-sci-fi-illoart by Mike Hinge

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10 Things We Should Know About The Teachings Of Jesus

by Buzz on 19/12/2016
  1. He spoke in stories, parables and riddles.
  2. He usually answered questions with questions.
  3. Even his most intimate disciples didn’t understand him.
  4. He was frequently frustrated by our inability to comprehend him.
  5. Those in authority who did understand him silenced him.
  6. The rest who understood were marginal and are mostly forgotten.
  7. He didn’t have a scribe write down what he said when he said them.
  8. It wasn’t until years later that Paul et al tried to systematize him.
  9. However, Paul et al didn’t systematize what he said, but his significance.
  10. Church authorities rejected tons of Jesus material according to their theological perspective.

.

.

.

(found at nakedpastor dot com)

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sometimes it hits you

by Buzz on 18/12/2016

sometimes it hits you

that like it or not

you had an impact on other people

an influence on their lives

for good or ill

something you said

something you wrote

something you did

drastically changed the way they viewed the world

and subsequently the way the world viewed them

we will all be held accountable

for what we have done

of this I am certain

so let me forgive those

who influenced me badly

and pray

my sins

will be

forgiven

as well

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The Words Of The Prophets…

by Buzz on 17/12/2016

…are written on the subway walls
and tenement halls


WotP 14 Bertrand Russell 3

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fictoid: the fire eater and the yogi

by Buzz on 16/12/2016

“I left you because you never made your
bed of nails,” the boardwalk fire eater said.
“Every damn night I’d come home and stick
one or two in my foot.  No thanks.”

“Those weren’t my nails,” the yogi said.
“Well, at least not the nails from my bed.”

“Then where did they come from?”

The yogi looked ashamed, cast down his eyes.
“My feet.  I’m bad about cleaning up after I clip my toenails.”

There was a long silence then the fire eater said,
“You are disgusting.”  He looked for the ice cream man
so he could wash the taste of revulsion and kerosene from his mouth.

.

.

.

text © Buzz Dixon

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Writing Report December 13, 2016

by Buzz on 13/12/2016

No significant progress on the female barbarian story, at least not in overall word count. I went back and made some changes in the first part of the story, realizing my location bore a certain passing resemblance to Petra, the fabled “rose red city half as old as time” and if I was going to have even a faint allusion to Petra, I might as well go all the way and that’s when I remembered Derinkuyu, which is an even more incredible underground city (and one of many!) in Turkey.

derinkuyu_graphic

So I re-wrote some of the opening and now I’m exploiting the confined sense of those cities plus providing a very interesting stage for the final confrontation (setting it in an underground city gives me the ability to set up my climax more believably since one of the chief components of my heroine’s victory is now already part of the city).

I’m midway thru a crucial scene where my heroine and the one person she thought she could trust now realize just how little they really do trust one another. Another couple of thousand words to finish laying track, they I can get down to the wholesale slaughter that will climax the story.

I’m slightly under 19,000 words at this stage so once the remainder of my info drop is done and the climax written, I should be clocking in around 25,000 to 27,000 words.

We shall see,
we shall see…

Last night as I was getting ready for bed I had an idea for a short story so I took a notebook I keep in the bedroom with the intent of jotting down the broad strokes then working on it later (much later, as in “after I finish the female barbarian story” later).

But before I wrote down the general idea, the opening sentence to the story struck me so I thought, well, write that down then the general idea but then the next paragraph presented itself and then the next and…

Bottom line, at about 3:40am I had a new short story written, “The Vulture,” clocking in at around 1,300 words.

I’m cleaning it up and kicking it out the front door tomorrow; I’ll sleep on it first.

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