• bookshelf books

    The Books I Read: March – April 2023

    Circe by Madeline Miller This was attempt number two at reading. Not the book’s fault, it was me. At the time, I wasn’t in the headspace to read something heavy and steeped in the Classics. But now, Greek mythology is having a renaissance (or did it ever disappear?) with God of War, Hades, Lore Olympus. That, combined with my own ambition to write a book about Medusa, I felt I had to give this one a second try for research. Madeline Miller is obviously versed in classics and Greek mythology so the text is not easy. I mean, it’s not Proust or anything, but you will feel like an adult…

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    What Do Most People Come Here For?

    So I thought you might be curious about what brings people to my blog. Well, I can tell you this, it’s not because of my books and not because of my writing. They seem to be here mostly for Disney stuff. In particular, they search for things like “villain in Pinocchio”, “bad guy in Pinocchio”, and “Pinocchio antagonist”. I think it might be because people aren’t sure who the bad guy is. For my Disney Villains blog feature, I just chose all four–Honest John & Gideon, Stromboli, the Coachman, and Monstro. Second place is that no one seems to know what that “limbo world” in Beetlejuice is. And I still…

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    I Can Pinpoint the Problem with The Mandalorian Season 3

    So everyone’s been in debate whether this season of The Mandalorian was any good or not. Some people give it a thumbs up because it delivers an engaging adventure and characters. Others thought it abandoned the main characters for others’ storylines (ex. Bo-Katan, the pirates, Elia Kane) or that it violated “Show, don’t tell” or was aimless. I think all that could have been forgiven if this season delivered something the other two seasons did. Give us something unexpected. This season played it safe. Too safe. They didn’t do anything that broke open a mystery or risked offending fans or twisted established lore. The first season delivered two big chunks…

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    My Writing Manifesto (Why Do I Write)

    What motivates me to do this? Why do I keep submitting novel after novel hundreds of times only to get rejected hundreds of times with the same form letter? Thank you, we don’t want it. Thank you, we don’t want it. Thank you, we don’t want it. A few reasons. Compulsion By this point, I think I have to. I’ve made a habit of writing, carved out a section of every day to do it. If I go too long without it, I feel unproductive. Like I’m not contributing something to humanity. Even if I’m not producing something that’s going to be read publically, I’ve got to get my million…

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    Analyzing the Disney Villains: Maui (Moana)

    MAUI Origin: Moana (2016) Moana is a little like Pinocchio, where there are several unrelated antagonists–Te Kā, Tamatoa, the Kakamora. But these are dumb obstacles in Moana’s way. They have no personality and no purpose but to provide Moana with action set-pieces. The person serving as the real antagonist, the one preventing her from getting what she wants, is Maui. Some might call him a deuteragonist, but I think he’s enough in Moana’s way to call him the biggest hindrance to the hero’s journey. Motivation: At first, it seems like Maui is just a macho braggart. He makes these grand gestures and accomplishments to earn the accolades of other people.…

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    Write-Up on the Minnesota Writing Workshop 2023

    So this weekend I attended the 2023 Minnesota Writing Workshop in Saint Paul. I am averse to writing conferences because A) I’m extremely introverted and B) I can’t stand spending that much money on something that could potentially go nowhere. I’m not a gambler. I like to know I’m getting something for my money. Maybe I’m a Scrooge that way. Maybe I have to realize there are no guarantees in life. But for one thing, I wanted to make some writer friends. To at least try and socialize and pretend I’m part of this community. And every time I read about how XYZ author got their book deal, a lot…

  • bookshelf books

    The Books I Read: January – February 2023

    Catfishing on CatNet (CatNet #1) by Naomi Kritzer So this is a YA novel about a girl forced to switch schools a lot because of her stalking father. The way she stays socially healthy is something called CatNet, which is basically a forum/chat client for people who like cute animals. What she doesn’t know is that this forum is run by a super-intelligent AI who, well, likes cute animals too. And as the girl and the AI become friends, the AI discovers things about her father. Things that make the girl think she might not know the whole truth. It’s very good. The pace is fast. At first, you think…

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    Can You Separate Art From the Artist?

    It’s a question I’ve tried to answer before, both directly and peripherally (see Cancel Culture). And the answer seems to change as I learn more about life. Right now, my answer is “no”. And here’s why. Take this thought exercise. There are two paintings in a gallery, both are for sale. They both look exactly the same, down the brushstroke. Same image, same colors, same frame. You can’t tell the two apart. So you ask the curator what the deal is. She tells you that the one on the left is the original. The one on the right is a forgery painted by a college student. Which one would you…

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    My Kindertrauma: The Chocolate Touch

    Covers for books and videos are like car accidents. They’re horrific but you can’t look away. In the video store, instead of looking for something in the family section like I ought to have been doing, I was wandering the horror section, scrutinizing the covers for movies I would never be allowed to watch. Movies like Basket Case, The Blob, The Nest. Book covers were not that different. My mother had a ton of Stephen King books that rivaled the video store. One was a bizarre cover for Cujo that I could not wrap my head around. It was like an optical illusion where you see two images at the…

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    Analyzing the Disney Villains: Dawn Bellwether (Zootopia)

    DAWN BELLWETHER Origin: Zootopia (2016) Motivation: Strong. Both personally and socially, Bellwether is full of resentment for being disrespected and mistreated. And why shouldn’t she feel this way when she’s been dominated by a predator for her career? This is a world where there is so much diversity, you are basically a stereotype of your species. As a secretary to a lion (the lion and the lamb?) she has to subjugate herself to predators. But prey are the majority vote 10 to 1! I’d be mad too if I was so underrepresented. But at heart, her desires are purely self-interest. Character Strengths: Being a prey animal, Bellwether has the ability…