making beer

Chelsea showed me that last night and I thought it was quite nice.

Anyrate, another interview went up this week. This one from Kij Johnson, who’s pretty famous and pretty awesome.

Interview here.

A few more interviews on there way in the coming weeks from Lindsay Hunter and Jennifer Pelland. A whole mess of books are meant to be arriving soon, so it should be easier to get the rest of the year’s interviews done. Get way ahead of schedule and so on, because sometimes Im really scrambling.

Anyrate, what else? Working on what I think is a YA novella, but it might be a level or so above that. It’s hard for me to judge. It’s called Girl with Ears and Demon with Limp. Hopefully it’ll be ready soon. I’m planning on selfpublishing it as a lead in to Twilight of the Wolves, which should be released early next year, depending on when I get notice back from Steven Erikson.

What else? It’s my birthday weekend. Going to Sigur Ros the day after my birthday. Going to spend the weekend with the beautiful Chelsea. The weekends are nice, spending every hour with her. It makes it impossible to get work done, but work is just work. Love is life.

And I love her. Speaking of, check out her website. You can read about her life and transition to Minnesota from Tennessee.

But, yeah, making beer in a few hours at my sister’s. Should be a good time. There’s also food and icecream cake and whathaveyou.

It’s going to be a good weekend, with lots of drinking and lots of humorous choices, I imagine.

Life’s less reckless these days, but it’s not so bad having a more normal life.

a year in stories::forty one

Okay, been a while since I put one of these stories up, but I thought I’d get one up today. Eleven more for the year still to come, and I guess I’m not counting stories from A Call to Artists. Anyrate, a little bit of other business to handle, too. Haven’t really made a proper post in a while. I still need to talk about the last two seasons of Lost, too.

But first, a few interviews have gone up in the last couple weeks:

Gears by Alex Pruteanu. Interview published 19/9/2013.

Piano Rats by Franki Elliot. Interview published 11/9/2013.

The freelancing’s going pretty well too. I’m ghostwriting a book right now, for which I should be making more than enough money for the month, which is amazing. It really is great doing work that feels good to do, rather than just doing work because you have to make money. I mean, I need to make money too, but this is definitely preferable.

Along with the freelancing, I’m moving into selfpublishing. You should see a few things before the end of the year, and then several things next year. I think I’m going to try to do what Carlton Mellick III does and generate things pretty frequently. Maybe even I can make money that way. But I’ll get to more about that as it gets closer.

Also, got some hopeful news from Ste Erikson about my novel coming out from Perfect Edge Books next year. Hopefully it turns out well.

But, eh, I guess that’s enough for now. Sort of bullet point update, yeah?

Pretty when you Cry

She was sad often. I made it that way. She was prettiest when devastated. It’s not a kindness, but I love this part of her. Her pain, the agony, those tears. There will be no absolution for me, and that’s not what I intend in telling you, but I need to tell someone, and you’re sworn to secrecy, yes?

No, save it, Father. I know the whole thing. I’m a proper Catholic girl, for the most part. I mean, like most, I’ve done drugs, enjoyed the bodies of other. I’m still a virgin, in a sense. I’ve never felt that way for men, if you get me, Father. No, I know what you’ll say, what the church says, but the Pope seems relaxed, yeah? But I don’t want to talk about sex, drugs, violence, and rap music. No, just, okay? Just hold on, Father. I need to speak this or I’ll never be able to live with myself. I just need to tell you.

I can’t tell her. I’ve tried. Lord, how I’ve tried. Every time I see her cry, after the sublime vision she becomes, after we curl together and fall apart, I trace her face in the dark, running my fingernails gently against her jaw, dreaming of the day I’ll make this end.

It’s not just that she’s becomes beautiful, it’s that when she cries, it’s like dreams come to life. No figuratively or metaphorically either, but actually. Whatever comes to me in sleep becomes a part of my life.

It started on accident. Of course it did. Couples fight, especially when still new and bright and lovely. She wasn’t ever really my type, not at first. She bit her nails and they were gnarled and short and barely there. She was tall and gawky with thick circular glasses. Her hair, bright and trimmed tight with a thin pointed nose. For some that’s heaven, the dream. But for me, her squared hips and and thin legs carried no appeal. This changed, obviously. We got to talking and things changed. I liked her awkwardness, her crooked smile, the complete lack of femininity in her. I didn’t know then if she was into me, because it’s always a bit awkward to bring up, yeah? But she was the aggressor and I was pliant in her hands, against her mouth.

We fought though. I don’t remember what about because the fights are never the important parts. It’s what happens next that matters. What happened is she cried and when she cried everything changed.

The way she looked didn’t exactly transform or anything like that. But the air around her shifted, or, like, it took on a sheen of the fantastic. She glowed. Again, that’s not a metaphor. She glowed in this blue light. She was the bluest light and she was there, crying for me. Because of me, really. It hurt me to see her sad. That should go without saying, but I’ll say it again. I hated seeing her sad, but I loved to see her cry. Knowing I caused her pain, it’s the moment I knew I loved her, that I had fallen deeply and accidentally in love with this awkward girl. But there was a sense of awe, too. Her tears filled this hole in me I didn’t know was there. A hole I had carried maybe forever, long before this life. A hole in my very soul. I know God doesn’t do that to people, but it feels that way sometimes. Like God’s light doesn’t shine on me or for me, and everything’s blackness and horrible.

But when I saw her crying, it was like being washed for the first time, like God’s light was for me and because of me.

When we made up and I slept, I dreamt of flowers spread over the sky, raining petals onto the earth, and in the morning the world felt new. I can’t explain it better than that. Every touch, every sight and sound, each smell was a new sensation, and when she touched me, I quivered. Electric from just her presence, as she wiped the sleep from her eyes and, well, Father, forgive me for getting carried away. I know those details aren’t for here. But you see, Father, her hold on me–I love her. When I talk about her, even, I just get caught up. But to put it short, when I was with her that morning, I had visions of that dream. Visions of a many flowered sky blooming across the air, raining petals to earth and the earth rose new and beautiful and serene.

That must sound crazy, and maybe it is, but that was only the first time.

She made a child with her tears. She’s real, the child. She’s two, and she’s beautiful. Ours. I never told her this, but it’s biologically ours, too. I can’t say how that’s possible, but you can meet her, if you don’t believe me.

But now she has to see her mothers fighting, crying. I know she won’t understand that I what I do is like a sickness. I’ve become addicted to her creative energy, to the life she can build for us. When she died, the dream brought her back.

So you see, it’s not just for me. It’s for us. It’s a way to improve life, not only for us, but for everyone.

But it tears me apart. You see this, Father. You can hear my voice crack and break. I love her, but I hurt her over and over, and I do it for us. Or, I tell myself I do. There’s certainly a benefit for us in doing this, but what’s the real cost? Is it just sorrow?

Father, I know the Bible’s no use for something like this, and the church has no teachings like this, unless you believe that she’s a miracle worker.

I do. We can show you. Maybe we should show the world, but I’m afraid I’ll lose her to the rest of humanity. She’s so good. Too good. And if everyone knew what she was, what she could do, then what would happen? Would we force her to suffer for all of us?

She’s not Jesus, Father. She’s not God, and she won’t be able to carry all our sins. She won’t be able to save us the way He did.

I don’t mean to ask for forgiveness, because I can’t promise that this will end, or even if I really want it to. I mean, I want the pain to end but I want to live in her light, that bluest light she washes me in.

Forgive me, Father. I’ve sinned. I’ve sinned against the woman I love, but I can’t promise I’ll ever make it right. I can only promise to try. To try to keep her happy and safe.

I’ll try, Father. I’ll try. But save your absolution. I’ll be back, and by then, I’ll hopefully have this all sorted.

Goodbye, Father. Be well, and please, keep this to yourself. I’m counting on your vows.

call to artists::two

As the ongoing project continues, I present the next instalment. The artwork is by Hector Menendez, who contacted me on that original post. While the first one of these I did was for a single image, this is for a series that I found amongst his drawings, which are what he recommended I use.

Anyrate, rather than go on and on, I’ll just post it here.

 

***

I’ve been dying to reach you. I’ve been ripping through Time to see you. I’ve been hoping to escape me.

I was born in a grey world, but I dreamt of color. Always dreaming of color. But for then, it was only grey. Always grey. I stared at my grey hands and my grey skin, looked at my greyself in the mirror, and saw a world of only grey.

And then: light! Glorious light! The wide spectrum of colors. A crack in the sky falling down. I reached out and touched the edge of existence and heard a voice

come to me

run to me

They were tears that ran down my face and when I wiped them away, my skin stained black. Black! So glorious to be black and not grey!

The colors bled and I washed my hands in tears, in black. But then the crack, it closed. No, I screamed. No, no no no no! Leaning against the world’s end, I wept and the tears were all grey.

Years went by and I heard your voice. I heard it in the cracks of Time and space. I heard it and I followed, washing myself in color. Always black, but I dreamt of others. Other colors in that prism of light ripping through the edge.

And then, today, I saw the hole opened, your voice whispering through, and I punched my fist through.

hector_menendez1

And now I’m here, in a world of color. Naked, running. Running through dirt and grass, running with lungs full of color and air and light, running and running and running.

hector_menendez2Time slows and the running stops. Tactile, the air, the land, the sea, and even the sky. I touched the sky and drank in its color. A myriad of hues blotching my skin. The sun, it stains me and the black is no longer a stain but the color of my skin. I found color and in that color I find blackness.

Years progress. I meet others, but none of them you. The whisper of your voice disappears and I search for it still. I wonder and fear that the voice only brought me here, to be alive in color. I suffered in the land of grey. I suffered because I walked alone, black through the grey. The grey lives in that grey world learnt to hate me, to fear me. And so I searched for you, but what if you were never real? Just the call, and now I’m here, black in this land of color, and I stare at the clouds, waiting for the sky to open again. But there’s no edge here. No stop to Time and space. I find nowhere that the world ends, not like the world of grey. No cracks or holes, but they must be somewhere.

I stare so long at the sky that my eyes turn blue and my pupils turn to clouds. In the mirror I find color and in my face I see that sky stained upon me.

But now, I walk alone in this land of color. Black but they’re not. Sky, but they’re earth. I came here for you but have lost myself somewhere in between.

Years go by and I lay down roots. I become a human of color, of blackness in this world of white humans. In this world of white, I find companions but they find me insane and know nothing of cracks in the universe or ways to move past them.

I leave humanity behind and search only for sky and sea. I find belonging here amongst the edges. The edge of land and air, of land and sea. Swimming through the deep, the clear and beautiful, the serene, and there I hear your voice.

I slip.

When I close my eyes, I slip through different lives and when I emerge from the deeps the memories flood my brain, expanding it. I stare at my hands, at the blackness of my skin, but when I close my eyes the skins turn and change. Reds and yellows and greens and blues, I take on the colors of other realities.

And it splits my self open.

hector_menendez3

Running. I’m running again, but now the realities and colors swirl through and around me. Rainbowed, I slide through existences and my skull begins to crack, to split.

My arms extend and spread. My fingers splayed in color transform and the skin breaks in many hues. The bones break, shift, become new, and wings sprout from the joints and my muscles and old bones dislodge, fall away, my skin flickering across the spectrum. My skull cracks open and I bloom through, and I see your voice calling, and I see your face smiling, and all the realities I bounce through converge.

I swim into you.

I found you.

call to artists::one

So, as promised, this is where things begin. I made the request last week and have gotten some great responses. This first image was given, courtesy of Joseph Owens.

So this is the first one, and the rest are on their way, but that doesn’t mean I can’t use more! Some of the ones that follow will be more serial in nature, using several images to tell a story.

But, yes, without going on too much, I might as well just show what I’m doing with your images.  Example one:

photo

And now you’re only ash. Dust.

You’ve been dead. A long time. So long I had to rebuild you. One word at a time. Weaving the words into sentences, the sentences into paragraphs, and the paragraphs into a life.

Yours. You became an origamied bird, dyed white and black, flightless and full of love. I wrote you to life then carried you with me for years, sitting in grass, burning in sun, melting in rain. The pages that held you pulped and bled, so I dried them, rewrote it all, this time again from memory.

But the memory changed. I wrote you again but the you I held was different. I held you in my hands, a different weight, a new taste in my mouth at the reading of lines.

You changed, and it was me. I changed you, but I held you close all the same, and years gathered and piled and I forgot. I forgot this you wasn’t the original you, or even the first imagining of you. The words I wrapped your body in took hold of me and filled me. Deep inside, you flooded me and I became old, greyed, cowed, bent but unbroken, because of these words. Because of you. I aged but you stayed always the same, every word memorised, so I knew I could remake you again, this time perfectly. This time, I’d make you age with me. The years we spent together would no longer be reminiscences of dreamt pasts, but real and new and swelling with the future we run toward.

And so I set you to blaze. I burnt you alive to live these final twilit days with you.

the journey for graphic novelisation: a call to artists

Eddy Book cover full

As some of you know, I’ve been trying to make a graphic novel for a few years. Three, actually. I’ve written two, that are now unpublishable, except  through me doing it privately, and for free. I’ve talked about this before. Many times. I made one graphic novel for the lovely Chelsea’s birthday last year using photography from Natsumi Hayashi. I made another one that’s much more dark and surreal using the photography of Kyle Thompson. In the first case, I was unable to get in contact with Natsumi Hayashi, presumably because I’m sort of no one, and she has an agent, and she’s Japanese. I think it’s mostly the Japanese thing, really, since I can’t get in communication with her. The second, Kyle Thompson, I contacted him about the project when I finished it and asked what he thought. He liked the idea but said he’s currently in making his own artbook, so he doesn’t want photographs he’ll be using seen in a different context. Oh, it should be noted, that I approached them both with fully finished products. I thought this would be better because it would show them that they needn’t do any work for this book to be made. They’d just need to give me permission.

It’s been sort of disheartening, to write two books that you’re pretty happy with knowing they’ll never see the light of day. Or maybe they will, when I’m famous and people want all the nonsense I’ve ever written, and people will pour through the archive of this site for all the random things I’ve written here about so many stupid things. Hopefully they’ll linger on the pretty things.

Anyrate. It’s been disappointing. I’ve been unable to get an artist attached to doing a project with me, either. Which is understandable, since producing original pieces of art is considerably more time consuming for them than it is for me to write 10 to 1,000 words in response to it. I should maybe say here that the first one I wrote with Miss Hayashi’s images is about 7,500 words and uses about 30 images. The one with Mr Thompson’s work is about 7,000 words and uses almost 100 images.

See, the idea, for me, is to write a book using text and images, but not really in the way a graphic novel is traditionally thought about. I don’t want tiles with a few words per picture. I want full page pictures on one page, and then text on the next page. So we have image on the left page, text on the right, and you view both of these at the same time. In many ways, I want it to be a showcase for the artist more than a novel by me. We’d be co-authors, of course, but I want the final product to be a book you can sell at your gallery opening. The images are there, and then, if you care, there’s also a narrative that goes with them. It’s a coffeetable book with hopefully a little more to offer, even if only a handful of people will read the text from beginning to end.

So why make this post? Well, I’d like to open it up to the world at large. Or, at least, the people who follow this blog. But what I want to do is make a graphic novel in any way I can, which, I think, right now might be easiest by opening it up to anyone willing to draw or paint or photograph an image.

That means you. Any of you reading this. Send me a picture. Any picture, as long as it’s by you, or taken by you, or whatever. It needn’t be of a figure or anything like that. It can be a photograph of a place, an abstract image of a feeling or sensation or memory, or even a tree monster sprouting babies from its limbs. Give me whatever you want or have, and I’ll write something specifically for you about the image, or in response to it. Then I’ll send it back to you and we can sing and dance.

Or, if you’re reading this and want to do a full book with me, please contact me as soon as you can! I would absolutely love to work with you, whoever you are.

But, yes, that’s my pitch of the day. Either write a comment below, send me a message on facebook, tweet at me, or whatever. If you’re really looking to get fancy, send me an email at ejrathke at gmail. Oh, also, if you want to see the graphic novels I mentioned above to get an idea of what I’m looking for, or at least what I’ve done before [I’m not looking to repeat what I did with them, but it should show you how I work on this sort of thing], feel free to contact me however you can.

I look forward to working with you. And if you know someone else who might be interested, share this with them. Hopefully I can get something going soon.

the newsroom: the humorless daily show

This is pretty funny and it reminded me of how terrible The Newsroom was.

That awful promo picture probably says it all, actually, but I’ll talk a bit more.

Now, I know there’s a second season, but I didn’t watch it, mostly because I don’t have HBO, but also because the first season was the worst. I wrote an essay about it right after its finale but it never got published anywhere. Anyrate, I’m going to share it now, here.

The Newroom, Aaron Sorkin’s newest show on HBO, has caught a lot of flak over its first season, and it’s all rather deserved. In fact, I’d call it one of the worst shows I’ve watched in recent memory. I was calling it the worst show of the year, but someone pointed out to me that that’s probably a pretty big overstatement, which is true. I mean, I didn’t watch every awful show out there, but I did watch this one, so I know it’s pretty terrible, but I’m sure ABC or CBS or NBC probably had a few shows that were much worse. I mean, Two and a Half Men is still on television, I think.

Anyrate, back to Aaron Sorkin’s newest show, which is, essentially, a remake of his old show, Sports Night. Sports Night is meant to be a behind the scenes look at shows like SportCenter on ESPN. There’s a strong female producer, a wise old managing editor, feisty yet likeable anchors, and a team of dishevelled but competent nerds working off screen to make sure everything works out well on screen. Their show is struggling to keep up with the big sports shows, presumably ESPN’s own show, which the show is meant to be about. Also, there are all the evil and intrusive executives who want to ruin the show by making it have good ratings.

If you watched The Newsroom, the last paragraph should sound familiar, mostly because it’s the exact same show, except about news. But stealing from yourself isn’t really a crime and it shouldn’t be the deciding factor on whether or not a show works [though it’s certainly not good practice to remake your own show that failed over a decade ago]. Let’s get to some of the real problems with The Newsroom.

Structurally, we’re revisiting news we’ve already seen. The first season covers about a year of time, starting with the BP oil spill and going all the way to the beginnings of the debt ceiling debate. What we have here is a show that is telling the world how the news of the recent past should have been covered. Fair enough, I say, and good on them. It is, really, the way news should be covered, in my opinion. All the facts and so on, cutting through the nonsense and lies of politicals. However, the show tends to be so selfrighteous and sanctimonious and uses stupid reasons as to why it can do what it does. Will McAvoy is justified in criticising GOP candidates because he’s a republican. Why do we need to hear that every episode? and why can only a republican criticise a republican fairly? It’s an unnecessary caveat. These GOP candidates, especially the tea party candidates like Rick Santorum and Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachman, can be criticised for their ideas purely because they’re bad ideas. It’s not a partisan thing, it’s a human one. You don’t need to be an insider to understand that. Which leads me to another thing about Will McAvoy. He’s so in your face and boisterous and constantly correct that it becomes unwatchable, even if you agree with him.

That’s one of the big problems with this show: it doesn’t know who it wants as an audience. As a news show, it wouldn’t need to worry about this. However, The Newsroom is not a news show. It is a melodrama and so it first needs to be a good show before it can sell its message. Is this show trying to convince conservatives that their political positions are ill conceived? I’d say that’s the ultimate goal, but it’s a show catered only to those who already agree with it. No one wants to be yelled at about their core beliefs through the television. It’s why Fox News gets a certain kind of viewer and MSNBC gets another. They’re watching because they’re already sold on the ideology. So The Newsroom is clearly not about converting its audience. So then it’s for us, the liberally minded viewer who already tends to agree with the ideology espoused by the show. And that’s where the sanctimony and selfrighteousness comes from. It’s literally preaching to the choir. It’s The Daily Show without any of the jokes. It doesn’t show the nuance of stories or display the absurdity of major news coverage. What it does is yell at the screen, gesticulating wildly, telling all of us to pay attention to stories we probably already know about and paid attention to. It’s like when the person next to you in a movie theatre says, Watch this part. You’re already in the theatre sitting in front of the thirty foot screen. We’re going to watch.

The biggest problem that this show is that it forgot to include humans in it. The Newsroom does certain things extremely well. It makes the gathering of news absolutely riveting. I can’t think of a feat larger than that one for a show. To make people talking on the phone, gathering facts actually exciting. But Sorkin, to his credit, really makes it happen. The characters, though, are barely there. The minorities are cast into their appropriate stereotypes almost immediately. But the show tries to get away with it by having Will McAvoy immediately acknowledge it, as if that makes it better. It’s pretty much the same thing as ironic racism, in that, just because you acknowledge that you’re being racist doesn’t mean that you’re not being racist. Worse than that, the show apparently only knows how to portray woman as emotionally needy and unstable, neurotic, spiteful, awkward teenage girls stuck in adult bodies. However, occasionally they’re able to perform their job, but only after breaking down into an emotional mess and begging big strong Will McAvoy to be kinder to them.

But to move onto the rest of the cast: everyone is so earnest. I mean, great, earnestness is awesome, unless, apparently, you’re watching it happen on television. I never would’ve imagined it, but people being so earnest and sincere all the time is incredibly odd to watch. It’s not very enjoyable. Not at all. The show also never bothers to show why any of the characters act the way they do. Olivia Munn’s character has a PhD in economics and is a pretty attractive lady. However, she’s single apparently because she’s so socially awkward and without confidence that no one can stand being around her for more than five minutes. How does Sorkin demonstrate this? Well, for one, she mentions it in almost every scene she’s in. And, secondly, she demonstrates her complete social ineptitude by being the only person on the show to analyse and understand who people are and why they do the things they do. She’s extremely confident for someone so lacking in confidence and unbelievably insightful for someone who is meant to be almost autistic.

Then there’s the romantic subplot between Jim and Maggie. This is maybe what a show like this needs in order to humanise the cast. How does their relationship begin? Jim’s boss, Mac, tells him that he should fall in love with Maggie. She decides this after talking to Maggie for one minute. And what happens? Exactly that. Their story trajectory is so obvious by the end of the second episode that it’s infuriating to watch. I blame it on neither of them really being able to hold a scene or carry our emotions. I don’t care about their relationship. In fact, I think I hate their relationship. It’d be far more interesting if Maggie fell in love with anyone else, but especially, say, Neal [Dev Patel], the british fellow from an Indian family who is about ten times more interesting and engaging on screen. However, he’s already filling the cast as technerd #1. Will and Mac also have a romantic subplot because they dated for some time and then Mac cheated on him with her ex-boyfriend. There’s a lot of sexual tension and animosity which is usually demonstrated by them yelling at each other a lot resulting in him being awesome at his job and her being an emotional wreck. Clearly Will’s also a bit of an emotional wreck, which is shown through his consumption of alcohol and young women and his need to shout all the time, about everything.

There’s really no one in the cast that’s very likeable. Neal probably comes closest to being human and interesting, and also the only one living in the world we live in today. Mac apparently doesn’t know how to send an email in one episode. I wish that were a lie, but it’s meant to be funny or misogynistic or both. I can’t always tell what Sorkin is trying to say with things like that.

But, yes, The Newsroom‘s biggest failing is that it forgot to make compelling people for the show. Instead we have a lot of hollowmen and hollowwomen walking around, gathering news, yelling about things, putting on a great show, and then repeating.

I’d say that the news aspect of The Newsroom were enough to make it watchable, but the show fails there as well. In only rehashing the stories we’ve all seen and covering the aftermath that we already lived through, it plays like a clipshow of past follies. What would make it more interesting is if it actually covered news not covered by mainstream media. It mentions Wikileaks in one scene with the character quickly categorising it as a nonentity, which perhaps shows the limited scope of Sorkin’s vision. It mentions the NSA spying on citizens, but only to find a way to ensure Will keeps his job. What they should have or could have done there is actually use the real people involved there, the real NSA agent who was tried as a spy by our government and shown that story to the american people. Because, even though the show has a pretty focused audience, it could at least try to give them knowledge they didn’t know about. There’s no mention of any of the whistleblowers tried by the Obama administration or the assassinations carried out by that same administration. In fact, the show fails to mention any way that Obama has done anything even remotely wrong. It is an all out attack on tea party conservatives [and maybe rightly so] without mention of wrongdoings by any liberals anywhere. It doesn’t give us the nuance of news, it just tells us things we already know, but under the guise of being a big news network, and therefore an unheard of mission is being done by the cast. It fails to mention other news organisations who have been doing that job for many years without public attention. Neal, really, is the only member of the staff who understands how important the internet is to understanding the world and gathering news from the people who are actually living it.

And then there’s the episode when we find out that Osama bin Laden has been assassinated. Do we get a nuanced episode about what an illegal assassination of one arab man means for us as a nation or how that strike affected our relationship with Pakistan? Do we get anything but a lot of highfives and meaningful music? What we get from that episode is what we got the day it happened. It forced me to relive a day that shames me as an american: the day all of america stood together and applauded the death of one arab man.

To put it short, The Newsroom fails at being an interesting show because the characters are shells and stereotypes stitched together by the lazy hand of Aaron Sorkin who tells us how the news should have been without ever improving news or challenging what is and is not news.

the next two seasons of lost

Are a pretty mixed bag.

The same problems with the characters persist, for the most part. Kate is consistently horrible and makes you hate your eyeballs, but Jack manages to improve. Lots of new characters, who are both horrible and awesome to have around. There’s still no real sense of females on the show. I think we have a total of three female characters who manage to be in most of the episodes.

Anyrate, after the very exciting lead up to the finale of season two, we move into what are probably the worst, like, ten episodes of any show ever. Or at least the most aggravating. It’s nonstop Kate and Jack, which is like intentional suicide, as far as this show’s concerned. Luckily we have Sawyer and Ben around to keep us at least able to keep going. They spend however many episodes in cages doing dumb shit that doesn’t really matter. It’s all the worst to watch. We do get to know the Others a bit better, though we learn very little about them as a group, and nothing new about the island. Except that it seems to be rejecting Ben, which is quite interesting, at this point. While everyone’s cancer disappears, his sprouts up. We meet Juliet, too, who’s sort of a mix for me. I hate her mouth. There’s something about the shape of it and the shapes she makes it into that just hurts my eyes. Most of the Others are all right, though the writing still falls into the trap of thinking things are only interesting when people are yelling and/or pointing guns at one another.

We learn here, though, that Sawyer is clearly the only intelligent one captured. The only one intelligent enough to understand how outclassed he is here.

Anycase, back at the camp things are much more interesting. Mostly because there’s no Jack and Kate to worry about. People get along, there’s moments of humor and pathos, John returns to being jungle John and therefore awesome, though he’s not in the show as much. Eko’s great, but the show makes the terrible and incomprehensible decision to kill him off the show, seemingly at random. However, we get a lot of Desmond, which is so so so great. And, even better, he starts sort of slipping in time. I can’t even begin to explain how cool this is to me, that a character on a primetime television show starts seeing the future.

Charlie returns to being likeable, after the absolute weirdness they put him through in season two. Hurley’s consistently awesome, of course. There are two new characters that apparently everyone hates a great deal. I guess they didn’t bother me because they weren’t really in the show, except for a few scenes here and there. Also, they didn’t seem markedly different from any other annoying assholes on the island, so I didn’t give them much thought. Oh, also also, we skipped the episode that focused on them, because I was tired of all the extraneous episodes that led nowhere and had nothing to offer.

I also love how Sawyer is a reluctant leader. He’s sort of the opposite of Jack, who says he doesn’t want to be leader but keeps pointing guns at people and telling them to do what he says, like a maniac. The episode where Hurley tricks him into being a good leader is probably one of my favorite things, as far as character interactions.

Also, when they go back to save Jack from the Others. I really dug that, even though I found it incredibly aggravating, because they were such Katecentric episodes. What we did get, though, was Locke taking charge, and that’s always a good thing. He stops being on anyone’s side and just start living for himself, taking charge, not by force or coercion, but because he knows what to do.

Then we get into some Juliet business that no one cares about and Ben and the Others disappear, but then they reappear with Locke and we get to know Richard a little bit.

Basically, the first half of season three is horrible. The second half, and especially the last couple episodes, are incredible, and that awesomeness mostly stays through the fourth season, which brings me to something.

Everyone seems to think that the first three seasons of Lost are the best ones.

This is absolutely absurd. I can still barely believe I made it through them. At the time of writing this, I’m actually almost done with the whole series, and I know that everything after the middle of season three is about a thousand times better and more interesting than everything previous.

I think I mentioned this in my last post about Lost, but the writers of this show do not know how to write humans. They simply can’t. What they can do, though, is write interesting concepts. Lost is a conceptual show that thinks it’s character driven, but the show itself is what keeps you watching. The characters, I could probably do without. There are, really, only two or five really interesting characters. There are other ones who are great to watch, but I think that’s more because of the actors than the writing. Ben, Locke, Eko, Faraday, and Desmond are so intensely better than any other character. They’re fleshed out and alive, their motivations keep you going, and they’re acted just about perfectly. Speaking of, let’s talk about them.

Faraday is just awesome. It’s great to get a scientific perspective on what’s happening because we finally start to learn about the island. And we care about what we’re learning. I love his actor, too, whose name I don’t know, but he was great in Solaris. Anyrate, he’s a joy to watch and listen to,

And then we get the episode where Desmond timetravels and I forgot anything bad I ever said about Lost. I think it’s probably the best episode of anything I’ve seen besides Breaking Bad. It has an awesome concept that keeps getting trickier and cooler. It has the best character on the show as the focus. It has a plausible and convincing use of timetravel. And it has love. A love we care about. It goes from exciting and fascinating to being truly beautiful. I cared so much and I loved so much every minute of Desmond’s journey through time. And Faraday leads him there, leads him through time, and we learn that Faraday’s also slipping through time, or was before.

In addition, the show starts showing us the future after a few of them have left the island. This has mixed results, but is definitely better than the constant flashbacks. Also, the power struggle between Jack and Locke works out in such humorous ways. Oh, I forgot to say, as much as Juliet is a mixed bag for me at this point, she had an enormously positive effect on Jack, albeit a somewhat shortlived one. He mellows and becomes more reasonable. He thinks. At the same time, he’s still impulsive and impetuous, but at least I can tolerate watching him through the second half of season three and into four. I loved how many people chose Locke over Jack, though.

Oh, Miles is a cool character too, if only because he can hear the dead.

Anyrate: concept stuff. This is when the show really hits stride. After all the action and fighting, we get to know more about the island and we see the past and future begin to converge. We get explanations, which are much needed at this point. And we get Ben moving the island, while seeing how special Locke and Hurley are, and why they’re not like the rest.

Anyrate, I’ll probably be finishing the show this week and I’ll talk about the final two season, but season three and four are better than season one and two, and the second half of the series is so far head of the first half it’s almost humorous to think of it differently.

we lost time

So much to talk about but I’m going to keep it relatively short. First, business side of things, my interview with the awesome Kirsten Alene is now up at Monkeybicycle. She had such great answers to all my questions. I’m very pleased to see it up. Also, check out her book, Japan Conquers the Galaxy. It’s great.

Anyrate, finally moved in to my new house and we finally have internet. Some peculiar thing’s happening, though, that doesn’t allow my chromebook or ps3 to access the network, but we’ll sort that out. Tonight, hopefully.

The freelancing is going pretty well, too. Finished the first half of my two book edits I’m doing. Payment should come soon. What’s great about it is that I actually really enjoy the books I’m getting paid to edit. I’d say more about them, but I guess I’m not sure what etiquette is for freelancing and discussing unpublished work. Suffice it to say, I’m hoping these find publication and that my assistance helps them get to that next level. One is by a guy who’s had a long career, so the writing just needs touching up. The other is by a young guy who’s written his first novel. The sentence by sentence quality is sort of all over the place, but the narrative is great. He has the characters, the scenes, and the structural stuff that makes a novel succeed. Hopefully with my edits, he can get a proper rewrite that’ll prepare him for publication.

It feels so good to be doing work that feels rewarding. Like I’m helping people realise their dreams.

It’s awesome.

Those are the main jobs I’ve had so far, as I finish my second full week of freelancing. Some projects I’ve discussed with clients are less than awesome and some just end up not being a good fit for either of us. I was really hoping to get this job ghostwriting a novel companion to this videogame the client made, but, alas! When I finish these editing jobs, it should help my reputation a lot.

Oh, also, got contracted this morning to ghostwrite a short nonfiction book for what seems like a lot of money to me. Very excited about that. Might even be able to do the whole thing this weekend, if I get the time.

But, yes, life goes on, and it gets better as it goes.

Probably going to start posting in here more frequently as the freelancing continues, and then as my own writing frees up and I can get all these projects finished.