A long while ago my grandfather passed away. He was old and it was his time. Recently the National Council of Teacher’s of English Two Year College Association did a poet of the day showcase. I submitted a poem that was accepted. They wanted it in audio or video. I chose video. Here it is.
Archive for the ‘Literature’
I tried to read Cormac McCarthy’s The Road about a year ago, but it’s lack of dialogue is not something I’ve ever been able to appreciate in any literature. I expect some external dialogue and would almost rather have all dialogue than none. Although I could not finish the book The Road, I will watch the movie when it’s released. And tonight I watched another McCarthy adaptation: No Country for Old Men by the Coen Brother’s whose O’ Brother Where Art Thou? was absolutely not my favorite film. I liken No Country more to their Fargo (starring the wonderful Frances McDormand) with the subtly, mundane motif of fate pulling the puppet strings of humanity in the furthest reaches of Middle America.
Bardem’s buzz is dead on, and albeit I’ve not seen all Oscar nominated films, My God, this man’s already won his Oscar, and I would even contend that his hair should get its own statuette. Bardem plays a terminator-like assassin chockfull of actual emotions. His looping, frame play with the quarter of fate toyed with the idea that in the large scheme of things, everything is absolutely inconsequential and completely noncoincidental all-at-once. He fails to assassinate the first game’s player, while the second it’s understood he’s murdered her before he simply walks for her house as he checks for blood on his shoes.
Although I can barely consider anything Brolin’s ever been in, I think we can agree that Tommy Lee Jones is one of the most talented (and sometimes underrated) actors of his generation. His age, dropping wrinkles, and eyes just add watery charm to his Sheriff’s character who’s subtly torn between bringing home Brolin’s Llewellyn to his wife Carla Jean and retiring from the force. He eventually makes one decision that directly correlates to the other.
If you’re looking for a thinking man’s movie with a paucity of action then enjoy this film. It’s brief staccato violence only enhances our final ironically enigmatic scene with our antagonist, while Jones’ discussion with his wife about a dream in which his deceased father goes ahead of him over snowy mountains to make a fire and await his son’s arrival, truly suggests that the onset of Jones’ final adventure into retirement makes early 1980’s Texas no longer a country for old men, or at least for the men in this book as the screen turns black.
NO SPOILERS HERE
I, like the millions of others, waited with bated breath for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. (Actually it was more like trying to bust my butt to finish the book I was reading and dreading going back to work 40 hours after I got my hands on the new book!). I talked to my friends and wondered what would happen. I speculated (as we all did that Hermione & Ron HAD to hook up, that Harry would die in the end, that Snape just had to be good, and Draco might be good too, and that Dumbeldore could not be dead) what would happen in that final book. My friends and I bantered back and forth about it.
I got the book around 2pm Saturday itching to begin reading, and I actually started it as we drove away from the mall. Donna asked if I was going to begin reading immediately, and I just gave her a look like… ummm we’ve waited for YEARS for this exact moment, and then I broke the spine. She wanted to clothes shop for her new job so we spent 2 hours in ROSS and I was 100 pages through with the book by the time we left there. It stormed when we got home and Donna suggested I sit on the dark porch and read with raining rolling off the roof above me; I loved the idea! I read another 250 pages before I was falling asleep reading. It was good and there was some cool things going on.
Sunday morning I had to go to work until noon. I took the book with me. What if I had to use the toilet? I could read what I walked (or sat) there. Claire napped when I got home and I shut myself in the bedroom. Later she woke up and we had dinner. I couldn’t read while I ate, but I sure did read standing up in the kitchen while I cooked. I was 2/3 done now! I was on a roll. My brother-in-law called around 6pm. I told him what I reading and I made a wild goal outloud. I told him I would not go to bed until I was done with it. Totally done. My wife raised one wary eyebrow and didn’t comment.
Claire went to bed. I began to read again. As the night wore on and my shoulders ached from laying across the bed propped up, my eyes got heavy. I knew it had to be getting late. Donna had let me alone (Thank you!) and I read, I read about the final battle, who died and who lived, what speculations I made were true and which were false, and I finished the book. Read the whole damn thing in 10 hours.
Most of the book wasn’t better or worse than I wanted. There were only two real parts were I cheered and my heart lept. One was at the very end. You’ll know when you get there. Great book. Nice capstone. Wonderful. Wasn’t my favorite HP book. That would be Order of the Phoenix (no, I’ve not see the movie yet), followed by Prisoner of Azkaban.
I will have one spoiler here. Just one. But I’ve warned you. I LOVED when Molly Weasley called another character a BITCH before attacking her and beating the warted toads out of her!!! Go Mrs W!
The New York Times recently speculated when the final book in the Harry Potter saga will be released. Go here to see the article. Now I have my own thoughts on all of this. Being a literature professor, I go back to Campbell’s hero’s journey (as so many before me have), and, for me, Harry cannot live. He just can’t. Anakin didn’t get to live, so why should Harry? Arthur didn’t live. This is a tried and true formula from which she cannot break. Even Christopher Chance died. He died for a reason and had a purpose, but he died. He had to. The world could not continue with him alive, and he needed to sacrifice himself so that Lillian could eventually be born and repopulate the AfterEarth.
Going back to the whole New York Times article, they assert that Earthly Hallows will be released on 7/7/07, and that’d be kinda cool. I suppose. Why not? All of her other books came out on Saturdays, too. With Doubledore (supposedly) dead (think Obi Won Kenobi) we can only wonder what the Earthly Hallows are (is?). And as I write this, I am amazed that nothing is at that domain name. I wonder how long it’ll take to not get an error at that URL.
Today during Creative Writing, I finished the book. I even printed it! I totally forgot to spell check though. That’s not great, but it’s printed. I have 200 pages (double-spaced with larger margins, so I can edit it). I am going to do the first go through with a couple of people who I can trust, and then we will go from there.
This morning I was up early and went to Starbuck’s to finish this damn book. I was at about 47K when I got there, and I sat there until I hit 52K. I’m not done. I figured this was coming, since the last two years it seemed like I rushed the end. I couldn’t go to school tomorrow without hitting 50K. The kids wouldn’t let me live it down. I think I am about 5,000 words from finishing, and I am actually really eager to edit the book. The kids still write this week, and Friday is their writing finishing party; that’ll be fun. I am taking suggestions for a better title, though. I just don’t know what it may be. Now I am going to run along and write Christmas cards while the Steelers get whooped on by the Ravens. ð
I call my book The Twilight’s Last Gleaming. It’s a take off the Key’s poem that became our anthem, and it has a hint of hope with a whole lot of blowing stuff up. There’s a movie called Twilight’s Last Gleaming, and I don’t want to do the same thing. I didn’t even read the movie summary, but I just liked the title. I think I may end up changing it. I refused to change the titles of my last two books, but this just doesn’t fit.
I’ve been thinking of this book since 11th grade and today I passed the 42,000 word mark. I’m feeling pretty good about finishing soon, but I also know I will go over 50,000 and I don’t know if the book is any good. I didn’t really think the last one was any good, but some people do like it.
This feels odd. I think next year I will really sit down and write it all out. I am going back to the adventure concept where we go from point A to point Z. And I get frustrated when people don’t get all of my allusions. As I finish this book I need to remember that my readers aren’t in my head and don’t see the book the way I see it, unless I show it to them on paper. I am trying to keep that in mind now.
Ok, so I have no idea if this book will make sense or even be good, but I broke through 32,500 tonight. Donna took me to see The Departed and out to Macaroni Grill for dinner. So between working and working on my book that’s about it. It’s nice to have a babysitter from time to time to go out as adults. The problem was that tonight I drove to Mesa Grande before I realized I was suppose to go to Ahwatukee. Oops! Donna jumped in the truck and drove across town.
Have you ever seen a movie that is just awesome because of the acting? Yes, the acting! Nicholson, DiCaprio, Damon, etc… all were awesome tonight. Then Tiramisu at Macaroni Grill. Woohoo!
Now we’re home and going to Crackers with the Carvers tomorrow. Two weeks and counting for them. Errr… That sucks.
I don’t really know what to say. After work I sat down at a student desk and opened iTunes. I began to write and listen to Ministry’s A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste. An hour later I had 2,000 words! I have some kids who have over 35,000 words and I wish I were still that person sometimes. My next book will be better, but I need to get this one on paper and done. I’ve had this damn idea in my head for 14 years, I really did. It’s been there for the whole time. So now I am writing it, and I’d rather not say much about it yet. But I will say I am about to kill one of the main characters. Boom. You die, and it’s a sad death. Oh well.
Here comes November. As some of you may know, November is National Novel Writing Month. This is how it works: Every November thousands of people internationally write 50,000+ word novels. I began participating in 2004 with Our Time, Now and last year wrote Seraph.
This year I am writing a novel called The Twilight’s Last Gleaming. It’s about a post-apocalyptic chess player. That’d be the tag line if they ever made a movie.
I’ll begin by apologizing for not blogging much in November; I’ve got a book to write. Boo-yah!