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It's the writing! (a belated movie review)



(Mowgli faces Shere Khan in the new movie)

That was going to be “It’s the writing, stupid!” Not that any of us is stupid! But, when we see a film, how much thought do we give to the writers? I finally want to rave quietly about the recent Jungle Book. There was so much about that film that was excellent! Many people have pointed out many of these things: the excellent animation, the child’s performance (which, okay, had its rough spots, but which was generally completely natural and believable), the voice cast, the music, the pacing, and so on. Only a few people that I know of mentioned the writing. And it is the script all these other things depend on. You could have fine actors, excellent animators, good musicians, excellent sets and camera work and so on. Yet, without a solid story, you could still have a bad movie.

Now, I’m of the generation that remembers the “original” animated Jungle Book. And I’ll tell you something. When I saw it as a small girl, I liked it. I even liked it a lot. I didn’t love it, and that’s because I knew and loved the book. The cartoon simply wasn’t anything like the book. The new movie does justice to the book, as well as the cartoon.

For the new movie has three sources. They are (1) the Disney cartoon. I don’t honestly remember it well enough to say how good an adaptation of the cartoon this new movie is, but others, who remember it better, proclaim this adaptation is very good and faithful. (2) the stories Kipling wrote. I loved how Kipling’s actual text was used in the film – more on that below. (3) Finally, there is real science; the actual natural history of Asia.

The filmmakers, including the writer, succeed in melding these three things into a classic coming-of-age tale. Read more...Collapse )

Visual Dare-Hesitation



This is one of Angela Goff's VisDares, and I gave it as a writing prompt to the writing club. Here's what I came up with.

Isn't it strange? Those were the letters I pulled from the scrabble bag. Exactly those. I took eight, instead of seven, and then I just stared. It was like the angel Gabriel speaking to me. I froze.

"What's the matter, Grandpa?" Mercy said.

Joe said, "You've got an extra letter."

"So I do. So I do." I took the "t" from "wait" and put it back in the bag. Then I set the other letters face down on my rack. "Just a moment, children. I'll be right back."Read more...Collapse )

A Poem for Fathers' Day

This is another result from a prompt in writing club. My sister liked it, and thought I should share it with family and friends, so I'm doing so.

Claddaghduff
(For my grandfather)

By the ocean
The horse races,
His shoes striking
Wet sand.
Shells gleam
In the sunset.
The strand shines.
An old man,
Astride,
Reclaims his youth.

and more on gun control-

I wanted to say just a bit more on Orlando. I think our love affair with guns in this country is obscene. I really do. Yet I got a couple of petitions for gun control that I could not in good conscience sign. Among other things, they are insisting that anyone who is "suspected of terrorism" should be forbidden to buy a gun. And here's the thing:

A Republican lawmaker -- I forget who -- explained why he could not support this law. He said he couldn't agree that people on some secret list should be penalized. I thought about that, and I actually agree with him. We have no idea what could cause you to get on that list. Advocating for equal rights for Palestinians? Supporting BDS? Dr. Sami Al Arian did those things, and there are those who called him a terrorist. He was actually jailed. So far as I know, he never did, nor threatened, any violence to anyone.

So this Republican is right. I don't agree with barring people from exercising their second amendment rights because they somehow got on some secret list. Editing to add that neither doctor Al Arian, nor any of the activists I know, would ever try to buy an assault rifle. Here is what I would like to see.Read more...Collapse )

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On love and hate

Three things that are on my mind. Except for the first quote, I mention no names. I have no intention of violating anyone's privacy.

1. Poor, battered Rodney King, all those years ago, pleading "Can't we all just get along?"

2. Some years before that, my sister told me a lovely story. She was walking one way; a handsome young Black man (is it still okay to say "Black" in this context?) was walking the other. As they passed each other, he smiled at my blonde, blue-eyed sister and said, "You're beautiful." She smiled back and they each went on their way.

3. Yesterday, one of "my kids" came to visit me at the library. She came with her girlfriend/partner.Read more...Collapse )

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Soemthing we did together in writing club - I had fun with this one! Enjoy.

It was a dark and stormy night.

Sturm und Drang. Yet again Sturm und Drang, thought the man sitting on the floor in front of the legless piano. "God Damn!" he muttered to himself. "I just saw lighting, but I can't even hear the thunder. No, not even that."

But then a sharp crack and a sound like tearing filled the room. The man smiled. He wasn't deaf, after all. Not quite.

Ludwig turned to the piano and began playing the storm.

On Bullying, and violence in politics

Fair warning, everyone - I am a Bernie fan. I think he's great! But not perfect. That said, I fail to understand why the man is being blamed for the (apparent) acts of a few of his supporters. He said, quite clearly, that he does not support violence and that nobody ought to be threatened. Could he have offered more sympathy to that poor woman in Nevada? Yes, I think he could. She by no means deserved this horrible treatment. No one does. Still, Bernie has never advocated violence against anyone, unlike the other two candidates. Which brings me to my main point.

The Donald, Heaven help us! How did we ever get to this point? Well. Here is one way. He's a bully. And-

We live in a country in which bullying is not only acceptable, but effective.Read more...Collapse )

The Transit of Mercury

Today, by great good luck, I saw something remarkable. The local astronomy club in CT had set up telescopes for viewing the transit of Mercury across the sun. After a solid week of raw, rainy weather, we had a brilliant day. There was a strong wind – the guys told me the wind had actually played havoc with the telescopes – and scarcely a cloud in the sky. I got to the field about a half hour before the viewing period ended and got to look at or through three of the scopes.


Read more...Collapse )

Steering the Craft

I am now reading Ursula LeGuin's Steering the Craft, and have shared a couple of the writing exercises with my creative writing club at the library. One of them was to write something completely without punctuation. This is what I came up with.Read more...Collapse )
Warning - this is a bit of a rant. And I'm sure others have said similar things, and gone into greater depth than I do here. But it's been on my mind.

How to Silence Marginalized Voices-
a Brief Instruction Manual


1. Discount oral histories, because they are only memories of old people, not facts.
2. Dismiss memoirs, also. They are personal, not scholarly.
3. Insist that the marginalized people should produce scholarship that is up to your standards, despite being denied your sort of education. Feel free to change the standards if someone actually manages to be scholarly. For example:
4. Dismiss scholarship produced by expatriates, because they are expatriates.
5. Also, dismiss arguments you don’t like as opinions, not facts.Read more...Collapse )

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