Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Squabbleland and Brokeback Mountain

If there was a country called Squabbleland, then I have some people who should be sent there. In that land, they could carry on endless arguements about small issues and drive one another to the brink of insanity.

The United Nations has not agreed to the formation of Squabbleland, and even if it did, there would be an ongoing and of course fruitless struggle to define the borders of the new country. In the meantime, I guess I'm stuck with the folks who seem to enjoy constantly disagreeing with one another.

So, I'll talk about a movie instead. I saw Brokeback Mountain on the weekend and am not sure what kept me from going to sleep while I was watching it. Maybe it was the Alberta scenery. If the cowboy is laconic as well as iconic, then I suppose the two stars of the film did what fit the bill. They couldn't say what the screenwriter didn't provide, and he or she didn't provide much dialogue. If the film hadn't been about a same sex relationship between two men-of-the-range would it have caused a ripple? I'd say no.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Out of the Pop Culture Loop - Like - Way out.

Every so often, my status as a one of the people who is perennially "out of the loop" about pop culture is re-confirmed. Last night was one of those occasions. I couldn't sleep and so, instead of reading I turned on the television and watched a little of the David Letterman show. He was interviewing a young woman I didn't recognize. She is one of the stars of the television show Will and Grace. I've seen the show a couple of times but that's all, and when Rogers cable gets around to disconnecting me, I won't be catching any reruns.

When my grandson talks about the bands he listens to I'm perplexed. I only recognize the name of one band and I haven't heard their music. Apparently they are "like ... really cool." I'm amazed that the word "cool" is a staple in the vocabulary of a fourteen year old, and I certainly won't tell him that I used it way back in the dark ages when boys would be kicked out of school for having below-the-shoulder length multi-coloured hair and wearing jeans. and girls could be sent home for wearing skirts that didn't cover their knees, or for not wearing a brassiere. Dinosaur days.

When it comes to pop culture books, I'm also not up-to-date. Stephen King has a new book out, "Cell." My daughter read the first part of it and gave up. She won't allow my grandson to read it until he's older; although she has let him read other Stephen King novels. She's decided that if it's too graphic for her, then it's certainly not appropriate for her fourteen-year-old son.

Speaking of books, a couple of days ago, one of my neighbours gave me "Three Day Road" by Joseph Boyden. It's the One Book One Community selection for Kitchener Waterloo this year and I was excited to acquire it, even though I must return it to the library by February 28th. It is a much better choice than last year's book "Hominids." I'm only on page 60 because I'm savouring the writing, but already I'm extremely impressed. The book isn't a pop-culture novel - it's way too good to be given that label.

I can't say I'm completely un-exposed to pop culture though. Sunday I went to see the movie "RV" with the man in my life. It wouldn't have been my first choice, but since he's taken me to many of my first choice movies, I agreed. He found it hilarious, and I thought it was mildly funny although I could have done without the exploding trailer toilet episode. On the positive side, Robin Williams is very good at physical comedy and has a very expressive face. We went to the matinee and there were lots of children in the audience. They loved the movie.

I miss seeing free cartoons before a movie starts, but that just means I'm old.

Tha tha tha that's all folks!

Monday, May 08, 2006

Beware of the "Should" People. They're Multiplying.

I don't know how you feel when someone tells you should do something, or act in a certain manner, but I know how I feel. It annoys me.

Maybe it all started when I was at George Brown College and so many of the people in the Human Services Counsellor course were members of Alcoholics Anonymous. "Don't should on yourself" was one of their favourite expressions. And I still think it's good advice, but I'd like to amend it slightly to include don't 'should on other people either."

The word, or its intent has been popping up frequently. Harper implies that we should all be happy with the budget, since everyone gets a tax cut. Well, if everyone gets a tax cut (and that's not quite accurate) then revenues will fall. And he's got lots of spending plans. Next thing you know, he'll be telling us how necessary it is to raise more money, by cutting frills (read services here, if you are not a Conservative) and increasing private health care.

A few days ago, the latest issue of This Magazine arrived. There's an article in it by the writer, John Degen, titled "Suffering for One's Art is Romantic, But it's Still Suffering." I agree with much of what he says about arts funding, but here's what got my attention and got my goat, too. (Note the word too at the end of that sentence). He says, and I quote:

"A good novel should take five years from conception to launch."

He goes on to talk about "writing, rewriting, self-editing, finding an agent, (if you are extremely lucky), finding a publisher (see finding an agent), editing again, copy editing, launching and touring."

Maybe he's right, and there are writers who have had to endure an even longer time line; but, that should sticks in my craw. It could be that I don't like his idea of how long it ought to take. because in five years and one month, I'll be sixty eight. That's awfully close to seventy, and I sure hope I finish my novel before I hit the next decade.

There are other people who are saying you should to me. A member of the e-editing circle I joined is quite fond of that little word. You should never end a sentence with 'too,' says he. And, you should never use strange descriptive words. He also listed quite a few, you should not's, but I'm not going to mention them.

I'll think I'll go and break a few writing rules. My errors, if indeed they are errors, can be corrected when I rewrite, and rewrite. But right now, I want to make some, and I need to, too.

Monday, May 01, 2006

When in Doubt, Move Furniture or Nudge Golf Balls

Last week I managed to completely avoid working on my fiction. It was WAW Writing Avoidance Week for me. Maybe it could become a national holiday.

I found a lot of other things to do, and in case you want to follow my shining example, I'll give you the short list.

First, I acquired a new internet service provider and then I filed my taxes online, before the deadline. That gives me bonus points because last year, I was a late filer.

Then I rearranged my living room (again) because the shelves I'd moved made me feel hemmed in and besides I needed to vacuum under some furniture, and its spring. That may be the last time I move the shelves for a while, since I'm not sure what's holding them together and I don't want to create ill will in them. I need their support since they hold my writing books and miscellaneous things like the stapler, the stack of evnvelopes and file folders, the paper clip supply,the phone books and my bus map Now they are backed with cork board so I can stick things on them.

My best avoidance activity of the week was mini-golf. I'm not good at it since my ability to judge distances, angles, and elevations is so poor. But blind luck and the ability to distract my worthy opponent led to victory. After 36 holes, I had taken one stroke less than my partner. The mini-golf course has a field behind it and it was receiving an application of manure. Mostly the wind was blowing away from us, but when it blew in the wrong direction my allergic opponent began to sneeze. Maybe I won because I sneezed less. A rematch is very likely, but the number of courses we can choose from is limited.

I also watched a bit of the hockey play-off games. It's time to say farewell to cable television and I've cancelled my Rogers account, but since they haven't yet disconnected me, I'm indulging in an advance bout of nostalgia; after all, why should I wait until the service stops.

I guess I'd better go and put one word after another.