Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category

vacationbyjeremycshipp.jpg
Jeremy C. Shipp is an imaginative writer with a diverse fan base. He’s been praised by readers and fellow writers, stalked by mad gnomes, hunted by giddy mimes, and interviewed by the devil itself. Vacation, his first book published by the independent Raw Dog Screaming Press, is a surreal, fantastic trip into a futuristic underground world in which nothing is quite what it seems–including one’s own actions, or lack thereof. This unique and unforgettable work has amassed plenty of favorable reviews, and some of Shipp’s other stories have been published in popular lit magazines such as ChiZine and Cemetery Dance.

In this interview, Shipp entertains with his sharp wit as he answers questions about Vacation, his other endeavors, and the creative process.

jeremy-c-shipp.jpg

INTERVIEW WITH JEREMY C. SHIPP

NG: You started writing at the age of 13. What–or who–got you started?

JS: I think my thought process at the age of 13 was something like this: “I like books. Why don’t I write one? That would be fun.” And I’ve been writing almost every day ever since. But even before that, I had an assignment in 4th grade to write a short story. My story ended up not-so-short, and I really enjoyed the experience. And before I could write, I would play pretend with my brothers, with complex plots and characters. And before that, when I was a wee babe, my favorite toy was a pen. And before that, when I was just a twinkle in my father’s eye, I would flash stories about my past lives, in Morse code.

NG: What sparked the idea for Vacation?

JS: Vacation was a conglomeration of various ideas and passions about the world, that all sort of smashed together in my head at once. One of my major ideas, however, was the notion that a person could travel the globe, jump from resource bubble to resource bubble, and never really get a clear picture of what’s going on.

NG: You employ a non-linear style in the telling of the story. Was this a natural part of your writing process, was it something you intended, or both?

JS: Every aspect of writing Vacation felt very natural to me, and at the same time, my stylistic choices were made consciously.

I don’t think I’ve ever revealed this publicly before, but I used to be afraid of writing first person narratives of any kind. For most of my writing career, I avoided first person like the gnome plague. But then, deep down, I knew first person was the right choice for Vacation, so I gave it a try. And I’m so glad I did. I’d never felt so connected with my voice.

NG: What was your experience like in trying to get the book published?

JS: Getting Vacation published wasn’t too difficult, but the road leading up to Vacation was a crooked one, filled with potholes and swarming with killer mimes. As you know, I started writing books when I was 13, so I wrote over 10 novels before this one. I’ve received many, many rejection letters over the years. Which is actually a good thing. I’m very happy that Vacation is my debut novel, because I feel so passionate about the story.

Even though getting the book published didn’t take me years and numerous rejection letters, the events wouldn’t have unfolded the way they did if publishers like Raw Dog Screaming Press didn’t exist. I think it’s awesome that there are publishers out there who actually seek out outside-of-the-box/bizarro/weird stories.

NG: What authors have inspired you as a writer?

JS: When I was kid, I was very much inspired by HG Wells. Later on, I felt a deep connection with the works of Kurt Vonnegut, Arundhati Roy, George Orwell, Anthony Burgess. Right now, I’m really digging Haruki Murakami.

NG: You also make short films and compose music. What other projects in those fields are you working on? What other writing projects?

JS: The short film I wrote entitled EGG is currently in production (http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=25076212). It’s very strange, very atmospheric. I don’t want to say too much about it, but I will say that a mime dies. I’m working on a few other short film screenplays.

My short story collection Sheep and Wolves is being published later this year, via Raw Dog. There’s a good possibility that the DVD of EGG is going to come with the collection.

I’m also writing a new novel called Cursed. If all goes well, it should be published in 2009.

NG: Do you currently have an agent, and if so, what is your advice to writers seeking representation?

JS: I don’t have an agent at this point. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with writers having agents, and I may have one some day.

I’ve heard it told that this is a great site for finding recommended agents:
http://anotherealm.com/prededitors/pubagent.htm.

NG: What other lit works of yours are available?

JS: Here are some works of mine that can be read online for free:

CAMP (http://chizine.com/camp.htm)
NIGHTMARE MAN (http://www.hub-mag.co.uk/images/Hub_29.pdf)
THE HOLE (http://www.angelfire.com/punk/theswallowstail/ISSUE_4.pdf)
LOSING (http://www.deepoutside.com/Fiction/story200208.shtml)
WASTEWORLD (http://www.theharrow.com/journal/index.php/journal/article/viewArticle/1994/571)
THE WANT (http://www.bloodrosemag.com/archives/sep_2003/want.html)
PARSNIP THE ARTIST (http://www.hauntedhousedressing.com/parsnip.htm)
METAL THE REBEL (http://www.hauntedhousedressing.com/metal.htm)

I also have stories in various print magazines and anthologies. All that info lives at my website: (www.hauntedhousedressing.com).

Also, I’d like to mention (because I’m excited as heck) that my short story “Inside” is set to appear in an upcoming issue of Cemetery Dance.

NG: How much of your own world view is present in Vacation and how much of it is the characters’? Are the two intertwined?

JS: Vacation is a book written from my heart, my soul, my gut, my spleen. Much of the passion that fueled this book came from my love for the life on this planet, and my disgust toward those systems that cause suffering. So, many ideas that are important to me found their way into novel. These ideas were, of course, interpreted by different characters in different ways. None of the characters believe what I believe, 100%. I don’t think I could ever write a character like that, unless it was an autobiography.

NG: What does it mean to you to be a writer, an artist?

JS: First of all, I want to say that I don’t believe there’s one right way to be an artist. Everyone has different experiences and different personal boundaries–which is all peachy keen to the extreme. But for me, being a writer means that writing is an important part of my life. I know that if I was stuck on a desert island (or a dessert island), I would still create stories, because it’s part of who I am. I am, however, very happy that I’m not stuck on a dessert island. For one, I’d lose all teeth within a few years. But more importantly, sharing my stories with others is a wonderful experience.

NG: What do you hope readers will take from reading Vacation?

JS: It’s always nice when a reader writes to me and tells me that the book affected them in some meaningful way. Maybe they see the world a little different. Maybe they see that adverbs aren’t always a necessity, after all. In any case, I hope the experience of reading Vacation is both weird and positive.

NG: Any advice for young, aspiring writers?

JS: Well, let’s see. You should know–first and foremost–that you don’t need anybody’s approval into order to become a writer. You don’t need a degree, and you don’t need your work published, and you don’t need validation. If you feel like a writer, then you’re a writer. Things were a lot easier for me, once I realized that. I actually accomplished a lot more once I lifted that co-dependent pressure off my shoulders. This may not be advice that anyone needs.

I suppose I just wish that someone had told me all that, when I was first starting out. Another bit of advice—don’t worry about rejection letters. They’re actually good for writers. They’ve got a high omega-3 content, and they’re delicious. But seriously, even if one editor doesn’t want your story, it doesn’t mean that another one won’t love it. The game is about finding those people who connect with your work. So, in conclusion, just keep writing and have a good time with it, and everything’ll be peachy.

You can visit Jeremy’s website at http://www.hauntedhousedressing.com and his Myspace page at http://www.myspace.com/jeremywriter. You can purchase Vacation at http://www.rawdogscreaming.com/vacation.
###
Nancy O. Greene
http://www.portraits.bravehost.com

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

The Oscar nominations were announced on Tuesday the 22nd, and three of the five best picture nominees were films adapted from equally popular novels: Atonement, No Country for Old Men, and There Will Be Blood

There Will Be Blood is unique as it is not a traditional book to film adaptation like the other two films.  Inspired by Upton Sinclair’s novel Oil!, director Paul Thomas Anderson has put his own perverse spin on the classic tome by the iconic muckraker.  The film stays true to the book’s period detail and basic backdrop (the early days of the California oil boom), but Paul Thomas Anderson works things up into a bold visual and aural frenzy anchored by the greatest acting performance so far this century from Daniel Day Lewis as Daniel Plainview.  The result is an astonishing cinematic work of art that will stand the test of time and likely outlive the novel upon which it drew its initial inspiration.

Below is my review of There Will Be Blood that was first published on my personal blog and the Internet Movie Database:

The World of Blood and Oil According to Plainview, 6 January 2008
10/10
Author: David H. Schleicher from New Jersey, USA

*** This comment may contain spoilers ***

There’s a recurring nightmare of mine where I am falling down a well. Our reality is an illusion. This life is simply the dream we have while we are actually falling down a well. It always seemed as if the well was bottomless. After watching “There Will Be Blood” I discovered the well has a bottom. At the bottom of the well is one thing. Oil.

Also falling down this well was “The Performance.” Watching Daniel Day Lewis play the unstoppable, unshakable, unfathomably misanthropic and greedy oil man that is Daniel Plainview, one is left to imagine that “The Performance” was always out there. It always existed somewhere in the ether, in our collective unconscious, in our nightmares and anxieties. It took a visionary auteur like Paul Thomas Anderson to realize that if he did a modern film update of Upton Sinclair’s early 20th century novel “Oil!” and ominously renamed it “There Will Be Blood” then this performance could be channeled onto celluloid as a testament to the defining struggles of 21st century mankind.

Blistering cinematography of stark California landscapes from Robert Elswit, an evocatively organic and haunting music score from Jonny Greenwood (from the rock band Radiohead), and the beautifully fluid movement and framing of Paul Thomas Anderson’s maniacally calculating camera grab you from scene one and never let go. Daniel Day Lewis moves through the film like a cold burning firestorm combining and combusting with the technical elements and the fabulous ensemble cast around him to create a rising tension that is unlike anything experienced in cinema since the golden era of Stanley Kubrick.

The story is multilayered and allegorical. Led to an untapped area floating in dust on rivers of oil by a mysterious young man, Plainview soon comes face to face with that young man’s twin brother, Eli Sunday (a fecklessly manipulative Paul Dano). Eli is a wunderkind preacher at the Church of the Third Revelation and has the town wrapped around his finger with his claims to be a healer and prophet. Eli agrees to let Plainview buy his family’s land for the right price. The profits are to be used to build a bigger church. But when Plainview refuses to let Eli properly bless the drill site, a series of events unfold that Eli trumpets as acts of “God” while Plainview views them as results of meddling people he can scarcely see any good in and must crush.

The heart of the movie lies in Plainview’s relationship with his adopted son H. W. (a wonderfully naturalistic and quietly expressive Dillon Freasier). When the boy is injured on a drilling site and loses his hearing, Plainview, torn by his love for the idea of the boy looking up to him and the friendly face the boy has leant to the family business, abandons him only to latch on to a shady vagabond (Kevin J. O’Connor) who trots into town claiming to be his long lost brother Henry. Plainview’s replacing of a fake son with a fake brother shows his character’s deep-seeded and wounded need to connect to someone when insatiable greed has been his only driving force.

To explore in detail the film’s deeper message and resonance for today’s audience would be to spoil the ending. Suffice it to say, after the slowly infectious, nerve-shattering build-up, the film culminates with a soliloquy from Plainview to Eli that will make your jaw drop. In the end, it lives up to its title. There was blood. Whose was spilled is not a matter of debate, but what that blood says to its 21st century audience will be discussed and argued and studied for years to come. If you want to know what happens when greed guised in religious zealotry falls down a dark seemingly bottomless well with greed blatant as corporate capitalism, look no further than this film. There is a bottom to that well. There is a winner at the finish line. Meanwhile the blood is on the floor, the walls, the desert sand, the silver screen, the nightly news, and pumping through our bodies until we die.

Originally Published on the Internet Movie Database:

http://imdb.com/title/tt0469494/usercomments-59

*Regular reviews of films can be found on my personal blog:

http://davethenovelist.wordpress.com/

-David H. Schleicher

Read Full Post »

The other day I saw an advertisement for a movie with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman’s latest movie, entitled: “The Bucket List“. Apparently, each of them are ill and want to experience adventures before they “Kick the Bucket”. Hence, “The Bucket List.”

It got me to thinking about my own Bucket List. I haven’t really made one, but I have thoughts and ideas tucked away of things I would love to do and accomplish. So, without further adieu:

My Bucket List

1. Win the Pulitzer Prize for Best Fiction
for “The Mango Tree Cafe, Loi Kroh Road”

2. Write a One Woman Show for Broadway
Subject is in my mind, but yet to put pen to paper.

3. Create an Invention, Patent it and Sell it.
In progress (beginning stages)

4. Play in the World Poker Tour
In progress (beginning stages)

5. Travel to Thailand to actually walk Loi Kroh Road
We’ll see, not sure I could fly for that long.

6. Create a Creative Writing Camp for Kids
Would love to take those “odd ducks” and have them realize how unique they are.

7. Have “The Mango Tree Cafe, Loi Kroh Road” made into a film.
Anyone know how to contact Sir Anthony Hopkins?

8. Learn how to fly an airplane
I think that would be so cool!

9. Be Invited to Oprah’s show to discuss “The Mango Tree Cafe, Loi Kroh Road”
C’mon, you knew that was coming didn’t you?

10. Tour Ernest Hemingway’s home in Key West, Florida.
I want to see his 6 toed cats too!

11. Last but certainly not least, Before I die, I want to belly laugh.

Really laugh where the tears come and you are holding your stomach.

I want to appreciate the greatest of gifts as well as the smallest.

That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?
*************************************
Taryn Simpson is a full-time ghostwriter specializing in writing of novels and marketing pieces.

Read Full Post »

As many know, the Writers Guild of America is on strike. You can show your support for the WGA, regardless of whether or not you are a member. These snazzy widgets are available at http://www.wga.org and http://www.unitedhollywood.blogspot.com. Put them on your blog, web page, etc. You can also find out other ways to show support for the WGA by visiting the above sites.

unitedhollywoodpic.jpg

writersguildpic.jpg

EDIT: Here are some more sites for information and widgets, courtesy of Alexandra Sokoloff (Thanks!):

http://community.livejournal.com/wga_icons/

http://community.livejournal.com/wga_supporters/

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v317/kullervo/wgamyspace.jpg

Read Full Post »

Halloween is officially here. Like most holidays, consumer celebration of it starts a few weeks before and extends to a few weeks after. Here are a few suggestions to keep you entertained and in the Halloween spirit long after the parties are over and the trick-or-treaters have ransacked your candy stash:

iamlegend.jpg
I Am Legend by Richard Matheson: A timeless tale of isolation and strange evolution, it’s been adapted several times. The latest movie will be released in December, starring Will Smith. As with any adaptation, it takes certain liberties with the book; it remains to be seen how good the newest film will be. In the meantime, read the book.

eapoetales.jpg
Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe: Halloween just isn’t complete without mention of Poe. While he wrote in a wide range of genres and literary styles, he is legendary for short stories such as “The Fall of the House of Usher” and poems like “The Raven.” Edgar Allan Poe was a master of atmospheric and psychological horror, and every year his grave here in Maryland is visited by fans and curious tourists to get them into the holiday spirit.

fledglingbyoebutler.jpg
Fledgling by Octavia E. Butler: This book weaves together a thoughtful, well-paced tale of genetics, family, and mystery with a fairly different take on vampire folklore. It is the last book written by the highly admired author.

30daysofnight.jpg
30 Days of Night by Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith: I have not seen this movie, but it’s on my list and so is the graphic novel. Based on reviews by both critics and audiences, the film is utterly terrifying, and the vampires are a far cry from the sympathetic, lovelorn bloodsuckers portrayed in books/movies like Interview with the Vampire.

thesimpsons.jpg
(November 4, 2007) The SimpsonsTreehouse of Horror XVIII“: Of course, Halloween really isn’t over until Homer says D’ oh!

Lastly, check out http://www.monsterlibrarian.com/halloween07.htm for reviews of Halloween based books.

Nancy O. Greene
http://www.portraits.bravehost.com

Read Full Post »

jane

My daily struggle as a writer is to find enough inspiration to write the next story. It takes a lot of time and imagination to create something that would move me, I need to keep in mind that the story will only flow if I have it inside of me. It must be so powerful that will burst out from inside onto the paper.

Many factors affect the amount and quality of my writing; daily life, circumstances, emotions, health, peace of mind and feelings. Taking the good with the bad I push myself to write something every day. Anything and everything could spark and idea for a writing; the news, a movie, an article, a painting, music, a picture. Staying close with like minded people also estimulates ideas that could become a whole story on its own.

I was checking my email this morning and the announcement of the movie Becoming Jane got my attention. I watched the movie trailer and was taken right away by the theme. I have to see this movie! I enjoy watching movies of writers and this one I’m sure will spark many ideas.

For those of you who write, I would like to know what helps you get new and fresh ideas? How much time do you dedicate to writing?

Clary Lopez
Author of Simplicity – Richness of Life
Clary’s Blog

Read Full Post »

movie1408.jpg

biggereverythingseventual.jpg (Click to purchase)

I recently went to see the movie version of “1408,” based on the short story featured in Everything’s Eventual: 14 Dark Tales by Stephen King, and here is my comparison of the two:

Whereas much of the short story takes place in the office of the hotel manager, Olin, and (after a short stint in the hotel room) follows Mike Enslin throughout the aftermath of his experience, the core of the movie takes place in the room 1408.

The author, portrayed to excellence by John Cusack, is self-assured, even a little cocky. His journey through haunted places in the world is more of a search for the supernatural for personal reasons rather than stemming from any real belief in the afterlife.

In the short story, the author is even more arrogant in his disbelief of the supernatural, though there is no personal connection for his search—he simply writes books on the subject and they have made him a great deal of money. But most of his bravado takes place in Olin’s office, out of the reach of “the thing in that room.” The hotel manager tries everything to convince him not to stay in 1408, and it seems that the long talk does have some impact on him; when he first reaches the infamous room, he believes that his eyes are playing tricks on him. The door looks crooked, then normal, then slanted again in the other direction until it is once again normal.

Things begin to happen almost immediately once he is inside the room. The paintings move, “something” tries to come into the space through the walls. To escape he finally decides to set himself on fire and is fortunate enough to escape, the flames put out by a passerby.

After the occurrence in room 1408, there is an obvious transformation in the main character. A sense of sadness and loneliness emanates from Enslin—a sense of defeat. It reminds me of the feeling that permeates another story in the collection, “Luckey Penny.” Through the second half of the story, Mike Enslin carries himself as a man that will forever be looking over his shoulders at the shadows, imaging that “they” will somehow drag him back into the confines of the hotel room to finish off the job.

In the movie, this is not the case. Cusack, as Mike Enslin, portrays a sense of increased strength, the will of the fighter that has seen the true horrors and survived to tell the tale. Whereas in the story the character tries to immediately forget what happened, in the movie he is shown playing the tape of his trusty mini-recorder, listening to what is arguably one of the most horrifying moments from his stay in the hotel–his encounter with his dead daughter. When his wife walks into the livingroom, she is stunned, and the look on Enslin’s face seems to say “Yes, it’s all true.” No fear, just a resignation to the fact that there is something else, and he’s not entirely sure that is a good thing.

The story and the movie are both executed smoothly, though the horror in the story (aside from the few pages that take place in the room) is far more psychological. It’s the type of fear that doesn’t necessarily get the adrenaline gushing; rather it’s the type of fear that puts an unsettling chill to the bones. The character experiences symptoms of someone that has lost his battle with life and perhaps with sanity–bad blood pressure, poor sight, bad nerves–he is old before his time. And as Enslin waits for his final days, he has the distinct feeling that whatever was in that room may be waiting for him on the other side.

In the film, the 70 minutes in the room are filled out with all sorts of nightmarish horrors—dead people appearing and disappearing, blood gushing from the walls, two particularly terrifying scenes in which Enslin sees himself die. At one point, he believes that he has escaped from the room, that is was all a nightmare brought about from a hit on the head with a surf board. Just as he believes that things are back to normal, he is thrust back into that nightmare of a room. However, instead of giving up, he keeps fighting. In a dramatic turn of the tables, he sets the room on fire and frees himself; in that action he makes sure (or does he?) that no person will ever be subjected to the inhuman presence in that room ever again.

I liked both versions, for different reasons. While for some the short story of “1408” may play out as a biting-your-nails type of horror, I felt that there was something of the scare tactic of mind over matter at play. As if the experience was something that could have been a hallucination brought on by a little too much to drink and the clever wordplay of a desperate hotel manager looking to put the scare into someone that doesn’t scare easily. It was something of a quiet horror that consisted more of Enslin’s health problems resulting from the event and the very real manifestations of something that could have all been in his head. In the short story, even when the main character wins, he loses. The movie, on the other hand, consisted of edge-of-your-seat horror, the thrill ride that goes faster and faster. If you haven’t yet viewed the movie, or read the short story, I suggest you do both and compare the terror for yourself.

Nancy O. Greene

sellsheet_cover.jpg (Click to purchase)

Portraits in the Dark on Barnes and Noble.com.

Portraits in the Dark through BookSense.

Portraits in the Dark

Read Full Post »

Just an update on my life right now: I’m researching Wittgenstein in hopes of finishing up Witch Hunt soon, which is a powerful novel critical of some of today’s “hostile environment” sexual “harassment” law (not quid pro quo law, which I support). I’m thinking that once I finish my research, it should only take about a month to finish the book, because most of it is already written. I plan to shop it around to agents once it’s done. I think that, since Witch Hunt will be the only novel, that I’m aware of, that goes so in-depth with this issue, there will be some demand for it. I hope so.

Once I finish Witch Hunt, I will study for and retake the GRE (Graduate Record Exam) for a possible return to graduate school.  I’m going to talk about that more below. First, let me take an aside (since I can’t figure out how to cut and paste paragraphs on this blog like I usually do…sigh…)

I just recently watched the movie Pleasantville, and wow! There are so many ways to interpret that movie. Obviously you have a political interpretation (with phrases like “family values” and “kinder, gentler”). And you have a feminist interpretation, with the mother finding herself and freeing herself from the “baking cookies” role. And there’s a queer theory and philosophical interpretation of allowing diversity and freeing oneself (like Plato’s allegory of the cave). Of course, you have a religious interpretation, with the apple evocative of the Garden of Eden and Don Knotts as a kind of God figure. And hey, there are artistic and “sexual harassment” law ways to interpret it too, with the conflict of rules for security versus freedom of one’s sexual expression. With my work on Witch Hunt, I obviously like that latter interpretation. 🙂 You could even interpret it from the standpoint of Pauline and Lutheran theology, with grace emphasized over law (and obedience to rules). And there’s an emphasis on books in the movie, so there’s an element of education that reminds one of Dead Poets’ Society. It’s just a powerful movie packed with lots of stuff. Oh, and the “black and white” people picking on the “people of color” brings in an element of racism thematically into the movie. Solid stuff! Also, the “world beyond Pleasantville” versus Pleasantville implies a world beyond this one, evocative of Jesus, Plato, and even the gnosticism of the movie The Matrix. And how one’s perception can free one can bring in a Buddhist or even Hindu interpretation. Yes, I very much like the movie Pleasantville. I think if I taught a full semester class of philosophy, that might be a good movie to show. It also relates to Kierkegaard’s discussion of the Garden of Eden and human freedom/free choice in The Concept of Anxiety. The fact that it brings up so many ideas makes me think Pleasantville is a very rich movie.

Also, as a teacher, I liked how “Bud,” or “David” (the main character) met people where they are. He taught them in a way that brought out the best in them, rather than teaching them much of a set dogma. In that sense, he reminds me of Socrates and Jesus.  

Okay, back to my life for a minute (again, apologies that I can’t figure out how to copy, cut, and paste stuff to move it around):

Lately, I’ve been researching Wittgenstein (because I think his thoughts on how language works can impact the “hostile environment” sexual “harassment” ideology which Witch Hunt deals with). And I have also been reading and taking notes on Kierkegaard.

One of my struggles is deciding whether I want to go back to graduate school. I just don’t think I can make a living writing, so maybe I need to qualify myself again to teach on the side, since I walked away from my Ph.D. program before completing the dissertation for personal and ethical reasons. If I do return to grad school, I may get an M.F.A. in Creative Writing and possibly a Ph.D., which is why I want to have Wittgenstein and Kierkegaard down pat (I would want to do a dissertation related to them–Kierkegaard is my favorite philosopher). 

Just a couple of thoughts on some evil things that happened in my life which drove me from my Ph.D program and academia to begin with, and how they actually turned out for the good by helping me become a writer: I don’t know if evil is a systematic, planned force or not. I can’t figure evil out. It seems destructive, yet when you resist it, it’s transformative. Otherwise, would God really be all-powerful? I certainly don’t know the answers to such questions, but I love thinking about them–that’s the philosopher in me. All I ultimately want to do is please God/the Goddess/the Power of Love and Compassion. That’s who I identify with. That’s where I belong.

As for works I’m thinking about after Witch Hunt, I want to write a novel based on a character trapped in a mental institution (I think I’ll call it Ward). I also plan to write a science fiction conspiracy piece critical of certain Orwellian and profitable aspects of our government’s “War on Terror” (I’ll call it World Wanderer). And I want to work on a supernatural thriller which I’ll call Frozen Ghost. Along the way, I’ll probably also work on my sequel to The Deviants called Deviants Too. Also, I’ll continue to work on Barrier, a dystopic novel similar to 1984 which also deals with some of the sexual issues of Witch Hunt; I’ve written much of it already, but put it on the backburner since it’s so thematically similar to Witch Hunt. So anyway, those are my plans right now, along with continuing to study for graduate school should the need arise.   

Read Full Post »

In her new movie “Hounddog,” Dakota Fanning plays a 12-year-old girl who is raped. And this is causing a big hoopla, because some people believe it is “simulated sex.”

For one thing, there is a big difference between sex and rape. Rape and child molestation are not consensual acts. For another, “Hounddog” is a movie, a piece of fiction that depicts something that happens all over the world and is often shoved under the rug by those that feel it is not “polite conversation.” Take, for instance, the child abuse scandals within the Catholic Church. Children were encouraged to keep quiet about the fact that trusted officials sexually abused them; the officials, instead of being punished, were allowed to keep their posts.

This outrage over “Hounddog” is misplaced. Instead of attacking and trying to censor fiction, the focus should be on the very real problem of child abuse in America and around the world.

Instead of examining the deeper meaning behind a work of fiction, and discussing the topics explored, there are those that proclaim themselves leaders and insist that their followers have knee-jerk reactions, take things out of context, and attack.

And who are these so-called “leaders” anyway? How do they truly represent the people that they presume to lead? Recently, evangelical leader Rev. Ted Haggard engaged in sex and drug use with a gay escort. Does that represent the lifestyle of a majority of evangelical Christians? I’m guessing no.

Now, before most have even had a chance to see the movie and understand what it is about, “leaders” within the church and elsewhere are calling for a boycott. Granted, it’s doubtful that this movie is suitable for children, but it explores real issues that adults should be aware of when it comes to the safety of their children. In the movie, Dakota Fanning’s character is molested by a trusted relative, her father. There are people that may believe such a thing is unlikely or rare, that people that are trusted members of the community and of the family are the last to want to cause harm to children. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

But this is not the first time that there has been an attempt to censor a work of fiction and it will not be the last. All over the country there are those that call for boycotts against books and movies, often for no real reason. This is a shame in a society that is supposed to be the forerunner for free speech and democracy.

Read Full Post »