Why I Don’t Like Up


Listening to: Lilac Wine – Jeff Buckley

I think we should stop using the word theory for fan theories. Theory implies that it’s an idea one feels to be true, when there is not really such a think as truth in fiction–only accuracy, intention, or honesty. My thing about Up is not a fan theory, it’s a way that I have analysed the repulsing affect this movie has on me. I apologise if I’ve repeat anything I’ve said before. Also, I probably spelled names wrong and totally forgot one of the character’s names, but I’ll just have to be forgiven. I want to post this and if I don’t put Owen to sleep right now, he’s going to IMPLODE.

This morning, Owen was watching Up, a movie that I have never cared for, and he watches on effing repeat. A lot of people say that the beginning is too sad, and I agree, but probably not for the same reasons. After the tearjerker open, the rest of the story tugs gradually less at the heartstrings. It actually parallels fairly well with the increasing levels of silliness. At the saddest possible moment, when Mr Frederikson is seconds away from being forced to leave his home (which he seems to have as a placeholder for his wife, to the point of conflation, in an emotional sense) the whimsy kicks in.

It’s a great moment, but everything that happens afterward is zany. I hate that word, and it describes exactly what it’s like to watch this movie. As in a dream, elements of Mr Frederikson’s life are combined and spat back out in unlikely ways that give him things that he wanted in his life, which were never possible.

Russell’s character is obvious. The Frederiksons wanted to have children, but were unable to do so. So his mind takes the actual child he met and crafts a believable fantasy. Not just a kid to bond with, but one who slowly erodes whatever defences he built up when he learned he wouldn’t be a father (“I don’t like kids anyway” kind of thing) and then provides a fulfilment of the protective instinct by needing a father figure where his expected one failed.

A blurry one is the dog, Dug. From what we saw of Mr Frederikson’s family, they appeared to be repressed and strict, so it’s not outside the realm of possibility that he was one of the many boys who wanted a dog and couldn’t have one. It also looks like he lived in a city (I assumed Manhattan for some reason) so there’s another reason a dog might not happen. And don’t even get me started on the significance of dogs in dream interpretation.

The last and zaniest fantasy is that of meeting his childhood hero. This one is a giant Torgue-y level of explosion noise, psychologically speaking. Mr Frederikson doesn’t just go to that long-promised vacation spot. He meets the explorer whom both he and his wife admired as children. This is basically what brought them together. And upon meeting the man, he discovers that he is psychotic, murderous, and although his accomplishments remain the stuff of admiration, the man himself goes from hero to threat.

Where to even start with that one? I could liken the childhood hero to Mr Frederikson’s marriage, relationship with his wife, and/or the inspiration and drive to just live every day. His wife’s death was like finding out that the hero was evil. What good is love, if it ends this painfully, one might say. (I wouldn’t, but other people do think that way) I thought that the plot point where Mr Frederikson has to throw out a bunch of his material possessions so that he can save the day seemed tacked on, an extraneous message that didn’t need to be there.

But what if. What if it isn’t just an anti-materialism message? What if the hero/villain does represent the pain of Mrs Frederikson’s death, and letting go of all of the things meant that in order to save himself from that pain, he had to stop living in the past? Maybe he was forcing himself to stop using his wife’s possessions as a crutch to avoid accepting her death. Eventually, the house “dies” with the villain.

The ending is idealistic and the sense of scale is insane. There aren’t any consequences for spending days in South America. The only important thing is that Russell gets to have his father figure fulfill a specific need. The mind is not rational in fantasy. None of this is real.

To me, though, it doesn’t come off like a funny fantasy story, not with a beginning like that. To me, it looks like the last spinning dream of a man who has given up. Manic, frenzied, telling jokes that aren’t funny and then laughing at itself. Nothing feels real because it isn’t.

I don’t like this movie because it feels like watching someone hallucinate while he lies dying.



Uphill Battle


Listening to: Assassin’s Life for Me – Teamheadkick

This post is so doomed. I started writing it on Sunday. Got some upsetting news that took me all of Monday to get over. I still don’t want to talk about it, but I do want to talk about something else that I am not upset about.

The reason I want to talk about it is because anyone would think that’s why I’m upset, and the fact that it doesn’t upset me at all–that actually makes me perversely happy. I got a rejection from a publisher, and I’m cool with it. Full disclosure: I half-expected it. I just needed to get myself out there and I did that. Plus, my marine gave me the best Fighting! speech ever.


So now that I’m dealing with the upsetting thing, I’m feeling pretty good. I did some research (read: got carried away flipping through my favourite parts of The Duchess War) to figure out how I want to do POV shifts. I concluded that I want them to have clear transitions (unlike some old skools and the Suzanne Enoch nearest my bed) not constricted to one POV for the entire chapter, and not a regular ABAB cycle.

On the way home from one of our semi-regular library trips, I came up with a funny moment with Itamar’s family. Some families put prospective in-laws through the obstacles of social awkwardness, invasive questions, or straight-up threatening to kill them.


While Itamar absolutely has a family that would do that, they have better, more original ways to put Gideon through the gauntlet. His two younger brothers drive up from university to play D&D. They threaten the Tomb of Horrors. But he wins them over a bit when he makes a pun about Moil.

Writing this story is still loose and fun. A lot of the time, I’m making notes, trying out jokes aloud on myself, or researching animals. Red foxes are easy, but it’s harder to get answers about white tailed eagles. I’m a bit uneasy about writing a book with two different types of shifters, especially since I’ve never read any books with avian shifters (I don’t think), and I don’t think foxes are common either. I know that other than the obvious wolves, lions and bears are totally a thing. But my library card is a bit… full, so I don’t really want to look around at other shifter books right now.

(recommendations are welcome though)


It goes, at least


Listening to: Ashes – NateWantsToBattle

Just finishing up Chapter 2. I had an idea for the first line of chapter 3, but I had to pretend to be asleep so Owen wouldn’t climb out of bed. Pretending to be asleep is pretty much how I go to sleep, so that particular idea has flown. Just going to have to think of a better one. I’ve got a throwaway title that will probably stick (they always do, the bastards) and a phone call from Itamar’s ima to write.

His first chapter was much harder to write than Gideon’s. I started out with much less in terms of concept, and his world is so much less centred on himself that it felt like there was not enough focus on him in his own chapter.

While I was puzzling over this, I stuck on a line that had come out while writing that I had absolutely not considered beforehand. “Itamar was a born fixer.” Hubby pointed out that this went well with being a slick liar. This character has family problems, and may just now be coming to terms with the fact that his family is all grown up.

His grandfather lives with his parents. His oldest brother lives in a nearby but different town and checks in on their parents regularly. His older sisters both have their own homes, one is married with a baby. His two youngest brothers are both away at university–not even the same university.

It’s a small town. Most of the kids he grew up with are married, living with their parents, or moved away. He has a degree that he doesn’t use. The dating pool is incredibly shallow, so he can either get back together with his best friend (again) or drive to a  bar in another town. Of course he is going to spend most of his time thinking about anything other than himself.

I was supposed to get a fight scene, but he got really stuck in his head in this chapter and I ran out of time/space. Still, it fits. The chapter basically covers his shift, and Gideon’s chapter took place in an even shorter space of time. Next chapter time skips for physical healing.




Listening to: Carnival of the Animals: Aquarium

I feel so ambivalent. On the one hand–I have a plot! Or at least most of one. Seriously, I came into this with two characters, a premise, and a joke. Now they have problems, desires, sex drives, and a preference for Jeff Buckley over Leonard Cohen (yes, I know).

One of the main characters got a name change. I was never really sold on the first name I picked, and then when he was introduced, I thought he was his brother, so I used a different name. There has been so much revision to make the original smatter into an actual chapter that it’s not really surprising. Make the brother not the brother. Add in attraction where appropriate. Note the viewpoint character’s mood changes, figure out if they are OOC or off-key. (they’re not)

And just now I realise that I have only talked about this story in vague terms, even on my blog. It’s an M/M shifter romance, something that I have wanted to write for ages. The heroes’ names are Gideon and Itamar. Gideon had the first chapter, and aside from dropping plots back and forth, I know most of what I need to know about him. He has a complicated past and present, and he is a bit of a mess. Snarky, cynical, generous, and vulnerable.

Itamar… not so much. I knew things around him. His culture, his family situation, his finances, his dating history. The most personal thing I knew about him was thanks to Gideon–Itamar is leery of violence. So I sat down and made a list of their personal problems. Then I made a list of possible internal conflicts. I needed something to spark my brain and get my thoughts running.

Here’s the part that has me feeling ambivalent. I had a lot of ideas. I wrote down some that worked, some that really didn’t (even if they were closer to my original idea). But I had no way to talk about it out loud. I need a sounding board, even now, when I have things fairly concrete.

Itamar’s life is an open book. He grew up and still lives in a town that has less than 400 people. He’s kind, personable, charming, and the slickest liar ever to smooth over an argument. He’s selfish and hedonistic. While both he and Gideon are shifters, they are different kinds, and Itamar is the one who has had to deal with clan politics the most.

My ideas are still in a tangle, but I think blogging about this has helped. Now I really need to go to bed. ^^;; Maybe I can untangle some more in the morning. Write a bit and finally finish reading Auntie Mame.


Bad hands


Listening to: Rise Up – Abney Park

I’ve had plenty to journal about, but my hands have not been cooperating. Yesterday, especially, I have saved up my less painful times for writing a new story.

There have been a lot of ideas bouncing around in my head lately. Two in particular have warred for my time. The Party (remember that?) has been an off-and-on idea for a couple of years. I reworked the party itself. It’s now a Golden-Week-esque series of holidays culminating in the crown prince’s birthday. There is also a cheesecake festival. I have the entire thing planned out as a series of four Romances.

The first book is easy, and I have had it all but outlined for a while now. The other couples are harder. I know who they are and how some of them get together, but I don’t know how they all link into the different stages of the party. One of the reasons that I changed it to a different kind of event. Also because the Selection and similar books have happened, and I didn’t really like the premise anymore.

Anyway, that one is still in planning and research. Which is why I’m focusing on my other idea.

I have about 6K words of chapter one and copious notes that began with an old idea and a lipstick joke. I actually wrote the end-ish of the first chapter before the rest of it, so I’ll probably still be tying that together today. And I was up until nearly 2 writing, so that’s another reason it needs looking over before I move on to the next chapter.

…but first, I have a toddler to settle down for Chill Out Time with Sherlock.


Book logging


Listening to: X Gon’ Give It to Ya – DMX

My support network is a little ragged, so I have always liked keeping track of what I’m doing with an impersonal app. They don’t always last. But it’s a good practise when I can actually do it. Right now, it’s mostly just using Books Wing for reading. It’s got a nice icon, and it does pretty much everything I want it to, even if I can’t (don’t know how to?) input backdated stats.

I’ve been going way less insane on books this year (regarding reading them, I still buy too many and I’ve been given more than ever before) so I have actually done anything other than read–I’ve seen movies this year! I even played Fallout 4 at all–but it’s still my primary leisure activity.

Because I read so much, I don’t really remember everything I read. Sometimes I finish a book, and then I can’t recall it a week later. Either my memory is getting poor, or I’m reading too many books to remember much about all of them. Writing is an aid to memory, so I started keeping summary notes every reading session.

Within reason. On days when I read for two minutes before someone mistakes my book for a sign that I want to have a long conversation about shit I don’t care about, I keep my summaries back until I have managed a significant number of severely accumulative pages.

This morning, I actually had an hour of uninterrupted time (!!!) to read, and I used it. Then I lay in bed with my phone in hand, struggling to summarise the last 97 pages. …wow, that’s 25% of the book. I think it’s the third fourth of it, so it’s also when lots of threads are coming together and major changes happen, so I guess I was struggling for good reason. I actually stopped just so I could write a summary.

Anyway, it was challenging and fun. I play it sort of loose, so I sometimes add in my own comments. Eventually, I may find that I’m keeping an all-out book journal. Whether I do or not, I’ve already achieved my goal with this idea: I remember much more of what I read, and I have a reference/journal to reflect on.