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Sunday, January 14, 2018

FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS ...


For thousands of years, 
cats 
have roamed the streets of the city
 now known as Istanbul.

They have watched empires rise and fall.

They have endured as the city cycled 
through famine and feast.

And through it all, 
they have had no single master.

Instead in a strange love affair,

the city's inhabitants care for them 
in admiration of their
grace and independence.


The Turkish documentary, 
Kedi,
 is sweet and loving, 
filled with beautiful visuals of cats
 and the surprisingly moving 
and fanciful thoughts
of those who know them.


Midnight and I drift off to sleep
watching the fluid tracking shots 
filmed at cat eye level. 


If you are a cat lover
or interested in foreign cultures,
try Kedi.

You won't be sorry.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

IS THE STRUGGLE LONELY RIGHT NOW?

*
FEELING UNAPPRECIATED AS A WRITER?

Join the club.


While my short stories are being accepted in anthologies ...



My novels seem to be losing momentum.

As I finished typing the above,


 the ghost of Li Yaotang (pen name: Ba Jin) 

rapped on top of my head as if it were a door.

"I was born on this day in 1904, Roland."

His eyes were deep with wisdom hard bought by pain. 


"Only by not forgetting the past can we be the master of the future. 

 Now my education, life and consciousness are talked about by those who cannot understand what I wrote, what I thought, what was my life."

He sighed, 


"They make me up from their subjective imagination. Do not be like them. Learn from the me that I was. Learn from the Bamboo Tree."
 

And with that, he was gone.

When he died in 2005, Ba Jin was praised as one of China’s most important novelists, and as the embodiment of a tumultuous century.

He began agitating for change as a teenager, joining the Chinese anarchist group “Company of Equals."

When the Cultural Revolution arrived, Ba Jin became a symbol of anti-social thinking and a primary target,

his public humiliation at the People’s Stadium of Shanghai televised in 1968.

The nation watched the sixty-three-year-old author, kneeling on broken glass, endure the jeers and threats with a bowed head; then they heard him speak:

"You have your thoughts and I have mine. This is the fact and you can't change it even if you kill me."
 

Years of rehabilitation followed, his new work monitored, his old books and articles revised to suit the authorities.

When once again allowed to speak his mind in a public forum — the following is excerpted from a 1980 speech in Kyoto — Jin had emerged from the crucible true to himself :

"I do not write to earn a living or to build a reputation.

I write to battle enemies. Who are they?

Every outdated traditional notion, every irrational system that stands in the way of social progress and human development,

and every instance of cruelty in the face of love.

My pen is a light and my body a flame. Until both burn down to ash, my love and my hate will remain here in the world."


Feel unappreciated now? Live your own light. Fight the darkness as long as breath and light remain to you.

* Uploaded 17 October 2005 by Jiang Photo of Ba Jin taken in 1938.

This image is now in the public domain because its term of copyright has expired in China.

According to copyright laws of the People's Republic of China (currently with jurisdiction in Taiwan, the Pescadores, Quemoy, Matsu, etc.),

all photographs and cinematographic works, and all works whose copyright holder is a juristic person, enter the public domain 50 years after they were first published,

or if unpublished 50 years from creation, and all other applicable works enter the public domain 50 years after the death of the creator.


{Want to know what Ba Jin meant by "Learn from the Bamboo Tree?" Watch this video}

***


Wednesday, January 10, 2018

WHEN DID AMERICA GO INSANE?


Pepe Le Pew fired from Warner Bros 

Amid Alleged Sexual Harassment Allegations


Silly, right?

But the Me Too Movement says classic movies and cartoons need to be re-examined 

for "toxic messages" within them that need to be edited.

They even singled out poor love-struck Pepe!


What's next?


ROAD RUNNER CARTOONS 
PULLED FROM 
WARNER BROTHERS 
FOR ANIMAL CRUELTY?

Jail time for Wilie E. Coyote?


Cartoons and movies are a product of their times.

The Crows in Disney's DUMBO 
would not "fly" with today's sensibilities 

nor would the Indians as portrayed in Disney's PETER PAN.

But I believe they were not meant to be insulting ...

though I do not recommend Disney to re-release SONG OF THE SOUTH -- 

that is hard for me to view today.

Mel Brooks has said that he could not film BLAZING SADDLES in today's thin-skinned culture 

even though he was satirizing racism, corrupt politics, and brutishness.  

Sigh.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Saturday, January 6, 2018

NOT ALL HEROES ARE CREATED EQUAL


Comics are the last morality plays

In the real world there seems to be precious few "heroes" left anymore.

If you think about comics or even our popular novels, heroes come in many layers.


When we are children, 
we believe heroes fight injustice 
because it is the right thing to do.


As we mature, we realize that what prompts someone to fight the good fight 

can differ greatly from one person to the next.

Some fight AGAINST something or someone, say like Batman.

Others fight FOR something or someones, like Captain America.

Then, there is the complex reasoning behind Wonder Woman 

who steps outside the box of our heroic expectations:


Why does your protagonist
 fight the "good fight"
 and what makes it good 
in your eyes?

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

IWSG post: HOW MUCH ARE YOU WILLING TO INVEST IN YOUR DREAM?




KEEP A JOURNAL:

If you want to write, you need to keep an honest, unpublishable journal that nobody reads, nobody but you. 

Where you just put down what you think about life, what you think about things, 

what you think is fair and what you think is unfair. 


READ:


You need to read. You can’t be a writer if you’re not a reader. 

It’s the great writers who teach us how to write.

Don't tell me that you don't have time to read.   

This is like a man starting up Mount Everest saying that he didn’t have time to buy any rope or pitons.




WRITE:


Write. Just write a little bit every day. Even if it’s for only half an hour — write, write, write.


Let the writer take up surgery or bricklaying if she is interested in technique. 

There is no mechanical way to get the writing done, no shortcut. 

The young writer would be a fool to follow a theory. 

Teach yourself by your own mistakes; people learn only by error. 

The good artist believes that nobody is good enough to give him advice. 

She has supreme vanity. 

No matter how much she admires the old writer, she wants to beat him.

What did Joss Whedon say?  "You either HAVE to write, or you shouldn't be writing at all."



LISTEN TO NEIL GAIMAN:


“Start telling the stories that only you can tell, 

because there’ll always be better writers than you 

and there’ll always be smarter writers than you. 

There will always be people who are much better at doing this or doing that – 

but you are the only you.”



TAKE THE TIME AND EFFORT TO BE AWARE:


Becoming a writer is about becoming conscious. 

When you’re conscious and writing from a place of insight and simplicity and real caring about the truth, 

you have the ability to throw the lights on for your reader. 

He or she will recognize his or her life and truth in what you say, 

in the prose pictures you have painted, 

and this decreases the terrible sense of isolation that we have all had too much of.

Try to leave the Ivory Tower School of Writing -- 

do not write about Man.

Write of A man ... or A woman ... 

trying to make sense of their lives, lost dreams, failed loves.

"Listen" to the stories of the lives around you.  

For it is in them that you will find the roots of your own novels.


START WRITING NOW:

Start writing right now. 

Don’t write it right, just write it –

and then make it right later. 

Give yourself the mental freedom to enjoy the process, 

because the process of writing is a long one. 

Be wary of “writing rules” and advice. Do it your way.


Ignore critics. 

Critics are a dime a dozen. Anybody can be a critic. Writers are priceless.


Go where the pleasure is in your writing. Go where the pain is.

 Write the book you would like to read. 

Write the book you have been trying to find but have not found. 

But write.



LEARN TO LISTEN TO YOUR INSTINCTS:


Learn to trust your own judgment, 

learn inner independence, learn to trust that time will sort the good from the bad – 

including your own bad.

Every writer knows fear and discouragement. 

Just write. 

The world is crying for new writing.

 It is crying for fresh and original voices and new characters and new stories. 

If you won’t write the classics of tomorrow, well, we will not have any.


How much time do you put into writing each day?