Monthly Archives: November 2008

Blaaaaah.

That is the sound of my brain right now.

I’m exhausted. I’ve been awake since three this morning, had an exhausting journey halfway across the bloody country, but I’ve still managed to finish NaNoWriMo. With about sixty words to spare.

I will now proceed to do bugger all for the rest of the evening. Tomorrow is another day.

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I love you, Guardian

Usually I think that art, like most poetry, is a bunch of pretentious twaddle. Now, I’m fairly pretentious myself, as I’m a student of literature, but I’m pretentious in a more down-to-earth, working-class way. It’s complicated.

Anyway, The Guardian’s art blog has this fantastic article giving superheroes the acclaim they deserve, by drawing a valid link between the likes of Batman and the heroes of ancienty mythology.

It’s not long, and if you’re into both pop culture and ‘proper culture’, it’s definitely worth a read.

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Giant real-life narratives

Here in Holland, it’s impossible to escape Sinterklaas at this time of year.

I don’t celebrate it myself, as I’m a Christmas person, but I do like to see other people celebrate the fifth of December.

It’s really amazing to see how most people band together for a few weeks every year, to create this communally sustained fantasy, and only for the enjoyment of children. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve seen Sinterklaas or his Pieten running around, being nice to little children.

While I was on the train today, I was surrounded by excited little kids dressed up like Sinterklaas’ helpers. They were jumping around and singing Sinterklaas songs, but they were so genuinely happy that they weren’t even annoying. At a certain point, we passed a car that had a Piet and a giant present on top, and they were so adorable when they completely lost their shit.

England doesn’t have the same devotion to sustaining the lie as Holland does. It’s just as well, for me. I was very attached to the idea of Santa when I was little, and one of my clearest memories of when I was little was when I realised Santa didn’t exist.

My mum tried to get me to go visit ‘Santa’ at a neigbour’s house. I somehow realised that it was only my neighbour dressed up as Santa, and I pitched a fit that I find embarrassing to think about, even now.

Still, not every kid is as gullible or stupid as I was at that age, and the joy they get out of the giant story brought to life every year far outweighs the mixture of feelings they experience when they find out that it wasn’t actually real.

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Triffids!

Fuck yeah.

Take note, people who made The Happening. This is how you make plants scary.

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Bruce Gruber

Well, what started off with me the possible demise of Batman as we know him has turned into a big thing about the nature of plot in general and endings in particular. I’m going to be discussing a number of endings, so it’s pretty safe to say that there will be spoilers in this post. If you don’t want to know what happens to Batman (both now and in Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns) or Captain America, or the endings of of The Dark Tower, The Great Gatsby, Gaiman’s The Sandman, The Shining, The Sun Also Rises or Great Expectations, don’t read on.

Continue reading

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Wait, what?

For the love of all that is good in modern comics, NO. Not Grayson, anyone but him. GAH.

At least Bruce isn’t dying. Well, he’d better not die, damnit.

And in case anyone was wondering, I have no problem with the fact that I’m a student of literature who prefers comics over poetry. I prefer being divebombed by my big-boned cat over most poetry, to be honest.

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An unfortunate truth

There’s this mystique about writers. People tend to romanticise both the person, and what said person does. A writer is apparently someone who experiences life’s highs and lows, and writes about said experiences in fits of divine inspiration.

This wasn’t true when the Romantics were still around (up yours, Coleridge) and it sure as hell isn’t true now. Sure, every now and then you get a Hemingway, who goes out and gets shitfaced every night, beds countless women and rubs shoulders with the both lowlifes and the pinnacles of humanity.

But the unfortunate truth is that the remaining 99.9% of writers are exceptionally dull people. Sure, they may be witty, and they might have great insight into the human condition, but the simple fact of the matter is that they spend most of their time writing.

Writing, for the spectator, is not exactly riveting stuff.

It also isn’t as straightforward as it would seem. The romantic view of the writer would have you believe that writers run around being scandalous and profound, and then they pound out a few thousand words in between shags. If that were true, my life would be more interesting than it currently is, let me tell you.

Writing isn’t just sitting down and writing something, then sending it off to be admired by intellectuals and other odd creatures. No, writing is writing something, thinking it’s dreadful, then rewriting it, and finding it marginally less dreadful. This process is then completed until you really can’t stretch your deadline any further, and you have to subject your editor to it.

The first rule of Lit Club is that you don’t talk about Lit Club (because it’s so fucking boring). The second rule of Lit Club is that first drafts always suck.

There aren’t any more rules, because whoever was writing them had to get back to writing because they had a deadline looming. However, if said person had continued, they would have informed us that the third rule of Lit Club is that inspiration doesn’t exist. A writer can’t wait for this mythical being to strike to start writing. You might have a fantastic idea for a plot, or a character, or whatever, but that’s just an idea. That’s about as far as ‘inspiration’ goes. The rest is all perspiration: forcing yourself to sit down and just write the damn story.

You keep writing the damn story, even if you get stuck. Even if you think it’s the worst dreck to grace the page/monitor. Even if you would rather be doing something else.

All in all, it’s not exactly glamorous, and it’s probably one of the least glamorous jobs ever. This doesn’t mean you should stop writing, though. In fact, you should keep writing. Even if you’re not hit by inspiration, and even if you don’t like what you’re writing. That’s just part of the process.

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