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Star Wars!!!

Star Wars VII! The Force Awakens! (Spoiler Alert!)

Doug and I just went to the above-mentioned movie for his birthday. I definitely enjoyed it, but it resembled the first one, Star Wars IV, so much that I found it distracting.

I remember seeing Star Wars in the theater when it first came out. Actually, I saw it at the Montana Theater in the 8000-or-so-person town of Miles City Montana, so I most likely saw it several weeks after it first came out, even if I was at the first showing. Much of popular culture was old news by the time it hit Miles City.

That movie made such a huge impression on me. I couldn’t say why I loved it so much, but it hit me in scene after scene. Luke’s underground home with his Aunt and Uncle – wow! Cute, beeping robot – awww! The mysterious man in the robe who turns out to be a jedi – brilliant! The saloon filled with so many varieties of creatures, and very few humans – amazing! A kick-ass princess! A lowly hero! Scary bad guy! The magic Force! Space battles! Action! Suspense! IN SPACE! BOOOOM!!! (That was the sound of my eight-year-old head exploding.)

I never developed into a Star Wars geek who could name all the planets in the story or who knew the names of the different creatures. I think it even took me awhile to figure out that the white-armored soldiers were called stormtroopers. But I knew the heart of the story, and I loved it. I had more boys as friends than I did girls, so I spent my share of recess time playing the role of princess Leia, running around with rebel forces and imagining my hair in big twisty buns on the sides of my head.

I’ve heard that other people have noticed that this movie followed the 1977 movie almost to the beat. But I wonder how they felt about it. How did I feel?

I felt a mix of comfortable familiarity, entertainment, and disappointment. I found myself looking at the same characters represented with an outward twist: same hero, only female; the lady is rescued from Darth Vader’s death star, but this time by a black man; the death star is actually not that, but an exact copy that’s 10 times bigger, and Darth Vader is someone else, of course, but he still wears all black, including a voice-distorting mask, and he’s in the middle of father/son issues. Etc.

Perhaps my disappointment stems from remembering how the first movie gave me such a sense of newness and wonder. But I suspect no true Star Wars movie, however original, could do that for me. For one thing, I’m not eight years old. Back then, I don’t think I had ever seen a movie set in space before. Also, I hadn’t seen many movies at all. This was in the days before the wonder of VHS tapes. (Movies in your home? Without commercials? On that 13-inch TV screen? Ridiculous.)

Also, Star Wars may have been the first time I had seen such an archetypal hero story onscreen that wasn’t Disney. It was like a fairytale, but told with phasers and hover cars!

Now, close to 40 years later, I’ve seen many more movies, enough to recognize common patterns and to know what will probably happen next. Instead of having the total surprise and newness of an 8-year-old watching Star Wars, this time I had a double dose of predictability: extreme similarity combined with decades of movie-watching experience.

Anyway, it was nice to be out on a date with my husband, and to see a very entertaining movie in which good is stronger than evil.

I’m looking forward to the next Star Wars movie. Will the similarties continue? Or will the next film chart a new, unique course that still keeps true to the story’s heart?

I’m hoping for the latter.

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Throwback Thursday

I don’t know the origin of the tradition of TBT – possible radio programs? An excuse to play older songs? Maybe it started on Facebook as a chance to show pictures that show how much people have changed over the years. However it started, I have decided to continue the tradition.

In my cleaning and reorganizing, I have found many of my old short stories, poems, and essays. Some of them are only available on one hard copy, so putting them on Word Fertilizer will create a backup version. Also, in true TBT fashion, these earlier writings show how I have changed over the years – in attitude, writing style, etc. Of course, these TBT’s will not count as one of my 52 weekly writings over this year.

“Something old, something new.” Welcome to a new aspect of my commitment to writing.

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Does not rhyme with banana

I’ve tried to post my story, but the way to do it escapes me. I try everything I can think of, and it’s not working. It’s a little humiliating. I keep meaning to ask Doug for help, but I don’t seem to remember when it’s a good time for both of us. At this point, though, I need to start working on my next story. I’ve danced with a few ideas, but I’m going to have to focus a little more to get an actual story out of one of them. Or I’ll come up with a new idea.

On the feng shui tip (look at me! using a colloquialism!), my living room is the mess that my bedroom currently is not. I took everything out of my closet yesterday  – it was filled with very unorganized miscellany – and today I removed the layer of long-accumulated stuff from my bedroom floor. The living room is my reconnoitering and mobilizing zone. Tomorrow I will engage my enemy (Chaos) in a Herculean battle. May Order emerge victorious!

I’m feeling good that I’ve been able to address some clutter issues these last couple of days, thanks to my Mom caring for the MIL in my absence. Mom will be leaving in less than a week now, so I’m trying to get as much done as possible. I believe that having my stuff more in order will help me use my time more wisely and that I will be better able to write regularly.

Hasta manana. (Funny, I’ve never seen that spelled “manyana”, but what are you supposed to do if you don’t have computer access to a tilde? Just use a regular “n” and risk people reading it as if it rhymes with “banana”?)

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Grand Opening in February

I have the Week 3 Story ready to go, but I’m having trouble getting it to show up on Word Fertilizer.

I decided to make the story almost completely in a monologue format. It’s just one man talking, with no action or setting descriptions. I don’t know if this makes for the most effective telling of this story, but I’ll put it out there (when my hubby can help me figure out how) and see how people respond to it.

I haven’t had a “grand opening” of the blog yet. I’ve been waiting until I figure out how to post pages and posts and get drop-downs to work and such. Maybe by February I will officially invite Facebook friends and others to my website.

In fact, that sounds like a new, achievable goal. Grand Opening in February!

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Bad words and good stories, even if they’re bad

The upcoming Week 3 story contains vulgar language. It fits the character who speaks it.

I guess a part of me feels like i should apologize for saying offensive things in a story. But offensive things do happen in the world. And sometimes those things can make for useful stories. By “useful” I mean informative, entertaining, enlightening – or something along those lines. I’m not sure if the Week 3 story will be any of those things to whoever reads it. But I want it to be real, a “lie that tells the truth”. (Where did I first hear that phrase?)

Mostly, though, I want it to be written. The idea that I could produce 52 stories by the end of the year excites me. Even if they are mediocre or bad, they are practice. And I’m a firm believer in looking at everything I write as a potential work in progress. Even if I consider something a final draft, I reserve the right to demote it down to rough draft status if I see room for improvement. With that philosophy, I can’t really say that something I’ve written is bad, since it may just be in one of its earlier stages, an awkward phase through which it just needs to grow into its more complete self.

So I won’t be apologizing for bad language if I feel it’s justified, and I won’t apologize for bad stories. Because maybe they’re just not done yet.

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Book Visions

I’ve been working on the next short story. It expands on the concept of “potential” or “the potential” introduced in the last short story. In fact, I’ve thought of many story ideas based on people who have “potential”. Maybe it’s spelled with a capital “P”. Or maybe it is described by a different word or words altogether. But in this family, whose ancestral tree I have roughly outlined, it is usually called the same thing because it roughly manifests in the same way.

Around 50 short stories, each focusing on one ancestor at a time, could add up to a whole book. That would be cool. But I’m not counting any unhatched chickens yet. This is only week 3 after all. But I look forward to seeing how it turns out.

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Come on immune system! (Exclaimed as a cheer)

I’ve been low-energy, sneezing, and feeling the rawness of my drippy nasal passages and sore throat, but I resist saying “I have a cold.” I guess stating it outright feels like giving in, dwelling on the negative. I surmise that if I emphasize the health that’s present within me it will feel encouraged and get stronger.

Then again, this philosophy makes me think of the statement attributed to President Reagan that there are no homeless people in the United States. Ignoring something does not negate it’s existence. There are people who live under blue tarp tents in the trees and brush next to I-5 in Seattle. And there is a population of cold virus clones trying to wreak havoc in my body.

And that’s where the analogy breaks down.

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Refenging my shui

This morning I continued my book purging begun the day before. My main goal was not exactly to get rid of books, but rather to keep the ones that I really want and to arrange them in a way more suitable to my needs. My writing books used to be covered up, and are now more prominently displayed on a shelf in my bedroom. The books that I like to read at night are now reachable from where I lie in bed. I’ve let go a few books that I have already read or have little interest in or can easily get on Kindle. The books I have kept are now casually stretched out on bookshelves instead of gasping for breath, sometimes at the bottom of a pile pushed behind other books.

I’m hoping that some good feng shui will increase my writing productivity. So far, though, this organizing stuff has been cutting into my blogging and story-writing time. I might be able to finish a story by Saturday, but I might have to extend the deadline.