Saturday, January 24, 2009


I just saw 'Inkheart' with Jeff & decided to post on it, since it's so rare I see something new (it was released yesterday). (Mild spoiler alerts follow, but nothing you wouldn't get out of seeing the previews.)

The premise of the movie is essentially the same as the far stupider looking 'Bedtime Storeies' starring Adam Sandler. Mo (Brendan Fraser) reads books and brings characters to life in them. And for every character he brings out, he sends one from this world into the book.

But the theme is fed to us in a far more sophisticated way, opening with a series of events that are as mysterious to us as they are to Mo's daughter, Resa (Eliza Benett). Mo's powers are already well known to him, and his use of them has broken his family; reuniting it is the main arc of the movie. Fraser is his usual self, doing about as much as the role needs. He's sort of a bulldozer of an actor who just charges through his role until it's finished. A bit like Harrison Ford minus the hint of irony.

What makes the movie is the play on the idea of how an author interacts with his or her work, and how the work interacts with the world. Fenoglio, the author, can't get over his fascination with seeing his own characters brought to life, even when they're about to kill him. My favorite lines:

Mo (speaking to Dustfingers, a character summoned from the Inkheart book): "You selfish, cowardly man!"
Dustfingers (pointing to Fenoglio): "Blame him, he wrote me that way!"

I don't know if this is a movie for everyone. But if you love to read fantastic novels (especially if you write them), it's highly recommended.

Note to parents only: It was almost too scary for Jeff in a few places (he's 6), but he never asked me to cover his eyes. I would rate it on the same scariness level as 'The Princess Bride,' if that helps.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Fictional blogs?

I've been thinking about why I update the blog so little, and I think I've figured it out.

There are only a few things blogs have tended to be good at. One is the 'my cat puked on the bed' sort of blog, which some people use to keep those around them up to date with their lives. But Facebook & Twitter are proving better at that kind of thing with their forced brevity.

The other thing a blog is good at is giving new facts & original opinions on very recent events, like this morning's news or last night's baseball game or Dexter episode.

But to do this well you need to be a serious & up-to-date wonk on some very specific topic, and ready to post at a moment's notice. Otherwise you are not likely to have anything very original to say.

I'm probably not going to give up my blog. I expect to watch 'Dollhouse' & 'Sarah Connor' when they start, & the Friday night timeslot gives me the perfect opportunity to write about them.

What I am more interested in, though, is doing a new kind of blog that is, if probably not completely original, something I've never seen: the blog as fiction.

Let me first make it clear what I don't intend to do: I am not going to break down a whole novel into little-bitty parts & post one a day. Nor would it be a bunch of separate short-shorts with completed story arcs.

Instead it would be a blog written as a blog by a fictional character about fictional events. It would be posted the day it was written, with only a brief edit if at all. Whatever went up would stay up, so my ongoing storyline would be restricted by what I'd done. There wouldn't be an outline, just a planned arc in my head. Posts would be 250-750 words, and interesting enough to read on their own but also part of a larger story.

It would be a bit like some of the twitter-fiction I've seen, but with a bit more room to develop a story line.

It would be a bit like a TV show but maybe even more like a narrative comic strip like Doonesbury. Not literally (xkcd has that market sewn up) but in the sense of a developing storyline.

Open to suggestions if anyone has ideas, or knows of someone else who's doing this.

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Friday, January 2, 2009

House Arrest

We returned to NYC only to become imprisoned in our own house when the deadbolt broke. We had to call the cops & were up 'til 3am. Now I have to spend all day fixing my door.

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